August 25, 2009

They've Heard Us

Justin Katz

An understandably frustrated Karin commented to a recent post:

Does it really matter who yells and screams. They have no intention of changing the way they vote. The yelling is out of pure frustration that we have zero control over these guys.

One needn't read Sunday's Providence Journal article about our delegation's backing off the public option to comfort Karin that the voices of opposition are making a difference. Of course, it helps to read such things:

For that reason, Langevin suggested that it was a blessing in disguise that both houses of Congress failed to meet Mr. Obama's early-August deadline for passing a bill.

"I'm glad we had this break to slow this down a little bit," Langevin said, adding that the prospect of historic changes in health care has provoked his constituents to a rare outpouring of deep and personal feelings. Langevin said a powerful theme of the public response has been, "We have to do this the right way. Don't rush it."

Yes, the community dinner hosted by Senator Whitehouse and Senator Reed was a bit more subdued than Langevin's town hall the night before, and we'll see how things go for Whitehouse and Reed in Johnston, tomorrow night But our elected political insiders and their staffs can see the wind shifting away from the hard left.

That's no excuse, of course, for turning down the volume, if only to discredit such statements as this:

"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan."

But Langevin quickly acknowledged that it may not be possible to keep such a sweeping promise. "There is no guarantee" against at least some disruptions of health insurance coverage, he said.

For example, Langevin said, "It's true that some employers could opt for a penalty" rather than let their workers keep their current health plans.

"Certainly there are always unaccounted for, unpredictable and unintended consequences," in an enterprise as vast and complex as Mr. Obama's planned health-care overhaul, Langevin said.

Similarly, Reed was unwilling to repeat Mr. Obama's promise to the satisfied customer that "you can keep your health plan."

"That is our goal and that is our purpose," Reed said. "We will try our best."

I'm not referring to the persistent statement about keeping one's healthcare, which is a lie wherever it isn't followed by the phrase, "for up to five years." Rather, I mean to indicate the suggestion that consequences described by opponents of the plan are "unpredictable and unintended." The fact is that hundreds of Rhode Islanders — thousands of Americans across the country — have been showing up at their representatives' events explicitly to make such predictions, to the degree that not seeking to avoid the consequences would be strongly suggestive of intention.

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You bet they heard us Justin.
LOUD and clear!
The mayor of Baghdad Jack Reed is suddenly doing town hall meetings, media interviews and appearing on radio talk shows back here in RI.
You bet they heard us!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Tim at August 25, 2009 7:59 PM

Can somebody please explain how we are going to control costs by expanding the number of people covered?

Let's assume that there really are about 45 million uninsured, and let's further assume that as many as half of them don't have health insurance because they can't afford it.

I understand that right now when these folks have a medical emergency they go to the ER and they can't pay for that either, so the expense for the services that they have received is basically spread to those of us who do have coverage, or do pay out of pocket for our care.

OK, so now we introduce a universal type of coverage with these 22.5 million folks now covered; they still can't pay, so the cost of their coverage is still going to be spread to everyone else either through rates or taxes, or some other mechanism.

But this is gonna be a lot more expensive for all of us, because now we're paying for medical care not only in those instances when one of the 22.5 million formerly uninsured actually obtain care in an emergency, but also for coverage for folks who, in any given year, might never have the type of medical need that would have brought them to the emergency room under the present system.

Won't the cost of providing all that coverage to people who would not otherwise utilize it drive the overall cost of the medical system way, way up?

And where are all of the additional doctors, nurses, medical technicians, etc., needed to serve all these new insureds gonna come from?

Or am I just being unpatriotic by asking all these questions?

Posted by: brassband at August 25, 2009 8:37 PM

Since it is doubtful that we will not change Whitehouse & Reed's mind all we can do is show them how much we are against this plan. Yes they heard us but, Whitehouse did say after the meeting that even if the constituents do not want this plan he will vote YES anyway. So really, how much of a chance do we have with these two clowns. All we can do is try again tomorrow.

