Tag Archives: “Let them eat Cake”

Chuck's story…

Anecdotal evidence is never a game-changer unless the subject of the evidence is a great friend who has accomplished so many things in his life and has made the best out of a crappy hand life dealt him. Then, sometimes.. not always but sometimes.. that kind of evidence strikes the right cord in the right people and then change really does come.

I’ve tried to give you guys the examples of people I knew, in the hopes that you may have known people like them and/or could feel the desperation of their situation and maybe want to find a way to help them, but I failed in bringing the people I was targeting over to just the idea that change is needed, much less my idea of what that change should be. But maybe this time, with the example being someone we all know, we all respect and care for.. maybe this is the straw that breaks the camels back for some people and maybe some of those will go on to help fight for what is desperately needed in this country, instead of trying to kill any hope at all of a reprieve for those that are stuck in a situation they had no control over.

Even though he gave me permission, I  still thought about changing the name in this piece and just sticking to the story. I knew that even with omitting the name most of us would know who I was talking about with just one or 2 words about him so there was no need for him to be anything other than anonymous to the rest, but I don’t want him to  be just another blind example, I want you to say his name in your head when you are fighting against health care reform. When you look at the words of the President

But what we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that’s not making anybody’s mom better, that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care, that at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what? Maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.

I want the name Chuck Conners aka Uselesslegs in your thoughts when you blithely mock  this very real problem in our very broken system. I want Chuck’s story in the forefront of your brain, when you argue that we have the best care anywhere, that there is no such thing as that silly concept of doctors charging for a surgery when you only need a pill.. I want you to tell Chuck’s story to a friend or family member, and then explain to them why President OBama and the Democrats are just trying to kill this country and kill our ‘wonderful’ healthcare.

Before I continue, after Chuck told me his story and I started writing it I realized that this is the story for not having a public option, this is the reason why the government shouldn’t be in the medical insurance field. I know that there are blind loyalists  out there who will miss the point of this story and only latch on to the easy part of the problem, they’ll do this because they don’t have the intellect to see the big picture, they are the ‘death panelists’.. and ‘birthers’…the ideologue,  to them I will just nod and say “Yes Dear”.. I  was worried about writing this because the lack of brain mass some of these people have is more than made up by their vocal abilities and abhorrent behavior, but if I want to be true, if I want to be honest.. this type of story should never happen. It should not happen with private  or government run care. We need reform and anyone not seeing that, or not seeing that this is also a problem in the private sector needs to just go build another sign and leave the serious matters to the adults to figure out.

First a little back story for those that don’t know. Chuck has muscular dystrophy and it has progressed so over the past few years that he is completely dependent on a wheelchair to get around and someone to help him in and out of it. At 42, he’s already lived well past anyone’s guess…and he’s done so with a kind of dignity,humility and humor that I never knew existed. Chuck understands that people are uncomfortable with the disabled,  we don’t know how to act, where to look, what to say, so Chuck takes it upon himself to break that uncomfortable moment with a self deprecating joke or a well-rehearsed fart noise. My oldest daughter was one of the people he endeared himself to immediately with his ‘ice-breaking’. She knew of him and his disability, but she didn’t know of his humor..yet. When he called my house and she answered, she very innocently asked “How ya doing Chuck?”.. His reply was a simple scream “I”m in a wheelchair.. HOW DO YOU THINK I’M DOING!”. She immediately stared to cry because she thought she had done something to offend him, she was in the act of throwing the phone at me and spilling the story out when I couldn’t control my laughing any longer, I told her to listen to the phone, and there was Chuck laughing while at the same time trying to soothe her into knowing he was just kidding around with her. He hadn’t joked with her to be mean to her, but he knew, like all people in his or similar situations know, that us ‘normal’ people just don’t know how to react to them. He taught not only her, but my younger daughter, that it’s ok to look at someone in a wheelchair, or someone who is disabled, it’s ok to talk with them and be relaxed around them.. He taught them that it’s ok to treat them as normal and to laugh with and enjoy them just as they would anyone else. For that I say Thank you, because I didn’t learn this ease and comfort until I was much much older and Chuck was the one who taught it to me also.

But, the perfect example of Chuck and the way he looks at life is right there on the back of  his car, his registration tag, which simply reads…. “Gimpy”. The humor in that one word sums up the man that’s sitting the wheelchair inside that van.

