Monthly Archives: August 2009

Armageddon sick of these fires.

No blog today. Sorry, guys. I’m running errands, bashing out a script for the radio, and taking a stand on climate change. All time-consuming pursuits, especially the climate change one – because, quite honestly, it’s hot as hell here. Someone needs to do something about this.

fireRight now in L.A. we’re witnessing what Armageddon will look, feel, and smell like.

Apocalyptic fires are roaring through the county forests – sparked by some religious nut, no doubt. The temperature reached 105 degrees in our driveway yesterday (111 in our friends’ driveway), the air stinks of smoke, and I have grit in my eye. That’s not good, right?

This is what I imagine it’s going to be like in the End Times that Christians are constantly praying for.  In fact, right now Christians must be delighted with progress on the End Times front. Things are going well, even though the premise is completely made up. Any more summers like this one and I might be tempted to join them in believing that God has plans to finish us all off.

www.cashpeters.com

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He’s baaaaaaa-ack.

Michael MooreEvery time Michael Moore releases a new film, something inside of me lurches convulsively, and a crushed-out little voice cries, “Why aren’t you doing stuff like that?”

And I have no answer.

I’d certainly love to. Perhaps I fear that if I start shooting bare-knuckle exposes of my adopted country, then my adopted country might just get pissed off and throw me out. In the meantime, while I’m still working on the immigration small print, we have Moore and his team doing another outstanding job with Capitalism: A Love Story

www.cashpeters.com.

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Genius finally gets its due.

Not often I’m excited and baying to see an animated movie, but this one promises to be stunning. It’s called 9, it’s produced by Tim Burton, and started off as a mesmerizing little short film that did the rounds on YouTube. Burton saw it, invited Shane Acker the director to turn it into a piece of big screen magnificence. And lo, here it is.

I’ve waited a long time for 9. I hope it lives up to its promise.

First, here’s the link to the HD trailer. Click on it and it’ll take you to YouTube. 

Next is the new (visceral, gripping, atmospheric, BRILLIANTLY awesome) website trailer, which you can view HERE

And finally, if you’re as gripped as I was by these little sewn-up people in their torn-up world, here’s the original movie. Sometimes genius does get its day in the sun. Enjoy.

www.cashpeters.com

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Writing a few wrongs.

I have a gift, did I ever mention this? It wouldn’t surprise me if I didn’t. It’s just something I can do; a natural talent so effortless that it frequently slips my mind. Yet it’s an amazing asset nonetheless and I should do more with it.

What am I talking about? Why, handwriting analysis, of course.

You didn’t know?

writing 1It’s not exactly a secret. I’ve written three books on the subject, though none of them happens to be very good. In each case – especially the last one – the editor, for some reason, thought he or she knew a lot more about this than I did and totally rewrote or reworked the material, making it either inaccessible to readers or in certain instances just plain inaccurate. I’ve never understood that.

The really amazing thing is that, okay, I’m able to do this – interpret handwriting – yet I have never studied the subject. EVER. Never trained, never opened a book, never taken a course, nothing. I can just do it naturally. It’s the goshdarned wierdest thing.

Made wierder because I’m not even interested in handwriting. 

I’m serious. 

Normally, graphologists – the technical name for analysts – spend years, decades, half their life, making a microscopic study of the subject. It’s their passion. Then, at the end of all that effort, they declare proudly that they are “75% accurate” in their interpretation.

75%? That’s all??? My lord, I’d be so embarrassed.

Me, I’m around 99% accurate, and, frankly, ashamed that I can’t make it the full 100%. 

Don’t ask me why or how all this came to pass, by the way. It’s a mystery. It just crept up on me one day when I was around 32 years old, and since then – bingo! I’ve been able to deduce people’s innermost workings from the energy they invest in their scribble. Blackboards, menus, Post-It notes, cards, letters, originals or copies, doesn’t matter – it’s all good.  

