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Health Care Reform

Everyone is buzzing about the new health care bill. Most people know very little about our health care system and the people who are really pissed probably get their ‘news’ from Fox. There is so much I’d like to say, but I don’t have the time right now to write the post that this topic deserves. This bill is so watered down that it will not fix the worst of our health care problems. Specifically, the for-profit insurance companies will continue to grow and thrive while our health care just gets more expensive. Bottom line: it is unethical to make money off the backs of sick people.

That’s it for now. I’ll take the small victory for health care and a big symbolic victory for President Obama. But as far as fixing our health care system, this bill is just a beginning. We still have a long way to go.


A Country Divided

Here is today’s headline from CNN: “Does ‘strengthening diplomacy’ warrant Nobel? Americans split” OK, I’ve just about had it with the conservatives in this country. Here’s the real deal, we are a country divided. It is really quite amazing how polarized we are as a nation. Maybe this is caused by our two party system, I don’t know. But I do know that President Bush made matters much worse.

So, Obama gets elected in part because Bush was so bad the majority of Americans realized we needed big “change”. The conservatives are saying he doesn’t deserve this award, because he hasn’t done anything to deserve it. Gee, why is he struggling to get things done…because half the country is fighting against him. Obama’s biggest mistake – in my opinion – has been trying to work with the right and bring the country together. Yes, a noble idea (or should I say ‘Nobel’ idea), but it isn’t going to work, at least not at this time in history.

Sadly, if Obama really wants to accomplish anything, he is going to have to ignore the republicans and work with the house and senate majority. The conservatives are so pissed off right now that they are not going to back Obama on ANYTHING! This has become so obvious that it’s actually laughable. The really crazy right wingers have even said publicly that they want our president to fail. Isn’t that nice!? So, it comes as no surprise that America is split on Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Of course he deserves this honor. Even though half of America disagrees, a vast majority of the World knows that he deserves this award. Why was he given this honor? According to the Nobel committee, Obama was given the prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” To understand this, you need to look beyond Fox News at the rest of the world. In just one year, he has changed the world’s perception of the US from one of arrogance and belligerence toward one of understanding, mutual respect and peace. President Obama has inspired millions around the world with his message of hope and peace; that alone is deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Congratulations President Obama!


5 Things you need to know about Obama’s Public Health Insurance Option

The choice of a public health insurance plan is crucial to real health care reform. But right now, it’s being smeared by conservatives and insurance-industry front groups. Here’s what you really need to know:

1. Choice, choice, choice. If the public health insurance option passes, Americans will be able to choose between their current insurance and a high-quality, government-run plan similar to Medicare. If you like your current care, you can keep it. If you don’t—or don’t have any—you can get the public insurance plan.

2. It will be high-quality coverage with a choice of doctors. Government-run plans have a track record of innovating to improve quality, because they’re not just focused on short-term profits. And if you choose the public plan, you’ll still get to choose your doctor and hospital.

3. We’ll all save a bunch of money. The public health insurance option won’t have to spend money on things like CEO bonuses, shareholder dividends, or excessive advertising, so it’ll cost a lot less. Plus, the private plans will have to lower their rates and provide better value to compete, so people who keep their current insurance will save, too.

4. It will always be there for you and your family. A for-profit insurer can close, move out of the area, or just kick you off their insurance rolls. The public health insurance option will always be available to provide you with the health security you need.

5. And it’s a key part of universal health care. No longer will sick people or folks in rural communities, or low-income Americans be forced to go without coverage. The public health insurance plan will be available and accessible to everyone. And for those struggling to make ends meet, the premiums will be subsidized by the government.

We all need to speak out to make sure we get real health reform. Please pass this message on, then call your senators and ask them to support the choice of a public health insurance plan.


Obama’s Special Olympics Gaffe


So, the news and blogesphere is buzzing about Obama’s bad joke on the Tonight Show.  First, I do think the issue is getting blown way out of proportion.   Part of the reason might be because this is the first stupid thing I’ve heard Obama say since his presidential campaign kicked off.   But, did it have to hit so close to home?  I would think a member of a minority would be extra sensitive to the issues of other minorities.  I would also think that just the words “Special Olympics” would be used with caution by a politician.

Being a disability advocate for my children, I feel I should post something about this comment by the President.  It was obvious that the President was poking fun at himself, but unfortunately by comparing himself to the Special Olympics, he unintentionally made fun of the special olympiads as well.  A very unfortunate blunder, but hopefully this can be a learning experience for Obama as well as the general public.

When I first saw the above clip, I posted a tweet, which went to my facebook wall (below is the message).  This tweet easily broke my comment record and still counting.

“Cynthia Bissell is wondering what the disability community thinks of Obama’s Special Olympics comment. I’m thinking, Oh well, he’s not perfect after all…”

Here are some of the comments from FaceBook Friends:

“I think it’s pretty shitty. Not cool.”

“I’m sure it wasn’t mean spirited, just ignorant. Growing up I used to use the term “retarded” all the time, never really thinking about it until I realized what a lot of people with children with special needs felt. I was being very poopy and it never occurred to me. :(“

“He’s going to have to do something REAL special for them now that’s for sure!!”

“I agree. He’s not perfect. He was making a joke about himself. He did not intend to hurt anyone. I think the media tends to blow things out of proportion too often.”

“I understand he called the head of the special olympics immediately after the show- it was a stupid remark by a man we think is perfect, who is human after all! The difference for me is he takes responsability and puts himself in real situations where real people can see the best and the ongoing struggle to be the best.”

“We all say things sometimes without having enough time to think. That only makes human.”

“that’s too bad he used that analogy … highly inaccurate assumption about special olympians and bowling! there are MUCH larger fish to fry tho so I guess we’ll forgive him.

“I was pretty upset to see 1) Obama say that and 2) Jay Leno laugh and 3) the audience laugh. It’s really a good glimpse at how far we have to go. What was so funny? I’ve seen and been involved with SO and the athletes are NOT funny and NOT bad bowlers either. I hope something good comes of this, I was really surprised to see Obama do that, really disappointed.”

“I also hope that some good comes out of it. It was shocking to me, I know it may not seem like a big deal to some but all I can say is WHAT WAS HE THINKING?????? Jeez. And I like Obama!”

“My thoughts are, maybe this will help shed some much needed media light on Special Olympics, and really, economy is going to hell in a hand basket (not sure who’s) so media should move on!!”

“…you know my involvement with Special Olympics … I’m VERY sensitive to that kinda of language misuse when it comes to special needs. One can only hope that some good will come out of this.”

Addendum 3/21/09, best reply yet from Michelle:

“Obama’s comment just underscores how pervasive discrimination against mentally disabled people is in our society; most people will still consider the “r word” socially acceptable when it’s really just as bad as the “n word”. But inviting Special Olympians to the White House for a bowling lesson, while it may be good PR, won’t do a thing to fix the problem. I’d like to see them hire a mentally disabled person to work in the White House. Not only would Obama be setting a good example for businesses, he’d make a real, concrete change in someone’s life.”


Obama’s First Budget

President Obama submitted his first budget to Congress on Thursday.

Watch a video of the President making the case for the vital investments that will lay the foundation for America’s future prosperity: