Yesterday was a day of news that NO ONE could have seen coming. To begin with Mark McGwire admitted he took steriods…but only in very low doses and they didn’t make him a better player. Umm? Yes, they did. Sorry Mark, that part of your ‘confession’ really hurts your credibility…not that you had much of it to begin with. But, shocker as that was, it wasn’t the biggest unexpected story of the day. Nope. That honor goes to Sarah Palin and Fox News who, in a marriage too strange for even a made-for-TV movie starring Tori Spelling, have agreed on a contract that will have Palin appearing on the network….oooh what a shocker!
Now, I do not agree with the theories put forth in this article and by others that this move means it is less likely she will run for President in 2012. If anything, this only makes her a more viable candidate. Working for Fox is a great chance for her to refine her views on issues/learn about them and stay visible to the American public. As for it being a multi-year deal…well, I think we all know how reliable Governor Palin (and many in politics are) at fulfilling the full length of their commitments. In addition, a recent poll of party insiders show that many of them do not do not believe she will be the nominee – in fact, they ranked her 5th out of their five choices, behind such notable names as Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels in terms of likelihood to win the nomination. Going on TV on a regular basis (a place where she is very comfortable) is her opportunity to show them that she has the intellectual chops one should have to be a successful elected official and may help more of them get behind her. Finally, I’m sure this is a very lucrative deal and, since money=power in politics, that can only help her as she launches her campaign. Sarah Palin will be a candidate in 2012 and this move only helps her become a more viable candidate.
Switching gears to Massachusetts now, I am happy to report that Scott Brown DOES have an opponent. In the last week, we have finally seen Martha Coakley out on the trail and showing some passion during the debates. For a recap of last night’s debate (which Coakley won handily), check out this article. She was able to clearly articulate differences between Brown and herself and effectively tie him to failed policies of the past. In a race where Brown is trying so hard to be both conservative and moderate (see Romney, Mitt) she held him accountable for his past stances on issues and refused to let him play both sides. In addition, she successfully branded him a barrier to progress (he didn’t say he would work to make the healthcare bill better…he said that he would be “proud” to vote against it.)
Coakley clearly had the best line of the night when she said to Brown “You cant distort my record and not be accurate about your own.” For his part, Brown had one of the stupidest lines I’ve ever heard in a debate when he said, in response to Coakley comparing him to Bush, “You can run against Bush-Cheney, but I’m Scott Brown. I live in Wrentham. I drive a truck.” Couple of problems with this line. To begin with, she can’t run against Bush – Cheney…they are not running for anything. She is running against you, Mr. Brown, and your policies do resemble those of Bush. In addition, I have a piece of advice for you…if you are trying to distance yourself from President Bush, you might want to do your research about what kind of car he drives… oops
With election day rapidly approaching the three candidates vying to replace the late Senator Kennedy are facing off this morning at 9:00 AM in a radio debate. If you are somewhere where you can watch/listen just click here
If you can’t watch at 9, the station will be making a podcast available shortly after the debate concludes. State Senator Brown comes in to the debate with some momentum (having picked up the endorsements of Senator John McCain and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling). His best chance, though, to close the lead currently enjoyed by Attorney General Coakley is to go on the attack and try to force her into making a mistake. In some ways, making her beat herself is the only way he has a shot of beating her. Two high-profile endorsements mean that people are paying attention…now the question becomes can he take advantage of that?
I have two links for you and they are sure to fit any mood. If you want to laugh, I would suggest looking at Jon Stewart’s ‘touching’ farewell to Lou Dobbs. If you want to think, the debate between the Democratic candidates for the open Senate seat in Massachusetts is for you. (Just ignore where Mr. Pagliuca says he is in favor of a draft…he changed his mind about an hour later)
Enjoy and happy almost weekend!
Before I start, I want to make clear that I am no expert on health care. I haven’t read the bill (which means I am basically a Congressperson), and haven’t done a cost-benefit analysis. That being said, I still have some opinions on what is going on that I am going to share with all of you. I have four points I want to make.
1. There is a problem. As much as certain constituencies do not want to admit it, the health care system in our country is broken. With so many uninsured or (and just as bad) under-insured people, something needs to be done. We have reached a point where access to quality care has become a privilege and not a right. Doctors are forced to spend 5 minutes with patients, the appropriateness of tests is being determined by MBAs (as much as I love MBAs) and not MDs, people are not going to the emergency room because they are worried about paying and people are being forced to decide between medicine and food. Things must change. But, agreeing that there is even problem has been a challenge. Admitting there is a problem means doing something about it AND doing something about it means accepting change and looking at doing things a new way. Things people don’t like to do – especially when that new way might cost them or their business money.
2. The idea that people profit off of health is something that has always bothered me. I understand that that won’t change, but having a “public option” less in the business of padding pockets and more in the business of caring for people seems to make a lot of sense to me. If people could be a bit more focused on providing quality care in a cost-effective manner rather than maximizing profits, I think we would be much better off. A public option has the chance to force that shift in thinking on the industry and, to me, that is a very good thing. And, as intelligent people know, NO ONE will be forced to change providers. The public option simply adds competition and provides a place for people who can’t afford other insurance can get covered. And isn’t that the job of Government…to provide help and assistance to people who need it?
3. As someone with a pre-existing condition, I am thrilled that this new bill eliminates rationing and the ability of insurers to deny coverage to someone with a pre-existing condition. It is unconscionable that people in this country can’t get the coverage they need because THEY MIGHT USE IT! In a similar vein, I love that this new bill has a strong focus on preventative care. We spend millions of dollars each year on unnecessary health expenses. Rather than ration care, let’s save money by reducing waste and fraud (which this bill does) while incentivizing innovative preventative care. In addition, the bill will empower doctors to really follow their patients, not just treat them for 10 minutes when they have the flu. Instead they can make sure they are taking their medicine (that they will now be able to afford) and work with them to design a plan for healthy living so that visits to the doctor can be reduced. That, my friends, will save money and drive costs down.
4. Finally, let’s all try to remember the debate over Medicare and Medicaid many years ago. Before this landmark bill was passed in 1965 there was fierce opposition driven by fears of what a publicly-funded health plan would mean. Well now, it is one of the most beloved programs we have. Ronald Reagan said, in fact that ““[I]f you don’t [stop Medicare] and I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.” Sounds remarkably similar to some of the things we are hearing now. Well they were wrong then and they are wrong now.
If you are interested in reading the entire bill…it can be found here And please remember, no matter where you come down on this issue, let’s try to have a respectful debate about it and listen to what each other think rather than mindlessly shout or compare Obama to Hitler. Please! Oh, and I’m sorry to have to be one to tell you this Governor Palin…there won’t be any death panels.