Article

(REMEMBER, KATHY, WHO THE BOSS IS) … CITY COUNCIL MEETS TONIGHT … DEGNAN UP FOR CITY SOLICITOR … CLAIRMONT, KROL PETITIONS PRAISEWORTHY … plus …THE PLANET TOUCHES THE THIRD RAIL OF HEALTHCARE … GUEST COLUMNIST PRESENTS THE PROS AND CONS OF UNIVERSAL HEALTH

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, JAN. 10, 2012) — Tonight is the new city council’s first regular, operational meeting. On the agenda: appointment of a full-time and part-time city solicitor. Kathleen Degnan and Darren Lee, respectively, are up for the posts. Mayor Dan Bianchi proposes the hiring of Degnan at Grade 11 Step 2 pay scale. In dollars and cents, that’s $66,419.85 a year (remember to add 30% to all city salaries to include the cost of bennies).

Degnan received her law degree from Western New England College School of Law in May, 1999. She served as assistant city solicitor for Westfield for five year ending in June of last year. Seems like a reasonable hire. With this hire, however, let us hope that Degnan understands that her job will not to act as personal attorney for the council or for the mayor. Her job is to represent the interests of the citizens of Pittsfield in all matters that involves them in court.

Think of how different the recent municipal history of Pittsfield would be if we had representation along those lines. Think, for example, of Kate Alexander’s infamous behavior during the Civic Authority witch trials, when — acting as water girl for Mayor Gerry Doyle and his henchmen — she put Dave Potts, Joe Kapanski, Mary Jane Kapanski, and every Pittsfield taxpayer in the docket. THE PLANET reminds you, Ms. Degnan: You will represent We The People — Not the mayor, not the council. Never forget that. WE are your boss. Same goes for you, too, Darren Lee (who will make$54,908.60 of approved).

PETITIONS FROM CLAIRMONT, KROL MAKES GOOD SENSE

Two of my Right Honorable Good Friends shall be submitting petitions tonight. Barry Clairmont, Ward 4 newbie, wants to haul before the counncil Corydon Thurston of PEDA (or his designee) and have him do some ‘splainin’. Clairmont calls for “an update of the 2011 activities and site progress” at the Stanley Business Park. This will give councilors a chance to ask questions about the proposed Big Box retail shopping center Corydon and Co. want to put on 16 of PEDA’s best acres.

Much speculation has been made about the anchor store. The Wise Guys says it Lowe’s. Maybe. THE PLANET has new information which suggests that the anchor might be The Christmas Tree Shoppes.

Ward 6 councilor John Krol wants Walmart to explain the funny business going on with Walmart’s property taxes. Krol points out that from 2011 to this year, Walmart’s tax obligations to the city are being reduced $189,954.29 for personal property. The company will be getting an overall cut in taxes, according to Krol, of $169,778.86. How? Why? Wethinks Walmart is pulling a fast razzle-dazzle (legal, though) of accounting. The company should be grilled with the brazier set on 10.

Good job, Clairmont and Krol, for We The People.

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PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS: THE GREAT NILAN HIT-AND-RUN MYSTERY, COMING SOON!

Many have been wondering when and if THE PLANET will be taking up the Great Nilan Hit-and-Run Mystery. The answer is: Affirmative. We have had to make some calls, do some snooping, and ask questions, so that we might add to the story. We will be presenting our take on this story sometime this week, as soon as tomorrow and as late as Friday. It all depends on returned calls. Stay tuned. It’s a doozy.

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THIRD RAIL SCRATCHING, AND A HEALTH CARE ARTICLE ATTACHING

Since we’ve been scratching Third Rails, let’s continue with our discussion of healthcare. We present this look at universal healthcare by THE PLANET’s Special Correspondent, The Weakonomist. The Weakonomist is a distant counsin to The Stooley, our collective title for some of the spies and operatives who contribute to THE PLANET’s blanket coverage of the world.

UNIVERSAL COVERAGE: SOME PROS AND CONS

By The Weakonomist

Special to PLANET VALENTI Science

Universal health care is a system of providing health coverage for any and all willing participants.  This is usually through a government program, funded by taxes.  The United States is the only developed country in the world to not have a universal health care system for its citizens.  Medicaid and Medicare do not count because they target a select group of citizens.  Many people support universal health care claiming it is a birthright and everyone should have access to care.

