Sunday, February 7, 2010

Margaret Flowers, and My Last Post on Health Care Reform (for now)--Sunday Journal

This is in appreciation of Margaret Flowers, a soft-spoken and practical individual who is true to her dream of providing health-care reform and coverage for all Americans.   She is a pediatrician and Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program, and a member of the National Single Payer Alliance. This alliance represents over 20 million people nationwide from doctors to nurses to labor, faith and community groups who are in  favor of a national Medicare-for-All health system.

So much has been written about health care reform from all sides.. A lot of forecful, sensible, impassioned words have passed through the blogosphere.  A lot of people I admire, from Bloggers to The Huffington Post, have said it all and said it well.  I don't think I can add anything of eloquence, or originality, to the fading hope of American health care reform.  So rather than come back regularly to rehash old arguments, I have decided to abandon this subject until a different angle comes into view, and I discover something noteworthy and helpful to contribute and to write. 

By now it's clear that Mr. Obama's plan to reform health care in America is irreparably damaged. Even if some bill manages to pass, it will be nothing close to what stirred my hopes early in the process.  There will be no "universal" care. The interests of insurers, drug manufacturers, and health administrators will be protected.  There will be no government-run plan that would keep check on runaway insurance costs.  By being conciliatory to the obstructionists in both houses, the majorities in those houses allowed an opportunity to slip by, and the minority party successfully intimidated, threatened, lied, and appealed to ignorance to stall the process.

Good old American politics...will be our undoing.

I know a person has a right to change his mind.  I even understand that Mr. Obama is subject to political considerations, and influence.  But I can't deny that I held out some great hope after hearing him speak, as a convincing idealist, the following words to the AFL-CIO in Illinois in 2003:

"I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program.  I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that's what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that's what I'd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House."

Of course, I will continue to monitor the "dying patient", as it were, for signs of life, but I fear said "patient" will never walk again, let alone run.  I can only sigh in disappointment, and impotent anger.  I am one voice, one drop of water, in a churning ocean of words, so loud that it is now an unintelligible roar.

Before setting aside this subject for now, I wanted to share a bit from Bill Moyers Journal from last Friday. 

Some of you may already know Margaret Flowers.  She is one of the strongest proponents (still!) for a single-payer plan.  I was introduced to her story on Moyers' show, and I wanted to record it in my journal for future reference and to share it with my readers.  She is, to me, a reasonable voice with a sensible message. 

Her methods could be criticized as misguided; yet without histrionics, without casuing harm to anyone (except her own police record), Flowers demonstrated her passion and dedication to this cause, and kept the message of universal health care alive.

There's a complete summary of Flowers and her story on the web site Single Payer Action

In brief, Mr. Obama, in his State of the Union Address last month, challenged listeners:

“If anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses, let me know. Let me know. Let me know. I’m eager to see it.”

....After this entreaty, Ms. Flowers appeared at the White House with a letter to deliver, asking the President and his advisors to re-examine her plan and that of her organization. Instead, she was arrested.  Here's a video of her visit to the White House gate:

You can also find the text of her remarkable letter Here....

I also recommend a look at the Bill Moyers Journal web site.  On the site is a brief  explanation of the Single Payer plan.


  1. Thank you for posting this information.

  2. Nice post, Tom! It's such a shame that the health care reform bill took such a nasty turn. I too had high hopes at the beginning of Obama's term but I guess the blush is off the rose now and we know that the obstructionist Republicans would rather let the country go down in flames than let a black man save it. Sad times indeed.

  3. Not just obstructionist Republicans but saboteurs in his own party wrecked health care reform.

    And it's hysterical how the President asks for ideas, yet his security/goons arrest someone who has a sound solution to his mess.

  4. If there was this much hatred displayed by anyone against the Bush/Cheney administration/fiasco there would have been detention camps set up to arrest and jail all who dare.
    I love the new name given to the teabaggers as the Tea Klux Klan. Hardly, if any, a black face in their crowds or hordes.

  5. The fact that the Teabaggers have embraced Sarah Palin as their savior shows that they are a dangerous lot.

    I had really hoped that that dimwit would have faded back into obscurity after the 2008 election, but no such luck. The more I read about her, the more I detest her.

  6. I thought this was an interesting story that got very little exposure. Thank you all for supporting my post....I appreciate your checking in!