Contraceptives, misogyny, apologies. We have more problems to solve.

For many years in the 1980s, I drove past a slum in the outskirts of Lima, Peru. I could see poor Indian women living in huts, carrying heavy bags and buckets of water and their babies on their back. A large number of children of all ages would follow them. These women had no access to contraception, no access to education.  Having to take care of that many children only pushed them deeper into poverty. And just across town, the daughters of the wealthy Peruvians would drive their fancy cars to college, eventually marry, choose when to have their children, and then have their nannies, often descendants of Indian women, raise them.

What you know immediately is that you had a dysfunctional society with two large problems, income inequality (and therefore poverty) and women who had no access to health care options that could help them make decisions to improve their family lives.

One of these problems has yet to be solved in America, but the other, with the new health care law has now been solved. Access to contraceptives is going to soon be free for all women, poor or rich.

The video below shows Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke speaking out for women’s rights to free contraceptives, but only after being denied the right to testify in front of an all-male Republican committee. (Georgetown is a Catholic Jesuit institution that does not provide contraceptives to students through their health insurance plans)

Some people, however, don’t seem to be happy.

This past week, they have not only insulted this courageous, young woman for speaking out for the use of contraceptives, they are also using vulgarity and sexual innuendo to do so. The controversy has dominated the news in recent days.

But what about those jobs?

Don’t we have bigger fish to fry? Aren’t we just recovering from a terrible recession caused by the previous GOP administration?  Aren't we all aware that the last ten or twenty years have worsened income inequality in this country, yet, we don’t want to talk about that?

Sure, the economy is improving somewhat and so is the job market. But it is a very slow improvement. More needs to be done. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be in the best interest of some to focus on the economy, the housing market, and the high unemployment.

Instead, they prefer to talk about contraceptives and insult and demean women who fight for women’s rights.

In fact, all the current misguided controversies have been started by the political opposition. It is an old GOP tactic to manufacture new problems to divert attention from the real problems that they don't know how to or don't care to solve. Because talking about the economy does not help them win the November elections. For the GOP, it is all about motivating their supporters to go out and vote and help them win the elections. The economy? The job market?

It does not seem to matter.

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Contraceptives, misogyny, apologies. We have more problems to solve., 1.0 out of 1 based on 1 rating

25 comments to Contraceptives, misogyny, apologies. We have more problems to solve.

  • multiculti

    Talking about apologies, since everybody is still talking about that and I am not sure if "jobs" will ever be talked about, here is someone who has an idea for creating new jobs: Design Republican apology greeting cards. He also offers a few examples for possible designs. The first card has doves flying on a nice blue background and reads:

    When I called you a slut, it wasn't meant as a personal attack. I was merely saying that women in general should feel bad about themselves for having sex.

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  • BC

    I realize that this is a very controversial topic and while I think Rush Limbaugh's comments were incredibly rude and frankly unprofessional I disagree with a fair amount of what has been written here.  Furthermore, I think the article grossly oversimplifies many issues.
    As for birth control, poor women do have access to birth control via Medicaid and Planned Parenthood as they should.  In my estimation all other women should have to pay for their own birth control and perhaps their boyfriends/husbands should split this cost 50/50.
    Access to birth control, assuming SCOTUS does not overturn Obamacare, is not free.  Someone is paying for it.  To the extent that one is lucky enough to have a job that pays for health insurance then I think one should be able to afford their own birth control.
    Next – getting pregnant is not a disease, which needs to be prevented and therefore I fail to see how this is a "health issue."
    Things like birth control, Viagra, etc. are not health issues.  No one is forcing anyone to have sex – these are personal decisions.
    The point being is that health care keeps on getting more and more expensive the reasons for which are numerous.  Any time one makes non-essential items covered mandatorily health care becomes even more expensive and in doing so puts it out of the reach of many.
    There are a great many people in the US that do not have insurance paid for by their job nor do they qualify for Medicaid.
    So rather than pay for peoples' Viagra or birth control perhaps we should make sure that people get medical treatment that they really need without which will have very poor health or die.
    I have some other comments on the article that I will post separately.

