Friday, January 29, 2010

In answer to your question, Mr. President

From the letters section in today's NYTimes:

To the Editor:

President Obama’s State of the Union address had a high point when he pledged that anyone with a “better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.”

Thank you, Mr. President. The answer is the reform supported by 65 percent of the public and even 59 percent of physicians. It’s remarkably simple, and the nation has already had 44 years of successful experience with it in financing health care for our elderly and the totally disabled.

It is, of course, Medicare-for-all, single-payer, not-for-profit national health insurance. Its superiority lies in excluding profit-seeking insurance companies and Big Pharma from controlling and undermining our health system. This is your answer, Mr. President.

Quentin Young
Chicago, Jan. 28, 2010

The writer, a doctor, is national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Good answer.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What A Speech!

A State of the Union with so many highlights: What about that moment when Obama announced he was issuing an executive order suspending healthcare benefits for all members of Congress until they brought him a bill that provided full healthcare for all US residents, and then we all looked at each other and said,” Can he do that? Woo Hoo BHO!”

And then, the way he followed that by announcing he was cutting congressional pay by a third until they passed a full employment act?

Oh, and what about how he blistered the illogic of Chief Justice Robert’s concurring opinion in the Citizen’s United Case. Spake the President: “Our august Chief Justice has put the rule of law in jeopardy. In one breath he says that controversial decisions reached over spirited dissents ‘undermine the precedent’s ability to contribute to the stable and orderly development of the law.’ Then, in the next he affirms a narrow 5-4 decision over spirited dissent. He presides over a Court that is defined by narrow 5-4 rulings. We must abolish lifetime tenure for Supreme Court justices, appointing them instead to 12-year staggered terms. Lifetime tenure was intended to shield the Court from political pressures. It now serves the opposite purpose, emboldening justices to seek narrow rulings whose legitimacy depends only on the ability to hold a majority. Justices now hang on their seats—unless the will of god deems otherwise—and step down only when it allows a President of their party can make a new appointment. By contrast, knowing that the make-up of the court will be changing will encourage the court to seek rulings defined by broad consensus.”

Then there was the timetable for nationalizing the banks.

And then—Red Rabbit elbowed me and told me I was talking in my sleep.