Scranton Hits Rock Bottom

The City of Scranton hit rock bottom this week after Mayor Chris Doherty’s scheme to screw city workers backfired.  The Mayor sought last week to dun workers by violating their union contracts and set their pay at the federal minimum wage of $7.25.  Would you risk your life on Scranton’s mean streets for minimum wage?

The city is broke and cannot afford to meet its weekly million dollar payroll.  It isn’t the only Pennsylvania city facing financial calamity.  The Commonwealth took over Harrisburg and both Reading and Allentown are in dire straights.

Part of the problem is a disappearing tax base as manufacturers left and residents demanding more services due to the economy suck the life out of these urban areas.  Large sections of these cities are untaxable because they are churches and schools.  While suburban residents pour into them to study, teach or pray these institutions pay nothing tot heir urban hosts.  It may be time to reconsider the tax exemption for churches.  Seeing as religion is the basis of most of the evil in this world, of causing wars and poverty instead of leading the moral outrage against them maybe it is time to rethink their status.

Study Shows Health Care Costs Fueling Bankruptcies

A new study shows medical costs continue bankrupting Americans at alarming levels.  Contrary to myths and smears being propagated by right wing fear mongers the government does NOT bail people out when they cannot afford medical care.  Hospitals do NOT have to give treatment to sick people.  They are turned away every day because they cannot pay for chemotherapy.  This new study says 62.1% of bankruptcies in 2007 were medical.  92% of them had medical debts over $5,000.  More alarming:  “Most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle class occupations.  Three quarters had health insurance.”

Let those statements sink in…  Middle class suburbanites with good jobs, their own homes AND health insurance.  But they went bankrupt anyway because our system is irretrievably broken.  I wonder how health savings accounts or coops would have saved these people.  I know of no one with the capability to save enough money for a million dollar medical bill.

To illustrate the imminent danger of doing nothing consider this statistic from the study:  from 2001 to 2007 the share of bankruptcies due to medical problems rose by 49.6%  The problem is out of control.  Doing nothing may bankrupt the nation and ruin our economy further.  I’ve been hearing from numerous people that this year alone they were subjected to premium increases of 18-20% for their insurance.  How does continuing with private insurance where 30% of all dollars go to executive salaries, marketing and bureaucrats whose sole jobs are to kill people by denying coverage sensible?  Why are we rewarding these companies by mandating that everyone buy coverage through them?  That’s what eliminating the public option means.  The public option simply provides a separate, alternative choice for people in a market where single corporations control the vast majority of the insurance market.  Why are private insurers afraid of competition?  Because their reputations for denying coverage, reneging on contractual obligations and using their own death panels to kill people have Americans fed up.  It is time for accountability, time people had a real choice.