The Truth About the Public Option

New Poll Shows Tremendous Support for Public Health Care Option

Bernie Horn's picture


Eighty-three percent of Americans favor and only 14 percent oppose “creating a new public health insurance plan that anyone can purchase” according to EBRI, a conservative business research organization. This flatly contradicts conservatives’ loudest attack against President Obama’s plan to provide quality, affordable health care for all.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) calls itself “the most authoritative and objective source of information” on the issues of employee retirement and health benefits. Founded in 1978, EBRI says it “is the gold standard for private analysts and decision makers, government policymakers, the media, and the public.” And EBRI is funded by many of the largest corporations in America.

EBRI’s biggest donors include: AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, General Dynamics, General Mills, IBM, JBMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Northop Grumman, Schering-Plough, Schwab, T.Rowe Price, UBS Financial, and Wal-Mart. EBRI also receives large contributions from the insurance industry, including: Blue Cross Blue Shield, CIGNA, Hartford, Kaiser Permanente, Massachusetts Mutual, Metropolitan Life, Union Labor Life, and UnitedHealth.

Here’s who paid for the poll, as stated by EBRI:

This survey was made possible with support from AARP, American Express, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Buck Consultants, Chevron, Deere & Company, IBM, Mercer, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Principal Financial Group, Schering-Plough Corp., Shell Oil Company, The Commonwealth Fund, and Towers Perrin.

So clearly, no one can accuse this organization of being “liberal” on health care issues.

These findings are from EBRI’s 2009 Health Confidence Survey, their 12th annual poll:

Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the following:

Creating a new public health insurance plan that anyone can purchase:
• Strongly support—53 percent
• Somewhat support—30 percent
• Somewhat oppose—5 percent
• Strongly oppose—9 percent

Having national rules requiring insurance companies to cover all people, regardless of their health problems:
• Strongly support—55 percent
• Somewhat support—25 percent
• Somewhat oppose—9 percent
• Strongly oppose—9 percent

Expanding government programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid:
• Strongly support—45 percent
• Somewhat support—30 percent
• Somewhat oppose—9 percent
• Strongly oppose—12 percent

Requiring all employers to pay toward subsidized health insurance for employees:
• Strongly support—42 percent
• Somewhat support—33 percent
• Somewhat oppose—10 percent
• Strongly oppose—12 percent

Requiring everyone to participate in some kind of health insurance plan:
• Strongly support—38 percent
• Somewhat support—30 percent
• Somewhat oppose—13 percent
• Strongly oppose—16 percent

Despite clear public support for these provisions—all of which are likely to be in the Democrats’ health care reform legislation—conservatives won’t go along. The biggest battle right now is over the public plan option. As commentator Al Hunt points out:

Although almost half of Americans are already covered by a public health plan, inclusion of a government option is a deal-killer for most Republicans and [some] Democrats…

The Congressional Progressive Caucus says it is a deal-killer if the public option is left out of the health care reform legislation. Get ready for a titanic tug of war.

There was another new health care poll in the news today, this one by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg. Although the specifics aren’t yet released, he talks about his polling in the New Republic. I point it out because it echoes two important points I made last week in a somewhat controversial post called “Why Not Single-Payer?”

I said “About 3/4ths of insured Americans are satisfied with their health insurance.” Greenberg says: “Yet three-quarters are satisfied with their own health insurance.”

I said “When Americans hear about a health care proposal, they immediately think “how is it going to affect me and my family.” That’s their overarching, overwhelming concern.” Greenberg says when Clinton proposed his plan, “people responded personally, working to figure out what it all meant for them—the impact on their family, access to their doctors, dollars and cents, and on everything they’d done to become satisfied with their health care.”

Some readers commented that they simply didn’t believe the polling I cited in “Why Not Single-Payer?” It is natural for all of us—myself included—to seek out polls that support our side and disregard contrary polling results. But please understand that President Obama and progressive health care advocates have access to so much polling on this issue; they are not picking-and-choosing the polls they like. They are making clear-headed decisions in an effort to get the very best health care plan that can possibly be enacted by Congress this year.

