Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The debate over health care

Prior to the November 7 election there was tremendous support for doing something about the health care mess in this state, and in our country. There is growing support from all segments of our society who want to see changes in health care now--- during the upcoming state and congressional legislative sessions.

Let's be clear: people want single-payer, universal health care... nothing less, nothing more (for now). The American Medical Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, multi-national corporations, hospital conglomerates, HMO's, politicians, and especially the insurance companies along with their media pundits are now trying to hoodwink and trick us into accepting just about any scheme other than genuine single-payer, universal health care.

They are pitching all kinds of Mickey Mouse "Band-Aid" solutions... I guess Johnson and Johnson would like to protect their profits... ever see what a Band-Aid or disposable diaper costs in a hospital?

All these businesses and groups have their fingers in the cookie jar and they don't want the cookie jar taken away from them.

We must be very clear what we expect in the way of health care reform and let the politicians know we will settle for nothing less than real single-payer, universal health care because settling for single-payer, universal health care is already a compromise since we all know the long-term fix requires socialized health care.

What are the features of a socialized health care system? All industry associated with health care from the pharmaceutical companies to the manufacturers of high-tech equipment would be publicly owned industries. Hospitals and all health care institutions would be publicly owned and operated. Doctors and nurses would be paid wages or salaries. All support workers would receive real living wages, including those who mop the floors. All health care would be on a no fee basis from cradle to grave including eye, dental, and mental... nothing concerning human health would be excluded. All financing would come from the government with a tax on corporate profits and stock and bond transactions. The system would be completely publicly administered. We probably aren't going to have such a health care system like this in place anytime soon... anything from which a quick buck can't be made by a bunch of crooks, vultures and parasites is out of the question in America.

Socialized health care is out of the question because it just won't fly in America right now; it is as simple as that. This entire system is driven by greed and the accumulation of wealth... health care is just one more trough for the corporations to feed at. Health care in a civilized society would be based upon what people need and what society can afford.

In the United States the military budget is so overbearing that it makes the cost of anything that benefits people just about untouchable.

The social compromise that has been reached is single-payer, universal health care which is achievable right now if we all get behind it in a big way in telling the politicians we will settle for nothing less.

What are the main features of single-payer, universal health care that we cannot negotiate away like jobs have been negotiated away in union contracts?

First: the insurance companies have to be taken completely out of the picture... the government has to be the "single-payer." The insurance companies have fed at this trough for far too long already... they have accumulated so much wealth that their chief executive officers are making fools out of all of us with their multi-million dollar salaries and huge bonuses... United Health's McGuire is but one example of dozens of insurance companies that are operating this way. This fiasco simply has to end. The American people have been paying for these big-shots to live lavish life-styles instead of getting the health care they thought they were paying for. Except for the casino industry there probably isn't a more corrupt industry than the health care industry... well that isn't quite true is it? We have the merchants of death and destruction... the military-financial-industrial complex... and nothing gets more corrupt than that except for the oil industry... well, no use going on with this line of thinking or we will let the insurance companies right off the hook... Mr. McGuire actually looks kind of like an angel, eh?

Second: everyone, without exception, must be covered; yes, even the insurance company CEOs. This is what universal means: everyone; it simply would not be right to make them pay their own way after the way they have treated us--- pun intended.

Third: you go in to get whatever health care services are required from a doctor at the office, from a hospital, or therapy and they submit the bill to the government. If you want to pay the bill I am sure no one will stop you. Let's see if Mr. McGuire of United Health volunteers to pay his tab.

Fourth: all health care must be publicly financed in one way or another. The revenue will have to come by taxing corporations something comparable to what they are paying right now in health care premiums, and there will probably have to be some kind of employee payroll tax similar to the Social Security tax; perhaps slightly more than Social Security unless we put everyone back to work at real living wage jobs; common sense tells us the more people paying into the system the less we all have to pay--- this is what is wrong with Social Security right now--- wages have been driven down as corporations have been allowed to move to low wage areas and people without jobs, or those with poverty wage jobs, aren't paying into the system.

It is hard to keep social programs going with a government which only looks out for the wealthy and always manages to find the funds--- or borrows what they don't have--- to fight wars; I have never been able to figure out why these politicians always find money to fight a war but plead poverty when it comes to funding human services like health care, education, and housing.

Hopefully the struggle for single-payer, universal health care will force this issue of making people and their needs a top priority over killing people in Iraq. We simply need to bring priorities in this country more in line with what is good for all of us and not just big-business profits; maybe this is why politicians fear this single-payer, universal health care movement so much. They kind of view it from the bottom of a hill like a snowball getting bigger and bigger and gaining momentum?

Fifth: In any debate over this issue, health care for people has to be placed at the very top of all discussions... not whether doctors will be happy with their fees, not if insurance companies are going to go broke and out of business, not if corporations are going to cry about having to pay through the nose for awhile until the system is up and running. Of course, the right-wing will try to convince those who are employed that they will be paying for welfare moms, etc., etc.; nothing we haven't heard before from the Republicans.

The health care system is a complete mess right now. What is wrong with it is that so much money is being paid "for" health care yet so many people do not have access to health care... a single-payer system would be like medicare for all without people having to think about co-pays and all these other fees. You walk in and get the care required and you never see the bill... there will be those who argue that they see the bill in the form of a new tax... so what? The only way to avoid this is to either fund health care instead of warfare and stop trying to run the world... or just get rid of the whole damn system... after all, the rotten health care mess is only a reflection of a rotten capitalist system that puts the profits of Wall Street coupon clippers before people and their needs. I think working people are still bending over and getting the shaft with the single-payer compromise; the politicians and the wealthy should just be happy everyone doesn't think like me :)

In the final analysis of this issue the issue of single-payer, universal health care is a "family issue" that goes right to the heart of what any society that even has a pretense to human values is all about; what we are talking about is health care being a very basic and fundamental human right. If these politicians have to cater to the insurance companies and big-business before concerning themselves with this very basic and fundamental human right that each and everyone of us is entitled to as a birth-right then maybe we should just get on with replacing this entire corrupt system.


I received a call earlier today... it seems people have seen Dick Cheney in the company of Saddam Hussein in Las Vegas taking turns at the roulette wheel and shooting craps.