Thursday, December 4, 2008

Excercise Democracy? When?

Merry Christmas!

... Merry Christmas??? ... The young father of a neighbor died a few days ago of cancer. I wonder if he is one of the statistics of the couple of HUNDRED real people who DIE EACH DAY UNNECESSARILY in the United States simply because we have such poor health care performance compared to other industrialized countries.

In the past 13-14 months, even though over half of Americans support non-profit single-payer national health insurance, Americans have made zero progress in getting it.

There is something seriously wrong. We STILL need have the need to exercise our democracy.

A "Prepare for Change" strategy involves single-payer activists
1) educating citizens,
2) getting some of the educated to be participants by getting reminders to communicate to their U.S. Representatives,
3) getting some of the educated to tell 3 other persons,
4) giving a short training session to those citizens who wish to themselves become activists so that they are prepared to tell more than 3 other citizens.

--- NOTE that this strategy mainly requires time and effort; there are NO requests for activists or citizens to send money to a state or national organization, and there is NO need to spend money on brochures, posters, and so on. Anyone can do this no-budget, low-expense grassroots strategy. [Those activists who go to multiple cities will need to cover their own personal expenses, such as for transportation and phone calls.]

The "Prepare for Change" strategy is required, because people are naturally concerned about change. Even people who know that they care have been too readily influenced by those organizations and individuals who have spent and are still spending literally hundreds of millions of dollars to oppose what EVERY other industrialized nation in the world has had for many years ... with BETTER health of citizens and with citizens having PEACE of MIND!

The influence of money and propaganda has caused people (who know in their heart that we need non-profit financing of health care) to have their opinions swayed when it comes to key moments ... like voting on ballot issues (Oregon, California, and probably others).

We are at a MOST CRITICAL time. If we do not act NOW then 2010 will see the FURTHER dismantling of Medicare. The U.S. Congress in 2003 established the plan that in 2010 Medicare will go MORE to privatization! This is the WRONG direction!

It is time to exercise Our Representative Democracy.
We must have thousands of participants in EVERY U.S. Congressional District.

The choice is simple. Either we follow a "Prepare for Change" strategy or we continue to have zero progress.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Exercise Democracy

Happy July 4th!

It is time to exercise Our Representative Democracy

We, the citizens, need to provide a massive set of communications to the members of the U.S. Congress: thousands of participants writing notes to each U.S. Representative.

The activity is a top priority action within the national Health Care for All movement.

The choice is simple. Either we do this activity or we fail. To not do this activity is suicide to our efforts.

We must educate each other!

We must motivate each other to communicate!
  • Have you written your note this month (for March, June, September, December)?
  • Have you called this month (for the remaining 8 months of the year)?

Monday, April 21, 2008

205-277 people EVERY day

My previous post was "60 People EVERY Day." Now I often also think of the 205 to 277 people who die every day in the United States under age 75.

These are UNNECESSARY DEATHS. Why are they not necessary?
The United States is the bottom of 19 countries in its ability to minimize the number of deaths due to preventable diseases.
  • As per a study partly funded by the Commonwealth Fund, which announced the results in January 2008:
    • The U.S. ranked 15th out of 19 using 1997-1998 data.
    • The U.S. ranked 19th out of 19 using 2002-2003 data.
      • Rankings from 1st to 19th: France, Japan, Australia, Spain, Italy, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Austria, Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Britain, Ireland, Portugal, United States
The researchers (E. Nolte and M. McKee) estimated how many lives would be saved in the United States if the U.S. performed better ...

205 people EVERY day
would NOT be dying
if we were only
average in performance
among 19 countries
in minimizing preventable deaths

For more explanation go to and select "Real People" ... or go directly to that web page.

Friday, February 29, 2008

60 people EVERY day

Ever since I saw the January 10 PNHP Quote-of-the-Day, I have often thought of the 60 people, on average, who die every day in the United States under age 65 due to the fact that those people did not and do not have health insurance.

Whether or not you were already aware of the update of the number of deaths from 18,000 per year (50 per day) in 2000 to 22,000 per year (60 per day), please read or re-read Doctor Don McCanne's comments.

60 people EVERY day

Please remember that this number is ONLY those who die due to uninsurance. As Dr. McCanne highlights, it does not count the number who died due to underinsurance.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What's In It for ME?

A couple of days ago a close friend said that Americans want to know what's in it for them in terms of immediate benefits ... such as in Joining Nine-Nine-Oh-Nine! to give some indication that there is interest in writing notes to the U.S. Congress.

Isn't it good enough to have a more caring society ... and remember the details that preceded of Sally Brown's death on the 10th of January 2008?