Healthcare today, EFCA tomorrow

Are the disruptive protesters at healthcare townhall meetings really just average citizens upset with Washington and exercising their freedom of speech? Or are they a radical fringe, outspoken, angry and pushed into the limelight as part of the corporate agenda to defeat President Obama? And if they are successful in defeating change in healthcare, what does it mean for the Employee Free Choice Act?
I don’t think any of us really believe that the protesters we see on TV every night are just average Americans. The guy that wore his gun to an Obama townhall meeting carried a sign proclaiming that the tree of liberty needed to be watered with the blood of tyrants. That’s the same quote that Timothy McVeigh had on his t-shirt when arrested. Those are not mainstream Americans. But they are framing the debate over change in America.
When corporate America is able to whip the crazies into a frenzy and shout down real debate, then the idea of change in America is dead. And one change I was really hoping for was the Employee Free Choice Act. The murder of the healthcare debate is being orchestrated to save just one industry. Imagine how much fear and anger will be hurled at the EFCA. And while there won’t be townhall debates to draw media attention, there will be other venues to show how the Unions are trying to take over America.
If we remain silent on the hijacking of the healthcare debate, we can kiss the EFCA goodbye.

The Company Systamatically Fires ’97 Scabs

I guess the first order of business is you would have had to be around since 97 to remember the strike. It was short by most terms, Sexxyabout 2 weeks. The company was counting on the drivers to cross the picket line. Most did not, but a few did. Most of these drivers were the self serving, run and gun, types UPS loves.
     Most of these drivers thought they could cut a fat hog with management allowing them to be protected for life from the company’s ruthless ways. Ironically about 78% of these drivers have been terminated in the 12 years since. Most ultimately turned to the Teamsters for help to try to keep their jobs, but their infractions were so major, and the company so ruthless, and unforgiving, and forgetful of what these people did for them that today they work elsewhere.
     Many of these sell outs even campaigned for Right-To Work for less legislation testifying that they didn’t need the union. Yet they were the first to cry when they were caught stealing from the company, or getting their second DUI while in the company “spin-dry”. They immediately whined to the Teamsters, then just as quickly started to bad mouth the Teamsters when it turned out their violations were so egregious that the company simply would not back off of the terminations. The Teamsters took their cases to the limit just to be sure these people were given their rights under the Union Contract.
     Isn’t it ironic that the people that fought the Union the most, received the most attention in the end.
     The observation I make is a Scab is a personality trait more than an action. These people cannot stand by anyone else. They seem to have abusive tendencies much like the company.
                                                                      As a long time UPSer my observation is:
                                               Be a Scab! Get fired!

Wal-Mart Saves the World

I’ve never been a big fan of Wal-Mart. I used to have one on my route. I made friends with the back door girls, I got an inside picture of what Wal-Mart is like to work for. I saw one of my friends get injured one day and not report it because their “bonuses” were only awarded if they had no reported workman’s comp injuries. Not only would you lose your own bonus if you reported an injury, but the whole store lost its bonuses. That’s a lot of pressure to not report an injury.

Occasionally I would mention the Union as we unloaded my truck, and I soon learned that Union was a four letter word. It was amazing to hear what their management told the workers about unions. Most of it was outright lies. But effective lies. My associates felt they knew unions and they would never let that kind of scum come into Wal-Mart. Of course they were insanely jealous of my wages and benefits but couldn’t see the difference between a good union job and a lousy non-union job.

Now comes this bit of information from I offer it as another example of why I still refuse to shop at Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart is, apparently, hankering to launch a big initiative to stamp every product it sells with an eco-friendly rating label, some sort of grand, awareness-raising system to inform all Earth-conscious Wal-Mart customers — I know, I know: oxymoron — where every product falls on the you-are-destroying-the-planet scale. It’s a rather wonderful idea that could radically transform the company’s entire supply chain for the better.

Except for one thing: Wal-Mart has no plans to slap a giant label on its own bloated megastores themselves, no plans to reveal the enormous waste and destruction Wal-Mart itself embodies merely by existing, by shipping a million products over from sweatshops in China and Malaysia and India. Nor does it plan to offer a Smiley-Face Local Economy Decimation rating to all those countless small towns it’s swooped into and gutted. But hey! That giant tub of HFCS-blasted caramel corn? Not all that bad for the planet. Yay!

