Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: Nation: November 2009

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A foundational problem with our health care system is the government health programs are duplicative, laden with paperwork, and incongruent rules and regulations.

America is the only industrialized nation to have different bureaucracies for different groups of citizens.

Every other industrialized nation has one health bureaucracy for all of its citizens. One for all. This bureaucratic duplication is complex and expensive. Therefore, the first step towards lowering the cost of health care is to consolidate, simplify, standardize, and digitize.

What Health Care Reform?

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Saturday night's vote in the House of Representatives was a real disappointment to me. As a member of the uninsured, I was hopeful that Obama and the Democrats would lead as they had on Social Security, the Voting Rights Act and Medicare and fulfill Obama's promise to "fundamentally transform the United States of America." But instead the party "of the people" has in the words of Rep. Massa (D-NY) enshrined "in law the monopolistic powers of the private health insurance industry."

This isn't what health care reform was supposed to do.

For 17 years I enjoy national health care in Italy. Broken bones were mended, allergies brought under control, kidney stones dissolved. All at no cost to me. Whenever I needed to see a doctor I could either go down to the local clinic or make an appointment with a specialist and my tab was covered.


WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) signaled yesterday that it is his expectation is that the actual vote on the House health care reform bill will take place by 8 p.m. today, but may possibly be delayed until next week. Hoyer said this morning that he expects this bill to pass.

For most of today, though, debate will be lively. A 4-hour debate is now underway on floor of the House. For those that don't have a C-SPAN on cable television, the debate can also be followed online here.

HAYS, Kan. - In June 2009, a New York Times/CBS News poll reported that "most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so everyone could have health insurance and that they said the government could do a better job of holding down health-care costs than the private sector." Half of those questioned said they thought government would be better at providing medical coverage than private insurers, up from 30 percent in polls conducted in 2007. In early summer 2009, 72 percent were in favor of a public option plan.

Mainstream media received some criticism in August for calling attention to the disruptive attendees in some town hall meetings. Critics expressed concern that by photographing and interviewing those that were carrying signs or shouting in meetings, the media may have inadvertently given the impression to readers and viewers that the opponents of health care reform were greater in number than those in favor of reform.

Did the media cause the August down-tick in support through the media's showcasing of that minority of dissidents? Did the media fairly report the news - or can it be held accountable for actually creating the news? Opinion in the coming months is hard to predict, but as the media shifted away from the town halls and back to the core issues and policy facts in the legislation, it appears that the public has renewed its confidence in reform legislation.

SALINA, Kan. - Food Stamp usage in Kansas has been steadily rising for the last several years. In July 2009, 235,367 Kansans received Food Stamps as compared to an average of 140,403 in 2002. Even those families that do receive Food Stamps are not assured of adequate nourishment. The average payout of Food Stamps in 2008 in Kansas was $93.86 per person for one month, averaging $3 per day.

As our culture nears its annual feast, Thanksgiving, it's startling to learn that food insecurity is a real problem for the children of our state and nation. Holidays and tables full of delicious food usually go hand in hand, but for nearly half of the children in the United States, this is simply not guaranteed.

"49 percent of all U.S. children will be in a household that uses food stamps at some point during their childhood," says Mark R. Rank, Ph.D., poverty expert at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - What makes a good leader? Confidence? Enthusiasm? Exemplary character? Vision? All the above? Now, how does a leader, say the president, meet the challenge of transforming US society and becoming a transformational leader of our history?

Not your typical everyday conversation starters, but the Turman Library's Howard and Virginia Bennett Forum undertook this challenge on November 1st.

Unity Temple on the Plaza was the setting for a conversation between four distinguished panelist on Presidential Leadership in a Transformational Times that included: Joseph Nye, Jr., dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government; Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post; Robert Kuttner, co-founder of The American Prospect; and, Timothy Naftali, director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library.

The panel examined the characteristics of transformational presidents - from Jefferson to Roosevelt, Lincoln to Reagan, and considered whether Barack Obama can fulfill his pledge to "fundamentally transform the United States of America."

For the panel, Obama is drawing a mixed report card at best and downright worrisome results at worst.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - Sam Tanenhaus' book The Death of Conservatism is a scholarly and academic view of classical conservatism, and how today's self-described conservatives are far removed from classical conservativism.

Tanenhaus considers Edmund Burke and Disraeli as the definers of what conservatism really is. Politicians and writers like Dwight Eisenhower, Whittaker Chambers, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Nancy Kassebaum would be considered "classic conservatives."

Classic conservatives basically believe that government can be used to make a better society. They aim to keep what's good about government, and discard what the government doesn't do well. Classic conservatives believe that big corporations should be supervised, and that government is a benign force, if supervised and pruned back properly. Classic conservatives embrace our country as it is, but may want to make some adjustments here and there.

The "movement conservatives" of today believe that government is a malignant tumor that should be killed off in toto by cutting off the blood supply - tax dollars. The new conservatives believe in no real supervision of big business, that "the market knows best." The new conservatives believe "we've lost our country" and must find it.

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is Nation: October 2009. The next archive is Nation: December 2009.

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This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the Nation: November 2009 section.

The previous archive is Nation: October 2009. The next archive is Nation: December 2009.

The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.

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