Friday, April 01, 2011


In his 27th month as Commander In Chief, President Obama is now presiding over three unnecessary wars, all with a different level of investment on his part.

Obama opposed the Iraq war before it started, and never argued its legitimacy in serving America's national interests. He has reduced the number of soldiers in Iraq and ended official combat operations. So little news emanates from Iraq that most Americans don't realize we still have 50,000 soldiers there at dozens of military bases. Since taking office, 204 GI's have died, many times that have been injured; while bombings, murder and mayhem involving Iraqis are a grotesque daily legacy of America's criminal invasion eight years ago.

The nine and a half year old Afghanistan war is a different matter. To have any chance of getting elected in a country ruled by the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex, candidate Obama embraced this war for dear life. Had he taken the same position on Afghanistan as he did on Iraq, Obama may well have lost the Presidency to war hero and war lover John McCain who is the undisputed champ when it comes to exploiting false patriotism to promote endless war. Obama now must answer for 858 American soldiers and thousands of Afghans who have needlessly died there since he earned his License To Kill on January 20, 2009.

But even though he twice escalated troop levels in Afghanistan by tens of thousands upon taking office, Obama still had no war he could truly call his own. He finally got his chance to orchestrate America's greatest export when he pushed the button to unleash hundreds of cruise missiles upon the hapless mercenaries doing Muammar Gaddafi's dirty work in the Libyan civil war.

Now, instead having to appear helpless to control events like the insane Congressional budget battles leading inexorably to a governmental shutdown, unemployment that may never again drop below 9%, gas which is heading to $4 a gallon if not to $5, and the impending Japanese nuclear catastrophe that may well flip the globe into a new worldwide recession, Obama can blow all those unpleasantries off the front page with his cakewalk in Libya.

The President has learned well the lesson of leaders seeking to stay in power when events at home spin out of control with no solution in sight - start a military operation.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


March 29, 2011

Congressman Peter Roskam
150 S. Bloomingdale Road, Suite 200
Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Dear Congressman Roskam:

While she doesn't reside in the Sixth District, or even in Illinois, twelve year old Taylor Wilhite of Ohio is someone you should know. Four years ago Taylor was diagnosed with leukemia. As her health care costs skyrocketed over $750,000, Taylor's parents were advised to check the lifetime cap on their health care insurance and found it ended at $1 million. Anxiety setting in, the Taylors began putting off all health care expenses for Taylor that weren't life threatening but still the heartless and arbitrary private health care limit loomed. Then a man made miracle happened. Over you and your entire party's tireless efforts to prevent it, President Obama achieved the century old dream, first proposed by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, of a national health care program that ended the lifetime limits on insured care. Taylor, whose treatment could eventually cost $4 million, will be given the medical care that up till now would be cut off by unscrupulous and greedy private health care insurers.

I bring up Taylor's case in response to your stunningly hurtful and insensitive March 17th email message trumpeting you and your party's number one objective in the 112th Congress: the repeal of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) enacted March 23, 2010. You continue to follow the propaganda line of the private health care industry and use the obscenity "Obamacare" to utterly trivialize the health care debate and totally ignore the immense benefits that this law is just beginning to bring to the 50 million Americans with inadequate or no health care insurance. You continue to perpetuate the lie that this bill is a job killer, when in fact it is the first substantive effort to reign in exploding health care costs while bringing relief to the folks you choose not to recognize.

What other health care benefits to the needy does your scurrilous attack on this law ignore?

1. Children can now stay on their parents' health insurance till age 26, covering a time when many do not have jobs with medical coverage

2. Small businesses get a 35% tax credit to help them buy medical coverage for their employees

3. Insurance companies can no longer cancel policies for innocent clerical errors to avoid paying major medical expenses. As a Congressman you should know that the House Energy and Commerce Committee found that just three insurers cancelled the policies over 20,000 people during a five-year period, confirming for lawmakers that the practice was widespread and growing. By rescinding those 20,000 policies, the three companies avoided paying for more than $300 million worth of medical care, much of it for critically ill people. This will help folks like Robin Beaton of Waxahachie, Texas. Her insurance company notified her the day before a scheduled mastectomy that it was canceling her coverage. Why? Robin had failed to note when she applied for insurance that she had previously been treated for acne.

4. That committee discovered during another investigation that the four largest U.S. insurance companies had refused to sell coverage to more than 600,000 people with pre-existing conditions over a three-year period. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurers can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. The law will apply to all of us by 2014.

5. Copayments are eliminated for preventive services

6. Insurers are now required to establish appeals procedures for denied coverage or claims.

7. The law has additionally begun to close the infamous "doughnut hole" in the Medicare prescription drug program.

8. Medicare beneficiaries are also now getting better coverage for preventive care.

9. Instead of engorging the wealth of their executives, the new law requires insurers to spend most of what we pay them in premiums on medical care. In 1993, insurers on average were spending 95 percent of our premiums paying medical claims. That average has dropped steadily ever since. In many cases, especially in the individual and small-group markets, insurers have been spending as little as 50 percent on medical care. The law requires insurers spend at least 80 percent (85 percent in the large-group market) on health care services or quality improvement activities. Those that don't will have to pay rebates to their policyholders. By 2014, states will have to set up health insurance exchanges, which should help control costs. Between 2000 and 2010, American families saw annual premiums increase 114% on average from $6,438 to $13,770 for private policies, and 147% for people insured by their employers. The exchanges, if implemented as Congress intended, should bring down the cost of premiums by fostering competition among insurers. The exchanges will also require insurers to provide data that will enable us to make apples-to-apples comparisons among various benefit plans.

Is this law perfect, Congressman? Absolutely not. Even with benefits accruing to 30 million Americans, another 20 million still have no health insurance whatsoever. But instead of dishonoring and disrespecting it with the two epithets "Obamacare and "job killer", roll up your sleeves and work to improve it in the 112th Congress. We know you have the intellect to achieve that goal. The real question is: do you have the heart and the conscience required?

Respectfully yours,

Walt Zlotow
Sixth District resident