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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

watch it: “Fight back against health insurance lies”

And remember: the horror stories here are about people who have health insurance… Except their premiums have gone to enrich executives, not to guarantee care when they need it:


You know… I’m thinking about spending a few months in England next year, if I can swing it financially, now that I’ve got my dual citizenship (Republic of Ireland, which means I’m now a citizen of the EU, which means I can now live and work anywhere in the EU without having to worry about the local equivalent of green cards and such). But with the terrifying turns the health-insurance-reform debate is taking — what with clearly uninformed mobs storming town halls and such — maybe I should think about moving to England and staying there permanently.



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  • MaryAnn

    I’m still also a citizen of U.S., by the way. The U.S. doesn’t care if you have dual citizenship, and I wouldn’t have pursued the Irish citizenship if it meant giving up my U.S. citizenship. But I didn’t. So now I have multiple passports. Just like Jason Bourne, only legally.

  • Victor Plenty

    I hope you stay here, MaryAnn, because this country needs as many sane people as we can get.

    But I can’t say I’ll blame you if you decide to relocate to somewhere more civilized, at least in terms of health care systems.

  • Alli

    Awesome. I have Golden Rule insurance because I’m back in school and don’t have a full-time job with benefits. My deductible gets bigger every year, and I’m paying about $360 more a year than I was 2 years ago. Golden Rule my ass…

  • Enjoy your site, I visit everyday. But you made me think today how odd it is that sometimes, no, maybe most times we see ourselves one way but behave in another. I know it a struggle for me to stay on track.

    You are a devote of film and of Doctor Who I believe. I’d like to share two different quotes with you to make my point. The first is a quote by Rose from episode 01×13.

    “The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life… That you don’t just give up. You don’t just let things happen. You make a stand, You say NO. You have the guts to do what’s right when everyone else just runs away…”

    and now compare with this quote,

    “But with the terrifying turns the health-insurance-reform debate is taking — what with clearly uninformed mobs storming town halls and such — maybe I should think about moving to England and staying there permanently.”

    Which one of these characters do think the Doctor would ask to travel with him, which do you want to be?

    A stand on either side of the debate is OK, just make a stand, because we are fighting for the same thing, the argument is how we get there.

    Thanks and look forward to your next blog.

    Signed,
    Uninformed angry member of the mob.

  • JoshB

    Signed,
    Uninformed angry member of the mob.

    You think Obama is trying to kill old people? And you’re willing to admit that in public?

  • MaryAnn

    Which one of these characters do think the Doctor would ask to travel with him, which do you want to be?

    Heh. I’m taking a stand and saying No against corporate rule of the United States, and against willful, proud ignorance of otherwise honest people being taken advantage of by fearmongers and profiteers.

    What do you think you’re standing up and saying No to, Chuck?

  • Chuck

    Agreed, the system needs to be changed. I have had to care for sick parents and know all to well what is broken.

    So what am I saying, simple.

    I want people people to stop parroting their parties.

    I want each side to stop using Alinsky’s rules to try to destroy the other, when each side is intelligent with ideas.

    I want people to sit down, before they stand up, and read the thing.

    I don’t want to substitute a downtrodden government worker for a greedy corporate guy.

    I don’t want the IRS collecting my insurance fee’s.

    I don’t want only one choice of care.

    I don’t want every different administration after this one promising to refix the thing as a platform for votes.

    I want more accountability from the people who use and provide the services and from the corporation that supply the medical industry.

    I want people, including those who vote on the bill to get off party lines and their asses and read the bill first. This is too important to only be read and understood only by nameless, faceless aides.

    I’d rather have you stand up here as an American than in England as an Irish-can.

    Oh, and I want a pony.

  • Chuck

    You think Obama is trying to kill old people? And you’re willing to admit that in public?

    Wow, where did this come from. I never mentioned “Obama killing old people”. But this reply is is exactly what I am talking about. Automatically someone on one side swoops in and supplies words that fit his parties talking points just because they see the words “angry mob’ and take the bait.

    Nevermind who I am or what my point of view is. Never mind engaging in a conversation, no, instead JoshB calls into question the intelligence of someone he does not even know.

    And you’re willing to admit that in public?

    This is just another Alinsky style tactic. I think the Tactic is stated something like –

    “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”

    Ridicule one thing but to apply ridicule to something some was not even said is kind of silly.

    Oh crap, I just ridiculed JoshB, sorry.

    The point of my first reply to MaryAnn was that running off to England or writing about how she is a dual citizen is more like running away from the problem in fear rather than standing up to it. Guilty of this myself from time to time, but I am working on it.