In fact, when I first came to America, I used to do parties in my spare time and dazzle people with my skills. 

Then the Smithsonian Institution called. Wanted me to analyze the writing of an obscure 19th Century painter. It took me forty minutes. What I sent them back was not only dead-on, they said, but yielded more information than their best, most consistent research had turned up in fifteen years!  

vieiraI was on TV a lot too, doing Entertainment Tonight a few times, and The View (off-camera, I told the wonderful Meredith Vieira that she was frustrated with being on there and that she should leave and spread her wings, and she said, “I know! You are so right. That’s exactly how I feel.” Now she’s hosting The Today Show.) And a bunch of others. Folks loved it.

Then I quit.

Couple of reasons. A: I didn’t want to be known as a handwriting analyst. And B: I was scaring people, and that’s never good.

At a party at the Beverly Hills Hotel once, I told a woman about her life and how bleak it was at the time. The evidence was right there on the page, in every stroke of the pen, and I absolutely nailed it. But then, a few days later, her angry husband cornered my partner with a message to pass on to me. First he denied that what I’d told his wife was true. Then he added, “Tell him that if he keeps on doing this to people, someone’s going to sue him.”   

Well, that was it. He was right, I realized. And I didn’t want to be justifying this stupid talent in court. Without training or diplomas, what was I going to say? That it just magically appeared overnight, giving me the power to change people’s lives?

Pah, no way. So I stopped. Easy come, easy go. From that day onwards, I never did another handwriting analysis. Except maybe privately. Christmas cards and thank-you notes are always fun. I can tell exactly where friends are in their lives, which is frequently the opposite to where they say they are.

After that, nothing happened for years. I did radio and a TV show, wrote travel books instead. Eventually, the topic didn’t even come up in conversation any more. As far as I was concerned, I was done with handwriting for good.

Then, recently, two odd things happened.

A few weeks ago, the woman I’d analyzed at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the one whose husband issued veiled threats, approached my partner and told him privately, “Everything Cash said about me that day was true.” (Something we both knew anyway.)

Soon after that, over breakfast one Sunday, my partner – damn him – happened to let slip to a couple of new friends about my gift. That I used to analyze handwriting and was astonishingly accurate.

“Oh, you should do mine,” one of them chimed up immediately, as people always do.

“Actually,” I told her, “it’s been years. I don’t do it any more. I’ve forgotten most of it and am very rusty.”

But she persisted, sent me a written note, and came over one evening to hear the result. It was like getting a hepatitis test.

handwriting 2Astonishingly – to me, not her – without any preparation I told her all about herself. Her fears, her background, her insecurities, the reasons she behaved the way she did in relationships, the influence of her father  – it was staggering. (Again, to me, not her!) An hour later, she went home happy, pensive, and, I guess impressed, because she immediately recommended me to a friend of hers. 

Next thing I know, I’m sitting at a table yesterday morning with a family of Swedish people, total strangers. They’ve brought photocopies of the handwritings of dead parents and grandparents with them, and I’m studying them with a huge magnifying glass the size of a dinner plate, fluidly rattling off secrets – things about their behavior, attitudes, beliefs etc that nobody ever understood when they were alive.

It was a struggle, I’ll be honest. Seven writings in 90 minutes, with skills that  are blunted through lack of practice. Yet apparently everything I said rang true and made perfect sense. And the writing wasn’t even in English!    

Better still, I got paid for doing it. Oh my God, I made money at handwriting analysis!

So there we are. I’m a bit clueless as to what to do next with this. It’ll probably be nothing. Although I must say, this recent turn of events gives me a certain amount of pleasure, as well as vindication. I may be nowhere near as good as I used to be, but dang! Even at this subpar level, without trying too hard, I’m clearly better than most.