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    • BC

      I thought I would also comment on the current legal issues facing Obamacare as per the author's suggestion that health care issues have been solved.
      27 states are currently suing the Federal Government on the idea that Obamacare is unconstitutional as it oversteps the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, commerce clauses, etc.
      The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is going to hear the case and rule on it before the election.
      Outside of the any legal arguments made by the 27 states the primary reason they are fighting Obamacare is economic.   To get Obamacare passed required making the costs look better and in doing so they pushed a lot of costs to the states who cannot afford it.
      Unlike the Federal Government states have to balance their budgets and in an evironment where tax revenues are down states do not wish to have more financial liability as they can't print money.
      The states suing also think if the Feds regulate health care and can force people to buy insurance then they pretty much can force states and people to do anything -big other reason for the lawsuits.
      I think the states have a valid legal case (I'm not a Consitutional lawyer though), but for the sake of argument let's say SCOTUS rules in favor of the Federal Govt.  Well you're now fighting more than half the states in the country – doesn't bode well for stability.
      My thought is this issue is far from settled.

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      • itaest

        Your argument that "To get Obamacare passed required making the costs look better" does not sound right. The health care costs were calculated by a bipartisan group of experts in budget matters. Why would they cook the numbers?

        I would have preferred if they had passed the "public option" instead of the mandate so that the government could compete with for-profit insurance, but I believe what they got is better than what was there before, which was "nothing".

        I lived 9 years in Germany and I came to appreciate the single payer health care system they offer (I am a German citizen too). According to this web site  USA spends twice as much as what Germany spends on health care – per capita – but has a subpar health care system that does not cover all its citizen. How can that be possible in a powerful great country as America? 

        I think that you must have some wealthy doctor friends who have told you many horror stories about Obamacare. I am guessing, because I have such friends, haha. I have friends who have sisters, brothers and ex-husbands who are cardiologists. I know a cardiologist makes $270,000 a year at the beginning of his or her career here in the USA. But of course they had to study for 12 years to specialize and therefore feel entitled to it. But a cardiologist in Germany, who happens to be the brother of a friend, makes only about half that amount. I understand why American physician are against the health care law. They want to continue earning those big bucks. But at the cost of the rest of us? They should not be so scared. Their salaries are going to stay in those high numbers, but the numbers may not rise that much anymore.

        I think it is a disgrace that insurance companies were allowed to discriminate against people who had "preexisting" conditions. They they could decide whether to pay for a treatment or kick someone out of their insurance. That they could raise their premiums at any times without any oversight. Etc. I have a Republican friend who has no insurance and has a knee that keeps popping out but she can't afford surgery, yet she dislikes Obama telling her to buy insurance. Well, I can't wait for 2014 when she will be forced to buy insurance because then she will be able to fix her knee, and guess what. She is a sports coach and is losing money because of that problem. What is more beneficial for the economy to have people like her not have insurance and lose a job or earnings and pay less taxes or have people be forced to take care of their health so they can contribute to build a better economy?

        I have nothing to say about a possible Supreme Court decision because nobody knows how they will rule and I don't know. All I can say is that this law is better than what was there before and I hope it stays the law of the country and will be fixed to include a public option.

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        • BC

          Your argument that "To get Obamacare passed required making the costs look better" does not sound right.
          My comment here was not that the books were being cooked rather being made to look better via an accounting gimmick.  The Feds have achieved this by putting a huge extra financial burden on state govts and in this was can claim it is less expensive on a federal level.
          This study does a pretty good job of explaining how Obamacare increases state costs and I think it’s well worth reading.

