Tag Archives: kellogg brown and root

Universal Healthcare Is Our Best Option

I spent a good deal of time over the last year or so reading up on healthcare and healthcare policy. I came to the conclusion that the best way to reform healthcare is to have the government pay for it: universal healthcare. This is the only way that I have found through which we will be able to deliver cost effective, high quality healthcare.

I’ve mentioned universal healthcare on my radio show (880 AM, WPEK, Saturday mornings at 9 a.m.) and on my blog (www.whereistheoutrage.net) on numerous occasions. The most frequent comments I’ve come across are that we’re just making a big government bigger, that government isn’t the solution but is the problem (a famous Reagan quote that has been parroted a billion times) and simply that government can’t do anything right (Iraq, Social Security and Katrina, to name a few). All I can do is smile when I see these comments.

The United States government is us, Americans. The United States government hasn’t been taken over by outer space aliens or by the Russians. If the government is inefficient, it is because we want the government to be inefficient. If we want the government to work correctly, we need to demand that. We need to pressure our politicians to spend our money wisely and vigorously oppose building bridges to nowhere. If you are upset that we’re spending $900 for a toilet seat in the Pentagon, then you need to write your congressman (all politicians respond to pressure).

For some reason, the idea that the private sector is somehow more efficient and more effective than the government has been perpetuated throughout American society. I completely reject this notion. Here are a few examples of private sector efficiency. Twelve of our brave soldiers have died by electrocution while taking a shower because of faulty wiring privately contracted by Kellogg, Brown and Root. The computer giant Microsoft outsources a lot of its code writing, which may account for a lot of the problems we’re seeing in Microsoft Vista. Many Vista users had to completely wipe their hard drives and reinstall Vista in order to install Service Pack 1, which was designed to fix all the bugs in the original release. The whole process took between three and six hours. As published in the Washington Post, the Senate Commerce Committee released a report explicitly stating that, “…insurers go to great lengths to avoid responsibility for sick people, use deliberately incomprehensible documents to mislead customers about their benefits, and sell ‘junk’ policies that do not cover needed care.” Just last week, according to an operator at Charter Communications, Internet service went down for all of North and South Carolina. Where is this model of efficiency that the private sector is supposed to be?

Here’s how to get this done:

  • Let’s roll Medicare and Medicaid into universal healthcare. Take out the same payroll taxes.
  • Eliminate private insurance (private citizens can always buy private insurance on their own). This saves over $700 billion and will allow us to cover the 46 million Americans who are currently uninsured.
  • The government can control costs by negotiating drug prices.
  • Primary practitioners should be paid to take care of a population of patients. Those practitioners who do an outstanding job (controlling major diseases like hypertension, diabetes and congestive heart failure) should be paid bonuses.
  • Let’s develop some sort of arbitration system to bring down medical liability costs.
  • Americans will still be able to choose their own doctors and hospitals.
  • Finally, let’s give tax breaks to large medical practices that open early and stay open late and on weekends to improve healthcare access.  Patients shouldn’t have to take off from work to see their doctor.

If we truly want to control costs, this is how we do it.

The Errington Thompson Show 12-06-08

Since this was recorded on December 6th, I start off by going back to a clip from FDR‘s famous address to Congress about the Pearl Harbor attack. I then bring up more allegations against Halliburton and KBR. Simply put, KBR (Kellogg, Brown and Root) has not been doing its job to protect our troops. The conglomerate has been cutting corners and exposing our troops to rancid food (more information here and here).

You know times are bad when Harvard’s endowment loses $8 billion in a quarter. In one quarter!!

The top story of the week was job loss533, 000 jobs were lost during the month of November. We have lost 1.9 million jobs since the start of this recession (last December). That’s almost two million jobs in one year.

My guests are Rick Newman of US News and World Report and Edward E. Cornwell, MD, chairman of Howard University. Rick and I discuss the auto industry and consider why they can’t seem to get any love from Capital Hill. My great friend, Dr. Cornwell, and I get into healthcare reform. He talks about some of the studies he has done which suggest there are some signifcant healthcare disparities.

Subscribe to my podcast (see the sign-up box in the right hand column) and you are entered to win an Amazon.com $50 gift certificate. Everyone who subscribes will be entered to win. Each Saturday night at nine (EST) all the entries for that week will be placed into a hat and one name will be drawn at random (no family or friends can enter, of course). The contest ends on December 23rd. Everyone who signed up between December 2nd and December 23rd will be entered into a final drawing. The randomly selected contestant will win an iPod Nano!