When my first handwriting book was published in Britain years ago, there was outrage from graphologists. Uproar, consternation. “We’ve researched this subject for decades, earned diplomas, and practiced until we’re 75% accurate,” they said angrily. “And you just breeze in without any qualifications and claim to be better than us? Is that what you’re saying?”

Yup. Pretty much.

As a result, my book was banned from graphology conventions, there were articles written in magazines decrying my method, and many people tried to stir up trouble.

There were similar stirrings when the American books came out as well, though nowhere near as much. And now I realize why. Handwriting is dead. People don’t write any more. Bit by bit, graphologists are losing ground to computers, until very soon there’ll be nothing left for them to work on. All their precious studies – of loops and strokes and margins and slants and other minutiae, leading to a 25% error rate – will be flushed away down history’s toilet. And good riddance, I say. Miserable, narrow-minded bunch.

Whereas myself, I didn’t ask for this gift – that’s why it’s called a gift – so if I don’t analyze another piece of writing ever again after yesterday, what do I care? 

At least I did something fun with it. I wrote books. I made a lot of people think differently about themselves. Plus, my work is filed away at the Smithsonian. And, best of all, I was instrumental in persuading Meredith Vieira to leave The View. That’s got to count for something, right?

www.cashpeters.com

NOTE: There’ll be no Swami column tomorrow. Out of town. Have a lovely weekend, people.

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Ways to baffle Americans, part 1: Acorn Antiques.

Acorn AntiquesIt remains one of the funniest things ever broadcast on British TV. Unfortunately, it doesn’t travel, either historically or geographically.

Acorn Antiques was a fake soap loosely modeled on a real soap running at the time called Crossroads, about life in a motel, whose bad acting, flimsy sets, and abominable clunky plot-twists became a British institution for all the wrong reasons. 

Watching it now, twenty-four years later, it still makes me laugh out loud. I doubt Americans will get it, which is a shame, but it cheers me up incedibly whenever I catch a rerun.

 www.cashpeters.wordpress.com

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The Pitts. But in a good way.

Brad PittThere’s a lot of talk in the news about Brad Pitt’s appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, chatting about how ridiculous the anti-gay marriage lobby is and also about smoking pot.

I get the feeling that this is not what he wanted the promotion for his new movie to be about. And it wasn’t helped by Quentin Tarantino turning up on Howard Stern’s show yesterday, claiming Pitt gave him a slice from a brick of hash at his and Angelina’s house in France.(Listen HERE) But hey, it is what it is.

I always think, listening to this guy, that he’s the sane, rational face of America. While thousands of nutcases get in a froth over healthcare, decrying the onset of socialism in America, spurred on by the right-Fox Newswing fundamentalists on Fox News who, I believe, have the unstated intention of fanning the flames of unrest – and for what? For a measure that, if the screaming, placard-waving hordes stopped for a second to think about it, was actually going to help most of them enjoy a better standard of living – whilst all of that is going on, someone like Brad Pitt restores one’s faith in the country, making intelligent points, delivering them with care and compassion, and giving us hope that America is not entirely in the grip of lunatics, lobbyists, and big corporations protecting their profits at the expense of ordinary people.

Here’s the interview. Enjoy.

www.cashpeters.com

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At last, the faceless yes-monkeys get what’s coming to them.

networksI confess, nothing in this world brings a sparkle to my jaded eye on an overcast Monday morning in Los Angeles quite like hearing that the television industry is in trouble, with ratings in the toilet, executives being canned, and advertisers fleeing like kids from a burning orphanage.

It feels so right somehow. Like justice, or something.

The Wrap website today features the first part of a series of articles about the decline and predicted extinction of  TV as we know it. It’s worth reading.

TV executive

Out of work TV executive

Speaking as someone who’s worked in TV on both sides of the Atlantic and been forced to deal with ghastly weasels who call themselves producers, as well as slimey, two-faced network executives with zero scruples or backbone, it gives me the greatest pleasure to witness karma at work as these rats are slowly, year upon year, flushed from the plush, carpeted, five-star drains they’ve been cowering in for so long and out into the open job market.

