49 thoughts on ““Being a Woman Will No Longer Be A Pre-existing Condition”

  1. Ellen Mrja says:

    Amen, sister.

    My joy following the passage of this reform was immediately dampened by white, middle-aged men sanctimoniously speechifying about abortion. It seems men from these “patriarchs” to your every day ten-toothed Gomer have an opinion about what I can/should/might/will do with my body.

    I’m neither pro- nor anti-abortion. I’m pro-children. Why not worry less about the rights of the unborn and instead protect the rights of children who are already here? How can any politician claim to care for “life” while voting against health care for any American child, or nutritional school lunches or clean water or safe playgrounds?

    Frankly, I’m tired of hearing what men have to say about it.

    1. Newt says:

      A fetus can be considered an illness under the bill. And now we all will have the pleasure of paying for fetus excisions.

    1. Kaiser Solzay says:

      Dear Lanni: I visit this site because these folks offer a dose of critical thinking, often different but rarely crazy. Put your thinking cap on and express the crazy part of Health Care reform, if that is the target of your criticism. If its just a general slur because the thoughts are different than your own, please just go quietly into the night — and good luck to you.
      K S.

      1. the total nationalization of college loans is a pretty crazy part of health care reform.

        I’ll post crazy heath care stuff a little later.

    2. PM says:

      Oh, come on–it is obvious we are crazy–we are, after all, the usual suspects. Just admit it and get on with life….

  2. john sherman says:

    Also worth noting is the number of officially “pro-life” people who are content to support the status quo. Apparently they’re more pro some lives than others considering where the U.S. ranks in infant mortality according to the CIA World Factbook. Because it’s the CIA, the list in ass backwards beginning with #1 Angola (180.21 deaths in the first year per 1,000) to #224 Singapore (2.31 deaths). The U.S. is #180 (6.22 deaths); Cuba, by the way, is #182 (5.82 deaths). I’m assuming the health care reform will help move our infant mortality statistics out of competition with the third world.

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      Unlikely, until the whole world defines and then counts infant mortality cases the same way, which they don’t. Once again, we have apples compared with coconuts.

      1. john sherman says:

        Okay, you don’t trust the CIA to count dead babies, then take the UN or the OECD or any source other than Rush Limbaugh’s bung hole, and the results are roughly the same–the U.S. record is terrible, and nobody cares. If come the next Olympics the U.S. basketball team were as far down the list as the infant mortality rating, there would be nonstop outrage in all media.

        It’s worth looking at the end of Chapter 11 in the end of T.R. Reid’s The Healing of America where he discusses the European reliance on pre- and post-natal care for a mother and her baby and concludes, “It is largely because of this extensive preventive intervention before and after birth that all the other wealthy countries report rates of infant mortality (that is, death within the first year of life) that are one-half or one-third as high as America’s.”

      2. Mike Kennedy says:

        You’re kidding, right? The UN? The same body that put Libya in charge of human rights.

        Funny how liberals pummel the CIA and every other intelligence source when it comes to war and spying and then run to them when they happen to throw something out that supports liberal causes.

        Here. I don’t have the energy to explain to you why the infant mortality propaganda is………well more than suspect.


        BTW, it is the OECD that warns against comparing countries because of what you see in the above article.

        You really should do something about that Rush thing. It sounds as though it’s eating away at you. I recommend not listening.

  3. Here’s my 2-cents worth from the other side of the pond. Since Monday, I have had a number of French colleagues and friends express confusion about why so many Americans appear opposed to this legislation. It’s difficult to comprehend in a nation, and a part of the world, where healthcare for all is the norm.
    To them it’s simple, if you get sick, you are covered. No need to worry about losing your insurance, your job, your home, your life. Even the UK system, which has been dragged out by the opponents on a number of occasions, has it’s flaws, but it is a very sound safety net.
    There’s also a certain reverse logic in saying that the government should remain out of healthcare when it already operates Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration system. Friends, the federal government IS already in healthcare!
    Maybe I’ve lived out of the US for too long, but I just don’t get why safety nets and protection of coverage when you’re sick is such an evil thing.

    1. Ellen Mrja says:

      Kris: Safety nets and protection of health coverage are not evil things. They are the right thing. The vast majority of Americans will come to accept this reform as they benefit from it. Not even the most hardcore opponent to HCRA will turn away from its protection if one of their loved ones becomes chronically ill, and I don’t wish that on any one. It’s my belief that the majority of Americans really did want health care reform because our system was heartlessly out of control. But you didn’t hear from the majority because the media, unfortunately and predictably, were covering the unsavory instead.

