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Mar-08-2009 00:08printcomments

Op Ed: Healthcare Reform
Demonstrates Power
Of Honest Dialog

Obama Sensitivity Overcomes Bad Government Image.

Doctor and girl

(EUGENE, Ore.) - Did YOU watch President Obama confront head-on the major, most slippery problem/issue facing his new Administration -- HEALTHCARE?

I did --then watched-again on replay, to “see with own eyes” open, honest, democratic dialog destroying the myth about failure of government, always, on ANYthing. This first-of-a-series by our new President was a truly unheard-of spectacle “on-air/from D.C.”.

It set a brand-new pattern for building democracy proving reactions, with 120 key players on health care today participating, for the whole nation to see AND hear, firmly “on the record”.

That’s open, honest dialog vs the old, convoluted Congressional confrontation, driven by political-party manipulation, machination and massive private pressures, reported in sometimes distorted fashion by m/s/media. Consensus somehow must be achieved for honest democracy to rule.

Health care has eluded that essential action-level in prosperity and recession, war and peace, for too long, as President Obama told them straight: "When times were good, we didn't get it done. When we had mild recessions, we didn't get it done," Obama said at a White House summit launching his effort to treat the nation's ailing health system.

National and Congressional leaders in every aspect of the issue --conversant with pragmatic realities we are forced to face as never before-- set themselves up for open public promise of progress NOW.

They were right out there in open “see with own eyes” status, on public-record as never achieved before. That beats secretive, closed-door/exclusive plotting with private-interests only on energy and other issues.

It might even result in blinding transparency, with realistic open hearings probing inescapable problems, and motivating comprehensive Congressional consideration for wise AND rapid action. President Obama demonstrated full awareness of these realities in his straightforward statement: "There's always a reason not to do it. Now is exactly the time for us to deal with this problem."

He also reiterated his promise that special interests would not, this time, be allowed to derail, damage or deny the absolutely essential actions needed to guarantee health care access for many millions now deprived of what most Americans consider a 21st Century right, far too long-delayed.

What emerged via a true, honest, democratic dialog from this most powerful and comprehensive single group ever assembled for national “see with own eyes” public attention was thus placed firmly on the public record. Those until now considered “negative” to the Obama insistence on rapid remediation for health care on the national level were both present and vocal.

Given the current worldwide economic collapse now well underway, they seem to have gotten the message --well understood by millions of Americans-- that this is no long the same situation as they have encountered in preceding years.

The special report today in The Washington Post makes that critical situation entirely clear: Ex-Foes of Health-Care Reform Emerge as Supporters By Ceci Connolly Friday, 3/6/09; Excerpt: “In the room was Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Tex.), who proudly reminded the crowd of 150 that he was instrumental in killing 'Hillarycare' in the 1990s. Yesterday, he announced that he supported the principles that have been outlined by Obama."

“Also at the summit was Chip Kahn, who 15 years ago, as an insurance lobbyist, helped mastermind the iconic "Harry and Louise" ads that attacked the health-care overhaul proposed by President Bill and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Kahn, who now represents hospitals, said Obama has “successfully launched the process we need to achieve health reform, which we all want, and brought together congressional Democrats and Republicans with stakeholders to begin to forge a consensus."

“Karen Ignagni, who runs the nation's leading insurance association, told Obama, ‘You have our commitment to play, to contribute and to help pass health-care reform this year.’"

"That's good news," Obama said, sounding a bit surprised. "That's America's Health Insurance Plans," he said, referring to Ignagni's group.

“Similar words of support came from lobbyists for physicians, drugmakers and the corporate sector.” To make sure I was not simply reading too much into this one Obama group-process session, I then checked directly with three others “in the media”, at various levels --both locally and nationally.

My first contact, a 30-year camera-toting “one man band” noted for a tough approach to politicians, stated:“ I’ve never encountered anything like this session”.

He had noted the same sense of different attitudes and acceptance via the President’s approach. He reiterated my feeling that it set a new and significantly different pattern for instituting changes badly needed now.

The second contact was a media veteran from the print-side --a metropolitan daily winner of numerous Pulitzer and other awards.

He felt that inclusion of all once-confrontational parties involved, especially those known to have been involved in blocking action in previous years, was “the key component of this obviously highly successful session.”

For me, the Washington Post story today affirms his view, with specific quotes from those leading past opposition, both political and private-interest. The third contact, chosen for longtime experience in radio-news, and now at a famed national-level station, was also “deeply impressed” with the session. He agreed that “this is a unique new beginning” in Washington, and felt that “national level exposure widely-seen” was in itself an accomplishment, due to the open, honest, dialog approach.

