Why?

Why do my compatriots do what they do?

It is sad!  A sad feeling when I listen to the Russian radio, read Russian newspapers and read my Russian relative’s and friend’s e-mails.

What is it?  Total selfishness or fear?  Inability to adapt to a new,  free society?  Nostalgia for older simpler times, times when everything was clear?  The Party told us who was a friend and who was an enemy, we were taught at school who was a positive and who was a negative hero in the books.  Is it fear for something new, different, a fear of  change?

Obama haters
OH NO! Hussein Obama!

Seemingly smart and educated people are panicking in fear of the possibility of this “black Muslim terrorist sympathizer” becoming the President of our country – the USA.

I remember people crying when Stalin died, asking each other what are we going to do, who will protect us, who will tell us what is right and what is wrong.

Look at where we are today as a country:

A deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, a very real possibility of being kicked out of Iraq.  Iraq’s closest ally is Iran, not the United States – the “liberator”.

Our country is broke financially, health care is in crisis, the country is more divided than ever before, the middle class is in trouble.

And what are Russian immigrants concerned about?  He is black!  He is a terrorist sympathizer!  He is a Muslim!  He supported 9/11!  He was not born in United States!  Jessie Jackson supports him (the same one that wanted to cut off Obama’s balls)!  He is a bandit that will destroy Israel!  Kaddafi is his best friend!

It seems to me that the moment Barack Hussein Obama is elected, some of these terrified Russians will hide in their basements with their families because they do not want another Soviet Union.

Let’s see – Soviet Union.

No freedom of speech, a stagnant economy, an over-sized military, Afghanistan disaster, exporting the Soviet system into other countries, one-party political system, constant surveillance of all their citizens. Did I miss something?

Now – USA. 10 years of Republican Party rule and 8 years of W. leadership.

Freedom of speech (if you disagree with us, you are against us), an economy in ruins (are you better off now than you were 8 years ago?), how are we going to pay a 14 Trillion dollar debt?, an over-sized military (we spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined), wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with no end in sight, we screwed up the war in Afghanistan because we were bringing “democracy” to the Iraqi people, unauthorized surveillance of US citizens (but “we have nothing to hide”).  Did I miss something?

But we do not want another Soviet Union here!!!

So, let’s keep Republicans in power!  One wonders were the logic is!

No logic, just pathological fear and hatred!  Fear of anything new and different and hatred of those that disagree.

And many of these people came here as “dissidents”.

Nice going Soviet dissidents!

From Michael Moore

We are, right now, living in an amazing moment of history. And this moment has happened because the youth around the world have decided they’ve had enough. Young people are in revolt — and it’s about time.

Join My High School Newspaper …a note to students from Michael Moore

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Dear High School Students:

Unions
Our rights

How inspired are you by the thousands of students from Wisconsin high schools who began walking out of class four days ago and have now occupied the State Capitol building and its grounds in Madison, demanding that the governor stop his assault on teachers and other government workers? I have to say it’s one of the most exciting things I’ve seen in years.

We are, right now, living in an amazing moment of history. And this moment has happened because the youth around the world have decided they’ve had enough. Young people are in revolt — and it’s about time.

You, the students and young adults, from Cairo, Egypt to Madison, Wisconsin, are now rising up, taking to the streets, organizing, protesting and refusing to move until your voices are heard. Effing amazing!! It has scared the pants off those in power, the adults who were so convinced they had done a heckuva job trying to dumb you down and distract you with useless nonsense so that you’d end up feeling powerless, just another cog in the wheel, another brick in the wall. You’ve been fed a lot of propaganda about “how the system works” and so many lies about what took place in history that I’m amazed you’ve been able to sort through all the bs and see the truth for what it is. This was all done in the hopes you would just keep your mouths shut, get in line and follow orders. And don’t rock the boat. Because if you do, you could end up without a good job! You could end up looking like a freak! You’ve been told politics isn’t cool and that one person really can’t make a difference.

