Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - A Farewell

As 2008 moves to its final hours in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, my thoughts go in many sometimes conflicting directions.

I'm very much upset by the Israeli attacks upon Gaza. I agree with President Bush and the Israelis that Hamas is "the enemy" in some important ways. I'm also very much aware that such military attacks will Not: 1.) Stop the violence directed against the Israelis, 2.) Help opponents of Hamas who may be Palestinians , Arab non-Palestinians and similar build a credible opposition to Hamas and most importantly 3.) Allow for or help any moves towards Peace in the Middle East.

Violence can intimidate individuals, but it does not help when a Legitimate Grievance of Many is minimized and blamed repeatedly and those affected have no effective method of getting justice.

The Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are not blameless nor better than those of us who are Jewish (and others). They do, however, have a repeated quandry which they can not get themselves out of. Jewish Settlements on the West Bank grow and expand, regardless of whether there is relative peace or violence on the West Bank. The lives of West Bank Palestinians are seriously affected by the land appropriations and the building of Israel's "Wall" attempting to separate Jews from Palestinians (on Palestinian land).

In Gaza since early November Israel has been increasingly strangling the economy as food, medicine and other goods are decreasingly allowed in. (When there isn't violence - the status quo - is Not - a Tenable State - the status quo - is a continuation of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands. Gaza has Not been "independent" though Israelis have largely left it - it has Not been a "Palestinian State" any more than the Navaho Nation is a state in the Southwest.)

It can be argued that Hamas and Palestinians have been violent against Israeli Jews. It is also clear that the violence and injustices have also been coming from Israelis against Palestinians. To argue that the violence of one is Only in reaction to the violence of the other is naive and simplistic.

What can not be disputed is that Palestinians are increasingly hurt by a devastated economy, two separate land areas, one of which is separated into segregated areas for Jews and Palestinians where the Palestinians (the significant majority) are treated like a "minority group" and a crowded, impoverished small territory, which neither Israel nor Egypt wants, which can not survive economically on its own.

It also can not be disputed that Israel pays a huge price for continuing in an endless stalemate with the Palestinians. The fears of Israelis and their general state of isolation hurts individuals and the country as a whole.

We in the U.S. have an opportunity now with January 20, 2009 to begin a new era of change where negotiations might (faintly possibly at least) begin with the U.S. as a true mediator, not a force in support of Israeli interests Against Palestinian interests. Israel wants secure borders and Peace. Palestinians want true independence in a Palestinian State.

We need a huge change in attitude though if we will work towards making peace.

There are many ways we can educate ourselves in new ways about "making change" both for Israelis-Palestinians and for others in the world.

We need to stop being the world's bully who fears others. We talk of how the Chinese and others are causing environmental devastation while we disproportionally use up precious resources such as oil, water, etc.

We blame the Mexicans. We blame the Cubans. We blame the French. We blame the Russians.

We need to face plenty of truths within our own world(s) here at home in the U.S.

Yes, the Iranian leadership is dangerous! Threatening their leadership as a basic way to deal with their threats helps keep their leadership in power. There are plenty of non-Jewish forces in the Middle East who have No Love of the Iranian leadership.

Yes, Hamas is dangerous! Hamas has come into power and grown because of the failure of moderate Palestinian leadership. Moderate Palestinian leadership has failed to get a (secular) Palestinian state established. Some of its failures have been due to corruption and internal weaknesses. Some of its failures are as a result of opposition from the Israelis and U.S. interests.

Pakistan is probably the "biggest threat" to U.S. interests today. It is an impoverished country with a large population, the possession of nuclear weapons, great instability and an increasing movement of people who are very Anti-American.

We need to begin to be an ally to the "good people" of our world. We need to talk with those who we oppose such as the leadership of Iran.

We also need to really start dealing with our problems at home here in the U.S. Besides the current economic disaster we need a good national healthcare system that allows all of us to get affordable healthcare. We need housing for the poor. We need to end violence directed at women, children, minorities as well as violence we Men direct at other Men.

We need to avoid looking for simplistic answers to our problems. It is common to hope that President Obama will lead to a much better country and world. I remember when there were hopes when President Clinton was first elected after 8 years of Reagan and 4 years of Bush, Sr. Obama can make a huge difference however it will only happen if a huge number of us help push for what we want and need.

