Artician Ad

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What no one is saying about Healthcare...

...Ok so occasionally I break from the norm of adding materials supporting the projects I working on to express an opinion or show something I think is interesting. This is one of those times and harsh words are used.

Just as a primer on the Health Care component of this check out the map below and compare the total per capita cost of health care pending in the US versus ANY other country on the map:
CNN Comparison Map

You might also want to compare governmental investment in Health Care in all these places and make the correlation between that and the cost of health care in the world and it's pretty clear to see what's going on as far as overpriced health care in the US.
In order to get into this I'm going to have to layout some background information just because I've found that a lot of people really just have no clue about what's going on as afar as the breakdown of the national budget. If you already know this stuff you can easily skim the info and move on.
(There's a movie link at the bottom which is a first hand interview of an American living the Czech Republic and his experience with healthcare originally posted online from another artist )

Disclaimer: Okay, part of the YouTube user's name is pothead so, many may feel like the info he dispenses is of questionable value...which would be understandable. He also calls the procedure he had an UltraSound which is clearly not right since those are mostly used to look at unborn babies. What he had was probably a lipotripsy. BUT there is still some good general information to glean from this.

First...this is definitely a conversation about the national budget as much as it is about the US health care system and we're talking about TRILLIONS of dollars. Generally, I've found that many people tend to believe that programs like National Welfare absorb significant portions of the budget.

FACT: Welfare accounts for about .00016% of the national budget.

Conversely, I've also found that a lot of people have, for whatever reason, decided that a number of other "Wasteful" expenditures which they generally can't name are responsible for our Ginormous budgets and national debt.

FACT: Social Security is BY FAR the largest budget item on the US budget list. Social Security accounts for 50%-60% national budget and probably 70% of the national debt. National Security is between 12%-18% of the national budget the last time I checked. MediCare/MedicAid is responsible for something like 80% of the Social Security bill.

I posted all of that just to basically try to start to put things into perspective. Most people will immediately say "What the Hell?" How did MediCare/MedicAid get so big in the first place...and more importantly what exactly is MediCare/MedicAid?

MediCare/MedicAid is U.S. sponsored health insurance for citizens over the age of 65. In other words it's health insurance for medical patients that require the most medical care and the most expensive medical care. Some people might even have the obtuse opinion that states something like this "Cut those old frickers loose, They're holdin us back!" There are some elected officials whose opinions are fairly close to that, but I'll dig deeper on that a little further down. The reason why it's critical to get Social Security fixed NOW is because the Baby Boomer generation, the largest age group in the country, are about to collectively turn 65 over the next couple of years. Even with the smaller age groups up to this point Social Security has brought the U.S. economy to it's knees. If something doesn't change the U.S. will come out on the other side of "Baby Boomer" MediCare FUBAR'd (fucked up beyond all recognition) We really shouldn't want to be in that position.

Here's the thing many democratic government officials are thinking but won't insurance is pretty profitable if you don't have to cover old people which is where private Health Insurance has taken up exclusive residency at this point. The idea is that if the government can get elders out of the Medicare system that make a $250,000 plus per year that can easily afford their own private insurance, add some younger healthier people that require less care and bring some more profitability to government health care insurance roles and cut out out some ineffective medical policies that cost tons of dough without producing tons of results they can resolve the looming Social Security Budget Crisis by making government health insurance solvent. By introducing a public option they can bring down the cost of private health insurance/health care by creating a health care insurance company that operates WAY BELOW the 300%-1000% profit margins that private insurance companies enjoy now. A public option would also allow the government to hold the health care industry accountable for success and failure rates and use that as additional leverage in negotiating better pricing (at least for those in the government plan which would be a lot.) Private insurers will be forced to cut their profit margins and aggressively negotiate for lower medical costs instead of just cutting services/options for insurance holders.

So one thing you might ask is "This makes perfectly obvious sense what's everybody screaming about?" As promised earlier I said that some people might have the obtuse opinion that states something like this "Cut those old frickers loose, They're holdin us back!" and that there were some elected officials whose opinions are fairly close to that right? Well here it is, Republicans basically have no interest in making the current MediCare/MedicAid system solvent, they want to blow it up and push all elderly citizens into the private health insurance sector. They want to provide vouchers which represent a fraction of medical care expenses that would be covered by MediCare/MedicAid. With the way private insurers operate this is the way you want to go if you want to reduce the U.S. population QUICKLY. If you want to hear about massive deaths and genocide conspiracy theories for the next 50 years because of something like this voucher plan than it's the way to go. Republicans have been trying to destroy MediCare and MedicAid for YEARS. You might ask "Well, the Republicans had the presidency, the House and the Congress majority for the better part of 8 years why didn't they do this then?" The simple answer is that self-preservation rules strongly in all of these parties. Destroying MediCare/MedicAid years ago would have destroyed many republicans political careers, so they are content to try to do this while the seated president is a Democrat so that they can eventually shift blame. If this isn't the first bill that's voted on and it lasts until the next election and Republicans loose more seats, or Massachusetts seats an interim congress person before the next actual election it could be a moot point and the the new Health Care plan could get pushed through without any Republican support.