And for some beautiful, unknown reason, you’ve refused to listen. Maybe it’s because you’ve figured out that we adults are about to hand you a very empty and increasingly miserable world, with its melting polar ice caps, its low-paying jobs, its incessant war machine, and its plan to put you in permanent debt at age 18 with the racket known as college loans.

On top of that, you’ve had to listen to adults tell you that you may not be able to legally marry the person you love, that your uterus isn’t really yours to control, and that if a black guy somehow makes it into the White House, he must’ve entered illegally from Kenya.

Yet, from what I’ve seen, the vast majority of you have rejected all of this crap. Never forget that it was you, the young people, who made Barack Obama president. First you formed his army of election volunteers to get him the nomination. Then you came out in record numbers in November of 2008. Did you know that the only age group where Obama won the white vote was with 18-29-year-olds? The majority of every white age group over 29 years old voted for McCain — and yet Obama still won! How’d that happen? Because there were so many youth voters of all races — a record turnout that overcame the vast numbers of fearful white adults who simply couldn’t see someone whose middle name was Hussein in the Oval Office. Thank you young voters for making that happen!

Young people elsewhere in the world, most notably in the Middle East, have taken to the streets and overthrown dictatorial governments without firing a shot. Their courage has inspired others to take a stand. There’s a huge momentum right now, a youth-backed mojo that can’t and won’t be stopped.

Although I’ve long since left your age group, I’ve been so inspired by recent events that I’d like to do my bit and lend a hand. I’ve decided to turn over a part of my website to high school students so they — you — can have the opportunity to get the word out to millions more people. For a long time I’ve wondered, how come we don’t hear the true voices of teenagers in our mainstream media? Why is your voice any less valid than an adult’s?

In high schools all across America, students have great ideas to make things better or to question what is going on — and often these thoughts and opinions are ignored or silenced. How often in school is the will of the student body ignored? How many students today will try to speak out, to stand up for something important, to simply try to right a wrong — and will be swiftly shut down by those in authority, or by other students themselves?

I’ve seen students over the years attempt to participate in the democratic process only to be told that high schools aren’t democracies and that they have no rights (even though the Supreme Court has said that a student doesn’t give up his or her rights “when they enter the schoolhouse door”).

It’s always amazed me how adults preach to young people about what a great “democracy” we have, but when students seek to be part of it, they are reminded that they are not full citizens yet and must behave somehow as indentured servants. Is it any wonder then why some students, when they become adults, don’t feel like participating in our political system — because they’ve been taught by example for the past 12 years that they have no say in the decisions that affect them?

We like to say that we have this great “free press,” and yet how free are high school newspapers? How free are you to write or blog about what you want? I’ve been sent stories from teenagers that they couldn’t get published at school. Why not? Why must we silence or keep out of sight the voice of our teenagers?

It’s not that way in other countries. The voting age in places like Austria, Brazil or Nicaragua is 16. In France, students can shut down the country by simply walking out of school and taking to the streets.

But here in the U.S. you’re told to obey and to basically butt out and let the adults run the show.

Let’s change that! I’m starting something on my site called, “HIGH SCHOOL NEWSPAPER.” Here you will be able to write what you want and I will publish it. I will also post those articles that you’ve tried to get published at your school but were turned down. On my site you will have freedom and an open forum and a chance to have your voice heard by millions.

I’ve asked my 17-year-old niece, Molly, to kick things off by editing this page for the first six months. She will ask you to send her your stories and ideas and the best ones will be posted on MichaelMoore.com. I’ll give you the platform you deserve. It will be my honor to have you on my site and I encourage you to take advantage of it.

You are often called “our future.” That future is today, right here, right now. You’ve already proven you can change the world. Keep doing it. And I’d be honored to help you.

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

I Still Hope

In supporting the oppressive regimes around the world we are just delaying the inevitable.

This has been written over 3 years ago but I think this article is as relevant today as it was then. Different country, another conflict but really nothing changed. Nothing. Violence and wars and blood.  Over and over again. For as long as humanity exists. Why is that in order to exist humans have to be at each other throats all the time. No other animal does this. It seems that most of the energy and ingenuity of people is directed on better ways to kill each other. And yet there is always hope. It has to be. Otherwise life would be impossible. As I am reading this old letter and as I am writing this foreword I do hope that some day, some distant day humanity will grow up and stop the madness.
I STILL HOPE.
Some thoughts about current and not so current events
The forces of light and darkness
Dawn

This war will never end. This war began with the creation of the Universe.

