Tag: Healthcare

Health Care and Abortion

originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change

I really hate having to come back to this over and over again. Let’s get our abortion-and-health-care basics down folks. The Senate bill does nothing to change the standard we have lived by that no federal funding shall be used for abortion.

Chris Hayes’ Speech At Sum of Change/Grow the Hope House Meeting

Yesterday, we were humbled when folks from the DC/MD/VA area packed into the living room of David Hart, founder of Grow the Hope, for a fundraiser to help us cover the annual Netroots Nation conference. We could not have been more thrilled with the level of energy in the room.

Our featured speaker, Chris Hayes, the DC Editor of The Nation, gave a rather fantastic speech that we wanted to share with you all right away:

“I told him he was full of sh*t”

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz talking at the AM950 Blue State Bash on Saturday night to a crowd of progressive talk radio fans in Minnesota lets go with both barrels at Robert Gibbs, at Barack Obama, at the “people who have infiltrated the Democratic progressive movement“, and at the whole delusional idea of bipartisanship.

I told him he was full of sh*t is what I told him,” Schultz said. “And then he gave me the Dick Cheney f-bomb the same way Senator Leahy got it on the Senate floor. I told Robert Gibbs, I said, ‘I’m sorry you’re swearing at me, but I’m just trying to help you out.

I’m telling you, you’re losing your base,” he continued. “Do you understand that you’re losing your base? And that the American people don’t want public option, the American people want single-payer!?’

Watch this…


Operation Rescue’s President Cannot Explain How Health Care Bill Funds Abortion

(Footage purchased from Sam Sumner, originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change)

As you may be aware, this weekend (tomorrow to be exact) marks the 37th anniversary of the passage of Roe v Wade, the supreme court decision that effectively legalized abortion nationwide. We have been working on a documentary about clinic escorts for some time now (tomorrow we will be making a big announcement about the film, sign up for our emails and you will be one of first to hear about it), so this weekend is a big chance for us to get some footage.

When I got back home from volunteering at the clinic, I saw an email from Operation Rescue announcing a press conference at the White House today. Luckily, I was able to track down a freelance videographer who sold us some great exclusive footage of Operation Rescue’s President, Troy Newman, failing several times to name a single part of the current health care bills that allows for federal funding of abortion (although he knows for a fact it does, he just cannot tell you how):

Won’t get fooled again! Again.

1979 San Francisco.  We were working on a hard-fought rent-control ballot initiative.  Hard-fought between the coalition of tenant organizations and the Democratic Party stalwarts on one side (seemingly) against the landlords and downtown developers who ran City Hall under Mayor Dianne Feinstein.

Even more hard-fought was the struggle between the tenant organizations which had created the campaign in the first place and ran the campaign’s district committees (I chaired District 6, the Mission), against the Democratic Party’s consultants (the little wigs) and Democratic clubs and official leftists, over whether the campaign would be a consultant-based media affair, or grassroots tenant-based.  The underlying question was whether the district committees would last beyond election day.

The money went to the consultants and for TV ads, while the district committees were starved.  The measure had been gutted even before the campaign began, in order to appease a few prestigious Democratic clubs that in the end actually opposed the initiative.  In the home stretch, it became clear that Prop R was going down.

Now a whiny voice pipes up from the back of the room.  “Hey, old guy, is this gonna be another of your boring stories about how you had to walk 20 miles through the snow to get to an SDS meeting?”

“Shaddup, kid, there’s a point here somewhere!”

As I was  saying, in the final weeks, the campaign bosses went into a pseudo-frenzy.  Once more to the barricades, voter registration, lit drops.  The campaign came down to getting a slate card under every door in the city.  No volunteer was to be left standing as the polls closed.

Szakos’ a Free Man

originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change

A while back, we covered a somewhat unique story. Joe Szako, the Executive Director of the Virginia Organizing Project, had been arrested while attempting to contact Anthem Insurance during a demonstration at their headquarters. We were there when Mr. Szako appeared in court, Tuesday September 22nd 2009, in Henrico, VA. You can read more about the arrest and watch video footage of the arrest here.

At the end of November, the case ended with Mr. Szako a free man, for the most part. He will have to stay out of trouble for six months (and yes, that includes any visits to Anthem’s headquarters):

(Lots of PICS+VIDS) Stop Stupak Rally/Lobby Day

Coverage originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change

Last week, we joined pro-choice activists from all across the country on Capitol Hill. They came to support health care reform and the public option, and they came to fight against the Stupak amendment and any bans on women’s reproductive health coverage. The program began with rally, after which, the groups headed to scheduled meetings with their legislators. We tagged along with a group from Sister Song in New Orleans and joined them for the visit with Senator Mary Landrieu’s office.

