Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Healthcare Summit Was Good Television. Sadly, That Might Be ALL It Was!!!!!!

I watched most of that 7 or 8 hour television show today. I found myself being interested in the prediction made by Newsweek's Ezra Klein before the healthcare summit began which was, "Thursday's summit might make for good TV, but it won't solve our problems."

I think that what we saw today was riveting television seeing as how it involved many of our political leaders, including the President of the United States, passionately telling a live television audience what they think is the right way to go regarding healthcare reform.

President Obama showed that he is willing to bend a little in the Republicans' direction, but there didn't seem to be any "bend" from Republicans. The Republicans seem to be insisting on making the Democrats "start over", (something that if the Republicans would be honest about) would result in a long delay before anything could possibly happen OR (and this is what the Republicans seem to want) the whole idea of healthcare reform would be scrapped. Finito, no mas, fuh-get-about it, etc., etc.

But I really did think it was good televison.

In today's Wall Street Journal (thank you, long time contributor Elvis), their recommendation is (in essence) that we patients need to be more responsible for the money spent on our healthcare. In other words, while everyone agrees that costs are out of control, we, the patients, should be responsible for paying more, but we patients should all also be given tax breaks on that money we spend on healthcare.

Hmmmm....

I admit (as an acting teacher of mine likes to say) "I'm just another bozo on the bus", but wouldn't that "solution" simply ADD to this terrible DEFICIT everyone agrees is something we've delayed SERIOUSLY dealing with for too long a period of time?

Because it's the Wall Street Journal, there is NO mention of the legal license to steal that is enjoyed by health insurers like Anthem (who have been in the news a lot) and other health insurers who make obscene profits while basically doing three things; Collect money from employers and individuals, give some of it to healthcare providers and put the rest of that money into their fat money filled pockets.

And yeah, these companies are also very good at saying, "NO!!!" to sick people who desperately need help and "YES!!!" to any suggestion regarding raising rates 15-40% anytime they feel like it.

Like I said, the Wall Street Journal won't say what I'm about to tell you and except for a passing mention of it (during the health care summit) regarding a vote taken by the House of Representatives Wednesday, there was nothing (that I heard) mentioned about.....

FEDERAL ANTITRUST LAWS!!! The Health Insurance Industry IS EXEMPT FROM FEDERAL ANTITRUST LAWS!!! And that's how they are legally allowed to do the financial raping and pillaging of us.

READ MY LIPS...If you want to bring down the costs of your health care, you can start by demanding the repeal of the health insurance exemption from antitrust oversight.

Wednesday, in a 406-19 vote, the House of Representatives did indeed vote to repeal the health insurance exemption from antitrust oversight.

If you, like many of us, feel power-less at times, I'm going to give you a way to feel power-ful!!!

WRITE A LETTER, SEND AN EMAIL OR CALL MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND TELL THEM YOU WANT THEM TO VOTE TO REPEAL THE HEALTH INSURANCE EXEMPTION FROM ANTITRUST OVERSIGHT!!!!

What the House of Representatives did yesterday is one third of what has to happen for this to get done. The United States Senate has to pass this bill and then it would be sent to President Obama who most assuredly would sign the bill.

I am told that the United States Senate would (as of now) NOT come up with enough votes to pass this bill. WHY?!? I'm going to be gentle with my answer. Let me simply say the reason is, "Misinformation from lobbyists!"

Have you been paying attention to what these Tea Party People have been doing? The most important thing they've doing is being proud and loud. And I mean, REALLY LOUD!!!

They're activists. I don't agree with all of their positions, but I like the hell out of the fact that because they care, they're letting people in Washington know (in essence and with apologies to Paddy Chayefsky), "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!!!"

Nobody likes what these health insurance companies are allowed to do to us. And the REASON they're allowed to do and get away with what their doing is because THE HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY IS EXEMPT FROM FEDERAL ANTITRUST LAWS!!!

Again...Do yourself a big favor. A favor that will make you feel like there IS something you can do! And do you know WHY you'll feel that way? Because you CAN do something!!!

WRITE that letter...SEND that email....MAKE that phone call....To your two United States Senators and tell them you want them to CRAFT A BILL AND VOTE TO REPEAL THE HEALTH INSURANCE EXEMPTION FROM ANTITRUST OVERSIGHT!!!

THOUGHTS AND OR COMMENTS? Write to me at scottstjames@sbcglobal.net

GLENN BECK...

Speaking of the Tea Party People...Would we all agree that one of the heroes of the Tea Party movement is Glenn Beck? He was the main speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week and while getting cheers, laughter and several standing ovations, Glenn Beck mentioned that he's an alcoholic and drug abuser that had to "hit bottom" before he could begin the act of "recovering" and that he believes in the concept of "redemption". To the surprise of many, he said (in his speech) that he doesn't think the GOP has taken the first step toward achieving redemption.

Say, whaaat?

Glenn Beck went on to say, "I have not yet heard people in the Republican Party admit they have a problem. I have not seen a come-to-Jesus meeting...'Hello, my name is the Republican Party and I've got a problem. I'm addicted to spending and big government.'....They need that moment."

Later in his speech, Glenn Beck said, "Dick Cheney was here a couple of days ago and he says it's going to be a good year for conservative ideas. That may be true, but Republicans should know that it's not good enough to not suck as much as the other side."

