The Two Minute Drill

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
OK, Dave. What do you think is going to happen with health care?
Have you read my blog?
When I get a chance, probably not for the last couple of weeks. Just give me the two minute version.

The two minute version? Health Care. Life and Death. 15% - 20% of our economy. And he wants this condensed to two minutes so that he can move on to more important things like Shaquille O'Neal's debut in a Cav's uniform.

Details. There are no details in the two minute version. But then again, there have been almost no details in the barrage of commercials (for or against anything), speeches, or news programs. We've got hype. We've got fear-mongering. We've got lobbyists. But details? Who has time for details?

There is a great commercial on television that stresses that the PLAN:
* Let's you choose your own doctor
* Won't penalize you for any preexisting conditions
* Keeps bureaucrats out of your health care
* Incorporates the best ideas from Democrats and Republicans
"That's reform we can all feel good about."

Sign me up!

Of course, this plan doesn't exist. Senator Baucus recently unveiled his version of health care reform. Over 500 amendments have been offered so far. Let's pretend that two thirds of those amendments are nothing more than intentional roadblocks, that still leaves over 150 substantive changes. How many of these will be adopted and how will they affect the final legislation? What you like about the bill today, may disappear tomorrow. Or vice-versa.

Details. Ask a dentist how the proposals pay for dental care. Obviously the dental community needs better lobbyists. Even Medicare Advantage policies only cover routine exams and cleanings. Medicare doesn't cover fillings, crowns, or major services now. Will the so-called public option provide this in the future? Who knows?

These same questions apply to care for mental, nervous, and emotional disorders, eye care, or even chronic conditions. Turn on the television and you've got Former Governor, Former DNC Chair Howard Dean begging for a public option. What would the public option cover? Don't ask him for details. That's not his job.

So I have an answer for the next person who wants the quick answer for What's going to happen? I am going to quote that famous philosopher, L.O. Annie who said, "The sun will come up tomorrow."


Anthony Weiner Hates Me

Monday, September 21, 2009
Before we get started - Sunday, September 13, 2009. Fourth Quarter. Brady Quinn completed a 26 yard pass to Robert Royal for a touchdown. You may be wondering what this has to do with health insurance. The Browns offense hadn't scored a regular season touchdown since last November which was driving Cleveland fans nuts. Since the President and his team have yet to discuss mental health, I want to help out where I can.

Anthony Weiner is a Congressman for New York City. He is a survivor, the kind of guy who seized the opportunities given to him and made the most of them. His story is the success side of any and all government programs designed to help people help themselves. Though I personally can't relate to his upbringing or how it continues to impact his views on the issues, I respect his accomplishments.

Anthony Weiner hates me.

Well, not exactly. We've never met and probably never will. Congressman Weiner does, however, advocate for the elimination of all health insurance companies. As the health care debate heats up, you will find Mr. Weiner on such television programs as The Rachel Maddow Show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and even, occasionally, on a mainstream Sunday morning program. His article Giving Single-Payer a Second Look appeared September 7, 2009 on the Huffington Post.

His message, even if slightly exaggerated, is consistent. According to Mr. Weiner, the "United States already uses single-payer systems to cover over 47% of all medical bills through Medicare, Medicaid, the Veteran's Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs." He often takes time to tell us how happy everyone is under these various programs and usually includes the canard that Medicare has only 4% overhead compared to up to 30% the insurance industry has in profits and overhead.

Where do we begin? Let's start with the 47% of us on a government run single payer system that proves that insurance is unnecessary. I won't dwell on the easy stuff - the regular television expose's of underfunding, waste, and despair that describes almost anything having to do with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Veteran's Administration. I used to volunteer at the V.A. in University Circle, easily one of the most depressing places I've ever encountered.

To get to 47%, Congressman Weiner includes Medicaid, a collection of State run programs for the indigent that varies in quality from the almost acceptable to the down-right shameful. Underfunded even in a State like Ohio, Medicaid's beneficiaries are treated to health care reserved for those on the lowest rung of society's ladder. Women come to my office to purchase insurance in the hope of getting better care for their children even when they still qualify for Medicaid. Is that right? No! But the States, which means our elected representatives, which means us, have not shown the willingness to tax us sufficiently to provide top of the line health care for our poorest citizens. It is either a priority, or it is not.

