Video: 34th District Democrats talk health care, endorse Yes on 71

August 13, 2009 at 11:43 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics, West Seattle video | 48 Comments

That short clip pans around to look at the overflow crowd inside The Hall at Fauntleroy last night, where West Seattle’s biggest political organization, the 34th District Democrats, opened their monthly meeting with the hottest national topic of the moment, health-care reform, featuring U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, who not only is Seattle’s longtime House of Representatives rep, but also a physician. (Here’s our first report, published last night as the meeting unfolded.) Before it began, sign-holders had lined the street outside the hall as well, with more conversation than confrontation:

McDermott’s appearance was arranged and introduced by Dr. Lisa Plymate of the 34th DDs, who is active with the reform-advocacy group Doctors For America (she’s at the center of this photo with McDermott and, at left, the 34th DDs’ newly elected secretary Michael Taylor-Judd):

(Photo by Dina Johnson)
The group set out its rules for last night from the start (and on its website even before the meeting) – this wasn’t a town hall, so if you weren’t a member, you were welcome to watch but not to speak. As the meeting began, chair Tim Nuse also asked those with signs to lower them once the meeting began. And the only real interruption came toward the end of this clip, after McDermott’s harshest words for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries that he claims are keeping health-care reform from passing:

The man who you hear yelling “THAT’S A LIE!” at the very end of the clip was escorted from the room. (Note: From comments after this story was published, here’s another account of what happened after the shouting.) But that was one brief moment; the meeting was raucous at times with applause and shouts of assent, but otherwise peaceful. As you heard in the clip, McDermott advocates so-called “single-payer” health coverage (explained here), as – suggested by volume and frequency of applause – do many who were in the room last night. Read on for more video and more details of the entire meeting – which also included an endorsement vote on a measure that isn’t even officially on the ballot yet:

McDermott remarked on the huge turnout, calling it “an indication that the biggest domestic issue that faces us is, what are we going to do about giving health security to everyone?” Before discussing the current status, he recalled the failed 1993-1994 push for health-care reform, spearheaded by then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. He blamed its defeat on factors including, the fact that “things were going so well” (in the country) that it wasn’t as urgent, and he believes several factors are different now – including, he contends, business and union support for change. He also says 80 percent of U.S. House Reps. have taken office since then, but he and the rest of the other 20 percent went through a “war” – which is what he called the fight over health-insurance reform now: “This is a war over whether the American people can have health security and economic security.”

Lest anyone think otherwise, he said, we do have the best health care in the world – if you can afford it:

And money was at the heart of some of the questions he was asked in the open Q/A section of the meeting. Asked where the money for reform would come from, he replied, “We will create a competition .. public option or private options. The requirement is that there be a standard set of benefits in the private plans and the public plans so you’re not gonna have people playing games. … if you buy into any of the plans you will be covered.” He added that he considers it a “crime that unpaid medical bills are the #1 cause of personal bankruptcy … (this) doesn’t happen anywhere else in the industrialized world except the United States of America – that says something about how bad our so-called system really is.”

While details are still being hashed out, McDermott says he’s confident the end result will be a bill “with a good public option in it.”

What would a “robust public option” entail? he was asked. Reply: “If you have a card, like they have in Canada, you can see anyone anywhere, and have something taken care of. That’s what should be in the public option in this country. There’s going to be a fight because the insurance companies don’t want that to be available.” Would that include practitioners beyond M.D.’s? asked Chris Porter, who is a registered nurse practitioner. Ideally, yes, said McDermott.

How would this be a better system for those who already have insurance? another attendee asked. “One of the things we are trying to do is push the system in the direction of prevention,” McDermott replied, “trying to give people health care before the big catastrophe. It costs very little to have somebody check your blood pressure and give you medication if needed … (but) you can spend thousands on someone AFTER they have had a stroke.” He also suggested other countries’ systems should be studied, and pointed to France, saying they spend half what’s spent per-capita on Americans, for health care, but have a longer lifespan and less infant mortality.

And while his words had been combative, McDermott also talked of “working together” between the government, insurance companies, health-care providers and patients, when responding to a story told by a man identifying himself as Tom and saying he’d been through cancer treatment twice: “The bill I got was $10,000. My insurance company said they wouldn’t pay it.” Finally, he said, they did, but the price they wound up paying, for the same treatments for which he was billed $10,000, was $3,000.