      The current mood in America is ugly, Kris. People are beyond polarized. Fringe group upon fringe group, with no cohesive feeling that “we’re all in this together.” Even scarier, there’s a visceral current of hate that bubbles up at some rallies where some fools have even toted weapons. The unrelenting theme is that America is under attack from within and “we” have to take our country “back” – from unnamed but understood threats..Obama, Pelosi, the Congress, the IRS.

      The bad economy and lack of jobs here make all of this worse, of course. When people suffer economically, they are primed for ideologues to take over.

      Half of the people who read my last sentence above will instantly think of Limbaugh; the other half will think of Obama. That shows there is very little “glue” that holds us together anymore. We’re hanging on by a thread, it often seems, and it’s very, very sad.

      1. Ellen — I may live outside the US, but I certainly closely follow what’s going on — it saddens me to see what is happening and it does not reflect well on the beliefs that the US was on — maybe we need to start remembering that and get passed the over wrought emotional highjackers that are taking control.

  4. Newt says:

    France’s health system burdens their economy to the point that it gives them chronic 10% unemployment.

    In America we’re already at 10% unemployment – without Obamacare. When Obama care costs hit in the next 5-10 years, we’ll be dreaming of the good ol’ days of 10% unemployment. Then we’ll have nation-wide riots like France has today.

    1. PM says:

      How can your statement be true given that France’s total healthcare expenditure as a perrcentage of its GDP so much smaller than the United States?

      The implications of your argument would suggest that our unemployment should already be far worse than in france, and that riots should have already broken out. Obviously that is not the case, so your point is clearly wrong.

      1. Newt says:

        France’s riots are race-based, so I’ll concede that point.

        “Employed Americans already pay for the uninsured through higher hospital, doctor bills and increases in insurance premiums.”

        Good point. That needs to stop. Charity care needs to take over from government-mandated care.

      2. When the healthcare debate was first raging, one of the British newspapers did a side-by-side comparison of healthcare costs in the US vs. the United Kingdom. Hands down, healthcare costs per person, GDP — actually no matter which way you sliced it — were 2 to 3 times higher in the US.
        In Europe, there are costs controls in place on healthcare costs. In France, doctors are legally bound not to become rich. It is a great source of pride. There are controls in place to keep prices and costs under control — it’s really not such a bad thing.

  5. john sherman says:

    Mike Kennedy,

    Okay, so it was pajamas media rather than Rush Limbaugh, though that may be a distinction without a difference. The article, undocumented by the way, doesn’t answer the charge so much as shift it around. It then becomes why does the U.S. have so many preemies and pregnant teens, etc.

    You want to see a good comparison of the U.S. health care system with that of the other advanced industrial democracies, have your Representative send you a report released in Sept. 2007 by the Congressional Research Service. It’s 60+ pp. as I recall and has really nice graphs for people who don’t like to read, but it also has fine print footnotes about reconciling incompatible data sets for wonks. On most measures the U.S. is around mediocre and spends a lot more to get there.

    On the knee jerk right-wingisms:

    1. Arguing that we should ignore WHO because jerks end up on the Security Council is about like arguing that one shouldn’t give to UNICEF because diplomats double park around the UN building.

    2. I think on the CIA most liberals believe that intelligence agencies that produce intelligence based on real information are good. On the Iraq war, the CIA did okay, not as good as the State Dept. security office, but okay and all of them were better than the operation run out of Cheney’s office.

    3. The OECD cautions prudence because, having collected a lot of data, they know what the pitfalls are. For anyone looking for actual information, the OECD is about as impartial and responsible an outfit as I’ve run across, and what’s the alternative?

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      I have one question:

      If the U.S. healthcare system is only mediocre why do people from all over the world come here? Why don’t we travel to other places? Why did Ted Kennedy get treated here?

      First, take a little trip to Rochester and watch the planes come in bringing people from all over the globe to come……. here. No, not Cuba (Michael Moor’s trope aside), France, Germany or Canada.

      Seems to me that if one or several nations had such good health care, people with serious conditions would go there, no?

      Also, why do foreigners come here to be trained as doctors and practice here?

      The liberal fantasy about health care continues. The silly measures like life expectancy have little to do with health care and a lot to do with lifestyle. Cancer survival rates for many serious cancers are better here……..not France, not Germany or…God forbid, Cuba.