It is the eternal war of two opposites.

Call it the forces of Light and Darkness, Life and Death, Love and Hate.

The forces of light represent progress, advancement and growth.

The forces of dark – regression, death and entropy.

The Entropy and Regression are older, more probable states of the Universe.

The moment the forces of Light become complacent, relax, look the other way the Darkness advances, gets stronger.

We are at that stage now

Terrorism is like a dark poisonous cloud that creeps around the world slowly advancing and filling every available void.

The Evil is evolving, adapting, changing. It creeps up on the unsuspecting world filling every void created by absence of forces of Light.

It is filling Afganistan, Iraq, Africa, Lebanon, Gaza, Europe.

Yet the world does nothing

It is not enough to destroy the darkness. One has to replace it with light, fill the void.

There can not be Gray. If the forces of Light do not fill the void, the darkness comes in.

Israel can not do it alone.

America cannot do it alone

Europe cannot do it alone (not that it is trying)

Because the forces of dark are always ready to fill the void.

When the Israelis left Lebanon 6 years ago they left the void. The world did nothing to fill the void.

The Darkness came in.

Unless the forces of Light and Life unite, the forces of Dark and Death will win.

In supporting the oppressive regimes around the world we are just delaying the inevitable.

These regimes will explode. Dictatorships always crush.  Meanwhile there are undercurrents of anger, frustration and opposition that in many cases become violent and directed toward America. There is a price we pay for supporting dictators and being on the wrong side of history. Always.

So maybe this time we got a little smarter handling crisis in Egypt and Tunisia.

Smarter by not invading or forcing the outcome.

Smarter by being on the right side of history.

So now what?

This is an example of the usual brilliance of Mr. “Sour” Krauthammer, another Obama-hater gussied up as an impartial journalist. I wouldn’t waste my time debating just another piece of anti-Obama propaganda, but I started this letter before I read this “pearl.”

Charles Krauthammer in a recent column concerning President Obama’s State of the Union Address entitled, “The old Obama gussied up in new clothing”, stated the following:

“This entire pantomime about debt reduction came after the first half of a speech devoted to, yes, new spending.  One almost has to admire Obama’s defiance.  His 2009 stimulus and budget-busting health care reform are precisely what stirred the popular revolt that delivered his November shellacking.  And yet he’s back for more.

It’s as if Obama is daring the voters — and the Republicans — to prove they really want smaller government.  He’s manning the barricades for ObamaCare and he’s here with yet another spending, excuse me, investment spree. To face down those overachieving Asians, Obama wants to sink yet more monies into yet more road and bridge repair, more federally subsidized teachers…with a bit of high-speed rail tossed in for style.  That will show the Chinese”.

This is an example of the usual brilliance of Mr. “Sour” Krauthammer, another Obama-hater gussied up as an impartial journalist.  I wouldn’t waste my time debating just another piece of anti-Obama propaganda, but I started this letter before I read this “pearl.”

I am not an economist, but I can add and subtract.  I am trying to understand the problems we are facing and their possible short and long-term solutions.  In my opinion the long-term problem lies in the very foundation of our society.  We are losing revenue because we fall further and further behind other nations in critical areas such as education, science, health care and technology.  We are losing our competitive edge.

So what do we need to do as a society?

Science and technology – We need to triple our investment in science, research and development.

Education – It starts with the family.  It starts in preschool and kindergarten.  We need to educate parents, we need to fund preschool and early learning.  We need to change family culture.  Perhaps we can learn a few things from the “Tiger Mom”.  We are failing to provide adequate job training for our young people and for the older generation.

Infrastructure – Our deteriorating infrastructure is in urgent need of repair and technological improvement.  We need to fix our roads and bridges and to build bullet trains for us, Mr. Krauthammer, not to stick it to the Chinese!

