Sacrificing the individuals who have sacrificed for us.

Posted: August 2nd, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »
A New York City fireman calls for 10 more resc...
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Last week the house rejected a bill that would provide medical care for residents, volunteers and rescue workers whose health has been impacted by the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. A New York Times Editorial categorized this inaction as “Feckless and Cruel”, and while I hate to resort to name calling, that characterizes it pretty well. Think back to 9/11 and the days that followed, ordinary men and women descended upon ground zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA, looking not for retribution, but for the opportunity to help. They were and will remain inspirational in the hearts of not just Americans but of people all over the globe.

While the Republican partisanism (is that a word?) of the 111th congress’ role call on HR 847 speaks for itself, the Democratic majority is not without blame as they insisted that the bill be subject to a 2/3 majority vote in order to pass rather than to a plurality vote where aspects of the bill may have debated on the house floor.

Democrat or Republican, on September 12, 2001, I have to believe that all members of the 111th Congress were equally moved by the scenes of rescuers digging through rubble, the pictures of missing people pinned to walls and the image of a tattered American flag waving atop a mountain of devastation. These are images that I will never forget. I am saddened that the memories of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have been dulled by political agenda.

Perhaps the delayed tragedy of 9/11 is forgetting that brief moment when there were no Democrats or Republicans, we were all simply Americans.  Americans whose only goal was to help each other in our collective time of need. Honorable members of Congress, I ask you to put aside your differences and remember that day. Remember the ordinary men and women who became heroes. They came to our aid when the country needed them. Today, they need you.

Should we laugh or cry?

Posted: September 23rd, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

My sister-in-law (the one from Boston) once called me a right-wing-wacko. The one from Milwaukee just called me a wacko. I have also been called a communist, a fascist as well as a slew of pejoratives that would make George Carlin blush. My point is that no one has ever called me or accused me of being a Move-on fanatic. Regardless, as a self-described fiscal conservative, social progressive and all-around agitator of thought (or thoughtlessness) I felt compelled to pass this video on. Something Terrible is Happening! Will Ferrell & friends

Should we laugh at the surgically shaped satire or cry about the pressing social ills infecting our nation? Perhaps we should try something really radical; rational discourse, unemotional and objective reasoning framed by the goal of leading to the best outcome for the citizens of our nation.

for full disclosure: my wife is a physician as is my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and father-in-law. Numerous other close friends and extended family are also physicians or work in health care related fields. Constructive reform of the system is not going to advance my family or myself economically. But maybe at some point it will help inch our society just a little closer to one of collective compassion. And I can gladly accept that prognosis.

Facebook'n with Bob Spehalski

Posted: September 6th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

I have not spoken to Bob Spehalski since he graduated from college in 1981. Bob is a few years older than me and back then was one of the most responsible, thoughtful and selfless guys you could ever hope to meet. I, on the other hand, was arrogant, selfish and immature. Recently Bob and I became reconnected on Facebook. We had an interesting exchange with regards to health care that I believe warrants being formally memorialized.

It started when several friends posted this message as their status: No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.

I posted it as my status and this is what transpired.

Bob: I’m glad to hear you don’t support ObamaCare

Dan: The only death tribunals that I see are run by the for profit insurance companies. Medicare seems to work efficiently and effectively. And no dies, suffers or goes broke being humane. Now that is settled, don’t get me started on the cost vs. Value of college!

Dan: IMO, as humans we have a collective and individual responsibility to look after each other. Not that gvt or especially big gvt is correct, efficient or most importantly compassionate, it just happens to be in place and with applied activism can be harnessed to help protect those who are not able to protect themselves. The responsibility of a democracy is to protect the rights of the minority while carrying out the will of the majority.

Bob: The United States is not a democracy Dan. If you want to know how the a government run healthcare system treats its people, check out Oregon. If you have a terminal illness and it is too expensive to keep you alive, they send you a letter denying to pay for care, but are compassionate enough to offer at drug to let you go out painlessly. Like you might do to your dog.

Dan: Bob, I understand that the US operates as republic but our country, culture and society are inextricably tied to the philosophies and principles of democracy.

I can not talk to the Oregon point as I simply don’t have the facts. I do know that no one covered by Medicare has been euthanized. I also know that for profit insurance companies are primarily focused on operating health as opposed to patient health.

What I am intrigued about is your strong emotional reaction. I’d like to better understand where you are coming from as a step toward broadening my perspective and engaging in meaningful dialogue.

Bob: Dan, I agree with your original principles, who wouldn’t. But my reaction is coming from my strong opinion that government run healthcare has the very real potential of severely limiting personal freedoms and choices in all areas of our lives. In addition, I think it will ultimately come down to a choice of either rationing healthcare or bankrupting the country. This is pretty much what has happened whenever and wherever it has been tried or currently exists. Maybe Medicare works for the relatively few that are currently on it, but I don’t feel it would be sustainable for all.

Dan: OK, from an economic perspective the health care system is just broken and consequently it costs all of us too much. The insurance companies exist to maximize profit, pitting providers against subscribers. Take a look at the current and immediate past complaints brought against them by the attorney generals in all 50 states.

re: uncovered citizens, they currently get service via charity care at public hospitals, which you pay for indirectly. By incorporating them into a system, care costs will be reduced purely by the nature of how treatment is delivered. Couple that with well care and an economic impact can be made. Add tort reform and enforcement of pharmaceutical cos with regard to marketing and patent abuse and you have a new game.

Of course the moral obligation is still the primary one but there are sound economic advantages.

re: limiting choice, if you have money, you can choose what, when and where. Reform or reconstruction is not going to change that.

From the above you can tell that Bob is still a thoughtful, selfless and really nice guy. He is just earning more money, paying a mortgage, putting kids through college, saving for retirement and concerned about the state of our economy. Bob is responsible and obviously expects a degree of responsibility from our elected leaders. And that is the real issue. Are our elected officials acting responsibly? Are they putting their own personal and partisan issues aside and working for the citizenry? Are they too invested in what is and as a consequence ignoring what can be? Are we, the people, holding them accountable? Unfortunately at this juncture, I think Bob and I both agree that the answers are all no.