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Last Chance: Earn your 2009 PIG Ribbon

November 19, 2009

This is it. The Senate is on the verge of voting on their version of the health care reform bill on Saturday.  Another weekend session.  If it passes, a quick, complicated, and unstoppable process will follow.  Whether for or against, call your senators and let them know how you would prefer they vote.  Spend an hour and read a bunch of articles and opinion pieces on both sides.  And read the stuff by people that get paid to write;  not just any idiot with fingers and a computer. There are only six weeks left in the year.  Make the calls today and earn your minimum Participation in Government credits.

Here’s a quick checklist to know if you are for or against this health care reform package:

But first, a quick story.  I had some friends over the other night.  Just the regulars:  Cletus, Bumper, Shneevy, and Otis. We had a bad case of the hangries (that’s hungry and angry at the same time).  So I quickly started boiling some water and we all decided to work really quick to get a stew going.  Cletus found some egg noodles and dumped them in the stew.  Bumper likes capers and he added two handfuls. Shneevy was right behind with a half a jar of peanut butter.  Just after Otis spooned in a full tin of salmon rub, my minced garlic was ready and into the cauldron it went.  Twenty minutes later we had a simmering pot of a lot of stuff that, by themselves, are quite delicious and edible. Together, and boiled, not so palatable.  Waste not, want not.


You are probably in favor of the Senate’s health care reform bill if:

  • You can suspend all rational thought and believe that this bill will 1) expand coverage to 30 million uninsured, 2) reduce the deficit, and 3) will in no way impact the quality of care for all.
  • You can completely disregard past experience of similar large quasi-government implementations such as Medicare and the U.S. Postal Service.
  • You can ignore the most recent government interventions such as the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) where not enough forethought was invested to better define how taxpayer money could be spent (i.e. not on bonuses); or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, also known as the stimulus) which so far as resulted in an unemployment rate 25% higher than the worst case projected by those supporting and authorizing its legislation;  or the ARRA (same one) that is recently showing worrisome levels of fraud and incompetency and misreporting.


You are probably opposed to the Senate’s health care reform bill if:

  • You are not in favor of it.


For further information, please reference previous essays on health care reform and recent news.

Below is a list of senators that are reportedly still undecided about the legislation.  Help them make a decision.  It doesn’t matter if they are not your senators.  Just like the House bill two weeks ago, passage in the Senate will be slim if at all.  Each senator’s vote will have an impact on your life, your family, and your money. That’s why they should take your call.  They should listen because, even though you may not be able to vote for them, you can certainly work against them and use your professional and social networks to oppose their reelection.  It doesn’t sound like much ammunition and you are correct;  it’s not.  But it’s all we have right now.

Joe Lieberman (CT) phone 202-224-4041 Fax: 202-224-9750
Evan Bayh (IN) phone 202-224-5623 Fax: 202-228-1377
Kay Hagan (NC) phone 202-224-6342 Fax: 202-228-2563
Mary Landrieu (LA) phone 202-224-5824 Fax: 202-224-9735
Mark Pryor (AR) phone 202-224-2353 Fax: 202-228-0908
Blanche Lincoln (AR) phone 202-224-4843 Fax: 202-228-1371
Ben Nelson (NE) phone 202-2246551 Fax: 202-228-0012
Tim Johnson(SD) phone 202-224-5842 Fax: 202-228-5765
Byron Dorgan (ND) phone 202-224-2551 Fax: 202-224-1193
Kent Conrad (ND) phone 202-224-2043 Fax: 202-224-7776
Jon Tester (MT) phone 202-224-2644 Fax: 202-224-8594
Dianne Feinstein(CA) phone 202-224-3841 Fax: 202-228-3954
Susan Collins (ME) 202-224-2523 Fax: 202-224-2693
Olympia Snowe (ME) 202-224-5344 Fax: 202-224-1946

Contact your  senators.  Contact your congressman.  Contact mine, too.