When you hear Chucks life story, you can’t help but wonder what it would have been had he been physically ‘normal’, personally I don’t think he would have been as colorful, as funny.. and unique, what God took, he gave back in other ways.  The stories he can tell you about how his father scared him with a tarantula, how because of the ‘fear’ practical jokes his father would play on him, he ‘accidentally’ hit his father in the head with hammer to save his older brother, the teenage girl who peed on his couch when a stuffed squirrel was thrown at her, and my family’s favorite.. when his poncho got stuck in the wheels of his wheelchair and he was stuck going in circles until his companions could stop laughing long enough to extricate him.. These are the stories that make him who he is and had he not had a debilitating disease, I wonder if would he have had the same sense of humor?

At one time Chuck was THE Jerry’s Kid. His face graced many a magazine and poster. Not only was he part of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon’s we all used to sit around and watch all weekend, but he was also the youngest Jaycee and was an honorary member of the VFW. He’s made the best of what was given to him, but even with all of the support he was given by all of these great and selfless people and an amazing organization, if it wasn’t for the Medicaid/Medicare program, he wouldn’t have lived past his early teens.  The Muscular Dystrophy Association helps with what they can, but they are not equipped to deal with it all.

For people like Chuck, the idea of a private insurance is laughable.. to them, the idea that a government run system would destroy what this country was built on, is an insanity. It’s because of medicaid/medicare that people like Chuck aren’t regulated to some orphanage or ditch out behind the woodshed. It’s Medicare/Medicaid that pays for his medicine, his doctors, his wheelchair. It was medicaid that came into his house recently and installed rails on his ceiling for a ‘body lift’ that can take him from his bed, to his toilet, to his bath. Until that day earlier this year when the rail was installed, Chuck  hasn’t had an actual “bath” in years. Showers and sponge baths, sure, but a tub bath? No.  He doesn’t measure life in grand increments, he’s never been able to, but to be able to finally sit down in a tub was a grand day for him.

It wasn’t until the other day that Chuck also found out just how horrible our system really is. Government run or not, he found himself in a pile of shit with no way out of it.   The sad part is that I’m not exaggerating or hyper-ventilating hyperbole..

Chuck’s mother moved in with him some years ago when it became apparent that he was going to start needing more intensive around the clock care. He’s been able to do for  himself for so many years, but his disease isn’t one that goes into remission or gets better over time, even the strongest or most lucky eventually fall victim to disappearing strength due the shrinking muscles. It’s because of his mother that he doesn’t need a daily visiting nurse, or God-forbid to live in an assisted living facility. It’s also in my opinion what has kept him going all these years, had she been like other parents who just couldn’t do it anymore and put him in a state run, or if by some stroke of luck, privately  funded assisted living care, disease and disregard would have killed him years ago. It’s not that these places would have necessarily treated him poorly,  but it’s just the nature of the beast that they zap  your will to live in small increments over time and then there is the spread of colds,flu’s and other disease that affects someone like Chuck so detrimentally and are so rampant in the close confines of these homes. Yes, it’s my belief that his mothers sacrifice all these years has lead to his longevity, not just in the extended  years of  his life, but in the life he has lived over the years. A nursing home would have curb his spirit, his joy, his imagination.. it would have killed what makes Chuck, Chuck.

A couple of weeks ago Chuck’s mom was struck by an acute illness that required emergency surgery, which required an extended hospital stay and a long convalescence at home. In other words, now she needed to be cared for and not only was Chuck unable to do this in return for her sacrifice all these years for him, but his physical capabilities have deteriorated so much that he was left wondering who was going to care for him.  He knew that his brother would come up and help him once, maybe twice a week, but he was also painfully aware that there were going to be times when he would be in need of assistance and no one would be there to help. I don’t mean in need of showers or baths, cooking food to eat, or help getting into bed. No, Chuck has learned to go without a bath or shower and use a washcloth, he’s learned to eat whatever is handy in his line of reach, and as for sleeping.. well he can just roll his chair up to the dining room table and rest his head on his arms and get a few winks that way.  Things we all take for granted, things that are the extreme of simple to us.. well, he’s found his way to enjoy also. No, the help I am talking about is our own basic body functions..  urination and defecation.  Chuck has found a way around those too, he just stops eating and drinking.  But even this is not perfection.

Because he knew that he was going to need just a few minutes help each week until his mother had recovered, he called his medicaid office to ask for a visiting nurse or nursing assistant to come out 30 minutes a week to help him. Before I go any farther I want you to think about that. Try for a minute to think if you could limit yourself to a bathroom break at a predestined time, once or maybe twice during a 7 day period.  Do you have that kind of control, do you think it would be easy on a Monday to just say to  yourself  “Ok, I can’t poop again until Thursday at 9am” .  Welcome to Chuck’s world.

