Posted by: MC | March 23, 2010

Voices in the Change: Health Care Reform

“The principle of taking care of our children is vital.   I can’t
that we wouldn’t want to take care of our own children. 
As a country,
they are our children.  They  are our future. 
If we take care of them, we’re making our lives better.”

Rudy Suwara
San Diego, CA


“And now the House is coming into session.  Thanks for being with us.” CSPAN commentator

“The long waiting is over.  Hope and promise are in the air.”  Father Daniel Coughlin, House Chaplain

“Frightening and horrible.  Freedom dies a little bit today.”  Rep. Marsha Blackburn, TN

“We’re going to have to step forward on faith and courage.”  Rep. David Scott, GA

“Victory for the American people, victory for common sense.”  House Democrat

“Socialism, totalitarianism.”  House Republican

“Today, either the best or the worst bill in a century was passed.”  NPR commentator

“Change happens from the bottom up…this is what change looks like. We did not fear our future, we embraced it.”  President Barack Obama

One year earlier:  Voices of EX:Change 01-21-09

Art – Portland, OR – downtown café – Street Roots vendor coordinator/columnist

“We need a good health care package.  Everybody needs health care.  People keep saying we’re going to get it, but I still look around and people either can’t get it or they’re in line waiting for it.  And Veteran’s Hospital, I mean, I don’t even go into Veteran’s because they treat us so badly.  I think everybody needs health care.

Of the people I know on the streets, 90 percent of them need health care.  There’s a few of them that get the State paying for stuff, but they need more help and they can’t get it.  And the State will only pay for so much.  Like the guy who found out he needs medication that’s going to cost $2,300.  He says, ‘OK, what half is mine?’ and the State says, ‘That is your half – $2,300.’  I mean, where’s somebody on the street going to get $2,300?

“Yeah, that’s at the top of my list.  Health care.”


Nick – Portland, OR – Starbucks – Industrial laborer

“It’s the same way with Medicare.  Everybody wants everybody to have medical help but there’s a lot of people out there that don’t want to do anything.  You have to take that into consideration.  That’s why the Republicans say, ‘Why should we take care of these people the Democrats have programs for?  Everybody should be able to provide for themselves.’  But everybody can’t be at the top.  So, it’s going to always be a left and a right.”


Bob B. – Walnut Creek, CA – Starbucks – Retired farmer/rancher

“Almost 60% of all bankruptcies are caused by medical issues.  It all could have been stopped  except that the Republicans nailed Harry Truman to the cross in 1946 because he pushed for national medical insurance.  ‘He’s against the American doctor.  We all love our American doctor.’  Stuff like that.  A year later, England passed national medical insurance.  It was Harry Truman’s medical plan.  You go to France, you go to Spain, other countries all over the world.  For the first month you’re in England, you’re covered by medical insurance.  Just coming ashore, you get a month.  We don’t get diddle.  Ours is so expensive.  You sure you want to take this down?”


Tara & Brett – Walnut Creek, CA – Mike’s Autobody – Coworkers – 23 & 33 years old

Tara:  “Another thing I’m going to say is that I hope something changes in the way our health care is.  I’ve never owned a credit card and I’m in collection debt for hospital bills.”

Brett:  “I’ve never owned a credit card and I’ve never had health insurance.”

Tara:  “For having my son and for when he had to go to emergencies, I think three times.  Not that I was overprotective when he was younger, but I just, you know, when you have county health care you can’t get an appointment when he needs it so you have to come to emergency.  And then you get charged with a $1200 or $1300 bill.  Like I said earlier, I have other things to pay for.  My brother-in-law’s Canadian.  He just laughs when I tell him – not in a mean way – about all my health care bills. 

“Community health care is what’s going to make us survive.  I just hope we focus on that, because there are a lot of people in situations like that mine that can’t pay medical bills.  That would be amazing change.  Any kind of movement to help people with their medical issues.”


Rudy – San Diego, CA – His home – Olympic volley ball player (’68), coach (’96)

“For example, one thing that has happened that I think is a real sign of change was the passage of the bill that gives health care to all children (Feb 4, 2009, Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, ).  Raising the cigarette tax, fine.  Not because I don’t smoke.  I think that will actually help cut down on smoking which is a benefit.  Some of the Republicans in Congress were making comments such as, ‘Well, the poorest people smoke more so they’re going to get taxed more.’  That may be true that poorer people smoke more, but the tax might influence them to stop smoking. 

“Nonetheless, the principle of taking care of our children is vital.  And if someone comes in and is a guest worker and the system wants to discriminate and say, ‘We can’t take care of that child,’ that is appalling to me.  I can’t accept that we wouldn’t want to take care of our own children.  As a country, they are our children.  They are our future.  If we take care of them, we’re making our lives better.”


