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Benedict Baucus

September 8, 2009

In 1780, General Benedict Arnold, plotted with General Clinton and Major Andre to surrender the very important and strategic hold, West Point. An act of subterfuge that to this day labels double agents and spies as Benedict Arnolds.

Today, in the battle for health care reform, President Obama has an many ways echoed the mistakes of Gen. Washington. He has left in the hands of a man who does not have his or the countries best interests in mind, at the helm of this great and potentially trans formative debate. It must be said, that Sen. Max Baucus, and his own version of Major Andre (Sen. Chuck Grassley) have done their best to circumvent the will of the people. The will of which at a count of some 70% want a single-payer system, and to a lesser level of passion a strong public option. But, instead of asserting the power of the peoples voice, these emissaries of corporate interest have plied there legislative trade in ways to water down such options.

The sad state of this, however, is not these bought and paid for men, and their lack of goodwill in legislation – the saddest point of this debate is the remarkably slow realization of our President and his administration to take the hill. I along with most have been aghast at the level of Presidential hubris that the 2nd Pres. Bush presented to the country, but there is one thing that we can say about him. He was certain. He had a level of certitude with every legislative or political step he made.

We Need that from President Obama.

We need him to pull the Congress along with his clear goals for the reform of health care. We need him to assert his support for a strong public option – we need him to draw the line in the sand for his party and the opposition, and in the clearest and most certain terms tell us (the people) what he wants in this bill, when he addresses the joint session on Wednesday.

But even more so, we need to see a signal. A signal to his constituency in the Democratic  party that says tow the line. A signal to the opposition, that says we will listen to honest options, but will not be swayed by endless filibustering and strategies that will not work; and most of all we need to see an end of the call to bi-partisanship in this debate. We have seen the response to this President’s overtures. They have been shrill and vociferous. They have been false and misleading.

They have lied to us, and called our current system the best. When facts dictate otherwise. This is the state of our Health Care:

  • The United States ranks 43rd in lowest infant mortality rate, down from 12th in 1960 and 21st in 1990. Singapore has the lowest rate with 2.3 deaths per 1000 live births, while the United States has a rate of 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births.
  • Approximately 30,000 infants die in the United States each year.
  • Life expectancy at birth in the US is an average of 78.14 years, which ranks 47th in highest total life expectancy compared to other countries. Source: CIA Factbook (2008)
  • About half of the bankruptcy filings in the United States are due to medical expenses. Source: Health Affairs Journal 2005
  • From 2000 to 2006, overall inflation has increased 3.5%, wages have increased 3.8%, and health care premiums have increased 87%. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
  • 75% of all health care dollars are spent on patients with one or more chronic conditions, many of which can be prevented, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Source: Health Affairs
  • The United States spends twice as much on health care per capita ($7,129) than any other country . . . and spending continues to increase.
  • In 2005, personal health care expenditures were paid by private health insurance 36%, federal government 35%, state and local governments 11% , and out-of-pocket payments 15%. Source: National Center for Health Statistics
  • More than 40 million adults stated that they needed but did not receive one or more of these health services (medical care, prescription medicines, mental health care, dental care, or eyeglasses) in 2005 because they could not afford it. Source: National Center for Health Statistics
  • The primary reason given for lack of health insurance coverage in 2005 was cost (more than 50%), lost job or a change in employment (24%), Medicaid benefits stopped (10%), ineligibility for family insurance coverage due to age or leaving school (8%). Source: National Center for Health Statistics

That is the state of our health care system America. We are not the best in the world. No matter how much we are persuaded so by our public officials.

Mr. President we need your leadership. We need the truth.  Democrats, we need you to care about your people, not your donors. Republicans, we need you to stop lying and whipping up the animus of the ignorant.

We need leadership. We’re getting gridlock.

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