    Yes, I know she has posted video links that state her case. That’s OK, and I have not questioned or commented on the video’s. It’s a good thing if that is really how she feels. It’s a good thing even if those video’s ridicule and defame people that we don’t even know, it tells us something of the author of the video. The people in the videos could be kooks, who knows? Did anyone sit down and talk with the old geezers, no? Nah, don’t listen to what they say, just ridicule, put funny balloon captions around them and forget what it is that dragged them off of their comfy sofa to say.

    Hmmm interesting.

    Anyway, MaryAnn if I have come off as the least bit rude, my apologies. I do like your site and will be a continuing visitor in an angry mob sort of way.

  • Les Carr

    I’d be very grateful if someone could point me (an observing Brit) at some informative coverage on this issue. All I’ve seen (mainly NYTimes) has left me completely in the dark as to the motivations for the anti-reform demonstrations. I suppose this has been rumbling on for so long that all the participants know the score!

  • Chuck

    It’s a very polarizing subject. People and media alike are polarized one way or the other, in some cases to the point of red in face blood vessel popping fury. It will be difficult to find any one objective source. That’s why I have backed down to basics.

    1. Read what is being proposed at http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text

    2. Listen calmly to opinions but discard those that seem party line or inflammatory.

    3. Look ahead, beyond tomorrow for potential gotchas.

    It would be cool for you as an outsider to come back with some opinion, and contrast to the British system after you weight the sides.

    Good luck.

  • JoshB

    Oh crap, I just ridiculed JoshB, sorry.

    Oh, don’t worry, you are incapable of hurting my feelings.

    At the present moment in the healthcare debate when someone refers to anti-health reformers as “uninformed, angry mob” what they’re alluding to is the widespread foolishness regarding “death panels.”

    Given this, when you sign yourself that way you’re proclaiming your belief in said foolishness. It’s not my fault that you’re either toony loones or not keeping up with current events.

    Automatically someone on one side swoops in and supplies words that fit his parties talking points just because they see the words “angry mob’ and take the bait.

    You have no idea which party I support, so you cannot know that I am parroting their talking points.

  • chuck

    At the present moment in the healthcare debate when someone refers to anti-health reformers as “uninformed, angry mob” what they’re alluding to is the widespread foolishness regarding “death panels.”

    You presume to be the oracle of how “Angry Mob” is defined. And if that is not the case you at least had dinner with the oracle sometime in the last few days.

    Even after a well considered first post not mentioning “death panels” and even after clearly telling you that’s not what I meant you still carry on with it. What kind of person would do this?

    Has “angry mob” somehow been canonized in some reference book to mean “death panels?” Who made this change, did you? Or, perhaps you may have heard it elsewhere. I can’t imagine what you might of read or watched that would lead you there. :)

    At any rate I am a bit concerned that if I order a burger and shake for lunch tomorrow I going to be served a bowl of honey and a badger. You or someone else may well redefine “burger and shake” while I am not looking.

    This is just another example of how degraded this argument has become. It’s also another Alinsky rule “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.” Sorry, Not falling for it.

    Let me tell you what “Angry Mob” means to me. I know it’s horribly impolite to define my own meanings, but here goes.

    It’s the feeling of disenfranchisement that you get when something this important is being sped along for no good reason. When the bus you are on is speeding towards Florida and your ticket shows Texas. It being ignored when you say, “hold on just a second, lets go over all of the points. When it seems like you see something that the “other” mob does not, something important, and in there smug self assured way they look the other way. It’s when your senator or congressman tells you that “we have to make judgments very fast”

    Should the mob be more polite? Maybe. But then have you ever heard the British parliament in action. Was it polite to tell King George to stuff his taxes. Voice are being heard.

    Interesting anyway.

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    Unfortunatley the entire system of political debate in the US is broken, and has been for some time.

    I mean, let’s face it, there are a large number of people in the US interested n Single-Payer Health insurance to completely eliminate the corporate middleman between people and health care.

    But Canadian-style Single Payer, or British style nationalized healthcare isn’t even on the table. The bills themselves are simply stricter restrictions on private insurance plans with a public Option for those who can’t afford the private plans, and even that is off the table.

    And yet the debate is driven by different plans developed by congress mixing varying levels of regulation and pork on one side, and people complaining that regulation is going to lead to fascism, socialism, communism, and Death Panels that will deny care to old ladies, despite no other country with socialized medicine actually having to do this.

    I think a big part of the misunderstanding is the belief (held in opposition to evidence) that government is far less efficient in all cases than the private sector. So if the government plans to “Cut Costs” they would have to do it by rationing care, while ignoring all the evidence of waste in the mess of for-profit insurance.

