Why we need to push Medicare for All

Here’s how law and politics work:

You ask for X, knowing that your chance of getting it is slim. The other side asks for Z. You argue back and forth, make deals, and eventually get Y, somewhere between the two extremes.

So when people say “Medicare for All will never pass” please understand: We have to aim high. We fight for that and if we have to settle for something less, we do because it’s got to be better than what we have now.

If we start off with something weak as a proposal, all that’s going to happen is that the something weak will get whittled down to something even weaker.

You always negotiate by asking for more than what you are willing to settle for.

For a good example, look at Obamacare. Democrats gave in to Republicans over and over again and instead of a good national health care plan, we ended up with the plan originally proposed by Romney and the Republicans themselves.

So stop yelling at Democrats who want “Medicare for All” or forcing them to weaken their own plans before Republicans can even make a counter offer. Stop doing their job for them!

I was wrong about medical marijuana

I’ve always been a skeptic and a cynic, so when I saw all the people saying marijuana was a miracle drug, I didn’t believe them — especially when they’d make outrageous claims like it cures cancer. (It doesn’t.)

I just assumed it helped with pain in the same way drinking enough wine kills the pain, and that people who wanted medical marijuana were just looking for excuses to use it legally.

Mind you, I always thought (and still do think) that marijuana should be legal for recreational use anyway. I just didn’t believe all the hype.


Now let me tell you about my wife, award-winning artist Heidi Hooper. Heidi studied metalsmithing for her Master’s Degree and taught courses at the Massachusetts College of Art. Her work was shown in galleries all over the country.

Then she got a cancerous tumor that ate away her right arm muscle. After years of operations and radiation treatments, they saved her arm but the muscle was removed completely and in order to keep the bone from being exposed, they took a muscle out of her back and laid it over her arm, just for protection. She doesn’t feel a thing on that flap of skin, but for a dozen years or so now, she has been in constant pain overall and has to get into a lymphedema machine every once in a while or her arm swells up and we have to rush her to the hospital.

Since the operation, they’ve had her on gabapentin which deadens the nerves. It still doesn’t help when the weather is bad or when she uses her arm too much. She’d often have to drink wine or rum on top of it just to kill it enough to get some sleep at night.

However, she refused to give up her artwork and eventually found her niche with dryer lint art. She’s won awards for it, sells it for thousands of dollars, has it in galleries, and is in Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museums (and their books). She’ll be a guest on ABC TV’s “To Tell the Truth” soon (“Which one is the real dryer lint artist?”).


Here she is with Mel Brooks on the “To Tell The Truth” set

But here’s the thing: Medical marijuana is now legal in Pennsylvania, and if anyone is eligible for it, it’s someone like her. The doctor put her on marinol pills and then she has a vape that she uses when the pain is really bad. They weaned her off the gabapentin and there were a few weeks of withdrawal where she did little but lie in bed because she said she felt like she had the constant flu.

The withdrawal symptoms have subsided but not left completely, but the amazing thing is how well the marijuana is working without making her feel high. As someone explained to me, when you’re at -5, it raises you to zero so you feel normal. And that’s what she says — she hasn’t felt this “normal” in years.

Even better, she’s thinking clearer, as if a cloud has lifted. “I used to lose my train of thought in the middle of a sentence, or walk into a room and not remember why I did so. It’s so great to be able to be aware and clear.”

I know, I know, that goes against the pot cliche, but it’s true — and compared to the other medication she was on, it’s practically a miracle.

So I’m a convert. I was wrong. It doesn’t just make you high to the point where it kills the pain. It really works.

Now let’s hope the Governor can convince the legislature to legalize it. Although her marinol pills are covered by insurance, the vape is not and it’s expensive!

(Plug:  If you want to support Heidi and encourage her after all she’s been through, why not become a patron of her art? Even a dollar a month means a lot to her!)


This is 3 feet by 4 feet and made entirely out of dryer lint

Top Four Reasons why we should have “Medicare for all”

1.  It will cut bureaucracy.  Right now we have a gigantic book full of regulations concerning Obamacare, and the Republicans want to destroy most of them and insert their own, and you know what? We already have all the regulations and bureaucracy in place for Medicare that has been tested for over fifty years. It’s not perfect (nothing in government or business or education or anything is perfect) but it sure is easier to deal with.

