Tag Archives: health care reform

Winner Take All Governance?

I read the title of the on-line CNN piece, “Democrats dismiss GOP health care repeal push”, and had to groan. Here we go again! A fresh new year, but the same old same old in terms of “us and them” thinking in our national governance. As a Unitarian-Universalist, a hardcore egalitarian and a “governance nerd”, it struck me that though I’m used to this kind of rhetoric from our Congressional reps, from the point of view of effective legislating, it is really quite dysfunctional and corrosive to the process.

Washington (CNN) — Top Democrats are dismissing Republicans’ plans to ram a repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul through the House of Representatives in the opening days of the new Congress, portraying the move as little more than a hollow nod to the GOP’s conservative base.

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Lefty Parent 2010 Year in Review

As I continue to try and broaden my writing skills I occasionally try my hand at a different sort of content than my typical essay featuring a personal experience that I link to what I see as a broader trend, straight out rant, or a wrestling with ideas I’ve encountered in a book or article I read. Like recently I did a piece trying to capture the zeitgeist of the moment in US education as reflected in a selection of recent articles in Education Week magazine and the Public Education Network weekly e-blast (which was a challenge and tons of work and something I’d do again but not all the time).

Today I’m going to try my hand at another genre of short essay, the end-of-year year-in-review type piece, calling out some highlights or trends from the year past. Given that, I won’t even attempt to be comprehensive, other than scoping my piece on the items from 2010 that I’ll be curious to see play out going forward in 2011 and beyond. Here goes… wish me luck!

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Shopped ’til we Dropped

I can’t say I was one of those prescient people who saw the Great Recession coming, but I will tell you that ever since the 1980s, whenever I walked into a mall or shared the freeway with a zillion other cars with just a driver in them (and no passengers), I felt like our culture (at least the urban version in Los Angeles) was profoundly out of balance. It seemed like in the mall ninety percent of the money being spent was for stuff that the buyers did not really need, and on the freeway the same percentage of the gasoline being consumed was beyond what was needed to move all these people from their points A to points B. We were like addicts trying to maintain a high, taking yet another dose at the expense of our health, ever pushing back and even attempting to deny any day of reckoning.

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Healthcare Reform, Democracy & Schools

DemocracyI am concerned about the unfolding process of working out changes to our healthcare system, and particularly how it is being covered in the media as a contest with winners and losers rather than an exercise in compromise to find a working consensus. I think the framing of the debate in the coverage reflects a conventional wisdom that our political and legislative process is more akin to a spectator sport (where our political elite are alone on the playing field) rather than a societal effort to mitigate conflicting interests and find a compromise that can begin to improve the healthcare context for all of us. I for one, put a lot of blame on our education system.

My personal preference would be to treat healthcare basically as a public utility and adopt a single-payer system like they have in Canada, which I think would unleash the currently tamped-down entrepreneurial spirit in our country and liberate a great deal of pent up creative energy that could be directed toward starting more small businesses and reinvigorating our economy. Short of single-payer, some sort of government-run “public option” would be a step in that direction, and I imagine that fact is why so many conservatives and others vested in our for-profit medical establishment are fighting so fiercely against any sort of additional “toe in the door” alongside Medicare, the VA, and Medicaid. Continue reading →