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Protesters demanding that Blue Shield stop lobbying against health-care reform blocked an entrance to a Mission Valley office of the California insurance company on Monday, November 2. Company officials initially refused to meet the protesters, saying — through police — that they might negotiate over the phone.

Jerry Malamud, a 79-year-old protester who joined two others to block the office's entrance, said he supported an extension of the federal Medicare program to all Americans.

"I have Medicare," Malamud said. "They've replaced two of my hips, they've replaced two cataracts, they've given me good health care."

Police eventually arrested Malamud and the two other protesters who joined him in blocking the Blue Shield entrance.

"They only kept us in the lock-up for about an hour — interrogated us — then released us, with a ticket to appear in court for arraignment on January 4," Malamud wrote in an e-mail. "So we will have another opportunity to video and make a statement!"

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jmtrudeau Nov. 4, 2009 @ 11:31 a.m.

Good, I'm glad these idiots were arrested. Protestors can not block entrances or impede traffic.

Health insurance is a privilege, not a right. Why can't people understand this?

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magicsfive Nov. 4, 2009 @ 11:37 a.m.

i agree with you, jm...does anyone have any idea how much we have to PAY for our health insurance every month?

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SDaniels Nov. 4, 2009 @ 12:51 p.m.

Well, peeps, health insurance premiums are steep, but HMO plans are cost effective if you have chronic health issues. We are fortunately covered through a city job, and pay approximately $440 or $500 per month (could be a little more, need to check on that figure). It's a lot, but it covers tens of thousands of dollars of medicine (with copays of $10 to $30 per prescription), and hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical procedures and hospital care for me. Of course, there are always more out of pocket fees to absorb, on top of doctor's office copays and script copays, and my health issues put us a paycheck or two away from the street, with no real ability to sustain savings, much less pay down student loans and emergency credit card debt (though the cards are torn up). However, just one injectible drug I take weekly would easily cost $100 a 'pop,' so it's quite a deal.

As it stands, health insurance is a privilege you have to pay for, and pay into, but IMO, healthCARE should be a right of every citizen, if we have any interest in more than the image of a just and civilized 'first world' society.

Exactly how that is to come about is not yet clear to me, but it needs to happen in a way that is fair and effective. We need to have a mindset that includes care of our citizens who are unable to work for reasons of disability, for example. I've seen too many people on the street because a physical disability, or catastrophic accident and medical bills cost them their homes and livelihoods, and we have to remember that some homeless fall prey to drink and drugs in order to cope with the nightmare of living outdoors--it is not always the other way around. I almost lost my job recently because of illness--employers are not always legally obligated to be understanding--they simply need people who can get the work in on time, and make sure the business runs.

Ron Paul was on Larry King last night, and made a flawed point: People are not dying, he says, for lack of medical care; they can simply to go any ER and will not be refused care. Yes, I know this better than many, since during my visits to the ER in excruciating chronic pain, I have to wait while Johnny Jr. gets his toothache examined, or some yahoo who got in a drunken barfight is crying like a baby because he might need a stitch in his eyebrow. Of course the yahoo’s got to be seen before me, because that knock to the head by another yahoo could mean pressure on the brain and sudden death, for all they know. However, what Ron Paul neglected to mention is that people who need expensive treatments, such as transplants, do not always get them, even if possible—if they cannot pay. So yes, they die for lack of proper care.

Since you are a nurse, I’d be interested in hearing more of your thoughts on this topic, magics, and what you think a possible solution might be to this mess.

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SDaniels Nov. 4, 2009 @ 12:52 p.m.

Oops, meant to say that the injectible would easily cost $1000 a pop.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 4, 2009 @ 1:33 p.m.

Ron Paul was on Larry King last night, and made a flawed point: People are not dying, he says, for lack of medical care

For a medical doctor he sure doesn't know what he is talking about. And I like Ron Pauls's views.

There are MILLIONS of people who die in the country every year from lack of medical care-and I hate to break the news to Ron, but the local ER room isn't going to give you chemo treatment, or fix your broken tooth, or give you a free operation that is not needed right there on the spot- Boo Hoo on RP's comment.

SD, did you get that comment right??

