This blog is of, by and for the progressive members of our Jefferson County community. Our mission is to provide information about fellow progressives for all to view, to provide a forum for forward looking candidates and to offer other varied items of interest. Your opinion is important to this blog and if you wish to write us an item or send us a picture please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org THIS BLOG IS NOT AN OFFICIAL BLOG OF THE JEFFERSON COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Senate Finance Committee votes of today. Senator Harkin has the reality position here.
The public wants it. the Doctors want it. The only major problem is the insurance companies that fund those Republican and Blue Dog campaign coffers. Lets get healthcare done and then target the campaign finance abusers.
Monday, September 28, 2009
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the direction of our Count Wide and Legislative Candidates. We have only 30 Days left and we would like to let you know how the campaigns are doing and discuss the various ways we would like to assist them.
We would also like to introduce you to the paid staff of the Bill Owens camp. We have a number of staff members at the new location and they would like to meet each of you and put a face with the name. They would also appreciate any furniture you might be able to lend the campaign. By furniture I mean tables, chairs, couch's, file cabinets, phones etc. What they would really like is anything that can be used to hold up a phone. The office is very sparse and anything you can supply to help with increasing the comfort level would be much appreciated.
The staff would also appreciate any food you might be able to bring by between now and Nov 3rd. The DCCC staffing the office are very young and they are mostly eating fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Any food you could bring be it a crock pot or baked pasta would be really appreciated. These are great kids and we owe them a great deal for coming here and doing what ever is necessary to get the win for us. The least we can do is drop off some items to keep them healthy.
I also wanted to let you know that we are planning a dinner for Oct 22nd at the North Side Improvement league. It looks like we'll have a cavalcade of dignitaries in the room so please lease mark your calendar for this historic event.
Other then that all is well. We were successful in securing the Independence Party line in an opportunity to Ballot in Legislative District 11 for Paul Simmons as well as getting an endorsement from SEIU 1199 for all our Legislative Candidates. We're also in discussions with many of the local Labor groups in respect to endorsements and it appears they are going to follow suit. We're fighting hard and with some hard work we will be successful in not only keeping the seats we hold on the County Leg but also picking up seats as well.
Please feel free to call if you have any questions and I look forward to seeing you this Wednesday for our meeting.
Sean M Hennessey
Democratic Party Voted to allow for email notice of upcoming meetings. That being said this is the first of hopefully many notices we are sending out about a meeting that will be held on Wednesday Sep 30th 2009 @
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Polls aren't the be all and end all of politics. Except for that last one. You know, the biggy on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
New Poll Shows Statistical Three Way Tie in NY-23 Special Election
Washington - A poll released today by Club for Growth shows a statistical tie among the three candidates in the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district to replace John McHugh, the former congressman who recently became Secretary of the Army.
The poll of 300 likely voters showed Republican Dede Scozzafava at 20%, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman at 17%, Democrat Bill Owens at 17% and 45% undecided, within the poll's margin of error of +/- 5.66%.
The poll also asked "Would you prefer your next member of Congress be a liberal Democrat, a liberal Republican, or a Conservative party candidate who would align himself with Republicans in Congress?" The Conservative Party candidate was selected by 36% of respondents, compared to 31% for the Democrat and 18% for the Republican.
The poll was conducted September 17. Questions from the poll are here(PDF).
People have been saying all sorts of untrue things about me lately, so I decided it was time to stand up and set the record straight.
First off: the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. I'm happy and healthy. And I'm proud to play a starring role in four of thebills currently on the table.
Second: I have a lot of friends. President Obama and support me—as do 77% of the American people. In fact, I'm feeling pretty popular.
But there is one area where I could use your help. Your senator, Charles Schumer, sits on the
, which is considering a "trigger" proposal that could kill me through indefinite delay.
Sen. Schumer is a strong supporter of the public health insurance option. Can you call to thank him and urge him to keep fighting against the "trigger" proposal?
Here's where to call:
Senator Charles Schumer
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe may be the deciding vote against the public health insurance option this week -- even though her constituents favor it 2 to 1.
We're raising $100,000 to air the below accountability ad in Maine and DC -- pressuring Olympia Snowe to represent her constituents. Can you chip in?
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
On September 16, 2009 Gertrude Karris was invited to meet with the association of Town Clerks and Tax Collectors to discuss the past and future of the Jefferson County Clerks office. Gertrude said “I would like to thank all the Town Clerks that allowed me to outline my ideas to bring greater access to the County DMV while growing the revenue base. For far too long the County DMV has been a place where unhappy clients have been the norm and we must listen to our clients and move to make positive changes.”
After meeting with the Clerks Association it was clear that many of our Town Clerks are especially concerned about the direction of the Jefferson County DMV. Many questioned Gertrude’s opponent on what she planned to do to extend services to the greater Jefferson County Area. They were met with stock statements that changes could not be made because there was not enough money. Gertrude feels that our outlying Townships have been neglected. "When residents tell me that they would rather have a root canal than come to the Watertown DMV, or they drive to St. Lawrence County, Lewis County and Oswego County to avoid our own DMV, I think we better listen and find ways to improve customer service. Not every customer service improvement costs money."
