Letters December 6, 2008

Imagine a health care system

I am a registered nurse wishing to help, in some small way, citizens of the world during the crisis we all now face.

On President-elect Obama’s website is a page where the public can submit ideas for health care (change.gov/page/s/healthcare.)

Some have brought up preventative medicine as part of the answer to our health care crisis. This should include alleviating all stress-related diseases due to workplace environments, outsourcing jobs to countries that might further mistreat employees, jobs lost because of decisions based on greed by automaker management and others, leading to bankruptcy, home foreclosures due to greed on Wall Street without effective government oversight, the larger failing global economy and the use of expensive and unjust wars instead of understanding, sharing and fairness.

Add to the mix poverty-related disease and illness caused or exacerbated by chemical toxins and pollution. Changes in our epigenetic structures due to all these factors can hardly be blamed on the individual.

About one-third of our health-care costs are eaten up by overhead: marketing, billing, profits, denying coverage, and hassling patients and doctors.

Imagine a system where:

• Impartial science directs our decisions — preventative medicine.

• The government negotiates prices of prescription drugs to lower costs to the sick and injured — preventative medicine.

• Doctors could order effective alternative/complementary medicine for those suffering side effects of Western medications and costs would be paid (preventative medicine).

• No co-pays or deductibles, everyone is covered cradle to grave, period.

• Electronic records foster continuity of care and reduce medical errors — the science of preventative medicine.

• Complete data available so a professional board could determine best practices: what treatments work and which don’t — more science in preventative medicine.

• Hospitals paid based on a global budget negotiated to cover their costs, rather than current practice of billing for each aspirin and test.

• Further decrease costs by eliminating over-ordering expensive technology, and unnecessary surgery performed by for-profit hospitals.

• Each person picks their own doctor, not an insurance company.

• Food labeling includes health hazards of ingredients as part of the science of preventative medicine.

• Air and water purity actually regulated by scientists in government independent of food producers and processors. Green jobs to save our health and planet as part of the science of preventative medicine.

• Living wages paid to our neighbors and unemployment compensation enough to reduce the stress-related illnesses of losing one’s job — preventative medicine.

• Diplomacy used instead of killing innocent people in expensive wars we initiate, lowering injury and death rates, more preventative medicine.

• Clear government oversight of corporations that led us to this place through greed and fraud — preventative medicine.

• Laws equally applied to everyone in this country, eliminating the stressors of disparate treatment — a Constitution of preventative medicine.

Imagine a bill that provides everybody a card to present to a health-care provider for doctor, dentist, prescription drugs, complementary/alternative medicine, mental health, nursing home and home health care, eyeglasses and hearing aids, living wages for those employed and those who have lost their job.

Imagine a system that places more stock in all life and the health of planet Earth instead of the exorbitant greed for-profit seen on Wall Street.

Hard to imagine — YES. Impossible to achieve when we stay silent.





Joe Mungai

Via e-mail









Or no change?

It’s really quite impressive, the alacrity with which the financial oligarchs of corporate America are able to marshal the federal government into heavy duty action on their immediate behalf, while other pressing needs, like single-payer health care for working families, just simply have to wait, as it always seems they must.

However, it’s not at all surprising that these irresponsible and detached capitalist bosses are summarily relieved of any material responsibility for their financial malfeasances, since it’s widely understood that they long ago acquired the U.S. government at auction prices. It’s their most valuable asset and protector, without which their corrupt and exhausted economic system would have long ago been democratized, if not overthrown.

President-elect Obama says he seeks to “change” many things. Yet, tellingly, his economic team is dominated by orthodox neo-liberal hacks like Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, whose very own economic theories have been entirely discredited in the current ruins of their global implementation.

A publicly funded bailout of the nation’s biggest banking and insurance houses, without imposing on them strict new government oversight and regulations, will only reward a venal system of corporate capitalism that will inevitably fail us again. It will also confirm the political vacuity of our bourgeois democracy.





Cord MacGuire

Boulder CO





Coverage on Mumbai

This is a response to the online analysis, “Making sense of the senseless, Mumbai and its implications,” at pww.org.

Thanks for the in-depth analysis and coverage of the Mumbai attack, very informative. One small point in your article which in my opinion should be adjusted is the use of the word “invasion” of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. As I understand it, the USSR was invited by the progressive government there to help defend it from the U.S.-created “contras,” the mujahideen. I would call it a heroic rescue attempt, similar to the way Cuba helped Angola in its conflict with U.S.-supported contra Savimbi and South Africa.

Keep up the good work,





Michael Scheinberg

Collingswood NJ









Bottom up change

I loved your “Yes we did” montage of the Obama win (PWW 11/15-22).

President-elect Obama says change comes from the bottom up. We in old Black Bottom Detroit take that as our marching orders to make a better America.

Yes we can !





Charles Brown

Detroit M





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