Thursday, September 24, 2009

PBS Documentary Pfffft!!!!

Instead of the PBS program on health care reform airing at 8 pm as scheduled my local station delayed it until 10 pm last night when I would normally be headed for bed.  Being a glutton for punishment, I stayed up to watch it.  That is something I regretted.  I did not learn anything new, but had to listen to the idiot, Senator Tom Coburn, R. Oklahoma, spout his opposition to health care reform; specifically, any part of it that would be of any value.  He is a doctor and I was really amazed to hear him say that people should help each other instead of reforming the insurance industries.  This was in answer to a question about what people should do if they didn't have health insurance.  Now I don't know about you, but I don't think I'm qualified to remove a ruptured spleen. 

He ranted on about the cost to our children and grandchildren.  I would love to have asked him if mine would even be alive if he had his way.  They wouldn't be if they didn't have insurance and had a serious illness.

Of course, I am exaggerating somewhat, but not by much.  When a woman in his Town Hall meeting told of the insurance company sending her husband home with a feeding tube that she didn't know how to care for, Coburn magnanimously offered to have her come to his office and they (presumably, his staff) would help.  Does anyone else beside me find this absolutely irrelevant and impractical?   Maybe a better word would be ludicrous. 

I think I need a laugh at this point and I'll bet you could use one too.  I had some funny animal pictures on this post yesterday, but they have vanished into cyber space.  I tried retrieving them, but  my entire editing system is now FUBAR.  I think I need to start all over with a clean slate.  The more I try to fix things, the worse they get.  My patience is exhausted.   I hope you have a joke or two in your e-mail box because I am unable to post any funnies to lighten the mood.


20th Century Woman said...

At this point, Darlene, I think everything useful has been said about health care reform. It's time to follow the rule of do.

Did you hear the NPR report, from an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, that a survey of doctors found that 73% favored a public option? That was all doctors, in every specialty and every locality. They said they had dealt with Medicare, that it had it's problems, but that it was not as bad as private health insurance to deal with.

I can only sympathize with your problems with technology. Mine are just as bad. Or worse, because I don't even know how to begin to do the stuff you do with your blog.

joared said...

Yes, I thought that Doctor's solution to the problem of having the neighbors help was more than a little ridiculous. I wonder how much help he would be to his neighbors on a daily, or several times a day, basis? I have a doctor next door to me, but he's away on Skid Row aiding those people.

A large part of my practice is working with individuals who have swallowing problems. I certainly wasn't impressed with what the Doctor had to say about that subject with which I am professionally intimately familiar. Not every spouse, or even another family member,is able to successfully assume the responsibility of feeding their loved one via tube or even some of those by mouth for many reasons. For one, individuals sometimes react differently with a spouse/family member than professional staff. In some instances this may not be intentional.

Of course, what we do get into with the woman who was so upset and spoke of her Speech-Language Pathologist's effective therapy skills is the whole question of tube feeding in the first place. I see a wide variety of attitudes toward the choice for an individual to have a tube to receive nourishment and hydration in the first place. For some it is more appropriate than others, but I can't go into all that here. All sorts of personal belief systems enter into an individual's and family members decisions on that issue.

Rain said...

It's tough where so much information is out there and so few facts. I read this morning that people who won't buy insurance thereby being fined could end up with a misdemeanor if they refuse to pay the fine. It's still indefinite that people on Medicare won't pay more if they currently have the Advantage program (25%). With more firm facts out there, I think this will go better with the public. The right wing is constantly saying charity is the answer but that's through religions that many people do not believe in. They go round and round but despite all of this a growing percentage of Americans (including Republicans) believe it has to have a public option or it should not happen. I think they can see without the public option, this is all just a windfall for the insurance corporations who have profited too much already.

Darlene said...

*20th Century Woman - I think I have certainly said all I can about health care reform. Yes, I did hear that report and I believe it also stated that only 23% did not favor it. Are the politicians listening?

*Joared - Thank you for further explaining the woman's problem. It would be nice if we could just help each other and never have to call a doctor, but that is sheer fantasy.

*Rain - When you get into the fine print it does really become confusing. I think the logic of that is that there has to be some mechanism to make sure everyone has insurance. Otherwise, the young and healthy would opt out and the revenue from their insurance fees would be lost to the system. That would mean higher costs for everyone. Bear in mind that this will apply to the more affluent who can afford insurance and subsidies will be given to the lower income. It would be so much simpler to just have the single payer system from the get-go. Why can't we start from scratch?

Rain said...

We could start from scratch but no politician will do that with the stock market concerns. The thing to remember is that the insurance won't be free for anybody. There will be a percentage of your income that they decide you can afford and whether they take into consideration your property as well, that I don't think they have worked out.

Where the problem comes is someone who maybe has a child needing braces and they are told they cannot do that but must buy this insurance. Medicare doesn't provide full benefits unless you pay money and our monthly insurance is about as much as it was before to get full coverage without high copays like say you pay 20% which can easily end up a pretty stiff amount.

If they don't have some price controls, in other words, at the least the public option, the monthly premium will be expensive. Say someone doesn't have a job. Does the gov't decide they could get one but they don't want one and interfere there? It's what people fear.

We have to keep in mind that not everyone who doesn't buy insurance has done it for poor reasons. Perhaps they are supporting an elderly parent. Maybe they have other expenses that are important to them. How does the gov't take that into consideration?

It's complex and starting over could well be easiest but it's not what I hear from any politician.

The biggest issue I have heard lately is coming from seniors who have limited money now and worry they will be caught with paying more when they don't have it. My own opinion is the young should come before the elderly (and being among the elderly I feel I have the right to say that) but you know it's not how many feel. The elderly vote and they are making their voices heard on this. Doonsbury is doing a good job of ridiculing it now :)

Tabor said...