Energy – We need to end our dependency on oil.

And yes, Mr. Krauthammer, we call it an investment!

To accomplish all this we need money, but not just money.  We must change the way we operate as a society.  It sounds scary and radical, but here is some news for you – we do not have a choice.  If we don’t change, we will run short of resources in the not-so-distant future.  How do we fix the energy problem?  How do we fix our dependence on fossil fuels?

Conservation and new sources of energy

We improve car efficiency, we develop public transportation, we reduce our commute to work.  Many jobs can be done from home.

Optimizing delivery of goods

We should use locally-grown and produced goods instead of transporting goods from all around the world.  Above all, we must stop making junk that people can live without.  We need to encourage online shopping in order to eliminate the middleman “brick and mortar” stores.

And yes, Mr. Krauthammer, we need that “eliminate fossil fuel Sputnik moment” to develop a serious replacement for oil.

What would you suggest, Mr. Krauthammer?

Ways to reduce or eliminate budget deficit

Republicans, who somehow became fiscally responsible, tell us we need to cut expenses…and I agree.  And boy, are they ready to cut!  But they will not tell us what they would cut.  And Mr. Krauthammer will not tell us either.  I cannot wait to see their plan. But I doubt that cutting alone will do the job

Economist Galbraith said that the current mania for deficit reduction is disastrously misplaced.  “The right economic objectives are to meet real problems, not those conjured from thin air by economists”, he concluded.  “Bringing about a rapid end to unemployment, caring properly for an aging population, cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico, coping with our energy insecurity and with climate change are all far more important objectives than reducing a projection of future budget deficits.”

Galbraith’s testimony may have been the most detailed and extensive presentation of the deficit-contrarian’s position.  But its basic thrust has received support from other prominent and respected figures.  Paul Krugman of the New York Times, Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive economic think tank and Robert Reich, who served as Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration, all have contended, like Galbraith, that the deficit was caused by a loss of demand triggered by the bursting of the housing bubble.

So where do we cut?

In order to pay off our debt we need a surplus.  Our income must exceed our expenses in order to pay off the 14 trillion dollar national debt.

Considering that we have a one trillion dollar current budget deficit and a two trillion dollar income, we need to cut our expenses by 30% every year or roughly by 1.1 trillion dollars per year in order to begin to significantly reduce our annual shortfall.  Or we need to increase the revenue by at least 30%…or even better, we need to do both

In my simple mind, I see some obvious ways to save money:  1) stop the wars (300 billion annually), 2) cut the defense budget by getting rid of Cold War-era weapons and weapons-building programs (about $300 billion annually), 3) fix health care (we spend twice as much per capita on health care than any other industrial country).  Let’s learn from others how to improve our health care system.  In the long run we should be able to save at least 30% or about $300 billion a year.

Here is a shock for you,  America. You are not a super power anymore…you live on borrowed money.  You are falling behind in science, education,  your standard of living and life expectancy.  Nobody is afraid of you anymore.  You cannot invade every nation that you do not like.  You do not have the money to fix your own roads!

Let’s drop this arrogant attitude of total superiority and learn a few things from other nations.   How about bullet trains?  Or public transportation?  What about a health care system where families don’t have to go bankrupt if a loved one gets sick?

Do we really need military bases all around the world?  We don’t.  Our military industrial complex does!  Can we afford to spend more on weapons than the rest of the world combined?  Do we have to?

How do we deal with the lost generation of Americans between 40 and 60 years old who don’t have skills to participate in today’s economy?  How do we attract the best scientists when some politicians are trying to politicize science and don’t want to finance important scientific projects?

I liked the State of the Union address as did the majority of Americans including Republicans.  It offered some concrete programs to solve very serious problems we are facing as a country and as individuals. These programs require sacrifice and hard work.

Mr. Krauthammer’s words provide us with no answers.

There is a saying, “The one who finds what he is looking for is looking for faults.”  But what can our President do to satisfy you, Mr. Krauthammer?

I think “drop dead” would be the only answer.