Obama can not eliminate racism, sexism and classism. He will need nudging and more. He will need support and more.

We can and hopefully will make a better world - starting in 2009. It won't be easy! We need to support each other. We need to look at options and possibilities and speak out more and more. We need to have a sense of humor. We need compassion. We need both patience and a determination to Not accept less than is necessary now.

I am cautiously optimistic. Thanks!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Guilt, Responsibility, "The Reader" and Gaza

I'm just back from seeing one of most haunting and powerful movies I've ever seen. The Reader shows Kate Winslet at her best. This movie deals most effectively with evil, guilt and responsibility, allowing the viewer to think and evaluate much particularly related to the two main characters. My perspectives on some things might differ greatly from others and it doesn’t matter.

The movie reminds me again of our responsibilities to speak out against oppression.

I think of Gaza (again). I think of how we need to stop the oppression of this poor area and prevent more needless deaths, injuries and damaged lives. Others may think of other things which concern and trouble them.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gaza - Speak Out Please!

I hope that all who believe in peace and justice will take a few minutes to educate themselves (if necessary - one source is: about the genocide - and general strangulation - of Gaza - by the Israelis.

After knowing a little - speaking out - such as writing President Elect Obama, and your senators and representative - is important.

We need to do more! People are being starved to death, not allowed to have decent medical care as well as now over 200 people being killed from bombing from the air.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Interesting- Re: "The Shoe Incident"

Should the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush be celebrated as a hero for the Arab world?

Yes – 77%
No – 23%
Total votes: 881

Thousands of Iraqis have demonstrated in Baghdad's Sadr City in support of a journalist being held in custody after throwing his shoes at George Bush, the US president.

Muntazer al-Zeidi was detained for what the Iraqi government on Monday said was a "barbaric and ignominious act" during a news conference the previous day.
The outgoing US leader, who was making a surprise visit to Baghdad, had just told reporters that while the war in Iraq was not over "it is decisively on its way to being won," when al-Zeidi got to his feet and hurled abuse - and his footwear - at Bush. Bush, who had been giving a joint press statement with Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, ducked behind a podium as the shoes narrowly missed his head.
"Millions of Iraqis or rather millions of the people of the world wish to do what Muntadhar did," Uday al-Zeidi, Mundathar's brother, said on Monday.
"Thank God he had the guts to do it and avenge the Iraqi people and the country from those who plunder it and have killed its people."

Al-Baghdadiya television, his employer, has demanded his release after Yasin Majeed, the prime minister's media adviser, said al-Zeidi would be tried on charges of insulting the state. An Iraqi lawyer told the AFP news agency that Zeidi risked a miminum of two years in prison if he is prosecuted for insulting a visiting head of state.

Freedom of expression

On Monday, al-Baghdadiya suspended its normal programming and played messages of support from across the Arab world.

A presenter read out a statement calling for his release, "in accordance with the democratic era and the freedom of expression that Iraqis were promised by US authorities".

It said that any harsh measures taken against the reporter would be reminders of the "dictatorial era" that Washington said its forces had invaded Iraq to end.

Demonstrations also took place in the southern city of Basra and Najaf, where some people threw shoes at a US convoy.

Khalil al-Dulaimi, Saddam Hussein's former lawyer, said he was forming a team to defend al-Zeidi and that around 200 lawyers, including Americans, had offered their services for free. "It was the least thing for an Iraqi to do to Bush, the tyrant criminal who has killed two million people in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.
"Our defence of Zeidi will be based on the fact that the United States is occupying Iraq, and resistance is legitimate by all means, including shoes."

In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt and the incident is likely to serve as a lasting reminder of the widespread opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq - the conflict which has come to define Bush's presidency.

"Throwing the shoes at Bush was the best goodbye kiss ever ... it expresses how Iraqis and other Arabs hate Bush," Musa Barhoumeh, editor of Jordan's independent Al-Gahd newspaper, wrote.

But support has not been entirely universal and some Iraqis believe al-Zeidi crossed the line. "I deem it unnecessary. This thing is unjustifiable. It is an incorrect style. We are not violent. One can voice his opinion in other ways," one Baghdad resident said.