It is important to note the distinction between universal health care and socialized medicine before we proceed.  Many people confuse the terms.  Under universal health care hospitals, doctors, drug companies, nurses, dentists, etc can all remain independent.  They can be for-profit or non-profit.  In socialized medicine the whole industry is the government.  So if you wanted to be a doctor, you would work for the government.

So let’s dig into the pros and cons of universal health care, starting with the pros.

Pros of Universal Health Care:

If you lost your job next week your insurance would likely go with it.  Excluding temporary programs like COBRA, losing your job basically means losing your health insurance too.  Sure you can buy your own, but that can get expensive and there are often holes in the policy than with employer provided health insurance.  Under a universal system, you don’t have to worry.  Imagine you had to pay each month for access to use the police.  If you lost your job and couldn’t afford the police bill and called 911, you wouldn’t get service.  That sure sounds awful.  The most fundamental underlying basis of universal health care is the fact that in the system, you don’t have to worry about not being covered.

The United States spends more on health care as a percentage of GDP than any other developed nation.  Countries that have some kind of universal coverage generally spend less.  This is because the costs of a universal system are less than private.  Drugs can be purchased in greater bulk, prices for services can be negotiated at a lower rate due to the larger pool, and a large singular system would reduce the overhead involved in processing insurance and medical services.

Furthermore we already have laws in the US that require emergency rooms to see patients even if they don’t have any insurance.  This costs the hospital money which they pass on to consumers and insurance companies.  Under a universal health care system those that normally go without insurance would now be required to pay into it in the form of taxes.  The distributed cost would bring down the personal expenses of those that already pay for insurance.  Those that might object to forced taxation should know this is no different than the shared costs of road construction, school funding, or space exploration.

Cons of Universal Health Care:

That all sounds pretty good right?  You can take your insurance from job to job or even be covered if you lose your job, the total cost for health coverage would decline, and the actual out of pocket expenses you pay would also go down.  But not so fast.  We’re only looking at this farm from the other side of the fence.

Competition rocks.  Competition fosters innovation.  There is a reason pharmaceuticals and biotechnology are two of the fastest growing industries in the United States.  There is some serious money to be made with a breakthrough product.  Universal health care funded by the government would really hold back the potential for new medical breakthroughs because the government would insist on sharing the breakthrough, to the detriment of the company’s profits.  This would end up with these companies leaving the industry.  No profit to be made, no reason to invest.  Competition in the medical community has done much to help support the American economy over the past couple of decades.  So much so that our GDP growth outpaces other developed countries with universal health care systems.

Take a closer look at the universal healthcare programs in other countries and you’ll find not everything is so great.  In Canada, wait times to see specialists have sent many people with the funds to private care.  I’m pulling statistics here, but it takes 22 months for residents of Saskatchewan to get an MRI.  57% of Canadians report having to wait a month just to see a specialist.  As a result long wait times and certain services not covered in the national plan many citizens in universal health care provided countries must still obtain private insurance.  That negates the whole purpose of a universal system because many people would opt out of getting private insurance creating the same problem the US currently faces.

Perhaps the most important disadvantage of universal health care is the fact that the government would be in charge.  Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security are run by the government. Both of these programs are on track to bankrupt themselves.  Bloated bureaucracies are sort of an American icon.  We set up massive social welfare programs and they are abused by citizens and politicians alike.  If a US universal healthcare plan were to generate a surplus, our idiot government would then borrow from it and ruin the whole system from everyone.  The simple fact is that our government can’t be trusted to handle social programs.

These aren’t all the pros and cons of universal health care but it’s enough to get you started.  Here are a couple of interesting facts and thoughts of note about universal healthcare:

  • Almost 59% of the US health care system is already publicly financed through taxes and subsidies.
  • It’s unfair for a parent to choose not to cover a child.  The child should have coverage.
  • A commonly cited statistic shows the quality of health in the United States lags behind countries with universal health care, however the study used biased criteria and results are manipulated to make it look worse than it actually is.
  • The most recent opinion polls of doctors in the US show the majority support a universal system.
  • The American Medical Association (the largest of its kind) more broadly supports reform of the current system.
  • “Health Care” and “Healthcare” are both widely accepted terms.  This author prefers the latter, but has used both in this post.

