Right-Wing Ideology Produces A U.S. Health
Care System That Is Worst In The Developed World
Partially hyperlinked to sources.
For all sources, see the data
Sources you'll hear in this first
segment include: the New York Times, Reuters, The Miami Herald, the Truman
Presidential Library, the websites of John McCain and Barack Obama,
thinkprogress.org, the website of the Library of Congress, and the Associated
One of the mantras you hear on Blast
The Right is, whatever a right-winger says, the exact opposite is true.
Right-wingers claim that the US has
the best health care system in the world.
The truth: it does just about the
worst job compared to any other Western industrialized country.
A recent study
…highlights the stark
contrast between what the United States spends on its health system and the
quality of care it delivers, especially when compared with many other
The report…shows that
the United States spends more than twice as much on each person for health care
as most other industrialized countries. But it has fallen to last place among
those countries in preventing deaths through use of timely and effective medical
care, according to the report by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit research
The right-wing claims we have the
best health care system, to avoid admitting that fundamental changes are needed.
Remember, every other Western
industrialized nation has a national health care system that guarantees medical
care to every citizen.
Our health care system is a largely a
right-wing one, based on the so-called "free market".
Unless you're in dire poverty, you're on your own, Charley.
The Commonwealth Fund report compared
37 indicators, including access, quality, and health outcomes.
For example, since the first of these
reports last year, access to health care in our nation has deteriorated.
Did you know that a total of 75
million Americans now either have no health insurance, or are underinsured?
That's 1 in four people in this country.
The Commonwealth report measures how
well a nation does in preventing deaths from treatable conditions, like heart
attacks and asthma. We improved, but
the other nations improved even more.
So in 2007 the US fell from 15th to
19th, dead last among developed nations.
The death toll?
Americans would live, not die every year, if our health care system did as good
a job in this regard as the health care systems in countries like Japan, France
This Commonwealth Fund Report just
reinforces other disturbing things you've heard on prior shows.
For example, The Lancet is one of the
world's major peer-reviewed medical journals.
It recently published a comprehensive
that found a correlation between what stage cancer is diagnosed at, and the
person's insurance status.
If you're uninsured, you're more
likely to receive a diagnosis of cancer in one of the later stages.
And that diminishes
your chances of survival.
In fact, the national Institute of
Medicine says 18,000
Americans die every year because of lack of health insurance.
These people don’t receive such
necessities as preventive care, timely diagnosis, or appropriate treatment.
And then you have our shamefully high
infant mortality rate.
If our infant mortality rate were as
low as, say Japan's or Sweden's, 12,000
American children would live, not die, every year.
In addition to sickness and death
caused by our right-wing health care system, there's the economic toll.
of all bankruptcies in the US are caused by medical bills, and most of those
people had insurance, just not adequate insurance.
You know the number of people
declaring bankruptcy because of unpaid medical bills in other industrialized
Yet, despite all you've just heard,
many right-wingers are oblivious.
Here's George W. Bush's words of
I mean, people have access
to health care in America.
After all, you just go to
an emergency room.
Since there's no problem, I guess
that's why right-wingers like George W. Bush propose "free-market"
adjustments to our health care system that are completely bogus.
The Bush proposal would
help no more
than 1 in 10 people without insurance.
The public isn't stupid.
majority of Americans support a federal government guarantee of health care.
But the right-wing has been
such a program since the days of Harry S. Truman, over 60 years ago.
Truman's plan came under vicious
right-wing attack. It was condemned
as -- are you ready -- "socialized medicine."
How do we make sure all Americans get
the health care they need and deserve?
Health care is a right.
HR 676, a bill in the House of
Representatives, would basically establish Medicare for all.
Medicare is a "single
payer" system. The government
pays, but private doctors and hospitals provide services.
HR 676 has 91
co-sponsors in the House. You can
bet there's not many Republicans among them.
McCain is offering
typical right-wing claptrap, such as tax credits, that won't work.
Obama isn't offering single payer,
but he's much closer.
With, for example, a Medicare-type plan anyone can buy into.
President Obama and an increased
Democratic majority can be pushed towards true single payer.
And in the meantime, interim measures
can still provide critical help to those who need it.
For example, the Democratic Congress
in 2007 passed an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
McCain voted against
it, and Bush successfully vetoed it.
Obama, on the other hand, was a cosponsor.
And a President Obama would sign it.
And those millions of additional
children would start getting medical care. Now.
Purists shouldn't sniff at such
interim, immediately available gains.
So please go out and whack your
friendly local right-winger over the head with this, the consequences to
flesh-and-blood humans of right-wing rigid, dystopian ideology.