  1. Ben permalink
    November 20, 2009 12:02 pm

    Your posts are proof that you deserve applause for earning a PIG ribbon. It’s apparent that health reform has become bigger than the electorate imagined although there was a mandate given by the electorate for reform when Obama got elected. Unfortunately health care reform comes at a time of increasing deficits and erratic markets. I understand your opposition to Democrats forcing health care reform on everyone, but I hope you don’t agree with Republicans who continue to demand a market-driven system that hasn’t worked well since the government started providing health care for the elderly and poor generations ago. Regrettably there are not more Independents such as you in Congress who could propose a health care reform bill that would resolve rationing that already exists, rid the system of plans with limitations, make health plans more available and affordable for everyone, not cut back on Medicare and ban any tax increases.

  2. Ohio permalink
    November 22, 2009 4:21 pm

    In reading Ben’s comment above I can’t help but wonder how and why people have become so anti-capatalism. Why WOULDN’T you want a free market health care solution instead of a one-size-fits all Gov’t solution that’s tailored to meet the needs of gov’t’s favorite special interests and screw the rest of us. Currently 80% of Americans with private health insurance rate their service as good or better. And that is without competition in most cases as our GOVERNMENT in all its wisdom does not allow it!! Just think how much better it could be if they opened up the FREE MARKET to do what it does best and allowed for competition: Costs would come down, (unlike the current gov’t plans on the table) service would be better (unlike the current gov’t plans on the table) and it wouldnt cost us taxpayers 1 trillion dollars (unlike the current gov’t plans on the table) And the nice thing about a free market solution (which provides much needed JOBS for millions of hard-working Americans I might add) is that they actually employ people that know something about the industry and how business works. I suspect if our gov’t officials were experts in business than we wouldn’t have the problems we currently have with Medicare, Social Security, the Post Office, States wouldn’t be going broke, need I go on? So what is this really all about? How can anyone still want our Government to take over 1/6th of our economy and, more importantly, run something so important to all of us as healthcare?! What am I missing here?

    • Ben permalink
      November 22, 2009 6:45 pm

      My advocating for reform is not an admission that I propose doing away with a free market health care solution, but the current health care system is broken and we are already getting screwed. Yea, we’re getting screwed when we go to the doctor and see a physician’s assistant but pay as if we saw the doctor. We’re getting screwed when we have to go to the hospital for outpatient surgery where that doctor performs surgery rather than a surgery center where the same procedure could be performed cheaper. We’re getting screwed when our policy premium is raised twice in less than 12 months. Maybe you’re the exception to the rule, but most patients don’t think to ask a doctor where they perform their surgery at their first visit. The majority of patients also don’t ask their doctors if cheaper alternatives are available for procedures they are told to get. Patients don’t ask because they “have a health insurance policy and it’ll pay for them”.

      Short of getting into a urinating match with you, Ohio, let the Senate debate begin. If you are from Ohio, as your moniker implies, you should be writing and/or calling your Senators, Brown who voted yea, and find out why Voinovich did not vote on the Cloture Motion. It was obvious there are some divisions within the Democratic Party. They were exposed prior to the partisan line 60 – 39 vote. In my humble opinion the vote bodes well for those constituents like you who vehemently oppose this legislation and may foretell of a bruising debate. Just think, if you had lobbied Senator Sherrod Brown a bit harder, you might have convinced him to break ranks with the Democrats to stop the Motion to Proceed to H.R. 3590.

      One last point is that you say “a free market solution (which provides much needed JOBS for millions of hard-working Americans I might add)” is an oxymoron. Last time I checked hard-working people already had jobs.

  3. Tim permalink
    November 22, 2009 8:36 pm

    Hugo, you rabble rouser.

