September 25, 2009

Commentary: Top Ten Reasons for Health Reform

By Randolph D. Brandt

No. 10: Insurance companies will post their rates and services all together online so people can pick the best policy for themselves.

No. 9: Businesses that provide benefits for their employees will be rewarded, businesses that drop benefits for their employees will be penalized.

No. 8: Pretty much everybody will be able to keep the health insurance they have if they like it.

No. 7: People can take their health insurance with them if they change jobs or lose their job.

No. 6: Insurance companies can’t drop you from coverage if you get sick.

No. 5: Insurance companies can’t deny you insurance in the first place if you’re sick.

No. 4: Insurance companies can’t discriminate against people in their rates if they have a "pre-existing condition."

No. 3: Medical record keeping will be computerized so doctors can see which treatments work and which treatments don’t work, and avoid mistakes.

No. 2: Insurance companies and drug companies will reduce their rates by billions of dollars.

No. 1: Pretty much everybody will finally have health insurance.

(Randolph Brandt is a retired newspaper editor living in Racine, Wis.)


  1. Randy Brandt is a life-long, award-winning journalist and writer. He's a history scholar and a master of written commentary. You may disagree with his opinions (the whole point of commentary is to start a debate), but we expect readers to do so respectfully. Any personal attacks on Randy will be deleted.

  2. No way, no how. We do not want national health insurance. As soon as it begins, you just gave up your choice for what you want to do for your health. I want to keep my choice!! Govt. programs never end and this will just keep the working people paying for the lazy people. People should not get rewarded with free insurance ( you know the poor will pay nothing) for makin poor choices throughout their lives.

  3. These are very noble goals but the proposals that I have seen out of Washington DC don't include vehicles to make all this happen. Right now the healthcare vision and speeches don't match the legislation. In the end it is the legislation, not the speeches and vision statements, that the US will have to live with and pay for in the future.

  4. The fact that Randolph will get insurance out of this while not having to give up fancy house, etc. didn't even make the top ten?

  5. Tim the Shrubber9/25/2009 8:08 AM

    These are just talking points, and nothing else.

  6. "Any personal attacks on Randy will be deleted."

    What amounts to a personal attack? Is calling people racist without good reason a personal attack?

  7. Can you please list those we can and can not criticize and what we can criticize them about?

    All sarcasm aside The Post use to be a great place to find news that the J-T would not cover, now IMHO The Post is no more then a soap box for you and Pete's social agenda. Its your blog do what you want do not expect to keep or gain advertising support. I do keep hearing that The KRM groups and The Consultants on Tom's side do support you far more then in advertising

  8. Dustin - The Post is a disgrace to let one position to drivel on your site - you call this fair and balanced news. I hope everyone stops advertising and using this site. You and Pete are a disgrace to the journalistic world - you guys should be ashamed of your- selves. As far as Randy goes, he is a left wing kook.

  9. Anon, 8:02,

    If you agree the goals are noble, perhaps you should consider supporting the legislation to carry them out.

    As they say on the fiber commercials, it's all in there.

  10. Randy - get a job and off this site.

  11. If national health care is going to be similar to health care in Europe - I don't want it. The big question for me is, will it be?

  12. The Translator9/25/2009 9:14 AM

    A six point plan that makes more sense. (Warning, not approved by The Post or Randy Brandt but I hope the personal attack protection offered to him extend to me as well)

    1. Make quality health care coverage affordable and accessible for every American, regardless of pre-existing health conditions.

    2. Protect Americans from being forced into a new government-run health care plan that would:
    a) eliminate the health coverage that more than 100 million Americans currently receive through their job;
    b) limit your choice of doctors and medical treatment options; and
    c) result in the federal government taking control of your health care.

    3. Let Americans who like their health care coverage keep it, and give all Americans the freedom to choose the health plan that best meets their needs.

    4. Ensure that medical decisions are made by patients and their doctors, not government bureaucrats.

    5. Improve Americans’ lives through effective prevention, wellness, and disease management programs, while developing new treatments and cures for life-threatening diseases.
    6. Ensure that insurance pools are created only on the state level as per the Tenth Amendment to the Bill of Rights: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

  13. If this plan goes through, how many companies will continue subsidizing employee's insurance. That is one of their major expenses. They'll drop it in a heart beat - instant profits.

  14. Sad to See the Post Decline9/25/2009 9:36 AM

    I, too, lament the direction that the Racine Post has taken. With 2 ex-publishers and one ex-editor of the Journal Times now running this site, the slant towards advertisers becomes more and more acute. The censoring of opposing viewpoints is what is most troubling, though. You do not defeat the enemy by adopting his tactics; you become the enemy.

    Mr. Brandt has more money than 99% of us. Let him pay his own bills. I already have more than my fair share paying for mine and those with less money than me. I simply cannot afford to also cover those with more money than me. Your greed, Mr. Brandt, stems from an emptiness inside. No government program will fill that.

  15. Anon, 9:12,

    No, health care reform isn't like the socialized medicine practices in many European nations or Canada.

    Health care reform maintains the private nature of America's health care system.

    It just enables more people to buy insurance. Indeed, it will require some people to buy insurance who now must be cared for in emergencies at our expense.

  16. Translator,

    Health care reform plan accomplishes most everything in your six points, though your No. 2 seems to be based on some wildly exaggerated fears.

  17. Tim the Shrubber9/25/2009 9:42 AM

    "If this plan goes through, how many companies will continue subsidizing employee's insurance. That is one of their major expenses. They'll drop it in a heart beat - instant profits."

    Bingo. We have a winner. From the descpritions I have read, the current plan allows for private insurance, but so skews the market that they will not last long against the government plan. If it passes I doubt there will be much other than the government plan within 10 years.

  18. One of the ideas with having Mr. Brant post here is to drive page views and in doing that more advertising $$.
    We simply should quit coming here. Might be an issue for me I keep holding out for a news story now and again

  19. Anon 9:18,

    As noted in reason No. 9, employers who continue to maintain coverage for their employees are rewarded, employers who drop health care pay a penalty tax.

    In a fashion, this reform most likely will return benefits to their proper role - a recruiting tool to attract the best employees - rather than an onerous burden on employers and employees alike.

  20. The Translator9/25/2009 9:45 AM

    Randolph, Thank you for just endorsing 83% of the GOP plan for healthcare reform.

  21. Tim,

    If the government plan is going to eclipse all private insurance plans, how come the private insurance industry supports the health care reform plan?

    Are they intending suicide?

    I don't think so.

