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September 09, 2009


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This was David -- expectant, thoughtful, insightful and (I think I'm reading this right) a little disappointed in all concerned. The tennis match reference was brilliant.

Yes, a little disappointed. I went to sleep wondering, "Why can't we make a plan a little sleeker than this?"

How do you sell ANYBODY on a system with this many ropes, pulleys and rubber bands?

(There's going to be an insurance exchange, but not for four years; but in the meantime you can get care at the local hardware store--but only if you want it ....)

I worry that we won't pass anything really useful until the leadership is resolved to say and try to sell something that can at least be PACKAGED in a way that people can get our minds around.

If we can't get our minds around a thing, we won't have our hearts in it.

It does sound overly complicated. But what do I know? I'm just one of those pinko Canadians who already has public health care and doesn't really worry about how it works (and despite its flaws, on a daily basis our system pretty much works).

It always seems to me that it's issues like this where societies choose to raise themselves up or let themselves fall down. Problem is that it's always less work to fall. Politics is like gravity.

I don't plan on watching the speech, so thank you for the excellent breakdown of the highs, lows and yawns.

To go Biblical on you, it's interesting to note that there is no absolute, cross-the-spectrum command (in the Jewish part of the book) not to lie. The only absolute no-lying command is "do not bear false witness" in court proceedings. Under any other circumstances, the command is, "distance yourself from lying" - judge every situation appropriately, as lying may be the better option. The classic Biblical lie is G-d telling Abraham that Sarah laughed on hearing she would give birth and said "I am too old," when in reality she said, "my husband is too old."

Well we're lonely agnostics around here, Yossi, and thus can't rely on a God who knows when it's cool to tell a fib. So with the truth being all we have, we're damned careful to tell it to each other, whenever we know it ourselves.

David - this was a great post! You hit on most of the same lines that resonated for me, and for mainly the same reasons. Will it actually change anything? I fervently hope it will, but I fear the entrenchment of the culture of acrimony, divisiveness and [as the president called it] demagoguery will do their level best to stop the desperately needed change for so many Americans.

One thing about the speech that I did not care for [Crescenzo: are you listening?!] was the five full minutes of televised glad-handing of the president into the chamber. This to me was annoying and somewhat self-aggrandizing. If I had been the president's communications director, I would have advised notifying the members in advance that: "the president acknowledges and and is grateful for your support, but due to the paramount importance of tonight's speech, he will go straight to the podium and move immediately into giving the American people the information they want in order to show them that we understand and respect the strong feelings surrounding this issue." That would certainly have gotten out to the media, but aside from that I think such a gesture would have been a strong message to send to the American people in support of Obama's professed desire to end partisanship.

P.S. I'm also a pinko Canadian, but unlike Rueben, I do not feel our system works on a daily basis. I live in one of the largest, most populous cities in the country, where you would think there would be doctors aplenty. No. I currently have a doctor who only works two days a week from 10-4 so basically I have to take a half-day vacation simply to see my doctor, never mind the months and months I have to wait should I need to see a specialist or have a test. I have been trying to find a new doctor that is actually accepting new patients for more than a year without success.

But, I digress! For me, the ideal healthcare system would be somewhere in between the U.S.'s and Canada's, but I'm a realist, so I'm not holding my breath for big changes in either of our systems.

I hate that glad-handing tradition too, Kristen, and wish Obama would change the tradition and install a little trap-door elevator right under the lectern so he could just rise up and speak, and then at the end (or in case the Congressmen from the south start throwing things) go back down.

Like you, I don't know what the answer is with health-care, something I've had to admit to myself over and over as I find myself getting swept up in the all-heat, no-light business about the "public option," a term I didn't even know 90 days ago.

My only bottom line: I think we'd be a more civilized society if some of us, most of us or all of us didn't have to worry about paying for health care.

Git 'r done!

Excuse me, but did you write WONKERY? I have a new favorite word.

David, my point was precisely yours, that even the ultimate book of religious authority does not offer strict guidelines for when to fib and when not, or even if not at all. We all muddle along on this one, and do the best we can.

The jack-in-the-box presidential entrance would be a smashing success! Can he (or she, hopefully, one day) come up with a flaming guitar too?

And your bottom line brings me to think (note painful feeling in head): Is our concern ensuring every human being receives every possible medical treatment, or is our concern the worry about paying?

"every human being ... every possible medical treatment"

Not sure this is possible, or even how we'd know we achieved it. Will super-rich people always find a way to get better care than middle-class folks? Yeah, probably.

Eliminating the worry about paying (and the mystery surrounding the administration of it all) seems more doable, as long as it's tied to a reasonable standard of care.

The great advance in social medicine - meaning doctors deciding to provide medicare care for all, so please remove commie-bashers from the room - was that we moved from doctors caring only for those who can pay full price, while quacks offered quackery for the rest, to doctors believing that they could and should provide care for all. Insurance companies were a large part of that revolution, even as they brought doctor profits down among other complications. Our medical professionals are still generally in it because they care, because they wish to heal humanity, not because they get cushy jobs with government benefits.

I think we hear too little from medical professionals, and too much from politicians, pr firms and lobbyists. I don't think I have too little information, too much information, incorrect information, biased information - I think I have no information at all. The info flood has washed my mind right clean of anything healthcare related. Can we get a communicator in the healthcare room?

Can you just imagine a Communications Hospital? The Communication ER? "Hack, we need an SM PR stat in room 3, and make it double-spaced!" "I need an exec annual report summary in room 10!"

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