McDermott’s response: “You just gave an example of what happens … We have to do it together. (Health and Human Services) Secretary (Kathleen) Sebelius should go in and negotiate for all of us.” He also spoke favorably of Seattle-based Group Health, “where doctors are paid a salary so that the doctor’s not thinking, how do I make the most money and get paid for the most things … he’s looking at you and thinking, what does this patient need? We have set up a system with economic incentives that pushes volume. We’re trying to change the system to what’s best for the patient, not best for the doctors.”

He also suggested that greed isn’t necessarily doctors’ motivation, saying he believes medical school should be free; when he finished med school in the early ’60s, he said, he came out $500 in debt, but now, he says, a med student finishing at the UW, for example, could be up to $150,000 in debt.

Wrapping up, McDermott promised to “come back sometime in September” for an “open meeting” on health-insurance reform, somewhere in Seattle. Lisa Plymate added that state legislators Rep. Eileen Cody and Sen. Karen Keiser plan a series of forums later this month around the region, including Kent and Bellevue.

Craig Salins from Washington Public Campaigns also addressed health-care reform, tying it to his group’s signature issue, public campaign financing, saying true reform would be easier “When we get people elected (with public financing) they can stare down pharma, they can stare down insurance.”

Other reports from last night: The 34th DDs have photos/video on their own site; Joel Connelly wrote about it at seattlepi.com.

Also from the meeting:

-What may be the hottest issue in the November election – if it goes to voters – came before the 34th District Democrats at meeting’s end. State Sen. Joe McDermott (no relation to the congressmember) asked for a “suspension of the rules” to enable an early, unscheduled endorsement of Referendum 71 – if it makes the ballot. A “yes” vote would validate the domestic-partnership rights bill passed by the Legislature; the state is currently examining petition signatures gathered by opponents of that bill who want to put it to a statewide vote. After agreeing to suspend the rules for this motion, members endorsed the potential “yes on 71″ by a unanimous voice vote.

-King County Assessor candidates Lloyd Hara and Robert Rosenberger gave speeches and took questions. Hara, who is a Seattle Port Commissioner, is running on a theme of “change”; Rosenberger, who has worked in the assessor’s office as an appraiser, says experience is needed and he came forward because acting assessor Rich Medved‘s recent health crisis kept him from campaigning. (The assessor race will be on the November ballot.)

-State Rep. Sharon Nelson and Sen. Joe McDermott urged 34th District Democrats to work as hard as they can for the election of their endorsed King County Executive candidate, County Council Chair Dow Constantine (who had to leave the meeting before it was over). Chair Nuse told the membership, “You’re not doing this for Dow, you’re doing it for everyone in King County who deserves someone to represent them as well as he has represented us.”

Other toplines:

-Reminders of the group’s big annual fundraising celebration, the Garden Party, tomorrow night at West Seattle Nursery (more info here).

-Also promoted: Southwest Youth and Family Services‘ fundraiser September 18th at Salty’s on Alki (more here) and this Saturday’s Picnic at the Precinct (more here).

-Member Karl de Jong reminded the group about making sure to get Primary Election ballots in, suggesting that voters take theirs to local coffeehouses and engage others in conversation about the election, the candidates, the issues, and their importance.

-Donations for the homeless encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” were collected in boxes passed around during the meeting; the total announced at the end of the night was $259.

The 34th District Democrats meet on the second Wednesday of each month, 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy (in the old schoolhouse).

48 Comments

  1. Nice coverage, good detail … but wondering if Rep. McDermott knows to watch this space for follow up questions in case we might have them. One thing I wonder about: He said he believed medical school should be free. DHHS already has scholarship programs for doctors willing to go to underserved areas. Is this something we can expand in one of these bills?

    Comment by HighPointDogWalker — 12:06 pm August 13, 2009 #

  2. I was at the meeting last night and stood near the man that yelled, “That’s a lie!” a couple of times during the talk. He was not escourted from the room. The Sergent At Arms went and spoke with him and calmly informed him that he was in attendance at a membership meeting and that rules of order were observed during the course of the meeting and that because he was not a member, he could not speak at the meeting, which is in accordance with the 34th District Democrats Bylaws.

    The man was respectful, as far as I could see, once informed of the rules. He remained for the rest of Congressman McDermott’s talk, exiting near me after Congressman McDermott was finished. He then joined his comrades outside in spirited debates with 34th district members for the remainder of the meeting.

