|Progressive Calendar 04.03.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 05:04:31 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 04.03.08 1. Mumia/KFAI 4.04 11am 2. Ffunch 4.04 11:30am 3. Muslim wear 4.04 9am 4. Arabs/TV 4.04 12noon 5. Palestine vigil 4.04 4:15pm 6. Alt/violence 4.04 6pm 7. Afghanistan/f 4.04 7pm 8. Islam/women 4.04 6:30pm 9. ML King film 4.04 7:30pm 10. Caramel/film 4.04 11. Moyers/Congo 4.04 9pm 12. Queer conf 4.05 8:30am 13. Homeless vets 4.05 10am 14. NWN4P Mtka 4.05 11am 15. CERG/solidarity 4.05 12noon 16. Northtown vigil 4.05 2pm 17. NLG dinner 4.05 6pm 18. Jewish/peace/TV 4.05 9pm 19. John V Walsh - Polls/antiwar movement/shunning of Ralph Nader 20. PNHP - Majority of physicians support single payer 21. Gregory Paul - Why not privatize the police and fire departments? 22. Kip Sullivan - Article III on DFL health "reform" bills 23. ed - What JNP signifies (bumpersticker) --------1 of 23-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Mumia/KFAI 4.04 11am Fri.April 4, 11am on KFAI Radio's CATALYST: politics & culture, hosted by Lydia Howell - part of the HOUR OF PEOPLE POWER every Friday 11m to Noon including NORTHERN SUN NEWS, 11:30am hosted by Don Olson. Hear excerpts from a new Pacifica radio documentary about Pennsylvania death row dissident journalist MUMIA ABU JAMAL. On the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. we should remember that violence and murder are still used to silence our greatest voices for justice. A recent Pennsylvania Appeals Court has (for now) just set aside Mumia Abu Jamal's death sentence and called for a new sentencing hearing: so Jamal faces life in prison without parole or execution. The fight for a new trial to prove his innocence continues. KFAI's Spring 2008 Pledge Drive is April 5-18. TUNE IN FRIDAYS APRIL 11th and 18th for the CATALYST Pledge Drive editions with special premiums for progressives and a surprise KFAI-exclusive interview with one of the progressive giants-- to be announced soon. The Pledge Drive phone number is: 612-375-9030. You can also pledge your support at the KFAI website: http://www.kfai.org KFAI RADIO 90.3fm Minneapolis 106.7 fm St. Paul all shows archived for 2 weeks after broadcast at: http://www.kfai.org --------2 of 23-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Ffunch 4.04 11:30am Meet the FFUNCH BUNCH! 11:30am-1pm First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for Greens/progressives/assorted weirdos. Informal political talk and hanging out. Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul. Meet in the private room (holds 12+). Day By Day; has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous apple pie; is close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines --------3 of 23-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Muslim wear 4.04 9am Friday, 4/4, 9 am to 1:30 pm, U of M Muslim Student association presents "Hijabi for a Day" (where volunteers hand out free hijabs for women to wear during the day, and a nasheed performance, both outside University of Minnesota's Coffman Union, 300 Washington Ave SE, Mpls. http://engagemn.com/ --------4 of 23-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Arabs/TV 4.04 12noon Friday, 4/4, noon to 1:30, U of Pennsylvania prof and Arab media expeert Marwan Kraidy speaks on "Reality TV and Public Contention in the Arab World," room 100, Murphy Hall, 206 Church St, East Bank U of M, Mpls. http://igs.cla.umn.edu/events/ --------5 of 23-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Palestine vigil 4.04 4:15pm Friday, 4/4, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St Paul. (Note: Vigil is cancelled if the temperature is under 20 degrees F.) --------6 of 23-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Alt/violence 4.04 6pm 4/4 (6 pm) to 4/6 (5 pm), basic level Alternatives to Violence Workshop, Hennepin County Men's Workhouse, 1145 Shenandoah Lane, Plymouth. avperika [at] gmail.com or http://www.fnvw.blogspot.com --------7 of 23-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Afghanistan/f 4.04 7pm Friday, 4/4, 6 pm reception, 7 pm screening, 8:30 discussion, film "Motherland Afghanistan," about the devastating maternal mortality rates, Weisman Art Museum, Dolly Filterman Gallery, 333 E River Rd, Mpls. $25, advance registration required. http://www.micglobe.org/ --------8 of 23-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Islam/women 4.04 6:30pm Friday, 4/4, 6:30 pm, U of M Muslim Student presents talk by Imani Jaafar-Mohammed on "Women in Islam," Univ of Minnesota's Anderson Hall, room 210, 257 - 19th Ave SE, Mpls. http://engagemn.com/ --------9 of 23-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: ML King film 4.04 7:30pm Friday, 4/4, 7:30 pm, on the anniversary of M.L. King's assassination, documentary film "At the River I Stand: The Story of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike and the Assassination of Dr King," followed by discussion led by Matt Gladue of Workers Interfaith Network, Joan of Arc Church 4537 - 3rd Ave S, Mpls. steveclemens [at] msn.com or http://www.paxchristimn.org or 612-872-7855. --------10 of 23-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Caramel/film 4.04 4/4 to 4/10, film "Caramel" about 5 women who regularly meet in a Beirut beauty salon and their various lives, Edina Cinema, 3911 W 50th St, Edina. http://www.landmarktheaters.com --------11 of 23-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: Moyers/Congo 4.04 9pm Bill Moyers Journal | Hope in the Congo http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/040208U.shtml Bill Moyers Journal takes viewers on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a country almost one-fourth the size of the US - to follow aid workers and local relief efforts that are bringing hope to a forgotten land." --------12 of 23-------- From: Jeff Hartman <hartm152 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Queer conference 4.05 8:30am QM08 [at] MSP, Queer Motions: 1st Bi-Annual Twin Cities Conference on Global/Local Sexualities Friday, April 5, 8:30am-5:30pm Institute for Advanced Study, 125 Nolte Center 