We have extensive coverage of the day’s events, with plenty of full speeches.

State single payer bill in PA Senate gets a hearing… because of a Republican!

You didn’t misread that title – SB400, the bill in the PA State Senate for statewide single payer health care, is getting some hearings because of Republican State Senator Don White.  Here in Pennsylvania, single payer isn’t a partisan issue.  We’ve got bipartisan bills in the Senate and House with Governor Rendell’s pledge to sign them if they pass.

In the words of HealthCare4AllPA:

The hearing will take place on December 16, from 9:00-10:30 AM in room 8E-A East Wing, located on the lower level of the Capitol building. Those in support of SB400 will have 45 minutes to present their information and arguments, and those opposed will also have 45 minutes.

This is a vitally important step forward, and one of the only times in history that a state-based single payer bill has been granted a senate committee hearing.

Whether you live in Pennsylvania or not, this is great news for progressives.  Follow me below the fold to find out more and see how you can help.

It’s more than just healthcare, its also the safety net at stake!

I’m angry and I’m scared with regards to what is happening these days.  Not just on healthcare, but also the safety net.  After reading Angrybird’s sad note on the foreclosure, my anger simply grew. How could we allow this?  Not just the homes, but the jobs and the insurance and the schools.  Yesterday I got into a heated argument with a long time friend, someone who now I know probably won’t speak to me. She’s a libertarian who simply had (to use her own words)”fuck ’em if they weren’t prepared, don’t take from me!” attitude. Maybe just as well.  But I’m not one to leave someone to the wolves.

Americans Sold Out Again! Thanks, Congress! (Update!)

(See Update below:)

So much for progressives who promised they would vote “NO” if there was no robust public option.  Only Kucinich and Massa stood by their words.

This, from Dennis Kucinich, on the passing of the healthcare bill by Congress:

Who Said They’d Vote No on a Healthcare Bill This Bad in July, And Who Lied.  By David Swanson.

These 57 (PDF) said they would not accept a bill this bad. These two kept their word: Kucinich, Massa. The other 55 lied. Kucinich’s statement below the fold.

Kucinich: Why I Voted NO

Washington D.C. (November 7, 2009) – After voting against H.R. 3962 – Affordable Health Care for America Act, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement:

“We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault the insurance companies for being what they are. But we can fault legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation, indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry, the very source of the problem. When health insurance companies deny care or raise premiums, co-pays and deductibles they are simply trying to make a profit. That is our system.

“Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution. They are driving up the cost of health care. Because their massive bureaucracy avoids paying bills so effectively, they force hospitals and doctors to hire their own bureaucracy to fight the insurance companies to avoid getting stuck with an unfair share of the bills. The result is that since 1970, the number of physicians has increased by less than 200% while the number of administrators has increased by 3000%. It is no wonder that 31 cents of every health care dollar goes to administrative costs, not toward providing care. Even those with insurance are at risk. The single biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is health insurance policies that do not cover you when you get sick.

“But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance, H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies – a bailout under a blue cross.

“By incurring only a new requirement to cover pre-existing conditions, a weakened public option, and a few other important but limited concessions, the health insurance companies are getting quite a deal. The Center for American Progress’ blog, Think Progress, states “since the President signaled that he is backing away from the public option, health insurance stocks have been on the rise.” Similarly, healthcare stocks rallied when Senator Max Baucus introduced a bill without a public option. Bloomberg reports that Curtis Lane, a prominent health industry investor, predicted a few weeks ago that “money will start flowing in again” to health insurance stocks after passage of the legislation. Investors.com last month reported that pharmacy benefit managers share prices are hitting all-time highs, with the only industry worry that the Administration would reverse its decision not to negotiate Medicare Part D drug prices, leaving in place a Bush Administration policy.

“During the debate, when the interests of insurance companies would have been effectively challenged, that challenge was turned back. The “robust public option” which would have offered a modicum of competition to a monopolistic industry was whittled down from an initial potential enrollment of 129 million Americans to 6 million. An amendment which would have protected the rights of states to pursue single-payer health care was stripped from the bill at the request of the Administration. Looking ahead, we cringe at the prospect of even greater favors for insurance companies.

“Recent rises in unemployment indicate a widening separation between the finance economy and the real economy. The finance economy considers the health of Wall Street, rising corporate profits, and banks’ hoarding of cash, much of it from taxpayers, as sign of an economic recovery. However in the real economy — in which most Americans live — the recession is not over. Rising unemployment, business failures, bankruptcies and foreclosures are still hammering Main Street.

“This health care bill continues the redistribution of wealth to Wall Street at the expense of America’s manufacturing and service economies which suffer from costs other countries do not have to bear, especially the cost of health care. America continues to stand out among all industrialized nations for its privatized health care system. As a result, we are less competitive in steel, automotive, aerospace and shipping while other countries subsidize their exports in these areas through socializing the cost of health care.