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magicsfive Nov. 4, 2009 @ 3:17 p.m.

yes, i would like to clarify my thoughts on this. yes. everyone should have healthcare. a solution? i don't have one. i wish i did. i am talking about the able bodied people who walk into the welfare office wearing mounds of gold jewelry waiting to pick up their welfare check and food stamps. i am talking about the able bodied man and woman who walk the miles to collect tin cans (kudos to them for recycling) and sit at the bus stop telling people how they "manipulate the system" to collect social security and disability. i am talking about the men and/or women who sit at the end of the freeway with their signs that say "why lie...i need a beer"...they think that's cute - i do not. i am talking about the drugged out moms who stand outside the vons offering to sell food from their food stamps or wic tickets for money. i am talking about the man who stands outside of the restaurant asking for money, but if you bring him food, he turns it down, saying he would rather have the money. i have witnessed all of this. i am NOT, however, talking about the single, working mothers, who struggle and need help to make a better life for her family. i am NOT talking about those who have simply fallen on hard times, lost their jobs and therefore healthcare due to downsizing or whatever the unfortunate case may be. i am NOT talking about the elderly and infirm, or disabled vets. i am NOT talking about the people that i have seen that frequently came into the mental health facility who have neither the means nor the mental capacity to care for themselves. the people in this paragraph need help. i admire your friend creo who is taking the steps to better her life, attend school and maintain good grades so that she can have the life she deserves. i look forward to seeing how it goes for her.

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SDaniels Nov. 4, 2009 @ 3:30 p.m.

re: #5: Yes, I'm pretty sure I got it right. Larry might have come back with the point about people not getting long term care--via Michael Moore, who was present only in brief clips of a previous interview--it was the lame format of having a live guest respond to a preinterviewed guest. Ron's other lame point was a semantic quibble--said that Moore's new film should be called "Corporatism: A Love Story" rather than "Capitalism..."

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SDaniels Nov. 4, 2009 @ 3:33 p.m.

re: #6: Magics, that is an excellent post--most likely the longest I've ever seen from you. Well said, girlfriend :)

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antigeekess Nov. 4, 2009 @ 4:55 p.m.

Well, good for them for protesting, but I'm not sure blocking the door is the way to go about it. I'd be more for signs and informative pamphlets to recruit others to the cause.

Keeping people from getting in to work? Not cool, really.

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CuddleFish Nov. 4, 2009 @ 5:22 p.m.

WTF are you talking about, SD, well said?? No it isn't well said!

Scammers, sure there are scammers. Think about all the corporate scammers who just got billions of our taxpayer dollars last year. Think about all the white collar crime that either goes unpunished, or someone like Martha Stewart or Madoff end up in a cushy federal prison cell with all expenses paid for the rest of their life AT MOST. Think, for that matter, of all the Congresspeople who have to resign in shame for some criminal or moral transgression and we still have to pay their fat pensions and health care for the rest of their natural lives.

People whine about these street scammers, and pan handlers, and people who try to get over on the government, well in the first place, do any of you know how hard it is to get benefits from the government and how they are always trying to trip you up in a lie or some regulation or loophole to deny benefits or kick your butt off the rols? Sure there may be a few scammers, but the myth of the cadillac-driving welfare queen has long been debunked, there is no such person, and probably never was. And guess what, I'm betting a lot of "upstanding" citizens ain't above scamming the government, claiming disability, milking benefits, getting a little help from friends in government, to keep getting those checks. Yeah, how many of you, by the way, use that handicap tag to park right by the Wal-Mart entrance?

Listen, people, you think there are panhandlers everywhere, well just think about it. Do you see one on every block? No, you just see them where they can get the most money, by freeways, and outside stores. This city is not overrun by panhandlers! The estimate is that there are somewhere around 5000 hardcore homeless in San Diego. 5000 out of how many millions of residents? Come on!

Further, less than 1% of the federal budget, less than 1%, goes to chronic welfare dependent clients. How much money do we spend on defense and military research and development, on corporate welfare, on farm subsidies to corporate farms, on every kind and size and shape of pork barrel projects? The richest country in the world can afford to suck up a few scammers! These people have issues, otherwise they wouldn't be scammers!!! Must I point out the obvious???

The man upstairs is watching you!!

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magicsfive Nov. 4, 2009 @ 5:29 p.m.

cuddle, what you are saying makes a lot of sense. i am only speaking of what i have actually SEEN. i know nothing about cadillac driving welfare queens, but i do know that the welfare system and disability/social security system is being abused by many. is everyone who receives these benefits scammers? no, of course not. but many are. this is the point i was trying to make.

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CuddleFish Nov. 4, 2009 @ 5:36 p.m.

And my point is, magicsfive, that you are no doubt right, there are no doubt scammers in every system, but the downscale ones are a minute portion of the people on benefits, and the fat cats at the top are the ones robbing you blind, and YOU LET POLITICIANS AND TALK SHOW PUNDITS turn your head from where the real crimes are being committed! Why do you think they do that? Precisely to distract you from what THEY are doing, which is a billion times worse!!! How come you're not mad at Wal-Mart for what it does to it's workers and to the communities where it kills small businesses and for buying cheap goods from slave labor??? Huh?