Souns like your program allowed another idiot to spout more imbelcilec ideas. (Yes, I made up the word...but some people cannot be described in the dictionary.)

My PC is actually at the Staples Office store rather than being diagnosed by not know if I would go that route again. It appears that staff hate the manager and as you well know, my PC has been their since 9/9.

Baino said...

It just seems to be going on and on Darlene. Although I'm not sure I agree about paying a % of your income for insurance. Here we pay for the level of cover and there are many. For instance if you're young and fit, you can opt out of cover for things that a more elderly person might need such as hip replacements. We also pay 2% of our salry as a Medicare Levy. Medicare is our public system which ensures that everyone has access to free medicine/dental if they need it.

If we have private health insurance as well we receive a 30% Government Rebate on our premiums As I've said many times before, it's not perfect but it does provide an incentive for private insurance and ensures that those who can't afford it, are cared for by the public system.

Here, this might brighten your day a little:

Darlene said...

*Rain - Naturally the insurance won't be free for everyone, but for the impoverished it will be. I believe the same rules will apply for low income benefits as they do now. The government picks up the tab for the insurance premium and a part of the co-pay. (This is the biggest cost and the one the Republican's hate the most), your income is the only criteria; not your personal property.

The young should have insurance because of two things: 1. Accidents can occur no matter what your age and 2. The premiums they pay without having to use the coverage will offset the high expense of treating the elderly. That's the way the Social Security system works, and it works quite well.

No, insurance won't be free, but it will be a whole lot cheaper than the outrageous thousand plus a month most people are now paying for policies with a high deductable.

I really don't think that the government would say you aren't eligible if you weren't trying to get a job. That's tilting at windmills, because assumptions would be hard and expensive to prove. Your income, no matter what the circumstance, determine your eligibility for assistance.

Until there is a bill, facts will be hard to come by, because they are just now trying to reconcile the bills and amendments are being added that will change the bill. All we can do is push for what we believe the bill should include and hope our voices are heard.

Darlene said...

*Tabor - Oh boy, I won't take my PC to Staples. I think Best Buy does a reasonably fast job, but is quite expensive.

*Baino - I based my fact that the premium was set on a % of income by Canada's system. If I am in error, please inform me. Thanks for the information.

I love the Daily show. Thanks for the link.

Lydia said...

Out of the goodness of my heart I will operate on the spleens of anyone who needs the surgery. I don't have the skill or education to do so, but just call me a medical reformist and ready to be of service to my fellow man and woman!

Where are the links to the missions you mentioned in your comments to me? I can't find them!

Sorry you are having those computer mess-ups.

Rain said...

I am not sure you are right about how the gov't will see 'free' health care, Darlene, when this bill is finally complete. Basically they check up on us if we want Welfare or Medicaid. Wouldn't it be Medicaid for perhaps people making a little more money? I am all for people getting it free who are impoverished but what if they have hundreds of thousands of dollars, a ritzy home, and simply don't want to use their own money? What if they choose to not work? Those are questions this country will have to face. Where it comes to the elderly, with Medicare, they don't because nobody expects someone old to work even if they could but what about a 20 year old?

I just read this morning that 16 million people are looking for a little over 2 million jobs that are available; so a lot who are without work don't have a choice, but a few just don't want the kind of job they could get. I suspect most Americans are very sympathetic to those who simply cannot find a job period but if they could (and are physically able) and feel this or that job is beneath them, would Americans give up their own money through taxes to cover them (and this will involve tax increases if the costs of the services don't go down)?

Nobody likes it but these are questions that must be addressed to be fair to all. If it's just based on income and you are the only judge of whether you can get a job, that could end up being abused. It's easy to say nobody would do that until you know people who do.

Perhaps an instant solution to this problem of the low income would be to give Medicaid right now no matter whether they have a nice home or a big bank account. Would Americans agree to that?

What we are asking Americans to do with the bill as I have read it (which is probably different today than yesterday) is pay a certain percentage of their income for insurance with severe penalties if they do not. That would mean many of them with no money in the bank, who are giving up something else that might also be important to them like say their child's braces (frankly dental should be a consideration for this as it's about as important to health as the body, sometimes more so, but it isn't that I know of).

The easiest way to solve it all would be a single payer system and we'd all be in the same bucket with very limited fees for everybody and paying through taxes which could be levied through a value added tax on everything but food and drugs. That has the advantage of getting those people who have money but it isn't counting. Coming from a state that doesn't have a sales tax, that pays a much higher income tax to make up for it, I don't like those taxes but can see where something like the value added tax gets people who are spending but hide their income sometimes through things like drug trafficking. (Incidentally, I had read that we could solve a lot of the funding problem if we legalized and taxed marijuana. Amazing how many people have money for that right now in these hard times...)

The thing is one way or another, this will be paid for by somebody. There is no free lunch. It's not like some pot of money (well maybe in one case) that can be drawn in to cover it.

Even Republicans know though, forgetting how people pay for it, that without the public option, this is going to be a big problem for the country down the road. With the public option, there is a chance that the costs will go down. If it was me, I would do what some states do-- demand they all be non-profit, but you can bet the politicians won't go for that. They are sucking at that udder. If they do, I will be in total shock.

LadyLuz said...

My head is reeling with all this health care info, Darlene, and I'm none the wiser.

Just a little note here to wish you well in your cataract op this week. And do what the pop stars do when you lift comes to get you - a pair of glamorous sunspecs.

Cowtown Pattie said...

Now I don't know about you, but I don't think I'm qualified to remove a ruptured spleen.

Love it!