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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Quality Healthcare Matters to Bennett

"The health care system we have now is broken. It’s too expensive, too bureaucratic, and leaves too many people uncovered. We need universal health care so that all Americans can benefit from the best hospital, doctors, and nurses in the world."

That comes straight from congressional candidate Sam Bennett's web page. After meeting with her on Tuesday, I'm convinced she cares deeply about this topic.


Question: How will you extend the same medical insurance plan Congress has (which costs members $35/month) to all of us. Does you support a single payer universal health care system? Your website health care video talks about not adding more bureaucracy, but "expanding" the existing programs to include more services and people. How will you fund these expansions, and how will this be more effective and less costly than other plans?

"This is the single most difficult thing facing us right now. Health care is actually a matter of global competitiveness. The health care costs for a car are more expensive than the steel in that car. Thirty cents of every health care dollar is spent on administrative costs. One key thing is ending that. The most efficient way to do that is to make sure everyone is covered, and then reduce administrative costs.

"How hard can it be to make sure everyone has insurance? Every car has to have insurance. Everyone should have the same right to health care as any member of Congress.

"We spend more money than any nation on health care. We have wonderful doctors and hospitals, they're not the problem. But we have to reduce administrative costs.

"Preventive health care is also lousy and that's why we're only ranked $37 in the world. We have to let hospitals do what they do best."

Question: Will you work to decriminalize/legalize marijuana usage?

"No. I do believe in medical use, of course. But our war on drugs is an abysmal failure and we need to rethink our approach."

Question: Will you sponsor a bill to make the widescale growing of HEMP for use in paper, biofuels, etc?

"We need to invest in sustainable biofuel products but there are many alternatives to hemp that would not present any problems."

Question: Will you continue to support the GOP's no pharmaceutical manufacturer left behind act by prohibiting negotiation and allowing drug companies to set the price?

"(Laughter). I will not be supporting the drug companies."

Question: Will you support a tough border policy to keep Americans from going to Canada to purchase the same US manufactured drugs at a lower price?

"(Laughter again). No. We will take care of ridiculous legislation that prevents Americans from buying low cost pharmaceuticals at home. But anyone who wants to go to Canada should be able to do that, too."

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

""How hard can it be to make sure everyone has insurance? Every car has to have insurance. Everyone should have the same right to health care as any member of Congress. """ Thats great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People are not spending $600 per month for car insurance for one car nor $1500 per month per family, they are for health insurance. Congressmen don't have to pay for car insurance because they get a free car lease and free insurance and free health care plus an expense account and a free gas card. Do you really think congress gives a rats butt about anyone? I do not. They are there for the free ride. Thanks Henry Schaadt

Canada life insurance said...

Hi. If I can compare our system and yours a bit (and since I am selling optional health and Life insurance in Canada I have a small insight view) - your is extremely expensive - 16% of GDP to ours 10%. On the other hand, this enables you to have the most advanced medical technologies in the world. But you have to sacrifice part of the nation and leave them uninsured, that's how i see it...

Lorn

Oh, for Pete's sake! said...

"How will you extend the same medical insurance plan Congress has (which costs members $35/month) to all of us...Your website health care video talks about not adding more bureaucracy, but "expanding" the existing programs to include more services and people. How will you fund these expansions, and how will this be more effective and less costly than other plans?"

She never answered the questions. I appreciate her deep concern for the problems of uninsured Americans, but she simply states that this is a shame and should be fixed. No viable means of getting to universal health care are given.

hayshaker said...

The war on drugs is an abysmal failure yet you answer a blanket no to decriminalization of marijuana.

And my question was never answered: Do you support a single payer universal healthcare system or not? It's a simple question.

hayshaker said...

Seems Ms Bennett has absolutely no specific stands on any issue whatsoever.

Oh, for Pete's sake! said...

"How hard can it be to make sure everyone has insurance? Every car has to have insurance."--Sam Bennett

Quite a naive statement, in my opinion. The presidential candidate she voted for, Sen. Clinton, could explain to her how difficult this task really is based on her own experience during Pres. Clinton's first term, as well as based on her time in the U.S. Senate.

Car insurance cannot possibly be compared to health insurance for numerous reasons:

*Not everyone needs or owns a car, contributing to why is seen as more affordable than health coverage. Poor people also struggle to pay for, or are unable to pay for, car insurance, therefore such an analogy could be seen as wrong-sighted and elitist.

*The government does not provide Americans with the "right" to car insurance (if anything, they insist that Americans find this coverage on their own in order to drive legally), so how can this be a good example of how health care coverage could be made available to everyone?

