Thursday, April 26, 2007

Topic For Discussion

George Carlin is a funny guy. However, a lot of his humor isn't "funny ha-ha" so much as "funny, but sadly, true." The following riff definitely falls into the latter category.

Here's the topic for discussion: If you're nodding and agreeing with Carlin, here -- then, after he's finished, are you inspired to change the world? Are you ready to jump off a tall building? Are you merely depressed and are now headed out for a drink (or some other intoxicant)?


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Letter to the Intelligencer Journal

To the Editor--

I was stunned to read in your April 14th edition that after years of denying the calculated massacre of refugees in No Gunn Ri, Korea, conclusive evidence was uncovered about the Unites States policy of routinely killing innocent civilians. What made this even more troubling was the choice of the Intelligencer news staff to bury it on page 4 of the Local section. I'm sure it must be difficult to appropriate the proper placement of a story regarding the slaughter of hundreds of women and children when it's competing with stories as important as the deer Baby and Anna Nicole's child (tongue firmly planted in cheek.)

As a nation we can accept no less than a renewed investigation into the events that took place on that tragic day and the withholding of incriminating documentation of the policy. The individuals responsible should be held accountable for their actions.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Healthcare Crisis In Pennsylvania

I am a nurse who has practiced in the state of Pennsylvania for 23 years, first as a Nurse Practitioner for 17 years, now as a staff nurse at one of Lancaster's local hospitals.

Progressives 4 Pennsylvania organized a Healthcare Forum to discuss the healthcare crisis in the state, 4/4/07. The Governor of Pennsylvania was in attendance.

The following is what the forum revealed to the 300 people who gathered:

Over 48 million Americans are without health care insurance. That doesn't even address the problem with the under-served, and those without proper access to the system.

A notable problem not addressed by anyone on the Healthcare Crisis panel at Franklin And Marshall 4/4/07 is that there are over 1500 different insurance companies here in the US, all with different rules and different paperwork.

No wonder access to care is such a problem.

The system needs to be overhauled. Governor Rendell's plan, Prescription For Pennsylvania, allows those who have created the problem to continue to get a paycheck, by rearranging the way everything is delivered.

The Ceo's of the Insurance Companies continue to get their billions of dollars and the Pharmaceutical Companies continue to profit from the sick and suffering.

The Governor doesn't seem to know anything about healthcare, anyway. That much is obvious: Like putting everyone's medical records on the internet; Or like putting mercurochrome on everyone's wounds in the emergency room; Or like letting nurses take over the health care system--talk about a war between the sexes!!

More than one in three Americans is either uninsured or under-insured, and studies suggest that being under-insured is almost as problematical as being uninsured.

People faced with large co-pays and deductibles avoid seeking medical attention until they absolutely have to. By then it is often too late to avoid a bad outcome.

Think about that 8-year old who died of a brain infection down in Baltimore recently because his family couldn't find a dentist who would do a $60 medicaid tooth extraction.

His mother did not have $60.

Think about people or who have insurance that barely covers anything, like so many situations people face today.

The insurance companies are bound by law to generate returns for their stockholders, not provide customers (patients) with high quality health care at an affordable cost. Therefore customers of health insurance have next to no leverage to influence the way insurance companies serve them.

All of my Canadian friends love the system they have in their country. The AMA (American Medical Association) pays to disseminate propaganda leading Americans to believe otherwise.

We need to directly ask Canadian Citizen's to educate Americans about their Health Care Delivery system.

We need to ask the Governor how much Pac money he got from the insurance companies to fund his run for Governor.

The forum was a great beginning for opening our minds to this problem. As Chuck Pennacchio suggested, author of the "Family and Business Healthcare Security Act," SB 300(a single-payor Statewide, comprehendsive healthcare delivery system), an Economic Impact Study is a logical next step.

Perhaps Progressive's For Pennsylvania can lead the way for making this study a reality.