If they don't recognize a critical
problem in our health care system, show them there is one.
If they propose so-called free market
solutions, tell them that's what we already have.
They don't work.
We just can't afford more any more
increased human misery, suffering, pain and death from right-wing policies.
Cruel Bush Immigration Raids: A National
Partially hyperlinked to sources.
For all sources, see the data
You probably know that progressives
aren't all of one mind on the immigration issue.
I found that out last time I addressed the topic.
I have to speak the truth as I see
When I see actions that are cruel and
inhumane, I'll continue to speak out against them.
Two recent immigration enforcement
actions by the Bush administration cry out for condemnation.
Sources you'll hear in this segment
include the New York Times, and the Associated Press.
In Houston, two hundred immigration
a company called Action Rags USA, and arrested 160 workers.
Two hundred agents?
Does the scale of that expenditure of
time and money and personnel strike you as absurd as it does me?
Action Rags exports used clothing and
200 agents!! Go find some al Qaeda
To arrest some poor souls sorting
200 agents to arrest 160 workers.
These dangerous shmata workers undoubtedly required a greater than 1 to 1
ratio of law enforcement to "criminal."
The right-wing tells us over and over
again that we ought to be terrified about Al Qaeda mass murderers sneaking
across the border. Wouldn't
those 200 agents be better used as border patrol personnel?
Ok, that raid got me upset.
But the next
raid and its aftermath infuriated me.
It took place at a kosher meatpacking
plant in Postville, Iowa, called Agriprocessors.
It was the biggest immigration action
in US history.
Nearly 400 undocumented workers were
In the past, workers who were in the
country illegally would simply have been deported.
Here, however, unbelievably, 260 were
charged as serious criminals. For
using false social security numbers or false residency papers.
They were offered
a deal they couldn't refuse. Plead
guilty, serve five months in jail, and then be deported.
Or, wait six months or longer in jail
for a trial, face a 2-year minimum sentence, and then deportation in any event.
The proceedings were, in the words of
a New York Times editorial,
"clearly rigged for the wholesale imposition of mass guilt."
Court translators usually don't make
comments about proceedings. These
were so unfair that the translator felt compelled to speak out.
Here's a bit of what he said:
Many of the people we
interviewed didn’t know what a Social Security number was or what it’s used
for. And you could tell they were
telling the truth because they would say it with shame, like they didn’t want
to appear ignorant.
But you would ask them,
“What is this number here?” “I
don’t know.” “Who put it
there?” “The factory—the
plant—they just filled it out for me because I don’t know the language.”
The truth of the matter is
that many of them couldn’t read or write Spanish, let alone English.
And one of the elements of the offense of Social Security fraud is
So there was a pretty good
indication that many of them were actually not guilty.
But yet they had not choice but to plead out.
from the New York Times:
The plea deal is a brutal
legal vise, but the immigrants accept it as the quickest way back to their
spouses and children, hundreds of whom are cowering in a Catholic church, afraid
to leave and not knowing how they will survive. The workers are scattered to
federal lockups around the country. Many families still do not know where they
are. The plant’s owners walk freely.
Five months in jail right out of the
How are families supposed to survive?
White collar, or should I better yet
say white criminals, get weeks or months to prepare for prison.
And their families have exponentially bigger resources to fall back on.
Now, follow me on this:
It turns out that some of the workers
at the rag sorting plant had lived
in Houston for more than ten years.
Ten years here, and now we tell them,
you can't sort shmatas for us any more, how dare you sneak in here, we're
kicking you out of the country.
In the law, there's a doctrine called
Equitable, as in equity, justice. Estoppel,
meaning a bar, a restraint. You
can't do that, because to allow you to do so would be unjust.
As when someone has detrimentally
relied on your words, actions or silence.
It applies by analogy here.
For decades, we invited undocumented
workers to come here and provide cheap labor for us.
With a wink and a nod, we didn't enforce the law.
We induced these severely impoverished people to come here and set up a
life. We looked the other way.
Ok, if someone arrived here last
week, and they're caught, deport them.
But if they've been here for years,
and have established a life, and maybe even a family, it's a moral obscenity to
turn around and at our whim, say, oops, too bad, off you go.
Even worse when we charge them as
criminals and railroad them to jail first, leaving their families stranded.
Up next: more on how this right-wing
approach to fixing our broken immigration system is profoundly unjust, if not
downright racist. Stick around.
I believe racism is at the root of
this cruel conduct.
If you're going to deport long-time
residents, it would naturally be a somber occasion.