The North Country has always been known for beautiful summers and harsh winters. Many seniors in towns such as Wilna, Evans Mills, Alexandria, Clayton, Ellisburg and Adams feel that services provided at the County DMV are simply too difficult to access and they feel isolated from services that they are entitled to. Gertrude feels that if we are able to grow our revenues to cover the additional resources needed for satellite offices, then we should share those surpluses with the very members of our community that have payed for them. “We need to reach out to our local clerks and work hand in hand to bring these needed services to our communities and keep the revenues in our County."
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Senator Darrel Aubertine and his talented staff arranged and promoted a blockbuster event today. The Senior Health Fair was instructive and constructive. Those Aubertine operatives
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The Jeff Democratic Party is cruisin' this fall. Monday 9/21 from 7 to 8:30 the Dems and friends will be pulling the anchor of the Bonnie Bell and venturing out into the St. Lawrence River. On board will be the probable Congressional Candidate Bill Owens, State Chair June O'Neill, the always dapper Darrel Aubertine and the Assemblywoman that represents the 'river district' where this boat floats, Addie Russell.
Our candidate for County Clerk is a fountain of new ideas. When Gert is Clerk it won't be same old, same old. For example, here is one of them.
DMV SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS
The Jefferson County Department of Motor Vehicles has improved over the years but we are still unable to adequately serve our growing population.
Our population size and density are comparable to nearby counties that have significantly more DMV offices and services.
Have you or a friend gone to Lowville or Pulaski just to avoid frustration with our own DMV?
Do you know about the DMV office on Fort Drum?
Many people I have spoken with do not know it exists or do not know how to gain access to the base. One idea I plan to look into is the possibility of moving the office just outside the base; keeping it close to the military population but more accessible to the general population.
In this day and age, there should be better communication and access: Printable forms, maps, directions, and detailed checklists, showing how to complete some of the more common DMV tasks, should be readily available on the internet.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Sen. Charles E. Schumer is asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to tap emergency powers to send money directly to dairy farmers struggling to make ends meet because of plummeting milk prices.
Schumer, D-N.Y., just wrapped up a phone call with Vilsack, in which he urged the agriculture secretary to tap funds from the Agriculture Department’s Commodity Credit Corporation to immediately give financial relief to dairy farmers. Under federal law, the agriculture secretary has the authority to use CCC funds to support the prices of agricultural commodities with direct payments to farmers.
Schumer said immediate financial help is sorely needed to keep struggling dairy farmers in business. The industry has been hit hard this year by falling milk prices and high feed costs.
“I have never seen our dairy farmers in more distress,” Schumer said, adding that the pain is being felt “from one end of the state to the other.”
“We’re going to have hundreds of dairy farmers go under in the next three or four months unless there (are) immediate, quick results from Washington,” Schumer said. “We need immediate relief.”
These increases will mean a big difference for New York’s Dairy Farmers. Here is how the increases would break down across the state:
· In the Capital Region, farmers would see an annual increase of $32,827,650
· In Western New York, farmers would see an annual increase of $72,357,000
· In the Rochester Finger Lakes Area, farmers would see an annual increase of $43,400,850
· In Central new York, farmers would see an annual increase of $58,766,700
· In the Southern Tier, farmers would see an annual increase of $41,278,200
· In the Hudson Valley, farmers would see an annual increase of $9,411,750
· In the North Country, farmers would see an annual increase of $72,650,700
(Thanks Bill--we lifted this from the Oswego Democrat blog)
As Americans search for the cure to what ails our health-care system, we've overlooked an invaluable source of ideas and solutions: the rest of the world. All the other industrialized democracies have faced problems like ours, yet they've found ways to cover everybody - and still spend far less than we do.
I've traveled the world from Oslo to Osaka to see how other developed democracies provide health care. Instead of dismissing these models as "socialist," we could adapt their solutions to fix our problems. To do that, we first have to dispel a few myths about health care abroad:
1. It's all socialized medicine out there.
Not so. Some countries, such as Britain, New Zealand and Cuba, do provide health care in government hospitals, with the government paying the bills. Others - for instance, Canada and Taiwan - rely on private-sector providers, paid for by government-run insurance. But many wealthy countries - including Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland - provide universal coverage using private doctors,private hospitals and private insurance plans.
In some ways, health care is less "socialized" overseas than in the United States. Almost all Americans sign up for government insurance (Medicare) at age 65. In Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, seniors stick with private insurance plans for life. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the planet's purest examples of government-run health care.2. Care is rationed through limited choices or long lines.
Generally, no. Germans can sign up for any of the nation's 200 private health insurance plans - a broader choice than any American has. If a German doesn't like her insurance company, she can switch to another, with no increase in premium. The Swiss, too, can choose any insurance plan in the country.
