Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Last Word on Health Care Reform

Susan of Everyday People has really nailed it this time. I can't add a thing. Go read what she has to say now that the bill has finally passed. Hint: I borrowed this wonderful graphic from her post.

Here's the link.

Go on, now. You won't be sorry. I promise.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sex, Satan and The Vatican

Satan is at work in the Vatican according to Father Gabriele Amorth,the Vatican's chief exorcist. In a recent interview with CNN(see the video below) Fr. Amorth affirmed that Satan tempts everyone, but tempts religious leaders and those in high places more. Thus, we should not be surprised that priests succumb to Satan's blandishments just like everyone else.

When asked if he thought priest pedophiles were possessed by the devil and in need of exorcism, Fr. Amorth said no-- explaining that such priests were tempted by Satan, not possessed by him. In his own words:

"I have carried out exorcisms on some priests who had been molested by the devil," he said, without going into details.
"But cases of pedophilia exorcised, no. ... Pedophiles are not possessed by the devil, they are tempted by the devil,"
"They don't need exorcism, they need to be converted, to be converted to God, that's what they need. They need to confess, they need true penitence, true repentance, that's what they need. They're not possessed."

I think the Vatican spin machine is going to have to come up with something better than that to fix its tarnished image. I mean in the wake of all the major sex scandals around the world involving pedophile priests and going back decades, the idea of putting it all down to temptation is just too crazy for words.

Maybe a married woman who uses artificial birth control instead of playing Vatican roulette, or a teenager who masturbates is sinning, but honestly, sodomizing the choirboys is on a whole different level, especially if you are a priest and the choirboys are still singing soprano.

So far the pope is writing letters and issuing apologies while still distancing himself and the Holy See from the debacle in Ireland, the recent German scandal and the rather absurd uncovering of a male prostitution ring in the Vatican itself. No responsibility has been taken. No priests have been defrocked and it's business as usual as far as I can see.

If the Vatican spin machine thinks that trotting out a sweet old exorcist to make apologies for the sins of the " Fathers" is a good idea, I think it had better think again. I don't know what these guys are smoking, but they are certainly not dealing with objective reality. This is the twenty first century, not the Middle Ages. Get a grip, guys. We are dealing with crime as well as sin here. Stop beating around the bush: Take responsibility and DO something. You are the folks who orchestrated the Inquisition, after all. You know how to root out the bad news bears when you want to. Stop dragging your feet.

If I am possessed by a demon I'll give Father Amorth a call. But if my child is molested by a priest, I'm calling the police.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Who Killed American Healthcare?


Gather round kiddies while I tell you who killed American healthcare. It wasn't always the mess it is today. Back before WWII Healthcare was rather simple, as was medicine.

There were no anti-biotics and few complicated surgical procedures. You went to the doctor, or if you were too sick, the doctor came to see you. If you were really sick, or needed surgery, you went to the hospital and whatever happened, you were presented a bill which you paid out of your own pocket. Most hospitals had charity wards and most doctors treated patients they knew could not pay, but it was a direct doctor/ hospital to patient transaction.

A Little History

During World War II, the American government imposed wage and price controls, limiting what factories and companies could pay in salaries. Some large corporations began offering health insurance as a way of providing a benefit to workers while getting around the wage controls. This was simple hospitalization insurance. Most out-patient procedures were not covered. But it was a foot in the door for the insurance companies and marked the beginning of third-party financing of health care costs.

After the war, the men came home and with Europe's economy in ruins, the American manufacturing engine went full steam ahead. Business was booming during the 1950's and health insurance became a normal corporate job benefit and unionized worker perk. Hospitals began to depend on it and what was covered by it expanded. By the 1960's the system was in place, and since most people had health insurance, and were no longer paying their own medical bills, they began to abuse the system.

Since the only people who didn't have insurance were those who were not working, in the 1960's Medicare and Medicaid were passed into law as government run insurance programs for those over 65 and for poor families. Along with corporate profits, corruption and abuse of the system also grew.

By the 1980's, the system was out of control. Waste and corruption ran rampant as it always does when a third party pays the costs. Who cares if the cotton balls in the hospital cost $15. each if it's covered by insurance?

In an effort to control things, the current system was set up as a compromise after the failure of Bill and Hillary Clinton's 1993 attempt to reform the system. Like most compromises, it was a disaster. Insurance companies and HMO's got fat with profits while doctors, patients and hospitals suffered.

The Future of American Healthcare

Today, Americans have the world's highest health care costs as well as the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world and one of the lowest life expectancies. Families are paying health care premiums that are as high as their mortgage payments, and often find claims rejected or coverage denied when it is needed most.

In fact, 75% of all bankruptcies in America are related to healthcare costs. This is a shameful situation which if allowed to continue will bankrupt the nation financially as well as morally.

So, who killed American healthcare? We all did: irresponsible patients, insurance companies, and government bureaurocracy. If only we could return to a simpler time where we all paid our own bills --but since that is not possible, let's please pass some sort of health care reform soon.. Let's not kill American healthcare all over again.