May 28, 2009

Editorial says $2.65 billion in annual health care costs is too trivial for the Legislature to address

Apparently, the editorial board of the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus thinks that $2.65 billion in annual health care costs in Michigan is too trivial for the Michigan Legislature to address.

The editorial in Thursday’s edition on the workplace smoking ban has the headline of ‘Stalemate over smoking distracts from key issues,’ and the paper continues to display a disturbing understanding of how the Legislature really works. Their contention is that the public health issue that kills 3,000 nonsmokers a year from lung cancer alone is too trivial to undertake because the state’s largest employers are near bankruptcy.

Apparently they believe 148 opinionated men and women with different views should get in one room and work on nothing but economic issues. The fact is that the Legislature is broken down into committees of five to nine people dealing with specific areas, from Agriculture to Transportation. It’s much easier for that small group to negotiate and then make a recommendation to the full House and Senate to debate and vote on. Could you imagine the din and confusion if 110 people tried to negotiate? There are 18 standing committees in the Senate and 24 in the House, and it’s much easier to work in small groups and present the result to the larger group to vote on. It has worked that way in the Federal Congress for more than 200 years.

This is the second editorial where they gig the Legislature for daring to consider the “frivolous” workplace-smoking ban instead of addressing the state’s economy, and even the paper’s general manager, who has been in journalism for more than 20 years, displays a disturbing ignorance of the legislative process with his own misinformed column last year.

The editorial displays a total ignorance of the issue claming, “This issue has been in front of the Legislature repeatedly in recent years.” That is simply not true. It has been introduced every session for the past decade without even a single committee hearing until last session when a hearing was finally held in June 2007 and both bodies of the Michigan Legislature passed a version of the ban.

They are even wrong about the politics of the issue, saying “the Republicans there had clearly indicated they didn't want to see a ban enacted at all, so they were making an issue of the Democrats' casino exemption.” Not true. This is a nonpartisan issue, and a look at who voted for and against the ban would show them that. The simple fact is that this has widespread support on both sides of the aisle. The Senate Majority Leader is the one who does not want it, and he is using the casino issue as political cover. The editors should insist that he allow the issue to get into a conference committee as soon as possible and he assign members who will really try and work out a compromise.

This claim really shows a lack of understanding of the issue and their failure to do the slightest bit of research. “Those who advocate the ban may argue that it is a public health issue, and so see this as an important issue. Given such a perspective, perhaps this bill was a top priority, back when the ban was first proposed years ago.”

When you consider they use the words, “may argue that it is a public health issue” you begin to see the problem. The U.S. Surgeon General said 20 years ago secondhand smoke was deadly and causes health problems, and study after study backs that research up. That there is any doubt and that the editors use the word “may” illustrates the problem.

Perhaps an editorial supporting the ban or asking why Livingston County’s two representatives in the House voted against the bill would be more helpful. If they are against it, then say so and say why. They could have pointed out that 37 other states have already enacted a smoking ban, including the latest to do so; the tobacco road states of Virginia and North Carolina.

If they want to keep harping on the economy, fine. Instead of attacking the legislature that can do nothing to improve the lot of the state’s largest employers and the national recession, how about advocating for something that will save taxpayers money?

Smoking is very costly and is literally sucking the air out of Michigan’s economy. Smoking directly results in $2.65 billion in annual health care costs in Michigan, of which $881 million is born by the state Medicaid program. In fact, each household spends $597 annually in state and federal taxes due to smoking-caused government expenditures. Smoke-free worksites would eliminate these extra health care costs and would do so with virtually no implementation costs.

Furthermore, by creating a smoke-free work environment, business owners can eliminate a variety of associated costs, including higher health, life, and fire insurance premiums, higher worker absenteeism, lower work productivity, and higher workers' compensation payments. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the cost savings of eliminating secondhand smoke in the workplace to be between $35 and $66 billion a year. Given the state of Michigan's economy we really can’t afford not to go smoke-free.


kevins said...

This is simple, even for you.

If Dillon and House Dems would drop the casino exemption, the Republicans in the Senate would either have to vote for the ban or take the blame for the bill's failure.

As it is, both sides are playing a game. It's bi-partisan in that both sides are to blame. The Dems could have a ban...if they wanted one. Instead, if they truly believe the health claims, they are willing to kill off casino workers to insure profits for their owners. You've said that yourself, although you couch it in terms such as "misguided." What if it did cost jobs? So what? Is a job worth a human life? Apparently House Dems think so.

The editorial was right on. This is a silly game played by lawmakers who can't or won't balance a budget.

