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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Health Insurance Options

Last week it became clear that the discussion, soon to be a debate, on health care is beginning to hit its stride in Washington. The first big news was that people in the medical and insurance industry were making big promises about keeping down the rate of growth in health costs. Up to now we've been told by them that the expenses were unavoidable. Hmmm.

Then the analysts came into the discussion speculating on what it might mean that these people in the industry were willing to make such a public promise. Discussions of how many lobbyists have been hired were supplemented by figures on how much the insurance industry, pharmaceutical industry, and other medical interests are paying to lobbyists. People with deep pockets and big profits at stake will get the best representation that money can buy.

The rest of us suckers will have to take what they decide is best for us. Or maybe not. We may not have the money, but we have the people to stand up to these interests. If the Republicrats and Demicans in Congress are inclined to do what the medical interests say, we need to let them know that they are in for a few million wake-up calls from the people who are suffering under the current system which is force-fed to us as if the experts know what is best for all of us clueless people with and without paychecks they want us to sign over to them.

Here is a letter I wrote to the Durham Herald-Sun, and it showed up in this Sunday's edition.

Insurance Options

I know that the health insurance industry made a big public show of saying they will cut back the rise in health care costs. If they can, why haven't they done it already?

As it stands, people who still have health insurance have been losing real wages in a giant wealth transfer to the insurance companies and their allies. And so many more people have simply lost insurance coverage.

This is not a system of choices. It is a system of betting against the odds that one illness or injury won't make you go broke.

A real option would be to make these insurers compete with a public plan available to anyone who needs or wants it. A fair and competitive public insurance plan will force the insurance industry to cut profits and big bonuses so people can afford to go to the doctor.

We can't let Washington give in to the medical lobbies that want to maintain the costly, inequitable system we now have. They need to listen to the voters and make a quality public health plan available to all. That would be a real choice.

May 17, 2009

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