TIME’s Person of the Year

person-of-the-year3This morning, managing editor for TIME magazine, Rick Stengel announced the short list of contenders for this year’s TIME Person of the Year issue.  As in the past, recipients of this recognition are not always recognized for good works.  Sometimes they are recognized for the very damaging or disruptive actions they may have taken to propel themselves into the forefront of the collective psyche.  Follow me over the fold for the list, my thoughts on each person named and the opportunity to share your thoughts. Continue reading…

The Compromise of the Compromise

compromise1Late last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that a breakthrough deal had been reached on the contentious healthcare reform bill the President has been asking for.  But have they compromised away the core of the reform in this bill?  Did they deal away the part that really would have put some competition into the market to bring down the absurdly high rates people are faced with to maintain their coverage?  Will it make an insurance option available to those for whom today’s coverage is already priced beyond reach? Continue reading…

Senate HCR Bill Moves Forward Over Weekend

senate-shieldLate Saturday night, the US Senate voted to allow debate over their draft of healthcare reform legislation to begin on the floor.  This is another big hurdle that proponents of reform have overcome.  The Senate version of the bill still contains some version of a public option.  It will be interesting to see what amendments are added during the committee process.  For supporters of reform who may be feeling that the reform has been too compromised and watered down, follow me over the fold for a great breakdown of what the current draft of the Senate bill includes for all Americans. Continue reading…

HHS Dept Commissioned Study Says Regular Mammograms Only Needed After 50

mammogramSweeping new U.S. breast cancer screening guidelines are calling for an end to routine mammograms for women in their 40s and for women 50 to 74 they suggest a mammogram every other year.  This controversial new guideline was handed down by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF),  a group of nongovernmental experts convened by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review published literature and develop recommendations for the use of clinical preventive services.   Coming on the heels of the controversial Stupak Amendment limiting coverage for abortions that was inserted into the House healthcare bill in the eleventh hour at the behest of Catholic Cardinals, this new guideline seems to many to be a part of a broader campaign to hack away at hard won womens’ rights. Continue reading…

Follow the Money Redux

goldman_sachs_logo_0411A while back I posted several pieces here and here about how an observer could gauge the relative chances of significant healthcare being passed by Congress, simply by looking at the share prices of publicly traded health insurance companies like Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Humana, United Healthcare and others. Well, if anyone doubted that Wall Street was actually in a position to influence these things, follow me over the fold for iron clad proof that Wall Street wants reform to fail. Continue reading…

House Passes HCR Bill – Women’s Reproductive Rights Take Hit

us-houseThis past Saturday night, the  US House of Representatives worked all day and into the evening (it felt good to watch these people work on a weekend for once) and narrowly passed a bill aimed at reforming the broken healthcare system.  In the process though, they were forced to insert an amendment (the Stupak amendment) which disallows women who would be enrolled in the public option plan from getting abortions.  I am fed up with people inserting their religious preferences into legislation that effects all Americans, religious or otherwise. Continue reading…

Following the Money Part Deux

follow-the-moneyBack in July, before the screaming town hall silliness of Congress’s August recess and before the slow as molasses delivery of Max Baucus’s Senate Finance Committee health care bill, I wrote a piece about how to gauge the progress of health insurance reform legislation.  I pointed out that insiders on Wall Street, who have paid for unfair access to our legislators, would know ahead of the curve which way the reform would go.  This way they could nearly guarantee that they would not lose money from their investments into the healthcare sector whether reform passed or was defeated.  If it looked like reform was imminent, Wall Street would sell their holdings in healthcare companies driving stock prices of insurers down.  If the “Street” figured reform would go down in defeat, they’d buy more of the insurers’ stocks as it would be a safe bet that the gravy train would continue for the highly profitable insurance companies.  Back in July, the prices of insurance company stocks were surging.  The bankers on Wall Street seemed convinced that the public option – the only serious reform device being considered – was all but dead.  What does the insurance sector look like today three months later and weeks from the bill’s eventual passage?  Follow me over the jump to see. Continue reading…

Seeger Plays Health Care Reform Rally in Nyack, NY

img_65171Last night, I attended a pro-reform rally at Memorial park in Nyack, New York along the banks of the Hudson in the shadow of the picturesque Tappan Zee Bridge.  Nearly 1000 people turned out to support reform of the broken healthcare system and several musical acts donated their performance to rally the crowd.  The top act was none other than the legendary proponent of social justice, Pete Seeger.  Follow me over the fold for more details about the evening’s events and photos taken by yours truly. Continue reading…

Constitution Day Reminds Us, Why Healthcare Reform?

we-the-peopleSeptember 17th is Constitution Day and will fall on this coming Thursday.   This holiday, sometimes referred to as Citizenship Day recognizes the ratification of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is observed on September 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787.  But this year, it takes on a new significance as our nation debates whether or not to provide universal healthcare to all citizens.  I have heard many opponents of universal healthcare ask, “Where in the Constitution does it say that we’re entitled to universal healthcare?”.  Follow me over the fold for the answer to this, and other questions about the amazing document at the core of our Democracy. Continue reading…

Historic Healthcare Speech Tonight

obamaTonight, President Obama will address a full session of Congress in prime time on the topic of the healthcare legislation currently being debated on Capitol Hill.  Rarely do presidents address the fully assembled Congress outside of the annual State of the Union Address.  So this unusual step is designed to underscore the importance of this topic.  What will the President say? Continue reading…