Sunday, July 25, 2010

Green Party US Senate Candidate Bob Kinsey on Some of the Issues

Marriage & the Constitution: Some politicians mouth the words, "morality" and "values". But the heart of American values is the recognition of the inherent worth of all humans. Our history is largely the struggle to expand and protect this principle: to persons of color, women, immigrants, native peoples and people of different sexual orientation. Greens say, diversity is good and required for both justice and environmental security. The common heart of our many spiritual traditions is Love. We should always celebrate love between people and their positive commitments that build stable supportive relationships. Narrow definitions like some restrictive marriage amendments are love-denying and divisive. Some of the best parents I know are gays who have chosen, rather than stumbled into, parenthood. Their commitments become positive contributions to community life. If we really mean Equal Justice Under Law then all marital commitments gay or straight should receive the same protections that 1000 US laws now give only to straight folks.

Single Payer Health Care: Marcia Angell - former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine - calls Single Payer, Medicare for All-- "the only health care system that will both control costs and cover everyone". I Agree

We know there is a health care crisis in this country. There are roughly 47 million uninsured Americans and an estimated 40 to 50 million more who are underinsured. This means that about 30% of our population has a financial incentive to put off seeking needed care. Unfortunately, those who fail to get timely care often end up in the emergency room undergoing expensive procedures and increasing the overall cost of the health care system.

The current U.S. market-based approach is wasteful and inefficient. Instead of sharing the cost of health care among as many people as possible, the market, with over 1200 health insurance companies, splits our population 'risk pool' into many smaller pools. As a result of smaller risk pools, insurance companies charge higher premiums to protect against the costs of catastrophic cases. In addition, each of these companies, with its own large bureaucracy, drains even more money from health care. Providers -- doctors, hospitals, clinics, etc. -- also have to spend large sums for extra administrative staff to deal with all these different health insurance plans. Thus, our system adds large and unnecessary costs from the get-go. Making matters even worse, the health insurance industry increases its profits by excluding people with pre-existing conditions or by invoking fine-print clauses to deny needed care.

As a result of this flawed approach, about 30 cents out of every dollar going into the health care system goes towards profits, executive compensation, advertising, lobbying of Congress, wasteful administrative costs, etc.

To solve this crisis, I am proposing that we adopt a single-payer financing and payment system. Instead of the bureaucratic health insurance industry, there would be one group in an area -- the single payer -- that would administer the health care funds and reimburse providers for care given. Having only one payer in an area greatly reduces administrative costs. In addition, by having everyone in the system with low (or no) co-pays or deductibles, people would be able to receive health care in a timely fashion. Simply put, the single-payer approach funds private health care through a public insurance program.

Key features of single payer include:

1. Everybody is covered;
2. Comprehensive care;
3. Choice of provider;
4. Decisions made by patient and provider, not some health insurance industry bureaucrat;
5. No fear of bankruptcy due to health care expenses;
6. Emphasis on prevention; and
7. Strong cost-containment programs.

Study after study (including those done by the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office) shows that the single-payer approach should save money. If we wish to have a high-quality and sustainable system, single payer offers the way.

I grieve that so many in Congress, Republican and Democrat, are such slaves to the idea that the marketplace will create the lest expensive bet health care for everyone--or the most just. IT hasn't and it won't.

Marijuana: Marijuana has been shown to be a very useful drug that has multiple theraputic applications. Several States, including our own Colorado, havelegalized its use as Medical Marijuana. This is not only beneficial but entirely within the power of the State.The so called "War on Drugs" has damaged American society and has massively contributed to the national deficit. It has filled our prisons with non violent offenders (mostly young black men) to their detriment and the enrichment of the prison-industrial complex. In its name we have escalated our role as the major arms dealer in the world thus adding to militarization and raising levels of violence. It has overridden the Constitutional separation of powers between Federal and State. We must end the war on drugs and federal "law" enforcement interference that threatens the individual states' rights to include the use of marijuana as a helpful drug.