Saturday, August 1, 2009

About Health Insurance: Did You Know?

Did you know that those of our fellow citizens with pre-existing medical conditions can get health coverage if their employer provides it, but can't purchase it on their own? As the parent of three grown children, two of whom have a lifelong pre-existing condition, I have recently discovered that they cannot obtain coverage AT ANY PRICE, unless they are employed by a company that offers it. Wonderful. So why is this? Because the employer gets a nice tax deduction, in exchange for offering an insurance plan that is available to all comers. The rules are laid down by the federal government. If not for this government intervention, no one with any past or present health issues would have any insurance at all. The point is, extensive government intervention is the only thing that makes our teetering health care system work at all. An unregulated free market just won't cure what ails it.

And did you know that your private insurance policy that you love so much probably has a lifetime cap? Go ahead, look it up. How quickly will you exceed that amount if you are in a major car accident, or get cancer, or have a heart attack?

Our system needs major surgery, and soon. I would prefer universal single payer, but if not that, a robust public option that doesn't leave out those who need medical care the most is the next best thing. Join me in supporting President Obama and progressive Democrats in their efforts to reform health care against the powerful corporate interests that control our medical future.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Won't you come up and look at my etchings?

OK, they're not really etchings, they are pencil portraits, and you can see them on my new website! I have been drawing portraits for over twenty years, and have finally put them on a website for all to see. Do stop by and let me know what you think!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Keeping Your Enemies Closer

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, told CNN Sunday it was "irresponsible" for President Obama to been seen "laughing and joking" with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas on Friday. Newt Gingrich, on the Today show this morning, criticizing Obama's smiling and shaking hands with Chavez, stated when asked about the United States' relations with dictators in the past: "...we didn't rush over, smile and greet Russian dictators.." Oh, really? Let's see about that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

by John Gray
(slightly updated by me--originally posted on in 2004.)

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, so now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contains. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noon time; Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from the kind of unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work; he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dad's; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electricity until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republicans would still be sitting in the dark.)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.

He turns on a radio talk show; the host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.) Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Shoemaker and the Pre-Existing Condition

Most of us older folks know the tale of the shoemaker, who was so busy making shoes for others that his own children went shoeless. I was reminded of him when I read this today:

"Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO George Halverson says frankly: 'I could not get insurance. I've had heart surgery, and so I am completely uninsurable in the private market. So it's important that I keep my job.' "

No further comment necessary. We need wholesale health care reform, and we need it NOW. Let your representatives know that you won't take no for an answer.