What could universal healthcare in the United States look like?
There are a number of methods to implement universal health care.  You can collect taxes from everyone, including businesses; this is how we support Medicare.  This would provide blanket coverage to anyone and everyone and you would only need to prove you’re a citizen to get care.  Another method would be for the government to offer a national policy.  If you wish to participate you can opt-in, then your premium would be deducted from your paycheck just like a normal tax.

In the united states we would probably tax everyone.  It is conceivable that we would be taxed as a percentage of income, instead of a flat rate.  This could negatively impact higher income earners because they would pay more into the system than they would get out.  In order for a universal system to work this would likely be the implemented method.  Perhaps it could be a fixed percentage up to a certain income level, at which it either curbs or cuts off.  A system like this would best benefit lower income families and families with more children than average.  The result would be that these demographics would get more out of the system than they pay in, with folks without children and higher income earners getting the short end of the stick.  They would however get a stick.

We could also use a system where everyone pays in and gets at least something out of it.  It could be the most basic coverage, perhaps all children up to 18 covered and all adults getting just simple coverage.  This could perhaps cover basic dental and eye, as well as a yearly check-up covering all the normal tests someone would get at their particular age.  Adults could purchase additional coverage through the government and it would be deducted from their paycheck, or they could use a private insurer to supplement the basic care.

The possibilities are endless, just about anyone could come up with a plan, it’s just a matter of which one would be the most useful and provided the greatest coverage per dollar.

Finally, what does The Weakonomist think about universal healthcare?
The universal healthcare argument almost always excludes one key point – portability.  Many folks talk about universal care as either you’re in or you’re out.  Half of the people in the United States (as conducted by a poll of the most reliable sources – 4 people in my office) just want to be able to take their insurance with them from job to job.  Let’s say I left my employer to go work for a small bank in town.  That small bank requires 90 days of service before benefits kick in.  This means that I go three months without having insurance!

Like my car insurance or my Roth IRA, I’d like to simply take my health insurance with me wherever I go.  I will pay the full price, and a company (as a part of my benefits package) could offer to pay for some or all of my coverage.  When I leave the company they stop paying.  I have to pay it all on my own again or until I find another company that would help me pay for it.  Companies could be incented to help by making this contribution a tax deduction.

At this point I still don’t believe a universal system is the best way to go.  I really want to just take it with me wherever I go, and get some big time reform and modernization to the medical system. Gun to my head with only two options though, I’ll take universal health care over what we’ve got right now.

For the most part my opinion doesn’t matter.  Educate yourself, form your own opinion.  I know I’ve got some readers with more information out there, please share it.  This is not a forum for debate, but merely a quest for statistics and facts.

As The Weakonomist says, this discussion doesn’t present the full story of plusses and minuses, but it’s a start. We thank The Weakonomist for this arcitle.

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PREVENTIVE CARE IS PROBABLY THE SINGLEMOST IMPORTANT THING WE CAN DO FOR OURSELVES. KEEP THAT IN MIND, THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE THEM WADDLING UP TO THE BUFFET AT COUNTRY BUFFET FOR SECOND AND THIRDS. KEEP THAT IN MIND, THE NEXT TIMOE YOU SEE THEM HUDDLED OUTSIDE OF BARROOMS SMOKING A CIGGIE. WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY, AS POGO ONCE BEGAN …

‘OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.’

LOVE TO ALL.

 

45 Responses to “(REMEMBER, KATHY, WHO THE BOSS IS) … CITY COUNCIL MEETS TONIGHT … DEGNAN UP FOR CITY SOLICITOR … CLAIRMONT, KROL PETITIONS PRAISEWORTHY … plus …THE PLANET TOUCHES THE THIRD RAIL OF HEALTHCARE … GUEST COLUMNIST PRESENTS THE PROS AND CONS OF UNIVERSAL HEALTH”

  1. Shakes His Head
    January 10, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Personal property depreciates. No mystery there, perfectly legal. Surprising Mr. Krol isn’t addressing the lack of accountability for the not-for-profits and their landlords city-wide. I wonder how much the personal property at BMC is discounted on the tax roll.

    • dusty
      January 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

      Is he asking about the North st hardware store? Movie theaters, restaurants, car dealerships? I think the new mayor might consider having someone (independent) go over the whole damn city and I would guess the results would be rather revealing. Sooner the better I say.

