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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

GOP Parade of Shame: Healthcare Survey

Michael Steele and the GOP sent me another survey today.  This time asking for my opinions about the state of healthcare in America.  As anyone who has read my thoughts on the topic would know, I am a hesitant supporter of reform and am generally fraught with concern about the implications of any solution to the current dilemma, so I am precisely the kind of moderate voter that the GOP should be trying to win over to its side on this issue.

Let’s see how well they do.

Here we go.  Let’s try to keep an open mind, this is a serious topic facing the nation and one of the two major political parties is trying to gauge public opinion, let’s give this the serious attention it deserves.

1. Do you believe that the state of America’s health care system is in crisis?

X Yes



Costs have been spiraling upwards for decades, the ranks of those without any coverage are swelling at an increasing pace and those with coverage still live in fear of someday losing everything they own due to a line of small print: how much more evidence should I need?

2. What is your biggest concern regarding health care in America as it is today?

X Cost


X Availability


The cost is so high that it is unavailable to millions of people, and decent healthcare is unavailable to me.

3. Do you believe that your health care decisions should be made by you and your doctor, and not government bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.?




What about the health insurance bureaucrats in Illinois (etc) who make those decisions for us today?  Are you asking me if I believe it is OK for them to continue to make those decisions for me, or are you offering some alternative where I will actually be able to make all those decisions with my doctors (if I could afford doctors)?

And isn’t that a gerrymandered question to begin with, like: “Would you rather have a glass of water or have me hit you with this hammer?”   Do you take me for a complete moron to put forward a question like that, or am I misreading you?

4. Do you believe it is right for the federal government to use age and life expectancy as criteria for determining access to health care?




What about the health insurance bureaucrats in Illinois (etc) who make those decisions for us today?  Are you asking me if I believe it is OK for them to continue to make those decisions for me, or are you offering some alternative where I will actually be able to make all those decisions with my doctors (if I could afford doctors)?

And isn’t that a gerrymandered question to begin with, like: “Would you rather have a glass of water or have me hit you with this hammer?”   Do you take me for a complete moron to put forward a question like that, or am I misreading you?

I am starting to think you aren’t serious with this survey at all, Mr. Steele.  I’m starting to think you are not asking me things, but rather that you are trying to tell me things.  I would appreciate if you would speak to me with some respect, Mr. Steele.  I’m not a child.

5. Estimates show that the Democrats’ plan could cost more than $1.7 trillion dollars. Do you believe that America can afford this added debt when the deficit has already reached record levels?




Whose estimates?  Since you say “could” instead of “would” I assume that these same “estimates” also indicate that it could “not” cost $1.7T – can you provide the rest of the information from these estimates?  Is it possible that doing nothing “could” allow medical costs to continue to climb to the same or greater levels?  Is that $1.7T by next Wednesday/a year/in ten years/between now and the Second Coming?  Can you possibly give me a little less information to answer such a complex question?

6. If you have private health insurance, please rate your level of satisfaction with your coverage:




X Unsatisfactory


We have “house insurance”, Mr. Steele.  Every month we pay money to have some slim hope of keeping our home in case of extreme medical emergency but we get no benefits whatsoever.  We pay more than $400/month for prescriptions (this month more than $700 because our children got ear infections).  

I am sick right now, Mr. Steele, and I am not going to a doctor because I cannot afford it.  Rather, I will go to work – sick – and try not to make my customers sick, too.

I’m not satisfied with that, no.

7. Rationing of health care in countries with socialized medicine has led to patients dying because they were forced to wait too long to receive treatment. How concerned are you that this would be inevitable in the U.S. under the Democrats’ plan?

 Extremely Concerned

X Mildly Concerned

 Not Concerned

 Don’t Care

I am mildly concerned with rationing of healthcare under some forms of government plans, even though there is no indication that the types of solutions being considered at this point would make that at all “inevitable”.  Not least of which because there is not a single jot of motion in DC towards a European style “single-payer” system for the US, and because the insurance companies already perform their own forms of rationing (that is, if I had private insurance that paid for anything already, which I don’t).