315 Pillsbury Dr. SE, Minneapolis Where are queer studies and queer politics going in the twenty-first century? This conference brings together scholars from around the world to address the complications, contradictions, and crossings that this question raises. Panelists include: Charlotte Albrecht, Anguksuar (Richard LaFortune), Hector Carrillo, Kandace Creel, Jigna Desai, Kale Fajardo, Cindy Garcia, Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Scott Morgensen, Juliana Pegues, Omiseke Natasha Tinsley, David Valentine, and Gloria Wekker. This event is organized by the Global Sexualities research collaborative. --------13 of 23-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Homeless vets 4.05 10am Saturday, 4/5, 10 to 11:30 am, Homeless Vets for Peace meet at Peacehouse, 510 E Franklin, Mpls. Bob Heberle 612-789-9020. --------14 of 23-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P Mtka 4.05 11am NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7 and 101. Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available. --------15 of 23-------- From: Leslie Reindl <alteravista [at] earthlink.net> Subject: CERG/solidarity 4.05 12noon Invitation to a meeting of CERG (Community Emergency Response Group) (follow-up to Walking Away from the King) Saturday, April 5, noon to 3 pm Van Cleve Community Center, 901 15th Ave. SE, Minneapolis CERG continues the effort begun last fall to "Walk Away from the King" and create a more compassionate society. In light of events on the ground since then, the focus is on creating a group structure and action that help people stick together in the face of adversity, to create a measure of insurance for members. CERG is conceived to coordinate, focus, and leverage members' abilities and resources. Membership is open to all. "We build our road as we travel"--we call on everyone to start building. FFI cerg [at] usfamily.net. --------16 of 23-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 4.05 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av.), every Saturday 2:00 -- 3:00 PM. --------17 of 23-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: NLG dinner 4.05 6pm NLG 2008 Social Justice Dinner April 5th at 6pm at William Mitchell College of Law Please join the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild at our 2008 Social Justice Dinner, on April 5, 2008, at the William Mitchell College of Law. Our honorees this year include Larry Leventhal, for the Paul Marino People's Lawyering Award, and Communities United Against Police Brutality for the Social Justice Award. Cheri Honkala of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign will be our keynote speaker. Larry Leventhal has provided brilliant representation and stalward support of activists and progressive causes in both the criminal and civil arenas for decades. He is particularly noted for his longtime support of the American Indian Movement and other native and Tribal issues, including treaty rights and police brutality. Communities United Against Police Brutality deals with police brutality on a daily basis through a grassroots organizing model. CUAPB seeks to empower the community with a structure to challenge police brutality and organize to bring it to an end. Using a 24 hour victim hotline, victim and family support, direct action, court observation, lawsuits, public policy efforts, and public education, CUAPB works toward systemic change and justice for all those affected by police brutality. Cheri Honkala is the national coordinator of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign. A single mother of two, and a formerly homeless welfare recipient, Cheri has over 15 years of experience organizing poor people. She has received many awards for her dedication and leadership in the struggle to end poverty and led numerous marches and diverse international coalitions in demonstrating, taking direct action, and presenting demands before the U.S. Congress and United Nations. Tickets are $50.00, or $15.00 for low income. Tables of 8 cost $350.00. Call 612-326-4315 for reservations. -- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] minn.net> CUAPB TO RECEIVE NLG SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARD JOIN US AT THE NLG ANNUAL DINNER We are extremely honored to learn that the National Lawyers Guild, Minnesota Chapter will be recognizing us with their Social Justice Award at their annual social justice dinner. Larry Leventhal will be presented with the Paul Marino People's Lawyering Award. Cheri Honkala of Poor People's Econonomic Human Rights Campaign will be keynote speaker. Please join us as we proudly receive this prestigious award. The Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild Annual Social Justice Dinner Saturday, April 5, 2008 6:00 to 10:00 pm William Mitchell College of Law 875 Summit Avenue St. Paul, Minnesota To reserve your tickets or for more information, call (612) 326-4315. --------18 of 23-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Jewish/peace/CTV 4.05 9pm Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!. Households with basic cable may watch. Sat, 4/5, 9pm and Tues, 4/8, 8am "Cecilie Surasky: Jewish Voice for Peace" Talk given in St. Paul by Jewish American organizer of Muzzlewatch.org and Jewish Voice for Peace. --------19 of 23-------- Polls and the Antiwar Movement The Shunning of Ralph Nader By JOHN V. WALSH CounterPunch Apri1 1, 2008 No sooner did Ralph Nader announce his run for president than Katrina Van den Heuval at The Nation was pounding out a frantic plea to Ralph to quit the race. Her assault on Ralph, reminiscent of how her mag treated him in 2004, was the first sign that the Democratic establishment was soiling its collective panties for fear of Ralph's run. Clearly they had reason for concern, since Nader/Gonzalez raised $300,000 on their first day of fundraising. (Matt Gonzalez who nearly won the mayoralty race in San Francisco as a Green has now left the Green Party to join Nader's independent candidacy.) Three weeks ago a Zogby poll suggested that Nader will be a major factor in the race. The poll did two separate pairups and here