Anti-tax protesters rally outside Eshoo's office


Carrying American flags, picket signs and at times bugling patriotic songs, members of the anti-tax group called the "Tea Party Patriots" picketed outside U.S. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo's Palo Alto office on Friday as part of a nationwide campaign against health care reform.

Tea Party members are protesting at every congressional representative's office, demanding that elected officials read the entire House Democrats' health plan rather than a summary, they said.

The small group of men and women gathered outside Eshoo's Emerson Street office described themselves as being of various party affiliations. They hadn't met previously but found each other on Facebook, they said.

The protesters handed out an organizational chart generated by Congressman Kevin Brady, the U.S. Joint Economic Committee's ranking House Republican. The chart showed a complex schematic which the protesters say is emblematic of a cumbersome plan doomed to failure.

"Look at the DMV," said Dirck Jackman, a Democrat, who approves of tax incentives to small businesses and free-market health care.

Jackman's 78-year-old mother had two knees and one hip replaced and was treated for glaucoma under the present health care system.

"And she hit the ground running. Her whole quality of life has improved with this health care," he said.

Chris Haugen said a recent "20/20" television segment on health care in Canada found that pets received major surgeries such as hip replacements within 24 hours through a for-profit system, but humans in the government-run system waited many months.

"That's the difference between a free enterprise system and a lottery system," he said.

A representative from Eshoo's Washington, D.C. office said the congresswoman had no comment. Eshoo's 14th District includes Palo Alto, Mountain View and several other Peninsula cities.

A 2008 report by The Health Trust, a charitable foundation in Silicon Valley, found that Santa Clara County has an estimated 140,000 adults and children without health insurance coverage, and an additional 151,000 residents who are underinsured. Emergency room visits to hospitals in Santa Clara County increased 23.3 percent between 2003 and 2007.

"They must have employer-based insurance or must be healthy," Edie Keating, a representative for Peninsula Interfaith Action, which supports health care reform, said of the protesters.

"But it's not a secure proposition in this economy. ... That can go away in a second and they should realize that, if not for themselves then out of compassion for other people. The worst health care of all is no health care at all," she said.

In California it has been well documented that a combination payroll and investments-earnings tax could pay for single-payer insurance, according to Keating.

"Every other developing country has health coverage for its citizens and it's not bankrupting them," she said.


Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 20, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Here's what Dirck Jackman said about the "present health care system" in this article:

"Look at the DMV," said Dirck Jackman, a Democrat, who approves of tax incentives to small businesses and free-market health care.

Jackman's 78-year-old mother had two knees and one hip replaced and was treated for glaucoma under the present health care system.

"And she hit the ground running. Her whole quality of life has improved with this health care," he said.

The irony in his comment is that his mother is no doubt the beneficiary of Medicare, which is a federal-government-run, single-payer system.

Jackman doesn't grasp--and many "protestors" along with him--that our present for-profit system of health care works for some whose employers can still afford the premiums, but doesn't work for many.

I'll soon be eligible for Medicare myself, and I've heard many comments from elderly people that it's "the best health coverage I've ever had".

If he likes what his mother is getting, Jackman should welcome a federally-run system for himself that equals what is mother already enjoys.

And by the way, the slams against the DMV are unwarranted. I do practically everything on-line, and the in-person service is courteous and prompt.

Like this comment
Posted by Lucky
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 20, 2009 at 2:42 pm

I second everything Karen says. I'm very fortunate that as a retired Federal Government employee, when I had cancer last year, my private HMO under the Federal Employee's Health Benefit Program covered all my costs except for reasonable copayments. Other patients I met were fighting with their insurance company over every claim. If Federal retiree health benefits are ever cancelled, as so many private employers are doing, I could be among the millions who declare bankruptcy or go without health care because after Stage 3 cancer, no private insurer will want my business. The fact is, the US has the highest health care costs and among the lowest life expectancy of industrialized nations. This country has to do better.

Like this comment
Posted by curious
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm

It is ironic that Karen and Lucky cite two programs whose cost is increasing at an unsustainable rate. Medicare will soon bankrupt the Federal budget and the benefits of government employees, based on the Federal Civil Service model, are bankrupting state and local governments including Mountain Views.

Other countries such as Canada and European countries are facing draconian cuts in the standard of medical care due to overwhelming cost increases. For example, Mr. Jackman's mother at the age of 78 would never receive joint replacement surgery.

And, BTW, Karen must never have gone to the DMV in the early morning or late afternoon. Somehow at these times there are only one or two clerks at the table but there are a lot of people wandering around the back with coffee cups in their hands.

Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm

I want exactly the same health care that Congress gets, and failing that, they should get exactly the same plan I have.

Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 20, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I understand that cost-savings are needed in Medicare and other government-financed plans, but they are also needed in employer-paid plans, as US expenditures for health care are going up faster than inflation and faster that employers can keep up.

Also, I'd like to remind readers under 65 that Medicare is not free. In addition to the 1.45% of salary I've been contributing since the program's inception, matched by my employer, I calculate that I will be out-of-pocket nearly $400/month to pay for Medicare Part B, Medigap, a prescription drug plan, and dental and vision coverage nearly equal to what my non-profit employer has been covered for me all these years. (My employer this year is paying about $500/month to cover all these for me in an and other single employees who chose an HMO right now, so matching this coverage with Medicare will be almost the same and directly out of my pocket, not my employer.) Medicare and my employer-paid health plan both require hefty co-pays for meds, doctor visits, etc.

The overlooked advantage of Medicare and of what I hope will result from health care reform is *guaranteed-available* health care. Rather than worrying about losing health coverage along with a job, rather than sticking with a terrible job situation only to protect access to health care, rather than risk bankruptcy due to unforeseen medical calamities, all Americans should be able to count on affordable, guaranteed-available health coverage.

Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 21, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I commend Karen for her staunch yet reasoned defense of health care reform. Only the for-profit health insurance companies (who siphon off 20 - 30% of our health care dollars in administrative costs and pure profit for CEO's/shareholders) benfit from the current system. (Note: Medicare uses only 3% for admin costs and is non-profit).

I support a public option so people can see that eventually a single payer plan (where doctors are private but insurance is not a profit center that fights paying claims) is the way to go.

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