Monday, August 31, 2009

The Land That Made Me, Me

If you knew how much work I put into stealing this post from an e-mail you would look at it out of kindness. I never worked as hard writing my own post as I did putting this together. I hope it brings back a few memories.


Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot, Before the days of Dylan, or the dawn of Camelot.
There lived a race of innocents, and they were you and me,

For Ike was in the White House in that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges, and Peyton Place was porn.

We learned to gut a muffler, we washed our hair at dawn,
We spread our crinolines to dry in circles on the lawn.

We longed for love and romance, and waited for our Prince,
And Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one's seen him since.

We danced to 'Little Darlin,' and sang to 'Stagger Lee'
And cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made
Me, Me.

Only girls wore earrings then,and 3 was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean McKinney.

And only in our wildest dreams did we expect to see
A boy named George with Lipstick, in the Land That Made Me
, Me.
We fell for Frankie Avalon, Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie, they never made it twice.

We didn't have a Star Trek Five, or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty in the Land That Made Me, Me.

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold, and Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr. Wizard, but not a Mr. T,
And Oprah couldn't talk yet, in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We had our share of heroes, we never thought they'd go,
At least not Bobby Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.
For youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We'd never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren't named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,
Madonna was Mary in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We'd never heard of microwaves, or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed, but they weren't grown in jars..

And pumping iron got wrinkles out, and 'gay' meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never co-ed in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We hadn't seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag.

And Hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me, Me.

Buicks came with portholes, and side shows came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks..

And Coke came just in bottles, and skirts below the knee,
And Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me, Me.

We had no Crest with Fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues,
We had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea
Or prime-time ads for those dysfunctions

in theLand That Made Me
, Me.

There were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda , and cats were not called Bill.

And middle-aged was 35 and old was forty-three,
And ancient were our parents in the Land That Made Me, Me.

But all things have a season, or so we've heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline we swear by Retin-A.
They send us invitations to join AARP,
We've come a long way, baby, from the Land That Made Me, Me.

So now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they're using smaller print in magazines.
And we tell our children's children of the way it used to be,
Long ago and far away in the Land That Made Me, Me.

AND NOW: For those of you too young to remember
Bob Hope, ask your Grandparents!!!
And thanks for the memories............

Give me a sense of humor, Lord,

Give me the grace to see a joke,

To get some humor out of life,

And pass it on to other folks

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ted Kennedy Blasts GOP on Health Care Reform

The most meaningful way we can honor Ted Kennedy is to fight to pass his signature issue; Universal Health Care. Senator Kennedy was lauded for his ability to cross the aisle and get the Republicans to help pass many reforms like Civil Rights. But sometimes he found it necessary to blast his opponents, as he did in this video.

Senator Kennedy felt very strongly about this issue, as do I. He didn't need reform for personal reasons; nor do I. But he always felt an obligation to fight for the little guy. I have a more personal reason for fighting - and a fight it is - because my daughter needs expensive medication on a monthly basis and she has no health insurance. A catastrophic illness would bankrupt her, as it has others in her situation.

It's easy when you are on Medicare or Medicaid to say we can't afford it. What if that argument had won (and it was used) to defeat the insurance coverage you now enjoy? If we are a humane country, as we profess to be, then we need to think of those millions who have no insurance (or could be kicked off of the policy they do have) and are one catastrophic illness away from losing everything they have worked hard for.

It seems like the ones that claim we are a Christian nation are the most vocal against any kind of reform. I guess they don't think Christianity involves following the teachings of Jesus. What about , "Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you?" Or, "As ye have done it to the least of these, ye have done it unto me."

When they try to excuse their - dare I say heartlessness? - by saying the ones without insurance could afford it, but just don't want it or, worse, they can go to the Emergency Room if they're sick, they are ignoring facts and reality. It's so easy to cop out on one's responsibility by excusing themselves with lies and evasions.

The Senate will reconvene soon and now is not the time to give up. They used to say of Ronald Reagan, "Let's get one for the Gipper." Well, I now say please keep writing your representatives. Let's get one for the fighter - Ted Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy

1932 - 2009

This is not a post I wanted to write. The news that Senator Ted Kennedy died at the age of 77 is such a sad event. It is bittersweet to me because the malignant brain tumors that took his life also took my husband's.

I never met Ted Kennedy personally, but I was in Massachusetts in 1969 when the Chappaquiddick scandal erupted and I clearly remember how it dominated everyone's conversation. He had his defender's and his haters. I was not aware of the Kennedy aura at that time and took no position. I did lean toward thinking he was a rich playboy who panicked.

Whatever the truth of that tragic incident, it stopped all possibilities of him following in John and Robert's footsteps in seeking the presidency. Through the years he has redeemed himself as the strong center of a tragic riddled family. The Kennedy family story is Shakespearean in the many catastrophies that befell it.