*Minimum auto insurance is a means to make sure that when an insured person causes an accident, the victim isn't liable for all of the damages inflicted upon them. Basic health care would be based on the principle of protecting the person insured proactively as well as retroactively in the case of illness or injury.

*The lifespan of a car vs. a human being is quite different, and therefore total costs are also different.

*Cars are most often junked when they are more expensive to fix/maintain than keep, and we don't view human beings that way.

*Some can argue that everyone does have the right to health insurance on some level, since private insurance is available, albeit at a high cost. Government programs to aid the needy do exist, but Ms. Bennett never did explain how she would expand existing programs to include more people with better services.

IMHO, any candidate who wants credibility on this very important problem facing millions of citizens needs to show a real grasp of the issues by stating that she/he knows exactly how hard it will be to fix the health care system in America, but that they are up to the task. Saying "How hard can it be[?]" is quite flippant, or inarticulate at best.

Anonymous said...

Question: Will you continue to support the GOP's no pharmaceutical manufacturer left behind act by prohibiting negotiation and allowing drug companies to set the price?

"(Laughter). I will not be supporting the drug companies."

Right on, Sam! As someone with a relative living with Parkinson's I say phooey on the life improving drugs that those oinker pharmaceutical companies develop.

You've made me a believer. I'm ready to put my faith in the healing power of plastic rakes and your pep-squad can-do attitude to help my relative.

Two words synonymous with Sam Bennett?

Light weight.

Bill Leiner Jr. said...

For those who want to trash Ms. Bennett - a question. What has the actions of her opponent done to answer your questions. Mr. Dent, who is a nice fellow, should be advocating for health insurance like what we pay for him. If I were in Mr. Dent's shoes I would be very concerned about this election. He will probably run to the "left" from now until 11/5. Ms. Bennett is the candidate of "change". She is a nice lady. Mr. Dent is the candidate of "status quo". The voters are screaming for "change". Mr. Dent is a career politician, and a good one at that. All his honed political skills may be needed to win this one. Ms. Bennett never held elected office. Very interesting. I'd love to help him, but I am screaming for change throughout our political system, particularly Washington DC.

A.J. Cordi said...

Will she not be supporting the drug companies at all, or just not in favor of letting them set the prices?

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
I must tell you, I am enjoying reading your threads on the Bennett interview. Intriguing to say the least. You have asked tough questions and thus far, it appears you reported (I mean blogged) Bennett's response without censorship.

This is even better than Gunther's LV Magazine interview page and “That’s the Fact Jack”.

If your inquisition on Dent is equally probing, you deserve an award for your work. Of course the award would have to be from the blogesphere otherwise you might get some credibility as a journalist.

Thanks for your efforts.

Anonymous said...

But she has run for office twice and been rejected twice.

She sure talks like a career politician. If you can find a straight sensible answer in any of the questions she was asked, you're one heckuva detective.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:48.

IMO, there is a difference between funding research and fair pricing. I do not know for sure but I suspect the majority of research funding comes from the Govt anyway.

If your argument is valid and the price must be the price to fund research, instead of the US paying $100 and Canada paying $50 for the same drug, do you think it would be more equal if both pay $75.

I too have a family member with Parkinson's and another who suffered a slight stroke recently only to find out he was skimping on the meds because of the cost. So I empathize with your situation, however, have a different view point.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 12:11, Thanks very much. The tough questions come almost entirely from my readers, both liberal and conservative. My own work could be improved. My follow up was lousy. I will try better next time, if there ever is a next time. Dent has agreed to an interview. When it gets closer to the date, I will ask readers to prepare questions for him.

Anonymous said...

Fair profit is a fair question. On the one hand until you and I or Sam Bennett start cooking up blood pressure drugs, anti-organ rejection drugs and chemotherapy drugs in our own homes perhaps we should just be glad to pay the price that the manufacturers decide to set.

On the other hand, I would guess that your tax dollars and mine make their way into the drug companies accounts to aid their R&D.

I will say this, someone like Bennett who equates health insurance with car insurance isn't a rational enough actor to be making decisions like that.

hayshaker said...

Right on, Sam! As someone with a relative living with Parkinson's I say phooey on the life improving drugs that those oinker pharmaceutical companies develop.

Corporate welfare for Rx companies helps them develop life improving drugs? It's better if SB would state he'd be taking huge political donations in exchange for supporting drug companies with tax incentives? Um, OK.

Anonymous said...