I'm sick of hearing people blame everything on scum-sucking scammers. Sorry, but I can live with a few pennyante scum-sucking scammers. It's the corporate scum-sucking scammers I got a problem with.

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magicsfive Nov. 4, 2009 @ 5:36 p.m.

"how many of you, by the way, use that handicap tag to park right by the Wal-Mart entrance?"

never...i can't afford the ticket ;)

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CuddleFish Nov. 4, 2009 @ 5:42 p.m.

LOL Sorry, magicsfive, I didn't mean to pop off at you. Well yes I did, but not JUST you, all the people that say these things. We have different views on this issue as you can tell.

Anyway, peace. :)

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 4, 2009 @ 6:11 p.m.

"Corporatism: A Love Story" rather than "Capitalism..."

By SDaniels

That is a pretty true statement IMO.

But what are corporations in the end-just wealthy people hiding behind a business entity to shield their wealth.

If these corp., LLC and so forth had to back their actions/bets with liability to the owners, we would not be in the financial mess we are in today.

You think Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan would have been betting with 300-1 leverage if THEIR OWN money were at risk??? Hell no.

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magicsfive Nov. 4, 2009 @ 6:20 p.m.

it's ok cuddle...i respect your opinion as much as i stand behind mine. we both made good points on the issue :)

passes peace pipe to cuddle ;)

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crs Nov. 4, 2009 @ 9:47 p.m.

A question for those opposed to Medicare for All. Are you more afraid of getting worse care or paying more? Why? I don't understand how people can be afraid of either. I think care will be pretty similar (or much better for those who currently have no care or really lousy care). And I think that it will be much less expensive. Why not? Is it something else? The losers are the insurance co. executives, right?

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PistolPete Nov. 4, 2009 @ 9:59 p.m.

Whenever the guvmint sticks it's retarded morals in my life,I lose. As much as I hate insurance companies greed, as a patriotic American I cannot pick and choose the values that makes this country so great. Free enterprise is a core value of the country I love. The more lazy and complacent we as Americans become towards the greed of the insurance companies and the officials we elect to represent what's best for us,the more those companies and officials will sleep together. Wake up, America or slowly continue to lose it all. It's YOUR choice, NOT theirs.

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SDaniels Nov. 5, 2009 @ 7:51 a.m.

Glad you two are passing the peace pipe, and I agree--magics was speaking to one particular topic, and one particular kind of scammer--from personal observation. Yes, it WAS well said. Cuddle also wrote a great, passionate denouncement of an arguably more important kind of scammer.

re: #15: If you've seen Moore's body of work (remember way back to "Roger and me?") you understand why Ron Paul's point was a semantic quibble (even Larry noted this). I think he used "capitalism" to broaden the field, but corporatism is the devil here.

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SDaniels Nov. 5, 2009 @ 7:53 a.m.

re: #17 and 18: crs and Pete make great points too:

"The losers are the insurance co. executives, right?"

Question for all:

I just feel like I need some direction here--lost in a sea of opposing viewpoints and rhetoric. What should I be reading in order to understand the healthcare proposals currently on the table?

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PistolPete Nov. 5, 2009 @ 8:04 a.m.

That's a tough one for me,SD. I haven't really anything pertaining to healthcare and even if I had, who's to say what's right and wrong. We're taking an already confusing subject, rearranging words and wanting ourselves to look at it from a new perspective not knowing if we need a cryptograph or not.

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magicsfive Nov. 5, 2009 @ 8:56 p.m.

aww thanks SD....i'm sorry idk how i didn't see that last night :) xoxo

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SDaniels Nov. 6, 2009 @ 11:13 a.m.

re: #23: My pleasure, dear. I like it when you contribute more, and it'd be great to see another blog sometime, on how life is treating you up north :)

re: #22: Thanks, AG. "The Corporation" looks like a cool straight info doc. Have you checked out "Trouble the Water" or "The Shock Doctrine?" also advertised on this site? Same genre, I imagine?

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magicsfive Nov. 6, 2009 @ 8:02 p.m.

i will work on that. i promise...you first ;) you know me by now, SD...it takes me so long to think of something. i will do my best, i really will :)

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SDaniels Nov. 6, 2009 @ 8:09 p.m.

Me too--remember, we have the same issues on this ;)

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antigeekess Nov. 6, 2009 @ 8:24 p.m.