      • rick
        January 11, 2012 at 3:13 am #

        why should businesses pay full taxes when there is a bunch skirting their taxes legally by hand outs.the days of someone going into business on their dream and saved money are done. who ever heard of giving hand outs to entrepreneurs? big corporate lawyers can pay off politicians in boston to alter a document so as to find a loop hole in the tax laws….kind of funny how all these years latter walmart found the loop hole. all these big box stores tell you how dedicated they are to the community, and then pay you crap and then turn around and crap on the community as a whole by not wanting to pay their taxes. keep shopping there people, help out that stock price while the people who work there cant live on what walmart pays. even the greeters are pissed off!!!!

    • Molly
      January 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      And the Colonial, The Barrington Stage, and many, many others… There are a LOT of not-for-profits & tax exempt corporations around here. I just want to know how a theater company offers one small program to at-risk kids, meets for 2 hours a week, and then gets “tax exempt status” under the category of EDUCATION! More raping of the tax payers and it’s disgusting. I’ll say this – at least BMC does offer free health care for those who need it (not that I agree that they should be able to own all the properties that they do and not pay a penny in taxes on them), but come on – theaters being tax-exempt under Education? Give me a break!

      SHH – “I wonder how much the personal property at BMC is discounted on the tax roll” — they don’t pay ANY taxes! It is 100% discounted! The same as all of the “not for profits/tax exempt” corporations are.

  2. Ray Ovac
    January 10, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    DV, you write, “The United States is the only developed country in the world to not have a universal health care system for its citizens.”
    DV, another fact is the USA not only offers the finest health care in the world, but people throughout the world flock to this country to receive the finest health care as well as the most technologically advanced med care in the world.
    DV, it makes one wonder whether there’s any connection between these above statements of fact. Do you honestly think the US would remain #1 in the world if it went down the road of adopting universal health care?
    What if it came down to a choice of C+ medical care under universal healthcare versus A+ medical care under a free market system?
    DV, McDonald’s or Blantyre?

    • Molly
      January 10, 2012 at 11:31 am #

      Spot on, Ray! Totaly agree.

    • Steve Wade
      January 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

      Typical Republican responce batteryman! Please explain why health insurance keeps going up 15 to 18% each year when inflation is around 3%

      • Molly
        January 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

        Because of all of the GOVERNMENT regulations!!!!

        • Ray Ovac
          January 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

          Steve, Molly is spot-on. Further, the government creates artificial floors and ceilings when it approves reimbursement at set limits through Medicare and Medicaid. The entire medical environment is polluted with government interference in the economics of medicine. Look how state government interfered with a competitor coming into the Berkshire market to offer radiological services. The state allowed Berkshire Health Systems, Inc. to maintain its monopoly — and thus high prices. Add to all this the tort lawyers and outrageous malpractice insurance premiums which add considerably to the costs of even simple surgeries.
          It might be informative to find out what BHS, Inc. charges patients at BMC for a single aspirin.

  3. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    January 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    @ SW….more like 6-8% per yr I think

    • Steve Wade
      January 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

      @Hilly Billy What insurance do you belong to? Mine has gone up a average of 15% each year.

      • Steve Wade
        January 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

        Oh Yea My co pays keep getting higher also.

  4. Molly
    January 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    I am definitely NOT in favor of universal healthcare. But there ARE some things that need to be changed/reformed, to make US healthcare more affordable. The first is Tort Reform. And I don’t mean merely eliminating ones right to sue a doctor if the doctor was drunk or high during surgery and removed the wrong leg! But reform it so that the plethora of bogus lawsuits goes away – perhaps if you bring a lawsuit against a doctor and lose, you pay for all of the expenses related to this lawsuit. This one reform alone would reduce the cost of healthcare dramatically.

    Another one would be to immediately end the practice of providing free healthcare to illegal aliens. Talk about a magnet to draw people here! They come into this country to have their child, they get the best healthcare in the world for free, AND their child is born as a US citizen. The parents can then receive Medicaid and SSI (even though they have never paid into the system), Section 8 housing, food stamps, an excellent education for their children which requires that we also supply translators for them, and then a FREE college education. Why NOT go to the USA illegally? If you attempt to come to the great USA legally as our ancestors did, you’re going to wait many years and jump through all kinds of hoops to do that. So why not just walk across the border and get all of these things for free? I understand that it sounds heartless to turn away a woman who is about to give birth and the baby is in serious distress – who could do that? I know that I couldn’t. But then track them and deport them vs. rewarding them. And perhaps charge the originating country for ALL of the expenses surrounding this (i.e., the healthcare provided, the cost of tracking them and deporting them, etc.). Then perhaps that country would be more proactive in preventing this. And if a child is born in the US to non-US citizens, then the child does NOT automatically become a US citizen. Also go after, big time, the employers who hire illegal aliens with huge fines and audits of their company, etc. – make it be a nightmare for them if they get caught.