  22. Anon 9:18am

    While I am for improving health care, I must admit I see your comments to be squarely on target. I wish Mr. Randolph would address those. Some kind of one time fine given to a business for not providing insurance to their employees must be balanced against the long term savings that business would enjoy by not providing health care insurance. In my mind I see this as the weak link in the whole plan.

    Mr. Randolph, please address this.

  23. Randy - you dream. I'm sure the penalty to employers will be as much or more than the 70% they susidize of their employee's insurance today. Get off your soap box and get a job. Also get out the back pocket of Dustin and Pete - your whole availability to post your comentaries is a disgrace.

  24. Translator's got it right, though I suspect the crossover percentage is even higher on Republican and Democrat plans.

    You see, pretty much everybody agrees on what needs to be done.

    Only problem is, Republicans are stonewalling so the president and the Democrats don't get the credit for reform going into the next presidential election cycle.

    Ok, Ok, Democrats want to score some political points against the opposition, too, I'll grant you.

    But if all the voters told them to drop the politics and reform the system, it would happen overnight.

  25. Randy - What is it you don't understand. 56% of the population does not want this. Last time I heard, this was a Democracy - we don't want you Socialist ramming this through.

  26. So let me get this straight...

    I'm driving my car without insurance.

    I get into a bad wreck (my fault).

    The insurance company must take me and cover the damages from the accident that occured before they covered me?

  27. I just have to debunk this tripe.

    No. 10: Insurance companies will post their rates and services all together online so people can pick the best policy for themselves.

    (funny, the right has been asking for transparency and also to allow interstate commerce to allow competition across state lines for years. These common sense free market alternatives to lower costs have been ignored by the democrats for years. Additionally, while the President says the right has offered nothing the truth is the right has offered an alternative plan which the President has completely ignored.)

    No. 9: Businesses that provide benefits for their employees will be rewarded, businesses that drop benefits for their employees will be penalized.

    (Yet said penalty is not a "tax" according to the President)

    No. 8: Pretty much everybody will be able to keep the health insurance they have if they like it.

    (No, they won't. For most of us our employers make the choice regarding our benefits. If our companies choose to take the 8% penalty we will be thrust on the government option. Yes, I could keep my coverage but if my company decides they would rather pay the 8% penalty {tax} I don't get to make that choice do I?)

    No. 7: People can take their health insurance with them if they change jobs or lose their job.

    (they can do that now, though COBRA coverage is expensive)

    No. 6: Insurance companies can’t drop you from coverage if you get sick.

    (they can not do that now)

    No. 5: Insurance companies can’t deny you insurance in the first place if you’re sick.

    (See the point above. Additionally, there are coverages on a state by state level already for people who can not obtain health insurance in the open market)

    No. 4: Insurance companies can’t discriminate against people in their rates if they have a "pre-existing condition."

    (So much for the free market, it makes perfect sense that someone who has cancer should pay the same as someone who is perfectly healthy. Sarcasm off)

    No. 3: Medical record keeping will be computerized so doctors can see which treatments work and which treatments don’t work, and avoid mistakes.

    (Oh yeah, there is no such thing as a computer error)

    No. 2: Insurance companies and drug companies will reduce their rates by billions of dollars.

    (Covering everyone will cost less? Randy, seriously, do you believe that. It has cost more everywhere it has been tried)

    No. 1: Pretty much everybody will finally have health insurance.

    (except for the persons here illegally who will not be covered, until of course they are granted amnesty. Yes those pesky individuals who make the choice to go without insurance should really have people like Randy here who know better make decisions for them)

  28. Dustin,

    Given the number of personal attacks on this site, it amazes me that your former boss gets special protections, especially after he is throwing around the race card to people who disagree with his views.

    This truly has become The Racine Left Post.

  29. Real Debate,

    Your auto insurance/accident scenario is a closer analogy to the health care reform proposals than you probably imagine.

    Here's the real scenario. Virtually every state (Wisconsin included next year) requires every driver to have auto insurance, so policy holders aren't paying higher premiums to guard against the deadbeats.

    Similarly, under health care reform, pretty much everyone will be required to have health insurance, too, so those of us who are already responsible in these matters don't have to pay for the people who aren't.

  30. Randy - why don't you answer
    9:56's question?

  31. Anon, 9:56,

    As far as polls go, many times it's figures lie and liars figure, and it usually depends upon how a particular question's worded.

    Pretty consistently, though, Americans favor reform of the health care system, usually in the neighborhood of 70 percent, when asked if they'd favor a combination of a public option and private insurance system, so long as they maintained a choice.

    And, of courses, that's exactly what the health care reform proposals call for.

    While it's true that a majority of Americans say they are satisfied with their own health care, they still say pretty consistently that some government intervention is need to fix the system for everybody and, especially, to do something about rising costs.

    If you slice and dice some of the polls further, some interesting patterns also emerge, such as a majority of doctors think it would be best for Medicare to extend to people 55 (rather than 65) so more people could get medical care (and presumably they could make more money on them, but I'll give the docs the benefit of the doubt and agree they just want to help more people).

  32. ... Oh, and the American Medical Association, representing America's doctors, endorse health care reform.

    So does the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry.

  33. It's absolutely amazing and terribly disappointing to see the first post after another Brandt diatribe come as an admonishment by Dustin.

    At its inception the Post was greeted with excitement and appreciation from those across the political spectrum. While there are still those scoops of the JT and articles of genuine local interest the Post has rapidly deteriorated in several aspects. One is passing off Op-Ed as news. Just say it's your opinion and readers will either agree or not.

    Another is intolerance for critical comments regarding the posts of Dustin and Pete. Your strident defense of Kelly Gallaher comes to mind.

    Now comes the pre-emptive threat of censorship of those who, in the opinion of Dustin, make "personal attacks". I hope this post stays up for all to read and comment upon.

  34. Randy - you are full of crap - the Dr.'s do not want your Socialized Medicine - polls don't lie - you do.

  35. Can anyone answer my question in that if health care reform aims to put private insurance out of business with a public option, why does the insurance industry endorse it?

    Aside from the fact that they stand to gain millions more customers selling private insurance under the plan.

  36. Anon, 10:54,

    If doctors don't want health care reform, how come the AMA endorses it?

  37. Randy - not your Socialized plan. Who isn't for health care reform? We just don't want the government to run it. They can't run SS, Medicare or Medicade effectively - we don't want them to make a mess of our medical insurance also.

  38. Anon, 11:01,

    The government won't mess with your health insurance, aside from maybe making it less expensive.

  39. Tim the Shrubber9/25/2009 11:14 AM

    "...and the pharmaceutical industry."