Senator Kennedy strongly supported universal health care and his voice in the Senate will be sorely missed.

Our hearts go out to the Kennedy family who have suffered so many tragic deaths.

Rest In Peace, Ted

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Facts, Not Ideology or Rumor on Health Care Reform

Honestly , I am as tired of writing about this subject as you are of reading about it, but as rumors and distortions are eroding the support for reform I feel it is incumbent on those who support real reform to keep refuting the lies.

Sunday morning
Anderson Cooper of CNN moderated a full hour analyzing the various aspects of the reform bills being considered. He had a panel of three political analysts, David Gergen, Pamela Gentry, Christine Romans, and Dr. Singay Gupta. They were not advocates for reform or against it. They were simply discussing the facts as they stand now.

One of the facts that should be stressed is that the Pharmaceutical Industry is so worried about it's obscene profits being threatened that
(emphasis mine) it is spending $150 billion dollars to fight it. The Insurance Industry took another tack. Rather than fighting reform, they are cooperating (sort-of). Being sly old foxes they made a deal; we will no longer refuse to insure people that have pre-existing conditions if you give up the Public Option. This gives them the cover of appearing to support the bill and looking like good guys while they lick their chops about all those millions of new people who will be required to have health insurance. Bear in mind, that many of those who do not have health insurance are young and among the healthiest.
Reform without the Public Option would be a real win-win for the Insurance Industry.

Another fact for reform that is overlooked in the noise over "pulling the plug on grandma" is the fact that one of the things that brought down the American auto industry is it's inability to compete with foreign made cars because of the high cost of health insurance for it's workers. This is true of all large American corporations. Failing to get the cost of health care down is doing the very thing the politicians say they despise; sending our manufacturing industries overseas; or bankrupting them if they stay here because they can't compete with countries that have a sensible health insurance system.

Another thing people who are happy with their insurance need to know. They are one catastrophe away from financial disaster if their insurance company refuses to cover it. This happens all too often
. That's what causes so many personal bankruptcies. Still happy with the way things are now?

If that isn't enough to worry you, look at your premiums. Individuals are paying 117% more for health insurance now than ten years ago and it will double if nothing is done.

If you are one of the ones against reform because it covers abortion the panel said this is a murky issue because there is nothing in the current bill that says insurance must cover abortion, but if the mother's life is at stake that becomes more problematical.

The same murkiness occurs when the issue of paying for reform with preventative medicine is discussed. It's difficult to prove how much could be saved by catching illnesses before they became so serious that the cost of treatment would escalate dramatically. Logic says that there would be savings, but how much is iffy.

The next thing that people who are against reform cite is; they don't want their tax dollars to pay for illegal immigrants. There is nothing in any of the bills pending that approve free care for illegals. However, illegal immigrants do end up in Emergency Rooms where the cost is much higher.


1) Big Pharma is spending $150 billion to fight against reform.

2) Our large industries can't compete with their foreign counterparts because of the high cost of health care for their employees.

3) People who are now happy with their insurance should know that they insurance company can, and probably will, pull the plug on them if they have a catastrophic illness. Also, your premiums will double over a few years.

4) Abortion is not covered in the plans now being considered, although if it is performed to save a mother's life it ibecomes murky on whether it will pay or not. (It should)

5) Preventative medicine will save money, but no one knows how much.

6) Illegal immigrants will not be covered.

As far as I can tell, most arguments against reform are based on misinformation or ideology. ("I don't trust the government and want as little government in my life as possible.")

I don't know how to argue with ideology. I only know there are some things that government does better than private industry. I don't trust an insurance industry that is more interested in making a profit than in a humanitarian goal. The single-payer options that are controlled by the government are certainly doing better in controlling cost that the private industry. I believe facts and logic should take precedence over some nebulous belief in "less government is better". Paul Krugman has a good article on this here:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Living Wills

Wow! Wasn't Ronni Bennett's idea on having all of us post on health care reform on the same day a great one? It took me two days to read all of the posts and they were all excellent. I was especially excited to read blogs from people in other countries telling how happy they were with their health care systems validating my belief that they were to be envied. They also refuted the lies being told about their medical care.

The more I read, the more I became aware of just how lousy our system is. It is mind boggling to me that there are still those who think it's the best in the world. 'Taint necessarily so' just because Rush or a Republican Senator says it is.

Some of the comments told sad stories about the horrible decisions they had to make when an elderly relative died. I think it's now time to tell my story.

My husband was 62 at the time he had a massive stroke. He didn't have any health insurance and I had to sign a waiver that I would be responsible for his bills before the hospital would admit him. Of course, I did so, and in my distraught condition I couldn't worry about that at the time. A friend advised me to get him in the state medical program for low income (ACCESS), which saved me from becoming impoverished.

