Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Parade of Liars selling junk: health care, tobacco, and auto billionaires

They get rich making junk cars, junk bonds and junk insurance policies

On April 14, 1994, the executives of America's seven largest tobacco companies came before Congress and each testified that tobacco was not addictive.

On November 18, 2008, auto executives flew to Washington on private jets to testify that they needed taxpayer bailouts. “We’re all slashing back” on non-essential expenses, they said, promising, “We’re going to be dramatically leaner.”

May 30, 1996 Linda Peeno testified that third party payors/insurance companies pay hugh bonuses to people who, without ever seeing a patient, deny the coverage for the care that saves their lives and allows them to keep their homes. You know, the reason why we buy health insurance in the first place.

In the 1960s, stories of elderly people being forced from their homes and eating cans of dog food were not unusual. Now the elderly are safe from that fate. It's time to give the same safety to school children and younger adults. Marcia Angell, editor of NEJM agrees we need Medicare for all.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jesus was a public option

Jesus apparently took some convincing that he should cast his pearls before swine, or in this case, his bread to the dogs, to make health care accessible.

“But Lord,” said the lowly Canaanite woman. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Jesus was pleased by her understanding. “Woman, you have great faith!” he said, astonishing the disciples. The disciples watched closely, and would later record this triumphant moment in the Holy Book. The Canaanites were the “dogs” of Israel, but this one—this “dog,” a far cry from one of the chosen—had great faith? Jesus told the woman that her request had been granted. And indeed from that very hour, the woman’s daughter was freed of her demon.

Likewise among the lepers, the outcast Samaritan - the immigrant - proved worthy of health care. Luke 17:11-19:

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."
Jesus raised the dead and cured the sick, and took care of outcasts from outside his church and immediate community. How did the established interests respond? With a death sentence, which is probably a pre-existing condition.