Let's talk about Medicare. I love my children, but I know what Jennifer and Phillip can do and what they can not. I also love Medicare. Congressman Weiner is well aware that much of Medicare's overhead falls within other parts of the government's budget. He is also well aware that even though Medicare underpays medical providers, there are real funding issues and that long-term viability is in question if changes aren't made.

But there is still one issue that Congressman Weiner completely ignores. People are satisfied with Medicare because of private insurance. Senior citizens see Medicare as the combination of the government's program and their Medicare Supplement policies. Eliminate the supplements and they would be faced with the deductibles, unpaid hospital days, 20% coinsurance, and total exposure to the high cost of prescription medication. Senior citizens are very satisfied with Medicare Advantage policies, the private insurance option Mr. Weiner and the President hope to terminate. Medicare, without the supplements, without the prescription drug benefit, would have very few fans.

Anthony Weiner may hate private insurance, but his constituents still need us.


Right or Privilege

Thursday, September 3, 2009
September 2012

Welcome. Welcome. Please take a seat. My name is Bill Shnorer. Thank you again for attending this pre-rally briefing. There is a sign-in sheet in the back next to the coffee and cookies.

We have plenty of signs thanks to our friends in the U.A.W. Guys, please raise your hands. Thank you U.A.W. The signs say "It is a RIGHT not a PRIVILEGE, Equal Access For All, and Our Tax Dollars Built This System". We will make sure that each of you gets a sign as you leave this room.

Friends, we are here because we care. We are here because we have been victimized by the current system. We have seen our loved ones lose jobs and go bankrupt. We have seen factories close and jobs go overseas.

And yet, does Washington care? Is Washington listening? Our concerns have been brushed aside by the industry shills and the talking heads on TV. It is time for action. It is time for you and I and our neighbors to have the same options as our Congressmen and Senators.

There are some who would say that what we are discussing is Socialism. But I am reminded of that great American, Senator Edward Kennedy, who fought tirelessly to better the lives of all Americans. He understood that the corporate CEO is no greater than the single mother in the eyes of liberty. He understood that in a democracy, we are all equal, all are free, and all are entitled to respect.

Yes, if Teddy Kennedy was alive and here, I am sure he would tell you that all Americans have a right to high quality, affordable Transportation.

It is an outrage that even today, in this country, there are still Americans without cars. Cars take Americans to work. Cars take Americans to the doctor for needed health care. Cars take Americans to the grocery store to buy food for their children. Here we are in the richest country in the world, and yet millions of us do not have access to adequate Transportation.

How can this be? Who has forced their way in between you and your auto manufacturer of choice? Who is denying you unfettered access? We look no further than the A.D.A., the Automobile Dealers Association.

Thousands of small towns across this great nation are held hostage by one or maybe two dealers who control the market. Even here in Beachwood, Ohio, you might want to buy a Ford, but we only have a Cadillac dealership.

Some of our opponents have pointed to public transportation as a reasonable alternative. Have they been on a bus? Have they waited in the rain for the Rapid? Would our Senators ride the RTA? We want no more, and no less, than what our representatives are given in Washington. And I'm told that they have great Transportation.

We built the roads, the freeways, and the turnpikes. Our tax dollars funded the very avenues we have been prevented from enjoying.

We need CARS. And we need them NOW.

This will not cost money. It will save money. Providing automobiles to every American eliminates the need for public transportation, an incredible waste of taxpayer money. We will also save the millions of dollars blown on Dealer salaries and perks. Our friends on the West Coast dream of a day when there won't be anymore Cal Worthington ads on TV.

But this is not a money issue. This is a moral imperative. We will prevail. Americans value our rights. We value our families. And most of all, we Americans value our CARS. When we see our neighbor without a car, we know that there, but for the grace of G-d,walks us.

Grab a sign. The camera crew from Channel 8 is already outside.