Examples of those details:
  • "asthma, emphysema and congestive heart failure"
  • "every breath an agony"
  • "little more than a year to live"
  • "medical bills piling at her door"
  • "(health insurance company) ... policy had been canceled"
  • "unable to work at the job she loved"; "(employer) terminated her employment"
  • "disability expired the same week she lost her job"
  • "more than $20,000 in bills"
Isn't it good enough to remember that citizens of other countries are more satisfied with their health care system than we are with ours, often simply because they know that people get care? -- See "World's Best Medical Care?" PNHP 8-20-07 here.

My family of four lived in Canada for over four years. After several years of having been back in the United States, I started asking Canadians what they think of the health care there. The first answer I received was very positive and was based solely on the fact that Canadians care for one another. To give you another example of an answer, the last reply that I received from a Canadian was only one word: wonderful. But let's not focus on individual answers, just refer to the previous paragraph.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Taking Care of Single Mom with Triplets

I could hardly believe my ears when a woman in Michigan told me that she's a single mother with triplets. I immediately wondered if there was anything that I could do to help her if she needed specific help, especially since I love children.

She said she had heard that the U.S. is the ONLY country in the world without health care for all of its citizens. I emphasized to her that the fact has not sunk fully into the minds of U.S. citizens, trying to indicate what a huge injustice it is to the vast majority of us.

So, shortly after the brief chat, I thought once again that WE the citizens of this great country of ours, the United States of America, can help take care of this single mother with triplets ---- and everyone else. "All" we have to do is implement a non-profit national health insurance, such as the extremely efficient single-payer option. All we have to do is demonstrate that we care.

But we must take action

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Disease in the Belt-Way

One of the times in 2007 that I was in Washington D.C. I learned this: some people in the Washington D.C. area apparently refer to D.C. and the surrounding area as the "Beltway"

There is a kind of a disease in that beltway. It causes most of the members of the U.S. Congress to have their vision blocked and their ears closed. It causes an endless repetition of one of these sets of words:
  • "Single-payer is not politically feasible."
    • This is the short version that is said the most often.
  • "Single-payer is definitely the best solution, but I don't think it has the political will to make it happen."
    • Heard face-to-face during a chat with a U.S. Senator.
  • "If I was starting from scratch, I'd certainly want single-payer, but (speaker fills in his or words for the rest)."
    • Heard directly from another U.S. Senator of another state.
Here is my translation of these sentences and any other similar sentences:
  • A huge number of dollars are spent by health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies in this county fighting what is good for the United States. U.S. citizens have the option of rising up with literally millions of direct contacts with the members of the U.S. Congress. One of those sets of direct contacts could be the activity of "Notes and Votes" pouring two to four thousand personally composed letters into the offices four times per year, growing each time. But, until something massive like that happens, there will continue to be zero support in the U.S. Senate and less than one-fourth support in the U.S. House. Why? Because there are many more health care lobbyists than there are members of the U.S. Congress. These lobbyists have a continual impact on the minds and the activities and the actions of the U.S. Congress.
It's important to keep in mind that
  • The people HAVE spoken.
  • The medical horror stories HAVE been communicated in multiple ways.
  • The polls HAVE been taken over and over again.
  • The federal government's own reports and working groups have documented that the nation will benefit from non-profit, single-payer national health insurance.
  • There is no excuse.
  • The facts are known.
Based on everything written above, it is nothing short of corruption that most members of the U.S. Congress are not responding to what over half of Americans want. Today I read it described by another single-payer activist as "a flagrant betrayal of trust by our legislators (which is a definition of treason)."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Very Angry Medical Biller(s) and a Look to the Future

Very recently I spoke with the husband of a medical biller. He said that every U.S. citizen should see the movie SiCKO. After seeing SiCKO his wife declared that it was all the truth, that what's seen on SiCKO is what happens all of the time. She's very angry about the situation.

I asked him about his wife losing her job when the U.S. implements national health insurance. With a very big smile he said that he'd be very pleased if she lost her job for that reason.

She and others in her billing department (one of two or three billing groups in the organization) make up a group of health care workers: technicians and nurses. In other words, they are highly skilled people who are doing the billing job for various reasons, such as better working hours. But their training is such that they could readily be working as health care workers, helping satisfy the need for an expanded amount of health care activities that will occur when the U.S. implements single-payer national health insurance.

Based on what is written above, I write the following with tears in my eyes:
  • A Glimpse of the Future: some of the health care workers might not like the hours as well. But, according to the above words, but they might very much like the caring for people within a more caring society. Wow, that's a very heavy positive thought.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Out of Touch with Reality

As a general statement:
Most Members of the U.S. Congress are Out of Touch with Reality regarding Health Care

In mid-June 2007, when I personally went to the offices of the 435 U.S. Representatives and 100 U.S. Senators to notify them about Nine-Nine-Oh-Nine!, I noticed many staff people, such as the personnel for mail, house-keeping, and maintenance.