Re #24:

Haven't seen either yet, but "Trouble the Water" is supposed to be great. Never heard of the other one.

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SDaniels Nov. 6, 2009 @ 8:30 p.m.

Hmm, maybe some of this stuff is on demand, and I can depose a certain women's soccer game from the 'other' screen in the room...;)

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antigeekess Nov. 6, 2009 @ 8:37 p.m.

The man is watching women's soccer? Heehee. I'm sure it's all about the game.

If you just get Netflix for $8.99 a month, you can get unlimited Instant Viewing of all the stuff they have available on that. Unfortunately, none of the titles mentioned above are available on Instant Viewing. There's a LOT that is, though! I love it! I hardly ever watch DVDs. There's enough to keep me entertained on Instant Viewing.

Sign up, put on your headphones, and let "the man" have his soccer. :)

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SDaniels Nov. 6, 2009 @ 8:50 p.m.

"The man" has two choices re: soccer games of any gender player: 1. wear headphones, or 2. "mute"

He most often chooses option 2. :)

Yeah, I guess Netflix finally has one over on Blockbuster online's in-store exchange program and monthly freebies--unless Blockbuster online is now doing the same thing?

I'm going through a phase where I let the films sit there, and "the man" has to remind me of them, and the fact that we are paying monthly for films we are not watching. One thing I've noticed happening is that the films that I most want to order are no longer available, if they ever were.

Many many titles are being eliminated from the queue on Blockbuster. It is the equivalent of seeing books on your local library shelves slowly and sneakily replaced by Danielle Steele novels...

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Fred Williams Nov. 6, 2009 @ 10:55 p.m.

Men watching female soccer makes a lot of sense.

I, for one, have never understood the men who watch other men on the field, adjusting their crotches, patting each other on the butt...

Strangely, not participating in or appreciating these homoerotic sports in modern America is considered somehow unpatriotic and "gay".

Strange society.

As to welfare cheats, in San Diego it's considerably harder to get benefits from the county than in other places in the state. This is largely the work of a few crusaders a decade and a half ago and some favorable editorials in the UT denouncing the scammers.

The unfortunate result, in hard times like these, is the same policies often prevent deserving and eligible folks from receiving these emergency benefits they've paid for in taxes all these years.

Meanwhile our glorious political establishment is raiding the grandkids piggy banks to pay for convention centers, city halls, libraries, and stadiums downtown for the benefit of the privilaged few who will blow their profits on extravagances and puffery...and campaign contributions of course.

While directing outrage at the little scammers who, as Cuddle pointed out, amount to very small losses, the same politicians and media insiders promote giveaways to big time crooks.

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PistolPete Nov. 7, 2009 @ 9:10 p.m.

The H.o.R. passed a health care bill 30 minutes ago. The final numbers were 225-220. Only 218 votes were needed. 1 lone Republican from Louisiana voted for the bill with 39 Democrats voting against it. I'll happily be voting Republican in 2010. It's time I sent a message to Nancy Pelosi and her loser friends.

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SDaniels Nov. 7, 2009 @ 9:47 p.m.

re: #31

Yes, I agree that sports obsession is useless and infantile, but at least it serves as a replacement 'teat' for those longing for the richer 'milk' of wartime games.

Fred, maybe you have an opinion on going about educating oneself on the potential scenarios around all of the healthcare options:

I just feel like I need some direction here--lost in a sea of opposing viewpoints and rhetoric. What should I be reading in order to understand the healthcare proposals currently on the table?

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Fred Williams Nov. 7, 2009 @ 11:14 p.m.

I've been following the healthcare debate, and read some good analysis on reason.com

I have worked in Sweden and the Czech Republic, and nobody in these countries lives in fear of bankruptcy for getting sick. Thailand also has excellent healthcare, for those who can afford it. It's similar to the U.S. system in that sense.

These are the systems I have direct experience of. So I can at least say that the claims that America is #1 in care count mostly for the rich in the U.S., while the other systems may not be as perfect for the elite, they spread a lot more care at a lower cost to the entire population.

From following the debate so far, the bill doesn't seem likely to make much practical difference. The guarantee that doctor reimbursements will continue at the same level removed a lot of savings, and without a mandate spreading the risk pool or a single payer reducing paperwork costs, I don't see any other source of savings. So it looks like we'll pay yet more for some modest expansion of coverage.

But healthcare policy is not one of my strengths.

Scepticism of the process is my specialty. Seeing the bill watered down and mutated in a vain effort to corral Republican support is disheartening. The half-measures may cause more damage than doing nothing. The democrats seem hapless in excercising legislative power.

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