    Another would be competition between health insurance companies. Allow ALL (qualified and following certain regulations) health insurance companies to sell insurance in every state. That competition would drive the costs down dramatically and would improve the benefits that are provided.

    Competition among corporations, and their ability to attract the best workers would mean that they offer, as a benefit, quality healthcare (that the employee has to also contribute to). Is it THAT big of a deal if you change jobs to have to change your insurance company? Sure it would be nice to keep the same company, but at the expense of what this “regulation” would do to this industry? If you change jobs, don’t you also have the same situation with any life insurance or disability insurance that you have opted into? Yes. So where does this end? This is one of the things that you take into consideration when contemplating leaving your job to go to a different corporation. And without this headache to us, corporations aren’t going to offer this as a benefit. For those who lose their job, COBRA is a good thing – perhaps reform that somewhat so that in times of a US Recession, the amount of time that you can stay on COBRA is extended. But if you take away the requirement that the person has to pay for this, then what is their incentive to get another job? They collect unemployment and have their health insurance paid for, get food stamps, etc. – why go back now? Maybe I’ll take a nice, long vacation…

    And let’s get one thing straight – Medicare and Social Security were setup so that people pay into them during their working lives and collect on that “insurance” when they retire. These were NOT designed to be “Entitlements” – they were paid for by the recipients all of their lives. The government has raped these systems — including borrowing against them — and have expanded their purpose to such an extent that many ARE, now, “entitlements”. There are SO many people on Social Security Disability and SSI that are healthy, capable adults and they work “under the table” as well. The lawmakers overlook this as it would cost a LOT of money to find each of these cheaters and, they say, the amount of money saved would be negligible. I disagree — GO AFTER THEM FULL THROTTLE! And also change the eligibility rules so that these cheaters, these thieves, don’t qualify to begin with. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are three different programs, not two. Medicare is what every working individual pays into their entire working lives. Medicaid is a free, welfare-type system. And also, Social Security has to now be broken down as well – there’s Social Security that individuals pay into their entire working lives, then there’s SSI which is a welfare type program, and also Social Security Disability which is based upon how much the individual contributed to it during the years they were able to work before becoming disabled. But why do that since if I fake an illness, I can just collect SSI instead of working for years contributing to Social Security (including SS Disability).

    Reforms also need to be made to the FDA. Yes, we want to be sure that the medicines and treatments that the drug companies sell are safe and work as intended. But ten to fifteen years to get a “breakthrough drug” onto the market is ridiculous! No wonder they cost SO much! It signifies an overly bloated US government agency that has too much bureaucracy and regulations. For example, there is a new combination of drugs that has shown unbelievably wonderful results for women with the most common form of breast cancer. These two drugs, individually, are already approved by the FDA – have individually gone through the 10+ years of getting FDA approval. One of the drugs is already used for breast cancer. The other is already used for kidney cancer. They have already completed all of the Phase I, II and III clinical trials of this combination. We already know what the side effects and risks are. They are there, ready and available. Yet we have to wait YEARS for the FDA to approve this combination of drugs for breast cancer patients – many of which will die waiting for this to happen. THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO FOCUS ON TO REFORM HEALTH CARE and most of them are within the Government themselves! It’s not, for the most part, the health care industry holding us back, it is the GOVERNMENT that holds us back! Get out of the way, government!!!! Yet we’re considering putting the entire system into the hands of the government? Hellllooooo???? Wake up time!!!

  5. K-Man
    January 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    The government should provide for national security. Defense is one way and my taxes go to fund the military.I think healthcare is a national security issue too. It should be provided free by Uncle Sam. It should be a right for anyone who pays taxes.