Robert Wood, a US state department spokesman, dismissed the incident saying that al-Zeidi was "trying to get attention for himself" and had ignored Washington's successes in Iraq. "This was one incident and one individual's views, but if you look at the direction we are heading in Iraq now, it's a very, very positive direction and we hope to see that continue," he said.

Bush's visit to the Iraqi capital came just 37 days before he hands the presidency over to Barack Obama, who has vowed to withdraw troops from Iraq.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Be Very Careful

Be Very Careful !!!!!!!

If you have never been exposed to the Splotchy Story Virus, you should be forewarned....

Though it is most pleasant, it is quite infectious.

Here are the rules:

Here's what I would like to do. I want to create a story that branches out in a variety of different, unexpected ways. I don't know how realistic it is, but that's what I'm aiming for. Hopefully, at least one thread of the story can make a decent number of hops before it dies out.

If you are one of the carriers of this story virus (i.e. you have been tagged and choose to contribute to it), you will have one responsibility, in addition to contributing your own piece of the story: you will have to tag at least one person that continues your story thread. So, say you tag five people. If four people decide to not participate, it's okay, as long as the fifth one does. And if all five participate, well that's five interesting threads the story spins off into.

Not a requirement, but something your readers would appreciate: to help people trace your own particular thread of the narrative, it will be helpful if you include links to the chapters preceding yours.
The Apple
The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me. (Splotchy)
I couldn't believe my eyes. Surrepticiously, I tried to establish, without giving it away, if anyone else had seen what I had. For ten years I had been looking for that box. What looked like an ordinary cardboard box to most contained something most precious. Only by the small golden "P" was I able to identify what I was looking at. (Freida Bee)

I was both extremely relieved and a little sad. I was very happy that at last I could finally move forward and hope that my major disasters might be over with as I now could succeed at my life's goals. I was also dismayed that I'd hurt too many others as well as myself by my blunders searching endlessly for what now was in front of me waiting for me. “P” was both the most fascinating being I had known and the legacy left behind unfortunately because... (Geo)

I hereby infect these folks:




More to be Added – shortly – when I get home from the East Coast

(You may be infected more than once.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Anti-Hero (and The Hero) - Lessons ?

Today - we have "important" personalities such as Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and more in the background now Osama bin Laden. Recently we had George W. Bush and Mahmood Ahmadinejad. In our pasts (depending upon how old we are) we have people such as: Saddam Hussein, Colin Powell, Newt Gingrich, Imelda Marcos, Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy and many others.

In popular culture in the U.S. are people such as: LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Michael Jackson.

Also there are/were others such as: Steven Spielberg, Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, Stephen King, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and of course many more.

Frequently we take individuals and make them into icons whether it the "superhero" or "super villain" (or both, depending upon the viewer). Almost no one today in the U.S. would see Osama bin Laden or Mahmood Ahmadinejad in any image besides the horrificly "bad guy". Sarah Palin today is seen as a buffoon by many, and as a true hero by some.

Daniel Ortega was viewed either extremely negatively or extremely positively in the mid-80's depending upon one's politics. Today, though he's still around, he's a non-entity to most, almost forgotten in the distant past.

We often seek the heroic personality such as today - Barack Obama. We want and expect him to take us out of very dark times and to miraculously move us out of our pain and hurt. Similarly we seek to pillory others such as George W. Bush or Dick Cheney as causes as to why we hurt.

As the first Iraq War began I heard Noam Chomsky speak in Berkeley eloquently of how the U.S. would face a minimum of six weeks of brutal warfare with thousands of (U.S.) casualties. As the War then ended rapidly I learned that though I admire Chomsky and his ideas, he is only human, not a "god".

I hope today and in the future we will look to the ideas and issues around us. We can and should not get stuck in the personalities and the cults of individuals worshiping and demonizing them.

Understanding radical Islam, Evangelical Christianity, racism and how we in the U.S. are both powerful and weak are all important. Building lasting movements for positive change using the words and ideas of people such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Shirley Chisholm, Paul Robeson, Oliver Sachs, Sean Penn, and many others will help us far more than simply worshipping them as idols.

We can learn from the good and bad around us. It is often easiest to look for the simple extremes. It is much harder to learn at a deeper level and to do the difficult work to really make things better.


Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today on Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. I think in a slightly different direction towards a source of beauty that comes from within us as individuals.

I have different types of moments - which I label as "magic". No doubt many, if not most of you, others have similar moments in your lives.

Such moments, whether brief, or lasting longer, put me in a spirit - a feeling of Elation - that words otherwise don't easily define. It is a personal feeling which can be shared only in slivers, if at all, with others.

A simple example for me is entering into certain beautiful settings, usually involving large bodies of water, sunsets or sometimes both. For me it isn't the setting itself that gets me, but the mood and feelings I get in that magical moment.

I remember when I first saw Point Lobos Reserve, just south of Carmel, California. In that moment it was far more incredible than it has ever been when I've returned to see it. I could share how beautiful it was with others, but not the spirit of the moment.

A somewhat different spark of magic comes to me at times when I play duplicate bridge. In duplicate bridge we are playing a card game complicated by the fact that we compete with about two to 15 other couples who are playing the identical hands that we are playing.

In bridge one communicates with one's partner through bidding and playing one's cards. Nuances (and of course luck) can make a big difference. At times when I play duplicate I feel bonded to my partner in a way that I can't explain as we do "the right thing" and (then generally) triumph over our opponents. It may be within a single hand or on multiple hands or during an entire session.

If my partner in the bridge game feels magic in that moment it is undoubtedly different - because we are each unique individuals.

The magic comes elusively, though Possible places for it to appear are clear. The magic is not words or "rational". It encompasses feelings in that moment.

It is difficult to find magic when I'm significantly depressed or "lost" (unless I'm lost in fantasy). It is also difficult to find when looking with Significant Expectations which may not be met (or not appreciated when they are met).

I love the magic that appears for me within some books in some moments when I say: "aha, ....." and am so content.

You - no doubt have your own tales of magic in your life and how it is a part of you.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remembering - My Father

Forty-four years ago today on Friday, November 13, 1964 - when I was 13 years old my father died of stomach cancer approximately three years after first being ill. I remember my mother waking my brother and me up about 6:30 a.m. that morning saying: "Daddy died this morning".

Foolish, naive boy that I was (into my teenage rebellion first listening to rock music - having no needs I thought for my parents) - it was a transformative moment. My father's illness had never been discussed and I had never thought about his dying. At the same time it made perfect sense in that moment.

We got dressed and went to the hospital and I saw my father's body still in the hospital bed - my last time with my father. I didn't cry then, nor over the weekend including at his funeral on the Sunday. Now I cry - easily and openly. I didn't know - a lot then. I know a little more now.

Before he got sick my father was about 5'4 tall and weighed around 140-145 pounds. He felt bad in the late summer of 1961 and what was later determined to be terminal cancer was found to be the problem. In December, 1961 he was operated upon. I remember my mother crying endlessly then. She'd been told at age 37, that she'd be a widow - that there was no hope because the cancer had metastasized.

Seeming miraculously - my father "recovered" and was able to go on a planned sabbatical to study mathematics in Zurich, Switzerland. For a magical year - we traveled during vacations including a trip to Israel in the early spring where he saw many, many members of his huge family most of whom he'd not seen since he left Berlin in 1927.

In August, 1963 - we returned to Indiana - and Dad's health began to fail again. In April, 1964 - he went to Billings (University of Chicago) Hospital in Chicago for more testing. He took the bus from Chicago to be at my Bar Mitzvah which was held on a Thursday evening so my Orthodox Jewish grandfather could travel to the temple.

My mother pleaded with the rabbi to make the service short - because my father had to be on the bus back to Chicago so he would get there before midnight and not be discharged and need to be re-admitted. Despite this - she was forced to take my father to the bus station during the service - while the rabbi - was doing the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the Dead. My mother never forgave the rabbi for this.

In June, 1964 - we took the train to Oakland, California. My father had been hired by his best friend from graduate school Al Blank to work on a SMSG four semester high school calculus text project. We lived in a newly built fraternity house at the center of the Stanford Campus in Palo Alto.

My father's health went way downhill that summer. On our way back to Indiana we stopped at Grand Canyon. We were next to go to Denver, but my father was too weak and we went home.