Television is changing for good. Having destroyed their industry by flooding the schedules increasingly with cheap, annoying, sensationalist and ultimately no-quality product, the suits are now finding – surprise surprise – that viewers are drifting away, searching for something more productive to do with their time, taking advertisers, and therefore budgets, with them.  

Howard Stern this morning declared the end of TV as we know it, blaming a string of lousy and misguided executive decisions that focused on pandering to the mindless youth demographic of this country rather than producing quality shows. And he’s right.  HBO and a couple of other cable networks are the lone wolves in the quality TV department. Everyone else has thrown in the towel. (Need an example? See Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami.)    

My next door neighbor is on the board of HBO. He’s an incredibly smart man. If the rest of his colleagues are like him, it’s no wonder the network is thriving.

Sadly, he’s an isolated case. Most executives are not that astute. Usually, when we see these people sitting in their fancy corner offices making multi-million dollar deals, we assume they got where they are because they’re brilliant at what they do, when in fact, all too often, the exact opposite is true.

Kath and Kim

Kath and Kim

Look at the way Ben Silverman brought NBC to its creative knees with a string of appalling shows that were cancelled either during or, if they made it that far, at the end of the first season, never to reappear: Kath and Kim, My Own Worst Enemy, Knight Rider, Crusoe, Kings, Life, Lipstick Jungle….

Ghastly, every last one of them. Who on earth would ever think we’d want to sit and watch this trash? Oh, wait – Ben Silverman did. This is the trail of devastation he left behind him when he left.

My own experience of working with TV people confirms that they’re anything but the geniuses we have them down for. Most are faceless yes-monkeys, slaves to focus group findings and marketing surveys, whose main aptitude seems to be for manipulation, deceit and lying; everything else – judgment, creative ability, decisive action, vision, etc; stuff that really matters – is either secondary or non-existent.

A TV executive has one main priority: to keep his job as a TV executive and not get fired for making bad decisions. That’s it. If a show’s a hit, claim it as your own; if it flops, keep your head down and move on to the next thing. To hell with what’s actually good and worthwhile or what raises the bar and advances the medium.

So I applaud the dire prospects of the TV industry. And I absolutely love that the fall-out is taking many of the yes-monkeys with it.

Now, having said that, I will hand the baton jubilantly over to Josef Adalian at The Wrap for his analysis of the devastation that is taking place.   

“Network TV may be a cyclical business — but for bruised and battered broadcasters battling the worst economy in a generation, there’s little evidence to suggest a bounce back is in the cards any time soon.

If anything, things could get a lot worse before they get better. Some observers are even beginning to question whether there will ever be a turnaround, predicting that business model which has sustained broadcasters for close to 60 years has begun an irreversible decline.

The latest blow: A disastrous upfront advertising market that saw revenues plunge an estimated 15 percent from last year, dropping from $9.2 billion in 2008 to around $7.8 billion, according to estimates by several publications….”

Read the FULL article HERE.

TV Swami – he say YES to the demise of television, even though he’ll have nothing left to review on the BBC if it crashes.

www.cashpeters.com   

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Simpsons, cool again for the briefest moment.

simpsonsBelow is something cool. A Simpsons take-off of the Mad Men opening title sequence. Lovely stuff.

So cool actually that they’ve prevented us embedding it in the blog. So click below, then choose to go to YouTube.

TV Swami – he say YES to comedies doing stuff without laughs in them.  Arrested Development would be another example. Only that time it wasn’t deliberate.

www.cashpeters.com

Watch Cash’s movie, Fast and Very Loose, HERE

Read Cash’s book HERE.

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Not fat enough yet? NBC can help.

Today is not only Casual Friday but also, checking out my calendar, I find it’s Grave Disappointment Day as well.