Seven months later a tissue biopsy revealed multiple inoperable malignent brain tumors.
After the biopsy, my husband could no longer speak and the stroke symptoms worsened. He was a large man and I could not care for him at home. I was working and I didn't have the choice of quitting. I had no option but to leave him in a nursing home that the doctor had placed him in. (Reform should include home care givers so the patient can die at home. It would be cheaper and more humane.)

He was a prisoner in his own body unable to make his wishes known, talk of his fears, or even feed himself. He had been a vital fun loving man and I knew how terrible this must have been for him. He used to joke that he knew how he was going to die - he was going to be shot by a jealous lover at the age of 99.

Not only did Wayne not have health insurance, he did not have a living will.

In October I got a telephone call from his doctor telling me that my husband had managed to pull his catheter out and had an infection.
He asked me if I wanted him to treat the infection. I knew that without treatment Wayne would die. I also knew that he would want to. But I had to make the decision alone and immediately . It was one of the hardest things I ever did, because, no matter how you rationalize it, you have the power of life and death in your hands. I asked the doctor if he could keep him comfortable if the infection wasn't treated. When he assured me that he could, I told him, "Do not treat it." I would not wish having to make that decision on anyone. I know its illogical, but there remains a feeling of guilt. If Wayne had signed a living will the decision would have been his.

I am sure that everyone who is remotely interested in this subject has heard about Sarah Palin's vicious statement about 'Obama's death panels' and about Charles Grassley 's disingenuous statement about pulling the plug on grandma. This is one of the more despicable lies being spread and I will tell you what is really at stake. (Orrin Hatch failed to denounce Sarah and Charles statements to his shame.)

The right wing won that round. The clause was pulled from the bill.

What they were mis-characterizing was a clause that would have included payment for a consultation between a doctor and the patient on 'end of life' care. A consultation would surely include information and help on drawing up a living will. Having one would spare relatives from having to make the kind of decision that I and others have had to make. That is why I am hoping they will reinstate the clause.

My children will never have to make a decision like I did if I should end my days in a lingering death. I have an iron clad living will and medical power of attorney. I have also discussed my wishes with my children and informed my sister of my wishes. There will be no arguing on what to do between relatives as so often happens in cases like this. I have taken control of my ability to die without machines, as nature intended.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Questions and Answers on Health Care Reform

Sometimes our government makes things so complicated that no one can understand what they are doing. I doubt that they understand it either. I am certainly no Einstein, but on the Health Care Reform I hope to simplify some of the issues for you.

Questions and Answers:
  • What is it going to cost?
  • That is the wrong question. The question should be: "What will it cost if we don't reform health care now. The answer is, every individual will pay more for their health care until it is unsustainable.

    Nationwide, insurance premiums have doubled in the last nine years, increasing three times faster than real wages. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, last year the U.S. spent approximately $2.2 trillion, or $7,421 per person, on health care. This equals 16.2 percent of our GDP, nearly twice the amount of the next most costly nation. It is estimated that by 2040, one in every three dollars will be spent on health care.

    The price of health care keeps rising and will continue to do so unless it is reformed. Individuals, businesses, states, and the Federal Government are all going bankrupt due to the costly burden of health care. This is helping to bring down our economy in many ways. (Trust me on this.)
  • What is the rush? Why not take time to do it right?
  • First, to say there is a rush is just plain silly. We have been studying the need for reform for 40 years and attempts at reform have always been defeated. There is no better time than now to succeed. If it isn't done now it won't happen again in decades. And if nothing is done, you probably won't be able to afford your health care in a very few years. Even if you are able to get insurance, or are on Medicare, you will no longer get the quality of care you now enjoy. Those who are frightened by the lies being put out by the insurance industry should really be frightened if nothing is done.
  • How are we going to pay for it?
  • If we used the common sense that other countries have used we would have no trouble paying for it. The single-payer system costs far less than we are spending right now on health care. When they put out scare tactics about a trillion dollars cost they are ignoring, and not subtracting, the amount we are already paying and are not taking into account the savings that will be built in to real reform. (Note: I emphasized REAL because we will save nothing unless this is done right.) But even without the single-payer system the cost saved by reducing fraud, waste and duplication in our current system and, along with a Public Option, will go a long way to pay for those who are now uninsured. True, the savings won't happen over night, but eventually we will recover the cost of insuring the uninsured or under-insured with future savings.
  • How will it change my insurance that I have now; especially if I am on Medicare?
  • The current reform plan will not affect you at all. It will, however, give everyone more benefits in the form of free gym membership and free counseling for living a healthier life. In other words, preventative medicine. If this is put back in the final bill (as it should be) it will also pay for assistance on making a Living Will and a Medical Power of Attorney IF YOU WANT ONE. This is not a mandate.
  • Is this socialized medicine?
  • No, no, no. The government will not be the employers of the doctors and will not own the pharmaceutical companies. The government will play the same roll for everyone who want to join the Public Option that they now do for the Veterans and Federal Employees. (Your Congressmen and Senators among others.)
  • What will happen to the Insurance Companies under the Obama plan?
  • The only thing the government will do is mandate that the insurance companies can no longer kick people off the rolls when they get sick and will no longer be able to refuse to insure people that have pre-existing conditions. Their obscene profits will probably drop.
  • Will the government ration health care?
  • Absolutely not. There is NOTHING in the bill about rationing health care. Health care is being rationed now by the insurance companies. They decide what doctor you can see, what procedures they will cover, what medications you may use, etc.
  • Will Elders be euthanized?
  • This is such a ridiculous charge I shouldn't even have to answer it, but since some people are gullible enough to believe this, I will. the answer is: ABSOLUTELY NOT. The big lie about this is just that - a big lie!
  • Will I be forced into a government plan?
  • No. You can keep your current plan and your current doctor. All it will do is give you more choices.
The reality is that a single payer option is still the best reform plan that would save the most money. Perhaps it's the only one that would. For those who say they don't trust their government, I ask them why they trust the private sector (aka the insurance and pharmaceutical industries)? It's damned obvious that those industries do not have your interests at heart. Believe me, the bottom line is their goal.