Juliana – Dallas, TX – On a walk in her neighborhood – Nurse, mother

“As health care costs started spiraling out of control, one of the first places they tried to get things under control was in regulating physicians and their fees.  I think that was fair because physicians had gotten greedy.  Lots and lots of people were going to medical school so they could be doctors so they could be rich.  That’s not the right reason to go to medical school and be a doctor.  They created the environment that caused the problem, so some of that was very well deserved and needed to happen. 

“Then, of course, it gets much more complicated because you start having circumstances where non-medical lay people – insurance people, HMO people – are dictating how medical care should be given and what is acceptable and not acceptable for various conditions.  That doesn’t work.  A hernia operation on an 18-year-old is totally different than one on a 78-year-old.  They’re not apples and apples.  So, it’s difficult to quantify a lot of that stuff that they’re trying to quantify. 

“And of course hospitals were always non-profit things.  Now they’ve turned them into businesses.  So in order to become a business, your primary concern becomes the bottom line and not what’s the best way to provide health care.  Some places manage to balance that rather well.  Others obviously don’t.  Again, it’s very multi-layered and very complex.

“Part of the problem, too is the distribution of care.  You have cities like Dallas and they have 50 gillion hospitals.  If you have a heart attack, there are 50 gillion places you can go.  And every hospital wants to buy the newest, latest and greatest diagnostic equipment because they can make money and generate income doing these tests.  But, we don’t need that many of them.  But they might really need one out in the sticks because those people don’t have access.  So the distribution is very uneven.  When you have so many hospitals delivering the same kind of care, and competing with each other, again you get into a whole business mindset rather than a care giving mindset. And that’s a problem.  I don’t know how to solve it.  But that’s a problem.”


Mrs. Browder – Montgomery, AL – Her daughter’s home – Long-time Christian activist and charitable service provider

“I’m not that knowledgeable on the health care system because I have been very blessed to have insurance and still have insurance along with having reached the age for Medicare. So my family has been blessed.  The thing is I hardly ever go to the hospital. We [laughing…] go to the doctors you know, but I am insurance poor, if you will, because of all the insurances that we pay.  I know and I believe it is an absolute sin when somebody less fortunate is ill and goes into a hospital only to be turned away because they don’t have insurance. It seems like there should be a law against that.  Some kind of a law.  If they don’t have insurance are you gonna let them bleed out or die because they don’t?  I don’t think so not when you’ve taken the Hippocratic Oath.”


Andy – Washington, DC – Capitol Hill Presbyterian – Minister   

“Health care, for example.  All we want is to be able to go to the doctor and take advantage of this amazing medical technology we have.  We just want a shot at it like everybody else.”  


Justin – Tysons Corner, VA – Restaurant – Non-profit educational foundation official

“Being in this country – this is my soapbox, but I truly believe there is no reason anybody should be hungry, homeless, uneducated or jobless with the resources we have.  There’s no reason for it.  Or without health care. 

“As a result of everything being so privatized and what not, it creates a system where the wealthy will have access to it, the middle class might have access to it and then the 70% of the people who don’t have a job or access to some sort of program, they’re just out of luck.  There’s no reason for it.”


Mohammad – Portland, OR – His office – County social service administrator

“Change.  Improvements in the health care system – the price of medication.  I work with the elderly and people with disabilities.  It’s a tough thing to feel that you have a group of people that is underinsured or not insured, that Medicare/Medicaid either does not pay or denies eligibility.  If they are eligible there’s some hope, but if you’re on the cusp it’s not good. 

“I read a story from somewhere in California of this single mom who lost her job and was collecting unemployment.  She did not qualify for state benefits because she was $43 above the income limit.  She was getting unemployment and some assets, but it was sad to see that.  If you were once successful and all you need now is a little help so you can go back to being successful, but the system drives you to the point of having to relinquish everything in order to be eligible for assistance. That’s something I want to have change.”


  1. But 400 BILLION on unconstitutional health care is ok?

    Prescription Drug Benefit.
    The final version (conference report) of H.R. 1 would create a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. Beginning in 2006, prescription coverage would be available to seniors through private insurers for a monthly premium estimated at $35. There would be a $250 annual deductible, then 75 percent of drug costs up to $2,250 would be reimbursed. Drug costs greater than $2,250 would not be covered until out-ofpocket expenses exceeded $3,600, after which 95 percent of drug costs would be reimbursed. Low-income recipients would receive more subsidies than other seniors by paying lower premiums, having smaller deductibles, and making lower co-payments for each prescription. The total cost of the new prescription drug benefit would be limited to the $400 billion that Congress had budgeted earlier this year for the first 10 years of this new entitlement program. The House adopted the conference report on H.R. 1 on November 22, 2003 by a vote of 220 to 215 (Roll Call 669).
    Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR this bill.
    Marsha Blackburn is a Hypocrite.
    Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
    See her unconstitutional votes at :

  2. In the spirit of EX:Change, the comments here add to the voices in American change —

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