          At a high level, Obamacare mandates that everyone buys healthcare and for states this means two things.
          Those currently eligible for Medicaid, but not currently enrolled in it will enroll in Medicaid to comply with the mandate and none of these costs are covered by the Feds.
          The mandate also expands the amount of those eligible for Medicaid and any new eligibles will be covered by the feds not the states at least from 2014-19.  Note from 2017-19 the feds will decrease paying 100% of this cost to 92.8% of the cost.  After 2019 it is expected that the feds will continue to pay, but this is not guaranteed.  So this does not cost the states money, but some fear it will bankrupt their hospitals.
          If Obamacare is passed some states may opt out of Medicaid entirely.
          It varies by state, but hospitals lose money on Medicaid patients as do doctors, which is why many doctors won’t see Medicaid patients.  Hospitals have to treat in state Medicaid patients.   The feeling is with a lot of extra people on Medicaid and given its poor reimbursement rate – hospitals will go bankrupt and close.
          St. Vincent’s in NYC closed in 2010 after operating for 160 years due to roughly $1 billion in debt and while allegations of mismanagement were mentioned the main reason was they took too many Medicaid patients.
          Hence the main problem with Medicaid – it’s under-funded.
          So states are suing on Obamacare because their budgets are already strained and they can’t afford the additional costs along with not wanting their hospitals to go bankrupt.
          This video does a pretty good job of explaining the Medicaid/hospital issue and is another hidden cost to the states – further subsidizing their hospitals due to the influx of more Medicaid patients.

          Here’s another one citing state cost increases.

          On a side note CBO just increased their 10 year cost estimate on Obamacare by $820 billion.

          Keep in mind I am not making a political or personal argument for or against Obamacare rather discussing the cost implications and the devil is always in the details.
          Medicaid costs are rising unsustainably anyway, but with Obamacare they rise even more.
          So whatever one feels needs to happen – all pointless if you can’t figure out how to pay for it.
          As for US vs. Germany – I don’t know anything about Germany’s system.   The UK’s system is falling apart though.
          One reason for higher prices is suing.  Liability insurance for an OBGYN in NJ is roughly $300k per annum, which means he has to earn $300k before paying for staff, equipment, rent, etc.
          All sorts of other reasons – perhaps we should pick this up in another thread.
          I do know some well to do doctors – my parents age – and they said “Glad Obama’s figured it out because no one in the medical business seems to be able to.”
          For the record – I’m not too fond of doctors.    
          As for the cardiologist earning $270k…..12 years of school in the US at $50k per year – the guy’s $600k in debt on the principal alone by the time he graduates.
          Agreed that US healthcare system is a disaster, but Obamacare will only make it worse.
          You have to look at why it costs so much and how you can fix it = going after big pharma, insurance, lawyers, edu costs, equipment OEMs, etc.
          Also think our system treats symptoms rather than cause as this is more profitable.
          And when you go after costs – all the big players will lobby against you – easier said than done – still doable though.

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    • itaest

      (This reply textbox appears in the wrong place – will need to add that to the list of bugs I need to fix)

      Anyways, I need to disagree with your opinion that woman who are not poor should pay for their own birth control. Here is why: I am a big believer in planning and I believe it is in the best interest of a government who wants to have a healthy economy to have a healthy, stable women workforce. And women who can afford birth control often don't take it when they should.

      One reason China is competing with the USA in many fronts is that it offers excellent higher education to its citizen, women and men alike. I can see evidence of that in the USA where some of the best scientists and professors are female Chinese women. Planning for a child is now part of the societal texture of China even though it started with the rigid Commuist rules that allowed them to have one child only.

      In the US, however, children are often not planned. They just come. It has to do with our openess to enjoying sex when the time is right and often not thinking about the consequences. I have to exclude Rick Santorums followers, of course. They only have sex in marriage and for procreation.

      You and I agree that it is best the government pays for contraception for women who cannot afford it because in the end it becomes more costly for the government to pay for those children with welfare services and food stamps etc. But it is equally costly to have a college student with a promising future ahead of her or a career woman who is climbing up the ladder in her company become pregnant and not finish her studies or lose that position to take care of a new baby. Sure, they could have afforded the pills, but making them free is an incentive to taking them even when a woman does not think she needs them. Ultimately, the government benefits when women plan when to have a child. And it is best for society to have children be born to families who are ready to take care of them – not only financially but also psychologically.



