For Just Once, Let’s Do Like the French

A single-payer health care system like the one proposed in the US House [HR 676] would solve most of our nation’s health care problems. Workers and citizens would have a health-care card, much like the current Medicare card that every doctor, hospital and nursing home in the country would honor. It would not be like your private health insurance card which is only honored in a local area by participating doctors and facilities. Ever hear of a doctor or facility that would not honor a Medicare card?

Secondly, under the single-payer system, each citizen would have a health-care program that he or she could take from job to job, from state to state, or from work to sickness or retirement. No longer would the person have to rely upon his employer and his job status to retain his health-care coverage. If you want to visit the kids in Colorado and have your operation or sickness cared for out there, then the single-payer card will cover health services out there just as well as here in Western Pennsylvania. With this single-payer card you do not have to be employed to be covered.

Thirdly, everyone will be covered. It will be like Medicare — if you are over a certain age you are covered. Under single payer, if you are a citizen you are covered, or whatever eligibility terms the Congress will legislate, but these terms will be much wider than the current [private insurance] system, which only covers certain healthy and wealthy people who are fortunate enough to have money or to work for an employer that funds coverage.

Fourth, the employers, the businesspeople are going to love this system because now when someone is hired you do not have to furnish health coverage or compete with larger firms that can afford to do so. Now, you can hire the best person for the job, and health coverage for the employee and his family is not a consideration.

Fifth, the system will be about half the cost of the present system. Per capita spending for health care here in the United States has just gone over $7,100 per person. France which has a single-payer system was only spending $2,288 per person in the year 2000 when the USA was spending $4,271 per person. The United Kingdom, which also has a single-payer system, was paying $1,675 per person in the year 2000.

Finally, the single-payer system will bring us better improved health services for about half the money. France was just recently judged by the World Health Organization to be the healthiest nation on the planet while the United States ranks behind 38 other nations in the quality of its health services. So there is not much else to say. Single payer covers everyone, at half the cost and delivers vastly better health services.

Linn Frank Hamilton
Houston, Pa.

Health Reform Economics

If I am not mistaken, though the Congressional Budget Office has done no recent study on single-payer health care, it has published studies in the past showing how single-payer would save money. Now it has produced a study showing the health “reform” legislation Congress is taking seriously probably will not.

Yet the idiots in the Capitol slog on, ignoring single-payer and pretending they are doing something useful, and will no doubt profess themselves so surprised when their reform doesn’t work, surprised and yes, hurt, that their constituents are angry.

As far as I can see, the only reasonable explanation for such persistent willful folly is gross corruption, and all I can now feel for my elected representatives is disgust.

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam
Baltimore, Md.

Boycott Big Health

Perhaps it is time for a general boycott of the medical industry here in the United States, in the spirit of the civil rights era Montgomery Bus Boycott. A sustained boycott could cause this greed-based system to collapse under its own weight and force some changes in a structure that has caused more personal bankruptcies than any other factor in this country.

In order for the boycott to work, it would need to be combined with a rigorous wellness movement that emphasized the importance of diet and exercise in health maintenance. One way to monitor how effective the boycott was becoming would be to see how quickly the AMA started taking out full-page newspaper ads opposing it.

Richard Sheridan
Sacramento, Calif.

Leader of CONDems

I thought you might be interested in this article from the Missoula, Mont., newspaper quoting Max Baucus. I was especially interested in the following quote from him:

“... He also said a majority of the senators on the Finance Committee do not favor a ‘pure public option,’ which is the government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers ... They’d like to find a way to offer an alternative plan that somehow is run by the private sector or a private entity, such as a nonprofit cooperative, he said. ...”

These quotes from the mouth of the head CONDem in all of the Congress clearly state the true intent of he, his committee, and the insurance contributors. All actions of this committee from the “off the table” declarations and the arrest of dissenters are designed to enable the “private sector” to gain the same “contractor” status that currently exists in the military/industrial complex under the guise of “reform.”

The recent letter which I submitted charged this intent by all of the CONDems and the administration. I have no doubt that these statements confirm the reality of this backroom, corrupt, criminal operation of the Quislings infesting our government. All true Progressives should be outraged at this blatant hijacking of true healthcare reform by a band of elected criminals and demand their immediate resignation and/or recall.

Richard L. Morgan
Bellingham, Wash.