    Comment by Miki Meahan — 12:23 pm August 13, 2009 #

  3. Great coverage, thanks WSB!
    -
    The 34th Dems Garden Party Web site has a link with information on how to donate auction items, but not how much about the actual event like how to get tickets, and how much it costs to attend (unless I’m missing something). If someone has better info, can you post it in this comment thread? Thanks!

    Comment by KSJ — 12:30 pm August 13, 2009 #

  4. Miki – My husband, who assisted with our coverage, focusing on the crowd so that I could face forward and document what was happening up front, observed the gentleman being talked to about his behavior, and then leaving the room with the person who had spoken with him. “Escorted” doesn’t mean “forced” but nonetheless I will add a notation pointing to your comment, in the text above. Thanks – TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:37 pm August 13, 2009 #

  5. If anyone is interested. PBS has a Frontline documentary on so called ‘socialized’ healthcare and how it works in other countries.
    It dispenses some of the myths that anti-health care reformers claim.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

    Comment by Gabriele Frank-Martinez — 12:39 pm August 13, 2009 #

  6. Thanks for the excellent coverage. It’s what I’ve come to expect from WSB, but it still should be noted. :-)

    Comment by charlabob — 12:55 pm August 13, 2009 #

  7. I was also standing in back of room very close to man who shouted, witnessed same scenario described by Miki; I did not see this man or anyone else escorted out of room; the guy complied very respectfully once it was explained to him the rules of the meeting; so not sure what Patrick saw from front of room that appeared to be someone being escorted out; this room was SUPER PACKED, and often loud; lots of yelling from supporters, and people going in/out of door, probably mainly due to heat (and it got a bit stinky at times)

    Comment by diane — 1:41 pm August 13, 2009 #

  8. OK, lemme get this straight — a person was yelling “That’s a lie,” and, respectfully, shut up when someone told him that was against the rules. Um, the phrase “mamma didn’t raise no fools,” leaps to mind. Are we claiming this person often attends meetings where the rules include being allowed to shout, “That’s a lie?” Hmmmmmm……

    Comment by charlabob — 2:59 pm August 13, 2009 #

  9. there were many, many people yelling lots of things all through the eve; s’pose all could be judged disrespectful
    ~
    it’s possible this guy had not yet heard the rules that only members could speak, and when he was informed of the rules, he was quiet; even though many others continued to yell things out; I think that was very respectful
    ~
    many/most of the crowd who were yelling, even though in support, were also breaking the rules, but I didn’t see anyone else approached to be quiet or leave

    Comment by diane — 4:38 pm August 13, 2009 #

  10. Thanks to Gabriele for the “PBS Frontline” link. I watched it, and found it to be very informative and balanced. While there are no easy answers to our health care problem, much can be learned from other countries.

    Comment by KD — 5:27 pm August 13, 2009 #

  11. Nothing is free. What you mean is that someone else should pay for medical students’ education, which is fine as long as there are strict limits on how much money they can make as doctors (since the public will have a larger stake in their education than they themselves do).

    Comment by Jim — 5:47 pm August 13, 2009 #

  12. Health care is a privilege, not a right. Under Obama’s socialized health care plan, there is zero incentive to save. People will be going to the doctor for mosquito bites. Why not? Its free.

    Comment by Mike — 6:07 pm August 13, 2009 #

  13. As Chair of the 34th District Dems, I’d like to thank WSB for their oustanding coverage last night and at many other meetings. They cover the democratic process like nobody else… what a gift you are!
    Our Garden Party is tomorrow night and the suggested donation is $34. Tickets are bought at the door. Come on out and have a great time with Brazillian music and food, New York Vinnie as MC, interesting political discussion, and some real deals on great auction items.

    Comment by Tim Nuse — 6:56 pm August 13, 2009 #

  14. Mike, I absolutely disagree. Health care should be a right, not a privilege. The Declaration of Independence says – “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    People are dying unnecessarily every day because they cannot afford treatment, and others lose everything they’ve worked for all their lives. I don’t know of too many people that can save enough money to cover the cost of a major illness or surgery. That is just plain wrong, and does not in any way follow the vision that was outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

    Comment by Elikapeka — 7:26 pm August 13, 2009 #

  15. “Health care is a privilege, not a right.”

    The only ones with ‘rights’ are the insurance companies:
    .
    the right to “rescind” their policies for some absurd reason,
    the right to deny care for pre-exisitng conditions,
    the right to limit care when it is most needed,
    the right to charge obscenely unaffordable co-pays or premiums.
    .
    So my daughter with a born pre-existing condition can’t get health insurance, so in your eyes she never had the ‘privilege’ right from birth.
    .
    But insurance companies to make 400% profit from sick people, thats our privilege.
    .
    Thanks…..
    .
    BUT NO THANKS.