When he made his request to the insurance office, he didn’t ask for someone to come out every other day and bathe him, or every day to help him  on the toilet. Like I said, those things he’s been able to curb by not eating or drinking. But even the best starvation doesn’t keep you from having to use the bathroom for an entire week and he knew that. So Chuck’s humble request was for someone to come out once a week and help him with that problem, the rest of the time he would ration his food and drink and ‘hold it’ until his brother could come up on the weekend. The medicaid representative  was very helpful, she understood what he needed and told him she had just the thing for him.. a 90 day stay in an assisted living facility. Now, besides this being a death sentence for someone in Chucks condition, it was an absurdity to him because he didn’t need that kind of help, he just needed someone to come out and help him in and out of his chair for a couple minutes a week. He explained this again to the woman on the phone, but as sympathetic as she was, she couldn’t give him a visiting nurse or CNA.. she could only give him a 90 stay at his local old-folks home. Chuck, understandable upset, refused and then started the process of limiting his food,water and ‘holding it’…. and he almost made it.

It had only been a few days, he’d gone longer in the past, but whether it was something he ate that didn’t agree with him or whether nature just had to take it’s course, he failed in his attempted to not soil himself. It wasn’t much, just a little bit of a bowel movement, but it was enough that he knew he was sitting in his own shit and worse than that, there was nothing he could do about it anytime soon. Even if his brother came up right then, he was an hour away and Chuck would be sitting there in his own mess the whole time, and that is exactly what happened.

I’ve noticed that even the most ‘shy’ of us reach a point where it doesn’t matter who sees or smells what, we just need help and we need it right then. That’s the place were Chuck was, sitting in his own shit, waiting for his brother to come up and help wash him up. Help wash the area on Chuck off, was his clothes off and wash his chair off. What a humbling experience this must have been, it had to have the most humbling hour of his life. But it eventually came to the point where he didn’t care who came in and saw or smelled what… he just wanted help. He found out those moments waiting for his brother to come up and clean him, just what it meant that he was disabled. I’m know that through the years there had to be many other moments that came up and made him realize this fact, but I’m not sure that any humiliated him the way this time did.

The next day he again called and begged the insurance company for 1-30 minute visit a week so he could avoid a repeat of the day before, he was again denied. They would of course be happy to spend tens of thousands of dollars for him to unnecessarily stay in a 24 hr facility for 90 days, but no. .. they would not under any circumstances pay  $50-$75 a week for 5-6 weeks for a nurse to come to his home.

…and people say reform is not needed, that there is no waste in healthcare, that to cut any unnecessary procedures means a ‘rationing’ of care, that doctors don’t prescribe  that which is unnecessary over that which is needed in the name of greed and the all mighty dollar?

Chuck’s story has ended well, he finally got a hold of a worker who would listened to his sense that he didn’t need a 90 day,thousands of dollars treatment… he just need a 30 minute weekly visit. She set him up with not one, but 2 visits a week.

Whether it’s medicare,medicaid or private insurance.. reform is needed.  Had Chuck decided to take the medicaid office up on it’s offer, thousands of dollars would have been wasted when only a couple hundred were all that was needed. Those thousands could have gone to someone else care instead, someone who didn’t have insurance.. or 100 someone’s without insurance but in need of a flu shot this season. There are a million different ways that money could have been used properly, but because it is a Democrat asking for that reform, the psycho ‘right’ has an apoplectic  fit about him wanting to pull the plug on grandma, him wanting to stop seniors from getting hip-replacements and heart surgery or him wanting to kill of  the ‘damaged’ children of our society.

When a party says that the President who wants to talk to kids about the value of eduction and to stay in school is really trying to ‘indoctrinate’ them into a new version of ‘Hitler’s Youth’.. it’s time the adults stand up and tell these crazies to shut the fuck up already…the adults on both sides of the aisle. The sad part is the GOP’s lack of caring in all that is going on.  Some know that the fringe they are courting and allowing into the debate field are as bat-shit crazy as they come, but they know that they are also so desperate for an answer that if the Liberals are distracted enough by the insanity, they themselves will have time to actually come up with that answer. The crazies will eventually be throw out of the party,  the Conservatives aren’t that stupid, but until then the rest of will just sit in our chairs… not eating.. not drinking.. and praying that we don’t shit ourselves before our brother comes to rescue us from situation that we can’t just ‘pull our boot-straps up’ and get out of on our own.