And for those who believe all the lies about the terrible things that happen to patients in other countries I say "Hogwash!" I have heard from many individuals from France, Canada, England and Switzerland who are very happy with their health care system. I have also heard of many in our country who are not. Many more, I might add. Please follow the link to an article from the BBC on what their plan is really like. The lies being told by the likes of Michelle Malkin, et al, are absurd .

For a look at how much power is being amassed against reform, the following link provides an eye opener.

I hope I have answered some of your questions. Remember, there really isn't a bill yet. Here is a link to the proposed bill as it stands now:

Here is a link to a reality check:

And just for fun, here is a link to one of my favorite blogs, Margaret and Helen. It is written by two friends, but Margaret does most of the writing. Her style reminds me of the late great Molly Ivins. Margaret is also a Texan and is a salty old elder in her 80's who writes with a delicious sense of humor. I am sure you will enjoy her blog. This post is linked to the subject of the uninformed screamers at the Town Hall meetings.

I try very hard to be realistic when I analyze something. So to make this whole things easy to understand I will simply say, "If you sell a product and make a profit, isn't it logical that you can sell it for less if you omit the profit?" Why is it any different with the cost of health care? I would love to eliminate the insurance industry from our system of health care, but with the current bunch of Yahoos beholden to the Insurance Industry in Congress that will never happen.

Finally, let Obama and your representatives know that you prefer a single payer system but will settle for nothing less than the Public Option. Without that, the rest is just band aids and window dressing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vanity Of Vanities. All Is Vanity.

I need a filler today between the post on Millie's birthday and Thursday's post on Health Care. But what to write about? Ah hah! I have it - vanity. Part of the dictionary definition is "being too proud of oneself." That has always been my definition, but apparently that may not be how others define it.

Part of the danger of living alone is the strange thoughts that arrive unbidden in my head. For some unfathomable reason I remembered an event from the past. I have a dear friend who is extremely intelligent and I admire her immensely. One time we were talking about being vain. I commented that I wasn't vain and she promptly, and most emphatically, said, "Oh I am." A very unkind thought popped into my head. I thought, "What has she got to be vain about?". She is a wonderful person but you could not say she is pretty and her comment startled me.

Later I became more charitable and it occurred to me that she meant that she took great pains to look her best. Or perhaps she is very proud of her intellect and physical beauty is not the attribute that she is vain about. Or maybe she does see herself as being pretty. We never see ourselves as others see us.

I don't think of myself as being vain. My mirror tells me I will never win any beauty contests, but I do want to look my best when someone sees me. Is that vanity?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder perhaps a definition of a word is in the mind of the person using it. If words have consequences then we should clarify what we mean when we use the word. Following are quotations on how others use the word, vanity:

Vanity is so secure in the heart of man that everyone wants to be admired: even I who write this, and you who read this. ~Blaise Pascal

Vanity is the quicksand of reason ~George Sand

The surest cure for vanity is loneliness. ~Thomas Wolfe

Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt. ~Benjamin Franklin

There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it. ~Mark Twain, Notebook, 1898


I am no longer musing; I am rambling and think I will stop right here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Millie

Millie Garfield of My Mom's Blog turns 84 today. Let's all wish her a happy birthday.