My father could no longer ride his bicycle the 6 blocks or so to his office at Purdue University. My mother had to drive him and carry his briefcase. He kept doing what meant the most to him - teaching his classes at Purdue.

My mother later told me that my father Never talked about his death or dying. It was scary to think of dying and he coped by trying to pretend that he was getting better and not dying. His stomach was slowly losing its narrow access as his weight dipped in the end to a little less than 90 pounds.

My mother told me that one colleague came to the house and upon learning that Dad wasn't home asked if he "was dying" or perhaps "had cancer" - and she told him the truth. She said that this was the only time the subject was talked about - directly with another that she knew of. She said that he was very sad that he'd not live to see my brother and me grow up.

Ma also told me that they decided to Not talk about Death with my brother (11 then) and me to try to let our lives be as normal as possible.

My father died Friday, November 13, 1964. He taught his last class about 10:30 a.m. the morning of November 12th, feeling very sick, being taken to the hospital and then after various testing being told he could stay overnight in the hospital because he had other routine tests scheduled for the next morning. It was the only night he spent in the hospital the last 7 months of his life.

I never had a chance to say "goodbye" or to deal with what was going on until after my father died and that took many years. My father - never had a chance to share his fears and be whole (in an era of silence) about what he went through. I'm sad and crying today as I write!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Growing- Among Men

Beginning in the summer of 2007 I started try to form a men's support group here in Seattle where I live.   In December the group finally got its start with four of us, after I'd almost given up on getting enough men to start.    Last evening we had seven attendees - for the first time, with an eighth member out-of-town.    Our goal has been to have eight regular members.

Sizable numbers of supporters of feminism believe that equality will only be possible with the conversion of men to their side.   Often this belief rests upon men accepting feminism based upon seeing sexism for what it is and "doing better" - helping end domestic violence and rape as well as changing their own personal relationships with women.    Standing up to sexist statements and similar are an important part of this process.

While I agree with much of what I've described above, I believe that we men will only really change in sizable numbers when we start looking seriously at ourselves as men.    Empathy for women (alone),  while important,  does not seem to me to be sufficient to reach most men.  

Being male is hazardous to our physical and mental health.   As I wrote about previously here, we men - die at higher rates than women:  about a 23% higher rate during our first year of life and peaking at ages 15-24 when we are 261% more likely to die.   At all ages we are "weaker than women" in that we are more likely to die younger than women are.    See the statistics below for all our ages of life up to age 85.

Our ( U.S. ) mortality rates per 100,000 population (2004 data) are shown below:













































I don't think that most men will really take seriously the needs of women and children until we see what we do to ourselves.   We kill and injure each other.   We also live lives which are self-destructive.   We start at birth a little "weaker" than baby girls - and get at our "worst" as teenagers and young adults, and though we do better as we age, we still are much more likely to die younger than women are.

My men's group with 8 middle-aged and older men is hardly going to change things in our larger world.   I can only hope though that More men will start moving towards other men in caring, supportive ways - so that we can eventually rebuild masculinity into a life affirming way of living.    Then, perhaps, hopefully - we will recognize Women and Others in General - as important equals - and really succeed in ending inequality.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008


With Democratic majorities in Congress and the election of Barack Obama there is at last a possibility of universal health coverage in our immediate future.   Absent significant changes in our health care system the costs of private coverage will continue to grow substantially and employers will increasingly drop health insurance coverage.  

Barack Obama has proposed a new system establishing initially required coverage for all children.   His plan has various incentives to encourage/cajole employers to have private health care for their employees.   His proposals rely upon having federal employee health plans eventually available for all as a backup to private health insurance plans.

Our current healthcare system relies upon employers and governmental entities paying substantial amounts of money to pay both for health insurance coverage and for medical treatment in general.    Healthcare costs in the U.S. are substantially higher than elsewhere because of various reasons such as: the extremely high bookkeeping/billing expenses, our high usage of various expensive diagnostic equipment, our high drug costs, the relative accessibility of (more costly) medical specialists easily, as well as a reliance upon many without health coverage upon emergency rooms for basic medical treatment.

While healthcare providers are often squeezed, there are few incentives to be highly cost-effective in general.   When I go to a physician and my cost is $20-30, I will logically choose to get “as much care as possible” for this relatively small amount of money.    Others who have poor or no healthcare coverage can not afford treatment at all.