    Pharma Industry is getting a payoff. The health care bill lengthens the time before an exclusive patent on a drug expires. So some curbs on the intial price on a drug, but a longer wait until a generic can be available and big savings can be realized.

    Big Pharma is going to do just fine from this bill. Generic Pharma companies not so much. Makes me very skeptical about there being any savings in the area of prescription drugs.

  40. Randy - B.S. I'm done with you. You are dismissed.

  41. Tim the Shrubber9/25/2009 11:17 AM

    "If doctors don't want health care reform, how come the AMA endorses it?"

    1. Doctors are not known for their prowess in Economics.

    2. The AMA may represent doctors, but it is hardly a unified voice for all doctors. There are many doctors out there that oppose the current legislation.


    On July 16th, the American Medical Association endorsed the House Healthcare Reform Bill. Since then over 10,000 US physicians have used Sermo to voice their position on the Bill. 94% do not support the bill, and 95% state that the AMA does not speak for them with its endorsement (see full survey results and comments). The numbers are astonishing, almost as astonishing as the fact that none—not one—of the three topics that physicians state are the most important for comprehensive healthcare reform are even addressed in the Bill at all: malpractice reform, limiting impact of third party payors on the doctor patient relationship, and evening the playing field between doctors and third party payors.

    It took the AMA less than 36 hours to endorse a 1,200-page bill that seasoned legal scholars are describing as “puzzling”. It is a complex document that touches almost every aspect of the healthcare system except, perhaps, the ones that can have a material impact on cost savings. While the Bill does nothing to address ballooning administrative costs that are thought to consume 15-40 cents of every healthcare dollar, the bill does protect the AMA’s proprietary CPT codes and will lead to a windfall in revenue that the AMA gets for licensing these codes to insurance companies and hospitals. With less than 15% of revenue now coming from physicians, one doesn’t have to look far to see who the AMA is truly advocating for in this decision to endorse the Healthcare Bill. It’s the AMA.

  43. "Randy - B.S. I'm done with you. You are dismissed." - That's "sir" from the old Journal Times site, now trolling here anonymously. She's a notorious Becker defender.

    I saw my shrink for a med check Wednesday. He said that only 18% of US physicians belong to the AMA. Impossible to verify on the web, but I checked with my personal physicians - none of them do. My GP didn't know the exact figure, but said that "most" doctors don't.

  44. Orbs - he is not a she.

  45. In any case - I used to to this website and see inforamtion about Racine that ws not covered by the JT (or a week later). In the past several months, this website has deteriorated into a Randolph Brandt leftist
    rag (as if we need another one of those). Each of his opinions are "I know better than you", "You are all idiots who need my direction" type harangues.
    This is why I stopped subscribing to the JT while he was the editor. Now I'm goint to stop reading this waste of storage.

  46. Oh, and for the record, but obviously only anecdotal, my shrink said that all doctors he knows oppose the planned reform. He said the older ones, which, according to him, make up 40% of doctors, say that they will retire if it is implemented. He says that the younger ones talk about moving to another country, but that is "crazy, because no other country will pay them what they can make here."

    Bad news for me is that he said he would retire, too. He also said that the bureaucracy and red tape load on doctors has increased dramatically over the last 20 years and he only sees more with more govt involvement in health care. Said he needs twice the staff now to deal with it.

  47. "sir," yes you are. In fact, I suspect you of being the notorious "other woman," but that's a whole 'nother blog.

  48. Thanks, Orbs. You could be right.

    I though the administration bought the doctors back into the deal by offering fewer Medicare cuts over the years.

    (Interestingly, a Republican measure this week objected to the Democrats' proposed Medicare cuts, saying they were too deep. Republicans defending Medicare! Go figure)

    Anyway, the bill can be picked apart, but should we abandon health care reform on account of that? Not if it conforms, even broadly, to the Top Ten reasons for it, IMHO.

  49. Dustin: "Randy Brandt is a life-long, award-winning journalist and writer. He's a history scholar and a master of written commentary."
    Would you please back up the above statement with any facts you have - such as his Curriculum Vitae, honors/awards he has reeceived or published works which have merited critical review?

  50. If they would cap mal practice lawsuits, that would handle most of the high cost of medicine and would intice more people to go into medicine and those who are practicing today would work longer.

    Furthermore there are not enough doctor's today to handle their current insured patients. Where do the socialists think they are going to come up with more doctors?

  51. One of the best arguments against health care reform isn't widely cited.

    I can readily agree with principled libertarians that the notion of the government forcing 30 million uninsured people to buy health insurance is, well, pretty significant government intervention into their lives.

    It's easily argued that if people don't want health insurance, they shouldn't be forced to buy it.

    But the alternative, like we have now, is for people who do have insurance to pay way more to cover the cost of uninsured people who show up at hospitals needing care.

    On balance, that's not fair, and even if means some healthy 25-year-old has to buy insurance, it's better for the rest of us who get stuck paying the freight when that 25-year-old gets sick.

    I think the argument outweighs libertarian concerns.

  52. Orbs - believe what you like - but I do love my line. I don't think a women could come up with a line like that. One other thing - this person does not love Gary B., but did agree with some of what he did for the city prior to his disgusting actions.

    But please let's not take the discussion there - it has already been over worked.

  53. Oh, and ask anyone who has Medicare Part D how government run health care works. As mom needs more and more prescriptions, they cover less and less.

    Party on!

  54. Orbs,

    Yes, Medicare Part D's a problem on increasing costs to the elderly. That's why health care reform calls for reducing those out-of-pocket "doughnut hole" costs by another 50 percent.

    The drug companies agreed to that, so there's no government cost, only savings.

  55. Something we fail to see in the proposals, yes insurance companies cannot deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, but there is nothing about how much they can charge those with pre-existing conditions!

  56. Anon, 12:22,

    Health care reform prohibits discrimination in rates for pre-existing conditions.

  57. They will put all them in the same "Pool" and screw em all equally.

  58. ... they can charge smokers 50 percent more.

  59. Anon,

    The point of all insurance is a pool. The bigger the pool, the more risk (and costs) are shared.

    That's the whole idea.

    With, say, 30 million more people insured under health care reform, that pool grows and costs go down.

  60. Read the bills, no where is there any guarantees of that, if so you ID it for us.

    Have not seen anything that direct on this serious matter.

    What does discriminate mean?

    That language is way too vague.

    That may mean all will with pre-existing conds. will be charged the same rate.

    You cannot let weasels run the hen house, they must write this bill with better detail.

  61. Now I know what Mr. Brandt was doing sitting against his front yard tree sipping the highball - dreaming!

  62. Anon, 12:30

    Bourbon and branch water. The best medicine.