    Comment by JamminJ — 7:39 pm August 13, 2009 #

  16. Elikapeka, haha nice try, but health care wasn’t included in that list of rights. What that is saying is that everyone should be given an equal chance. This country was founded on the values of self-reliance and capitalism. If you can’t afford it then you don’t get it. Why should I pay for doctor’s visits and exotic prescription drugs for people that are lazy and don’t work? Universal health care will bring us all down to the lowest common denominator.

    Comment by Mike — 7:52 pm August 13, 2009 #

  17. WHAT?
    If people go to the doctor for mosquito bites and get treated for some of diseases mosquitos cary… Before we get an epidemic… then that visit paid for it’s self.
    Health care is a privilege?
    So only the ones with privilege should get to see a doctor?
    How much privilege does one require to have an ambulance come if one collapses on the street from heart attack?

    I work with many people who are not as rich as Mike sounds.
    Drug resistant tuberculosis has been on the rise in Seattle.
    If the poorer communities do get help?
    Then we ourselves don’t get the strain. We get them medical attention before we have outbreak.
    But if that doesn’t sound appealing, then don’t change a thing.
    Don’t move in either direction.
    I guess it’s all working so well the way it is eh?

    Comment by What? — 8:05 pm August 13, 2009 #

  18. “Why should I pay for doctor’s visits and exotic prescription drugs for people that are lazy and don’t work? .”
    .
    Exactly what world do you live in?? There are millions that are working 40, 50 60 hours a week and don’t have health care. And as far as paying for those ‘lazy people’, you still are paying for them. Paying thousands in ER care, when a simple office visit would have been sufficient.
    .
    Several million people lost their jobs and health insurance this past year, did they all of a sudden just decide to become ‘lazy’??
    .
    And we aren’t just talking about individuals, we are talking about small businesses. Working for a small business, our biggest expenditure besides personnel is health care. We cannot compete with large corporations who offer cheaper health care.
    .
    Don’t understand why some want to drive small businesses OUT OF BUSINESS when it is a major factor to our economy. Just give us the same option every business has.

    Comment by JamminJ — 8:11 pm August 13, 2009 #

  19. Well, Mike, here’s my take on it – The right to life certainly is abridged if you are denied basic care to maintain your health. And you don’t have an “equal chance,” as you put it, for liberty and the pursuit of happiness when you are sick and can’t get well, and you have to spend your life savings on medical bills and are unable to save for anything else like an education or a roof over your head.

    And we all pay for things we don’t use for the benefit of society. I don’t have kids, but I pay for public schools. My house has never caught on fire, but I pay for the fire department. You may not use the library, but I do. I’m happy to pay for things like clean air and water and safe food and national parks and the interstate highway system. There are things that are necessary for the basics of a decent life, and health care is among them.

    Comment by Elikapeka — 8:31 pm August 13, 2009 #

  20. As Sargeant at Arms, I did not escort the gentleman from the room. I did explain the rules and tell him that if he made another outburst he would be asked to leave and that I was prepared to summon the police if necessary. He settled down and remained until Congressman McDermott was finished. Les Treall

    Comment by Les Treall — 9:18 pm August 13, 2009 #

  21. This issue is so important. Thanks Lisa Plymate (mom) on working so hard.

    Comment by Sarah Ragozin — 4:07 am August 14, 2009 #

  22. This country was also founded by (and is currently led by) people with compassion and a sense of responsibility toward their fellow Americans, Mike.
    .
    If you can’t see how profoundly cruel and unfair it is that the wealthy (and the lucky) have access to immunizations, pain control, cancer treatment, preventive care, emergency care, and medicine….well, then, I think we have a different vision of what it means to be an American and maybe even a human being.
    .
    Capitalism and self-reliance have become code words for greed and a lack of empathy, and every program that government touches is now “socialism.” I refuse to embrace that way of thinking.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 7:55 am August 14, 2009 #

  23. I’m just amazed at the sense of entitlement that some people have. Anyone that has closely studied Obama’s health care plan would know that the financials behind it make no sense. I can’t wait for it to pass because it is going to blow up in his face. I wonder who is his scapegoat will be then?