      Many Americans don’t buy the premise that health care is mediocre here. Yes, they want a better system, but that relates to the process, not the quality of care.

      1. Fair point – it’s not the quality of care, it’s the cost of care and the access to care that are the problem.
        I will note, however, that the UK, France and other western countries also attract their fare share of healthcare ‘tourists.’

      2. john sherman says:

        It’s like the difference between weather and climate that conservatives also don’t seem to grasp. No one would deny that if you’re rich enough, well connected enough and little bit lucky, you can get medical care here that in some cases verges on the miraculous, but that’s not about the health care system which concerns how all of us are treated. You could argue, for example, that Saudi Arabia has great health care because when the sheiks get sick they can get on a plane and go to the Mayo; you’re making the same argument only with fewer air miles.

        In fact, a lot of Americans are going to Thailand and India for complex surgery including heart surgery because it’s enormously cheaper and has good outcomes.

        Life expectancy is a “silly measure”? There is no connection between “health care” and “lifestyle”? How would you measure the health care system?

    2. Mike Kennedy says:

      How would I measure it?

      How about outcomes of treatment of specific diseases, like heart disease, various cancers, diabetes etc.

      Measuring health care using life expectancy is borderline absurd. It is well documented that Americans don’t take care of themselves.

      How in the world, if they don’t watch their own diet and exercise, is medicine then at fault?

      One of our biggest health issues in this country is obesity and the resulting illnesses from it. How in the name of Marcus Welby is that the fault of the health care system?

      Whether a person lives a long time or not is influenced by diet, exercise, genetics, environmental factors……..a whole set of variables that has nothing to do with medical care.

      You were not arguing about access to health care. You were arguing about quality of care.

      These are two separate and distinct issues.

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        But Mike, a sane health care system would invest much more in preventing and managing those kinds of chronic diseases, because successful prevention and management keeps populations healthier and wealthier than successful after-the-fact medical treatments. Focusing only on measuring the outcomes of medical treatment of chronic diseases misses that point.

        Measurement is really important. Systems tend to focus on what systems measure. If we prioritize survival rates from heart attacs, we will focus on very different things than if we priortize overall the heart health of the population.

      2. john sherman says:

        This morning NPR reported a UCLA study claiming that a million Californians a year go to Mexico for medical/dental treatment. Is that because of the superiority of Mexican medical care?

        It is useful to compare outcomes as long as people who died of the disease because they could not afford to get it diagnosed or treated are included in the calculation.

        It seems to me that there are two things basically wrong with the U.S. system; the first is financing. In 2008 the top ten health insurance executives took just over $85 million out of the health care system, and no doubt part of that money was a reward for figuring out ways of keeping the vulnerable off their rolls or booting off those who got sick. And it increases the costs to the health care providers who have to provide functionaries to deal with the insurance company functionaries. I go in to get a prescription filled and it takes twenty minutes to take 90 pills out of big bottle and put them in a little bottle because the pharmacist has to have some kind of mystical communication with my insurer.

        The bigger problem, which the current financing is partly responsible for, is the fee-for-service model. You get broke, they patch you up. There’s no incentive to keep you from getting broke. Expecting the current system to promote health is like expecting body and fender shops to promote safe driving. One of the advantages the VA has is that when they get someone at 25 they assume they’ll have him or her until death; that means they have an interest, for example, in teaching preventing type 2 diabetes, catching all sorts of other conditions early. It is blinkered thinking not to count teaching about diet and exercise and providing assistance as part of health care.

  6. Newt — hate to tell you this but even with a chronic unemployment rate of 10%, France has a much better quality of life than in the US. And, the 10% unemployment has much more to do with antiquated employment laws than the healthcare system.

    The thing that amazes me in this furore over the HCRA is this: Employed Americans already pay for the uninsured through higher hospital, doctor bills and increases in insurance premiums. In the end, this should reduce everyone’s healthcare costs.

    Ellen is right … people will see the benefit in the years ahead.

    1. Mike Kennedy says:


      Good for you that you believe that France has a better quality of life than the U.S. (though I’m satisfied and will take my chances here and ).

      Our quality of life and opportunities afforded to people are probably just a few reasons why people risk their lives in hoardes to come here.

      1. Mike —
        Here’s the funny thing that living in the UK and France has taught me — these countries also have people flocking to live here! The immigration issues are exactly the same. People from north Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan and eastward come to France & the UK looking for the very same things that people who come into the US — either illegally or legally — are hoping to find.
        Realizing this has been one of the more eye opening experiences of living outside of the US.
        Don’t take my comments as being anti-America — I am American through and through (just ask my French friends), just hoping to show that public healthcare can work, and work well ( in the case of France) and sort of okay (in the case of the UK).