  63. Dustin: "Randy Brandt is a life-long, award-winning journalist and writer. He's a history scholar and a master of written commentary."
    Would you please back up the above statement with any facts you have - such as his Curriculum Vitae, honors/awards he has reeceived or published works which have merited critical review?

    9/25/2009 11:44 AM - now 12:52pm

  64. 12:50 - not sure what you mean - Dustin and Pete are wimps. They won't respond to any questions posed to them on this subject and questions about Randy Dandy.

  65. Anon, 11:44 and 12:52,

    Go here:

  66. New CBS/NYT poll shows 2/3 of Americans support a public option.

    Many are confused about the health care debate, showing that the opposition's disinformation campaign has been somewhat effective, but on the need for government's role in health care reform, they seem pretty solid.

  67. Anon, 11:44, 12:52,

    ... or just Google Randolph D. Brandt and knock yourself out.

  68. Randy - you said "As far as polls go, many times it's figures lie and liars figure, and it usually depends upon how a particular question's worded." Oh so now you believe polls - and of course CBS and the NYT are unbiased!

  69. Anon, 1:30,

    No, I studied survey methods in graduate school, so I know how easy it is to change the response with simple word exchanges, intentional or not.

    It's not an exact science, so we all pretend there's precision there when it's not.

    Still, public opinion's been pretty solid across all polls on the need to reform health care and that the government needs to step into it to do something. Too many polls agree on these general points to discard them entirely.

  70. Randy - Spoken like a true Democrat. Which ever way the wind blows.

  71. Anon, 1:48

    When the wind's blowing in one direction, yes. It's better than spitting into it.

  72. Tim the Shrubber9/25/2009 2:12 PM

    "Still, public opinion's been pretty solid across all polls on the need to reform health care and that the government needs to step into it to do something."

    Probably deceptively solid. It is not uncommon for surveys to find widespread agreement on broad ideas, when there is no such support for specific proposals.

    For example:
    A majority may support the statement "The Federal Government should help people get a college eduction." But then at the same time you might be unable to find specific a program/proposal to do this that actually has majority support.

  73. Tim,

    You're right about polls. They may spot a generally desirable trend, but they're lousy on measuring the specifics. Too much double-thought in most questions for a reliable conclusion when it gets down to the nuts and bolts.

    That's why it's the politicians' responsibility to turn the citizens' concerns into useful solutions.

    Frankly, I see the Democrats trying to do that and the Republicans just sitting this one out.

    The basics for this plan are all there, and pretty much everyone agrees on what they should be.

    The difference just details, but one party's decided not to deal practically with them, just trying to shoot it down for what they perceive is political gain.

    They'll be very, very surprised when it backfires on them.

    And, of course, the public continues to see its desires go unaddressed.

    Well, probably not this time, but it would be a more healthy health reform plan if there were both Ds and Rs on the final bill.

  74. Tim the Shrubber9/25/2009 3:03 PM

    "They may spot a generally desirable trend, but they're lousy on measuring the specifics."

    That is not what I said at all. My point was that general survey questions often hide disagreement that exists when you start asking about specifics.

    There is a commonly cited example of this from the 80s from a survey about gun control. The survey found that nearly 60% of the population wanted more gun control. But when asked about specific gun control policies in follow-up questions every single one had a clear majority opposing the policy. This demonstrated the logical error of using an aggregate question to demonstrate support for a specific proposal/issue/person etc. Sure, most of the respondents wanted more gun control but there was no agreement on how to do it.

    I'll be the health care debate is much like this. Sure, most people think that there should be some reform and that the government should do something, but that is a far cry from equalling support for the Democratic proposal.

  75. First, thanks to everyone for their comments. It's a great debate, and we welcome everyone to challenge Randy's views and RacinePost, and encourage everyone to offer their opinions. (Major props to "The Translator" for one of the best comments ever posted on this site.)

    A commentary like this is meant to drive debate and get people talking. Is it "news"? No, of course not. That's why we label it commentary. But it clearly states one side of the debate and lets readers respond.

    Here's a sincere offer: If anyone on the right wants to write a commentary, we'll publish it just like this one. You can mail it to:

  76. Also, a question was raised about Randy's credentials. Here's a bio:

    Randy has been a leading editor and journalist of long standing.

    Before his retirement in 2007, he was editor of The Journal Times in Racine, WI.

    Brandt also served as editor or managing editor at several more newspapers, including the South County Journal in Kent, WA; the Chronicle Tribune in Marion, IN; the Norwich Bulletin in Connecticut; and the Merced Sun-Star in California. Earlier roles included city editor and associate editor at The Daily Journal in Vineland, NJ; staff writer, copy editor, columnist and bureau chief with The Press of Atlantic City; and staff writer at the Vineland Times Journal, also in his native New Jersey.

    Randy has a Master of Science degree in Management-Leadership from Thomas A. Edison State College in New Jersey, where he also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Social-Science-History. His master’s thesis dealt with newspaper branding. He is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, recognizing conspicuous scholarship in the field of history.

    Brandt completed several leadership-management training programs in the industry, including Gannett’s Senior Editor Management Program, Lee Enterprises’ Executive Leadership Program and the American Press Institute’s Executive Development Program. He attended the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Journalism Values Institute and The Columbia University Workshops on Journalism, Race & Ethnicity.

    He was a Sulzberger fellow with The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and The Business School, working on new business models for Internet publishing.

    Brandt is the recipient of many state, regional and national journalism awards, and has written or been featured in a number of articles on readership and newsroom management issues for such trade publications as The American Editor, Press Time, Editor & Publisher and others. During Brandt’s tenure as editor of The Journal Times, the Newspaper Association of America selected the paper for two case studies, one on effective branding techniques for newspapers and another on Internet audience development.

    Brandt is past-president of the Wisconsin AP Editors’ Association and served on the Diversity Committee and Readership Committee for the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

    He has been a presenter and trainer for many newspaper associations, including the Newspaper Association of America, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Suburban Newspapers of America, Wisconsin Newspaper Association and the Arizona Newspaper Association, in addition to serving as a consultant/trainer for Schurz Communications and Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.

    Brandt has lectured on journalism and ethics at Marquette University and Carthage College in Wisconsin, served as editor-in-residence at Carthage College, and lectured on emerging newspaper technologies at Gateway Technical College.

    Over the years, he hosted many foreign exchange editors from around the world in his newsrooms.


    • First-Place feature award, New Jersey Press Association

    • First-Place Keystone Award for columns, Pa. Newspaper Publishers Assoc.