  6. Scott
    January 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Yeah you def don’t wan’t the Gov’t taking over health care that’s for sure. Personally I choose preventative maintenance. The reason why universal health care sees such long waiting periods is because everyone uses it once it’s free. It’s shouldn’t be “free” for everyone but it shouldn’t be denied to those who can’t afford it either. Sorry folks I’m just not that god damn greedy. However, for all you scrooges out there building custom coffins so you can take your money with you to the grave I’m for a system that would take money from willing tax payers (maybe with other tax incentives.) and provide benefits for the less fortunate. Then you could opt out if you want I’d love to opt of of police service, garbage and public school system too. So the next time your feeling angry with some second class citizen or fat lard ass soaking up your tax dollars for “free” health care from dumb health choices remember how is the public school system or other social programs are any different?

    • Molly
      January 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

      Scott – I don’t think anyone is saying, or has ever said, that we don’t want to help out those who can’t afford it (well, I’m sure some have, but that’s not what I’m saying at all). I’m talking about health care in general and the government taking it over. Certainly someone who has fallen on hard times and becomes very ill, this country will assist that person – always has and always will. And should!

      • Scott
        January 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

        DV is always talking about freeloaders. Which there is an issue with laziness in America as well as abuse of the system but let big brother take it over if you really want to see how it’s done. So that leaves us with A: Companies that profit should work with it’s employees and insurance providers to provide employees with coverage to fit their medical needs. They are only going to do this if they are forced to. Or B: Let big brother take it over you can’t force the cost on people who can’t afford it. Business owners have the ability to adjust cost for service and goods to balance out the cost of doing business the average worker has to either get lucky enough to land a good job with benefits or get a second job perhaps to cover the cost of health care which still may not be enough. I can’t wrap my head around how people don’t get that simple fact.

  7. Scott
    January 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    are, are uh, ummmm duh… Have a good night deer steak and crab legs for dinner tonight. You all have good points this is just my take.

  8. Amanda Blake
    January 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    No easy fix on health care, that’s for sure. Just wish there wasn’t so much $$$ involved and it wasn’t sch a mess dealing with insurance companies, with all the paperwork. It’s nuts. Also, I must say I’m opposed to the nominee for city solicitor, Kathy Degnan. Bad choice. Mr. Bianchi, bad choice.

    • Molly
      January 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      Can you give us some info on why this is a bad choice? I have no knowledge about this appointment at all and would appreciate knowing more…

  9. Bill Sturgeon
    January 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Planet fans, don’t forget to watch the City Council meeting tonight at 7:30 on Channel 18. We have to be knowledgeable if we are to keep our status as, “WE THE PEOPLE”!

    • rick
      January 11, 2012 at 3:35 am #

      bill, its kind of funny that the radio and t.v. have become the enemy of the gobs. you and dan and others can keep we the people intact on your show and dans blog daily. i think we can almost hear our voices coming back after 8 long years of laryngitis. bianchi was the remedy, roberto was that pesky flu that just wouldnt go away.

  10. Porcupine Tree
    January 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    One more pro for universal healthcare is that employers would no longer have to provide health insurance to their employees and would not have to hire people to administer it. That would let businesses focus resources more on their actual business and allwo them to grow.
    Also, the “conservatives” on this blog are painting a picture of U.S. healthcare what simply isn’t accurate. When it comes to emergency care, we are probably the best. But when it comes to non emergency care (disease treatment both physical and mental being one example) our healthcare system is actually one of the worst. If you don’t believe me just research the cancer, heart disease, other diseases, and obesity rates in this country. Simpy terrible and getting worse. Our healthcare system is more focused on getting everyone on medications (big pharma profits) than providing true preventative care. And I’ve had to wait plenty long (many weeks) for appointments with specialists or even my PCP.
    Am I for universal healthcare? I don’t know, but our healthcare system is broken and needs to be fixed.

    • Molly
      January 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      You are talking about two different things. TREATMENT for “cancer, heart disease, other diseases” IS the best in the world (do your research). If you’re talking about the rates of these diseases occuring, that’s an entirely different matter. Exactly what do you suggest that the government do to prevent obesity in someone who insists upon drinking soda and eating potato chips and McDonald’s as their constant diet? We are already doing lots to educate people about the risks of this, and bringing it to the forefront. This is the only way we have to help PREVENT these diseases from occuring. In addition, heart disease and cancer can, AND DOES, and ALWAYS HAS occured in the most healthiest of people who DO take good care of themselves, although I agree that people could do lots to help to prevent these diseases. But just not always.