“That was a solid new contrast vs the much more usual staid politically-correct pattern”, he stated. Thursday a new day may well have dawned in D.C., with President Obama demonstrating --very publicly-- precisely the leadership sensitivity and pragmatic skills which drew his huge working mandate.

That commanding mandate was well-recognized by both Congressional and private interest participants in this key consensus-seeking action-motivating session. Their close attention, shared respect, emphasis on learning from each other, and response to President Obama’s marching orders at the end was highly evident.

Whatever the final outcome, few can now find anything but praise and commendation for how well our new President put this one firmly “on the record”.


Henry Clay Ruark is the one of, if not the most experienced, working reporter in the state of Oregon, and possibly the entire Northwest. Hank has been at it since the 1930's, working as a newspaper staff writer, reporter and photographer for organizations on the east coast like the Bangor Maine Daily News.
Today he writes Op-Ed's for with words that deliver his message with much consideration for the youngest, underprivileged and otherwise unrepresented people.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Linda August 13, 2009 1:24 am (Pacific time)

We are forever.,

Deborah August 10, 2009 8:05 am (Pacific time)

Just do it,

George Daniels March 28, 2009 6:33 am (Pacific time)

All for Wedding :) Be Happy, Have Fun!

Henry Ruark March 9, 2009 5:47 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Here's "see with own eyes" link to FAIR review re lack of single-payer story coverage in msmedia, documenting again the lack of real probing newspaper comment on main public issues: Media Blackout on Single-Payer Healthcare FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) Major newspaper, broadcast and cable stories mentioning healthcare reform in the week leading up to President Barack Obama's March 5 healthcare summit rarely mentioned the idea of a single-payer national health insurance program, according to a new FAIR study. And advocates of such a system--two of whom participated in yesterday's summit--were almost entirely shut out, FAIR found. Single-payer--a model in which healthcare delivery would remain largely private, but would be paid for by a single federal health insurance fund (much like Medicare provides for seniors, and comparable to Canada's current system)--polls well with the public, who preferred it two-to-one over a privatized system in a recent survey (New York Times/CBS, 1/11-15/09 ). But a media consumer in the week leading up to the summit was more likely to read about single-payer from the hostile perspective of conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer than see an op-ed by a single-payer advocate in a major U.S. newspaper. Over the past week, hundreds of stories in major newspapers and on NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and PBS's NewsHour With Jim Lehrer mentioned healthcare reform, according to a search of the Nexis database (2/25/09-3/4/09). Yet all but 18 of these stories made no mention of "single-payer" (or synonyms commonly used by its proponents, such as "Medicare for all," or the proposed single-payer bill, H.R. 676), and only five included the views of advocates of single-payer--none of which appeared on television." ------------ Link provides still further detail re failure of our once-free public press.

Henry Ruark March 9, 2009 2:19 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Here's "see with own eyes" from new source with solid info re Reaganomics impact on current economic crisis worldwide, involving health care deeply: The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America Posted By admin On March 9, 2009 @ 9:39 am In Feature Stories | No Comments Listen to this segment | the entire program kleinknecht Twenty years ago, one of the most lionized American presidents left office: Republican Ronald Reagan, whose legacy conservatives cite as quintessentially in favor of working Americans. Reagan still enjoys vast popularity in the American imagination, despite the fact that his economic policies, shorthandedly referred to as Reaganomics, set in motion today’s financial collapse. In the latest disturbing news, the US unemployment rate jumped to 8.1% in February, the highest level in 25 years, and higher than economists predicted. The jobless rate has already reached the average rate that the White House projected for the whole year. William Kleinknecht is a veteran reporter and crime correspondent for the Newark Star-Ledger. He is also a staunch critic of Reagan’s policies and has a new book called “The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America.” In it Kleinknecht argues that Reagan’s tax, regulatory and anti-trust policies are directly responsible for the current economic climate, and that his massive cuts to government programs have destroyed both small towns and urban centers. GUEST: William Kleinknecht, veteran reporter and crime correspondent for the Newark Star-Ledger, author of “The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America.” Article printed from URL to article: \?p=6242 --------------------

Henry Ruark March 9, 2009 10:46 am (Pacific time)

Rich: Dissent is heart of any democracy, always welcome here, but now demands full responsibility, and personal accountability, for protection NOW from malign perpetrators seeking to persuade by means of distortion/perversion. Refusal to provide solidly tested national-level sources, bipartisan or journalistical ethics-controlled as in noted national journals, is one sure sign of intention to avoid responsibility and accountability, proving up the credibility every reader here deserves, in all good faith. Difficulties as here via such distortion/perversion one of greatest dangers to our democracy today, put in place purposely by neocon cabal when Reagan-era noise machine was strengthened, broadened from earlier start vs FDR, with assassination part of original plan by Far Right families. IF no reason for hiding behind single-name acronym or "Anon", why do so ? My mentors in advanced-degree special courses insisted on KNOWING source for ANY policy since motive then obvious to all. Years of media preparation for wide variety of clients proved point invaluable, for sources then demanded.