You see, I am not a strong supporter of radical health care reform.  I could even be the kind of voter who might side with you on some of the related issues.  But the fact that you think so little of my intelligence that you try to manipulate my opinion with these outrageously unscientific and ham-fisted “surveys” makes me even less likely to want to consider any point you make.  You couldn’t do more to drive me – and millions of moderate voters like me – away from you if you stood on a street corner wearing flaming dog poop on your head and shouting quotes from the Communist Manifesto.

8. Do you approve of the Republican plan to give small businesses tax breaks to cover the cost of their employees’ heath care insurance?


X No

X Don’t know enough about it yet

I don’t know enough about it – because you have spent all your time making wild accusations about your political opposition instead of educating me about your solution – the cost of health insurance is so high that many small businesses won’t be able to afford coverage even with tax breaks (I wouldn’t, and I own the company) and this still leaves millions of people out in the cold.  

9. Do you believe the federal Government can provide better health insurance than your current plan?

X Yes



 Not applicable

You aren’t listening – our “current plan” costs more than a new car, provides no benefits whatsoever and only gives us a vague feeling of comfort that we just might not lose everything if one of us were hospitalized.  I am one of the millions of Americans who could be on your side if you bothered to offer an alternative solution and didn’t always treat me like a complete idiot.

10. Over 120 million Americans currently receive health care insurance through their employment. Should this private sector health coverage be preserved in any health care reform plan?

X Yes



I am not sold on a socialized medical system and while I have extreme and well-founded reservations with the US health insurance industry I want to see a half-step solu
tion that keeps the current solution relatively intact while offering a public or non-profit alternative.

Which is what the Democrats are talking about, BTW.

11. Does it concern you that the Democrats are trying to ram health care legislation through Congress THIS MONTH to limit the American people’s opportunity to evaluate it?

 Extremely Concerned

 Mildly Concerned

X Not Concerned

 Don’t Care

No, actually.  At least they are trying to do something.  As far as I can tell, the GOP solution is to not do anything other than put out these cartoonishly manipulative surveys and make outlandish accusations.  The system we have is deeply flawed and becoming more and more out of reach of more and more Americans every day.  I don’t know for certain what the right solution is, but if I have to choose between a bunch of folks trying to figure that out and a bunch of folks trying to scare me by shrieking in my ear about Commies then I choose the former, thank you very much.

12. Does it concern you that the liberal media has gone to unprecedented levels to only give Obama’s views on health care reform and no one else’s?

Extremely Concerned

Mildly Concerned

Not Concerned

Don’t Care

You mean “not the 1/3 of US cable news that does nothing but parrot the GOP view” (that will be FOX News) and “not the conservative pundits on MSNBC like Scarborough and Buchanan” and “not the conservative pundits on CNN like Dobbs”, and “not the radio media” and “not the conservative print media” liberal media?  I am more concerned that the members of the media who side very strongly with conservative views are not explaining the GOP solution, because you either don’t have one or you aren’t explaining it to them anymore than you are to me.

I am a moderate voter, Mr. Steele.  I have cast votes in my history that have supported your party, and in theory I could do so in my future as well.  But for that to happen you and your party would have to start taking dramatic steps to stop condescending to me with childish tripe like these surveys you keep putting out and start putting forth solutions and ideas that are more than a pander to what you imagine to be your base.  Many Americans resonate with the individualistic ideals which reside to the right of the political center line, Mr. Steele, but many of those same Americans resent being talked to like they were fools.

You are the one who is looking like a fool, Mr. Steele, and all of us in the political center will stay away from you until you stop.


  1. Now are you going to return the survey along with your thoughts as expressed in this diary? Maybe they would actually get back to you with some details about what the GOP thinks we should do for health care reform.

    AFAIK, tax breaks for small businesses is part of the Dem plan already.

  2. sfnhltb

    From the UK perspective – I wouldn’t consider living in a country without universal health care, regardless of how good a job offer might be, or how nice the place would otherwise be to live.