is how they came out: McCain, 44%; Obama, 39%; Nader, 6%. McCain, 44%; Clinton, 39%; Nader, 6%. It is not hard to add 6 to 39 and come out with 45. Nader/Gonzalez has said that it regards 6% as their floor. And it looks like Nader/Gonzalez will be on the ballot in all 50 states and DC. Message to Dems: you are in trouble. If you run a prowar candidate, either Obama or Clinton, you are in trouble. You cannot beat a prowar candidate with another prowar candidate. Very simple. The Nation and other outlets, not to mention the mass media, were silent on the Zogby poll. Now another poll has come out, this time from Fox News of all places. It showed that 14% of the voters are willing to "consider" voting for Nader. That is a substantial achievement in the face of the small amount of mass media coverage given Nader so far. (Additionally Nader won the Green Party primaries by a landslide in California and Massachusetts even though he did not campaign there.) The shunning of Nader is to be expected for The Nation crowd which endorsed the prowar Kerry in 2004 and promised that electing Dems to the Congress in 2006 would bring a Congressional assault on the war. That of course has not materialized. But the response to Nader on antiwar web sites has been disappointing so far. Over at Antiwar.com, Justin Raimondo has fallen into the clutches of the ObamaZombies. Nader has not received the support that Ron Paul received from the Libertarian movement - a big disappointment to those of us who thought that unity between the antiwar "left" and "right" was possible. It is a double disappointment to those of us who felt that the usually lucid Libertarian political analysts would never fall for Obama the hawk. In contrast, The McLaughlin Report ("the sharpest minds"), affectionately known in my circle as "The Shouters," this past weekend gave considerable time to the Nader candidacy. Pat Buchanan and John McLaughlin both welcomed his candidacy as did all the guests with the exception of the reliable Dem loyalist, Eleanor Cliff. The usually very PC Cliff, whose political thought seems to go no farther than Democrat partisanship, lost no time in attacking Nader - based on his age ("Ageism" generally being shunned by the PC crowd), using reference to a Washington Post cartoon to wthat effect. With the exception of Cliff the "finest minds" know full well that there will be no serious antiwar debate without someone like Nader in the race. So how about it antiwarriors. In Nader you have a candidate who has been against the war consistently, who alone calls for cutting the bloated military budget and for changing US policy in the Middle East. In Hillary-Obama-McCain, you have consistent Senate votes for trillions to fund the slaughter in Iraq, votes for the Patriot Act and a promise to add 100,000 more men and women under arms. Hawks all. Right now Nader/ Gonzalez is the only antiwar game in town. So where are your voices for Nader? They need to be heard. It is time to be loyal to principles and candidates who have stood unfailingly for what you want. And with a little effort we might all be surprised at the outcome. John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.com [Ralph with the margin of victory? I can only imagine the vitriol and screaming stomping tearing of hair intimidating evil-eying by our corporatos Dems liberals DemoGreens* pseudoprogressives. You think we've heard hate speech? We ain't heard nothin' yet. The ruling class is pissed pissed pissed, and they want us to be pissed pissed pissed too. (You can't go wrong if you act opposite to ruling class desires). (A DemoGreen is a Green who prefers the DP model/values/dollars to the GP model/values/pennies. No revolutionary or pioneer or Naderite he. Dems will now I bet be rushing money and jobs and "friendship" to key DemoGreens; standard warfare technique.) -ed] --------20 of 23-------- From: Physicians for a National Health Program Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 5:58 PM Subject: PNHP Press Release: Majority of Physicians Support Single Payer Most doctors support national health insurance, new study shows Reflecting a shift in thinking over the past five years among U.S. physicians, a new study shows a solid majority of doctors - 59 percent - now supports national health insurance. Such plans typically involve a single, federally administered social insurance fund that that guarantees health care coverage for everyone, much like Medicare currently does for seniors. The plans typically eliminate or substantially reduce the role of private insurance companies in the health care financing system, but still allow patients to go the doctors of their choice. A study published in today's Annals of Internal Medicine, a leading medical journal, reports that a survey conducted last year of 2,193 physicians across the United States showed 59 percent of them "support government legislation to establish national health insurance," while 32 percent oppose it and 9 percent are neutral. The findings reflect a leap of 10 percentage points in physician support for national health insurance (NHI) since 2002, when a similar survey was conducted. At that time, 49 percent of all physician respondents said they supported NHI and 40 percent opposed it. Support among doctors for NHI has increased across almost all medical specialties, said Dr. Ronald T. Ackermann, associate director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research at Indiana University 's School of Medicine and co-author of the study. "Across the board, more physicians feel that our fragmented and for-profit insurance system is obstructing good patient care, and a majority now support national insurance as the remedy," he said. Support for NHI is particularly strong among psychiatrists (83 percent), pediatric sub-specialists (71 percent), emergency medicine physicians (69 percent), general pediatricians (65 percent), general internists (64 percent) and family physicians (60 percent). Fifty-five percent of general surgeons support NHI, roughly doubling their level of support since 2002. Doctors have often expressed concern about lack of patient