Uncle Max's Musings on Politics and Culture

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Should We Recharacterize the Healthcare Debate? November 15, 2009

Filed under: Healthcare Reform — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 9:56 pm

One final item for this week’s posting . . . we keep talking about the most recent debate as healthcare reform.  I really think that it is time that we called this debate healthcare coverage/insurance reform.  This debate is doing very little to address healthcare waste (hat tip: NV).  Here are  a few key points:

1.) Unnecessary care such as the overuse of antibiotics and lab tests to protect against malpractice exposure makes up 37 percent of healthcare waste or $200 to $300 billion a year.

2.) Fraud makes up 22 percent of healthcare waste, or up to $200 billion a year in fraudulent Medicare claims, kickbacks for referrals for unnecessary services and other scams.

So, while I am encouraged by the fact that more people may have coverage, let’s not kid ourselves that this recent legislation will solve all things.

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Somedays (Sung by Audra McDonald) / Obama Delivers

Filed under: Divas Singing!!!!,Gay Rights — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 9:45 pm

I know that some of you out there are Private Practice fans.  Well, the actress playing Naomi, Audra McDonald, is a very accomplished singer and a three-time Tony winner (Tony = Academy Award for theatre).  Anyway, since I would like to have some optimism with the most recent posts, I am posting my favorite Audra McDonald performance.  The song is Somedays composed by Steve Marzullo from a poem by James Baldwin.  It is a song that always gives me hope.  Enjoy! 

And speaking of hope . . . Obama signed into legislation federal hate crime legislation for the LGBT community.  While I am personally sometimes unsure of the value of this legislation (I mean – isn’t assault horrendous despite the motivation?), it is a very symbolic moves that shows Obama is moving in the right direction with respect to gay rights.  Also, Obama recently lifted the HIV travel ban.  If you are unsure of why this travel bans was so ridiculous, see this very human story.

 

The Current State of the Healthcare Debate

Filed under: Healthcare Reform — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 9:30 pm

So – are you confused about the current state of the healthcare debate?  If you only read one link from this blog, read this one.  It summarizes the current state of the healthcare debate quite well.  Here are the key questions it answers:

1.) What does the Stupak amendment mean?  Does it affect abortion rights? (Note: I believe that it does.  I think the amendment was intended to keep the status quo, i.e. no federal funding for abortions.  However, it goes much farther (read #2 in the linked article above).  One other interesting note . . . the Republican National Committee’s insurance plan covers abortion – the hypocrisy! )

2.) What will the public option be (if anything)?

3.) What happens next?

 

Healthcare: The House Vote – The No Dems and The Yes Republican

Filed under: Healthcare Reform — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 9:15 pm

As I am sure many are aware by now, healthcare reform passed the House of Representatives.  One of the big pieces of political news with this passage was that 39 Democrats did not support the bill.  Here is an interesting fact about these Democrats – 31 of 39 are in districts where John McCain won in 2009.  See further analysis at the NY Times.

Now – let’s talk about this one Republican.  While it took me awhile to come to terms with the cost of this bill, I have ultimately been moved by the moral cause for healthcare reform.  See this listing of individual stories for where the current system is just failing.  Anyway, the lone Republican YES vote, I believe said it best:

“I read the versions of the House [health reform] bill.  I listened to the countless stories of Orleans and Jefferson Parish citizens whose health care costs are exploding – if they are able to obtain health care at all.  Louisianans needs real options for primary care, for mental health care, and for expanded health care for seniors and children.  I have always said that I would put aside partisan wrangling to do the business of the people.  My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents.”    

 

Gay Marriage Repealed in Maine

Filed under: Gay Marriage — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 9:01 pm

With election 2009, Maine voters faced a similar question that California voters did in 2009 – should gay marriage be repealed?  Well, apparently Maine votes and California voters have something in common . . . gay marriage was repealed in Maine.  While the supporters of traditional marriage only one by six percent (53 % – YES, 47% – NO), this defeat is very disappointing, but does reflect that the majority is almost in favor of gay marriage.  So, the gay movement is making progress if not success. 

Now . . . a little rant . . .

I know that there is a lot of people who believe that these referendums are just because it is the will of the people.  However, I believe that government’s role is to protect people from the majority.  Can you imagine if Abraham Lincoln had put the ending of slavery to a vote?  What if the Supreme Court had allowed the integration of schools to be a vote?  What if the government had allowed men to decide if women could vote?  Oh yes – we would have different laws in different states like we did pre-the 19th amendment?  The bottom line is that federal gay marriage is a civil right and it is needed.  Varying laws in different states is ridiculous and difficult to govern.  Also, separate but equal laws, i.e. domestic partnership, does not work either – MARRIAGE NOW!

One more item of interest that is not surprising – the majority of the repeal gay marriage movement in Maine was funded by churches, most notably The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland . . . so, ask yourself – where is your Sunday offering going the next time you throw some cash in the offering plate?

 

Success in Iraq – Did You Hear About This One on the Nightly News?

Filed under: Foreign Relations — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 8:37 pm

An item that seemed to pass without much fanfare is the face that the Iraqi government passed election laws that now allows a national vote to occur January 2010.  This movement demonstrates that Obama’s strategy may be working (even as he considers new ones in Afghanistan).  Here is the key quote:

“The deal getting done is clearly good news . . . The election law deal has obvious implications for Obama’s commitment to withdraw combat forces.  The American withdrawal timeline was long ago pegged to the elections, with force levels kept relatively high in order to provide for security during the elections and in the immediate aftermath. If the elections had been postponed, it would have posed a major problem for the withdrawal planning.  So from that narrow perspective, getting the elections done in January under any laws was really important – and Obama today affirmed that the deal keeps the withdrawal on schedule.  Getting a law which seems to include most of what the U.S. wanted substantively is a bonus.”

 

Going Rogue . . . or the Reality Star I Can’t Stop Watching!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 8:29 pm

Sarah Palin’s new book, “Going Rogue,” is released this Tuesday.  Before the release of the new book, I thought it would be good to remind the Uncle Max blog readers about her odd lies while she has become a public figure.  See this comprehensive listing at Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Daily Dish.  Here is my favorite:

Palin lied when she told voters she improvised her convention speech when her teleprompter stopped working properly; in fact, all reports showed that the machine had functioned perfectly and that her speech had closely followed the script.

I am very tempted to read this book to see what else CRAZY she says (she reminds me of a quote from a good friend of mine (hat tip: JBI) . . . “You just can’t argue with crazy.”).  Anyway, I am afraid that by reading the book that I am just further endorsing the perpetuation of this craziness.  Will you be reading the book (and if you are, let me know and I can read your copy – then, I won’t feel as guilty)?!?!?