    My stepfather suddenly started suffering from numbness in his little finger a couple of months back, saw the doctor the same day. He booked him in for surgery for a trapped nerve later that week, and they sorted it out. Just last weekend he had stomach problems for a couple of days, then started throwing up, so they sent out a car to take him to hospital – with the new NHS helpline as it was out of office hours, very cool and helpful people from my mother’s description, and considering she is an extreme worrier that is a pretty good thing. He had his gall bladder removed as they think that was the source of the infection, and they took him off the machine and took the staples out and he seems to be recovering well now.

    Cost: ~50 years of NI contributions of course, but in terms of right now, just the subsidized cost of the painkiller prescription he was on for his arm operation. And he can still change jobs if he finds a good opportunity, and no fear financially, or about lack of coverage for any future illness which he hopefully won’t get anyway.

    Cost to the economy for healthcare overall? About half what it costs Americans as a percentage of GDP.

    Personally I haven’t had to use anything off the NHS since I was about five years old when spilt boiling water welded a mitten to the back of my hand, but the peace of mind is pretty much irreplacable imo.

    Actually when I say nothing off the NHS I just realised I am probably ignoring free specs/eye tests, jabs, and dentist stuff before the age of 18, but I meant nothing out of the ordinary.

    One final piece of evidence – if “socialized medicine” is so bad, how many countries that have instituted it have gone back to a primarily privatized system?

  3. HappyinVT

    I’m pleased to be joined today by representatives from the American Nurses Association on behalf of the 2.9 million registered nurses in America — men and women who know as well as anyone the urgent need for health reform.

    I should disclose right off the bat that I have a long-standing bias towards nurses. When Sasha, our younger daughter, contracted a dangerous case of meningitis when she was just three months old, we were terrified. But it was the nurses who were there with us, explaining what was going on, telling us it would all be okay.

    So I know how important nurses are, and the nation does too. Nurses aren’t in health care to get rich; they’re in it to care for us from the time they bring new life into this world to the moment they ease the pain of those who pass from it. If it weren’t for nurses, many Americans in underserved and rural areas would have no access to health care at all.

    That’s why it’s safe to say few understand why we have to pass reform as intimately as our nation’s nurses. They see firsthand the heartbreaking cost of our health care crisis. They hear the same stories I’ve heard across this country — of treatment deferred or coverage denied by insurance companies; of insurance premiums and prescriptions that are so expensive they consume a family’s entire budget; of Americans forced to use the emergency room for something as simple as a sore throat just because they can’t afford to see a doctor.

    This is a problem we can no longer wait to fix. Deferring reform is nothing more than defending the status quo — and those who would oppose our efforts should take a hard look at just what it is they’re defending. Over the last decade, health insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages. Deductibles and out-of-pocket costs are skyrocketing. And every single day we wait to act, thousands of Americans lose their insurance, some turning to nurses in the emergency room as their only recourse.

    So make no mistake: The status quo on health care is not an option for the United States of America. It is threatening the financial stability of our families, our businesses, and government itself. It is unsustainable.

    I know a lot of Americans who are satisfied with their health care right now are wondering what reform would mean for them. Let me be clear: If you like your doctor or health care provider, you can keep them. If you like your health care plan, you can keep that too.

    But here’s what else reform will mean for you: you’ll save money. If you lose your job, change your job, or start a new business, you’ll still be able to find quality health insurance you can afford. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, no insurance company will be able to deny you coverage. You won’t have to worry about being priced out of the market. You won’t have to worry about one illness leading your family into financial ruin. That’s what reform means.

    The naysayers and the cynics still doubt we can do this. But it wasn’t too long ago that those same naysayers doubted that we’d be able to make real progress on health care reform. And thanks to the work of key committees in Congress, we are now closer to the goal of health reform than we have ever been.