access to care due to rising costs and patients' insufficient levels of insurance. An estimated 47 million Americans currently lack health insurance coverage and another 50 million are believed to be underinsured. At the same time, health care costs in the United States are rising at the rate of about 7 percent a year, twice the rate of inflation. The health care issue continues to rank high among voter concerns in the 2008 elections, placing third in a recent poll after the economy and Iraq. The current study by the Indiana University researchers is the largest survey ever conducted among doctors on the issue of health care financing reform. It is based on a random sampling of names obtained from the American Medical Association's master list of physicians throughout the country. In addition to measuring attitudes toward NHI, the survey also asked doctors about their views about "more incremental reform," often interpreted as state- or federal-based programs requiring or "mandating" that consumers buy health insurance from private insurance companies, legislative measures providing tax incentives to businesses to provide coverage for their employees, or similar steps. Fewer physicians (55%) were in support of "incremental" reform. Moreover, virtually all those opposed to national health insurance also opposed incremental reform to improve access to care. In fact, only 14% of physicians overall oppose national health insurance but support more incremental reforms. Ironically, many medical organizations and most politicians have endorsed only incremental changes. Dr. Aaron E. Carroll, Director of Indiana University's Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research and lead author of the study, commented: "Many claim to speak for physicians and reflect their views. We asked doctors directly and found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, most doctors support the government creating national health insurance." Other signs indicate that attitudes among doctors are changing. The nation's largest medical specialty group, the 124,000-member American College of Physicians, endorsed a single-payer national health insurance program for the first time in December. -- Copies of the study are available to the press at http://www.pnhp.org/docsurvey Password: carroll "Support for National Health Insurance among American Physicians: Five Years Later," Aaron E. Carroll and Ronald T. Ackermann, Annals of Internal Medicine, April 2008. Dr. Aaron Carroll is a member of the Board of Directors of PNHP. Physicians for a National Health Program, a membership organization of over 15,000 physicians, supports a single-payer national health insurance program. PNHP physician experts are available for interviews and can speak about the health care crisis in your state and options for reform at both the state and national level (e.g. on the leading Presidential candidates health plans). To contact a physician-spokesperson in your state, http://www.pnhp.org/stateactions/ or call (312) 782-6006. Physicians for a National Health Program 29 E Madison Suite 602, Chicago, IL 60602 Phone (312) 782-6006 | Fax: (312) 782-6007 http://www.pnhp.org | info [at] pnhp.org CONTACTS: Aaron E. Carroll, MD, (317) 278-0552, aaecarro [at] iupui.edu Ronald T. Ackermann, MD, (317) 278-0506 rtackerm [at] iupui.edu Todd Main, PNHP, (312) 782-6006, todd [at] pnhp.org --------21 of 23-------- If Socialized Medicine is Such a Bad Thing, Then Why Not Privatize the Police and Fire Departments? by Gregory Paul April 2nd, 2008 The conservatives, led by McCain, are at it again. First they claim that America has the best health care system in the world. Then they decry socialized medicine as violating basic principles of liberty. No American should be forced to rely on inefficient government services for their health care. A person's health should be an individual responsibility, with each citizen free to pick and choose the companies that provide the best services at the lowest cost. But if the free market should rule medical care, then why not police and fire protection as well? Why should any American have to pay taxes to a government run police monopoly for the protection of their own bodies and those of their precious family? There are constant complaints of poor police response time and the follow up investigation, as well as brutality. So why can't a good American citizen be freed of confiscatory taxes, and instead use the money to provide their own protection? After all, it's the American Way. Want to protect your home? Get some guns, a dog or two, and an alarm system. For professional help, contract with a private security company that provides the highest level of service for the least lucre. Worried about being mugged while out on the town? Hire personal protection for the evening through your friendly neighborhood Rent-A-Bodyguard Inc. Same thing with fire protection. It's an socialistic outrage that taxpayers are forced to cough up part of their hard earned income to pay a government dominated fire department whose services may or may not suit a person's needs. It should be a matter of personal responsibility. Don't think you need professional help? Or can't afford it? Buy a bunch of fire extinguishers, install a sprinkler system, and hope for the best. It's your choice. Worried that fighting a fire on your own might not be prudent? Contract with the privately owned and operated fire company that provides the best cost/service ratio. Here's the thing. Once upon a time in America we actually did have a free market for fire protection! So why was it socialized? Because the private system didn't work out very well. So many were unable or unwilling to pay for protection that structures were left free to burn, often bringing down surrounding apartments and buildings. Whole cities were put at risk. Besides, how does one compare service/cost ratios when it comes to fire protection, or that matter police work? It is not like buying a car or a computer. The private fire prevention system was so ineffective, and downright dangerous, that eventually it was abandoned in favor the far more