In the event you are unable to read the blurred text, Maxine says, "Happy Birthday? What bonehead thought of putting those two words together?"



Friday, August 14, 2009

Abbott and Costello

Be sure to read Nancy's story on the Elder Story Telling Place today. AS usual when Nancy writes a story you will find yourself laughing loud and long. Here's the link:


Some days I feel this way about my computer. It's beyond comprehension. Even the techies can't figure out what's wrong. Can't live with them and can't live without them. What to do?

You have to be old enough to remember Abbott and Costello, and too old to REALLY understand computers, to fully appreciate this. For those of us who sometimes get flustered by our computers, please read on...
If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their famous sketch, 'Who's on First?' might have turned out something like this:

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.


COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?


COSTELLO: For my office?


COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows ! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?


COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.

COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue 'w' if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on 'START'.............

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Town Hall Meeting

Last evening I watched Arlen Specter on C-SPAN hold one of his Town Hall meetings. It was an eye opener and a dispiriting event if this is a sample of how our representatives are holding meetings.

When I started watching the meeting, an irate man was ranting because he wasn't allowed to speak and wanted to leave. I assume that he didn't get a number and that is why he was furious. He was a big man and dwarfed Specter. The security people ushered him out.

This meeting was controlled by giving out numbers to those who wished to ask a question. Out of the 30 questions that I saw asked there was only one person who was for the health reform bill. She and her husband both work in the health industry and she seemed to be the only one knowledgeable about the need for reform. The rest of them were so obviously misinformed and used their time to make long speeches about everything from the cap and trade bill (opposed) to wanting term limits for Congressmen and Senators. Their ideology was so obvious that it was no surprise that they were adamantly against health care reform.

Their arguments ranged from one by a young woman on how she and her husband had children and couldn't afford the plan, to other people quoting lines in the Congressional plan that they interpreted wrongly. Specter kept saying that he wouldn't support a plan that didn't pay for itself. This went right over the head of this woman who kept on and asked what would pay for it when the money ran out. Specter was obviously unprepared on specifics in the bill from Congress and only corrected one person who spouted one of the rumors being put out by the insurance industry. It was one of the worst, and Specter angrily said, "That is a malicious, vicious rumor." Otherwise, he kept saying he would look into it. He did remind them that this was not the final bill.

Specter let some things go that I felt he should have corrected. One woman said the tax rate in Canada was 60% to pay for health care. No comment from Arlen. I know Arlen can't antagonize his base and didn't want to argue with them too often, but if this is how other Town Halls are going no minds will be changed. One person used his time to criticize Arlen for changing his party affiliation. He got loud applause. This wasn't a room full of Democrats.

This was a very heated crowd and their minds were made up before they entered the room. They applauded each and every incorrect statement and hooted and hollered during the whole time. This is why the polls show that the 'anti' crowd is winning the debate. Maybe we 'pros' need to become more vocal.

If reform is defeated it is because people are not understanding the consequences of doing nothing and are misinformed about what reform will really do to help them. Can't someone with a big megaphone call them out every time they repeat something that they heard on Fox TV?
Can't Obama tell the facts in simple terms that an eighth grader can understand? Is it possible to change any minds that are so closed?

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Nancy Leitz does not write a blog, but she often comments on blogs written by others. Nancy writes stories that can be found on Ronni Bennett's blog, TIME GOES BY. Another one of her stories will be published Friday the 14th in THE ELDER STORY TELLING PlACE. Please visit that site and read her story. I know you won't be disappointed. Here's the link:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Middle Wife

When you are in deep shit look straight ahead, keep your head up and say nothing.

That's me in the middle. (Aren't I the foxy one, though?) I think I have ranted on health care reform about long enough. While I still have one person left who will read my blog I think I should take a break. So here, for a welcome change of pace, is my favorite kid story. I hope you laugh as hard as I did when I first read it.

The Middle Wife

by Anonymous

I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my second grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, and stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it into school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater. She holds up a snapshot of an infant. "This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday."

"First Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord."

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

"Then about two Saturday's ago my Mom started saying and going 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh'". Erica puts her hand behind her back and groans.

"She walked around the house for, like and hour, "Oh, oh, oh!". Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.

"My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this." Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.

"And then, pop! My Mom had this big bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like pusshheew!" This kid has her legs spread and with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much.

"Then the middle wife starts saying, 'Push, push' and 'breathe, breathe'." They started counting, but never even got past ten.

Then all of a sudden out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they said was from Mom's play-center, so there must have been a lot of toys inside there."

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another "Middle Wife" comes along.