“Notwithstanding the fate of H.R. 3962, America will someday come to recognize the broad social and economic benefits of a not-for-profit, single-payer health care system, which is good for the American people and good for America’s businesses, with of course the notable exceptions being insurance and pharmaceuticals.”

Well, at least we have a list of all the progressives that didn’t stand the test — think they and all the other Dems need to hear from us BIG TIME!!!!!!!

BTW, already the health care insurance industry stocks have gone up!!!!!

Update With the Latest News:  Well, the “shine” has already been rubbed off of the “new penny.”  I don’t think this will surprise many, but — see the rest here.

Black Newark Fights “Hollywood Mayor” For Water

Crossposted from Fire on the Mountain, where there are some cool grafix I had trouble crossposting…

Wednesday evening, October 21, hundreds of concerned citizens gathered to picket outside the Newark, NJ City Hall and moved the protest into the Council Chambers when the weekly City Council meeting began. Residents were indignant about illegal water terminations that had been going on for months in the city. The massive protest had been organized by a coalition of the People’s Organization for Progress,  the Newark United Tenants Association, the Newark Water Group, the New Black Panther Party, as well as other concerned community organizations and residents.

These water shut-offs were most surprising to tenants who rely on their landlords to pay the water bill. In a substantial number of cases, residents were up to date in rent (which, according to their lease agreements, includes heat and water) and didn’t event know that the landlord hadn’t paid the water bill. Likewise, many residents receiving Section-8 housing subsidies have no way of even knowing if their payments are up-to-date. Their caseworkers send paperwork that result in vouchers to landlords who then get money that the welfare recipient never sees. These transactions take place without any “client” involvement, supposedly protecting the money from being misspent. When these tenants have their water turned off, they are clearly blameless.

Robert Greenwald, of Brave New Films, comes through AGAIN!

As you know, WE’ve been screaming and yelling for over eight years now and we’ve been heard, WE’ve simply been ignored.  On ALL of the issues of UTMOST importance, we have lost, i.e., the many anti-war movements and marches, the multitudinous efforts to have Bush and Cheney Impeached, thwarted by Ms. Pelosi (Impeachment would be “too divisive”), and the ensuing ills that were foisted upon us thereafter — AFTER taking Impeachment “off the table.”  Well, I think everyone knows the issues we have fought on.  We have fought endlessly for investigations and prosecutions of our “war criminals.”  And now, we are seeing a “limited investigation.”*  There are endless efforts to “expand” the wars the aggressions and the funding thereby.  This, of course, pertains to our International failings.

On a domestic level, I consider the healthcare reform issue as large an issue, as the International issues.  To me, both of these International and domestic issues are a “symbol” of our nation and how we are defined and the direction we are headed.  We are DEFINITELY at a pivotal point in our history as to WHO we are as a nation. It’s not looking good — more closely related to “3rd world country.”

Somehow, I almost feel like the “healthcare issue” will be our FINAL defining point of us, as a people, and the epitome of our direction, as a country. WHY?  Because if we cannot FINALLY (after so many years, and way long after so many other nations), decide on the importance of US, as plain, ordinary human beings and AMERICANS, then, I truly believe this will be our final “signal” as to a nation lost to fascism, or whatever you wish to call it.  

So, can we reverse the “trend” of the healthcare situation?  Well, if ALL of us DO NOT FIGHT LIKE HELL, we will “lose” again.  It’s your choice!  We NEED to be supportive of those “groups” who are genuinely supportive of us!

And, so, here is the sign-up to help support Brave New Films, in so many ways!

This effort, and Mad As Hell Doctors (reporting regularly) are worth our efforts!  DO SOMETHING!!!!


The Truth Behind Public Option

Time to Get to Work

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explains what a public option for healthcare coverage really means for working people.

We thank Jacob Kornbluth for directing and producing the Robert Reich interview portion of this piece.

We can’t let the insurance companies decide who gets care and who doesn’t.

Pass it on to everyone you know.

Then contribute to Brave New Films so we can continue to get the word out on the real truth behind public option.

Also see: The video expose on Stephen Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth Group>

Learn more about the insurance company CEOs [Just looking as these faces is enough to get you ill.]  

My instincts are speaking loud and clear — I hope yours are, too!

* (I hope that this limited investigation will not “run out the statute” (our national one) for those detainees still “alive,” as that particular statute will run out soon.  I need to check on that, as I don’t know how this particular investigation affects that issue, but it’s something to consider.  Yes, the investigation of the “dead by torture” is a war crime punishable by death and a good one to pursue, but the “dead” can’t speak on their own behalf.  

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