Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Don't let complications of the political discourse block Obama care.

An article in the New York Times cleared up a lot in my mind about just what had passed yesterday in the House of Congress. Maybe it represents more work than a lot of us wanted to give Congress and the President credit for. For the Democrats it is a huge win. We all hope it will be a win for their constituents as well.

Medicaid qualifications by income are a little higher and people who are on the other end, with higher incomes than most of us, will have higher taxes. Insurance plans will not be able to charge extra for pre-existing conditions. People will not be left without coverage after an illness or job loss. This is pretty much all good news.

Of course this bill will change our medical system for the good, and many people will imagine that it will not need another visit for years to come. Yet it is still very much a capitalist system that is based on privately run institutions, physicians' offices, drug providers, and medical equipment companies. We have had a significant increase in the use of technology in medicine in the past couple of decades that include surgical interventions, life prolonging devices and monitoring procedures, not to mention records. On top of that an explosion of new drugs have been patented by the pharmacological industry. Health care costs overall will probably increase regardless of how this bill is written until we change the driving force behind the whole system from a capitalist to a preventative, holistic model. Many health care professionals would agree I believe.

Meanwhile our Governor Jay Nixon is examining a variety of ways for the State to reign in its budget under the current economy.

And the rumors about the cost of the bill to the states are not as true as originally milled about -- much less than some reports, in fact. The increases will be gradual over time, and the federal government will pay the major initial costs.

Whether Lt. Governor Peter Kinder can actually join the suit that has already been initiated by other states is questionable. It seems like a waste of state time and money to me. Calling Kinder's office, the Governor's or the Attorney General's to object to a pursuit of this action may be helpful.  One would expect to hear more opinions out of Jeff City in the next few days. Senator Kit Bond wants to repeal the health care law just signed by the President. This is likely purely for political reasons, in my opinion, since the Republicans are facing a challenge in the near future.

The Missouri Senate wants to get in on the act as well.

My recollection of Nixon's term as Attorney General is that he was well known as someone who was effective at running a tight, efficient office. In other words, he has a track record as a good administrator. He is well equipped to address the economic challenges of the State of Missouri in health care and most other matters. We really do not need an opposition to what the people of this country have worked very hard at getting passed federally, a significant improvement in health care coverage for us all.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Keeping up with Legislators

This page for capwiz is very useful for activists. I am on a list shown toward the bottom of the page called "Megavote." It sends me frequent updates on legislation in front of my federal Rep and Senators on any given week, & also what is coming up in the near future, so if you want to keep up with issues affecting you it will give you the essential info.

This past week I heard on the list that extension of unemployment and Cobra was passed by a huge majority. I congratulated Bond on supporting out of work Missourians. Senator McCaskill was not present for this vote.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Messy Business in Arrowrock

This story in the RFT hurts me. It took me back to a trip several years ago out to the Silver Mines area of the St. Francois River. That was the time that I found the water to be smelling of fecal matter. I had noted a huge passel of piglets nursing huge sows alongside the curvy road which I once loved when living out that way. Likely those pigs belonged to a farmer I had once known, who pulled me out of a ditch after an ice storm. Or maybe the farm had been sold to another person or family. My purpose was to visit the River, a healer of my spirit. A Forest Service trail runs along the river for two to three miles over moderately challenging terrain.

When Jay Nixon, during his candidacy for Governor, supported Koster (over Margaret Donelly) for Attorney General I had suspicions about this recent party switcher being described as an excellent prosecutor and a friend. Koster is, btw, from Harrisonville, MO., the small Cass Co seat, population around 8,000. His connection with farming is not specifically known to most of us, is it? But he is probably voting with the farmers.  Here is another approach to the problem that might help legislators and other power people to rethink the issue, from a farming publication. Maybe the farmers are beginning to recognize, from articles like the one in the RFT and the one linked in that story to the Wall Street Journal, that public relations are as important as other particulars in running a business.

Another group, Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, which is working currently on a puppy mill issue, might be interested in exploring how to figure out what to do about the messy business of corporate farms. Corporate animal farming is disturbing as an issue of humane animal treatment as well as being environmentally nauseating.

Meanwhile, considering the puppy mill petition and how previous petitions have fared in our state, MO needs an amendment to its Constitution which rules out legislation that overturns public petition issues which are voted in by the citizenry. Our conservative legislative branch has in the recent past reversed both gun control laws and campaign finance reform that were voted into place on state wide ballot. Isn't that counter intuitive to the representatives and senators working for us?

The Sierra Club also has looked at the issue of CAFOs. 
Perhaps re-establishing democracy-- by voting sanity in-- will be a state by state process, like women's suffrage once was. Reducing the corporations back to their previous status under anti-trust laws may take longer than most of us can imagine, yet we older folks know it has to be done.