    Yesterday, the House introduced its health reform proposal. And today, thanks to the unyielding passion and inspiration provided by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, and the bold leadership of Sen. Chris Dodd, the Senate HELP Committee reached a major milestone by passing a similarly strong proposal for health reform. It’s a plan that was debated for more than 50 hours and includes more than 160 Republican amendments — a hopeful sign of bipartisan support for the final product [“if people are serious about bi-partisanship” the president added in an apparent dig at Republicans who all voted against the legislation].

    Both proposals will take what’s best about our system today and make it the basis of our system tomorrow — reducing costs, raising quality, and ensuring fair treatment of consumers by the insurance industry. Both include a health insurance exchange, a marketplace that will allow families and small businesses to compare prices, services and quality so they can choose the plan that best suits their needs; and among the choices available would be a public health insurance option that would make health care more affordable by increasing competition, providing more choices, and keeping insurance companies honest. Both proposals will offer stability and security to Americans who have coverage today, and affordable options for Americans who don’t.

    This progress should make us hopeful — but it shouldn’t make us complacent. It should instead provide the urgency for both the House and the Senate to finish their critical work on health reform before the August recess.

    America’s nurses need us to succeed, and not just on behalf of all the patients they sometimes have to speak up for. If we invest in prevention, nurses won’t have to treat diseases or complications that could’ve been avoided. If we modernize health records, we’ll streamline the paperwork that can take up more than one third of a nurse’s day, freeing them to spend more time with their patients. If we make their jobs just a little bit easier, we can attract and train the young nurses we need to make up a nursing shortage that’s only getting worse. Nurses do their part every time they check another healthy patient out of the hospital. It’s time for us to do ours.

    We’re going to get this done. These nurses are on board. The American people are on board. It’s up to us now. We can do what we’ve done for so long and defer tough decisions for another day – or we can step up and meet our responsibility as leaders. We can look beyond the next news cycle and the next election to the next generation, and come together to build a system that works not just for these nurses, but for the patients they care for; for doctors and hospitals; for families and businesses – and for our very future as a nation.

    huffington post

  4. HappyinVT

    a la their Climate Change chart.  (I can’t post a picture to save my life.)  They also have a version favored by House Democratic staffes.


    Maybe this is why the RNC can’t ask the right questions; they’re confused.

  5. Cheryl Kopec

    It’s so nice to be able to discuss stuff here, rationally, and accumulate resources and information before going back out into the wilds to debate. I just want to say that I very much appreciate every contributor to this site. I may not contribute as often as many of you do, but I do glean much value in what you all post!

    group hug



  6. Cheryl Kopec

    Just got off the phone with my stepmom, who was uncharacteristically outspoken, even strident, against health care reform and Obama in general. She lobbed questions at me like what did I think of Obama’s carbon footprint for his New York date night and why wasn’t the cap-and-trade bill online like he promised (I’ve covered that one).

    But two questions on health care reform I am at a loss to answer at the moment, so I’m calling on my fellow Moose to help me out:

    1. If we put 46 million new people into the health care system, wouldn’t this mean longer waiting times for the people already in it? (Trust me, it was all I could do to bite my lip and not reply, “Sure, if I have to wait an extra day for my backache so the guy down the street can get lifesaving heart treatment, no problem!”)

    2. Has any government-run program ever paid for itself? She cited Medicaid and Social Security.

    FWIW, she gets a lot of her info from World Magazine.

    Thanks in advance, Moosers!


  7. vcalzone

    …and sticking to the politics, which is where I actually tend to have some insight.

    The number of uninsured is getting larger, not smaller. COBRA runs out, and as more and more people lose that coverage, they’re going to hit a brick wall. More than that, exactly what do you think happens when companies aren’t hiring and need to cut more costs? Benefits disappear. More and more people lose insurance, and as they get angrier, they will fight harder for healthcare. This “deficit” issue has a shelf life of about three months in the foreseeable future, and then it will be eclipsed by the damage done by our shitty healthcare system as we reach cold and flu season when swine flu is on the menu.

    It will really suck to be a Senator who blocked healthcare reform soon.

  8. but I’m way too far behind on my projects to take the time to write it.

    President Obama explicitly states his support for a public option beginning around 4:20.

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