Maine Senators don’t care about health insurance reform, or you

Today I called the offices of both Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, you know the moderate Republicans, the progressive Republicans.  Bull shit.

According to the staff person that answered the phone, Olympia Snowe “hasn’t finalized here position on health care reform”.  She hasn’t??  Everybody else in the country has chosen a position.  And most of them don’t know what they are talking about.  So Ms. Snowe is the only person in America who hasn’t decided on a position?  They asked me if I wanted a response.  Of course I want a response.  I want to know why you don’t have a position and I want to know when you will publicly state what your position is.

As bad as Susan Collins position is, at least she has one.  She categorically is against a public option and against a single payer plan.  OK.  So if you extrapolate that, she’s against reform in general.  Susan Collins released a statement.  I couldn’t find it on her site but I found it on a political blog.  If you are interested, here it is:

It is FILLED with standard Republican talking points and phrases like “Washington-run public insurance” and continues to quote “The Lewin Group”.  Now, the Lewin Group is quoted by literally every Republican member of the House and Senate.  The Lewin group is touted as being the foremost  independent experts in the country regarding health care.  Well, by right wing politicians and pundits, at least.

In reality, the Lewin Group is a front.  They are a fake independent health care consulting firm wholly owned and operated by United Health Group, one of America’s largest health care providers.  There is nothing independent about Lewin.  Yet, if you listen to any Republican in Congress when they have the floor, or when they are on Fox News, you will hear each of them continually reference the Lewin Group as a preeminent source for what a catastrphe Health Insurance Reform would be on every level.

So Susan Collins, the moderate, is quoting the same bogus sources as every other republican.  Further, on one hand, Collins says that the reduced operating costs of a government backed health insurance plan would bring an end to private insurers and it’s not fair.  On the other hand she says we can’t accomplish Health Care reform because the cost is too great.  WELL IT CAN’T BE BOTH.  It can’t be a cheap-to-run health insurance plan AND too expensive at the same time.

The contradictions go on.  She states that the increased costs of health care are a burden to employers.  Well, that’s true.  But if employees don’t like their plan, or feel they could get better coverage from the government plan (and I can tell you from experience that many employees would bail on their existing health coverage), employer costs, in most circumstances would GO DOWN because fewer people would need private coverage.  Again, Susan, you can’t have it both ways.

And finally, she said she talked directly to the President.  She states that in her conversation with him, she pointed out that States with high-quality, low-cost health care like Maine (?) should not be harmed by reforms but rather rewarded for their efficiencies and innovations.  I don’t know what State she lives in but I can tell you the following:  finding a primary care physician, or finding mental health care, or finding a dentist in Maine is next to impossible.  There are not enough doctors, they are not taking new patients, there aren’t enough dentists, psychiatrists won’t take a new patient unless they have the right “kind” of insurance.  I don’t have a clue what she means by our “efficiencies”.  When I was out of work for 18 months, I was denied for the State of Maine health insurance program (for the unemployed, disabled, people on public asistance, etc) because they weren’t taking any new applicants right then.  They put me on a waiting list – a waiting list to get health care.  It was 2 months after I went back to work (18 months later) that I receive a letter from the State of Maine with an application to fill out for the State health insurance program for the poor.  What exactly was efficient about that.

In conclusion, if my Congressional representatives don’t want to fight for a national health care system, then let me join the health insurance plan that they have.  I want to pay the same amount that a Congressperson  pays our of his or her own pocket and I want the same level of coverage. 

That sounds about right, doesn’t it.  What could they possibly have against that.  I am not asking for anything more than Congress gets, and they work for me; I pay their salary.  Maybe as your employer, I will decide that we can’t afford to provide you with health insurance anymore.  That’s what employers are doing all over the country to make ends meet.  I think it’s worth considering.


Even with side effects, Ambien may be right for you

Below is the actual copy from an Ambien TV commercial (with my comments).  It’s the part of the commercial where it addresses  the drug’s warnings and interactions.  It is the longest  and most comprehensive list of drug warnings I have ever seen.  My first question is:  Are we as American’s that dumb?


Until you know how Ambien will affect you, you shouldn’t drive or operate machinery.  (How many people do you know take a sleeping pill and then GO FOR A DRIVE?)

Plan to devote seven to eight hours to sleep before being active.  (If I could do that, I wouldn’t need a sleeping pill)

Sleep walking, or eating and driving while not fully wake, with amnesia for the event, as well as abnormal behaviors such as being more outgoing or aggressive than normal, confusion, agitation, and hallucinations have been reported.  (If I’m confused, hallucinating, and have amnesia, how will I remember to tell my doctor?)

Don’t take [Ambien] with alcohol as it may increase these behaviors. (If you can’t drink Alcohol with a sleeping pill why bother?)

In rare cases, severe allergic reactions can occur.  (Define “severe”.  If I get a good night sleep and a few hives, I’m all good)

In patients with depression, worsening of depression, including risk of suicide, may occur. (So I may kill myself because I’m finally getting enough sleep?)

Side effects may include next day drowsiness, dizziness, and headache. (Hmm.  Drowsiness after taking a sleeping pill?  That’s shocking!  So I’ll be sort of groggy the next day, and a little dizzy with a splitting headache.  I guess I’ll just have to go home and take another Ambien.)  

It’s non-narcotic and can be taken for as long as your prescriber recommends. (Oh thank god)

However, like most sleep aids, it has some risk of dependency. (DAMN IT, I knew it was too good to be true).

Allergic reactions such as shortness of breath, swelling of your tongue or throat, may occur and in rare cases may be fatal. (Well, if I die at least I won’t be complaining that I didnt’ get enough sweep, AHEM!, thweep!, thrweeep! HAP, I CANG BWEEB!)


My second question is: Do we, as a nation, need sleep so badly that we are willing to die for it?