Short response: I agree with both of Glenn Beck's statements.

TIGER WOODS...

We're supposed to care about how many women this married father of two slept with? And more to the point, we're supposed to be outraged by this? I heard the very naive sports broadcaster Jim Rome do a rant on Tiger that made me believe that Rome felt Tiger owed Rome something.

Stay in your booth, little man. Believe your own press clippings about your omnipotence while the rest of us will mentally pat you on your head while assuring you that despite your pitiful "concerns", the sky is not falling.

TOYOTA...

Not much to say about their problems, huh? The boss of that company has pretty much said it all.

TAXES...

How many of you have heard the argument that goes something like this; "We don't need to raise the taxes of the rich because they pay much more taxes than everyone else and besides, all that money they have after taxes is used to start new businesses or to improve businesses they have."!?!

I'll bet you've heard a variation of that argument a lot, right?

Have you heard about how much money in taxes the co-owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers paid from 2004 to 2009? According to documents recently filed in their divorce case, Frank and Jamie McCourt got 108 million dollars from 2004-2009. The amount of federal and state income tax they paid was zero.

Again...ONE HUNDRED EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS!!! And they paid ZERO TAXES!!!

And that's not an isolated case, gang.

IRAQ...

The "Status of Forces Agreement of 2008" calls for American troops to be out of Iraq by the end of next year, 2011. High level and very quiet conversations are being held and the topic of these conversations are about ignoring this agreement and keeping our troops their longer. Probably a LOT LONGER!!!

Why? You gotta love this argument. "Just because you invade a country stupidly doesn't mean you should leave it stupidly."

Well, it's nice to know that some Generals and Department of Defense people acknowledge what most us have known all along. That the invasion of Iraq was stupid.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS...

I want to thank long time blog reader and supporter "KrazyK55" for sending his frustrating commentary which is titled, "LET ME SEE IF I GOT THIS RIGHT!!":

If you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get 12 years hard labor.

If you cross the Iranian border illegally, you are detained indefinitely.

If you cross the Afghan border illegally, you get shot.

If you cross the Saudi Arabian border illegally, you will be jailed.

If you cross the Chinese border illegally, you may never be heard from again.

If you cross the Venezuelan border illegally, you will be branded a spy and your fate will be sealed.

If you cross the Cuban border illegally, you will be thrown into political prison to rot.

Buuuuut....

If you cross the U.S. border illegally, you get:

A job,

A license to drive,

Social Security Card,

Welfare,

Food Stamps,

Credit cards,

Free education,

Free health care,

A lobbyist in Washington,

Billions of dollars worth of public documents printed in your language,

The right to carry your country's flag while you protest that you don't get enough respect,

And in many cases, the right to vote.


I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE I HAD A FIRM GRASP ON THE SITUATION!!!

Thank you, KrazyK55.

ENTERTAINMENT STUFF...

"American Idol" had their first elimination show tonight. Two of the twelve women finalists and two of the twelve men finalists were sent home. When the choice came down to the final two women, one of which would be told they were leaving, the right woman was chosen.

For the men, the choice was very much up in the air. Not because they were all good. It was because of how lousy they sang on Wednesday night. I mean, with one exception, an argument could have been made to eliminate ALL of them because this group of men singers appears to be the WORST group of men singers in the history of "American Idol".

The new film, "Shutter Island"...

Wow!!!

When you sit down to watch this latest Martin Scorsese project, be prepared to learn that this is a film that is not what you think it is. There are twists and turns and twists and turns and by the time the film has ended, it will be understandable if you are exhausted.

If Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't get a Best Actor Oscar nomination next year, all of the Academy voters should have their voting privileges taken away from them. I mean, I can't imagine how exhausting this film was for DiCaprio. Not so much physically, but mentally.

DiCaprio is surrounded by terrific supporting performances, but I'm reminded of what Tommy Lee Jones, while receiving his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "The Fugitive" said, "And to Harrison Ford, who needs no support!"

Nonetheless, kudos to DiCaprio's support from Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Max Von Sydow, Michelle Williams and Patricia Clarkson who, in my view, deserves a Best Supporting Oscar nomination next year.

"The Possum", George Jones...

My favorite music is Country music. George Jones is a Country music legend. Because of the way he lived when he was much younger, he would be the first to tell you he's lucky he's still alive. And the cause of death could have been because of his drinking, fast driving or cheating. Subjects he has sung about.

I had never seen him perform, but I had the pleasure of being invited to his sold out performance near San Diego this past Friday night. His very fine band was a very good warm-up act and George Jones, despite what appeared to be a slight case of the flu, performed masterfully.

Believe me when I tell you that this ol' country boy damn near wore himself out with all the hand clappin' I did and I walked out of that concert hall with a huge smile on my face.

Doncha just love it when the Legends don't let ya down?

THOUGHTS AND OR COMMENTS?!? Please write to me at scottstjames@sbcglobal.net I will respond to you immediately. If you write to the blog, there is no way for me to know your email address, so I won't be able to respond to you. Again... scottstjames@sbcglobal.net and I will respond immediately. All "anonymous" emails are ignored.

THE NEXT BLOG?

Unless something unforseen happens, the next blog will be written and posted Wednesday night, March 3rd.

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