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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rebecca Terk: Throw the B.S. Flag, Mr. President!

President Obama delivered a speech to America's schoolchildren yesterday. Now admit it, conservatives and obstructionists: aren't you glad the President stuck with the teleprompter and didn't go off on some some Red surprise on your helpless children? He even ended with his little boost for the theocracy. What's not to cheer about that?

So as your trusty teachers return to their regularly scheduled lesson plans, teaching patriotic little books like The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck readers of the world, unite!), we turn our attention to a much bigger Presidential speech, Barack Obama's address tonight to a joint session of Congress on health care reform. I approach this speech with dread, as the White House has been sending all sorts of conciliatory signals that it plans to compromise with an opposition that hasn't budged and won't budge. President Obama seems likely to continue the nice-guy approach, seeking bipartisanship that will win at best three votes from a party otherwise singularly focused on destroying the President.

I won't get my wish, but I'll wish it anyway: I wish President Obama would take the podium tonight, kick over the teleprompters, and quote Rebecca Terk's fine headline:

Quit the Bullsh*t—Public Option Now!

Six words, Mr. President. The first three capture perfectly the nature of the obfuscations and outright lies spread by those who prefer the status quo's corporate profits and needless deaths to effective health insurance reform. The last three capture perfectly the simple and necessary element of the plan: a public insurance option that sets the standard for affordable, universal coverage that can't be taken away from any citizen.

Rebecca makes the case from her own experience of working hard to earn health benefits, only to have the insurance company do all it can to do nothing for her. Work hard, get bupkis—that's not the American way I learned in school. That's not what the President told our kids yesterday.

Darned socialist teachers like Rebecca understand that the current sytem isn't working. What a joy it would be to have the President follow Rebecca's lead on health care (and mine, David's, Adam's, and Bill's), stand up tonight, and throw the B.S. flag.


  1. Public option! Public option! He said it! YES!!!

  2. deondra McCormack9/10/2009 1:58 PM

    There is so much I want to address. Hopefully, I will do so w a respectful tone and not be too disjointed.

    To whom are you and Rebecca writing? You already agree w each other. I know you’re not preaching to the choir. From your content, I think you want to convince errant conservatives. But you won’t do that with confrontational street language like “Bullsh*t.” A college instructor knows the principles of appropriate language and tone for her audience. But Rebecca alienates the people she wants to persuade by the title of her piece.

    I’m also surprised at the irony of her blog indictment of health care insurance costs following her blogs on her trip to Seattle. What an unfortunate juxtaposition. She can't afford insurance but she can afford a plane ticket, which will probably become a tax deduction as a business trip. Granted an insurance premium and a plane ticket are not equal costs, but Rebecca accidently supports the conservative argument that poor prioritizing is a problem for those who say they can’t afford insurance. I pay my premiums, but I don’t get a vacation anywhere.

    On her blog, Rebecca complains about her insurance plan’s six-month waiting period. All insurance companies do this so people won’t take out a policy one month and hit the company with a million dollar pre-existing condition the next. Did Rebecca not read her policy?

    Speaking of not reading things, the length of the reform bill is so daunting that Congress admits to not reading it. But the length also hints at the boondoggle to follow. How can our government reform health care when it can’t run social security, Medicare, or the post office? This government cannot write a simple sentence.

    Finally, why doesn’t Obama also offer tort reform to cut health care costs? It seems duplicitous to attack the insurance companies and the conservatives while ignoring the lawyers running up costs because of frivolous malpractice suits and stratospheric settlement costs.

    Why can’t we have insurance reform w tort reform? I’d cancel my RSVP to the next tea party to support you in that. But until you demand health care reform WITH tort reform, I’m going to oppose the public option. Using obscenities, w or w/out the asterisks, will not change my mind about the inefficiency of the current proposed “reform.”

    We want the same thing, I think, but we won’t get it if your persuasive arguments are couched in anger and obscenities. Our forefathers created every document this country was founded on w/out using the word “bullsh*t.” Their commitment was not less than hers. But their language was certainly better. deondra djamc76@yahoo.com

  3. Deondra, I'm wondering: are you saying it's acceptable to impose medical bankruptcy on someone who has the misfortune of falling ill less than six months after buying health insurance?

  4. of course not. i'm asking why she was surprised. she's a college instructor and didn't read her policy? it was there in black and white, and it's been standard procedure for decades.
    are you asking us to pay everyone's medical bills for the first six months? i'm up for that IF you will require every single person to buy their own insurance. and you implement tort reform. no insurance, no free six months. pay your insurance and we'll cover your first six months. deal? deondra djamc76@yahoo.com

  5. Actually, Deondra, your suggestion that Rebecca is somehow at fault implies that people should expect to be on the hook for all of their medical expenses for some arbitrary period, that it is acceptable that some people should be bankrupted by medical expenses.

    Yes, I am asking us, all 300 million of us, to pay everyone's medical bills, regardless of age. That's the only way to ensure that individuals are not financially destroyed by medical expenses. Very few people make enough money to guarantee that they can effectively cover the cost of any medical procedure they might need to continue living productive and relatively free lives. Why do I need to make a deal to achieve a moral imperative? You're sick, we'll help. That deal is much simpler.

    I'm not sure that you can advocate that every person buy their own insurance, any more than you can require every person to buy their own road or police protection. Suppose we could achieve universal health coverage through a government program that charged every American $3600 a year. My family could afford that—that's the amount we could stop paying for our current weak private health insurance and transfer to our IRS bill. But some working folks I know don't have even that much financial wiggle room and need tax breaks or subsidies or some sort of help from the rest of us so their kids can eat and sleep under a solid roof.

    We could create a complicated system where we all pay premiums to Uncle Sam to cover each other's medical bills for each individual's first six months of coverage... though that sounds grossly inefficient and redundant. Why mandate that you pay premiums to a private company for six months to get nothing while simultaneously paying a premium to Uncle Sam for your actual coverage? That plan serves no purpose but to protect the profits of one particular industry. Why not simplify the situation and just mandate everyone buy Uncle Sam insurance and have Uncle Sam (us) cover everybody all the time?


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