Try Reporting on Issues that Matter 07/25/2009
At President Obama's press conference he addressed a question about the arrest of Professor Gates and remarked that he thought the Cambridge Police Department "acted stupidly" for arresting a man in his own home.
"Acted stupidly" - Those two words uttered by President Obama became the news. All discussion about heath care reform came to a grinding halt. The press understands that the average American citizen is much better equipped to process a two second sound bite than the complexity of health care reform so they played to the lowest common denominator and ran with the "acted stupidly" story.
And when I say "they" I mean "everybody". NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and CNN all started their broadcast day leading with the President's remarks about the Cambridge Police Department. The two online news giants representing each side of the aisle (huffingtonpost.com and drudgereport.com) lead with this story as well.
All for ratings and pageviews - which in turn mean dollars.
And the result of this shift in ethical standards? Look no further than the past 66 hours. Right now, as I type this, H.R.3200: America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 sits before congress. If this piece of legislation is passed it would arguably have the biggest impact on the United States citizenry since FDR signed the Social Security Act into law in 1935. And we're not even talking about it.
News organizations would rather focus on two asinine words the President uttered because they know the american people's weakness for tabloid-style journalism and will attempt to exploit and profit from that weakness any chance they're given.
It would be nice if the American people would start asking themselves what is truly important. I don't care if you're for Obama's plan or against it, the consensus in the country is that something has to be done about the health care situation so we should be debating its merits.
A few years from now when somebody dear to you is denied a medical procedure they need or becomes uninsurable because they battled through an expensive illness, you're not going to give a shit what Obama said about some cop in Cambridge. If you're honest with yourself, you probably don't give a shit now either.
UPDATE 07/27/2009: What are the lead stories today? ABC and Drudge are leading with Sarah Palin and Fox News is scaring us about Hamas. Kudos to CBS, NBC and huffingtonpost who are actually leading with health care stories.
- 2388 days agoWe need a system of health care that's understandable and that works financially. If the health care solution is so baroque and complex even educated people can't really understand it, then how can we debate it or understand if it's any good? If the health care solution uses "fantasy money" to imagine that prices will magically drop or that USA will magically turn into Canada because we ape their system, that kind of unrealism will only make things worse. Health Care is not Cell Phone plans. Health Care is not Auto Insurance. You can't just say "It'll be just like Cell Phone or mandantory Auto Insurance ONLY BETTER" when it's obviously not true. Cell phones plans are cheap because they lock you into a contract with HIDDEN FEES that can add up to hundreds or even thousands AND because what cell phone companies are selling costs them very little. It costs them almost nothing to send your SMS. They still charge you 5 cents. Or $5/month for unlimited messaging. And cell companies more and more own their own towers, which cost them less and less over time (they don't have to pay another network to carry your call). Auto insurance is cheaper because yes, every driver must buy it, but 1) cheap auto insurance is only possible because the company bends over backward to avoid paying any claim, delays payment to auto repair shops, and automatically raises your rates for any reason. And hidden fees. Don't forget those hidden fees. Medical care is different. It costs real money to treat cancer. The chemotherapy machines are usually LEASED from the OEM, meaning the hospital has to pay everytime they use it. Medical systems costs so much, most hospitals can't buy them outright and instead make an agreement to pay the vendor everytime them use the machine. Where does this money come from? Faeries and Santa Claus? No, either you or your insurance company has to pay it. And if your insurance had to pay that fee consistently and often, how would that affect their profits? It would destroy them. Utterly. Now consider doctors. How much does it cost to go to medical school? How much do your parents hope you will make as a doctor after graduation? How much do nurses expect to make? How much does LIABILITY INSURANCE cost? Every time a judge awards some unlucky victim with millions of dollar of damages for medical malpractice, where does the money come from? Does it magically come from the doctor (who doesn't have that much) or the hospital (who now can't afford to buy a new chemo machine or Da Vinci operating robot or MRI because they have to eat the cost of the lawsuit...)? That's really the basic question here. 1) How much does it cost? 2) Where does the money come from? All this partisan arguing is disgusting. This is a logical problem that WE the public can debate on the internet and come to a more rational solution ourselves. I really applaud this article, and I encourage you all, rather than to lamely agree with Obama or agree with his republican detractors, to deliberately reason this out. We can do it. It's a very tricky financial puzzle, but we can figure it out! - Americans need free emergency medical care, period. - Doctors need a reasonable salary. - Medical malpractice needs to go away. Doctors need to be accountable in some other way that buy liability insurance and praying to God they never get sued. But they also need to be get honest somehow. - Hospitals need to run in the black. They need enough money to cover their costs. - Advanced medical machines needs to bought outright, never ever leased on a "per use" basis. The government should outlaw this financing scheme, and insist on low interest repayment scheme with the vendor carrying the loan (so they make money off the interest). This is a solvable problem. You don't need to say "Let's do what Canada or Sweden does" because their democracy's and economies differ from the US. They also have far, far fewer people.