      As for universal health care allowing businesses to not have to provide healthcare and administer it, have you looked at what’s coming down the road from Obamacare?

      I guess I’m confused as to what, exactly, your point is? Our healthcare system is broken (because there are high rates of cancer and heart disease and obesity?) and it needs to be fixed (and your suggestion is what?)

  11. Amanda Blake
    January 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Molly
    I usually agree with your views as I read them here on The Planet but not this time, you objection to universal health care is revealing your irrational hatred for PRes. Obama, who at least has done something about the mess. Still appreciate you writing here tho, so don’t be offended, ok?

    • Molly
      January 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

      Absolutely not offended! I appreciate reading, and understanding, others points of views and why they have certain opinions, and sometimes it helps me to form my own opinions. To me, that’s what this site is for – to have respectful debate on important subjects.

      But I will say that I absolutely do NOT have any kind of hatred for President Obama! I disagree with him on his healthcare reform, and also on quite a few things. But that’s a far cry from hating him — I also respect his opinions and viewpoints. I just don’t happen to always agree with him. And that’s really what this country is based on, no?

    • Ray Ovac
      January 11, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      AB, why would you consider “irrational” an extreme revulsion against the policies of someone who was showing himself more and more to be a Marxist? Or do you not believe Barack Obama’s policies and public statements three years into his presidency indicate telltale signs of Marxism or even at minimum Socialism?

  12. joetaxpayer
    January 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Molly, as usual you are to the point.I agree with you,and I am not drinking the Obama kool aide.As the dems. would say anyone but Obama.

  13. CONCERNED
    January 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    OBAMA has done nothing about this mess but divide this country. Just wait if the courts don’t stop his insanity on Health care what we are in for. Doctors are leaving, employers won’t hire full time etc. etc. etc. Boy are we in trouble if this person stays as President.

    • Scott
      January 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      Dr won’t work for the gov’t because they know they won’t pay $300 for a band aid Obama care is a pipe dream. You want a medical plan you can rely on take $60 a week and buy fresh fruits and vegetables of course here in Pittsfield we have environmental factors as well to consider so maybe some sort of natural cleanse is in order as well.

    • Steve Wade
      January 11, 2012 at 7:37 am #

      And Mitt Romney is the answer…HA HA

  14. Molly
    January 11, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    Meredith Nilan’s alleged hit and run, from the BB a short while ago:
    “”We have a driver, we have a victim and we have a vehicle,” said Pittsfield Police Capt. John Mullin.

    A criminal citation for two misdemeanors — leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle — were lodged against Meredith Nilan in District Court.

    The case will go before a clerk magistrate for a show-cause hearing to determine if there’s enough evidence to charge Meredith Nilan. If no probable cause is found, the charges would be dismissed. If probable cause is found, a court arraignment would take place. The hearing date, as well as the hearing itself, is not public information.”

    Does anyone know why the hearing date, as well as the hearing itself, is not public information?? It is for everyone else! And a “criminal CITATION for two MISDEMEANORS”? Can anyone translate that? A citation doesn’t sound like anything more than a citation for jay walking. And misdemeanors? A hit and run causing severe bodily injury is a misdemeanor? Who can shed some light on this?

  15. dusty
    January 11, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Interesting city council meeting. Melissa Mazzeo wanted to change the order of voting so that the city council president could not set the tone for GOB followers by his own vote. She wanted it random. The idiotic debate on this petition exposed the fact that some of the old crowd still intends to make a power grab. Lothrop and Krol acted like they would not be able to vote independently without a lead to follow. No shock there. Melissa petition was approved in a rare defeat for the GOB. They will probably have to come up with some kind of code or hand signals now for people like Lothrop an Krol who don’t want to accidentally disappoint their handlers.

    And on a related note…old councilor Markam was on the Sturgeon show and leaked out that councilors text back and forth during meetings. Does this violate open meeting laws? ha ha

    • New to PV
      January 11, 2012 at 6:32 am #

      Thanks for the brief – I missed the council meeting, but will watch the rerun on PCTV, No surprise about Krol, who, by being the prior mayor’s lackey clearly demonstrated his desire to become part of the GOB.