A Wing and a Prayer

        Every one of those forms the Local gives you comes with wings attached. All you need to add is a little ink from a pen to make them take off. You will be amazed at how far those little pieces of paper can fly.
        Fly baby, flyGrievances are the cause and effect of all the issues you live by on a day-to-day basis. They are the reason you have an attendance policy. They are the reason for you can fight excessive overtime. They are the reason for how you pick floating holidays and vacations. They are the reason you still have a right to strike in Colorado. Somebody somewhere filed a grievance. They took the time to write it down, and send it to the business agent. They took the time to look in the contract book and find an article to file under. (Let us not forget, “and all others that apply.”)
        As a steward you will make many decisions and deals on behalf of your members, but none will have an afterlife unless they are decided through the grievance procedure. That is where the wings are attached. Once things are decided in a grievance hearing, it is a written record. This record that can always be referred to. This record can be researched and rediscovered. People’s memories are short and subject to interpretation. But when it’s written down, it becomes a fact. It becomes a fact that other people can call upon. You will be amazed in your career as a steward which grievance will grow wings and fly.
        They can only fly if you use that magic paper with the wings attached.
        Write it down!
        File it!

Why Women Love UPS Men

This is my favorite blog rant on why women love the UPS man. 

       You saw her in the movie Legally Blonde, right? The manicurist with the crush on the UPS man. Millions of American women can relate: we have a secret, shameful, UPS man fetish. Now, granted, none of us have ever had a UPS man that looked like that one in Legally Blonde. But even though UPS men on film are exaggerated in the looks department, is there any class of male in the whole world with more allure than the brown-Bermuda-shorted, brown-socked, occasionally hatted, UPS delivery man? My heart begins to pound whenever I see that brown truck coming up the driveway, being driven by him. And I pity European women who have no UPS men.
        Or do they? This is a disturbing thought, because Frenchwomen might woo the UPS man with wine, the Italian women might ply him with panetta and prosciutto. The UPS man won’t stop for my warmed-over pinto beans and flat Coke from a 2-liter bottle that the kids didn’t screw closed all the way.
Sexxy        So let us hope that UPS has not gone global. Not that it matters. Even without competition from foreign women, my love for UPS men will be forever unrequited, and I know it. There is a sort of distancing manuever, a guarded friendliness, in my personal UPS men (I have three) that suggests they have seen every pathetic overture a lonely woman might make, and some from the men too. And every damn UPS man in the friggin’ force is married, unless they issue those gold bands standard with the uniform.
        This, however, does not put me off. I adore UPS men. I worship UPS men. I’m divorced now, but I felt the same way about the brown-suited darlings when I was married. I would jump into the truck with the UPS man in a hot second and be whisked away to deliver packages in romantic Flatshrub, Kentucky. Kevin James in TV’s King of Queens can carry an extra 40 pounds around, be married to a hot babe way out of his league, and female viewers never even notice. You can get away with a belly if you’re a UPS man, or baldness, or, very likely, leprosy. Women find you scrum-tiddly-umptious.
        I have some theories as to why UPS men are so sexy. As previously lamented, they are all married, and married men, as a class, have it all over the life-forms that you can find clinging to the fronts of singles bars, like fungi, from sea to shining sea. So, number one sexy secret of the UPS man? That oh-so-irresistible unavailability factor. Your UPS man’s been road-tested, in more ways than one, and some dame, somewhere, awaits his safe return. Prays for it, fervently, at her church prayer group every Wednesday night: “Lord, I pray for the safety of my sweet Robert as he does his rounds.” You also know–sight unseen–that sweet Robert has a picture of various and sundry rugrats taped to his dashboard, of whom he is the devoted father. He will not even look at you; he’s such a single-minded Provider. He will simply drop off your package, bask in your lustful admiration and thanks for 10 seconds, and be on his way.
        But here is the second secret of his sex appeal: He is providing for the praying wife and the dashboard rugrats, yes, but in your deep subconscious left-over from the cavewoman days, he’s providing for you, too. Never mind that you paid for the merchandise he’s delivering. You even paid for the shipping, and through the nose at that. Some part of you believes, on a very primal level, that the UPS man is hauling life-saving provisions (okay, it’s ankle boots and a funky belt that you don’t really need, but that’s not the point) to the mouth of the cave, and setting them down in a muscular fashion. This triggers, in you, a response that dates from at least the Paleolithic, i.e., gratitude, and an intense desire to drag his brown-clad booty into the “cave” to show him just how grateful you are.
Sexxy        This begs a question, however: why do only UPS men affect women in this way? Why not male letter carriers? Why not the Fed-Ex guys? They’re always married, and they bring stuff to your door, right?
        Well, I’ll admit that the United States Postal Service does have that old rep that neither snow, nor sleet, nor slush, nor sandstorm, nor simultaneous smiting by all of the above, shall divert them from their appointed rounds. That’s impressive. And Fed-Ex has much cooler trucks than UPS, with a blue and green on white color scheme, instead of yellow on brown. But a man from USPS or Fed-Ex would have to look like Brad Pitt to outdo sexy secret of UPS men number three: those brown shorts and brown knee socks. They are hotter than hot. They are reminiscent of Angus Young of AC/DC with his Aussie schoolboy stage duds. They make us feel all tender toward the UPS man; make us want to cook him a nice big pot of soup. Those darling shorts and socks make the UPS man appeal to women simultaneously in our desire to be pampered (with packages) and our maternal instincts. It’s a double whammy.
        He’s a good, good boy, the UPS man, and you wish you could take care of him for just a little while, and/or be the one woman in the tri-state delivery area who is womanly enough to make him break bad for, say, half an hour. But he is always in a hurry, and perhaps this is his greatest attraction. He is a will-o-the-wisp, ephemeral as a butterfly. You get just a glimpse of those socks and shorts, just enough to drive you wild–and he is gone.
        What about when UPS men switch to long pants in the winter? It doesn’t matter. We are still picturing them in those adorable shorts and socks. Which are–not to put too fine a point on it–the exact color of chocolate.
        The UPS man: I could just eat him up.