- 2388 days agoThe New York Post was the worst, After Obama's speech on health care reform the main front page smeared President Obama not on the substance of the press conference but on the meaningless snip he made by calling the cop stupid. Who cares, who really cares? Are our feudal cooperate overlords so influential that they can change the subject of the debate at a whim? Real people are dying and losing everything that they worked to acquire their entire working lives, because of the immoral nature business of health. Middle-class, what middle-class? Worry free Health care in this country is a reserved for families who have an yearly net of one million dollars an year. Everyone else start crossing your t's and doting your i's private health insurance will find a way to terminate your high risk coverage, which if your lucky means a poorer quality of life with out necessary health care when you need it most and if your unfortunate death or death of a loved one due to lack of care, but not before financial ruin in either case. It is grotesque how individuals can make record profits and hide behind the names of corporations. Due to the greed of the faceless, sincere health reform is critical. As citizens of the United States, it is our duty not just to our selves but to our families, children and future generations the we no longer remain silent. Our time is heroic and it is a shared responsibility to uproot injustice wherever it might be found.
- 2388 days agoRep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., told colleagues Thursday that members of Congress should be required to join any federal public health benefits plan created by Congress. I do not believe the federal government should be running health care in our country and levying massive tax increases on America's small businesses, said Heller in urging support for an amendment to the proposed plan. However, if this administration and the majority party are going to force government-run health care on the American people, then members of Congress should be required to enroll in that plan. If the government-run public plan' is good enough for millions of our constituents, then it should be good enough for members of Congress, he said. He asked the committee reviewing the America's Affordable Health Choices Act to adopt the amendment requiring Congress to participate in the plan. The amendment, however, was rejected by the committee 21-18 He said he believes the legislation could result in 114 million Americans losing their current health insurance coverage. Here's the report that backs up Heller's estimate of over 100 million Americans losing their private insurance and being forced onto the public plan (.pdf warning) if Medicare-style Obamacare passes. http://www.writeonnevada.com/2009/07/congressional-committee-rejects.html Congressman John Fleming (Louisiana physician) has proposed an amendment that would require congressmen and senators to take the same healthcare plan they force on us (under proposed legislation they are curiously exempt). Congressman Fleming is encouraging people to go on his Website and sign his petition (very simple - just first, last and email). I have immediately done just that at: http://fleming.house.gov/ . Please urge as many people as you can to do the same! If Congress forces this on the American people, the Congressmen should have to accept the same level of health care for themselves and their families.
- 2387 days agoCongress is not 'forcing' any plan on anyone with existing coverage. What the hell is wrong with a segment of this country, honestly? It's like there is a part of this country that allows itself to be brainwashed by the media, which is controled by advertisers and special interests...like private health insurance companies whom exist to make a profit. Read the actual bill before you 'sign' something just because you read someone's slippery slope, the sky is falling, comment.
- 2387 days agoI agree! The Press/TV should focus on the REAL issue hitting our country, not sensationalism. Healthcare and Insurance is outrageous.
And I saw someone comment on auto insurance rates lower because it is law you have to have it.....Not in Arkansas. My premiem is more than DOUBLE than is was before it became law here to have auto insurance. And is a nightmare if you try to use it. I am going into my 3rd year of trying to get payment for doctor bills, missed work, auto damage from where I was Hit by another person. Insurance Co. holding out as long as they can.
I want a Health Care/Insurance Industry that allows coverages, pays on time and is for Everyone. Not one that benefits the Industry itself. I fear if Mandated HealthCare passes...the cost will escalate to a high that will ruin lives.
I also have written about this...http://hubpages.com/hub/What-I-Want-In-HealthCare-Reform We all need to make our voices heard to Congressmen.
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