efficient, communalistic arrangement we have today. Aside from a libertarian fringe, conservatives are not clamoring to privatize the fire and police departments, even though these are exactly the kind universal, socialistic systems that conservative claim to despise on principle. Instead, the right lavishes praise and admiration on these premiere examples of successful socialism (they do the same thing with another prime example of federal socialism, the armed forces). By no means is this the sole example of cynical conservative hypocrisy. The same conservatives who denounce government subsidies for green energy sources are happy to see billions of your tax dollars poured into the coffers of the nuclear power and oil industries. Likewise most conservatives who attack welfare for the poor favor corporate welfare and bailouts in its many guises. When your average conservative claims that they are opposed to universal health care because they are opposed on principle to socialism, they're lying. And they are lying when they assert the superiority of America medicine. No advanced democracy is stupid enough to allow a free market of police or fire protection to operate without the involvement of a universal government system. Nor is any 1st world nation stupid enough to allow a free market for medical care - except of course for ours. It is important to understand that universal health care is not necessarily socialized health care. The latter is true only when most or all medical facilities and caregivers are government owned and employed, as in England. In many countries, such as France, the state provides the basic funding through taxes, but much of the infrastructure and personnel are private. Also variable is the degree of supplementary care that citizens can pay for outside the universal system, it can range from none to whatever citizens are willing to pay. Relation of % of GDP to Health Care to Life Span and Infant Mortality (Data for plots from UN) America's privatized health care system is a Byzantine, Rube Goldberg complex that has proven no more successful than the privatized fire protection system we used to suffer under. It is well known that about a third of Americans lack adequate insurance, but that just scratches the surface of the problem. Among western nations only the Irish and Danes live shorter lives, and the US has the highest juvenile mortality rates in the first world. We are killing off our kids nearly twice as fast as the Swedes and Japanese, and about as rapidly as some developing countries such as Malaysia and Cuba. This shockingly poor performance is true even though medical costs soak up a stunning 15% of the American economy, compared to just 6-11% in all other western democracies. Our arrangement is so inefficient that we are wasting, for absolutely no gain, literally well over half a trillion dollars a year. The damage this fantastic squandering of money - we might as well be shooting the stuff into the sun - cannot be exaggerated. Dwarfing the money being spent on Iraq, it rivals in scale the entire budget of the Defense Department. This colossal wastage is probably the most serious unnecessary loss to the American economy, yet it goes largely ignored. This is a grave mistake, the financial depletion is one of the reasons why we are hard pressed to maintain our deteriorating infrastructures. Think of what would could be done with that half trillion. For one thing, a portion could be used to develop the new generation of antibiotics that are desperately needed to combat the wave of drug resistant bacteria that are making going to the hospital dangerous again. More money could go into taking all we are learning about genetics and cellular biology to effectively deal with cancers - which is vastly greater threat to our well being than Iraq ever was. We would not have a Medicaid funding crisis. On an individual basis Americans pay from half to twice as much per person for health care than do citizens of any other western nation. With medical expenses rising much faster than inflation in general, it's one of the reasons why most Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Half of the millions of individual bankruptcies that occur in a given year involve massive medical expenses not covered by insurance. It happens all the time. A typical nuclear family has the nice house and cars, cable on their plasma TV, and pleasant vacations. Without warning the breadwinner, through not fault of their own, loses their job, and with that goes the health insurance. A member of the family becomes seriously ill, medical expenses amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars pile up, the health providers require the family to charge it on their cards piling up high interest debt, and soon the family has lost it all. As Michael Moore's Sicko exposed, even those who think they are well covered often are not. Rationing of care is rampant in America, only the wealthiest can afford to acquire whatever procedures and treatment they can get. Critics of universal care point to Canadians crossing the border to get specific treatments (a result of overly strict socialization not found in even better run systems). They do not mention that some Americans are traveling all the way to India to undergo vital surgeries they cannot afford in the states. Studies and surveys show that in exchange for all they spend on health care, Americans are actually getting lower levels of basic service than are their western counterparts, who report higher levels of overall satisfaction. We even lag well behind other advanced nations in using the hi-tech information technologies - computerized patient data and prescriptions and the like - that improve patient care while minimizing the dangerous errors that plaque the American system. But liberals too are making a mistake, and blunder that when one thinks about it is rather bizarre. The left is fond of getting after private companies for not providing adequate health care coverage for their employees. Wal-Mart is a favorite target. Nuttier still is corporate America, which has traditionally opposed universal health