My personal feeling on this is that the Obama administration needs to keep pushing this, BUT again start the rumbling of a smaller bill that would allow the legal import of Canadian prescription medications sooner. I think he should have pushed this first, because it would have easily made it through the voting process and it probably could roll through just as easily now as well. Legalizing cheaper meds from Canada would have an immediate positive impact on those that need them and it would give all concerned a segue into actually researching a "Single Payer" government run health care system and it's benefits. Personally, I could care less about the "Public Option" eventually possibly turning into a single payer system even though I don't think it will happen as long as private health insurance companies run their businesses honeslty. Legalizing Marijuana FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES ONLY is also something that could possibly help win the Health insurance battle, most Doctor's agree that for a couple of conditions it's proven to be the most effective pain reliever available and going State by State creates more problems than it solves.

Right now most people are disgusted with the way health insurance works and their ever shrinking options with insurance that they pay copious amounts of money for and it's just a hot button topic. Unless some very clear improvements are delivered quickly many will assume that it will only make things worse. It's unfortunate that a lot of people either don't remember or choose to ignore how much better health insurance was before the Bush administration was installed.

American Living in Czech Republic Video

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In an effort to keep things moving along...

While not related to Nommo or the Gliese 581 project this is a creative endeavor. I was messing around with so graphic design ideas that really have intrigued me for a while and came up with this.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hard times...

I saw this post reposted on another website I frequent and I think it's good to have it here, for myself as well as those that stop through here. [Granted things area little different for minorities, BUT there's still A LOT of valid info here for everyone that takes on the concept of "Deferred Gratification" as a real part of their day to day lives]

(originally from

Jason Manley


first, you are not trapped in your situation. You can get out of any situation you want if you are willing to take the pain of doing all the things you dont want to do..the long hard way. The fruitful way.

At seventeen I was homeless and orphaned, taking care of my fourteen year old brother who I somehow managed to keep in school. I had dropped out of school. I did two years of wasting time eventually trying to get my head on straight. At nineteen I was homeless again. Scraped together enough money to get my ass to arizona to study art. Got a temp apt to get me through to the end of the month and took a job at subway (applied all over til I found something). The subway job paid enough money to sometimes eat and pay my small studio rental. I went back to school to get my graduation and was working full time (thought I needed to graduate from HS to get into a good college). Trust was fucking painful. I transferred to a community college the following year and slowly got better and better jobs. Worked telemarketing fundraising to afford a 1977 datsun and art supplies. Shittiest job ever but paid double what subway did. Worked three jobs during the summer to get caught up including going to alaska to work the salmon docks across the country. I did not give a shit what it was, if it paid for my goals to be met and didnt involve anything illegal, I did it.

As time went on I realized I needed to arrange my priorities again. I took a night time job so I could exhaust all my energies in my art and studies. Eventually got a job at AT&T...Att this is Jason how may I help you?...I was still far behind those who had life handed to them their whole life. However, I was catching up. In time I realized it was not a chase against others but to only my own race to my goals. Kept the nose down. Chose friends who worked on art or learning always. Ignored the time wasting folk who never will amount to anything other than regular. Grew up around enough of those to realize the difference. After three and a half years I took my first art job and quit my shit job...have lived with and from art ever since.

By the time I was 29 I had achieved every goal I had reached for when I first set out. That is when I realized it was time to set new goals...each time this happens it feels like starting over...get something done..start time your life becomes what you want it to be. Even those of money have to do this if their life involves learning, skill, and growth. It is not money that holds people just their own mind.

The hard part about certain situations is not everyone is told they can do and reach their goals if they just work their ass off starting RIGHT NOW. Some know it and wont work for whatever reason. They listen to that voice that says I want to chill and watch tv or i dont feel like it. Others have addictions or mental issues keeping them from growing and learning. I didnt want to be any of that. I wanted to do cool have an interesting life...and to work in a creative way.

Hard manual labor growing up taught me that my mind would rot if I chose that kind of path. I wanted something to use my mind. Bored if not...and with boredom comes making trouble or distraction. Gotta turn that into work choice. Carl Dobsky was telling me this about the atelier every day. It has to be just uncomfortable enough to make the coolest thing to do be art. If there is a blaring tv or anything else, than there are other options. Options that keep one from not working to reach their goals.

Complacency is the womb of mediocrity. You clearly are not complacent. So do something about it in every free second of your day. All this wandering around doing not a whole lot but thinking isn't getting you much done. It is however, giving you a taste of life many others would never have the guts to explore. Just dont stay down there too long without coming up for air.

Good luck,