    Comment by Mike — 8:26 am August 14, 2009 #

  24. I’m often amazed at the sense of entitlement that people have, too, Mike. Like the sense that the wealthy or the privileged or the powerful are entitled to quality health care and the rest of us have to scramble, hope, pray, stay in jobs we hate so that we have insurance, do without food to pay for medicine, wait for 6 hours in an ER to get antibiotics for a sick baby, etc.
    .
    Nice that you want Obama to fail. I think that’s unpatriotic and unamerican.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 9:15 am August 14, 2009 #

  25. Che loves big government! Therefor, us ObamaBots love big government!

    Comment by I love Karl Marx — 11:54 am August 14, 2009 #

  26. Things of note here:
    1.) Look up the word “priviledge” and learn the difference between it and what a ‘right’ is. And while you’re at it….
    2.) Check out the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. There is no right to health care. If you’d like to make it so, pressure your Congresscritter to propose it as the 28th amendment to the Constitution. Until such time, stop calling it a “right” because it’s not.
    3.) When 85%+ of the country is currently insured, and the “rich” comprised less than 5% of the population, then it’s pure myth-making and baseless rhetoric to say that only the priviledged and rich received or are entitled health care.
    4.) Insurance companies need regulating. Health care system needs to be reformed. To suggest that ANYONE is saying that we need maintain the “status quo” by rejecting HR 3200, is buying into White House/DNC rhetoric and talking points that are demonstrably false and are meant deliberately misrepresent to marginalize opposition to the bill.
    5.) The solution(s) can be taken in chunks, such allowing individuals the same pre-tax income credit that companies receive and capping settlements (aka: tort reform).

    Nice that you want Obama to fail.
    Sort of how you wanted Bush to succeed in Iraq I imagine. Then again, calling for his failure was just fulfilling your duty to dissent as a patriotic American, right, Kayleigh.

    Comment by OP — 12:02 pm August 14, 2009 #

  27. Thank you OP. Nicely said.

    Comment by Mike — 12:31 pm August 14, 2009 #

  28. The townhall meetings are full of Joe the Plumbers, who would get bankrupt (for the third time) if they got sick – SCREAMING against affordable healthcare for everyone.
    Betcha they don’t even have health insurance, and are a burden to the rest of us, as we have to pay for them when they receive free healthcare, making us all wait 5 hours in the ER. They sure like their free healthcare, that’s why they are screaming.
    .
    Republican tactics – they work up the less, ahem, educated folks, and get them to scream for the interests of insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and greedy doctors, and AGAINST their own interests. These folks must have been trained from an early age not to think. Like a flock of sheep, bussed from town to town, these days they are screaming and yelling what they are told to yell.

    Comment by Arianna — 12:42 pm August 14, 2009 #

  29. I was tempted for just a second to answer some of the comments by Mike and OP above, then I realised that there is no reason to waste my time. Each and every one of their points can easily be refuted with reality, however they will never accept that reality. I appreciate their right to have a different viewpoint and will leave it at that.
    I am heartened though, that their twisted view of the world, and healthcare reform in particular, will never win over any support from the undecided among us.

    Comment by Friend ODingus — 1:10 pm August 14, 2009 #

  30. Adriana, BTW I have a Master’s degree from a prestigious university. How well educated are you? And since you had to go there, I’ll bring up some other statistics. 85% of the military (people that serve and protect our country) vote Republican. Over 90% of prison inmates (pedophiles, murders, rapists, you name it) are Democrats. They can’t vote, but if they could they would vote Democrat. The vast majority of entrepreneurs in this country vote Republican. And education does NOT equate to intelligence. There are plenty of people that get PhD’s in liberal arts like music and psychology, which is pretty much an excuse to sleep in everyday, go to two or three classes, and smoke pot during the breaks for 10 years while their parents support them. Take a guess what party they vote for? Even right here is Seattle, the majority of the people that I know that are successful are conservatives.

    Comment by Mike — 1:14 pm August 14, 2009 #

  31. Thank you OP. Nicely said.

    Missed words and un-proofread, but otherwise, thanks.