Posted by: Karin at August 25, 2009 8:40 PM


Don't underestimate the significance, which is broader than one sees at first blush. Consider that our delegation is also interested in maintaining a Democrat majority in Congress, and no matter how safe they believe their own seats to be, they'll be more sympathetic to the plight of their peers in less secure districts.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 25, 2009 8:50 PM

If all 100 Senators catch some hell over this attempt to nationalize healthcare then much is accomplished.

Indeed, an argument can be made that confronting Rhode Island's Senatorial bobbsey twins will have more of an impact than it will with "blue dogs." The "blue dogs" expect to be confronted over this, but "our" types are not.

Though they'll never acknowledge it in public, one can imagine them telling Harry Reid and Chucky Schumer behind closed
doors that they've never encountered a reaction like this in "deep blue" Rhode Island.

And if the other 98 Senators are telling them the same thing, and presumably they talk to each other, it'll make it more difficult for Reid to pressure them to walk the electoral plank for Comrade Obama.

Posted by: Tom W at August 25, 2009 9:22 PM

I am preparing to leave for a day's work at my oyster farm. When I lift one of the wire cages that contain bags of oysters onto the deck of my boat small crabs and fish startled by the sudden change to their surroundings flop or scuttle around the floor. Humanely I attempt to wash them out of the scuppers and back into their proper environment. There are always some who do not make it safely back to the water. The fish perish quickly out of the water but the crabs hang on for hours. At the end of each work day I clean the boat. Again I attempt again to point the way to freedom to these tiny crabs by using a plastic shovel . Their reaction is to escape and hide or when caught out in the open wave their little claws snapping all the time. One has to admire their pluck. The problem is that I can only spend so much time trying to remove them. When I return to the boat there are many dead little crabs whose willful subbornness has killed them and created a bad smell.
I think I may find it impossible today as these things that I described here happen not to think of these tiny creatures as very similar to the sign waving people dead set against healthcare insurance reform. They are being shown the way that would benefit them but they resist at all cost and stink the place up as a result. I may need to resort to a much less humane way of dealing with these recalcitrant crabs in the future. For now I will continue as I have but I may name them Karin, Justin, Carrol, etc.

Posted by: Phil at August 26, 2009 7:51 AM

As a person who is both unemployed and chronically ill, I can tell you that Brassband is completely right. Today, I receive no treatment at all, while if I were given free medical care I could easily run up $30k annual bills; quite a bit more if my doctors were aggressive with the treatment.

Now I suppose this makes me one of Phil's stupid little crabs, but I oppose the current reform proposals. What Phil doesn't understand is that what he and the Democrats are offering is not a way back to the ocean, but a nice, comfortable aquarium where they can look over at me each day and congratulate themselves about how humane they are. I'd much rather tough it out on the boat for a while for the chance to make it back to sea (ie, keep innovation at the current levels so that I might one day get a cure). The current medical system is actually serving me pretty well right now, even when I don't see a doctor at all.

Posted by: Mario at August 26, 2009 10:10 AM

Oh look at Phil, so magnanimous as he decides what's best for everyone else. We should all thank him.

Posted by: EMT at August 26, 2009 10:47 AM

There are other alternatives to fixing the health care system that they are just refusing to do. Also, do we really trust them?

Mario, I hope that you can come out today & help us. I am jeopardizing my job leaving early to go out in opposition to this bill. Should I lose my job & my healthcare, I will bounce and do whatever I have to do to make it. But I will still stand with my comrads to oppose this bill.

EMT- Well, why should we have to pay for others to be covered? I have worked hard to get where I am and the benefits I receive from my employer. We have no problem helping people who really need it. I can not tolerate people who just sit back & think that the government and the "working people" will take care of them. Maybe they need to have an aggressive fraud department to weed the people that are taking advantage of the system. They should do it in Rhode Island as well.

Posted by: kARIN at August 26, 2009 11:31 AM


The government's solution to your problem would be to say that we need to raise taxes on your oyster proceeds, to develop a program to stop crabs from inadvertently being caught up. They'll call it "competitive crab-efficiency research".

pssst, Karin...