    Me: Hi, this is Tim, one of your constituents.
    My senator: Hi, Tim, what can I do for you?
    Me: A friend of mine told me to call you to make sure you vote against the health care bill.
    I really haven’t paid attention, but he’s really worked up about it.
    My senator: This friend wouldn’t by any chance be an intense little dude with empty eyes?
    Me: You know Hugo?
    My senator: That trouble maker’s been a real pain in my ass. Look, I have a lot of misgivings about it, but I gotta go along with the crowd. We don’t do the sensible thing anymore. We drop to the lowest common denominator. In this new cell-phone, you-tubed, reality show era, the denominators are getting pretty, pretty low. Anyway, I’m off to proctologist to see about this Hugo-induced pain. I gots real good insurance.
    Me: OK. Just so I can tell him I called. (click)

  4. Ohio permalink
    November 23, 2009 7:48 pm

    @ Ben,

    Your absolutely right that we should be calling our Senators. I did call Brown several times and voiced my concerns but sadly he still voted to proceed. On a side note, my congressman DID NOT vote for this in the house because of the overwhelming response from his constituents. So there’s proof it can work.

    I also couldn’t help but notice a lot of your complaints above could be EASILY solved without radical gov’t legislation. For example, you can request to see the actual doctor when you make an appointment instead of an assistant. And, as you touched on above, if one simply takes the time to ask questions about where procedures are performed, alternatives, etc than one could most likely cut costs that way as well. But the problem (as you correctly stated above) is that most people have no idea how much things cost and really dont care as their insurance is covering it. If there was a way to make patients more accountable and involved (such as by having ins companies give discounts or money back to individuals based on how much they spend, or more importantly, save) I think this would be a GREAT way to cut costs. Again, more competition in the market place would, I believe, give insurance companies the incentive to come up with creative programs such as this.

    Finally, before you try to slam someone, you should check Websters. An Oxymoron is when CONTRADICTORY terms appear side by side.

    • Ben permalink
      November 25, 2009 12:32 am

      OHIO, touché regarding the oxymoron.
      Regrettably, in modern American politics, with its professional lobbyists and millions of dollars in campaign advertising, public opinion isn’t always the most important thing. However, I will continue to offer mine as you will yours.
      In ending I’d like to quote a great line in the movie “A Few Good Men”, and I am only speaking of the words, not the context they were spoken in within the movie, when Colonel Jessep said, “You don’t want to know the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall.” Some of us are willing to “go to the wall” for those things we believe in. For me they are honor, integrity and truth (HIT). I strongly believe in HIT and am willing to “go to the wall” with honor and integrity to get to the truth. My sincerest hope is that Congress debate the health care issue with HIT. Knowing the truth about the health care industry is the correct first step for fixing it to better serve all Americans, including those who currently cannot afford it.

  5. Ohio permalink
    November 24, 2009 10:55 am

    I understand where you are coming from. In fact, when you say, “It is my sincere desire that the Senate debate resolve concerns expressed by citizens and groups, make the health care industry more user friendly and make health insurance affordable for more people.” Right on! I could not agree with you more. Unfortunately, based on what I have seen thusfar in the House and Senate bills, the current proposals seem to be doing the exact opposite though. I can also appreciate your thoughts on limited Gov’t regulation, however, one could also argue that the Wall St fiasco was CAUSED BY Gov’t involvement. After all, it was our Gov’t that mandated Banks change their loaning standards so that nearly anyone who wanted a home could purchase one, even if they clearly could not afford it. And then it just snowballed from there. Let me be clear, I’m not saying that the Banks are victims in this by any means. I just think the Gov’t should bear just as much responsibility in this mess as the banks.

    Bottom line, I couldn’t agree with you more that problems exist in the health care industry that need immediate attention. Sadly though I do not feel that our elected officials have the capacity or even the sincere desire to solve these issues honestly and effectively. And when a siginificant number of our fellow citizens seem to be blindly calling for Gov’t to solve all of our problems these days, that scares the hell out of me. (and i’m not saying that is what you belive…it’s just that when you first commented that you hoped Hugo was against a market-driven solution that is all I could think of.)

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