Not Anonymous said...

False claim, or better stated, flat out lie:

"Their contention is that the public health issue that kills 3,000 Michigan nonsmokers a year is too trivial to undertake because the state’s largest employers are near bankruptcy."

You can't name one documented case nationwide of someone dying from second hand smoke, as I've asked you to do numerous times. Now you've decided to extend that lie by saying "3,000 Michigan nonsmokers".

You destroy legitimate issues by lying when it's not necessary, exaggerating at every turn and trying to create a panic at every turn to further your own warped positions.

Communications guru said...

You might want to read the U.S. Surgeon General’s report on secondhand smoke and call him a liar, brett.

Communications guru said...

This is so much bullshit, brett. There is a compromise here, but the Senate Majority Leader refuses to even allow or consider one. Casino profits do not even enter into the equation. The Detroit area Legislatures are under the mistaken belief it will cost jobs in the city, but I have presented reports that says that is not the case.

The Democrats voted for a ban, both the one with exceptions and one without. Why not let the Senate vote for the smoking ban with exceptions? The Democrats also assigned members of the conference committee who were willing to work out a compromise, the Senate did not.

The editorial and you are wrong, and you just display your ignorance of state government like the editorial did. The Legislature has always balanced the budget because the Constitution requires it.

Not Anonymous said...

You're going to have to do better than the surgeon generals opinion. NOWHERE in there does it document even one case of death by second hand smoke, let alone 3,000 in Michigan.

Communications guru said...

This is unbelievable, even for you brett. Better than the surgeon generals report? I can’t think of a better source; can you?

Not Anonymous said...

Still, you don't supply even one documented case of a person in the country, let alone 3,000 in Michigan, where a person has died of second hand smoke.

You're full of snide condescending comments but you still fail to provide one documented case and continue to move your lie to greater heights.

Communications guru said...

I most certainly did provide proof of the deaths caused by secondhand smoke. The U. S. Surgeon General is America's “chief health educator” “by providing Americans the best scientific information available.”

Now, you provide some scientific evidence that secondhand smoke does not kill nonsmokers and causes numerous diseases.

Not Anonymous said...

The surgeon generals report is an opinion of the surgeon general based on studies he's chosen to cite. But he does not give one documented case of anyone dying of second hand smoke.

You have still not provided one documented case of someone dying of second hand smoke in the country let alone 3,000 in Michigan.

There is no reason for me to provide any evidence that second hand smoke does not kill non smokers nor causes numerous diseases. I've never made that claim.

You claim second hand smoke kills, but can't provide one documented case. I don't claim that second hand smoke kills, and I don't claim that it doesn't kill.

You want laws and bans created based on something that hasn't been proven. You're citing opinions of the surgeon general, but not based on any known cases.

At this point, it would be easier for you to prove, notice I said "prove", that someone may have died due to second hand smoke by virtue of a non smoking driver in a car with a passenger that does smoke. The smoker exhales and that goes into the eyes of the driver. He loses his vision for a brief second and the car in front of him stops, he slams into it, and someone dies. THAT would be the only proof you could come up with at this time and I can't even find an example like that.

A smoker smokes for 50 years. He's sucking in all of that smoke for the entire 50 years and still is healthy. But you claim that someone standing next to him occasionally while he's smoking is in danger of dying from that smoke that drifts towards him. He's not taking in as much as the smoker is, yet you want to ban it because of that little bit of smoke.

Your argument is flawed, but your statements that you make on your cite that it kills people is a lie. There is no documented proof of anyone dying from second hand smoke, let alone 3,000 of them in Michigan alone.

Communications guru said...

The Surgeon’s General’s report is scientific fact. Secondhand smoke causes the death of 3,000 people in Michigan alone. But, to appease you I took the Michigan part out because I cannot find a source you will accept. But on hindsight it was probably a mistake because you are even dismissing scientific fact.

From the Surgeon General’s report, “In 2005, it was estimated that exposure to secondhand smoke kills more than3,000 adult nonsmokers from lung cancer, approximately 46,000 from coronary heart disease, and an estimated 430 newborns from sudden infant death syndrome.”

If you want to play work games, brett, fine, but you can’t spin the fact that secondhand smoke kills thousands of nonsmokers each year.

Not Anonymous said...

Number 1. My name is not Brett.
Number 2. I don't have to spin it. You're spinning it yourself. Your own quote from the surgeon generals report: "It's estimated..." That's not scientific fact. That's an estimate that they created from the studies they read. There is nothing that indicates how many had died, nor how many would die. It does indicate that that many "could" die.