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  • BC

    I must also take issue with the comment that the current recession was caused by the GOP as it oversimplifies what has occurred – there's plenty of blame to go around and this has been a problem 30 years in the making.
    For starters, all politicians in every country bring up "hot issues" to distract attention from their own failings or to attack a competing political party.  This has been going on since the dawn of time.
    The US' economic problems are heavily rooted in a 40 year degradation of business and personal ethics, special interest lobbying, bad political decisions, a lack of medium and long term thought and excessive greed.
    The real debt problems got going when Reagan got into office.  In order to end the stagflation of the 70s he began to spend a lot of money to stimulate the economy.  The economy did get going and we saw a lot of greedy beahvior in the financial markets (businesses and people alike).  This is also when people started to go nuts with their credit cards.
    The leveraged buyouts (LBOs), junk bonds, S&L crisis are all good examples of this.  Consider the LBO.  A corporate raider looked at a company, healthy or not, and knew that the company was worth more broken up and sold in pieces then when left alone.
    So they borrowed money from banks to buy up the stock and once they had acquired the company they issued a lot of debt with which they paid back the bank loans.  Then they chopped up the given company into pieces and sold it.  With this revenue they paid down the debt and had extra left over, which is where they made all their money.
    The corporate raider made out as did the stock holders, but many employees ended up out of work.  This is a loose explanation as it did not always happen this way, but this was a big part of the first of four bubbles and it's four bubbles that have served to destabilize our economy and we are at the end now and we have yet to pay the piper.
    Not all LBOs are bad.  Sometimes companies are poorly run and would go out of business anyway so one can't make a blanket comment on this, but in general bubbles aren't good.  Many LBOs were nothing more than legalized theft.
    Reagan and Congress at the time own this bubble and it's subsequent bust.  Part of the reason that stuff like this occurs is human nature – no one wants to stop the party when the economy is humming and even if one wanted to you would get destroyed if you tried.
    Lesson here is  the problem with human emotions like greed and the result of no medium/long term thought.
    Bush 1 didn't do anything to wild economically or otherwise.
    Clinton did a lot of harm to the economy though and has a lot of responsibility for our current economic woes along with a fair amount of Congress.
    He owns both the tech (bubble 2)/mortgage (bubble 3) boom and busts and like all other administrations and Congresses before him continued to raid social security.
    Before the Netscape IPO in 1995 Wall Street used to have an unwritten rule that they would never take a company public that did not have 3-4 quarters of positive net income.  Part of the reason is they didn't want to screw their investors by selling them shares in a potentially unstable company.
    At any rate, it is illegal to sell highly risky securites to unsophisticated investors, which means you can't allow a customer to start trading calls and puts given how fast they move as if someone doesn't understand them they will lose their shirt.
    I also believe the investor had to have a net worth of at least $500k at the time, but I may be wrong on this one.  If I am right then most of the IPOs of the late 90s were in violation of securities laws. 
    Even if I'm wrong the point was another bubble was being created.  Once venture capitalists discovered that one could IPO any old start-up without positive net income they started to fund start-ups based on what they could IPO rather than what had a good chance of making money.
    So a lot of garbage got funded ultimately leading to the bust.  Again no medium/long term thought and a lot of people made money here and enabled it not just the financial guys.
    Congress did nothing to slow it down or moderate it nor did the Clinton admin.
    Next Barney Frank, Andrew Cuomo (HUD secretary at the time -now NY Gov.), Clinton and others decided that everyone should be able to own a home so they wrecked Freddie and Fannie's lending standards thus starting the mortgage boom.  Then mortgage lending went nuts – no credit checks, etc.
    And again a lot of people benefited.  But the point is Clinton owns this one as well.
    You also had sound legislation like Glass-Steagall repealed under Clinton's watch + Congress at the time further contributing to unsound financial behavior.
    Then enter Bush 2 and 9/11.  Lots of money blown on Iraq, which was not necesary and did Iran a great favor by getting rid of a thorn in their side.
    So you have a lot of money spent on the wars and the debt really begins to grow.
    At the end of his term you had the financial crash, which had its origins in the 90s with no derivatives regulation, mortgages and repealing stuff like Glass Steagall and shorting stocks on a down tick both of which were put into place in the 30s after the 29 crash.
    Enter Obama – goes insane spending -TARP, Stimulus, continued wars, AIG bailout, etc.  And while a lot of this was triggered before he entered office – in the 90s under Clinton, 00s for the war under Bush he has made a lot of bad expensive mistakes.
    Sorry for the length of the response, but our current economic problems have been in the making for almost 30 years and are due to both parties, special interest groups, corporations and a lot of individuals.  While people love to point the finger at some boogeyman there's plenty of blame to go around.
    The main driver has been excessive greed and a lack of medium and long term thought and as a society our behavior gets worse every decade.
    The fourth bubble is the govt. debt bubble, which has yet to burst and when it does (barring miraculous leadership across the board) the global economy is going to come apart.
    Other countries have their own problems as well (Europe, Japan, China,etc.) so it's not just the US.
    The bigger fish we have to fry is making sure that the world does not descend into chaos – so birth control is a non issue in comparison.
    The best quote to describe our current situation is… "We have met the enemy and he is us."