About Hate and Ignorance

Some people that supported the war in Iraq, which already cost us countless lives and over a trillion dollars, are going crazy at the thought of helping to improve the health and well being of Americans.

Not about healthcare.

Back to the wild west
Militant individualism

Our country is being pulled apart. Part of the country is trying to shake off the old wild-west mentality and join the civilized world. The other part is trying to pull us back into the past to militant individualism, into the dog-eat-dog mentality.

And I constantly keep asking myself why some people get so angry when our society is trying to help people who need help. The slogans are flying: socialism, fascism, and so on. And most of the people who keep throwing those words do not really know what they mean. Continue reading “About Hate and Ignorance”

American Exceptionalism

The notion that America had some “gilt-edged guarantee of national superiority”.
The notion of our own complacent sense of superiority, our belief that America will always come out on top, that will not be the case unless we make it so.

Some personalities preaching American exceptionalism.
Exceptional American

What makes a person exceptional?

Please look closely at some personalities preaching American exceptionalism.
What makes them exceptional? Is it their intelligence?  their knowledge?  their achievements?.
What makes Sarah Palin exceptional? Her history knowledge?  her accomplishments as unfinished governor?  her leadership?
Being an American is an honor, not a privilege. It comes with responsibilities. An exceptional country consists of exceptional people.
We should ask ourselves – are we exceptional?
Are we exceptional enough to invade other countries?
Are we exceptional in the way we take care of our citizens?
Are exceptional in educating our children?
America is a great country, based on great democratic principles, where anybody with a dream and hard work can succeed. But do we really have the right to call ourselves exceptional just because our military is bigger?, or because we have more guns and kill more of our own citizens than any other developed country in the world?
Do we have the right to bully other nations?, to install “our way of life” by force?
Is the fact that a large number of Americans does not know where Africa is on a map gives us the right to ignore the wishes of other nations, and to be self-centered, arrogant and condescending?
Does our perceived exceptionalism give us an excuse to be ignorant, arrogant and violent? Just because you happen to be born in America does not make you better than other human beings born somewhere else.
Our exceptionalism implies responsibilities
to lead, not to force
to respect, not to dismiss
to learn, not to excuse our ignorance
to listen, not to assume we know better
to be willing to learn from others
But first and foremost, not to accept our exceptionalism as a given, as a birthright.
As a country we have a great potential. America is still a leader of the Free world.
Being an American is an honor, not a privilege.
Are we exceptional?

But this leadership is earned with blood and sacrifices and hard work.

While listening to some people talking about the American exceptionalism, I am thinking that if we would follow them, our country would indeed be exceptional. The same way that Yemen is exceptional – a lot of weapons and violence and not much else.
Exceptionalism is not a birthright. Just because someone is born here does not make that someone exceptional.
Exceptional

Clare Boothe Luce, the American playwright, congresswoman and ambassador said:

– The notion that America had some “gilt-edged guarantee of national superiority”.
The notion of our own complacent sense of superiority, our belief that America will always come out on top, that will not be the case unless we make it so.

Health Care Debate.. Again

Health costs are bankrupting small businesses and even conglomerates like General Motors as well as millions of families. Medicare is on track to go broke by 2017, and our long-term budget problems are primarily health-cost problems.

Cost if health care
Pay up!

Why is it bad to be sick? Is it a tough theoretical question?