Kate Loving Shenk is a writer, healer, musician and the creator
of the e-book called "Transform Your Nursing Career and Discover
Your Calling and Destiny." The book is designed to stimulate
nurses to love their work and to prevent on-the-job-burnout.
Click here to find out how to order the e-book:
Check out Kate's Blog:
And the Lens:


Saturday, April 07, 2007

P4P Hosts Forum on Universal Health Care; Governor Rendell Likes Single-Payer Plan

"I've said a single-payer system would serve Americans well. Would I sign single-payer legislation if it came to me? Yes," Rendell said.

from: Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, April 5, 2007

Rendell drops by health forum at F&M

Touts 'Prescription for Pennsylvania' plan
BY SUSAN E. LINDT, Intelligencer Journal Staff

Gov. Ed Rendell popped in at a local health care forum Wednesday to plug his mammoth "Prescription for Pennsylvania" plan, which he said could provide Pennsylvanians with affordable health care.

The forum, sponsored by Progressives 4 Pennsylvania, included panelists detailing problematic aspects of the current health care system and a speech by panelist Chuck Pennacchio, a 2006 U.S. Senate candidate who plugged his own answer to the problem: a single-payer plan known as state Senate Bill 300.

Progressives 4 Pennsylvania was formed in 2006 by local backers of Pennacchio's failed bid for the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat.

"Unless it's single-payer, it's not universal," Pennacchio said, before Rendell arrived at the forum at Franklin & Marshall's Alumni Sports & Fitness Center. "It's only universal if everyone is covered. Let's get our terminology right. Our bill gets at the source of the problem. We already have single-payer health care; it's called Medicare, and it works."

Under a single-payer plan, one entity -- a government-run organization -- would collect all health care fees, and pay all health care costs. A multipayer plan, as featured in Rendell's proposal, would work with the existing insurance system.

With his signature sense of humor, Rendell defended his multipayer plan, even while conceding a single-payer model might be better. He listed Pennsylvania's powerful health-insurance lobbies and lack of support on the national level for universal health care as hurdles preventing him from proposing a single-payer plan.

"I've said a single-payer system would serve Americans well. Would I sign single-payer legislation if it came to me? Yes," Rendell said. "Would I like to wake up tomorrow and comb my hair in a pompadour? Yes. But it's not going to happen.

"We can make progress, but we can't be Don Quixotes. There are no votes (for a single-payer system) in Washington, and it can only work if it's for the whole nation."

Rendell said Pennacchio's single-payer proposal doesn't address major cost-cutting areas in his proposal, state House Bill 700.

That plan would guarantee 85 percent of every dollar invested in health care would be spent on treatment, not administrative costs. His plan also allows the state's insurance commissioner to set rates, as the commissioner does for car insurance.

The governor said Pennsylvanians use emergency departments at a rate 11 percent higher than the national average and that visits are increasing by more than twice the national average. His plan would designate ER nurses and physician assistants to care for nonemergency cases at a lower cost.

Rendell took a jab at physicians and the Pennsylvania Medical Society as he explained that his plan would allow nurses, midwives, physicians assistants and other licensed health care professionals more latitude in treating patients, which he said would widen access to care, improve quality and lower costs.

"(The Pennsylvania Medical Society) applauds much of the plan, but they want to preserve the sacred bond between doctor and patient of administering a flu shot or treating that infected toenail," Rendell said. "This is all about turf, and it shouldn't be. There are plenty of doctors out there who understand what's going on, and that it's about turf."

Pressed by an audience member to name the better plan, panelist Dr. Tom Gates, a Lancaster family physician, reluctantly said a single-payer system is "eloquent and simple" and "makes the most sense," but, "I also respect the governor's position on the politics."

Other panelists included Dr. Mike Baxter; Sean Flaherty, a professor of economics at F&M; and Louis Yoka, vice president of Fulton Financial Corp..

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UPDATE: John Morgan posted a blog about our Health Care Forum at The Pennsylvania Progressive.