On Grave Disappointment Day there’s no blog, sadly. Traditionally it coincides with the Swami taking his car in for its 15,000 mile service even though it only has 11,000 miles on the clock, due to some silly contractual clause in the lease, which means he has to sit in Starbucks for hours filling in time rather than doing something constructive. Writing nonsense, for instance.

Sorry. There’s nothing I can do. Blame Audi.

But I’m not abandoning you entirely. Let me keep you entertained with an item of modern stupidity.

The Huffington Post yesterday featured a clip from The Today Show, in which Matt Lauer interviews a dietitian about exciting ways to feed a family on a road trip.

However – and here’s where the idiots in society start cheering – she advises them to eat a whole bunch of food that is recognized as being thoroughly unhealthy for them, if not artery-clogging – from Taco Bell and McDonalds, for instance. Rather than emphasize nutrition, she concerns herself only with calories. Fabulous.

For a country where a large proportion of the population has large proportions, bordering on being clinically obese, it’s one of the most delinquent pieces of mass programming I’ve seen in a long while and makes me want to hold both sides of my head and scream.

It’s HERE. Enjoy.

www.cashpeters.com

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Sticking it to Wholefoods. Yay!

I don’t watch the news, I’ve said that before.

By choice, I deliberately take a back seat to everything that’s going on. Not out of indifference, but because what’s going on is so lunatic, so troublesome, so extreme, and so unrelated to my vision of: i) how a reasonable, decent, civilized society should be conducting itself; and ii) how a reasonable, decent, civilized media should be reporting on that society, that quite honestly I’d rather abstain altogether than waste a single ounce of vital energy trying to figure out who’s right and who’s wrong. That’s why God invented other people.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

Yesterday, an outraged friend of mine sent me a link to the Daily Kos wholefoods logowebsite. They’re reporting that John Mackey, co-founder of Wholefoods – one of my favorite stores wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this week opposing universal healthcare. Opposing it, though. I mean, my god!! What kind of narrow-minded, heartless beast can’t see the value in average Americans having access to doctors when they’re ill without bankrupting themselves? It’s nuts.

Well, the Daily Kos was even more outraged than my outraged friend, and that takes some doing: she’s pretty outraged, I have to say.

mackeyThe article went on to declare Mackey “anti progressive and frankly a threat to the health and wellbeing of millions who do not have health insurance and those who could barely afford it.”

There’s lots more, if you can bear it. Read the whole thing here.

Well, naturally, as a shopper, I was outraged too and leapt on the anti-Mackey bandwagon at once. My friend declared that she would never shop at Wholefoods again -selfish, money-grubbing, anti-human bastards that they are. No, from this point on, the store was businessa non grata, as far as she was concerned.

wholefoodsAnd I agree. Even though I buy my dried apricots  there, and their vegan samosas are to die for, our love affair is over. End of story.

Except that…

Well, it’s not end of story. Not really.

Because after reading the Daily Kos post, I decided to do something I never do. I followed up. I read the Wall Street Journal op-ed for myself.

And here’s where I always get into trouble. Here’s where all geminis get into trouble. Because the more I absorbed what Mackey was saying and thought about it, the more sense it made to me. I didn’t agree with some of his proposals. But he’s a businessman, of course, with an eye always on the bottom line, and I’m a rational, caring human being concerned for his fellow man, so I didn’t expect to. Still, some of his points seemed valid. 

Here’s a small excerpt.

“Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.

Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor’s Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million….

Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.

Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.

Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices…”

There’s plenty more.

But he’s right. I can see that. Right about obesity and people not taking care of their health. Right that nutrition and exercise are essential to our physical and emotional well-being, and that most Americans turn their back on that fact and prefer to eat processed crap instead. Crap that destroys their body from the inside out. Crap not sold by Wholefoods.