How does being chronically ill affect your family? Your quality of life? Your job?
How does being sick affect your finances?
Are these difficult questions?
Are you taking medications? It seems it is becoming a norm to take medications after a certain age.
Why? Why is that a rule rather than an exception?
Why are we becoming a society of sick people? Why are we getting used to the fact that a half of our population is sick?!
WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?
WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR “HEALTH CARE”
Some more “questions” to my fellow Americans: would you prefer to stay healthy or to be sick?
Fat or trim
To go fishing or to go to the doctor
To pay the doctor or to go on vacation
Socialized Government care
Would you prefer:
To be insured by the private firefighter company or to have “Government firefighters” that you know will be there if your house catches fire.
Do you want USPS service to mail your letter or do you want private companies like UPS only?
Do you want a “social” government army or a Blackwater type army?
Do you need to be an economist or a politician to understand the benefits of basic health care for ALL?
Health care issues in our country are long-term problems and require long term solutions.
It starts with going back to basics.
Preventive care.
Time Magazine June 29 2009
No. 1 killer of Americans (as it has been for all but a few years since 1900), our collective waistline continues to bulge, diabetes rates march ever higher, and after steadily declining in recent decades, the smoking rate among high schoolers is leveling off. The U.S. boasts the best cutting-edge medicine in the world, yet 75% of our health-care costs are attributable to chronic, preventable diseases. In all, about 40% of premature deaths in the U.S. are caused by lifestyle choices — smoking, poor eating and inactivity
Did you notice” the best cutting-edge medicine in the world”-not the best healthcare system in the world. Do you understand the difference?
More questions:
Your car: Do you change the oil regularly or do you wait until you need to replace the engine?
Do you check the brakes from time to time or do you replace the whole mechanism after it falls apart?
In short, do you prefer to do preventative maintenance for your car?
If yes – why?
Is that because you may get killed on the road or you know that you will need to spend money on a new car if you don’t take care of it?
However you treat your car, do you treat your body the same way?
If you do not do preventative care of your body – why?
Is it because it is cheaper to replace parts of your body than parts of your car?
Or is it easier to get a new body than a new car?
Do you need to be an economist to understand the benefits of preventative care?
Ours is a system that rewards pills and procedures and nurtures a clinical culture in which the goal is primarily to fix what goes wrong. “I never saw a well patient in my life,” says a doctor of the years he spent as a heart surgeon. “They were all sick. We are in the sickness business. We need to get into the health business.”
Do you need to read statistics to know that “health” care in our country is in crisis taken hostage by drug and insurance conglomerates?
Conglomerates whose ONLY concern is profit not your health.
In order to make more money, the goal of insurance companies is NOT to treat you.
The goal of drug companies is to help your symptoms a little so you will keep buying their products-drugs. In other words – to keep you sick.
And doctors are forced to do a lot of unnecessary procedures because of the pay structure and liability concerns.
Healthcare problems
Serious problem

“ The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country does, and studies have suggested that as much as 30% of it — perhaps $700 billion a year — may be wasted on unneeded care, mostly routine CT scans and MRIs, office visits, minor procedures and brand-name prescriptions that are requested by patients and ordered by doctors every day.