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Does this mean he failed?- Chrysler and others pay back TARP loan.

I’m sitting here refreshing Drudge and Cnn while simultaneously flipping through all the headline news shows… and no hoopla!

You’d think with months of screaming, ranting,crying, and those  tea-parties, someone would have mentioned that we are now  ‘less Socialistic’ …

If I could stomach listening to Boss Limbaugh, I would see if he was sweating and dancing to the tune of Beck’s  “Loser”. Since President Obama has most certainly failed in his attempt to turn the USA into the county of the New National Socialist Party,  with his ingenious take over of the banks and car companies.. whilst driving the rest of the country into the shittier by stealing our wealth and spreading it amongst the elites…

but nope, nothing.. instead I get the news from my favorite ‘Mo

Chrysler Financial repays $1.5

bln US gov’t loans

DETROIT, July 14 (Reuters) – Chrysler Financial said on Tuesday it has paid off $1.5 billion in loans it had received from the U.S. Department of Treasury in January to fund vehicle loans and incentive programs for Chrysler consumers…

BB&T repays TARP money

Seven months after it accepted $3.1 billion from the federal government, BB&T Corp. – a longtime opponent of big government – repaid the money with interest Wednesday.

$93 million in profit was made off that investment.. Not too shabby in my opinion.

FirstMerit repaying TARP

loan this month

An Ohio bank with more than a dozen branches in the region announced plans this week to repay the federal government’s more than $125 million investment under the Capital Purchase Program.

In fact, if it had not been for the ‘mo..and the 2nd story I never would have known that American Express, Bank of New York Mellon, Capital One, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, State Street and U.S. Bancorp also announced that they had repaid their loans from TARP, or the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

I should be surprised that I haven’t heard anything from the biased and untrue liberal MSM.. right?

Then again, if the media really was a ‘liberal slanted monster’ this would be on every headline news crawler and program just to rub it in to the faces of the Chicken Littles who were screaming that we were being taken over by our government…ironically while ignoring that were already  ‘taken over’ by our government..

I guess they are moving on to make more accusation about the Democrats evil attempt to bring socialism to the shores of the country by giving every baby born, house cleaner working, and any one else who likes to choose things for themselves instead of having someone else choose for them, that deplorable option of…. Health Care. So like everything else we’ve seen ignored in the last week.. Chrysler’s repayment will go unnoticed because it’s easier to keep throwing the kitchen sink of accusations than it is to actually give it a minute to see if it just might work.. It’s more patriotic to wish failure for the Government attempt to stop the slide into another depression era than it is to say “OK, that was my bad.. Carry on”.

Anyway, thank you for the $93 million in profit BB&T.. it was a pleasure doing business with you.. Come again soon.

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My reply to lil mike

ekg here…what you’re about to read is  what lil Mike and I do, this is where we are in our comfort zone and where we excel. It’s long, it’s tedious, but the final result is an all out information explosive.. We have done this kind of exchange for years on muchedumbre.com. When we started ‘blogging’, we forgot that which made us great… the quote/reply debate, because it’s hard to get into that sort of debate in a ‘blog-comment’ section..

well, not anymore…

Here is my rebuttal to Lil Mike’s

Public Option? -> Only Option

Feel free to join in the debate in the comment sections.

..

” But one thing is clear, if it’s going to be reform in any way that Obama and the far left of the Democratic Party care about, it’s got to have the “Public Option.”  Right now the administration is having it both ways.  On the one hand it’s saying that it has no intention of driving private insurers out of business, but on the other hand, reassuring Congressional Democrats that the President is still committed to having a public option as part of his vision of health care reform.

Why the Public Option?  The formal answer was included in Obama’s letter to Senators Kennedy and Baucus:

“I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.”

Competition?  There are approximately 1300 health insurance providers in the US.  Really, will 1301 really make the difference and suddenly lead to “a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest?”  That’s all it would take, just one more provider?  The idea is so ridiculous that you would have to be a White House journalist to buy it.”

Ok, will one more provider really make a difference? Absofuckinglutley!  Yes, 1300 companies offering the same shitty product would actually have to offer a better option if a bigger and better player came on to the scene. Your debate isn’t whether the Government can offer a product that will make the other companies provide a better choice, your argument is… Should the Government offer that product at all.. So let’s not play games with throwing in all this other stuff..