Is it only the same five people responding to this blog, because I don't see any other than these five? They are continuously talking to themselves. To bad more people don't participate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 6:23, So far, the following people have commented on the bennett interview: various anons, canada life insurance, oh for pete's sake, hayshaker, bill leiner, bob, AJ Cordi, Michael Molovinsky, gsbrace, tinkerbell, Gregg Palmer, Mrs. Dottie, Tom Foolery, Hannah Miller (Bennett 2008), not so casual observer, Lady Rep, Joe Hilliard and me. If that's five, perhaps you should run for congress, too.

Bob said...

I agree with some of comments such as "she is a light weight".How can someone that looked at properties be a US congressman. Wow what a jump.
Also, maybe we should just shut down the drug companies and then we can all get sick and die from the flu or something. I get sick and tired of peoples' complaining about drugs and their cost when they have no idea what the cost of research, testing, manufacturing, etc, is.
A property reviewer in congress, give me a break.

hayshaker said...

I agree with some of comments such as "she is a light weight".How can someone that looked at properties be a US congressman. Wow what a jump.
Also, maybe we should just shut down the drug companies and then we can all get sick and die from the flu or something. I get sick and tired of peoples' complaining about drugs and their cost when they have no idea what the cost of research, testing, manufacturing, etc, is.
A property reviewer in congress, give me a break.


Yes, we are all complete idiots and have no idea what we are talking about.

No one is asking for the Rx companies to be shut down, instead some are asking for the federal government to stop giving them welfare and for the federal government to negotiate pricing for the Medicare plan just like every other insurance company does. Why don't we just allow the CEO of every major corporation have a seat in Congress and be done with it. (You want to play games of idiocy, right?)

By the way, Dent hasn't worked an honest day in his life since selling TV's or whatever he did for those nine years between graduation and his first stint in the PA leg.

Anonymous said...

Dent's job was doorman at the Republican Club at Eigth and Tilghman Street, before getting elected to state office.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Bernie thirteen people responded to your personal attacks on another politcian that you continue to defame. That's a lot of responsibility for so few people to have so many opinions. But, opinions are like a**h*les, everybody has one.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:23, Didn't do too well in math, did you? Apparently not too well in reading comprehension, either.

Anonymous said...

"By the way, Dent hasn't worked an honest day in his life since selling TV's or whatever he did for those nine years between graduation and his first stint in the PA leg."

Hey, Hayshaker who makes a more honest living? A congressman or a union organizer?

See, the reason I ask is that when my father worked at a local flooring plant that closed down it was Charlie Dent, then a state Senator, who went to the plant and told the workers what options were out there for them as far as job re-training and programs available through the local jobs center to arrange interviews and get resumes written.

Their local union reps didn't want to have anything to do with the workers because they weren't paying dues anymore. They wouldn't even give them a couple hundred bucks to send out a newsletter to the former employees telling them about services available to them. No more dues -- then screw you was the attitude of their union brothers.

But, big bad Republican Charlie Dent helped out.

Oh, my father got job re-trained in Information Technology and computer repair and found new employment.

I guess I'm saying watch the cynicism about the importance or "honesty" of other people's work. They might judge you just as harshly.

Anonymous said...

"Uninsured" does not necessarily mean "without care."

Also, it cannot be overstated that our health care system carries the burden of our price-controlled neighbors to the north on its back as well. 20 million sponges who use our system as a convenient relief valve.

hayshaker said...

I guess I'm saying watch the cynicism about the importance or "honesty" of other people's work. They might judge you just as harshly.

Yes, those elected reps have it real tough.

Anonymous said...

But not as tough as you, right Hayshaker?

I mean you grew up as an orphan in Calcutta and only by slaving away for years and honing your skills as a kickboxer were you able to purchase a steamer ticket to Algeria where you joined the French Foreign Legion at the tender age of 11.

Rising to the rank of Sergeant in only three short years, you overcame the sadistic brutality of your French superiors, eventually winning your freedom from the legion by fighting a lion. However, you were horribly disfigured in the fight.

Reduced to working in the freak show of a traveling circus you toured all of Eastern Europe before meeting a kindly ex-patriot Soviet plastic surgeon who grated your knee skin to your face so that you could at least smile and have some semblance of a nose again.

With a new sense of empowerment you swam across the Atlantic to America and found gainful employment as a guest booker for the Jerry Springer show.

Now, safely ensconced in an impenatrable and nauseating aura of your own self worth, you are able to spread your profundities about how tough everyone has it over the Internet.

You sir, are an inspiration! Vive La Legion!