For example, chronically ill patients in Los Angeles visited doctors an average of 59.2 times in the last six months of their life, vs. only 14.5 times in Ogden, Utah; they still ended up just as dead.
Patients in higher-spending regions get more tests, more procedures, more referrals to specialists and more time in the hospital and ICU, but the Dartmouth research has found that if anything, their outcomes are slightly worse. “We’re flying blind,” says Dartmouth’s Dr. Elliott Fisher. “We’re getting quantity, not quality.”
My fellow Americans
Look around when you are in public places. Look around at people.
Do you see overweight and sick people around? According to Chicago Tribune average American carries an extra 23 pounds and the nation, collectively, is about 4.6 billion pounds overweight.
Reactioners insist that ours is the “Best Health Care in the world”
Really? How come we have more sick people in our country than any other industrialized nation??
The direct medical costs of obesity total about $147 billion annually — almost twice the amount since CDC first considered costs in 1998, and more than $50 billion more than is spent fighting cancer each year — according to a study funded by the CDC Foundation and released Monday.
Do you have to be a doctor or a statistician to see the picture?
Or do you just need to open your eyes and to pay attention?
Do you know that insurance companies tell doctors how much time they are allowed to spend with each patient? (15 minutes)
Here is this scary word, “SOCIALIZED” health care that reactionaries are trying to scare you with.
Can you explain what “socialized” means?
Do you like socialized Army, or do you prefer Blackwater type armed forces?
Firefighters, Post Office, Veterans affairs, and numerous other government services?
There is a role for the government in human societies. That is why governments are as old as human civilization.
It is just that the government should be kept in check, under control, just as private corporations should be.
In the near future, I believe that patients won’t have to wait until they’re ill in order to feel comfortable going to the doctor. Health care should be able to prevent that from happening.
Optimizing overall health is no longer a choice, it’s a responsibility.
You owe it to yourself and your family to be well enough to dance at your daughter’s wedding someday spend an amorous weekend with your spouse or hike with your grandchildren. The last 20 years of your life, you are either going to spend well or ill. There is no real in-between.
“People under financial stress don’t take care of themselves as well,” says Dr. Timothy Gardner, a cardiac surgeon and president of the AHA. “If they end up neglecting medication or skipping dental cleanings, they’re adding to their health risks.”
Pressure on families’ medical budgets has been building for decades. In 1970, U.S. spending on health care amounted to 7% of national output. By last year, it was 17%. In fact, 2008’s health outlays of $2.4 trillion exceeded our spending on housing or food.
A large proportion of the total reflects our frequent use of advanced specialty care, in which American medicine leads the world. But according to the World Health Organization, our country ranks behind 30 others in promoting the simple preventive care, good nutrition, and exercise that enable people to live longer. Average life expectancy in the United States is about 78 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In Japan, it is 83 years; even Costa Rica does slightly better.
Some more statistics
• One American dies every 33 seconds from Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD)
• AHA (American Heart Assoc.) estimates for the year 2005 are that 80,700,000 people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD):
High Blood Pressure
Coronary Heart Disease
Stroke
Heart Failure
Health costs are bankrupting small businesses and even conglomerates like General Motors as well as millions of families. And it’s awful for the country. Medicare is on track to go broke by 2017, and our long-term budget problems are primarily health-cost problems. At current growth rates, health spending by the Federal Government alone would increase from 5% to 20% of the economy by 2050; Social Security, by contrast, would increase only from 5% to 6%.
One Dartmouth study found that if nationwide spending had mirrored the modest rate of that in Rochester, Minn. — where care is dominated by the renowned Mayo Clinic — Medicare would have reduced its costs for chronically ill patients by $50 billion from 2001 to 2005. As the old inflation-adjusted saying goes, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
Health Care Revolution
There is a wellness revolution under way, where people are looking to take a more proactive approach to their own health care. An emphasis on health and wellness that focuses on the prevention rather than the mere treatment of disease is the future of healthcare.
Prevention Must Be a Priority
U.S. health care needs to shift its focus away from treating illnesses and problems and move toward prevention instead, declares Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services. “We cannot achieve our ultimate goal—a healthier nation—unless we shift away from a sick-care system,” she said at a Senate hearing earlier this spring. “We pay for emergencies, not the care that prevents them, with little emphasis on the responsibility each of us has in keeping ourselves and our families well.”
Some smart employers, health plans, and medical providers are experimenting with ways to save people’s health dollars or use them more effectively. Their goal is to make it easier, even in a recession, for families to receive the care they need.
“I spend 40 percent of my time away from my patients doing paperwork and getting prior authorizations,” said Jim King, MD, a family physician in Selmer, Tenn. “We need to start taking the barriers that are between me and my patients away.”
The U.S. has a catastrophically fragmented system that provides incentives for sick care instead of prevention. The system is in dire need of reform – reform to save lives, to save families and to save money for both patients and the American health care system.
It’s time to put our health back where it belongs, out of greedy insurance companies’ grasp and back into you and your doctor’s hands. It’s time to stand with more than 450,000 doctors who support health care reform.
As we are trying desperately to break away from the “Wild West” medieval past in America – the reactionary forces are still powerful. The self preservation instinct takes over and the reactionaries are fighting for survival. They want the “Good Old Times”, the past to become the Present again.
Don’t kid yourselves. It is not about health care for them – it is self preservation, it is limbic brain in action.
My fellow Americans. Do not let them scare you into inaction!
Look around! You do not have to be a professional to see sick people around you. Open your eyes!
Do not allow yourself to get used to what you see.
The definition of insanity is when you keep doing the same thing and expect different results.
Fire your elected officials who do not want change.
No nation can be called civilized if millions of its citizens are denied basic health care.
My last question to my fellow Americans: do we want to become a civilized nation?
Nathan