My new favorite politician …


… has to be Alan Grayson, a freshman congressman from Florida.

First, on Wednesday he spoke on the House floor, saying the Republican health care plan calls for sick people to “die quickly.”

He then made another floor speech in which he apologized to the dead and their families for not acting sooner on health care reform, and later defended both speeches on CNN’s “The Situation Room.” “What I mean is they have got no plan,” he said. “It’s been 24 hours since I said that. Where is the Republican plan? We’re all waiting to see something that will take care of the pre-existing conditions, to take care of the 40 million Americans who have no coverage at all.”

Look, I’m a fan of civility. A big fan, really. I love long walks on the beach, post-game handshakes and hugs with short people. But enough is enough. For the past six months or so, Republicans have been killing Democrats on health care reform, citing one lie (they want to pull the plug on grandma) after another (Socialistic agenda) after another (death panels). I dig Barack Obama—but he needs to start slugging back. At least someone needs to start slugging back.

Truth is, the public option is a great idea—a way to have open competition between the established BS health care providers and an alternative source. The reason all Republicans and too many conservative Democrats oppose it is because (gasp!) health companies contribute tons of campaign dollars, and money talks. The politicians who vote for a public option can kiss the dough farewell. And, I assure you, some eager primary opponent will be more than happy to take it.

So bravo to Mr. Grayson. At least he spoke the truth.

9 thoughts on “My new favorite politician …”

  1. Jeff,

    Do you think that accepting donations from providers is the only reason that people are against a public option? Moreover, do you believe that a public health care company would be valid competition seeing as it wouldn’t have the need for profit (or, for that matter, a need to break even at all) that private companies have?

    – Lou

  2. Jeff,

    It isn’t “a lie” to suggest that socialized medicine will lead to “pulling the plug” and “death panels.” While such language isn’t contained in legislation, it is folly to ignore the inexorability of these sorts of utilitarian decisions being made by a central and impersonal authority with finite resources. Not only is it bad economics for a central healthcare payer/authority to finance life-saving care for the elderly but it is bad politics, too.

    Either way, the biggest lie perpetuated throughout this debate is that which has been fired in salvos by Democrats since the beginning of the summer: that the Republicans want to do nothing. This is not true. Obama even acknowledges Republican calls for Tort Reform while simultaneously, Janus that he is, claiming that Republicans have no ideas.

  3. Additionally, in no way is a public option a “great idea” in any objective sense. One needs only to look at Medicare and Medicaid to see how these sorts of programs rapidly escalate to the point of unsustainability. We (that is, we young people) are already on the hook for these underfunded programs and will be paying for them for our entire natural lives, at this rate. And now politicians want to expand entitlements to everybody? It beggars belief. It honestly makes me wonder if politicians view these things as practical jokes they can pull on taxpayers.

  4. I belong to a Mantle Cell Lymphoma patient list-serve.

    Today, I received an e-mail from an Australian who has undergone over two years of treatment for the disease.

    I won’t bore you with the details of his treatment, but I thought I’d share this part of his e-mail:

    “The other thing is that, in Australia, we’ve managed to resist the insidious encroachment of HMOs and similar – we have an excellent national health service and pharmaceutical benefits scheme. I didn’t pay anything for my 2+ years of treatment, and at most paid $350 for pharmaceuticals each year. I do, of course, pay for the NHS through my taxes (1.5% of my nett salary), but I believe this to be excellent value.”

    Now, consider my situation.

    My wife holds the insurance in our family, as I am self-employed. She has about $600 taken out of her paycheck each month to pay for our healthcare plan.

    In the eight months I have been treated for MCL we paid an additional $6000 deductible ($750 per month) and $40 per doctor’s visit…and let me tell you, there were a lot of those.

    During the first three months after being diagnosed I was taking 21 different medicines every morning. We paid anywhere between $15-75 per prescription, with each prescription lasting 14-21 days.

    Every third week during chemotherapy I would take a steroid three times per day (six pills per dose)–and no I can’t hit baseballs like Barry Bonds. I must have gotten the wrong steroid.

    Now, consider if I lived in Australia my treatment would have cost about $1200 based on 2% of my income.

    Within the next few months (I’m hoping it happens before Jan. 1 when a new family deductible will have to be paid), I’ll have a Stem Cell Transplant. A portion of the costs are picked up by my insurance provider.

    According to the National Bone Marrow Transplant Link, an auto transplant costs anywhere between $50K-100K. An allogeneic transplant (possible if I’m not in complete remission–we’ll know that in a week or so after they finish testing the spleen they pulled out my stomach two weeks ago).

    My insurance company is picking up about 60% of the cost.

    You know what I’m doing by paying for this transplant…I’m spending my children’s inheritance. I’m mortgaging my life insurance.

    And I’m doing that because people think paying a small percentage of their income on healthcare taxes is a burden.

    People are so ignorant that they believe paying taxes on healthcare means they are paying for someone else to rob the system.

    I’ve worked hard all my life. I served my country in the US Army. I put myself through college and in doing so became the first person in my extended family to earn a college degree.

    I have worked hard to raise my family–with two stepchildren and two of my own.

    I want the best for them, and as a result I have raised them to respect what they have. When they begin to take things for granted, the lose them.

    They have learned to say hello, and thank you, and they understand that despite many advantages they have, there are people that do without.

    I was one of them for the first 18 years of my life.

    I grew up on welfare. I remember being embarrassed to grocery shop with my mother because we used food stamps.

    People helped us. They helped my mother find a job–two in fact. They donated old clothes–but they were new to me.

    I’m a wannabe sports writer and it kills me to see athletes paid millions and millions of dollars to play a game and to see people shell out thousands of dollars per ticket to attend the Super Bowl, yet we complain when it comes down to helping the less fortunate. We have built political foundations around that ignorance.

    I just don’t get it.

  5. Steve, thanks for sharing that. Perfectly said. Anyone who truly believes the current system should be left alone, or that a government-run alternative would kill the competitiveness of the private system is living in crazy land.

  6. It amazes me that while the government is being accused of “pulling plugs” and “death panels” when there is absolutely no such plan or language in place for a health program that doesn’t even exist, health insurers are currently filling those roles extremely well by denying coverage,refusing coverage, and limiting coverage at every possible instance in order to maximize profit. These life-and-death decisions are being made every day by individuals working for companies in business to make as much money as they can at the expense of people who have paid exorbitant premiums for healthcare when they need it.

  7. one would think that the christian leaning right wing would be more about doing charity and helping those in need.

    or is this just on sundays?

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