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  • itaest

    Fact is that When Clinton left office he left a SURPLUS and after 8 years of Bush with had a trillion in deficits.

    Fact is that under Clinton the unemployment rate fell from 7.5 to 4 and that the unemployment rate has fallen under Democratic presidents and risen with Republican administrations.

    I agree to a certain extent that Clinton and all the others did their fair share of mistakes. But they all do that, all presidents do good and do bad, they are human after all. The problem is when so much bad happens under the same president, and that would be Bush. If mistakes were done under previous administrations it was his responsability to fix them not to continue driving the bus into the ditch, which is exactly what he did.

    I don't see Obama's spending as insane spending. Bush's spending on the Iraq war while also cutting taxes for the rich and allowing oil and financial corporations to run wild, that is insane. There are economists who even say that the stimulus should have been much larger. And if Obama had to "bail out the banks" it is not because his buddies are running it or what not. Unfortunately, those banks are the pillars of the economy, if they go under so does everything else. And his stimulus, albeit shy, helped save the economy, we are out of the recession, too slow for most of us, but still, we are out of the worst. Unless there is another war.

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    • BC

      I do not randomly make comments and my desire is to end polarization and do what is best for our species.  I will answer your comments tomorrow.
      What I would like you to know is I personally understand the US healthcare problems better than most.  I was diagnosed with a very rare form of malignant bone cancer in my lumbar spine in 2011.  I had a very large tumor in my spine, but because I had no insurance I suffered through 6 months of agonizing pain.  The insurance I got was not good and while my tumor was removed I was denied radiation, which I have not had.
      The doctors have treated me like a subhuman.  I was told by one doctor in a waiting room in front of 20 other patients that I would die in 5 years if I didn't agree to his experiments.
      I want health insurance for all, but it has to be done in a way that works.  I am very analytical, read a lot and desire to speak the truth.  I want the best for all.  I will tell you more tomorrow.
      BTW – my daughter is half Peruvian so perhaps I have more links to the Hispanic community than you think.

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      • itaest

        Sorry about your terrible experiences with the American health care system. I can offer no consolation but I need to say this: If you were a German citizen you would not have suffered through such a subhuman ordeal. I know because I received the best health care possible and for free – and never a late appointment. As an American citizen, shouldn't you and every American have the right to have access to good health care? Don't you think the American economy would benefit from having intelligent and talented people like you be healthy and be able to participate in the economy?