the_Old_Woman_in_a_Shoe blogger

Contract Defiance

     TScrew You, Love us corporate a--holes!he company has taken a stance of total defiance to the Teamster-UPS contract. They blatantly attack anyone that files a nine-five grievance, and the Union stands by. They blatantly ignore the grievance and continue forcing excessive overtime, and the Union stands by. They name call, harass drivers, using their own cell phones, and threaten, up to and including violence, and the Union stands by. They terminate without compassion for otherwise encouraged behavior, and the Union stands by.
     In what should be a very exciting time for the Teamsters Union, the rank and file membership that has been the base for the Teamsters is being deliberately attacked, and the Union stands by.  
                                     What are they waiting for?
     They are waiting for you to say something. If you, (the rank-and-file), do not speak up, they will do nothing. Sometimes the Teamsters can be their own worst enemy. Of  course your complacency contributes to the problem. 
                    Get off your dead ass and complain!

Zooming In- The New Harrassment Tool

Here is a typical map of a drivers delivery day. The driver reportedly was on Parker Rd. making a delivery. When you look at this scene nothing seems out of the ordinary. The indicator is on Parker Rd. and that is where the driver recorded a stop. No sweat? Just wait.
The ever sharp I.E. guy decides the driver is a dirtbag, and/or the driver runs over on a regular basis, so the I.E. guy decides he is going to take a closer look at D.B. driver so he Zooms in. On the first Zoom the I.E. dude thinks he has found pay dirt. Look for yourself.
In fact Telematics has shown that the driver left his trace for some reason. The I.E. guy thinks he has found another lieing, cheating, thief, not doing what the company is paying him big money to do. The I.E. guy is going to nail this jerk for stealing time, and fuel from the company, so he decides to look even closer.
The I.E. guy really thinks he’s got the driver nailed. The map really shows what a time thief the driver is. He said he was at Wal Mart making a delivery, when in fact the map shows he is on Dransfeldt Ave, not at Wal Mart which has a Parker Rd. address. What a dirtbag this driver is. The driver is called into the managers office where he is confronted for stealing time, and  from the company and falsifying his records. The Steward is present, and the Division Manager is present. The driver has been called every kind of thief, and cheat for being off area, and not following his trace, and not recording any break, and altering his records. What a dirtbag he is.
                                                                                               But wait!
It turns out the driver was at Wal Mart. The shopping center is big, and when the Zoom key is used, it looks like the driver is way off area. The store has a Parker Road address, even though it sits off of that street. The fact is, the company is letting him know they think he is a dirtbag for doing his job. How proud is this driver to be a UPSer now! Why would he come to work with a good atitude, and care about the future of the company when they go out of their way to make him out to be a lieing, cheating, thief.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Telematics!
(images by Mapquest)