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8/12/2009 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

I have little hope that we will get any meaningful health care system reform. There are too many special interest groups who don’t want to get thrown off the gravy train. And the conservatives are opposed to any meaningful reform at all on ideological grounds.

There are many uninformed people who are complaining about the "Obama health care plan."

The fact is that President Obama told Congress to write the health care bill and his only involvement was to give them some guidelines and things he wanted in the bill. The bill is not yet completed. The House has a version which will be further refined and the Senate has a version which will also be further refined. Perhaps "refined" is not the correct word. "Watered down" is probably more appropriate as the special interests and conservatives run it through the meat grinder.

Then after each house passes its version of the bill, it has to be reconciled and made into one bill which will pass both the House and Senate again. Then the president will either veto it or sign it.

So when people spin their scare stories about the Obama health care bill, they are mistaken. It is not Obama’s bill. The Congress is writing it and it is not yet finished.

The Clintons wrote their own health care bill and submitted it to Congress. That attempt failed. So Obama decided to try letting Congress write the bill. I believe that will also prove to be a failure.

The Clintons attempted to reform our health care system back when BlueCross and BlueShield was $500 per month for a family. Today it is over a thousand dollars a month. If nothing is done we can look at two thousand a month in 10 years, along with higher and higher deductibles.

This is breaking state and federal governments. Something has to be done. The conservative desire to do nothing will lead us to total financial ruin.

In the first place, the single payer system such as the rest of the industrialized world uses has been taken off the table. The conservatives looked at it and said "Horrors! Socialized medicine!"

Wanting to obtain a bipartisan health care reform bill, Obama removed the single payer system from consideration. You see, with the single payer system, the insurance companies are taken out of the health care mix and conservatives hate that idea. They like the idea of privately owned insurance companies taking a good portion of the health care dollar.

But the only way we are going to be able to pay for an improved health care system in the US is to remove obscene insurance company profits and bloated insurance company executive pay from the system.

For instance, the chief executive of BlueCross BlueShield of North Dakota was paid more than a million dollars a year. In 2009, Stephen Helmsley, CEO of the United Health Group is being paid $819,363.10 per day. Per DAY! And that’s counted as part of the cost of health care in the US. The United Health Group has also spent $12.6 million since 2007 lobbying against health care reform. Is there any wonder why?

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of health insurance companies in the US, each taking a part of the health care dollar.

We can pay for a lot of health care by removing these middlemen from the system. They don’t provide any health care. They just suck up the money and leave us holding the bag.


Man makes many plans. Some plans become reality, some don’t. Garrison Diversion is one plan that has been modified beyond the recognition of its original proponents. Here’s an item from a Wells County history book that was called to our attention by Howard Schmid of Oberon:

"The Great West Development Association, incorporated in 1929, is promoting the project of diverting the waters of the Missouri River to enlarge the water supply of the James and Sheyenne rivers and Devils Lake. The surveys being made by the US Army Engineers are nearly completed. The plan is considered feasible and practical and it is proposed to bring the waters across country in open channels to the James River in the Pony Gulch vicinity and on to the Sheyenne River. A proposed seven mile tunnel near Oberon will divert the waters of the Sheyenne to Devils Lake and be returned again via Stump Lake."

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