    So no. We don’t have “Debate”. We have a leftist option of varying levels of national healthcare that is being completely ignored, a government plan that is still largely undefined, and the most visible vocal opposition misrepresenting the existing plan as the stepping stone to Nazi eugenics. If your legitimate concerns about a reactive government rushing half-baked plans into existence are being drowned out in the cacaphony, welcome to the fucking club. =P

    I’d like to wash my hands of all of this, but I’ve experienced US healthcare first-hand (as a dual citizen living tin the US between 2000-2005), and Canadian Healthcare first hand. I still have family living in the US and really don’t want to leave them to the tender mercies of Blue Cross or Kaiser Permanente.

  • JoshB

    Even after a well considered first post not mentioning “death panels” and even after clearly telling you that’s not what I meant you still carry on with it. What kind of person would do this?

    I’m not carrying on with it. I left open the possibility that you’re not keeping up with current events, and you seem to be embracing that explanation. Fine, you didn’t mean death panels. You can go right on defining angry mob however you like, in willful ignorance of how everyone else involved in the healthcare debate is going to take it.

    Don’t try to bullshit me. When you signed that way it was in deliberate sarcasm toward MaryAnn’s original usage of those terms. You’re not getting sympathy or guilt out of me when you now play the aggrieved victim of my meanness.

  • NorthernStar

    Congrats on the Irish citizenship, Mary Ann.

    I really think you should stay in the US for the forseeable future (not that I want to keep you out of the UK – we’d love to have you!) but because you need to add your voice to those responding to all the scare-mongering, misinforming and sometimes, quite frankly, outright lies.

    The latest was in the Investor’s Business Daily, which claimed that Stephen Hawking “wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”

    But if you do settle over here, remember to get another one of our euro-socialist crazy ideas – the European Health Insurance Card – entitling you to free or reduced cost health care in other EA countries.

  • If you can support yourself in the UK, come on over. Living and working in a foreign country will enrich your life immeasurably. As a concerned citizen, you can still keep tabs on US events and it’ll do you good to have a broader perspective. You know fortune favours the brave, don’t you?

  • LaSargenta

    I was living abroad a couple of times when I decided both times to return to the US because I felt like I had “abandoned” the country that I was born in. (Height of Reagan cupidity, then the height of the Clinton stupidity. Or was it the other way around?)

    I think I’ve outgrown that idea. You know, sometimes one just has to tend to one’s garden. No, I am not taking a panglossian position. I do not think everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. The problem is that we are disenfranchised already in this country. In order to really make a difference, one needs to be part of a system. Usually, the systems that the average folk get access to are just places to offer oneself up to be co-opted to speak.

    Sometimes, a few individuals live in an environment where they actually have a relatively large amount of control of their local politics. But, most don’t. I live in New York State. If you really want to know how thoroughly we are still living under dutch feudalism, I could go on and on about it. And then there is the federal government. It is large and not something that one person can change, no matter what the myth is.

    And, it has always been so. The original structure was set up to be like this. I’m not an anti-big-government person. It is just that we are fed this crazy idea that we are a democracy when we aren’t…not really. We are a republic. And, we are a republic where the corporations have a greater weight than the individual voters.

    Anyhow, this has gotten away from what I was thinking about earlier. Sometimes, people just want to get away from the problems they deal with on a daily basis. There are problems everywhere, but it can really wear one down being here. Sometimes, one needs to exit the stage for a while and recharge.

    And, really, I became a “better” american when abroad as I had a totally different rhythm of life (and yes, I was working) and actually had time to read, analyse and think…something I rarely get here, even if I actually am idle. There is a constant barrage of >>stuff

  • Les Carr

    Good heavens, it would appear that there’s a lot of anti-NHS sentiment out there in the US. I’ve been moved so far as to put a “We love our NHS” banner on my twitter avatar, but that is perhaps falling into the trap that Chuck is warning me about. I did start reading the bill, but it wasn’t long before it disappeared beneath 12 browser windows, 24 half-answered emails and a pile of expense claim forms. Such is the working day – never enough time to concentrate on the truly important!

    Still, I have an alternative proposal: how about a national socialist television service that allows everyone to watch Doctor Who, Torchwood, Life on Mars and Top Gear.

  • Victor Plenty

    Les Carr, you forgot to mention the BBC’s scary death panel vans – er, I mean, TV detector vans.

  • Chuck

    Still, I have an alternative proposal: how about a national socialist television service that allows everyone to watch Doctor Who, Torchwood, Life on Mars and Top Gear

    Too late!! It’s called BBCAmerica :) Just wish DTV carried it in HD.

  • Here’s an excellent, balanced blog entry from an American who’s experienced both systems. The comments are intelligent too.

    http://potentialandexpectations.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/this-americans-experience-of-britains-healthcare-system

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