        Regarding polarization… I am not so bothered by it. Actually, hearing different opinons motivates me to express my own opinon which you may have noticed is something I enjoy doing. Notice how much I have to say in answer to your comments. Yet, I have not much to say in answer to my friends' articles with which I mostly agree.

        I hope you will have access to better health care soon. Everyone should.

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        • BC

          Thanks, but there are things to learn in any situation and in this case I learned a great many get treated very poorly when it comes to healthcare and learning this has been a positive.
          I would be curious to get your thoughts on why Germany has such a lower cost per capita – perhaps we can go to school on this. 
          I think everyone in the US should have access to healthcare.  The $64k question is how does one make this happen though?  I think the first step is understanding why costs are so high – too much suing, medical school costs too much, etc.
          I think insurance companies should be not for profit like they used to be.  Where you run into trouble here is investors will lose their shirts, pension funds are invested in them, etc.  So one really needs to study the industry to see where money can be saved to lower costs.   If you had competition across state lines then companies'  would have to compete on lower premium costs and better service – i.e. they don't try to deny treatment to increase their EPS.  Or maybe you keep them for profit and it's the competition that lowers premiums all by itself – don't have enough info to say exactly what needs to happen, but I promise you I would aggressively go after frivilous lawsuits and cap awards.
          Competition keeps people honest.
          I think difference in opinions is great.  I don't want to live in a society where everyone thinks the same way as I do.  As for polarization – I don't define this as people with different opinions rather people clinging to rigid ideologies so tightly that they won't compromise = none of our problems get fixed.
          I'll be fine with my stuff, but I appreciate the well wishes.

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          • itaest

            As you were writing this comment I was watching Fareed Zakaria in CNN compare  Obamacare with the Swiss health care system. Check it out.

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            • BC

              Interesting read – thanks for posting.  Whatever the solution our system is not the same (nor is our legal system – states have a lot of power under the constitution) so one has to really study it and see how this would be applied.  I'm much more in favor of running beta tests and gradually expanding the system after one gets the bugs out.
              So if you went the way of Switzerland how much would doctors be paid in the US?  I doubt they earn as much in Switzerland, but the point is 8 years of university/medical school = $400k in debt.  This is why doctors get paid a lot + high medical malpractice insurance.
              Now many doctors won't take Medicaid because it pays too little meaning they lose money on the visit.  Keep in mind a doctor's office is a small business – nurse, equipment, malpractice insurance, rent, utility and if they don't earn enough they go out of business and as I told you I am no fan of doctors.  But you have to look at the economics of it all.
              So does Switzerland have the same suing problems?  I mean is any country in the world as sue happy as the US?  Again I think this is doable, but you really have to study our system and find out ways to cut costs.  So will anyone be willing to take the fight to big pharma, trial lawyers, medical device OEMs, AMA, cost of education, insurance, fraud, etc. – I haven't seen any real efforts here – the primary reason for which is lobbying.