    • Golden Quill Award for columns, Atlantic City Press Club

    • Golden Quill Award for columns, Atlantic City Press Club

    • Gannett Well Done Award for Public Service, second place

    • Second-Place Award for columns, Wisconsin Newspaper Association

    • Second-Place features award, NJPA

    • Third-Place award for columns, NJPA

    • Honorable Mention, columns, Philadelphia Press Club

    • Honor Medal for Communications, Freedoms Foundation

    • Easter Seal Society Communications Award

    • Odyssey Institute Award for writing in the interest of children

    • Evening News Association award for juvenile justices series

    • Plaque of Appreciation, Hispanic Political Caucus of New Jersey

    • Two-time nominee Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership

    • Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award, Gateway Technical College

  77. And I'd remiss not to thank "Tim the Shrubber," Orbs and Fred D. for their comments, too. Very well done!

  78. My thanks as well.

    Worthwhile discussion with worthy contributors.

  79. And #11, No more racism! Denis Navratil.

  80. Denis,


    Prez sez it, I'll buy it.

    After all, he was black before he won the election.

  81. Randy, either you are being myopic or have more faith in a government running something than businesses/companies in a free market doing so.

    What is the downside to a government if what they are doing is not working efficiently and effectively?

    How can a company/business compete with a government when the government does not have to report its activities (to it's self even!), does not follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principals because they don't have to, do not count overhead the same way businesses/companies do, do not have to concern themselves with maintaining a strong credit rating, and so forth? Can you honestly deny the fact that governments operate as their own island?

    The difference(s) between auto insurance being mandatory and a national health insurance scheme is glaring even to me, a guy that does not have an MSM degree. You can start with "what happens when one does not have auto insurance in a state where it is mandatory? Let me know if you'd like more differences.

    Does a government providing health insurance to its society bolster and help improve that society or does it remove one very large incentive and reward for those in that society who are responsible enough to make sure they are capable of obtaining a job where health insurance is offered?

    You said that we should not dispute the current plan(s) the Democrats are pushing simply because we do not agree with the details. Yes, everything in life is a compromise but is not "the devil in the details"? What about if even one major detail is not agreeable (I doubt you would have taken the job at The JT if it paid $50,000 per year)?

    Since "the left" has finally acknowledged state's rights should health insurance not continue to be covered under a state's right? Or, is this a bad example because of the argument "the left" used in state's rights of late?

    The Democrats control both branches of government need to pass and implement a bill, why have they not done so? Which of the leaders in power have shown, proven, a willingness to work with those not in power?

    How can something so glaringly central to insurance reform as tort reform be, umm, over-looked?

    I'll stop asking questions now so as to be "fair" to other posters by not asking to take up too much of your time all at once researching and answering solicited questions.

    Oh, your response about how if the President says something it is good enough for you to say is not only weak and juvenile but also baseless in a free society unless you have granted him god-like attributes, qualities and powers. I think you were had hook, line, and sinker by walking right(or is it left, hehehe) into that. Please, let's not start that class warfare again!

  82. I am Black and I dont like what Obama is doing. Am I a Rasist to.

  83. PR - my favorite scary part of this is covered by Randolph's #3. Can you imagine people's most sensitive personal issues, including psychiatric evaluation and treatment, being in a government database? How many low-level governmnet workers will have (or gain) access to this? How many laptops will have this data on them in the backseats of Jettas while the owner is out at happy hour with his/her friends? Will the extortive use of these records, much like the use of the IRS by Nixon and taken to new heights by Clinton, become a new industry?

  84. PR=PR

    The employer-based health insurance system worked OK while it lasted, but now only covers about 60 percent of the population under 65. Meanwhile, the number of uninsured workers has grown by about 10 million in the past decade, and continues to grow now by several million each year.

    These jobs with health benefits are going away, in part because employers find the current failing system too expensive and unsustainable,

    A new system is needed to replace the old one.

  85. Health care reform, of course, encourages employers to maintain insurance for their workers and punishes them if they don't.

    It also reduces the price of insurance so more employers can afford it for their workers.

  86. Health records would be computerized under health reform, and your personal records would be available only to you and your doctors through a secure, password protected computer system.

    Results of treatments would be reported in the aggregate, anonymously, not with your individually identified records.

    Sounds like a much more secure system than we have now, where your records are often put in the mail, or you're asked to head over to the hospital yourself to collect a sheaf of test reports and hand-carry them to somebody else.

    Many doctors and hospitals skip that step now, because it's so cumbersome, and just repeat all those tests each time you see a new doctor or specialist, thus exponentially increasing the cost of our health care.

    So, in addition to savings billions of dollars, avoiding mistakes and improving care, the new system under health care reform also is more secure than the system we have now.

    There's a big business now in low-level personnel selling paper records from filing cabinets out the back door. This would stop that.

  87. Oh, and PR, you don't need an MSM degree to understand any of this - just an open mind.

  88. PR,

    I don't necessarily believe everything Barack Obama says, but I don't consider him a liar either. Indeed, he comes off pretty credible.

    Besides, presidents are uniquely positioned to take the pulse of the American people. The president is, after all, the only official who runs for office across the whole country, so they have to be good at it, almost by definition. They have to win a majority vote of the people (well, most of them do, anyway).

    So, when Jimmy Carter - a southerner - says he hears the familiar ring of racism in criticism against the sitting president, well, I'd tend to think he's got something there.

    But then when Barack Obama came out later to say that while some racists undoubtably hate him, he didn't think racism was a primary cause of the opposition, well, then, I'd tend to believe him, and maybe more than Carter in this instance.

    Obama ran for president most recently and, like he said, he was black before the election and still won the White House.

  89. "Health records would be computerized under health reform, and your personal records would be available only to you and your doctors through a secure, password protected computer system."

    Really? Do you know the first thing about these types of computer systems, how difficult they are to set up and monitor, and how bad the track record of the U.S. government is? Ask the thousands of vets who recently had their records stolen via a laptop left in the backseat of a car. Ask the folks at Los Alamos, supposedly one of the most secure facilities in the world, about people working from home over unsecured networks as wll as many missing computers. Security and government computers/databases can be used grammatically in the same sentence but not factually.

  90. . . . and I'm sure that you were one of the loudest critics of government monitoring of international phone calls. Do you understand that in any computer system like this, people - possibnly many of them - will have "keys". The sysyem would only be as secure as the least ethical person who holds those keys, or as secure as the person who can least stand the pressure put on him/her when a politico needs some dirt on someone.

  91. Anon,

    Read my post again. Clearly you don't understand how it works.

    The networks designed for doctors to talk to each other, not government agents.