In France and Japan, you don't get a choice of insurance provider; you have to use the one designated for your company or your industry. But patients can go to any doctor, any hospital, any traditional healer. There are no U.S.-style limits such as "in-network" lists of doctors or "pre-authorization" for surgery. You pick any doctor, you get treatment - and insurance has to pay.
Canadians have their choice of providers. In Austria and Germany, if a doctor diagnoses a person as "stressed," medical insurance pays for weekends at a health spa.
As for those notorious waiting lists, some countries are indeed plagued by them. Canada makes patients wait weeks or months for non-emergency care, as a way to keep costs down. But studies by the Commonwealth Fund and others report that many nations - Germany, Britain, Austria - outperform the United States on measures such as waiting times for appointments and for elective surgeries.
In Japan, waiting times are so short that most patients don't bother to make an appointment. One Thursday morning in Tokyo, I called the prestigious orthopedic clinic at Keio University Hospital to schedule a consultation about my aching shoulder. "Why don't you just drop by?" the receptionist said. That afternoon, I was in the surgeon's office. Dr. Nakamichi recommended an operation. "When could we do it?" I asked. The doctor checked his computer and said, "Tomorrow would be pretty difficult. Perhaps some day next week?"
3. Foreign systems are inefficient, bloated bureaucracies.
Much less so than here. It may seem to Americans that U.S.-style free enterprise - private-sector, for-profit health insurance - is naturally the most cost-effective way to pay for health care. But in fact, all the other payment systems are more efficient than ours.
U.S. health insurance companies have the highest administrative costs in the world; they spend roughly 20 cents of every dollar for nonmedical costs, such as paperwork, reviewing claims and marketing. France's health insurance industry, in contrast, covers everybody and spends about 4 percent on administration. Canada's universal insurance system, run by government bureaucrats, spends 6 percent on administration. In Taiwan, a leaner version of the Canadian model has administrative costs of 1.5 percent; one year, this figure ballooned to 2 percent, and the opposition parties savaged the government for wasting money.
The world champion at controlling medical costs is Japan, even though its aging population is a profligate consumer of medical care. On average, the Japanese go to the doctor 15 times a year, three times the U.S. rate. They have twice as many MRI scans and X-rays. Quality is high; life expectancy and recovery rates for major diseases are better than in the United States. And yet Japan spends about $3,400 per person annually on health care; the United States spends more than $7,000.
4. Cost controls stifle innovation.
False. The United States is home to groundbreaking medical research, but so are other countries. Any American who's had a hip or knee replacement is standing on French innovation. Deep-brain stimulation to treat depression is a Canadian breakthrough. Many of the wonder drugs promoted endlessly on American television, including Viagra, come from British, Swiss or Japanese labs.
Overseas, strict cost controls actually drive innovation. In the United States, an MRI scan of the neck region costs about $1,500. In Japan, the identical scan costs $98. Under the pressure of cost controls, Japanese researchers found ways to perform the same diagnostic technique for one-fifteenth the American price. (And Japanese labs still make a profit.)
5. Health insurance has to be cruel.
Not really. American health insurance companies routinely reject applicants with a "pre-existing condition." They employ armies of adjusters to deny claims. If a customer is hit by a truck and faces big medical bills, the insurer's "rescission department" digs through the records looking for grounds to cancel the policy, often while the victim is still in the hospital. The companies say they have to do this stuff to survive in a tough business.
Foreign health insurance companies, in contrast, must accept all applicants, and they can't cancel as long as you pay your premiums. The plans are required to pay any claim submitted by a doctor or hospital (or health spa), usually within tight time limits. The big Swiss insurer Groupe Mutuel promises to pay all claims within five days. "Our customers love it," the group's chief executive told me. The corollary is that everyone is mandated to buy insurance, to give the plans an adequate pool of rate-payers.
The key difference is that foreign health insurance plans exist only to pay people's medical bills, not to make a profit. The United States is the only developed country that lets insurance companies profit from basic health coverage.
In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really "foreign" to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we're Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we're Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we're Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we're Burundi or Burma: In the world's poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can't pay stay sick or die.
This fragmentation is another reason that we spend more than anybody else and still leave millions without coverage. All the other developed countries have settled on one model for health-care delivery and finance; we've blended them all into a costly, confusing bureaucratic mess.
Which, in turn, punctures the most persistent myth of all: that America has "the finest health care" in the world. We don't. In terms of results, almost all advanced countries have better national health statistics than the U.S. does. In terms of finance, we force 700,000 Americans into bankruptcy each year because of medical bills. In France, the number of medical bankruptcies is zero. Britain: zero. Japan: zero. Germany: zero.
Given our remarkable medical assets - the best-educated doctors and nurses, the most advanced hospitals, world-class research - the U.S. could be, and should be, the best in the world. To get there, we have to be willing to learn some lessons about health-care administration from the other industrialized democracies.
AND SPEAKING OF HEALTHCARE ISSUES IT WAS GOOD TO SEE A NUMBER OF JCDC TYPES OUT PICKETING WITH THE SAMARITAN NURSES TODAY
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Thank you to the 6 dozen, or so, of you each day that check in with Jefferson Democrat.
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