He’s also right about the waiting lists. I haven’t lived in the UK for over a decade, but I do remember certain things about the National Health Service, and that’s one of them. The “service” part, for instance, is really poor. The staff I encountered were underpaid, flustered, tired, and unfriendly. Trying to care, but having a hard time of it. The atmosphere in certain hospitals was more like that of a disinfected abattoir, with bodies being pushed through as fast as possible. And, worst of all, waiting lists for the privilege of being treated in such a roughshod way were exruciatingly long.

Some time ago, another friend of mine who lives in London badly needed a cataract operation, yet she had to wait two years for it. Private medical insurance would have made that happen within a couple of weeks.

On the plus side, the service is free to all.

If you’re in an accident, an ambulance will come get you, you’ll receive treatment and be put back on your feet, and you won’t be landed with a bill equivalent to the budget for NASA’s space program afterwards. That’s got to be a good thing.

On the whole, though, as I recall, the National Health Service was inefficient, poorly-funded, and sicker than its patients, always teetering on the brink of financial disaster. Great to have – check. A reassuring  back-up in case of emergencies – check. But otherwise not as good as it was cracked up to be.

Which is why, when I lived in Britain, like many other people I invested in private medical insurance, same way I do in the U.S. Private medicine had mopped up most of the good doctors. Why waste their time trying to earn a meager crust in the battleground of the public sector when they could amass a small fortune in the private sector?

Suddenly, you’re beginning to understand why I don’t involve myself in the news or politics, or decisions that require me to make an intelligent choice between two opposing viewpoints. I can’t do it. I’m a gemini. I see both sides. 

On the one hand, sure, my outraged friend is right. I absolutely support those who want to introduce affordable healthcare for the masses and I would fight to the bitter end to ensure that every man, woman, and child in this country receives the level of medical attention they need when they need it, at a price they can afford. That said, after reading Mackey’s op-ed, I quite honestly oppose healthcare 100% and will do everything in my power to make sure it never happens.  

Damn. This grown-up stuff is hard.

All the same, my boycott of Wholefoods still stands. At least until my supply of dried apricots runs out.  

Bloggers revolt.

Shoppers revolt.

www.cashpeters.com

P.S. After writing the above post, my outraged friend forwarded me an email from that lovely David Axelrod. Address: the White House. Here it is. Do with it what you will.

Dear Friend,This is probably one of the longest emails I’ve ever sent, but it could be the most important.www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck this week to knock down the rumors and lies that are floating around the internet. You can find the information below, and much more, there. For example, we’ve just added a video of Nancy-Ann DeParle from our Health Reform Office tackling a viral email head on. Check it out:

Across the country we are seeing vigorous debate about health insurance reform. Unfortunately, some of the old tactics we know so well are back — even the viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions.

As President Obama said at the town hall in New Hampshire, “where we do disagree, let’s disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that’s actually been proposed.”

So let’s start a chain email of our own. At the end of my email, you’ll find a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.

Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could be answered by what’s below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email.

Thanks,
David

David Axelrod
Senior Adviser to the President

 

 
8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage:
 

  1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
  2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
  3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
  4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
  5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
  6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
  7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
  8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won’t be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.

Learn more and get details: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/health-insurance-consumer-protections/

8 common myths about health insurance reform

  1. Reform will stop “rationing” – not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a “government takeover” of health care or lead to “rationing.” To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
  2. We can’t afford reform: It’s the status quo we can’t afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
  3. Reform would encourage “euthanasia”: It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
  4. Vets’ health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans’ access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President’s budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
  5. Reform will benefit small business – not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
  6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare “doughnut” hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
  7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
  8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts.  Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose.  Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Learn more and get details:
http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck
http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck/faq

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

  1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/denied_coverage/index.html
  2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job.  Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hiddencosts/index.html
  3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/women/index.html
  4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hardtimes
  5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/helpbottomline
  6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction
  7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people – one in every three Americans under the age of 65 – were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction/diminishing/index.html
  8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance – projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA_Health_Care_Report.pdf

 

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