  92. I'll make a little extrapolation of how it could work.

    Right now, there's something called a tumor registry, which I'm in because I had cancer 20 years ago.

    Each year, the cancer registry would send me a letter to ask, nicely, if I was still alive or if I'd been treated for a recurrence.

    The tumor registry then tracks cases and reports outcomes in the aggregate, letting oncologists know which treatments have had the best outcomes and how long they should screen cancer patients with similar cancers.

    In my case, it was five years, so I'd go to the oncologist every year for five years to get screened.

    But the tumor registry started showing, again in the aggregate, that some patients saw regression further out, a year or two at a time.

    So, my doctor knew to screen me for recurring cancer for several more years, ultimately, 10 years as it turned out.

    Why? Because the tumor registry had enough data on outcomes to know that every once and a while, somebody with my type of cancer got a recurrence, even 6, 7, 8 years out.

    But so far as I know, only cancer gets tracked this way now.

    Now, I have no fear that the government's going to use the private health care system's tumor register to spy on me or tap my phone ... but I'm sure glad my doctors had enough information at their fingertips to know to continue screening me for cancer until they were certain I was out of danger.

    Now, imagine if they could use a similar system to determine which antibiotic works best for pneumonia, or how long heart-valve surgery lasts, or whether you ought to get the battery in your pace-maker changed, or whether Viox kills people with heart attacks ... oh, yeah, that one they discovered, but only about 6-7 years too late for hundreds, maybe thousands of people.

    The danger's not the government. It's the near-absence of critical information due to outdated record-keeping in our disfunctional health care system.

  93. Randolph, I know exactly how it will work, it is you who does not. The tumor registry - my firm is actually helping set one up right now - is quite different from the one that will be established as part of the health care initiative. Do you really think the government will not have personnel, many of them, with keys to a system for which they (we) are paying? They will have to as admins! You can choose to shut your eyes but please stop preaching from your ignorance on this.

    Here is something else for you to think about. Ignoring the government for a moment, who will have access to your information? Will your doctor and anyone who treats you have access to everything? This is part of the data “layering” that has always dogged these types of projects. For example, should someone who is adding to your labwork database also have access to the fact that you had syphilis twenty years ago? There will have to be several layers of access capabilities and having the government run it all insures misplaced data, data given to the wrong people, people snooping on others, and the list goes on.

  94. Anon,

    If you're helping to set up a tumor registry, surely you know the value of good record keeping to track outcomes.

    Of course some people will have access to the records (like insurance companies do now). Records that can't be accessed are worthless.

    But do we let our paranoia get in the way of better patient outcomes, less cost and fewer medical mistakes?

    Or do we rely on a new system with better security measures than the ones we use now?

    Oh, and by the way, if you had syphilis 20 years ago, the government already knows about you because I think it was still then a reportable disease through the health department.

    Maybe it still is.

  95. Anon,

    Speaking of disease tracking, I had campylobacter a couple years ago, another reportable disease, so the health department contacted me to determine how I might have contracted it.

    It's seems three more cases turned up that week in Racine County, so they were trying to find a common cause to protect others.

    As it turned out, this time, they couldn't figure out a link among the cases, but they often do, and warn the public of, say, swimming hazards ... or the way CDCs protects the public against food poisoning outbreaks.

    Now, I don't consider that an unwarranted and dangerous intrusion into my life by government. I think that's somebody using their smarts to aggregate data on health cases and trying to save lives.

    Why are you so paranoid about such systems that could exponentially improve our health care at less cost?

  96. Yes, lofty goals of better outcomes and money saved will trump who is watching. Funny that you mention "paranoia" interfering with progress. But we SHOULD let ignorance get in the way of honest analysis?

    I don't trust the insurance companies with my records either BUT how many stories of government "loss" of patient data are there for even a single breach in the private sector? You might ask your buddy Obama about those sealed divorce proceedings that magically became unsealed, otherwise he’d still be an up-and-coming community organizer. You cannot possibly be so naïve to think that any dirt-finding mission embarked upon by powerful people will have as its first stop medical records of target individuals.

  97. . . and by the way Randolph, I have never been to a psychiatrist and have about as boring medical records as one could possibly have. My fears are for those who have sensitive records and/or those who do not understand how this will work and who are listening to people like you.

    That is part of what I consider my most important role as an American - sticking up for the rights of others who I do not know and may have nothing in common with. Rationalizing what I want through outspoken concern for others - that's your game.

  98. Anon,

    Well, my private insurance company "lost" my records, along with thousands of other policyholders', and everybody had to track their credit ratings for a year so nobody would use our stolen social security numbers.

    I think I'd go for a more modern computerized system with better security safeguards, and maybe even trust the government a little, since it's against federal law to share medical data with anyone who isn't authorized.

    Is it possible some people's records will continue to vanish, just as they do now? Well, yeah, maybe.

    There's always going to be crooks.

    But should we become paralyzed with paranoia because of their wrongdoing, or should we refuse to be terrorized and live more full, healthier lives despite the crooks?

    I vote for not surrendering the crooks.

  99. ... not surrendering to the crooks.

  100. Anon,

    I don't doubt you sincerity, nor your concern for others.

    But I do think folks have made a bugaboo out of this, some (not you) for nefarious reasons.

  101. Randolph, and as a matter of fact, I don't think that you are selfishly shilling all of this just because you want healthcare. What I do know is that sometimes bad things happen for good reasons - and so does the converse.

  102. Anon,

    Every piece of legislation ever passed has had unintended consequences.

    My point is that's no reason to freeze in place and do nothing.

    Also, it makes sense to debate how well something will work or perhaps how poorly it might turn out.

    It's all the bullcrap about scaring people with government-gestapo horror stories that bothers me.

    There are honest disagreements over how health care should work. It's before Congress. Now is the time to work those things out.

    But the intent of the bill isn't to kill disposable people, it's not to spy on citizens, it's not to scrap medicare, it's not to provide free healthcare to illegal aliens ...

    It's to provide health insurance for more people and improve the efficiency of our health care system.

    So let's talk about how best that can be done, and then get it done.

  103. ... On the other hand, Anon, there is a part of me that shilling all this because I want health care.

    I'm disabled, and my insurance is being canceled. I won't get Medicare until next year.

    So, what am I doing?

    I've called half a dozen insurance brokers to try to buy even interim insurance, but they won't call me back because nobody wants to insure a cancer survivor with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

    They won't take my money; I won't be able to get care, at least for a while.

    So, I'm squeezing in every possible (and expensive) diagnostic test I can between now and when my insurance runs out.