“What makes the public option the crown jewel of any health care reform plan?  It’s the camel’s nose under the tent for single payer government healthcare.  No, this isn’t just Republican scare-mongering.  I can hardly imagine any other conclusion for the insistence on a government healthcare plan.  And it’s easy to see how it would happen.  The logic is this:  One of the keys of health care reform is an individual mandate, but you can’t very well have one if people cannot afford to buy health insurance, so you have to provide an option for people too poor to pay.  Enter the public option.  An analysis of several public option scenarios shows that premiums could be 30 to 40 percent less than comparable private plans.  That of course hinges on the government paying reimbursement rates comparable to Medicare, which are 70-80 percent of what private insurers pay.”

I read your Lewin Group PDF analysis it was interesting.. until I Googled them and found out that..

Lewin Group is) part of Ingenix, which is owned by United Healthcare Group, the insurance behemoth that has been buying up insurance companies left and right, expanding its reach into just about every segment of the health-insurance market. Its flagship, UnitedHealthcare, helps make it the largest health insurer in the country. It’s a safe bet that United is not too keen on a public plan that might shrink its business.

Now I don’t find them credible in this discussion..Sorry about that but seriously, you wouldn’t allow me to use Rahm’s notes as actual unbiased data would you?But let’s address this ‘fear-mongering’ warpath scream of “Single Payer Healthcare-Oh My”..  Why is it that every time a Democrat tries to do anything you Pub’s start screaming ‘Government take-over!” “Government Control” “States Right!” and“Give me Liberty” , when after 8 years of massive Government abuse, Lenin-ish intrustion, insane Government spending,  and obscene Government entitlements there was nothing but the sound-bite of “If you’re not with the President, you are with the terrorists” to anyone who raised a fart of a question?

But now, Oh My God! We’re killing health care…!! We’re taxing people too much..!! Businesses will crumble..!!

really?

Did you know that Bush’s medicare proposal was…

…aimed to inject market forces into Medicare by encouraging beneficiaries to enroll in government-subsidized private health plans that would compete directly with the traditional government-run, fee-for-service program. The drug benefit would be the chief inducement for seniors to make the switch to private plans.

Maybe I missed it, but were there Fox News sponsored Tea-parties for that?

Something else I just found out (by the way, this is why Mike and I do this so well… during our hunt for facts we often find other facts that come in handy in other debates) “The Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Security was the brainchild of one William Jefferson Clinton.” Sure the website is a little nutty and over the top in it’s ‘doomsday’ opinions, and in all seriousness I shouldn’t link it because you will use it against me, but what the hell.. it pretty much spells out everything I’m saying about what the Pubs were happy to do with a Pub leader and shit themselves when it’s a Democrat doing the same thing. Best of all, it does it with the same chicken-little hyperbole you guys are using now..

In short, Bush’s encouragement to beneficiaries to enroll out of their private plans and into the government plan didn’t bring about “Single-Payer Storm troopers” and neither will President Obama’s. But if… if it did, once again you can thank Bush for that ummm…camel nose under the tent… since he started the ball rolling… 😉

Of course I loathe the ‘It’s Bush’s fault” argument.. It was fun for a few years there, but now it’s just old,crusty and only garners a slight roll of the eyes… The problem is, there are just so many fucking things that are his fault and you Pubs are just now finding that out because Obama is following in his footsteps on alot of them. So as loathsome as it is to say.. it’s still applicable.

Moving on…


“So one of the ways the Obama plan controls costs is just by paying the doctors and hospitals less.  I’m sure that will make a great incentive for people to go into the medical field.  And who wouldn’t want to be taxed to subsidize their competitor?”

President Obama will pay doctors less and therefore who would ever go into the med field.. An addendum to this argument is the.. “we will become a 3rd world health care system because there will be no incentives (money) for research”… OK 1st, we already are below many 3rd world countries when it comes to our health care and as for the rest? Well,  I can think of one disease that if it wasn’t for the French, not only would we still be calling it GRID, who knows when someone would have been able to isolate the AIDS retrovirus. Hell, it was a German who discovered that HPV was the leading cause in cervical cancer…

As for being paid less? When did we lose that ‘country doctor’ mentality of people becoming a doctor to help people? Was it around the same time insurance companies first started popping up? I’d really love to see a study on the correlation of the emergence of insurance companies and their control and doctors treating people less because it’s what they dream of doing and more to try and become a million by the time they are 30.