No one needs to speak for EMT, but I think it's safe to say that his response to Phil is more ironic than agreeing.

Posted by: Andrew at August 26, 2009 12:22 PM

What a wonderful example you've given us to ponder. Yes, maybe those sign waving people dead set against healthcare insurance reform are being shown the way that would benefit them but they resist at all cost and stink the place up as a result. But remember, like the crabs, they would not be there in the first place if not for the net that intangled them against their will. Maybe it's just too hard to believe those who claim to know the way out, when they are the very same responsible for the way in.

Posted by: bobc at August 26, 2009 1:51 PM

These people have dead or decaying souls and as such can never appreciate poetry or metaphor.

You are an oyster-man, not a pig farmer. Otherwise you would have known that you were throwing pearls (from your oysters) before swine.


Posted by: OldTimeLefty at August 26, 2009 2:59 PM

My soul is neither dead nor decaying but fully intact and shining brightly. Unfortunatly the pearls of wisdom you and Phil provide are faux.

Posted by: bobc at August 26, 2009 4:18 PM

Phil, please allow each of us to determine what is best for ourselves, and we will return the favor back to you. Regardless of how great you keep telling us it will be, we are not interested in your "service" and it is immoral to force us to pay for it against our will.

Posted by: Dan at August 26, 2009 4:46 PM

Phil- did you ever stir up the bottom.

Posted by: David at August 26, 2009 6:18 PM


I sincerely hope that a cure can be developed that would help you. I understand your concern about any changes to the current system that does not work and costs too much. I hope my story did not distress you.


Thank you for the compliment. I was trying to lighten the mood here.


I would like to see all of us have access to affordable healthcare. I did not tell you or anyone how great anything would be.


Ponder this. Those crabs I wrote of were making their home in my cages. Given half a chance they would have eaten my baby oysters. They liked that situation. The catastrophe that occured by being removed is similar to where many people find themselves spending way too much on healthcare insurance and then having private companies decide how much care is to be given. I'm glad you did not include any instructions for me to follow.


Don't give them any ideas.


Your welcome

Posted by: Phil at August 26, 2009 6:29 PM

Ah Phil,
But the crabs found themselves in a cage that you placed in their environment. Also how do the crabs know that they are your oysters? As for the instructions, here's a little clarification. I certainly don't mind those whose opinion differ from mine, I welcome it. What I have a problem with are those who would accuse others, falsely, of racism to further their cause. It is unwarranted, unnecessary and self-indulgent.

Posted by: bobc514 at August 26, 2009 6:42 PM

EMT, You fool. Don't you realize that the current medical system already decides that millions of our citizens will have no health benefits and that you have decided "to hell with them" by insisting on the status quo?

What part of this escapes you, you greedy little boy?

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at August 26, 2009 10:28 PM

"competitive crab-efficiency research"

And where is the federal funding for this badly needed yet long neglected area of study??

Posted by: Monique at August 26, 2009 11:42 PM

These people have dead or decaying souls

Your "tolerance" stinks as badly as Phil's dead crabs.

EMT, You fool. Don't you realize that the current medical system already decides that millions of our citizens will have no health benefits and that you have decided "to hell with them" by insisting on the status quo?

Never once did I insist on the status quo. I do insist, however, that the current abortion being smashed through by your self-righteous brethren is not an improvement.

Ps- millions of the uninsured decided to be uninsured for themselves. But why trouble yourself with facts, right?

Posted by: EMT at August 26, 2009 11:47 PM


Actually I have raised pigs, but that was a long time ago. Currently I help raise turkeys with my brother on our compound. I may find a way to write about some of my observations regarding those animals and their similarities to some here.
It is unfortunate that not one of these contributers thought it important enough to mark the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy with a few words. What we may see though in the coming days is one of them registering disgust at what is being written or said about the late senator. That would not surprise me.

Posted by: Phil at August 27, 2009 4:24 AM
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