    And why am I doing this? Well, because that's the way the crazy system we've got works right now.

    It's in my best interest to charge as much as I can to my insurance company while I can because I won't be able to get it anymore, at least for a while.

    It doesn't make any sense.

    If you could keep your insurance, even when you're sick, I wouldn't be doing this.

    We really, really need to fix this smashup of a system, and I hope you're with me on that.

  104. Tim the Shrubber9/26/2009 7:12 PM

    "So, when Jimmy Carter - a southerner - says he hears the familiar ring of racism in criticism against the sitting president, well, I'd tend to think he's got something there."

    I dunno...Carter also called the Shah of Iran America's 'best friend' in the Middle East, so I think the wisdom of his public statements can be quite suspect. Either that was a cynical statement, or he is a fool.

  105. Tim,

    Shah of Iran was our best friend in the Middle East.

    Too bad he wasn't best friends with Iranians.

  106. Tim,

    "Death to the Shah!," they chanted in the streets of Tehran.

    Friend of mine mimicked them by yelling it also, in Persian, and shaking his fist, so he could get through in his jeep to the Turkish border.

    The rest stayed behind as hostages.

    Do you need a history lesson in this period?

  107. ... Real quick, we put the shah into power with a CIA-sponsored coup in the '50s; Islamic revolution shook his administration in 1978-79; he was sick with cancer, so we admitted him to the U.S. for treatment; meanwhile, Islamic revolutionaries took over; our embassy was seized, with hostages taken (though my friend got away in his jeep).

    So, shah was our best friend in the mideast until he got booted out by Islamic revolution.

    Carter was right to call him our best friend in the middle east, but he was wrong to think he was going to stay in charge of his country.

    Carter also blew a hostage rescue.

    Maybe that's what you meant. If so, I'm sorry.

    If not, stay on the porch.

  108. Randy, no one has said the current health insurance system works in the best way possible or that no changes are needed in it; quite the contrary. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Lets take our time, study each individual shortcoming and the various options for improvement and pass the best possible bill to fix it once and for all. Once that is done we can move on to the next most important shortcoming. The best way to solve any problem is with a deliberate, logical, methodical, orderly plan, right? This is not currently being done.

    "Open-minded": is not the basis of that examining all possible options and outcomes, asking the "what if" questions and searching for the answer(s)? Is that what is currently being done? I was taught that a man of integrity doesn't throw out baseless terms- I strive daily not to do so...

    "Paranoia", "fear", and "worry" are strong active words. Do you wish me to conclude that you are using them instead of "concern" due to a lack of understanding, confusion, or desire to invoke emotion into a debate? Words mean things and have a higher level of meaning in a debate than in an advertisement, correct? Is this a debate or an advertisement? Don't you just hate how often "responsibility" and "integrity" rear their head(s)?

    I don't trust a big government as much as you do. Yes, I am very independent and believe that given the opportunity individuals, working in a free market as they see fit, will come up with the best option for them. When individuals chose to relinquish their responsibility and hand it over to a larger entity they are not only being lazy but are also giving up some of their rights. I don't have a problem with that being an option but do have a strong aversion to that being the only option, effectively being forced on me. Removing options has a multitude of drastic long-term repercussions on a society.

    Your personal situation sucks. I feel for you and wish you the best. I have family in a similar predicament with the added responsibility of providing insurance to the spouse. I also feel that you have some options that, while not ideal (what in life is?), you have not realized, explored, researched, etc. or have decided to omit here. With your education and life-history I am conflicted on which of those reasons it may be. I don't like being conflicted due to a person's acumen vs. honesty. I will gladly email you my contact info if you'd like to hear of other options. Please do not read any sarcasm into this offer.

    I asked some pertinent questions in my original post that have not been addressed. Would you be willing to go back and address them, please?

    There are points I've overlooked but it is almost 1:00 am, I only slept for three hours last night, and am becoming brain-dead. I'll stop now before I start rambling semi-coherently... :D

  109. Randy Brandt is a life-long, award-winning journalist and writer. He's a history scholar and a master of written commentary. You may disagree with his opinions (the whole point of commentary is to start a debate), but we expect readers to do so respectfully. Any personal attacks on Randy will be deleted.

    And yet you have twice allowed him to label as a racist anybody who dares oppose Obamacare. That's respectful I guess.

  110. Dustin said - "A commentary like this is meant to drive debate and get people talking. Is it "news"? No, of course not. That's why we label it commentary. But it clearly states one side of the debate and lets readers respond".

    The person who has commented most regarding Randy's opinion piece is . . . drum roll . . . RANDY!

    Dustin, YOU are now Randy's editor. Let him make his points in his original blog. If he's as good as you and his CV say he is, he shouldn't need to continually revisit the comment section.

  111. PR writes, " Lets take our time, study each individual shortcoming and the various options for improvement and pass the best possible bill to fix it once and for all."

    Harry Truman sent the first health insurance bill to Congress in 1945.

    Seems to me they've already had a lot of time to work on it.

  112. PR writes, " Lets take our time, study each individual shortcoming and the various options for improvement and pass the best possible bill to fix it once and for all."

    Harry Truman sent the first health insurance bill to Congress in 1945.

    Seems to me they've already had a lot of time to work on it.

  113. ^^^^ Yes, and the system has been cganging and improving, except for tort reform(!), as needed ever since. Thank you for agreeing.

    Now, for the other topics I raised please.

  114. Dear rfreedom, Don't blame the poor for their tragic plight. Saying that they deserve their misery for "makin poor choices throughout their lives" is self-righteous right-wing bunk. Most poor folks I know are poor because they were born at the bottom of our evil socio-economic system. Capitalism is nothing but a pyramid scam and scheme designed to benefit the top 1% at the expense of the exploited majority.

  115. Dustin, Pete and the Racine Post are a disgrace for providing one side of this discussion.

  116. According to Rasmussen poll and Randolph Brandt 56% of Americans now are racists.

  117. 9:11 - Randy does not believe in polls unless they support his position - then they are alright. See some of the earlier posts out here.

  118. Sorry, PR, hands too sore to type for a couple days. Rested up and got some prednisone, so maybe I can answer you now, briefly.

    What did yo wish to know?

  119. Latest Poll
    Rasmussen Poll
    Support for the Health Care Plan
    41% Favor
    56% Oppose
    The more people are informed, the more the public is opposed. Can't wait for 2010 cycle.

  120. That's why individual polls aren't very helpful. Gotta look at more.

  121. Besides, I don't entirely trust a poll conducted with telephone recording questions by a former Bush adviser whose results generally are regarded as "outliers," or unconfirmed by other poll results, by most professional survey takers.