    Comment by OP — 2:17 pm August 14, 2009 #

  32. Mike, you seem quite impressed by your academic accomplishments, as you wave it like a badge of superiority. I am usually more impressed by a persons’ accomplishments in the community than their financial or academic achievments. If a person is involved in the community, helping to improve the lives of others, I hold them in higher regards than someone with a degree or a $M. As I don’t know you, I withhold judgement.
    You say that education does not equate to intellegence, and I will certainly agree with you on that point. I will add that money and heritage do not either, nor do they equate to morality.
    I do question your numbers on the military partisan split. It is my understanding that during the last election cycle, a large majority of campaign contributions from the military went to Obama.
    So, back to health care. I’m for single payer because I believe it is the most cost effective way to provide health and economic security to the most people. I can see that it works in Europe, Canada, and the industrialized Asian countries. I believe the insurance industry has been ripping us off for 30 or so years and that our economy is depressed from this and other corporate rip offs, and that it was intentional. I fear that if we don’t get this security, our country will devolve into chaos. What is your solution?

    Comment by Les Treall — 2:43 pm August 14, 2009 #

  33. Mike – I mean, Joe the Plumber is that you?
    If you need to know, I’m a CPA. Your Master’s, I assume, is not in Logic, judging by your posts, else you would not think that republicans are hard-working successful people, while democrats are lazy and prisoners. If I heard this kind of “brilliance” from a guy sitting in his 30 yr old recliner, drinking beer (in his trailer, barely holding together, with a rifle displayed on a wall), it would be more fitting.
    .
    You must be a part of a very different crowd (described above), because the vast majority of people I know in Seattle are democrats, very successful business people, entrepreneurs (high-tech, biomed, etc.), doctors, lawyers. etc. On the other hand, when I worked at a corporation, the workforce, the people on the floor, several hundred of them, working for $12/hr were voting Republican, while basically all of us managers voted Democrat. That is how it is in most of the companies here, but you, “the base”, does not see it.
    .
    Wake up, Mike. Most of the people around you have done so. If you THINK, you’ll see that what they told you to think is not exactly true. You are just a peon in the hands of the very wealthy, who get you to do all the hard work for them, while they get practically all of the money. And, don’t get me wrong, we all like capitalism, and opportunity for the best to succeed, but the greedy have turned into pigs, not letting us get anything in our favor.
    .
    I am truly disgusted looking at these fanatics at the town hall meetings, screaming and yelling, and it is obvious that they are not the sharpest of the bunch.

    Comment by Arianna — 3:46 pm August 14, 2009 #

  34. Treall, you are asking Mike for a solution? Did we not get enough of republican “solutions” in the 8 years they were running this country (into the ground)? Just look at the destruction they left behind. This recession will last for many years more.
    .
    The republicans managed to spend hundreds of billions in surplus after Clinton left, they also spent trillions of dollars that were created in the economy (now we see how that economic boom was created on lies), and they have also spent hundreds of billions they borrowed, and that we’ll all have to pay back.
    .
    All that money gone, and what we have to show for it? Is there ONE thing that Bush improved? He left this country in disarray – the whole financial system almost collapsed, the Social Security and Medicare heading for bankruptcy, the cost of healthcare is running companies into the ground and people go bankrupt when they get sick, millions of jobs shipped overseas. After all this, I really don’t care to hear what they think, what they want. Did they ask us when they started that disaster of a war in Iraq? Now we are left with thousands dead, even more crippled and a TRILLION dollar bill to pay. Iraq was attacked so that the US can secure cheap oil for itself, but somehow, we are paying much more than before the war – and “the base” still does not get it, and they NEVER will.

    Comment by Arianna — 4:33 pm August 14, 2009 #

  35. …because the vast majority of people I know in Seattle are democrats…

    Imagine that.

    On the other hand, when I worked at a corporation, the workforce, the people on the floor, several hundred of them, working for $12/hr were voting Republican, while basically all of us managers voted Democrat.

    You’d think a smart person, an educated person, would have the decency and common sense as not to come across as a condescending elitiest (e.g., only $12/hr rubes vote Republican), but here we are.

    I am truly disgusted looking at these fanatics at the town hall meetings, screaming and yelling, and it is obvious that they are not the sharpest of the bunch.

    Does that disgust extend to anti-war protestors who displayed far, far, far worse behavior than a minority of folks displaying their contempt by yelling and raising their voices over half truths, half facts and distortions, or do they get a pass because they were being true, dissenting American patriots? And what’s the matter with yelling at your representatives anyway? They work for you.

    And what makes you think that some of those “fanatics” aren’t middle-of-the-road Democrats? Or do you just assume they’re all Republicans?

    If you need to know, I’m a CPA.

