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  1. Hi there,
    My name is Nic Muirhead and I am a researcher on a weekly media review show called “Listening Post” that airs on Al-Jazeera English.
    We are doing a report on Obama’s health reform speech as the debate as taken on such huge dimensions in the States, and has even been billed as Obama’s biggest challenge – superseding that of the economy and the ‘war on terror’. The feature itself will take a look at the Republican – Democrat divide in the media, and the role that lobbyists are playing in influencing the media debate.
    We are after a roughly 30 – 40 second video blog from yourself to accompany our report.
    If you would like to comment please email me on: nic.muirhead@thelisteningpost.tv
    Thank you,

  2. Jerry,
    My comments are based on personal experience and the experiences of other MA residents. I am a licensed healthcare provider and medical educator. Sure, Massachusetts has the highest rate of coverage among states. However, coverage does not equal care. There is a shortage of primary care physicians in the state, which limits access. Also, the co-pays and deductibles associated with the Commonwealth Care and Commonwealth Choice plans discourage people from seeking treatment until their conditions become unbearable. The merger of the small group and individual markets has pushed premiums for those segments into the stratosphere. Lots of small businesses have seen 20-25% annual increases in 2007 and 2008. Contrary to what many believe, Massachusetts does not have a “public plan”, although the state did expand Medicaid eligibility (MassHealth) to some degree. The MA approach has already necessitated numerous new taxes and increases in existing taxes. The legislature is now trying to tackle cost control. Simply mandating coverage does not bend the cost curve.

  3. At what point to we decide that our tax dollars deserve more? We have a very inefficient, and often ineffective, government and a passive-aggressive citizenry. I can’t help but wonder what this nation will look like in 40 years. Our government is increasingly becoming an entity whose primary responsibility is to protect us from ourselves.

  4. Ron. Yes, Charles Baker once headed Harvard/Pilgrim and is now a repub candidate for MA governor.
    As for your other points – personal/anecdotal? opinion? other?
    Thx, Jerry

  5. Jerry,
    Costs have not declined in MA,(in fact many individuals and small businesses have seen their premiums increase by double digits annually)and the quality of care has not improved. Many of the newly insured can not find physicians who will treat them. The former head of one of the state’s largest HMOs is now running for governor. All I’m saying is that mandating everyone into a fragmented and overly expensive “non-system” doesn’t accomplish much. Good data and links are hard to come by regarding the Massachusetts experiment but I’ll see what I can find.

  6. John Irvine,
    Based on the Massachusetts experience with mandatory health insurance it will be a huge boon to the insurers and the politicians they own. It won’t benefit the public (patients) one whit!

  7. I agree with deron, I liked comment,I think that many of us think like that but its not a time to discuss we have to change this system.dont depend on someone or someone can change this system.This is opportunity for you to proove yourself.

  8. How long are we going to tolerate the political theater from both sides? At what point to we decide that our tax dollars deserve more? We have a very inefficient, and often ineffective, government and a passive-aggressive citizenry. I can’t help but wonder what this nation will look like in 40 years. Our government is increasingly becoming an entity whose primary responsibility is to protect us from ourselves.

  9. Health care spending is consistently increasing each year. Which should be expected. Health care cost money. Not sure a complete overhaul will actually benefit us in 10 years. Many want a solution today or even tomorrow. I just want to make sure we don’t move to fast and miss something that will affect us in 5 years.

  10. I came into this one with very diminished expectations after a disappointing summer and came away pleasantly surprised. Last night’s performance brought to mind the pre-“guns of August” Barack Obama. Agree this is far from over, but I’d say his odds are looking better than they have in some time. Has the momentum shifted? I don’t know. But I do think that he’s bought himself some time and some maneuvering room. Not sure the Kennedy thing worked, but then again I’m not a card-carrying-Democratic-member of Congress. If I were, I suppose I’d be touched.
    I’d expect the following to be big stories moving forward:
    1. Mandatory insurance. People are going to freak out when they realize that this translates to “you will be required by law to purchase insurance or face penalties.” Seems like a backlash is inevitable. Would like to know more about the economics of how this will work for the health plans.
    2. Tort reform. Although inclusion of this was a good idea for both political and practical reasons, there was some seriously vague vagueness involved. Timing near the conclusion suggests the president’s advisor recognize how important this one is. You almost have to wonder if the stage is being set for a Nixon-goes-to-China-moment, with the administration offering some real concessions to docs in terms of protection from liability. This is a hard sell to fellow Democrats, but it might work. On the other hand, as a number of commentators noted last night, asking HHS to ‘look into something’ ain’t exactly sending in the marines. It’s a bit like having the Department of Agriculture look into Wall Street bonuses …

  11. I agree with tcoyote, I liked the speech, but it was just a speech, not a game changer unless hordes of middle America throw their support to his plan(s). People will be sceptical until they see the price tag, can kick the tires and take it for a test drive. That’s why it’s important for congress show some backbone and take their hits for the outcome. More healthcare screaming for the next 10 years at least.

  12. Game far from over unless the American people are screwed. There is a little problem of the missing trillion dollars. If it takes a republican congressman calling out the truth about the lies coming from the lips of Obama to unite the democrats, what does that say about the issues that were clearly there dividing them? Its all about politics.

  13. Game not over. His party is bitterly divided in both houses over what to do. Though the speech got a bump in the instant polls, it didn’t change a lot of minds. He is gifted by his thoughtless Republican opponents, who make him look like a statesman.
    But ultimately, he’s going to have to run over some fellow Democrats to get a bill to his desk. Let’s see how who he takes on and much actual aggression there is in the “end game”. Some arms are going to need to be broken.