care. What are all you folks thinking?! Why in the world should any non-medical company be involved, or want to be involved, in the health care business? Why do companies that are having a hard enough time making cars have to deal with this problem? Or retail chains? Or the owner of a corner bookstore? That management and labor have to repeatedly engage in bitter battles over health care compensation is social and economic madness. No other advanced democracy is dumb enough to allow this sort of thing. The involvement of general business in the health insurance business in the first place is an accident of our nation's history. After WW II, when the rest of the west was well on its way to universalizing health care along the lines of fire and police protection, the US decided to dump the bulk of health care costs on business. This was when medicine did not cost that much, and American doctors were opposed tooth and nail to "socialized medicine". If not for that error we would not be in the mess that we are now. If they were in their right minds, all Yankee capitalists and investors (outside the insurance industry) would be begging the feds to please, please take this financial gorilla off their backs. Because health care costs are so outrageously high, American products are overpriced compared to their foreign competition, contributing to the trade imbalance and the debt load, while suppressing job creation. That employees are fearful of losing their health insurance if they quit their jobs impairs the job mobility that is supposed to be one of the positive freedoms of the modern economy. The sky high insurance premiums paid by the self employed (many thousands of dollars per annum for a healthy person in their fifties) if they can get it in the first place discourages people from striking out on their own to set up the single person and small businesses that are supposed to be another benefit of the 21st century economy. Right wing "thinkers" like Newt Gingerich love spinning out one pet theory after another on how to adjust the free market - and tax breaks that do the lower classes little good because they don't pay taxes anyway - to supposedly make health care more accessible and affordable. Cooking up novel but not necessarily practical ideas gives them something to do, it's intellectually entertaining. The conservative ideologues will never stop concocting such schemes, which are nothing more than band aids whose actual effect is to perpetually put off what has to be done. Doing the latter is academically rather dull because little innovation is called for, instead it means picking out and applying the best aspects of what has already proven effective in western nations. The medical portion of the economy is well on its way to engulfing a full fifth of the gross national product as it bankrupts the middle class, and leaves the lower class with out proper access to the care they desperately need. Things are so bad that even the corporate powers are starting to discard the old knee jerk ideological rejection of progressive medical coverage as they cry uncle. As for McCain, he does not have a clue; his election will bog down progress on the problem for yet more years. The following is a modest proposal on how to reduce bitter left versus right ideology in favor of a more bipartisan approach that voters will support. First, emphasize the savings to be made by switching over to a more progressive, universal arrangement in which every American has full access to good solid health care simply by being a citizen. The savings amount to trillions for the economy as a whole over the span of a few years. For each person it is over couple thousand of dollars each year, or well above a hundred thousand over a lifetime. No citizen will receive a bewildering flurry of co-payment bills after receiving care. No American will ever go bankrupt due to overwhelming medical expenses. It cannot be overemphasized how imperative it is to get across how a universal system will actually benefit the entrepreneurial free market by reducing the burden of medical expenses, and by encouraging self-employment and small businesses. Above all else, get the big corporations to see the big advantages of getting out of the business of health coverage. Explain that universal health care makes as much sense as socialized police and fire protection, except that there is no need to adopt a fully socialized system in which the entire medical complex is nationalized. Do that, and the USA will finally be a first world nation with a first world medical complex. One can only hope. Gregory Paul is an independent researcher on subjects dealing with paleontology, evolution, religion and society. Books include Predatory Dinosaurs of the World and Dinosaurs of the Air. Read other articles by Gregory. This article was posted on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 at 5:00 am and is filed under Health/Medical, Socialism. Send to a friend. --------22 of 23-------- Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 15:09:40 -0500 From: Kip Sullivan <kiprs [at] usinternet.com> Subject: Article III on DFL "reform" bills "Medical homes": A warm and fuzzy distraction in the DFL leadership health bill By Kip Sullivan, March 31, 2008 In my first two articles about the health bills sponsored by the DFL leadership in the House and Senate, I discussed the provisions in them that turn clinics and hospitals into insurance companies (via the so-called "level 3 payment reforms"), and that impose report cards on clinics and hospitals. In this article and the next I'll discuss a third "reform," now contained in both bills, referred to as the "medical home" (or "health care home"). The "medical home" fad arose within America's small but influential health policy community about five years ago. It took Minnesota's policy-makers by storm last year. During the 2007 legislative session, the public heard nary a word about "medical homes." This year, "medical homes" (and "payment reform") are all the Legislature can talk about. This warm and very fuzzy concept is nowhere near as objectionable as the "level 3 payment reforms" and report cards. The main reason to be concerned about it is its inability to accomplish much, its potential to raise administrative costs, and its potential to distract legislators and the public from real reform. The Health Care Access Commission (HCAC) (one of two legislatively created commissions on health care reform that met during the last half of 2007) was the main instigator of the "medical home" fad in Minnesota. By the fall of 2007, it was clear the HCAC was going to recommend the "medical home" concept to the Legislature as a major cost-containment tool. Because the HCAC was chaired by DFL Senator Linda Berglin and DFL Representative Tom Huntley (the deans of health policy in their respective chambers), this was a sure sign that "medical homes" would be all the rage in the 2008 legislative session. Judging from the comments of, and documents written by, people who promote "medical homes," the concept is impossible to define. The minimum I can tell you is that the metaphor applies to primary care doctors and/or clinics. It apparently does not apply to hospitals, and definitely does not apply to specialists or to non-physician entities such as pharmacies. To give you some idea of how fuzzy the concept is, I'll describe in some detail a forum on "medical homes" that I attended last November 29 that was hosted by the Department of Human Services (DHS, the state agency that runs the state's public health insurance programs) at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Bloomington. SELLING A HEALTH POLICY FAD When I lived in San Francisco in the late 1970s, friends who were aware of my interest in yoga and meditation persuaded me to attend an event at the Cow Palace at which a salesman named Werner Erhard, promoter of a fad called est (Erhard Seminar Training), was speaking. As I listened to Erhard, I realized he was saying nothing while appearing to say a lot. He said things like "you're not getting it," "the state of knowing you know nothing," and "I'm doing it because I'm doing it." These utterances made him sound like he understood the world in ways ordinary people did not, but the fact was he was nothing more than a man with an extraordinary gift for bafflegab. As I sat through Erhard's performance, I felt like the skunk at my friends' picnic. I was totally turned off, but I couldn't share my feelings with anyone around me because they seemed to be interested in what he had to say. I felt the same way at the DHS event on "medical homes." I wanted to snort and guffaw as one sincere speaker after another said nothing new and, sometimes, nothing at all. The speakers laced their statements with phrases loved by those who dominate the health policy debate, phrases like "transforming the health care system," "paying for value," "coordinating care," "linking with the community," "delivery systems," "teams," and of course "medical home." Like Erhart's phrases, these phrases, used over and over within the health policy community, create the illusion of deep knowledge when in fact they reflect an ideology that actually does more to confuse than to enlighten. But the audience of perhaps 80 people, including leaders from the health insurance and medical industries, and at least one legislator (Rep. Huntley), seemed very appreciative of what they were hearing. Within a half hour or so after the program began, I felt quite out of place. THE UNBEARABLE FUZZINESS As I waited for the DHS program to begin, I scanned the materials we had been given at the registration table looking for a definition of "medical home." Nowhere could I find one. The closest thing I could find was a short string of abstract bullet points from a PowerPoint handout to be used by one of the speakers, Dr. Jeff Schiff, DHS's medical director. The handout bore the awe-inspiring title "Transforming primary care: Developing a medical home in Minnesota." In a slide entitled, "What is a medical home?" these bullet points appeared: · primary care based care coordination; · partnership with parents [yes, it said "parents"]; · linkages to community resources; · continuous improvement process; · improved office systems to track and monitor progress and evaluate outcomes. These bullet points told me nothing. They hinted that DHS was unhappy with Minnesota doctors about something, and that DHS thought that if doctors would create "medical homes" the problem, whatever it was, would be ameliorated. But the key words in Dr. Schiff's slide - coordinating, partnering, linking, improving, monitoring and evaluating - were too abstract, and the phrases too short, to determine just what it was DHS thought the problem was that "medical home" was the solution to. Was DHS saying, for example, that doctors who work outside "medical homes" don't "partner" with parents of patients? In all my years of studying health policy, I had yet to encounter the claim that insufficient "partnering with parents" was a significant cause of the American health care crisis. (Don't ask me why "partnering" with "parents" is better than "partnering" with children or spouses or plain-vanilla people who just care about the patient). Did DHS think doctors outside "medical homes" don't "link" with "community resources" and make no effort to improve their services? None of my questions would be answered. The first speaker, Assistant DHS Commissioner Dr. Brian Osberg, told us that the solution to the health care crisis was to create a health care system that "pays for value," and that "medical home" was an example of "delivery reform" that would lead to such a system. The second speaker, Dr. Schiff, not only declined to define "medical home," he specifically stated, "You will not leave here knowing how to turn your medical practice into a medical home." This despite the subtitle of Dr. Schiff's talk ("developing a medical home in Minnesota"), and despite the fact that the first portion of the agenda was entitled, "Creating a medical home." Dr. Schiff didn't say why a five-hour seminar on "medical home" would leave participants clueless about how to create one. He said only that he wanted to lower the audience's