I can estimate that my grass is three inches long, but if I go out and measure it, I now have the facts to back it up. You don't have those facts. ONce again,
Number 3. You have not provided any documented proof of anyone dying from second hand smoke in this country let alone 3,000 in Michigan.

Number 4. The Surgeon Generals report is an opinion. Estimates are not facts.

Number 5. Your credibility is non-existant when it comes to children. You are a disciple of the guy that voted for children that survived botched abortions could be aborted after the birth is complete. So anything you say about children is a waste of your breath.

Number 6. With the say you speak to people on here, including me, I don't believe for even a milisecond that you removed the Michigan non-existant statistic because you couldn't find a source I'd believe. You removed it because you were caught in another lie and are now making excuses.

Communications guru said...

Number 1. Yes it is, brett.
Number 2. But you did. What is estimated is the number of deaths, not what killed them.
Number 3. See Number 2.
Number 4. It is a report based on scientific facts and research.
Number 5. None of that rant is true.
Number 6. Who cares what you think, brett. The Michigan statistic is true. Here’s a link, but of course you will somehow dismiss. After all, you dismissed the Surgeon’s General report based on nothing but your misguided opinion.

Not Anonymous said...

1. Nope. You've called Kevins by the name of Brett. Someone called Anon, you called Brett. You've called me Brett. Since you seem to think you know my name, prove it.
2. Your quote: “In 2005, it was estimated that exposure to secondhand smoke kills more than3,000 adult nonsmokers from lung cancer, approximately 46,000 from coronary heart disease, and an estimated 430 newborns from sudden infant death syndrome.”
Even your own quote you used makes you out to be a liar. As you can see from above it does indeed say the number of deaths AND what killed them.

3. Still, you have not shown even one documented case of someone that died in this country from second hand smoke let alone 3,000 in Michigan. I would think that you'd get tired of hearing this and just provide your documented death attributed to second hand smoke, but you continually can't or refuse to do so. If your position was tenable, you'd have cited the documented case.
4. Now you sound like a TV show. 'while the following story is based on a factual case, all incidents are fictional'.
5. Oh good. Is so, is not, is so. What next? Are you going to say liar liar pants on fire?
6. Well, "who cares what you think" is almost liar liar pants on fire. Work on it. I'll bet you can get there eventually.

Finally, you got something right. A onesided website with an agenda is not a reliable source. In fact, it's alot like reading what you write.

Communications guru said...

1. Whatever, brett.

2. Secondhand smoke killed them; just like I said.

3. Yes, I get tied of hearing it, and tired of proving you wrong. It’s like talking to a stubborn child. I presented the proof of the deaths caused by secondhand smoke.

4. What are you talking about, brett?

5. It is a report based on scientific facts and research.

6. Like I said, None of that rant is true.

7. Like I said, Who cares what you think, brett? The facts are there for reasonable, intelligent people to see; that excludes you. The web site is not one-sided, and it has sources listed where the unbiased info can be found. But, I knew you would say that, and that’s why I changed the number of deaths. The fact is, you reject every bit of scientific fact, yet you provide not a single source of information to back up your position. Your rejection of the Surgeon General’s report proved you will not accept facts that don’t support your incorrect position.

Not Anonymous said...

1. Very good response. You're improving from a complete ass, to half an ass.

2. You really need to learn the English language. Once again, please cite one documented case of a person in this country that died of second hand smoke. It cannot be done because there isn't one documented case.

3. Again, cite one documented case of a person in this country that has died of second hand smoke. It cannot be done because there is not one documented case. The only thing you have is assumptions and estimations. For your own sake, look up the definitions of those words and then look up facts. There is a difference between defintive and supposition.

4. Finally, you admit that you have no understanding.

5. Scroll up.

6. If you think Obama didn't vote for what's called "infantacide" then your head is hiding too deep into that crevice behind you. Smile and maybe you'll see daylight.

7. There's a seven? Let's see, you don't care what I think, but you knew that I'd not accept your source so you removed the Michigan from your 3,000 comment. I guess I know the answer to your "who cares what you think". You do. You removed it because of what I said. Want to go for double jeapordy? Now, you'll put it back in because of what I said. You're screwed no matter what you do with that, all because you asked the question "who cares what you think?"

With the kind of logic you display, I'll not say anymore about you calling everyone that you disagree with, Brett...on this thread.

Communications guru said...

1. You are very good at objecting to facts you know are correct to focus away from the real issue.



4. Because you cannot write.

5. See 4.

6. Pure BS that has already been debunked.

7. Nice try at trying to focus away from the real issue, brett, but the fact is secondhand smoke kills thousands of nonsmokers each year and causes numerous diseases.