    Then you must be popping Gaviscon like you owned stock in them over the CBO-corrected figure of $1.6 trillion over the Senate’s proposed bill. Just a mere $1 trillion and—here’s that magical word!—”change” for HR 3200.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124536826475329427.html

    Comment by OP — 4:37 pm August 14, 2009 #

  36. Sorry Mike but What???
    This bit about Music and Psychology being an excuse to smoke pot and sleep in???
    WHAT?
    Have you met any School psychologist? They don’t get to sleep in. They dedicate their day to working with autistic and down syndrome kids. They do crisis management all day.
    I know many a music teacher who got kids in a band and out of gangs.

    How does you having a Masters (in what?)
    make your statistics add up?
    I don’t really believe that you have been in any prison to talk to ANY inmates to know how they would vote if they could.
    The psychologist and two Chaplins who DO work with the prison system and come into my life have mentioned that the prisoners don’t really have much interest in politics one way or another. They have other issues on their mind.
    So I believe that is just a way for you to call democrats; pedophiles, murders, rapists.

    One a side note… Had to smile, my 8 year old nephew watched some of the town hall silliness on T.V. and said if he acted that way, his dad would give him the biggest Time out ever. He’d be grounded.

    Comment by What? — 6:12 pm August 14, 2009 #

  37. All I gotta say is:
    .
    Matthew 25:31-46

    Comment by jamminj — 8:36 pm August 14, 2009 #

  38. Mike: “85% of the military (people that serve and protect our country) vote Republican. ”
    .
    Yet all receive 100% TOTAL government health care.
    .
    Oh the hypocrisy!

    Comment by jamminj — 8:38 pm August 14, 2009 #

  39. Wow – the smell of blood is in the air – scary. Hope we don’t bring out the machetes. Hang the degrees!

    -
    It is so easy to start stereotyping, isn’t it?
    -

    While Dems (who have acquired the symbolic label “blue”) seem to focus first on a community perspective while Reps (now also associated with “red” – funny that, don’t you think?) focus first on protecting privilege/existing rights and limiting extension of them – wasn’t always that way!
    -

    I’m posting this to address the “battle lines” and partisan fervency. In the 19th Century the Republican Party was all about spending government funds for civic improvement. The traditional Democratic party was about preserving class and states rights to protect privilege. Let’s not forget that the Democratic Party was the single political party in the Confederacy.
    -

    Times change. They will keep changing. Let’s not forsake American brotherhood. We do need each other.
    -
    -
    Now, in my opinion, a Single Payer health care system would be very good for private industry – especially small business. It would relieve them of any direct or administrative costs. What a relief! Currently, in effect, businesses are forced to take care of something that is a reasonable public good. Plus, small business are disadvantaged in competition with big ones. If anything, we need to skew advantages to smaller businesses as a matter of policy.
    -
    I think that business would be more interested in supporting advanced education since it directly improves their productivity. It could give them more influence on their employees’ loyalty.

    Comment by Mean Gene — 9:55 am August 15, 2009 #

  40. PS- We can’t overlook that switching to Single Payer will put untold thousands of people – from Insurance Agents to Coding Clerks out of work. And surely a lot of all that excess cash that backs the current insurance system needs to manage is committed to somewhere that assumes it to be a reliable stream of income.
    -
    Except for those in the medical insurance industry, Single Payor should benefit small first the most.

    Comment by Mean Gene — 10:33 am August 15, 2009 #

  41. Adriana, I asked Mike for his solution to see if he had one. I suspect it would be “more of the same.” I agree that the conservatives have really screwed us for the last 30 years, and it wasn’t just the R’s. There are plenty of “blue dogs” who have helped them. We have a lot of work to do to get this country headed in a sustainable direction.
    Mean Gene, I agree that single payer will have impacts on the folks that currently work in the health insurance industry. Many of the workers will be needed to administer the new system. The folks who will be most impacted are the CEO’s and stockholders, but they have skimmed off so much from us already that they should be fine.

    Comment by Les Treall — 11:54 am August 15, 2009 #

  42. OP,
    you’ve been reading the Wall Street Journal? You know, the newspaper that is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the same guy that owns Fox “News”? Don’t you worry, just listen to them, and yell against healthcare reform – they will send you a check when you get sick and get a bill for $150K, even though you have “good” health insurance.
    .
    Mean Gene – the idea IS to reduce the number of insurance agents and coders, to get significant savings, as these people do NOT add the best value to the system, and cost money. Instead of providing the actual CARE to the patients, the insurance companies are employing these administrators to find the ways to deny care, and that is because they are cheaper than nurses and doctors. There will be a SIGNIFICANT number of additional nurses, aides and doctors employed if we add the uninsured, much more than the loss of coders and agents.
    .
    Mean Gene, at least one person understands that the current health care system costs suffocate business – small and large.