              As I mentioned in a prior post (which you still haven't released), the reason the states are fighting this is additional medicaid costs put upon the states to make this more sellable + fear that when more are on Medicaid that the hospitals will go bankrupt.  And this is the major stumbling block to Obamacare because if SCOTUS rules in favor of the states the bill is DOA.
              The timing was bad as well.  Not a good idea to try to add 30 million to a system when we were in the worst economic condition since the Great Depression and again this gets back to the states – tax revenues are in the toliet – income, sales, property -they don't have the money to pay the extra medicaid costs – so they sued and will most likely win.
              If Obama had focused on the economy and righted it he would have had a huge win under his belt and then he should have launched this, but instead I think the economy will cost him the election.  The stimulus for example was a union hand out given to states to spend at their own discretion – so they didn't lay many off.  And while this was good for keeping people employed it did not stimulate anything rather kept the status quo.
              And yes Bush did the same thing with contractors/defense companies with Iraq – again lobbying – no one can get elected and not be owned unless a billionaire.
              Stimulus would have been something like rebuilding infrastructure – employs engineering companies, laborers, iron workers, steel/concrete gets bought from US factories/foundries, Caterpillar starts shipping more heavy equipment, etc.
              On the green front one could have done loan guarantees to stable companies to build solar thermal power plants/other so that via usage the tech could be hammered upon and improved.  Money could have been used to rebuild the electric grid and made it rad hard against CMEs/lose less electricity during transit, more intelligent switching/more cyber security and this list goes on and on.
              The biggest failing of much of Congress and the Obama Admin (and pretty much all admins) is they don't understand how the economy works.  I have never in my life seen so many CEOs slam a president – they usually avoid politics.
              I definitely give Obama an A for not denying coverage to pre-existing illnesses and having the balls to say that our system is screwed up and trying to do something about it, but I give him an F on execution.
              Another problem is they did this backwards – they started with the answer and tried to make it work rather than doing their homework and seeing that "hey there are 10 differents paths we can take."  Same thing happened with electric vehicles and the whole green movement.
              Even then you still have the problem of lobbyists – medical is 1/6th of the economy and no one will willing give up market share so you get it done by selling it to the populace, but in order to do this you have to have a very well thought out plan to counter lobbyists arguments.
              What was passed is suffering from a few things – very poorly defined (devil is always in the details), tried to do too much too soon – this is a massive business you can't hope to fix it with one bill, hasn't done anything to cut high costs and I don't know how you add 30 million more without getting costs under control.
              Lobbying is a big problem in the US and not just in healthcare, but for Wall Street, unions, defense, etc.  Moderate lobbying is fine, but now it's out of control.  Time to get rid of career politicians.
              Also single payer is bad – the govt. runs nothing efficiently and trust me you don't want them running something this big.  Other problem with the govt. is insufficient accountability exists on govt. employees + no incentive to make it more efficient over time because no competition.
              Sorry for the rant and as I already told you I think everyone should have access to care, but you have to go about it in the right way and at the right time.

