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Today, President Obama signed the much-fought-over health care reform bill into law.

Almost immediately, a group of thirteen Republican state attorneys-general filed a lawsuit in federal district court seeking to overturn the law.* I suppose we should be grateful that their rationale for overturning the statute has nothing to do with alleging that Barack Obama is secretly a Kenyan Muslim and thus not eligible to be president.

While the new law represents an improvement over the current system, and it will make health insurance available to many who are currently regarded as uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions, I do not believe that it will truly halt runaway health care costs.

The main problem, of course, was that the Obama administration and Congress would not look outside the current mostly for-profit health insurance paradigm for more effective ways to provide health care to the people of this country.

Someone please explain to me how insurance companies add any value to health care services? When did adding a middleman to any transaction ever drive costs down? Their role, if they want to be profitable, is to deny and/or place limitations on the health care services ordered by patients’ physicians.

And in exchange for this, they claim a hefty share of every health care dollar.

Yes, if we are doomed to retain the insurance company paradigm, the health reform bill represents a marked improvement over the existing system. But will it truly provide insurance coverage at a reasonable rate to everyone who needs it?

Somehow, I doubt it. Especially since the public option did not survive the legislative process. But the individual mandate did survive the process, so now those of us with no employer-sponsored insurance are at the mercy of all those mostly-for-profit insurance companies.

If we were serious about fixing our broken health care system, Congress would have given serious consideration to moving to a single-payer system. Take the profit-driven insurance companies out of the equation, and you will find that costs drop significantly, while consumer satisfaction will increase (so long as the system is adequately funded to meet public needs, that is). Plus, health care dollars will actually go primarily to providing health care, rather than to driving up insurance company shareholder profits.

Of course, talk of a single-payer system prompts the teabaggers – excuse me, Tea Partiers – and the sort of people who actually believe what they hear on Faux News to panic and scream about socialism and death panels. (Do they really think insurance companies don’t deny care – even though denial will mean a patient’s death – on cost/benefit grounds?)

Call it socialism if you must. I assure you, my feelings will not be hurt if you call me a socialist, as I don’t view it as an insult or a badge of shame the way certain people (cough*teabaggers*cough) do. Heck, while you’re at it, call me a liberal and a feminist as well. No skin off my nose.

But some services should be socialized. We already have a number of services that fall into this category at either the state or federal level: Medicare, Social Security, police and fire protection, public education, road and highway maintenance, and food safety inspections, to name just a few. We have the government provide these services because it is the most efficient and cost-effective way to ensure that everyone benefits from these services.

Why shouldn’t health care be in the same category?

jane doe

* A copy of what purports to be the district court filing can be found here, though I question whether it is the lawsuit as filed – the document contains numerous errors that should have been caught at the proofreading stage.


If you’ve been watching Glenn Beck much lately – something I generally try to avoid, but I inevitably see clips on Countdown, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and/or just about every blog on the liberal side of the blogosphere – you know that the man has been bandying about terms like “Nazi” and “fascist” and “Hitler” pretty freely in connection with progressives generally and President Obama in particular.

Not that President Obama is particularly progressive, but that’s another rant for another time.

Anyway, Beck has been engaged in a lot of ranting and raving and name calling, including some odd combos like “communist fascists,” which apparently is what happens when someone moves so far to the left end of the political spectrum that they end up back around at the extreme end of the right side of the spectrum.

Apparently no one’s ever explained Godwin’s Law to Mr. Beck.

Now, just yesterday, I ran across the following photo from the Washington Post (h/t @chrislhayes, link takes you to the original photo in context):

Glen Beck addressing the crowd at CPAC in February 2010

THIS guy likes to bandy about Hitler comparisons?

I ask you, who does this photo remind you of?

Here’s a hint. Change the flag behind him with another historical flag. One from, say, Germany. Late 1930s – mid 1940s era.

Seriously, dude. Glass houses. Pot. Kettle.

Mind, I’m not calling Glenn Beck a Nazi. Because, hey, I am familiar with Godwin’s Law.*

I’m just saying that, well, if there was a photo of me looking like this floating around on teh internets, I’d really want to avoid mentioning the H-word. Or the F-word. Um, fascist, that is, not the other F-word (which I manifestly have no problem with using when the occasion seems to call for it).

Just a thought.

jane doe

* I will concede that there comes a point where the comparison to fascism as a system of government may be appropriate, despite the emotional valence of the term. I drafted a couple of posts for this blog during the Bush administration where I speculated about where we as a nation were along the slippery slope leading to fascism, though I don’t remember if I actually posted any of them. I was not alone in speculating about this – see for instance Joe Conason’s It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush.


So, former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino — you remember her, right? Bush administration Kool-Aid junkie? Well, I guess she’s forgotten all about 9/11. Because she was on Fox News recently, distressed that they weren’t calling the Ft. Hood shooting a terrorist attack, and she actually said that there were no terrorist attacks during the Bush administration.

I know. Mind boggling.

Amazingly, it appears her amnesia is some new contagious type, because Sean Hannity doesn’t bother to correct her assertion that “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.” Guess he forgot about 9/11, too.

Sad, very sad. I hope they get help for that. I wonder what kind of health insurance they have?

On a completely unrelated note, sorry I haven’t been around lately. I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo, and that’s taking a lot of my time. I’m probably going to do some posts in the near future, though.

Next week. After NaNoWriMo ends.

jane doe


Okay, if you’ve been paying any attention to the ultra-paranoid wingnut Rep. Michele Bachmann (R – Minn) or the late-night comedians who mock her, you’ve already heard that there are those on the right-wing fringe (also known as Republicans in good standing) who are objecting to the upcoming 2010 census as some sort of sinister left-wing plot.

A sinister left-wing plot mandated by Art. 1, Sec. 2 of that document of the radical left known as the U.S. Constitution.

Bachmann and others have announced their intention to boycott the census next year because…well, I’m a little unclear why, actually…apparently it has something to do with ACORN (the right’s favorite villain after Obama and the Clintons). And they are urging others on the lunatic fringe to boycott it as well.

Now, personally, I’m actually okay with large numbers of people in the red states boycotting the census, because the net effect if they do is that they will lose further representation in the House of Representatives, resulting in additional representatives being apportioned to the blue states. Fewer Republicans in the HoR? Sounds good to me.

However, I do feel obligated to point out to Rep. Bachmann that she might want to be cautious in her public statements about her intentions with respect to the 2010 census.

See, she’ll still be in office when it occurs (barring any revelations that she’s been hiking the Appalachian Trail like Gov. Sanford of South Carolina). And when she was sworn in, part of her oath was to uphold the laws and constitution of the United States.

And the census is required by both the laws and the constitution. As is participation in same.

Now, I’ve been known to criticize unjust laws and even engage in a little civil disobedience from time-to-time, in spite of my own oath to uphold the laws and constitution back when I was practicing law.

On the other hand, this blog (read by literally tens of readers) is about as high-profile as my own comments ever get. Nobody is pointing a microphone or a television camera at me.

Of course, they’d have to find me first, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, if Bachmann refuses to participate in the census, well, she’s pretty much giving a road-map to anyone who might be inclined to make an example of her by prosecuting or impeaching her for her refusal to participate every time she opens her mouth in front of a TV camera and announces her intent to boycott the census.

Just sayin’…

jane doe

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