Celebrity Pay

One of the most disturbing facts about our capitalist nation is the misappropriation of funds directed to the salaries of entertainers. Everyone should agree that the value an athlete, movie star, talk-show host, team owner, etc., brings to the average citizen is very small. Granted, they do offer a minuscule of diversion from our daily trials and tribulations, as did the jesters in the king’s court during the Middle Ages. But to allow these entertainers to horde such great amounts of wealth at the expense of more benevolent societal programs is unacceptable.

Our society is also subjected to the “profound wisdom” of these people because it equates wealth with influence. While Michael Jackson may in fact have been an excellent performer, his name will always be tarnished by the fact that he reached a monetary settlement with [his] accusers of child molestation. What does this say about those who virtually worship him as an icon ... ? Is there no shame in these celebrities? Or are they just as dysfunctional as the rest of society? Could it be they are nothing more than ordinary people performing unextraordinary feats? Are there others who are just as talented that never caught a break, had the right connections or were simply not born into the right family? Is it the unearned income that gives entertainers license to indulge themselves in whatever pleasures them? Have society’s role models become so passé that the concept has morphed into cliché ?

Perhaps a solution to this problem and an alternative to defeated school levies and crumbling infrastructures, as well as all the programs established to help feed, clothe and shelter those who cannot help themselves, would be to tax this undeserved wealth. Entertainers could keep 1% of the gross earnings reaped from their endeavor and 99% could be deposited into the public coffers.

The old ideas of the redistribution of wealth have failed, and it is time to adapt to modern-day preferences. Let’s face it, people in a capitalist society put their money into what they love and gives them pleasure. Does anyone think this will reduce the quality of entertainment? It seems to me that when entertainers received less income, the quality was much higher.

Joe Bialek
Cleveland, Ohio

Evolution Needed

David Letterman’s guest on 6/23/09 was former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She told of growing up on a ranch where she had a pet bobcat named Bob that she loved dearly. She also spoke of her great love for horses, and said she’s written a children’s book about a little girl who has lost her dog.

Then, without missing a beat, she said she loved to kill gophers. She said they were “rather worthless things.”

I’ve been thinking about this all morning. A supposedly liberal progressive lady who’s oblivious to contradictions: Dogs and bobcats deserve our compassion, but gophers are FUN to shoot?

Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and many other prominent politicians love to hunt. If we are to grow into an actual progressive nation we need to replace these primitives with highly-evolved scientifically literate people who grasp humans’ close relation to other life forms, and find killing anything for fun to be disturbing.

Larry Surber
Stoneville, N.C.

Editor’s Note: It shows how far the spectrum has moved to the right that O’Connor was considered among the “liberals” on the court.

When Life Begins

John Buell in his article, “Abortion and Innocent Life” (7/1-15/09 TPP) rightly claims that he has no ironclad argument to convince pro-lifers that life does not begin at conception. This opens up the question of the definition of life itself — can it be described in medical terms or is it a spiritual expression? Randall Terry and others who think “that life begins at conception” should be asked if they have thought through the legal ramification of their stance.

One of the questions that comes to mind is “if foreigners on a honeymoon visit to USA and later claim that conception took place on US soil and the child should therefore be granted US citizenship — who would adjudicate on their claims?” Do we not have enough trouble granting citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants who are physically born here? President Obama very skillfully averted to answer this question by saying “it is beyond my pay grade” — the best answer would have been “it is beyond ANYBODYS pay grade”.

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.

Soft on Crime?

Comments on 7/1-15/09 TPP: I don’t believe that Obama should resign (“Mr. Obama: Resign Now” by Ted Rall) but I do believe that criminal leaders must be held accountable for their crimes (Letters: Steve Weaver [“No bygones”], Rex Carey [“Mess with the CIA”]; articles: Bernie Horn [“10 reasons we need indy progressive move ... #9 Obey the law”], Bea Edwards [“Corruption, fraud at IMF and World Bank”], Margie Burns [“Old hands at misleading Congress”], Amy Goodman [“Chevron, Shell and the true cost of oil”] and Pratap Chatterjee [“Bush gone, but Halliburton still cashing in”]). Otherwise what’s the point of making good-sounding laws if the executive branch can ignore them with impunity? That is why Bernie Horn’s #9 should be moved up to #1, Top Priority.

Dale L. Berry
Grants, N.M.

From The Progressive Populist, August 15, 2009

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