  122. Randy, no reason to be sorry for things outside of your control. Thanks for the reason, though.

    Instead of me re-hashing things please take a look at my posts on 9/25 @11:21 pm and 9/27 @ 12:57 am.


  123. PR,

    Thanks for your understanding.

    I think I’ve already answered most of your first post, with the possible exception of the mandatory auto insurance question and whether government should provide an option of last resort for people who otherwise can’t acquire insurance any other way.

    Frankly, I wasn’t sure what you meant on the auto insurance question, but if you meant what would happen to people who don’t buy mandatory health insurance, I believe they will be fined.

    One group that won’t be fined includes illegal aliens, because they’re not eligible. And just like with car insurance, they’re the ones who drive around now without consequence, ensuring that everybody else has to pay more. I’d imagine it’d wind up the same way under health insurance.

    Now, I know a lot of people are so xenophobic that they don’t want illegal aliens included any government-sanctioned program, but I wonder whether we’re cutting our nose off to spite our face.

    I don’t think we’re anywhere close to deporting 8-12 million illegal aliens anytime soon, and I doubt seriously whether we’d ever be able to do it anyway, even if there was the political will, since it would cost more that any anybody could possibly afford and probably collapse the economy.

    So, instead, we’ll just leave them living in the shadows, and for political reasons, continue to give them a free ride.

    Thus, because nobody wants to include illegal aliens in anything, we’ll continue to pay the bills for them, excluding them from mandatory auto insurance programs and, most likely, from health care reform as well.

    If we were smarter, we’d make everybody pay, regardless of status.

    Instead, we’ll continue to have uninsured motorists in auto accidents and uninsured people showing up at emergency rooms, costing us all billions.

    On the public option, I personally see nothing wrong with the government setting up a system as insurer of last resort for people who can’t get insurance any other way.

    In my recent search for health insurance for myself, I’ve learned that Wisconsin instituted a similar program in the 1980s for high-risk buyers or people who otherwise can’t get insurance through their employers or on the open market and in two decades, it’s only attracted 18,000 people.

    That’s not a whole lot for the entire state of Wisconsin, and I don’t think the insurance industry in Wisconsin is in any danger from the government option as competition.

    (It might help me, though, now that I’ve been turned down so many times in the open market, I might be eligible.)

    I seriously doubt there’d be any different experience in the national insurance market.

    If private insurance companies do as they say they’re going to do and offer good policies at fair rates to everybody, I don’t think they have anything to worry about from a government offering a policy of last resort for the relatively few people who won’t find insurance themselves.

    The whole public option resistance is another bugaboo, somehow translated into “socialized medicine” for everybody.

    It’s just not true, another scary tale.

  124. PR,

    Your second post appears to be mostly a request for answers to your first post, but you do allude to something being forced upon you.

    Nothing's being forced upon you. In all likelihood health care reform has no affect on you personally at all.

    It just helps others.

    In my personal view, in its current form it mostly helps insurance companies ... but what the hey, it'll help some others, too, so it's a step in the right direction.

    I appreciate your offer of personal suggestions for my own situation, but I'm hopeful I'll figure it out, either some internet policy where I don't have to reveal my health record, or possibly HIRSP.

    Meanwhile, it appears Medicare's coming through earlier than I thought, so I'll only be a short time without coverage, though it's been a very, very, very uncertain and expensive couple of years in the meanwhile.

    People should be thinking about getting well and feeling better, not worrying all the time about whether they'll get coverage and care or how they'll pay for it.

    You're right. The system sucks.

  125. RE: Public Option

    The Senate bill actually's suggesting non-profits as an alternative to the public option, I'd imagine something along the lines of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which operated effectively in many markets for many years, and maybe still does in some places.

    The important thing is insurance for all, no caps on care, better prices and nobody excluded.

    That's the heart of it.

    I, frankly, can't understand why the vote's not unanimous.

  126. PR,

    Just to elaborate, I'm looking at my newly minted Medicare card, good in December instead of next year.

    But my relief is muted, knowing that there's 2 million more people who will become disabled this year and have to wait up to two years for Medicare coverage, many of whom will lose any coverage whatsoever simply because they are disabled, and all at a time in their lives when, by definition, they need medical care the most.

    Health care reform would solve that. Nobody canceled for illness, nobody denied coverage.

    That's the only fair way, and I believe America will do the right thing.

    Of course, many out there opposing health care reform also would deny me Medicare, if they had the chance.

    Not you, I hope.

    Get on the right side of this.

  127. Anon 9/27, 11:18,

    In case you haven't noticed, people are asking me to continue comments on this blog and others.

    Believe me, it would be much more comfortable for me not to do so.

  128. Randy - it would be much more comfortable for us if you didn't either, but you are a man who loves the limelight!

  129. anon 10:08am - Here's a great idea. The next time Dustin and Pete let Randy post another of his "commentaries", let's just all ignore him. Post nothing in response. Sooner (probably much sooner) than later, Randy won't be able to stand it. He'll have to post a response. He will then start debating himself. That should be fun to observe.

  130. 11:41 - I agree, but also look back at prior posts, he's already been responding to his own posts. I guess he is not as brilliant as Dustin and Pete think.

  131. Whatsamatter? Can't handle the truth?

  132. Randy - you just can't help yourdelf can you. Well I'm done with you - you are dismissed.

  133. Congrats on your card, Randy. I've had mine for a few years even though I'm (only?) 41.

    Part of the reason I am against government health insurance is due to what I went through on worker's comp and to get SSDI/Medicare. I won't go into all of that and there is no way anyone could ever convince me that those systems would be more efficient if they were serving everyone.

    I'll give up on getting your input on my other points, nothing personal.

  134. PR,

    That's an interesting revelation and perspective, to say the least.

    As you can well imagine, I share much of that perspective, but also realize that in as much as I have no other option, I'm hoping the system works for me.

    By extension, I would hope that at least some reformed system would work for everyone.

    I suspect I've been through something similar to your experience in both both the comp and disability processes, but I considered the challenge something to be overcome rather than inherently overbearing.

    I think I won. I hope I'm not wrong.

    I will say, however, that the notion that disabled people can be denied medical coverage (or at least affordable medical coverage) at any stage of the process is simply backward, even cruel.

  135. PR,

    On a personal note, our biggest challenges, of course, amount to how we face every day, maintaining our best possibilities for a fulfilling life regardless of our circumstances.

    I sincerely wish you the best of luck and continued strength in that regard.

  136. Depression is a female dog that I fight to keep chained-up on a daily basis....

    I'll leave it at that. :)