Why shouldn’t employers be taxed based upon their revenues and incomes, rather than by the number of (full-time) employees they have?   Why should they need to be involved in medical care and treatment at all?

I would like to suggest a radically different model for health care reform which I think is better than any proposal I’ve heard elsewhere.    Much of what follows was initially in my blog entry of May 11, 2006 (

Assume the following:

1.] Each citizen of the United States becomes entitled to national health insurance which includes a Family Identification Code and Individual Identifier within it.

2.] Medical Providers and Suppliers have their own separate identification codes.

3.] A Federal Agency is established to handle the new health care system probably through the existing HCFA (Health Care Financing Agency) which handles Medicare and Medicaid.

4.] The Federal Agency either independently or in coordination with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a new taxation management system.

5.] The Federal Agency together with contracted insurance companies handles the entire payment and reimbursement program with all medical providers.

6.] Individuals and Families pay their medical expenses on a yearly basis either as a part of their federal income tax or in a parallel tax tied to the income tax.

7.] The medical tax payments due are based upon the expenses incurred as well as the taxable income of the family/individual taxpayer unit.

8.]  Individuals and couples are responsible for paying for their medical costs for the prior taxable year by April, 15th similar to their income tax liabilities.

9.] Individuals have a series of costs for medical treatment. Examples of this might be:

a. Deductible - $500 - Year - Total Expenses
b. Co-Payment per Doctor Visit beyond the deductible- $35
c. Co-Payment per Hospitalization beyond the deductible- $200
d. Co-Payment per Prescription beyond the deductible- $25

10.] (Catastrophic) caps on Costs might be:

a. Family Deductible - $2000 (would only apply if family had 5 or more members)
b. Prescription Costs - $300 once $500 deductible had been met
c. Individual Total Expenses - $2000
d. Family total Expenses - $5000

11.] The deductibles, caps and some other costs for the individual or family would be reduced as their taxable income was below certain levels - perhaps $30-60,000/year taxable income for a family of four. Thus a family with taxable income of $20,000 might end up paying a total tax of a token amount such as $100 perhaps.

12.] Medical providers would accept their patients based upon various guidelines and reimbursement policies, but with no necessary concern of them having health care coverage or any particular kind of such coverage.

13.] Cost containment policies, audits and related procedures would attempt to minimize fraud and waste.

14.] Liability issues for workers compensation would need to provide a simple method of requiring employers to reimburse the federal government probably only in cases of extremely high expenses (if liability for medical treatment would exist at all).

15.] Other than related to worker's compensation, if determined applicable, employers would have no expenses for medical insurance.

16.] Individuals could choose to pay 100% of the costs of any medical care outside of the national healthcare system if they chose to do so for whatever reasons they wished.

17.] Certain medical care might be not-covered by the national healthcare system such as elective plastic surgery that had no clear medical value.

18.] Medical providers could choose to not participate in the national healthcare system.  If they wished to treat both participants and non-participants in the system, they could Only treat patients outside of the system for conditions not covered by the system (example: routine cosmetic surgery).


In such a healthcare system:

 1.]  Poor and chronically ill people could get more equal medical treatment.

 2.] Almost no one would be bankrupted by catastrophic medical expenses.

 3.] Employers could afford to hire employees with pre-existing medical conditions.

 4.] Where individuals are healthy, there would be incentives to not "overspend" with the deductibles and co-payments they would need to pay.

 5.] Medical care providers – could have a single, coherent billing system

 6.] Cost containment and reviews for efficacy, efficiency etc. would be much easier to do with a single national record keeping system.

 Congress and President Obama could come up with a comprehensive single payer health plan based upon a model such as this by the end of 2010 which might be able to begin to be phased in starting in 2012.

The healthcare plan might initially  include all who are currently covered by existing federal health plans including Medicare, most Medicaid,  civil service and perhaps the military.    After several years others could be added so that the plan would include all of us within a few years.   Whether we should keep our veterans healthcare system or not is beyond the scope of this writing.

Obviously such a system is far more complex than my explanation can cover. It is a model for a future national health plan that I hope others will consider.