    2. john sherman says:

      A friend of mine who travels to France almost annually for long stays has had two medical catastrophes. In the first one, a surgery that she got in the U.S. became infected when she was on the plane over and the infection was spreading rapidly. In the second, she got peritonitis after she arrived. In both cases she got splendid medical treatment including house calls; she eventually got her insurance to cover it though it took a while, but the insurer ought to have been grateful since the cost was lower than it would have been in the U.S.

  7. Ellen Mrja says:

    Joe: Just in case our Rowdies don’t click on the Paree link above, I want to quote its lead graphs:

    “France Again Comes Out on Top in International Living’s Annual Quality of Life Index

    For the fifth year in a row, France has been ranked the #1 country to live in world-wide by International Living magazine. The United States slipped to #7, hurt by the recession and cost of living.

    “In France, life is savored,” publisher Jackie Flynn was quoted as saying in a recent press release. “I don’t think anyone will argue that France is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, where there is so much pride in all the small details. The French love little window boxes filled with flowers, tidy gardens, pretty sidewalk cafes, and clean streets. Cities are well tended and with little crime.”

    France was followed in the rankings by Australia, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Luxembourg, the U.S., Belgium, Canada, and Italy rounding out the top ten respectively. Last year, the U.S. was ranked #3 …”

    1. Mike Kennedy says:


      I don’t mean to trash a magazine, but uh, I think quality of life is in the eye of the beholder. An international travel magazine obviously has a lot of opinions from a lot of people.

      But measuring quality of life is like measuring physical attractiveness. It is pretty darned subjective.

      That being said, I am a big Carla Bruni fan.

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        But if government managed health care turns countries into hopeless apocolyptic hellscapes, as American conservatives promise us, wouldn’t you suppose a socialist country like France would be ranked at the very bottom on just about any quality-of-life measure one could dream up? It’s pretty hard to come up with an index that makes a hellscape appear to be a nirvana.

      2. Ellen Mrja says:

        Hey, Mike. I don’t know the magazine myself but it sounds dog-gone credible; so that’s good enough for me.

        You’re so young; why not spend a year or three in Europe with your family? If I have the do-re-mi when I retire, I’d love to think of trying it, myself. But I don’t know if I have the courage Kris does. Seriously.

        And, despite my recent despair over the state of the dis-union, I do love this country. Maybe that’s why I despair.

      3. Mike Kennedy says:

        Just booked a trip — my wife did, for the two of us to Ireland………our son and his girlfriend are tagging along. It is his senior graduation present — assuming he graduates. Second trip for my wife and I to the land of green.

        Beautiful country, friendly people and fresh Guinness.

        Had a friend return from Germany yesterday after five days — two of his sons live there. He said Sunday night he was sitting in a Hooters, eating wings and watching NCAA basketball……..in the middle of Dusseldorf. America’s reach is never far.

        You’re right, PM, Bruni is Italian. But she is the French first lady. There is something to love about France — other than the history and shops and food.

  8. Ellen Mrja says:

    PM: Ain’t that just the way Americans are on everything these days? Forty+ percent say “aye,” forty+ percent say “nay” and eleven percent plus say “Huh?”

  9. Ellen Mrja says:

    Economic illiteracy?! My friend Mike Kennedy would take umbrage, sir.

    What’s hard with understanding this: 40+49+11=100. Or, 41+48+11=100. Or, 42+47+11=100. Or, 43+46+11=100, etc. etc.

    Honestly, I don’t think this has been an ignorant thread. It’s become a tad long but I find even that has revealed an interesting portrait of our Rowdies within their comments. It’s almost like “crowd sourcing” except we don’t claim to be wiki-licious.

    Be patient with us, friend.

  10. Ellen Mrja says:

    I just re-read all of these comments and they are fantastic. What a great bunch of people to hang around with.

  11. PM says:

    And the market has also spoken–17 month high! Up over 100 points!

    Despite what the politically oriented prognosticators predicted, the passage of HCRA did NOT result in the Dow falling–in fact, it rose!!!!


    (personally, i doubt that the rise of the Dow was the result of the passage of HCRA, I just want to point out the stupidity of those opponents who claimed that it would tank if it passed. Again, personally, i doubt that the passage of this bill will have much impact one way or the other on the economy)

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