Not Anonymous said...

7. And yet, you cannot cite one documented case in the country, let alone 3,000 in Michigan, where one person has died of second hand smoke.

Communications guru said...

Not Anonymous said...

That's what you're using as a documented case of someone dying from second hand smoke? There is nobody listed in there that has been documented as having died of second hand smoke. Nobody. You still can't document one person in the country that has died of second hand smoke, let alone 3,000 in Michigan.

I can't believe you're that stupid to believe that a conclusion based on studies without any documented cases is what you want to use as a source for documented cases.

Just when I thought you couldn't you get any dumber, you again prove me wrong. Your ability to be more stupid is inspirational.

Communications guru said...

Yes. What its it you want me to do, brett. Go out and get you a death certificate from somebody? I would say stop playing dumb, but I realize you’re not playing. It’s a scientific fact secondhand smoke kills and causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia, breast cancer and non-fatal diseases, such as asthma, inner ear infections, major depression and other afflictions in non-smokers.

That is a scientific fact. Are you saying that’s not the case?

Not Anonymous said...

This will be my last post on this subject. I'm just repeating the same thing over and over to someone that is incapable of understanding anything other than "give me welfare and let me control everyone elses lives too".

Did you read the entire website that you've been repeatedly sending? I don't mean just the headlines, but every word. Did you? I didn't think so.

If you had read each of those links, you'd have seen that they say "could be", "might be", "may be" "seems to be" "possibly" "appears to be". It doesn't say "Does".

The surgeon general does say "does". He's come to the conclusion that it does based on the studies that say "might" or "appears" and so on.

In other words, despite that the studies don't conclude factually that second hand smoke definitely causes diseases, he has chosen to believe that there is enough evidence to indicate that it does.

I agree that there is evidence that makes it appear that second hand smoke can exacerbate some health conditions. But it's still unproven evidence. So in answer to your question, I am saying that it may be scientific fact, but the facts haven't been reached yet. So at this point, it is supposition. Possibly accurate, but does not meet the standard of being a fact yet.

I even went one step further. I looked up cotinine. Did you see the information on cotinine? I didn't think so. Cotinine is a jumbled version of the spelling of nicotine. It's a gas. It appears in people that have been exposed to second hand smoke. It stays in the system for one week. The exception to that is if the person was smoking a menthol cigarette. If the person is smoking a menthol, the cotinine lasts a little longer, but still disappears from the body.

It's also been found to possibly help with memory and is currently being studied as a possible aid for alzheimers patients.

I'll give you two statements to illustrate my point.

1. You could be an asshole because of your beliefs.
2. You are an asshole regardless of your beliefs.

The first, under your definition displayed on here is that number one is a fact. But notice. It says you "could be" be because of your beliefs. It doesn't say that you are because of your beliefs.

Now look at number 2. No equivocation. It states flat out that you're an asshole and it doesn't matter what you believe. You qualified for that status with or without any beliefs.

Number one is not a fact. Number two is a fact. The way you describe it though, you'd have to agree that you're an asshole under either of the two.

So again, you have not given one documented case of anyone in this country, let alone 3,000 in Michigan, having died of second hand smoke. You can't because there is not one documented case in this country.

I know you'll come back with some witty repartee(?) following this. Maybe something intellectual like, "I don't care what you believe". I've proven my case using the English language properly. You've whined and played with words.

So here's a suggestion for you. If you're walking down the street and you see a smoker, either hold your breath as you pass him or take a step or two aside to avoid his exhaust so you don't have to panic yourself for the next seven days waiting for the cotinine to dissipate from your body (gas?).

I'll bet you're a reformed smoker. The biggest whiners about those that smoke comes from those that used to smoke as they try to make themselves appear to be a better person than a smoker. I know, I felt that way too when I quit smoking. But I learned for myself that my choice to quit was my choice. Their choice to smoke is their choice. I just choose to not be around them when they do it. So I don't step out with them while they have a smoke. Try it. You might find that people can tolerate you a little bit better. Not likely it will be much, but I guess it could happen. Ooops, that will probably be a "fact" to you since I said "could happen" and "might find".

Communications guru said...

I keep giving you the scientific facts that secondhand smoke kills, and with zero proof on your part you keep asking me for more.

Yes, and where is your information that contradicts the Surgeon General’s findings, as well as every medical doctor in the world?

Secondhand smoke kills and causes diseases. There is no doubt about that. Once again, where is the study that says it doesn’t?

I’m waiting, brett.