Not a light-hearted time, not a cause for gloating, for glee.
But listen to one of the head
cheerleaders for the right, Ann Coulter, showing a level of cruelty that
surprises even Bill O'Reilly:
I'd build a wall--in fact, I'd hire illegal immigrants to build the
wall--and throw out the illegals who are here.
You'd throw them out.
Did you catch her sadistic tone:
And even if someone felt glee, would
it not take an even more hard-core racist attitude to also wish harm to the
Listen to radio talk show host Neal
Boortz. He's not fringe.
He's syndicated. He's on
Hannity & Colmes all the time:
…During the warm-up hour
of The Neal Boortz Show, we came up with a marvelous suggestion for solving two
of America's problems at the same time: disposing of nuclear waste and doing
something about the illegal aliens in this country. And that is, if the evil
listeners to talk radio can just succeed in killing the amnesty bill, or if we
can at least succeed in getting an amendment to the bill that says before you
can get a visa to work here, you have to go home. OK?
Then all of the Mexicans
who are here, as they leave the country we can give them a lovely parting gift,
like they do on Jeopardy! We can give them a little -- yeah, a little bag of
nuclear waste from one of our nuclear power plants or maybe one of our nuclear
Give 'em a little bag of
nuclear waste as your lovely parting gift. AMF, which means "Adios, my
friend." Send them back across the border to Mexico. Tell 'em it's a
tortilla warmer. You know, to put it in the tortilla box, and the tortillas stay
warm. And then they will. And you'll be able to find them at night too, because
they'll glow. And this will be a big hit.
And, there are states that have
passed laws increasing penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants.
If you look at a chart
of where those states are, they're largely in the old Confederacy.
Get the picture?
Let me now take you down another line
One of the underage workers at the
meat plant, Elmer L, said
he started at 16 years old, working 17 hour shifts, 6 days a week.
I was very sad and I felt
like I was a slave.
A slave indeed.
Countless Americans have lived far
more comfortable lives than they otherwise would have, because of these poorly
paid, undocumented immigrants. See
if you can relate to this passage from Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel
and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.
It may give you a new perspective:
When someone works for
less than she can live on - when, for example, she goes hungry so that you can
eat more cheaply and conveniently - then she has made a great sacrifice for you,
she has made you a gift of some part of her abilities, her health, and her life.
The "working poor," as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the
major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that
the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so
that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that
inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor
is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else.
How can anyone deny that?
And I just have to throw this in as
well, because it gnaws at me.
If you're speaking with any right
wingers of the Christian or Jewish persuasion about this, you must tell them:
We must love
the stranger, even as much as we love ourselves.
We must not wrong
or oppress the stranger.
laws should apply to the stranger as to the native.
Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter profess
to be strong Christians.
If you're talking to a right-winger
who professes to be a Christian, remind them that one of things Jesus sent
people to hell for in Matthew
25's parable of the sheep and the goats, was not welcoming the stranger.
For more on this angle, you can check
I'll tell you.
Reading the coverage about Postville, some things did give me hope; some
local residents were clearly upset about the action.
One 50-year old, Dave Hartely, said
It just didn't need to get
to this, to a boiling point. People knew what was going on in there, in
Agriprocessors, and this could have been dealt with another way.
On some issues I vehemently disagree
with the Times editorial board, like on globalization, and Hugo Chavez.
But here they're remarkably spot on.
I can't improve upon their words:
The conditions at the
Agriprocessors plant cry out for the cautious and deliberative
application of justice.
No one is denying that the
workers were on the wrong side of the law. But there is a profound difference
between stealing people’s identities to rob them of money and property, and
using false papers to merely get a job. It is a distinction that the Bush
administration, goaded by immigration extremists, has willfully ignored.
Deporting unauthorized workers is one thing; sending desperate breadwinners to
prison, and their families deeper into poverty, is another.
Yes, it's cruel and vindictive,
designed to appeal to right-wing extremists.
Continuing on, the Bush
…has abandoned mercy and
proportionality. It has devised new and harsher traps, as in Postville, to
prosecute the weak and the poor. It has increased the fear and desperation of
workers who are irresistible to bottom-feeding businesses precisely because they
are fearful and desperate. By treating illegal low-wage workers as a de facto
criminal class, the government is trying to inflate the menace they pose to a
level that justifies its rabid efforts to capture and punish them. That is a
fraudulent exercise, and a national disgrace.
It's cruel and irrational and
vindictive and counterproductive to everything that's humanly decent -- in other
words, it's pure right-wing.
We progressives must fight it with
all our heart and soul. But for an
accident of birth, there go you and I.