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            • BC

              Just to show you that I am not in the bag for either side I will now slam conservative Christians.  They vehemently opposed Obamacare – I guess they missed Bible study the day when they taught the Good Samaritan parable.
              They also were big backers of the Iraq war – don't remember Jesus throwing out the money changers and then waving in the defense contractors.
              Our country is screwed up 7 ways to Sunday and unless we come together as a nation and drop all this partisan bickering we are done for.

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            • BC

              Another idea would be to cut costs by developing other ways of treating people that are much cheaper and less invasive if possible.
              For example, cancer takes a huge toll on society, but also costs a great deal to treat.  What if there were a way to avoid surgery and chemo?  Perhaps via advance technology – light or some kind of sonic wave.  Perhaps there is a mix of non patentable items that could be made into a pill.
              NIH could fund some studies here and I believe currently a lot of this is verboten because the doctors, pharma and device OEMs would lose a lot of market share.  i.e. break the monopoly that exists and serve it a little competition.

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    • BC

      The economy was very good under Clinton and we recovered nicely from the recession in the early 90s and as you indicate unemployment did drop – no argument.  He did benefit greatly from the tech bubble, which collapsed at the end of his term.
      Bush blew an incredible amount of money on Iraq, which should never have happened greatly adding to our debt – agreed.  Wall Street by the way has bought and paid for both political parties.
      Unemployment fell tremendously under Reagan actually so I don't think you can pin rise or fall of the unemployment rate to a given party rather it tends to be based on economic cycles.   Bush jr. actually saw unemployment fall during his tenure in office – until the end.
      Again all of this is driven by economic cycles, which do not necessarily start or end during the tenure of a given president.
      I agree that the banks had to be bailed out or we would have seen cascading bank failure replete with runs on the banks like in the 1930s.  Both Bush and Obama supported this.  However, if Glass-Steagall had not been repealed in the late 90s and Freddie/Fannie lending standards had not been trashed with the idea that everyone should have had a home then the crisis would not have occurred.  On top of this no president or Congress ever did much to regulate derivatives since their advent in the late 80s – again Wall Street owns both sides.
      Which again gets back to my point on the problems of the bubbles of the past 30 years.  Both Carter and Bush 1 got voted out on poor economies.  People vote with their pocket books whether a given president is responsible for the state of the economy or not.
      One can even argue that our debt problems started even earlier with the cost of the Vietnam war, which was unnecessary just like Iraq, but was different in that it was a product of the cold war.
      Outside of what a president wishes to do a lot of bad economic behavior is driven by people and entrenched powerful groups that lobby.
      If we are to break this cycle of boom to bust then we need leadership politically and business wise that won't tolerate unsound economic behavior, which entails lessening greed.  The average person needs to step away from greed as well.
      I agree that we are out of the worst temporarily barring another war; however, we have $16 trillion in debt and rising fast.  If one assumes no war with Iran then the economy will continue to improve, but in a few years we will run into a brick wall due to the debt.  In ten years, unless spending is changed our national debt will probably be around $25 trillion – it's pretty clear to me that the US is on a fixed path to default.
      Europe has similar debt problems.  China on the other hand faces the specter of revolution.  They have grown too fast and in doing so a lot of people from the countryside moved to cities to work in factories.  If the global economy slows down badly their exports will drop precipitously and many workers will be laid off with no ability to earn a living and buy food.
      So the world needs very good leadership at this time and not just the US.

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  • LaLucilaKid

    as one thing, so another thing.  We were once citizens and we were given rifles and sent to Europe.  When we got back the factories looked for other things to make and very inventively, found them.  Like hula hoops. But citizens don't necessarily buy stuff.  So they enlisted Madison Avenue to replace the US Army and they trained us to be consumers.
    In those days people bought things with money they had.  But the factories began demanding more consumers and oil was producing fertilizers, enough to feed crops that could end food scarcity.  Humans had always been frugal about overpopulating the planet because of famines.  With more humans, the credit card was born.  Plenty of consumers spread the risk to the banks.  Soon the banks changed their demeanor radically.  Bankers had always been sourpusses.  Now they welcomed debt with open arms.
    So insurance companies got excited next.  With all these consumers they could spreak the risk.  They began to insure health.  For awhile things went smoothly.  But then the poisons created by the oil began polluting human livers and all sorts of cancers erupted, more than the health insurance system could handle.  But since the system was by now on autopilot, something had to be done.  And that is how the latest fad began:  turning consumers into slaves.  We are in the middle of this process now, building pyramids for the kings of Egypt

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    • diversity_usa

      While we are aggravating environment problems and creating new diseases we are also curing many others and creating new technologies to protect the environment. There have always been diseases that killed people throughout history including cancers. But life expectancy is much better now than only 100 years ago.
      The real problem is that only some people in this planet have the purchasing power to benefit from the best heath care (except in Europe where they have universal healthcare), technology advantages and life of comfort, while the rest have to suffer the consequences of the explotation of the environment, nature, economy, social and political systems by the few privileged ones.

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      • BC

        Well said and I think you've hit the nail on the head and not just on healthcare, but one of the underlying problems in the US.
        We went from the industrial revolution where people were treated quite poorly.  Although later on, the Jungle by Upton Sinclair did a pretty good job of describing a lot of this unfairness.
        Over time with the advent of unions, people increasingly becoming edcuated more and more began to do better and a middle class really blossomed.
        I think this all began to go downhill in the 80s with the financial boom to bust cycle from which we are still trying to escape and above all greed has gotten out of control like it did in the 20s.
        I think we need a return to balance.  Unfortunately, too many of us only learn via pain and suffering.  If we could act out of understanding rather than fear things would be a lot better.
        Almost feels like were headed towards a global coporate feudalism of sorts.
        Again great observation – thanks for sharing.

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