Rich March 9, 2009 9:19 am (Pacific time)

I certainly agree on the "transparency issue." Obama repeatedly promised that he would post the verbiage of all bills for 5 days before he signed those bills for approval or veto. It's as American as apple pie to criticize our politicans. If you are not able to do that then what have you got? By the way my IP address may be different when I post because we have different wireless providers in my rural area, and I access the one that is open. Are you saying that anything we post, comment/opinion or otherwise should be ignored? How about statements that are linked to a site where people can review for themselves? Thanks

Henry Ruark March 8, 2009 7:41 pm (Pacific time)

Dencouch: Will appreciate your full information re TRACEIP, different from that now on hand, to TIM for relay to me. IF you wish direct contact, give Tim complete ID and I will welcome your help on a problem threatening too many. Our cooperative effort is by writers, with some contact to persons who understand I-net and allathat, only just in first phases.

Vic March 9, 2009 7:15 am (Pacific time)

stephen...dont include me in your prayers, please. I dont think we pray to the same entity, and I dont like yours.

Anonymous March 9, 2009 6:30 am (Pacific time)

Here is a 10 minute video that will help you when writing your article on socialism. It explains the different governing types quickly and effectively. I think it would be a good resource for your upcoming article.

Editor:  Thia is an interesting video but I don't think it will help with the article on Socialism.  Thanks just the same.  The Socialism article is now published by the way.  It is titled "Accusations of Socialism Against Barack Obama"





Henry Ruark March 8, 2009 6:03 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Discosure: One of LMA's major clients in Chicago, late '70s-early 80s, was HFMA - the Hospital Financial Management Association. We did a remake of their major training program --some 50 separate media-based units--during which time they changed name to Healthcare FMA, due to trends then at work--why we remade system. The FMA people were among the finest, most ethical, strongest in devotion to the commonweal, and extremely well experienced of any I met in 12 Chicago years. BUT inexorable trends built into the system itself makes it now into an horrendous mess, which is why President Obama's potent new-approach session opens huge opportunity to set it straight and on new course for 21st Century needs.

Dencouch March 8, 2009 5:58 pm (Pacific time)

Same IP address? I believe that any organization using routers to access the net are behind the same IP, especially so if two routers are used. Try using TRACEIP, itwill tell you the provider's name. Router assigned IP should not be confused with the different nodes.

stephen March 8, 2009 5:51 pm (Pacific time)

I take everything back.. I am sorry. and I wont post here anymore. Are we good now? Enjoy, and I will not post, but I will keep you all in prayer. I am too happy today to argue. I got an email from my son. He lives in my own home, but it was nice. There is no Dad in the universe who could not share this. Forgive me for being proud. This is my boy! :-) my son: sorry about the other night. today i realized that all your decisions have not only made it possible for everyone in the house to be comfortable but probably me the most. I get to graduate college, have a car, a band, and everything i need/want because of things you have done, complete sacrifice. and decisions youve made whether its come from god, research your own beliefs or a mix of all of them, theyve all been perfect. but not only that, youve been an awesome friend. ---youre the only person that has experienced and been with me through my personal extremes. thats my boy man!!! I will go now. This is Freedom, and liberty... To all: you have no idea what is coming. obama is a puppet of the NWO bye... i think a lot of people live their whole lives without being able to say that about anyone.

Henry Ruark March 8, 2009 5:00 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Friends, most persons in this nation are far too near totally UN-informed, others almost as badly MIS-informed, re realities of health care. It is a totally-broken and greed-driven, highly costly, and far too often distorted and perverted beyond what most persons ever learn --until too late. For clear understanding of how badly it works for far too many, see TIME's cover story titled Health Care Crisis Hits Home (3/l1/09). THEN point of Op Ed re real potency of group-process used by President Obama, and "on the record" national public view of leaders actually in operation from all sides, may well be more meaningful. We have the most costly, worse-broken, dollar-shaped system in the world, probably more dangerous to the nation than any conflict now at all reasonably possible, and sure to affect us each and every one, and our children, too. Explore, read, THINK, THEN dialog from base of reliable, checkable, national-source, bipartisan and broad-based information. We'll help, with moretocome.