In short, I don’t know what President Obama’s plans on the pay scale for doctors and hospitals is. I know that right now we spend more money on administration costs than just about anything else. Medicare proves that you only need to spend 2% on admin costs and still function admirably.. $230 billion a year is spent in California alone on administration costs, Obama’s plan cost less than 1/2 that for the entire country.. so why those  massive saving would not trickle down throughout the system is beyond me.  To me, it would seem that if $25 from every $100 doctor visit that went to insurance administration now, was cut to $2, the doctor would be seeing a hell of alot better of a return.

“First, the same analysis shows that depending on the premium rate for the public option, 119 million people could lose their private health insurance…If the public plan has lower premiums, what do they care what rate their doctor gets paid at?  Others would find themselves dumped.  Why would companies want the expense of maintaining their own health insurance coverage when a public plan can offer lower premiums?”


I addressed this somewhat above when I brought Bush’s plan to get people off the private rolls and onto the public ones  to your attention already, but that’s not my argument against it, a bad plan is a bad plan no matter who the President is, something the Republican  religion doesn’t like to admit..My argument is this… I believe you are wrong.. those insurance companies will be forced to compete with the new plan.. they will have to offer something else, whether it be a lower premium or more coverage or an annual trip to Bermuda..whatever.. I mean do you seriously think they’ll just keel over and die? Hell no, they’ll find something that their competitor doesn’t have and offer it..

Back in the 90’s I was fired for being pregnant, lost my insurance(not that I had prenatal anyway), and was forced to go on Medicaid. HMO’s were exploding at that time and you were forced to pick either an HMO or straight medicaid. There was many HMO’s to chose from  and they all pretty much offered the same plans as each other and medicaid but since there was competition, the HMO’s decided to offer other incentives to get people to enroll in their plan. It was piddly shit like  children vitamins each month with this one, free contacts with that one, free vitamins,contacts and bubble gum with the other..(ok, not really on the bubble gum.. but you get the point).. the catch was you had to use their doctors,their hospitals and their pharmacies. Or you could stick with medicaid and go with pretty much whoever you wanted. I liked my doctor and she took medicaid so I chose that path. So when you tell me that a government sponsored plan will not only force people out of their private plan but will force private plans to close up shop and move away.. I laugh! These companies want to succeed today just as much as they want to succeed tomorrow and they will find a way to entice employers to keep paying them.. Whether that be free vitamins or a free trip to Bora-Bora for the employer who signs up the most employees onto their plan.Most, if not all, will adapt and  survive… and those that don’t? Well, you don’t mind when they fall in a full capitalistic society do you?

So why is a Public plan the only option? Because without it there is no change.. With it there is a crack in the monopoly-like hold insurance companies have on this country and it’s leaders. They have never had to worry about regulation and competition before and now they are throwing out all the buzz words that make  conservative hard.. “Socialism”..”Government sponsored”..”Government entitlement”… and to that I say Pshaw! Look what the debate has already done for health care… before a person was actually denied  treatment for her cancer because her insurance company said an outbreak of pimples in her past constituted a ‘pre-existing conditions’.Pimples!  But now all of a sudden insurance companies are screaming that sure,  they can get rid of the pre-existing conditions clause. The debate alone is forcing other companies to offer more benefits at a lower cost to women in some states.. The debate alone is changing health care for the better.. If the debate is cleaning up health care and the conglomerate-do-as-they-please  hold on health care that the insurance companies have.. then I am encouraged as to what an actual Public Plan will be able to do.

So, the cost factor? One state already pays 1 and 1/2 times more for just the administrative costs than the public plan for an entire country.

The reduction of doctor’s fee and hospital costs? The savings from the decrease in administration costs should increase what the medical providers see.

The loss of research and cutting edge medicine? You walk into the  Pasteur Institute and tell them they’re a 2nd tier institute.

Socialism? Please.. George Socialist Bush!

The loss of a free market? No, more like the opening of a closed market and forcing it to become competitive to survive..

Yes… Public Option? is the only Option

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Let them eat cake… and how we barter in human life…

I have had the honor and horror of watching both ends of the health care spectrum over the last couple of weeks. My grandmother, who is 86, has spent 17 of the last 22 days in the hospital. The first go around was because her lung collapsed from an injection given in the wrong place. The end result of that stay was a new prescription of coumadin, a blood thinner, to keep her from having a stroke from the collapsed lung. The second and current reason is that after a few days of coumadin she started feeling extremely sick and dizzy, the hospital did a few tests and found a blood clot on her brain. She had fallen a few weeks ago, she was fine after the fall but apparently she suffered a pretty bad bruising that normally would have healed on it’s own, but which the blood thinner  had since made

it worse because it made injury bleed a little more.