2.  It will get rid of mandatory insurance. Right now, insurance companies provide no health care. They’re a middle man standing between you and health care. Oh sure, if you want to buy extra health care to cover elective surgery or other things, you can do that now with medicare. But if we get rid of the need for health insurance companies, we can cut our health care costs tremendously, like every other industrialized country has done.

3. It will lower costs. That’s how health care works, after all. If we spread the costs out among 350 million people or so (as opposed to the way we spread them out among much smaller insurance groups today), then we’ll reduce the average expenditure per person.

4. It will save everyone money. Right now, you’re either paying for insurance on your own (which is expensive) or your employer is paying for it. If it is government-provided, those costs will go away. Your employer should increase your salary accordingly (and you should demand as such — after all, they think that’s what you’re worth). Even if your taxes increase (and they don’t have to — we have the money, we’re just wasting it on things we don’t need like tax breaks for billionaires), they won’t increase as much as your insurance premiums are.

The fact is that this is the easiest, cheapest, and best way to provide health insurance to Americans.

(Note: Unlike Donald Trump, I know that health care is a complicated issue. This article is a very stripped down simple summary and does not cover every nuance, nor is it trying to.)

Who Supports the GOP Health Care Bill?


  • AARP
  • America’s Essential Hospitals
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Cancer Society
  • American College of Physicians
  • American Health Care Association
  • American Hospital Association
  • American Medical Association
  • American Nurses Association
  • Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
  • Families USA
  • Federation of American Hospitals
  • National Nurses United
  • National Physicians Allianceclose-male-doctor-stethoscope-footage-011965185_prevstill


  • Insurance Companies

Always remember that the current GOP in the House does not care about you. They don’t care about your health, they don’t care about what experts, doctors and specialists think is the best thing for your health, they don’t care about anything except who is giving them huge campaign contributions.

Fight back. Call your Congress member. Thank them if they voted against this, and shame them if they voted for it. They listen, and more importantly, Senators will be waiting to see how this plays out before voting on it. Make them scared. Kill it in the Senate by making the consequences dire for the House members that voted for it.

And remind them that we are their bosses. They work for us, not the insurance companies.

“We must have universal healthcare”

With Democrats once more calling for a “medicare for all” plan instead of the terrible Trumpcare plan, one turns to the words of a famous politician — clearly, a socialist — who said this in one of his books:


Man, I bet Trump must hate this person, with those liberal views. Who would dare argue that universal healthcare is necessary? Hmmm.  It seems that this is from a best-seller called “The America We Deserve” by that radical socialist Donald Trump.

The moral of this story isn’t that Trump actually feels this way. It’s that he has no positions whatsoever, says whatever gets him the most attention, and lies constantly.

iPhones, Insurance, and Republican cluelessness

Jason Chaffetz recently blamed poor people who can’t afford health care, saying that they need to choose between health care or a new iPhone.

Because he thinks you can get great health care for $700 a year. (You can hardly even get it for $700 a month!)iphone-medical-id

“The real problem is he’s talking to the American people like he’s talking to his own kids,” said comedian James Corden. “‘Well, maybe if you mowed lawns over the summer like I told you, you could afford that new kidney that you wanted.'”

Health care costs are outrageous and you don’t have to be poor to need help. The GOP plan where we can set aside money for our own health care is ridiculous. The money has to come from somewhere — it doesn’t magically appear when you open a “health care account.”

Even rich people have trouble with health care costs when an emergency happens. Vice President Joe Biden (who, admittedly, is not “rich” by some standards) even considered selling his house when his son got cancer a few years ago. That’s outrageous, and should make all Americans upset. Imagine that happening to a family not as well off as the Bidens.

But you see, this is the problem with most Republicans — they think “poor” means homeless. They get upset when the find out that a poor person has a refrigerator or a microwave (seriously). How dare you not be poor enough for them!

They also have this idea that people are poor by choice, which is frankly insulting.

And to make it worse, there are idiots like Ben Carson who grew up poor, was able to make it because of welfare and student aid and food stamps, and who now says things like “I made it on my own” and wants to deny people the same benefits that helped him get out of poverty.

It comes down to basic selfishness, I think, which is at the core of most conservative and libertarian thought.

Shock! Obamacare isn’t perfect!

They just won’t let it go, will they? Conservatives are still bitching about Obamacare, pointing out statistics about rising health care costs and other problems with the program.