I spoke with one of those persons briefly, asking them what they had for health insurance. The person assured me that those workers were all set as federal employees. They all have health insurance with the same federal benefits as the U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators. Wow! During the last 20 years my company did exactly what thousands of other companies did. The services that I listed are contracted out. In many cases the resulting personnel performing those services not only have lower pay rates, but their benefits were also slashed. In other words, those people have no health insurance benefits in many cases.

Since our society is slashing wages of the lowest-income workers, the least we could to is to have a fair, equitable, cost-efficient, non-profit health care financing so that everyone has access to health care.

Members of the U.S. Congress are continuously surrounded by people who are not experiencing the same reality as the average American. Why? Because they do not operate their organization in the same fashion as much of the rest of the nation!

With my insurance going up 44% this year and roughly 550% over six years, I am one of those people who is IN the reality that we, the citizens, must work to get single-payer financing ... and get the factor of profit out of health care financing.

By the way, what triggered this sharing was my listening to Morning Edition's segment about health insurance and U.S. Presidential candidates this morning. See or hear it here.

Ah ... there's so much more to say ... but that's enough for today. --- Bob

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Average Persons are Real People

I try to avoid "bashing" insurance companies and proclaiming or otherwise focusing on individual horror stories." I prefer to focus on the average person ... and the positive results of what U.S. citizens could have. That is, we could have it if we simply communicated what we want, such as the example of writing our notes that we want it.

The Average Person in Other Industrialized Countries --
  • pays less than half the cost for health care
  • has a higher degree of satisfaction with health care
  • has no fellow citizens having medically-caused bankruptcies
The Average Person in the United States --
  • has a significantly lower life expectancy
  • has a large financial burden regarding health care
  • has many barriers to being able to access health care
  • has 22,000 fellow citizens dying every year due to having no health insurance
Real People

Yesterday I read the words of another full-time volunteer activist, who is also a health care policy expert. As a family physician for over three decades, he saw real people die merely because they did not have insurance. He asks us this: do body counts, such as the 22,000 in 2006, really matter when they are not accompanied by information on each of the real human beings who died?

These are fellow human beings dying, not just body count numbers.
  • If we counted the number of deaths due to insurance company decision-making, the number of deaths would be higher.
  • Every day that we don't go to non-profit, publicly financed health care (single-payer national health insurance) then, on average, another 60 people die due to a lack of health insurance and more die that we have not counted
These are real people. They die every day simply because we just haven't yet gotten this one right. Please do a few effective, efficient actions to make it right ...

Select this link to: Take action.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Over 50 more died today --- the average is now about 60

Today's Quote of the Day by Don McCanne is available here. It is titled "Make that 22,000 uninsured deaths".

On a daily basis the number of uninsured who died every day in the United States averaged about 50 per day in 2000 and is now averages about 60 per day as of 2006. Please write notes and help stop this.

See the first item at Best Daily Update for information about the daily update that you can get from Dr. Don McCanne via e-mail ----- and a Tip about how to get full advantage of Dr. McCanne's efforts to give updates about health care policy.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Barack Obama On How to Get Single-Payer

I do not like the lack of response to date from Senator Barack Obama and his staff to the repeated requests that he support single-payer national health insurance. Those requests have been given to him by hundreds of people on his own web site.

More importantly, I do not like the lack of a positive response from Senator Obama to the people of New Hampshire, who have made it perfectly clear to him and the entire country what we, the people, want: single-payer national health insurance.


However, I do give Barack Obama credit for being one of my motivators that has me going forward confidently regarding asking people to write notes to their U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators via the U.S. Postal Service.

WRITE NOTES. On April 3, 2007 Senator Obama made it very clear to citizens at his community meeting on health care in New Hampshire that personally-composed notes can and do get results in terms of establishing the health care policy that citizens want.

WRITE NOTES. He also made it clear on that day that he requires citizens to act. He said " ... I have to insist on the voters rallying for this change".

Reference for both of Obama's points and more:

WRITE NOTES. I was in his office on November 2, 2007 and heard one of his staff give a constituent the same message: constituents can best give their input by composing it and send it in the mail so that the staff can keep good track of it and respond to it.

Let's follow this popular Senator's advice! Let's keep on writing our notes every three months and get single-payer! --- If you support him, include his campaign office on your list of where you send your notes!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year and Special Thanks

THANKS FOR THE THANKS --- My very special thanks to individuals who have recognized the power of the outstanding set of tools at the Nine-Nine-Oh-Nine! web site to do the following:
  • support single-payer activists in their work to get Health Care for All with single-payer national health insurance.
  • support individuals 1) to write notes to the U.S. Congress and 2) to vote with consideration of who supports single-payer.

CONTINUOUS PROGRESS --- Today the outstanding volunteer webmaster made more improvements. It will still be plenty of work to get the information and maintain it, but the web site's functions make it feasible to report the up-to-date information to you.

STAY POSITIVE --- No matter what you or I work on, we need to stay positive and continue to work on the cause.

My very best regards and many e-Hugs to all, Bob Haiducek