She is doing fine by the way.. or as fine as an 86 year old, end stage renal failure, 3 days a week dialysis patient with a recently re-inflated lung and a blood clot on her brain would be expected to be doing. This isn’t about her as much as it’s about the specrum of health care in this country.

My grandmother has spend most of her time in the hospital in the  brand new section called the “The Heart Center“. They offer more of a personal and intensive medical service, not too mention all the comfort of a 4-star hotel. The ‘suite’ she is in really is better than most hotels I’ve stayed at. I’m not complaining about her treatment or her room or any of the other services she has been fortunate to receive. In fact just the opposite. I have been completely impressed with this new section of the hospital. When they decided to call the rooms ‘suites’ they didn’t exaggerate. The rooms are the size of a normal 2 patient room, but they are private with hardwood floors,wood wainscoting and cabinetry. There is a personal desk that has all the ‘technological’ necessities such as an internet port,cell phone charger hook up, iPod/mp3 port, there is even a personal fan and temperature control. Finally a medium size plasma-screen tv and DVD player for each room.

For visitors the suite offers recliners, extremely  comfortable chairs and a couch that makes into a bed. Oh, did I mention the view of the river?

Yes, the “Heart Center” is a top of the line stay for anyone who is lucky enough to get sick and admitted to it and I am glad that her stay has been as comfortable as it has.

I don’t know much about insurances, but I know that she has
“Tri-care for life” add that in with their medicare and both of my grandparents haven’t a care in the world when it comes to health care and I am thankful for this. They are of the ‘Greatest Generation‘ who were asked by their country to sacrifice and serve and they stepped up and happily did their duty.  They deserve to be cared for in the older years.

But compare my grandmother’s care to that of her house cleaner’s. I know there is a stigma attached to the  ‘house cleaners’ as somehow being beneath us in some way, but I think that’s because we’ve never really thought about them. I want you to take a minute and do just that. If you have a house cleaner she probably spends 2-4 hrs at your house every 1-2 weeks doing the things for you that you don’t want to do. You pay her to vacuum,dust,pick up the living room and not only do you pay her $20-25 a hour to do your job for you, but you are not her only client. If she spends 4 hrs at your house she still has enough time, to do another 4 hours house and at $25 an hour.. well she just made $200 that day to do something a simple as cleaning your kitchen. No, I don’t believe house cleaners are beneath us, I believe they are smarter than any of us give them credit for. They wear whatever they want to work,they are their own boss working their own hours, telling people which product to buy them so they can use. They work in comfortable climates and pretty much have the run of your home while they are there, watching tv and listening to your radio as they go.  A good one, with an established clientele and the time to work a 10-12hr day can make as much as $1500 a week for their uneducated labor. Yes, we are beneath them in them grand scheme of things.

My grandmothers house cleaner was a family friend who started her business very late in  life. She had been married and was never required to work or pay her own bills but one day her husband decided to take off and live with his new girlfriend and Dot was left with nothing to turn to, so she did the only thing she knew… she cleaned houses. She was just starting to get back on her feet again when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was a devastating diagnosis because there is no recovery and the outlook is a fast and painful death. That wasn’t the problem though. She had no money to stop working and she had no insurance to cover her. She was building up to all of these creature comforts and just hadn’t had the time to get there yet, another year maybe and she would have attained some of what the rest of us take for granted. But that still wasn’t her problem, her problem was that she wasn’t going to die fast enough.

Because her type of work depends on her actually working, she couldn’t take days off, because while she was diagnosed to die within the next 6-9 months, she still needed to pay her mortgage, utilities,food, car payments, gas and then if anything was left after that, her prescriptions and other medical costs. Her doctor of course tried to get her into the public health systemts but unfortunately she made too much money to qualify and if she were to reduce her income she wouldn’t be able to survive. Her doctor, knowing that she had nothing, spent hours calling around to various hosiptals in and out of the state to see if he could find anyone to give their time to her for free so that she could be treated in some way or helped in some way to die in whatever peace she could.

He couldn’t find anyone out there willing to help.

Dot didn’t let any of this phase her, it was what it was and that’s all there was to it. She did finally find another house cleaner to take on her work and split the pay with her. The house cleaner she found had to drop many of her full-paying clients in order to take on Dot’s clients for 1/2 the price she was getting on her own, but even at 1/2 the price she could survive and she knew that at that point Dot didn’t have much time left anyway so she wouldn’t working at the reduced rate for long.

