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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Debating health care in 2008 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named science.gifI hope the Republicans come prepared to debate health care this year, and they leave the platitudes and slogans home.

Enough of us have been seriously sick, or know someone who has, or have family members who have been or are now. The way the Republicans describe health care, it's as if they've never been through it or don't know anyone who has.

I got some pushback, not much, from a casual mention of universal health care a few days ago. Some think the problem can be solved through the "private sector" but that's nonsense. There is no such thing in health care. It's not a free market, as anyone who's been through it can tell you. There's nothing free about it. (Free as in freedom, not as in free beer.)

When you check into a hospital you turn over your whole being to the health care system. I can't imagine anything changing that, nor do I think it should. When you're dangerously ill, decisions must be made about you. To people who have never relinquished control, it's a big trip, because that's what you have to do. You spend huge amounts of time waiting. You can't sleep because hospitals are 24-by-7. You're much more likely to get an infection in a hospital, and infection on top of other disease can kill. Even so, people are treated and some even are cured by the system. Lives are definitely prolonged, pain is eased.

Whether we have universal health care or not, it won't change the basics of how health care works, and how unfair it is to be sick and fighting for your life. But there are some things we can change, and if you have a heart, and think about it, I don't see how anyone could be against universal health care and still sleep at night.

One commenter said that no one is ever turned away from an emergency room, as if that's all there was to health care. First, emergency rooms do turn people away, and some of them die. But most disease is not treated in emergency rooms. If you need drugs to treat cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, AIDS, heart disease, depression, arthritis, emphysema, to name a few common chronic diseases -- you're out of luck if you don't have insurance. You could die years before you would with treatment, or might suffer, where if you had good insurance, you wouldn't.

I'm lucky I have good health insurance. It's lucky that I lived in Massachusetts when my COBRA policy expired, it's the one state in the US that has liberalized health insurance. I'm lucky that I can afford the monthly payments. I'm lucky. But why should getting the care and treatment you need depend on luck? We can do so much better. And I think our country would do better with a healthy population that knows if they, or someone they love, got sick they'll the help they need.

It'll be interesting to see if we can get McCain to talk about this, if he turns out to be the Republcan nominee. The Republicans have never been responslble about this issue. It's of huge importance to Americans, and McCain presents himself as an honest person. He must understand how the health care system actually works. He's been through it himself, probably many times.

BTW, Hillary's passion for computerizing medical records is a good thing. She's right, a lot of money could be saved, the system could be made much more efficient, people would get better treatment, and lives would be saved. The sooner we get busy doing this, the better it will be for all of us.

Update: Cross-posted at Huffington.

McCain's baggage Permanent link to this item in the archive.

McCain's baggage.

McCain loves him some baggage.


Last update: Friday, February 08, 2008 at 6:00 PM Pacific.

I'm a California voter for Obama.

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 52, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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On This Day In: 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998.

February 2008
Jan   Mar

Lijit Search
Things to revisit:

1.Microsoft patent acid test.
2.What is a weblog?
3.Advertising R.I.P.
4.How to embrace & extend.
5.Bubble Burst 2.0.
6.This I Believe.
7.Most RSS readers are wrong.
8.Who is Phil Jones?
9.Send them away.
10.Negotiate with users.
11.Preserving ideas.
12.Empire of the Air.
13.NPR speech.
14.Russo & Hale.
15.Trouble at the Chronicle.
15.RSS 2.0.
16.Checkbox News.
17.Spreadsheet calls over the Internet.
18.Twitter as coral reef.
19.Mobs of the blogosphere.
20.Advice for Campaigns.
21.Social Cameras.
22.The Next Big Thing.
23.It's time to open up networking, again.
24.Am I competing?
25.Time to shake up conferences?
26.Bloggers working with journalists.

Teller: "To discover is not merely to encounter, but to comprehend and reveal, to apprehend something new and true and deliver it to the world."

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