Henry Ruark March 8, 2009 3:50 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Tim wrote: "...frequently comes from the same IP address." FYI, that's wellknown tactic of GOP noise machine, whose presence has long been proven since Reagan era, now summoned to attack, harasss, defy and delimit, if possible, ANY open channels around nation. Some of us are cooperating to keep Internet free from abuse as demonstrated here; moresoon on that effort. Tim's note is correct re credibility of all-such, as we continue to point out here. Propaganda pandering to Far Right political philosophy is notorious for stress on fear and use of ANY possible other approaches as attack-object, with "communism" long favorite until Soviet collapse. Now "socialism" substitutes as the favorite target, with little real reason and masses of experience with working programs here and worldwide to guarantee we can still learn and grow our democracry via that experience put to work. But that's fatal to Far Right, so attack on us here is inevitable, with group focus surely proof we must be doing reports and Op Eds re real issues sharply enough to draw such attack. We will keep on keepin' on, and remind you to check out any,all objectors for solid national sources via "see with own eyes" links, to "evaluate with your own mind". That's heart of open, honest democratic dialog, from known source of proven credibility, responsibility,accountability.

Henry Ruark March 8, 2009 3:27 pm (Pacific time)

Stephen: You wrote:"It looks as though you forgot your oath when joining the Marines, or just decided to change your mind?" Regardless of ANY dialog point(s) here, or your feelings about any of it, yours to Editor Tim comes as flat-out insult would from anyone within one's own home. You should withdraw both the insult and your continuing presence here, if you cannot sense the open, dialog state here any better than that. Has nothing to do with ID or any other point: Yours is very simply contemptuous, arrogant attack, entirely uncalled-for via either this circumstance or ongoing S-N situation. Without Tim's continued forebearance, patience, and determination to make open, honest, democratic dialog possible, we would never have had this channel.

Stephen March 8, 2009 2:43 pm (Pacific time)

It looks as tho speaking out against policies of the obama administration just get slammed by the editor. As a bystander, neither republican nor democrat, I found the first two posts to be coming from informed concerned citizens. Disagree or not, they have valid points. And Tim: "frequently comes from the same IP address"? Now you have conveniently made everyone a suspect, which means nobody will read/believe any posts that have concerns about obama policies. I wont bother to post anymore thats for sure. Congratulations. I dont worry about socialism myself, it only works after banning firearms. If they try, this country will be in civil war and look worse than Iraq for years to come. It looks as though you forgot your oath when joining the Marines, or just decided to change your mind?

Rich March 8, 2009 12:02 pm (Pacific time)

As of today it appears Obama has some more selling to do. Mandate?: "49% of U.S. voters say the president should wait until the economy improves before moving forward on the health care front.

Forty-two percent (42%) believe Obama should go ahead with health care reform now, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Ten percent (10%) are not sure what Obama should do."

Editor: Just a note to our readers; the anti-Obama comments frequently originate from the same IP address; suggesting that rather than a slew of people having a problem with our President, it appears to originate from a more narrow margin. I do not take the time to always check these links. I suggest not believing anything that isn't researched or sumbitted by an actual reporter. These comments are left by anyone at any time about anything at all and then later approved or disapproved by live people.

Concerned Citizen March 8, 2009 11:00 am (Pacific time)

As per the U.S. Constitution, government is responsible for protecting us from enemies both foreign and domestic, not taking care of us cradle to grave, unless we have a demonstrated need, which I fully agree with. Anything beyond that has never worked, it is socialism. Please remember socialism ends when they (govt.) have no more of "your" money to take and redistribute, then what happens? Rationing to begin with, as is happening in Canada and Europe. That's why the wealthy come to America for medical treatments. Thus far, has there been any transparency from any of these major bills (5 days of public postings before vote as promised)? Remember the stimulus bill when they were saying "Act now before it's too late!?" Last time I acted that way I ended up with 8 boxes of ShamWows, and that sure was a sham. We do need a overhaul of Healthcare, but it is so important and can be so costly that there has to be real transparency and public debate. So far I have become quite skeptical about this transparency concept from this administration. Action speaks louder than words! Review this quote from historical reality: "When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I was not a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out. Pastor Martin Niemöller"

Editor: Congratulations Concerned Citizen, thanks to you and others who constantly call the President's policies "Socialist", we have been motivated to do an entire piece on the Socialist Party and all of its positive and negative points. According to their Website they are basically into ending war and violence and making sure all people get something to eat and have a job where they are treated fairly. Maybe your lies and insinuations about Obama (likely based in your prejudice and nothing more) along with the others, will actually lead to a major resurgence of the Socialist Party. It certainly sounds like a safer bet than the GOP and why not? If the right wing wants Socialists, then by all means perhaps this society should oblige.

Dencouch March 8, 2009 10:02 am (Pacific time)

Enamored with President Obama, are we? The Health care issue is no different --and is mirroring-- the previous fact finding meetings like those held on the economic stimulus; 1. The goals of the issue are announced publicly prior to the event. 2. the meeting is held amid much media fanfare and drum-banging. 3. None of the suggestions from the -non cabinet experts- are accepted. Nothing other than a media event results.

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