After buying her own pain medication and paying to keep her electric on, Dot didn’t really have much money left over. She was approved for hospice towards the end but that was of littel comfort since she only lived 5 days in their care. Through it all Dot never cried about the pain she was living through or the predicament she was in. She was proud of what she had accomplished after her husband left her without a penny and all the monthly bills. She didn’t cry that she had been forced from the home she had shared with her husband because she could no longer afford it, she was proud of the 2 bedroom cottage she fixed up with the money she made from her job. She had started from nothing, lost everything and had built up a pretty decent life-style all on her own when most people at that time of  their lives are starting to wind down and think of the vacations they will take when they retire in the next few years. No, Dot never asked “why me” or “who will help me”.. And Sherry, the cleaner Dot  got to work for her, never complained when she had to trade in her car for a cheaper one or when she had to put off paying for her own daughters wedding. Sherry sacrificed her time and lively hood, her daughter’s wedding and many other things when she didn’t have to but it was just the ‘human’ thing to do. I sometimes wonder if the doctors who told Dot’s physican that they just didn’t have the time to take on a non-paying patient or couldn’t afford to write off her care.. how would they feel if they heard that a relative stranger and lowly house-keeper stepped up and offered her sacrifice and service when they wouldn’t.

There is a class-warfare going on in this country right now and it ‘s called “Health care”. I am more grateful than I can express at the coverage my grandparents receive. I know that if  they hadn’t had the great insurance that they have, they would have been dead a long time ago. But at the same time, I can’t help but ask.. why couldn’t Dot have had just a part of that golden coverage? Throughout time there has always been the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ and there is nothing wrong with that. For it takes the ‘have-nots’ to spur on new innovations and creativity.  It’s when you do without that you find out exactly what you are missing and you find a way to get it. Our country couldn’t have become the power it is had everybody been given everything equally. What do I want to ‘keep up with the Jones’ for if they are going to get what I have given to them? Why do I want to work 80 hrs a week if Slacker-Billy is going to get a steak dinner and  comfortable roof over his head for working a 3rd of the hours. Why do I have to go to school and study,  then incur thousands of dollars of debt, when 1.0 GPA Sam is going to get the same things I am. I understand the tenants and the benefits of Free-Market Capitilism and I agree those who promote this type of lively-hood.

What I don’t understand is… why does health care have to be one of those things that only the rich and insured are entitled to. Why is the  health of someone a pawn in the Political and Pundit game of ‘Capitalism V. Socialism’. It’s a person’s health. Not their education, status,wealth.. it’s their health, their vision, hearing.. their life.

Is there anyone out there that can explain to me why the ones who could have afforded to help Dot, ignored her plight and the one who couldn’t afford it sacrificed and helped a dying woman who did nothing wrong except be unable to afford a platinum health care policy? Or instead..  explain why we are forced to have platinum policies in the 1st place. We are not talking about giving a Rolex out for Christmas to every peon worker-bee we employ.. we’re talking about giving them doctor visit when they have a cold, giving them a shot when they are in pain, giving them a test to see what the blood in the toilet is from..or what the newly discovered lump on a breast is.. Who cares how we pay for it, seriously..who fucking cares!  We pay for the research of fruit flies sexual reproduction, we pay for prisoners and death row inmates to have better health care than 75% of our population, we pay for roads,bridges,statues, humanitarian aid to other countries.. Forget the money for once, if we were attacked tomorrow we would pay for the latest and greatest defense system.. Forget the money for once..

There is a ‘let them eat cake’ philosophy on people’s health.  .. On their health! Why?

Someone… anyone… Please tell me why a dollar… your dollar.. is worth more than a persons life? Because they didn’t work for it and you did? Because if they received the same benefit as you, well then you will just quit your job, give up everything else you have and live off the government tit? Would you really just decide to up and quit everything and go from Prince to Pauper just because everyone has health care?

Why are we bartering in human life? Instead of asking me how to pay for it, how about you tell me what I have to give up to help those around me.  We’ve been asked to sacrifice and serve this country before and many people stood up when asked, so tell us what we need to sacrifice now to save a human life.. Because I am done bartering with the souls of the people around me.. You tell me what a life costs and what I have to give up to save it and we’ll go from there.

What is the point of having these elite medical centers that could compete with a 4-start hotel, if most of the people living in this country can’t afford to use them?

Why have we let someone’s ability to be treated when they are sick, become the latest  status symbol of elitism?

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