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Three fairly recent items of interest, all from the New York Times:

“ATLANTA, Aug. 30 — In a stark departure from past practice, the American Cancer Society plans to devote its entire $15 million advertising budget this year not to smoking cessation or colorectal screening but to the consequences of inadequate health coverage.

The campaign was born of the group’s frustration that cancer rates are not dropping as rapidly as hoped, and of recent research linking a lack of insurance to delays in detecting malignancies.”


“WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 — The Bush administration on Friday rejected a request from New York State to expand its children’s health insurance program to cover 70,000 more uninsured youngsters, including some from middle-income families.

The ruling was the first application of a restrictive new White House policy that has drawn ferocious criticism from Democrats since it was announced last month. New York wanted to expand its program to cover children in families with incomes up to four times as much as the federal poverty level, or $82,600 for a family of four. The state’s current limit is 250 percent of the poverty level.

Federal officials said the change would divert resources from lower-income children and “crowd out” private health insurance.”

(I assume all of you have heard of the “administration’s” recent veto of the final bill, the idiot-in-chief maintaining that it would cost too much, that a family of four making $80, 000 per annum could well be able to cough up the $15 or so thousand a year it would cost to purchase a basic (inadequate) HMO health insurance policy. As of this writing, the Dems in the house are trying to shame the Repubs to join them in overriding Bush’s veto).

And finally…

“WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 — An American-owned company operating from Kuwait paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to American contracting officers in efforts to win more than $11 million in contracts, the government says in court documents.

The Army last month suspended the company, Lee Dynamics International, from doing business with the government, and the case now appears to be at the center of a contracting fraud scandal that prompted Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to dispatch the Pentagon inspector general to Iraq to investigate.

Court documents filed in the case say the Army took action because the company was suspected of paying hundreds of thousands in bribes to Army officers to secure contracts to build, operate and maintain warehouses in Iraq that stored weapons, uniforms, vehicles and other matériel for Iraqi forces in 2004 and 2005.”

So, there you have it. Priorities. These folks we have signed our fates over to have lost touch completely with the needs and desires of the people who hired them. They are for the most part craven cowards; cowards who have rationalized their lack of compassion and mendacity by way of pragmatism. Better to pay mercenaries such as those incompetent lunatics from Blackwater many thousands of dollars per month more than ordinary soldiers or Marines who enlisted. These poor saps actually expected their countrymen, and most especially their commander-in-chief, to care about their welfare. They probably figured their country would rise up in indignation, take to the streets, and settle the hash of all the politicians who dared send sons and daughters of loyal citizens off on some idiotic crusade with no higher purpose than to salvage the “legacy” of an incompetent president who deserves to be tried and punished as a war criminal. A sane electorate would have seen to his legacy long ago.

But that’s not going to happen. There is only a smattering of protests, and those that DO occur look more like street theater than the angry protestations of a people who are truly sick and tired of being ruled by a crew of self-important plutocrats.

Perhaps it is the insular marble halls we have built for them to sit around in and mess with our lives. Maybe it is the power we have ceded to them to vote themselves the best health care in the world, while they whine about a few billion more for caring for the kids of hard-working middle class families. Maybe what we really crave is the APPEARANCE of well-being. Perhaps what we really want is theater. Who knows? What I DO know is that we do it over and over and over…

A final item from the NYT:

“August 19, 2007
Medicare Says It Won’t Cover ‘Preventable’ Hospital Errors

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 — In a significant policy change, Bush administration officials say that Medicare will no longer pay the extra costs of treating preventable errors, injuries and infections that occur in hospitals, a move they say could save lives and millions of dollars.

Private insurers are considering similar changes, which they said could multiply the savings and benefits for patients.

Under the new rules, to be published next week, Medicare will not pay hospitals for the costs of treating certain “conditions that could reasonably have been prevented.”

Among the conditions that will be affected are bedsores, or pressure ulcers; injuries caused by falls; and infections resulting from the prolonged use of catheters in blood vessels or the bladder.

In addition, Medicare says it will not pay for the treatment of “serious preventable events” like leaving a sponge or other object in a patient during surgery and providing a patient with incompatible blood or blood products.”

So I suppose it is left up to the hospital or doctor to correct the mistake for free! It’s GOT to be for free, since we have been told over and over again that “frivolous lawsuits” are the reason healthcare costs are so high. What if the hospital refuses to correct the mistake?

Might we THEN take to the streets?

The question is rhetorical.

Once more, thanks for your attention, and I welcome any and all comments.

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