    Comment by Arianna — 12:34 pm August 15, 2009 #

  43. Arianna –
    Well, as insurance is sold by “agents” who are paid a commission – that alone should reduce costs!! I suspect, however, that many agents can be categorized as small business people. So from an economic policy perspective, there will be a lot of displacement. I think “CEO” will be fine and move on to other opportunities. Investors, especially institutions (including those managing many of our 401ks & such) have already begun to move their investments. I suspect that the Obama plan that preserves insurance company involvement does so because of concerns over the potential for upsetting an already disrupted capital market.

    I think single payor is the best most efficient option – which doesn’t say that I am not concerned over the potential for bureaucratic challenges – for example with alternative medicine.

    I accidently, literally, got to observe the French medical system first hand. My biggest problem was that I couldn’t believe it. I was sure something was lost in translation; that I didn’t understand some small print or complexity. I cannot adequately communicate how shockingly simple, inexpensive and high quality it was. American’s who think what we have is got to be the greatest can’t see that the “emperor” has no clothes.

    Comment by Mean Gene — 2:26 pm August 15, 2009 #

  44. PS – My French medical episode included effective emergency use of homeopathy

    Comment by Mean Gene — 2:31 pm August 15, 2009 #

  45. Mean Gene,
    yes, I agree there will be challenges, there are very few big changes in life that are easy. And there always will be screamers. If we’d listened to the likes of those, we’d still be living in caves.
    .
    Alternative medicine – I don’t think “extreme” alternative procedures will be covered. The emphasis will be on prevention, so I support alternative medicine, but only if and as long as it’s administered by an actual MD who has a Master’s in Alternative Medicine from an acredited university, and there are a quite of few of them already. Who does not like it? The farmaceuticals, as these doctors will give you let’s say, a prescription to drink tea (a specific blend of very potent herbs), instead of a drug that is made out of artificial chemicals, costs $150 per bottle, and can cause a number of side effects. But these doctors will be able to decide in what cases you’d still need antibiotics, etc., and prescribe accordingly.
    .
    Investments – health insurance companies should have never been the place to invest money to make huge profits – it happened only because these companies are overcharging us big time, and denying neccessary care, so this monies can be, should be and will be invested in much more useful ways, for example in the new forms of energy (so that we avoid paying $8+ per gallon in the near future), in the manufacturing facilities (we need to bring back here some of the manufacturing jobs), scientific research (we are talking huge potential profits), etc.

    Comment by Arianna — 3:49 pm August 15, 2009 #

  46. Les,
    you are so civil, wish I had the patience. But republicans’ solutions would be “no progress”, they are scared of everything. Just look at the hot issue – the death panels!
    .
    When I first heard abut the “death panels” I had a good laugh. These people have an IQ of a five year old. Let’s say any of these “geniuses” end up in an ICU, unconscious/in a coma, they don’t realize that their wife/husband or who ever else, who might not be crazy about them anymore, can pull the plug on them.
    .
    They don’t get it that they can use “the death panel” to make an official, legally binding statement that no one can make that decision for them, and that they have to be kept alive with any and all means possible until they die in spite of all that help. It is really good that this was added to the bill, but the “geniouses” do not understand it.
    .
    I think Obama could do a better job explaining, because these people lack basic logic. On the other hand, teaching these people to think, and explaining over and over any and every detail they don’t get could take a very long time and so much effort, it would be a waste of time, we should just keep moving forward.

    Comment by Arianna — 4:39 pm August 15, 2009 #

  47. >i>you’ve been reading the Wall Street Journal? You know, the newspaper that is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the same guy that owns Fox “News”? Don’t you worry, just listen to them, and yell against healthcare reform – they will send you a check when you get sick and get a bill for $150K, even though you have “good” health insurance.

    Yes, because I like to listen to people who actually KNOW who they’re talking about. Unlike paranoid, anti-corporate self…

    Comment by OP — 10:58 pm August 15, 2009 #

  48. Arianna, Some of my freinds in the 34th Dems are strategizing on how to take action on the issue. Please consider working with them. You can look me up through our website 34Dems.org.

    Comment by Les Treall — 8:04 am August 18, 2009 #

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