The End

The American Taliban Is Among Us

Between the Right Wing nut cases and the NRA there is danger of violence erupting in the Town Hall meetings. Rush Limbaugh, using his incendiary rants against the biggest Union supporting Health Care reform and against Democrats, has whipped them up to a frenzy. He has said both were Nazi's. Now if this isn't crying "fire" in a crowded theater, I don't know what is. How long will it be before some uninformed and self-hating crazy decides to be a hero and prove his manhood by shooting Union Members and Democrats?

These wild and overblown accusations screamed in the Town Hall meetings are not freedom of speech; they are suppression of speech. That is their object.

As usual, these thuggish tactics are working. Polls show that the Republicans who are against any reform are energized while the Democrats who are for it remain apathetic. How many emails have any of you received FOR health care reform? I haven't received a single one, but people have received many AGAINST it. The media only report on the sensational events and never explain the true reforms being proposed. Where is Walter Cronkite when you need him?
The lies about euthanasia and about socialized medicine continue to drown out the truth.

Spreading fear and lies are the tactics that were used by the real Nazi's and the Taliban. Our legislators are intimidated by threats and by the loud voices of protest.

Please click on the following link to read more:

Obama-Allied Unions Threatened With Gun Violence For Town Hall Participation

Charles M. Blow in an Op-Ed piece in this morning's NYT said the following:


While Democrats are sitting it out, Republicans are storming in.

According to the CNN poll, nearly half of those opposing current plans on health care reform said that they were very likely to attend a town hall meeting. Only 37 percent of those who support the plans were very likely to attend.

Not only are anti-reformists showing up, they’re terrorizing legislators with their tomfoolery when they do. Blinded by fear and passion, armed with misinformation and misplaced anger, they descend on these meetings and hoot and holler in an attempt to shut down the debate rather than add to it.

I must say that this says more about them than it does about any forthcoming legislation. Belligerence is the currency of the intellectually bankrupt. (Emphasis mine)

Trapped in their vacuum of ideas, too many Republicans continue to display an astounding ability to believe utter nonsense, even when faced with facts that contradict it. (emphasis mine)

A Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll released last Friday found that 28 percent of Republicans don’t believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States and another 30 percent are still “not sure.” That’s nearly 6 out of 10 Republicans refusing to accept a basic truth. Then again, this shouldn’t surprise me. According to a Gallup poll released last summer, 6 in 10 Republicans also said they thought that humans were created, in their present form, 10,000 years ago.

Let’s face it: This is no party of Einsteins. Really, it isn’t. A Pew poll last month found that only 6 percent of scientists said that they were Republicans.

Democrats should be leading this discussion. Instead, they’re losing control of it. That’s unfortunate because the debate is too important to be hijacked by hooligans.


Are we going to let them get away with it? Sadly, I think the answer is. "You betcha!"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Just the Facts, Maam

On my last post I cited the way lies about health care reform are spread. Some of you wondered how to combat those lies. I have one way. Every time you get one of those e-mails with misleading so-called facts about Health Care Reform please copy and paste the following information and send it back to the person who forwarded one of those false e-mails. There is a particularly nasty e-mail going around with itemized misleading and false statements. Obviously, it was created by a shill of the Insurance Industry. If you got one of those you will see that the following letter refutes every one of the lies.

This letter was composed by Health Care for America Now. I have highlighted the lies in red.
Dear ___________,

The contents of the email I am replying to are patently false. If the anonymous writer of this email had actually read the bill, he or she would know better.

Here are the facts. Anyone can verify them by reading the bill at

Actual itemized contents of the Health Care Reform Bill:

"Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!"

TRUTH: This is not an "audit," it's a study. Moreover, the bill states (pp. 22-23) that the report will "include any recommendations the Commissioner deems appropriate to ensure that the law does not provide incentives for small and mid-size employers to self-insure or create adverse selection in the risk pools of large group insurers and self-insured employers." This is almost directly the opposite of the email's claim.

"Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!"

TRUTH: Page 29 continues to define the "essential benefits package" and discusses limits on what Americans will have to spend on health care under this minimum standard. In no way does this section stipulate the rationing of care.

"Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)"

TRUTH: Page 30 begins to describe the Health Benefits Advisory Committee which establishes certain minimum standards for health insurance plans. In no way does this committee deny treatments and benefits to Americans with health insurance.

"Page 42: The 'Health Choices Commissioner' will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None."

TRUTH: Page 42 begins to describe the Health Choices Commissioner's duties. The idea that this person will decide what benefits Americans receive is patently false, given that most Americans will keep their current plans under reform, and Americans within the exchange will have the choice of purchasing many different kinds of health plans. Rather, the Commissioner will establish minimum standards to protect Americans.

"Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services."

TRUTH: Pages 50-51 contain a provision stating that discrimination will not be allowed in the provision of health care services. Nowhere does the bill state that non-US citizens will be provided free health care services. The bill prohibits federal dollars from being used for undocumented immigrants.

"Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard."

TRUTH: Page 58, in the context of a discussion of administrative standards, mentions that "determination of an individual's financial responsibility at the point of service and, to the extent possible, prior to service, including whether the individual is eligible for a specific service with a specific physician at a specific facility...may include utilization of a machine-readable health plan beneficiary identification card." In no way does the bill state that such a card would be national, or that it would be issued to every person, or that it would, in fact, be used at all.

"Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer."

TRUTH: Page 59 continues the discussion of administrative standards, and authorizes electronic transfers of money within the government. In no way does this provision grant the government access to individual bank accounts.

"Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)"

TRUTH: Here's what page 65 says: "Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish a temporary reinsurance program to provide reimbursement to assist participating employment-based plans with the cost of providing health benefits to retirees and to eligible spouses, surviving spouses and dependents of such retirees." No mention is made of unions or community organizations.

"Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange."

TRUTH: That's true! Plans have to have a minimum standard of benefits, bat can offer other plans as well. But that's fair, isn't it? Private insurers can continue to operate outside the exchange if they wish - should the government establish no standards for the exchange? In that case, how could reform end insurance industry abuses and help to control costs?

"Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)"

TRUTH: This section says is that if private health care plans want to operate in the Exchange, they must provide a basic benefit package.

"Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens"

TRUTH: Some American citizens are more comfortable speaking a language other than English, especially in a sensitive situation like a consultation with their doctor. This provision in no way opens the door for coverage of undocumented workers.

"Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan."

TRUTH: Page 95 makes no mention of ACORN and Americorps; all it says is that the Commissioner can conduct outreach to vulnerable populations, making them aware of their options.

"Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter."

TRUTH: People who are eligible for Medicaid will not have to face the burdens of paperwork and other bureaucratic struggles. Far from depriving people of choice, this measure will ensure coverage.

"Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No 'judicial review' is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed."

TRUTH: This section describes rate-setting under the public health insurance plan option, which will compete with private insurers, who can set their own rates. Because of inherent advantages like their established administrative and provider frameworks, private insurance companies will not be "crushed" by government competition.

"Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages."

TRUTH: The government will negotiate rates with providers under the public health insurance plan option. However, private insurers will continue to pay their own rates.

"Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives."

TRUTH: This is simply not true. Employers with more than 20 employees aren't even eligible to participate in the exchange, let alone the public plan, until several years after the exchange launches in 2013. Moreover, no employer will be forced to participate in the public plan.

"Page 146: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families."

TRUTH: Employers are required to pay some benefits for part-time employees on a basis proportional to what they pay for full-time employees. No language on this page or the next stipulates coverage for the families of part-time employees.

"Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll"

TRUTH: The payroll penalty applies to employers with payroll over $500,000 who do not provide insurance to their employees. The percentage for employers with payroll from $500,000 - $750,000 is 6%. Employers do not have to offer the public option to avoid this penalty, they can offer private insurance if they wish.

"Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll"

TRUTH: This is false, see above.

"Page 167: Any individual who doesn't' have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income."

TRUTH: Pages 167-173 detail what "acceptable health care" means (basically, insurance coverage) and also allow for many different kinds of exceptions to this rule.

"Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them)."

TRUTH: Non-resident aliens do not have to pay the penalty for not having health insurance, nor will the receive federal assistance, because they are not required to purchase health insurance. They are not exempted from individual taxes generally.

"Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records."

TRUTH: This is a gross overstatement. For the purposes of determining affordability credits for Americans who need financial assistance in purchasing health insurance, employees of the Health Choices Administration will have access to tax information that the federal government already keeps. As is clearly stated on page 196, "Return information... may be used by officers and employees of the Health Choices Administration or such State-based health insurance exchange, as the case may be, only for the purposes of, and to the extent necessary in, establishing and verifying the appropriate amount of any affordability credit described in subtitle C of title II of the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 and providing for the repayment of any such credit which was in excess of such appropriate amount.''

"Page 203: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." Yes, it really says that."

TRUTH: This quote is taken out of context, and is in fact referring to a calculation used in the bill. Full context of quote: "'(4) NOT TREATED AS TAX IMPOSED BY THIS CHAPTER FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES.-The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax imposed by this chapter for purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter or for purposes of section 55.''

"Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected."

TRUTH: This section has nothing whatsoever to do with reducing services. It makes much needed changes to the way in which physician reimbursement is recalculated every year. The bill will, in fact, create much more opportunity for seniors and the poor to receive necessary care.

"Page 241: Doctors: no matter what specialty you have, you'll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)"

TRUTH: Page 241 does not say this. Nowhere does it say this. It does say that physicians will be grouped into certain categories regardless of specialty. These categories merely determine if the physician is engaged in primarily therapeutic or preventative care.

