Saturday, November 7, 2009

Shadegg and the Baby, Jobs Report, Veterans Need Help, GOP "Choice", and Health Care Updates

Quick Hits for November 7, 2009

* Arizona Republican Congressman John Shadegg told us what a 7 month infant belonging to his Chief of Staff thought about the health care bill being voted on tonight in the House. Apparently Shadegg has become a mind reader since the 7 month old obviously cannot communicate for herself in the sentences that Shadegg used. Or maybe it was just another way of showing that Republican politics is more theatre than substance.

* The jobs report out has the unemployment rate hitting 10.2%, the highest since 1983. While conservatives jump on that bandwagon, they might need reminding that the previous time it was over 10% was two years into the Reagan Administration, not 9 months. And I am sure they will blame it on Jimmy Carter's Administration for the troubles, they might also be reminded that this recession began under President Bush and has slowed, and even started to turn under President Obama. But as Republicans reminded you after the last President Bush recession, jobs are a lagging indicator that take time to turn after the economy turns. It illustrates just how either ignorant Republicans are or how deliberately hypocritical they can be. Take your pick.

* The Christian Science Monitor asks if military psychologists are overwhelmed in their discussion of the Fort Hood tragedy. They point to trying to play catch up for years of not having enough psychologists to deal with the trauma of battle. Our soldiers deserve our gratitude for serving, but more importantly, they deserve both better mental and physical care than this nation has given them for far too long. I am saddened that the last administration was so quick to raise military budgets and send our soldiers into two war zones, but was unwilling to give them the care they deserved for that sacrifice. Sadly, we did the same after Vietnam and it may explain why soldiers are one of a few groups who are disproportionately impacted by unemployment and homelessness. They deserve better from us.

* Why is it that Republicans always talk about choice, but don't want Americans to have the CHOICE of a public option in health care; don't want wrongly convicted to have the CHOICE of DNA testing in red states to prove their innocence before killing them; don't want women to have a CHOICE with their own bodies; and don't want gays to have a CHOICE to marry who they want to marry? It would seem that the notion of "choice" is simply a buzzword that they want to throw around. Remember, it is a public OPTION and no one must choose it. I expect that if it passes, not one conservative will sign up for it to save the government money, right?

* Now that the House has passed its health care bill, the real fun begins over the Senate. Republicans have at least acknowledged that health care reform is needed, though their answers so far have been about protecting corporations from liability for their choices that limit our choices in health care. Their spin will be about protecting the doctors from frivolous lawsuits, but don't let it fool you. It is really about lowering costs for insurance companies who don't want to pay out for catastrophic care so they refuse to pay for the tests that might bring back incredible costs in terms of treatment for things like brain cancer or other terminal illnesses that are incredibly expensive to try to save the person.

It is time to create change that forces insurance companies to compete not simply in terms of price, but in terms of actual high quality services instead of denial of services and daring you to sue them for those services knowing that no lawyer can afford to take the case if the jury award is limited so that it won't even cover their costs. After all, for you or I to take on the massive legal teams of Aetna or other private providers would be a hugely expensive feat. By lowering the payout of lawsuits, they make sure no lawyer could afford to take our cases against those massive legal teams.

If you want the Senate to pass meaningful health care reform, we must email, call, and mail letters to them daily. Whether they read it or not, someone counts all the support and opposed communications they get. Don't let a handful of Republicans out work you. Make every Senate contact you can DAILY.

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