  16. rick
    January 11, 2012 at 3:26 am #

    dusty, they already know the vote before its cast, so i don’t see what that debate was all about, except for melissa to bring up the corrupt factor . kind of sent a shiver up kroll and northrups spines( if they have one), they became very defensive after that. the thing i like about mazzeo is that shes like a mother scoldings her children and trying to keep them in line. what she implies is what really went on these past years, she will not come right out and say it, but she will take the little imps on the council to task if they get out of line….. she really is the council prez, she doesn’t need the title or extra pay.

  17. CONCERNED
    January 11, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    Since none of clerks in Pittsfield courts had the guts to issue the search warrant I hope they bring in a clerk from out of Berkshire County to deal with this. Also hope the brass let the traffic officer handle this and don’t let Nilan influences rule this case, what I see he could be charged also. Won’t judge yet, lets see how it plays out.

    • Ray Ovac
      January 11, 2012 at 9:12 am #

      Did Pittsfield Police even bother to interview any of the dozen and a half Berkshire Young Professionals with whom Meredith Nilan was partying earlier the night of the hit-and-run accident? BYP held its December ‘networking social’ from 5PM to 7PM on Dec.8 at Allium Restaurant in Great Barrington. BYP even posted pix of Nilan and her fellow partiers on BYP’s Facebook page. Surely a few of the participants would have observed whether or not a single blonde chic had been drinking heavily that night.

      • Molly
        January 11, 2012 at 11:16 am #

        I don’t know how they will get away without doing a full investigation at this point. They seem to be treading very, very carefully with this (going to Southern Berk. for the warrant, a “show-cause hearing” (I’ll bet that’s also in Southern Berk, too), etc. It will be very interesting, to say the least. Since Alf would be one of the witnesses interviewed though, can they continue using Southern Berkshire court?

        • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
          January 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

          The Judge that issued search warrants for the month of December was out of the South Berkshire Courts, so I am told by a friend in the system, so I’m not sure if there is any conspiracy theory with that point. He said that the courts rotate monthly who issues the warrants

  18. Jim Gleason
    January 11, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Krol the weasel is trying to take on Walmart, wondering why a legal maneuver is being allowed to take place in the special kingdom of Pittsfield. I can just see all the housewives at Krol’s door if Walmart closes in Pittsfield. (Only kidding, they won’t let a pissant bother them) They pulled a legal move, good for them for being smart, that’s the American way. What about all the non=profit’s not paying anything? Give it up pissant.

    • rick
      January 11, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      good to see you are back jim….

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      January 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

      aS MUCH AS i’M NOT A FAN OF cOUNCILOR kROLS( SEE PREVIOUS POSTS) TAKING wAL mART TO TASK ON THIS WAS THE RIGHT MOVE…sURPRISED TO SEE YOU SIDE WITH THE GREEDY CORPORATE GIANT JIMMY G…Sorry I ust realized my caps lock was on….

      • Jim Gleason
        January 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

        I DON’T LIKE Krol, and maybe that dislike gets in the way of reason, but he’s got no shot here. This is pure grandstanding. Clairmont, who I also have no use for, did make a good point in explaining that the State gets the income Pittsfield lost so they’re not going to change any laws or policies in our favor to spite them.

  19. Porcupine Tree
    January 11, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Molly,
    You wrote:
    “As for universal health care allowing businesses to not have to provide healthcare and administer it, have you looked at what’s coming down the road from Obamacare? ”
    Obamacare is NOT universal healthcare so your statement makes no sense. I did not even mention Obamacare in my post. I would also like to see Obamacare go away as it definitely is not the answer.
    My points in my previous post? I was just adding one pro that was left out regarding UHC and pointing out the misinformation that is out there regarding our healthcare system.
    And treatment for disease in this country is terrible. Please look up the ‘cure’ rates for lung, liver, and pancreatic cancers. And the folks who are ‘cured’ often die a few years later yet they list them as cured. And have you seen the affects of chemo and radiaton on those that are ‘cured’? And how expensive it is? Decade upon decade of cancer research has made little progress. You see if a cure was found, so many people would lose money the cure would be squashed.

  20. joetaxpayer
    January 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Who cares about Krol.I hate wal-mart as much as the next guy.They are playing by the rules,and they found away to save money for there share holders.If you dont like it change the laws.Just like all the complaining about the non-profits not paying taxes.If you dont like it change the laws.