expectations. Then he introduced a pediatrician, Dr. Mary Rahrick, who was identified on the agenda as with the Owatonna Clinic Medical Home Team. Dr. Rahrick is unquestionably a passionately dedicated pediatrician. If I had kids, I'd want her to be their pediatrician. But Dr. Rahrick's presentation was embarrassingly superficial. She was supposed to explain how our health care system can be "transformed" by "medical homes," but instead, with much peppiness, she gave us a laundry list of mundane and, for the most part, extremely obvious tasks doctors can do to make themselves more attractive to patients. Like the first two speakers, she made no attempt to define "medical home." "MEDICAL HOME" SHOW AND TELL With the aid of a PowerPoint slide show, replete with pictures of kids on horses, Dr. Rahrick spoke for more than an hour. She began by telling us she was part of a small multi-doctor clinic in Owatonna, and that she worked primarily with kids with special needs, for example, kids with Down's Syndrome, brain tumors, and attention deficit disorder. Her first step in creating a "medical home" was to recruit three parents of her patients to sit down with her and tell her how they thought she could improve her practice. They told her, amazingly enough, they would like to deal less often with recorded messages when they phone the clinic. So Dr. Rahrick lobbied her clinic administrator to install a direct line for her nurse, and she gave her cell phone number to the parents of 200 of her sickest kids. So, I wondered, did "medical home" simply mean devoting more resources to a portion of your clientele (perhaps the sicker portion) so they could get more and faster services from doctors and nurses than other patients? If so, where did those resources come from? From the less favored patients? From the taxpayer? From foundations? Dr. Rahrick didn't say. She did blurt out midway through her presentation that one of the other physicians in her practice was not happy with her. I inferred from that remark that Dr. Rahrick's efforts to create the trappings of a "medical home" did require additional resources, and at least some of those resources came from the patients of her colleagues. Here are the other actions Dr. Rahrick listed as somehow relevant to creating a "medical home": * She prepared written "emergency care plans" that can be rolled up and inserted in plastic cylinders that parents can attach to strollers and car seats so that parents can always have these plans nearby in case their children have accidents and have to go to emergency rooms. * She and her three parents wrote up a "fax-back form" that parents give to specialists (for example, a neurologist in Minneapolis) that the specialist can then use to fax information to Dr. Rahrick so she can know what the specialist said before the parents return to Owatonna. (She didn't say why a special form was helpful or why such great speed was that important, she didn't explain why email or phones wouldn't work just as well, and she admitted the "fax-back form" doesn't get used that much). * She prepared three-ring notebooks for the kids' parents that have special sections for phone numbers for specialists, lists of immunizations the kids have had, etc. She bought each parent a three-hole punch so they could punch their own holes in documents to be added later. (She said some parents love the notebooks, some don't). * She wrote a grant proposal to the Linus Program and Wal-Mart to buy blankets for hospitalized kids. * She sends a newsletter periodically to the parents of the 200 special needs kids. * She called a local respite-care service provider to get brochures from that provider that she can give to parents. ("I knew none of this before medical home," she explained). * She persuaded a local lab to send nurses to her clinic so that the kids don't have to be taken to the lab. * She fired either her receptionist or got the clinic's receptionist fired (I'm not sure which) and got one "more dedicated to me." * She prepared a scrapbook on the history of "medical home" that apparently sits in her waiting room. * She did something to her waiting room to make it easier for parents to keep an eye on their kids while they wait. STILL NOT GETTING IT Despite having plenty of time to explain "medical home" to us, Dr. Rahrick did not do that. Nor did she attempt to explain how her list of little improvements was in any way a solution to the health care crisis. She offered no evidence that the extra attention she gave to a relatively small number of her clinic's patients lowered costs or would in any other way contribute to the "transformation" of Minnesota's health care system. Although Dr. Osberg had said in his speech that "medical home" somehow would lead to, or illustrated the notion of, "payment for value" (is your brain falling over trying to follow this?), Dr. Rahrick said nothing at all about receiving "payment for value." As I left the hotel that night, I wondered if the Health Care Access Commission and the Legislature would do a better job of describing "medical homes" than DHS and Dr. Rahrick had. Let me pop the unbearable suspense right now: Neither the February 2008 report of the Health Care Access Commission, nor the legislation introduced by the DFL leadership that SAME month, defined "medical home." That didn't prevent them from promoting the concept. I'll explain further in my next article. -- [The rich don't produce much. But, as the above shows once again, they're superb at song and dance, smoke and mirrors, obfuscation, underhanded manipulation, lying, getting longer yachts, and increasing our misery. Most legislators most of the time like them better than us. And yet we continue to vote for them and their corporate parties. Perhaps we should have our heads examined - assuming we have any health money left after paying the bloated insurance bills. -ed] --------23 of 23-------- -------------------------- Jack Nelson-Palmeyer sheep in wolf's clothing -------------------------- sound and fury signifying franken ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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