"Page 253: Government sets value of doctors' time, their professional judgment, etc."

TRUTH: There is no good response to this assertion as it appears to have been made up completely. The section deals with 'misvalued codes' meaning that the government is potentially not paying an acceptable rate for a specific service. This will allow the government to, for example, pay more for services that require more payment, such as high-overhead procedures. The author of these criticisms separately attacks the bill for paying the same rate to all doctors, then attacks again for paying different rates.

"Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries."

TRUTH: This section amends the Social Security Act to include productivity measures. There is no mandate or control of anything. This merely updates the way in which doctors and hospitals are paid through Medicare.

"Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs."

TRUTH: This is simply not true. This slightly amends existing guidelines for payments for medical equipment, in this case power-driven wheelchairs. This section introduces no 'regulations' that are not in the Social Security Act.

"Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!"

TRUTH: Overusage of the hot-button word "rationing" is a way to deflect attention away from the actual language of the bill and incite unjustified fear. This section only compares costs incurred by cancer hospitals to costs incurred by similar hospitals, and adjusts payments to reduce the possibility of fraud and abuse.

"Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions."

TRUTH: This is almost correct. The section is one of the first efforts at targeting excessive readmissions. Excessive readmissions are physically and emotionally damaging to patients, while simultaneously putting them, and the health care system, in far more financial risk than is necessary. The American Hospital Association recommended reduced payments for avoidable readmission in testimony to Congress.

"Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government."

TRUTH: This is patently false. The section is about possible methods that the Secretary of Health and Human services might consider in order to address the growing problem of patient readmission. This section does not, in any way, create a penalty, nor does it even mandate policy. It merely provides examples of recourses that might be considered.

"Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited from owning and investing in healthcare companies!"

TRUTH: This provision only limits Doctor's investments in health care facilities that they refer patients to The effort to limit self-referral has been ongoing for many years as an effort to reduce fraud and abuse. This is, essentially, the medical community equivalent of insider trading. Limiting this incentive works to put the patient's health above all other considerations. Doctors remain free to engage in investment opportunities in areas that don't create a significant conflict of interest.

"Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval."

TRUTH: This section regulates physicians' investment in hospitals to make sure that physicians are not unfairly benefiting from their power to refer patients to hospitals they have a stake in. The section does not prohibit hospital expansion.

"Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on 'community' input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN."

TRUTH: In the ongoing effort to demonize community-based groups such as ACORN, every instance of the word "community" has become associated with that group's efforts. In reality, this provision allows for anyone to provide input. This includes homeowners, religious leaders, neighborhood groups, and others. There are no payoffs. There is no money exchanged in any way.

"Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing."

TRUTH: This provision is included in order to allow the government to base payments on practices that work. Nowhere does it say health care will be rationed. The attempt to isolate what works and what does not work in Medicare Advantage plans only benefits the health care system in general.

"Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc."

TRUTH: The government can disqualify some Medicare Advantage Plans from receiving some additional payments, but only if those plans are not meeting necessary requirements.

"Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals."

TRUTH: This section only deals with how to handle special needs individuals who need to enroll outside of the open enrollment period. Almost every type of plan operates with open enrollment periods. This section does not create more restrictions.

"Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone)."

TRUTH: This section merely expands existing Telehealth programs, which supplement but do not replace other health coverage, and provide a vital resource to Americans in rural and remote areas.

"Page 425-430: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?; Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time; Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death; Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends; Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient's health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT; Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life."

TRUTH: All of these hysterical claims have been debunked elsewhere. HR3200 provides for the reimbursement of a voluntary session of end-of-life counseling with your physician once every five years. This in no way means the government will make decisions for patients or encourage doctor-assisted suicide. Counseling simply makes patients and their families aware of their options.

"Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN."

TRUTH: ACORN is not a Community-Based Medical Home.

"Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN."

TRUTH: This is clearly still referring to community health groups, not ACORN.

"Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage."

TRUTH: Covering marriage and family therapy, as many private insurance plans do, does not mean that the government "intervenes in your marriage." The types of individuals who are recognized as therapists are clearly defined on page 491; in brief, professionals only, not bureaucrats.

"Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing those services."

TRUTH: This section expands government coverage for mental health services under various government programs, and ensures that all mental health services will be offered by qualified professionals.


Here is one more fact (they are such stubborn things) from Mark Z. Barabak and Faye Fiore of the Los Angeles Times.

"Lawmakers can choose among several plans and get special treatment at federal medical facilities. In 2008, taxpayers spent about $15 billion to insure 8.5 million federal workers and their dependents."

Just think about it. Those are Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who are screaming the loudest about socialized medicine.