Yes. We know. It’s not perfect. We didn’t like it much, either. But it’s the best we could get out of you bastards, who would have preferred no health care policy at all.doctor-obama

You remember what it was like back then, right? When prices were increasing by huge amounts and people could be denied coverage or kicked off for whatever stupid reason the insurance companies wanted?

Obamacare didn’t fix everything, but instead of comparing it to a perfect world, how about comparing it to what it was like before?

It also doesn’t help that you have been wrong about every single prediction you made about the plan. More people signed up for Obamacare than even Obama predicted (and certainly more than the “close to zero” the Republicans had predicted). More people are insured than ever before. The vast majority of those previously insured (80%) did not have to change their insurance companies or doctors. It hasn’t killed jobs and in fact has created many new jobs. 85% of all employers stated that it hadn’t affected their hiring practices in the slightest. And studies show that people are satisfied with it, including 74% of all Republicans. Even the Rand Corporation, a respected independent research group not known for its liberal political views, released its study on Obamacare and determined that it has indeed accomplished what it set out to do.

Maybe if you conservatives had actually proposed a plan — any plan — you’d have the right to complain about it, but otherwise, please just shut the hell up.

Let’s face it, you guys liked Obamacare just fine when it was called “Romneycare” and when it had been proposed by your own Presidential candidates years earlier. You just have this knee-jerk reaction to oppose anything Obama does, don’t you?

We can fix all of this with a single-payer plan like every other industrialized country, but no, you’d rather have no plan whatsoever. And, of course, even with no plan whatsoever, you’d still bitch about how the President isn’t doing anything, would you?

No one with intelligence takes you guys seriously — you know that, right?

Every single Republican prediction about Obamacare proven wrong

The Rand Corporation, a respected independent research group not known for its political views, has released its study on Obamacare and determined that it has indeed accomplished what it set out to do.doctor-obama

This flies in the face of every single Republican prediction about it, including ones they are still making to this day.

Has it been perfect? Oh, of course not — no one ever said it would be. But to deny it’s an improvement is to just ignore all the facts.

More people signed up for Obamacare than even Obama predicted (and certainly more than the “close to zero” the Republicans had predicted). More people are insured than ever before. The vast majority of those previously insured (80% according to Rand) did not have to change their insurance companies or doctors. It hasn’t killed jobs and in fact has created many new jobs. 85% of all employers stated that it hadn’t affected their hiring practices in the slightest. And studies show that people are satisfied with it, including 74% of all Republicans.

So to all the Republicans out there, let me say this: I understand that you plan on running against Obamacare again in 2016. Oh please don’t. I beg you. Don’t keep health care as a prominent issue in the campaign to remind everyone of what the Democrats did. I will be so unhappy. Please don’t throw us into that briar patch.

Oh, NOW we get a Surgeon General

Today, the Senate finally approved Obama’s Surgeon General candidate who had been held up because he had the audacity to say that maybe shooting people isn’t good for their health.  That made the NRA say no, and as we all know, the NRA takes precedence over logic and reason any day.la-apphoto-obama-surgeon-general-jpg-20140204

Might have been nice to have him back when there was the Ebola scare, huh?  Back when Republicans were arguing that Obama had no one in charge while simultaneously stopping him from having someone in charge?  Fortunately, the election ended and Ebola disappeared because Fox News and the Republicans didn’t need to scare anyone any more.  Hooray!  Everyone was saved!

Well, they finally approved him, because there was really no reason not to.  The guy is very qualified.

So here’s to your health.


If only we had a Surgeon General!

Why isn’t the Surgeon General doing something about this whole ebola mess?  Fox News wants to know!

Oh, right — the Republicans have been refusing to confirm Obama’s nominee for half a year or so now, because he had the nerve to say that maybe we should have background checks for guns and then we might not have as many people dying from gunshot wounds.

How dare he!  Why would we want someone as Surgeon General who wants to protect people from dying?  la-apphoto-obama-surgeon-general-jpg-20140204

Why, do you realize how radical such a view is?  It’s a view only shared by the vast majority of Americans and the majority of NRA members, and which mirrors positions taken by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Emergency Physicians.

As we all know from our basic government classes, the Surgeon General has supreme power over our country, and can write laws to take away everyone’s guns and enforce these laws with his leagues of stethoscope-wearing minions.

So Republicans (who also cut the budget for the Center for Disease Control) are now whining that the government they keep trying to kill is unable to do anything, because we should always be mad at a corpse for not accomplishing anything.