Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Hodgepodge

Yesterday afternoon I came home from my cataract surgery completely demoralized when I heard that Baucus and two other wolves in sheep's clothing had defeated the two Public Option amendments offered.    This news was the second piece of bad news I had come across that afternoon.  While I was waiting to be called to be prepped for surgery I picked up the morning paper, The Arizona Daily Star, to read that it is now a law that anyone with a valid permit can carry a concealed weapon into a bar or restaurant in Arizona.  How long do you think it will be before two drunks pull out their guns and do a re-enactment of the Okay Corral?  Have all the conservatives lost their collective minds?  They certainly have in my state. 

On a personal note, my surgery was a walk in the park.  I felt fine until a very bad headache crept into my skull last evening.  On a follow-up-call to my surgeon this morning he said he believed it could have been due to dehydration because my eye looked fine and the surgery was successful.  Well, we shall see because today my vision is blurred in that eye.  The doctor thinks it will clear up.  I hope so, because I will have traded one problem for another.  I am no longer looking through fog  and that's good.

Now for the promised humor to offset the bad news. 


I hope you feel better now.  I do! 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Canadian's View

I received this in an e-mail from a friend.  It was written by an unnamed source.   I am unable to verify the originator of the letter, but the excerpt (in blue) was written by an award winning Canadian journalist named Linda McQuaig.   I did verify that Linda McQuaig is a fearless journalist called, "Canada's Michael Moore."

Health Care Debate Seen from the North
(at left: sign for a local CLSC: "centre local de services communautaires" or local community service center where neighborhood health and social services are located.) Since they hear so much about the horrors of the Canadian single-payer system, Americans might be interested to see what the health care debate looks like to Canadians. This recent piece in the Toronto Star by Linda McQuaig gives the flavor of what I've been hearing ever since moving up here - a kind of astonished incredulity, and even pity, that such a rich country can't manage to provide a minimal level of care of all of its citizens. It also expresses the fear of what might happen here, in Canada, if the system is allowed to fragment or fail. Here's an excerpt: 

"...While the U.S. media gave prime time to gun-toting health reform opponents, they all but ignored a Harvard study, reported last week in the American Journal of Public Health, that found nearly 45,000 people die in the U.S. each year largely because they lack health insurance.

As resistance to U.S. health reform rages on - with its inane, vicious, even racist overtones - the fiasco should remind Canadians of the dangers of allowing our public health-care system to deteriorate.

What makes health reform so elusive in the U.S. is the way its opponents - led by wealthy corporate interests - are able to play Americans off against each other.

Americans are hunkered down in their own little bunkers, watching out just for themselves and their families. Anyone proposing reforms that might result in higher taxes is met with a rifle poked out the top of the bunker.

It's this dynamic - citizens pitted against each other - that has kept Americans at each other's throats over health care for years.
It's easy to understand, for instance, why middle class American taxpayers resent paying for medicaid, a public program that provides some coverage for the poor, when these same taxpayers can't afford coverage for themselves and their families.

The only real solution is public health care for all. A Canadian-style plan could save Americans $400 billion a year, Harvard's Dr. David Himmelstein wrote recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.
But Americans are so uninformed about the rest of the world that few even seem aware any Canadian can spend weeks in hospital getting state-of-the-art medical treatment and then walk out the front door without owing a penny. Such is the menace of public health care...
...the snarling fury of America's current crop of right-wing extremists almost makes one nostalgic for last year's gentler, childlike lunacy of Sarah Palin."
While the Canadian writer of this article has it approximately correct, I object to her characterization of Americans as "watching out just for themselves and their families", ready to "point a rifle" at anyone proposing higher taxes. There's an element of truth there for sure, but it's an oversimplification. Many are certainly hunkered down, buffeted by competing forces that are certainly a product of capitalism. The bunker mentality doesn't develop from lack of care for others as much as from fear - but to the rest of the world, it looks like meanness, competition, and selfishness coming from the grassroots. Let's talk about the greed of surgeons who make insane salaries, or their counterparts in the top levels of hospital administration, or drug companies, or insurance companies who stand to lose a lot with a single-payer system -- that's greed and meanness. When you go out into the hinterlands and talk to ordinary poor and middle-class people trying to pay for rising health care costs in a terrible economy, you quickly understand that what they feel like are victims of a huge system over which they have absolutely no control -- and that health care is only one of the aspects of American life that makes them feel that way. People in dire straits, without a great deal of education, and full of anxiety, are easily manipulated by fear tactics.

I wish Americans could understand that universal coverage actually works, and I wish that the Scandinavians, French, and Canadians could really understand the pressure that so many un-insured or under-insured Americans are under. When I talk to people here they really don't get it; that level of suffering in the midst of perceived plenty is as incredible to Canadians as compassionate and fair universal coverage is to many Americans. We all succumb to stereotyping, and while I won't defend America's insularity, greediness, or me-first-ness, those are not the overriding characteristics of the Americans most at risk in this debate.

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.

PBS on Health Care Reform

Tonight PBS is hosting an hour-and-a- half special on Health Care Reform.  Check your local listing for the time.  Our station airs it at 8:00 pm following The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

This week has been busy for me and I have not had the time to comment on everyone's blog or to write a new one.  I will try to catch up over the weekend - no promises, of course.   I have learned to take it a day at a time and keep future plans flexible.

Next week I will not be spending much time on the computer.  I am having a pesky cataract removed on Tuesday.  With follow up doctor appointments, etc.  I probably won't post very often, if at all.  The older I get, the more doctor appointments I seem to have.  I keep my dermatologist busy removing actinic keratoses and malignancies from my wrinkled old skin.  Now I have a tooth problem; and so it goes as one part after another begins to show the wear and tear of a long life.

I am sure I will continue to post any updates on health care reform as energy and events permit.

Keep on calling and writing your representatives.  Here is a link to find yours.  



There are 52 Blue dogs.  Who knew?   Here is a link to their web site: 

Another link of interest is the Consumer Union post on health care reform: 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Government Takeover?

 A few nights ago I saw John Boehner on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer.  He tried to justify the "just say no" republicans  opposition to any of the health reform bills pending.  I may have missed something due to my frequent memory lapses, but as I recall the present theme of the republican's opposition is --
  • There is no Tort Reform (or Tort Reform is not strong enough.)
  • Budget busting price tag.
  • A government takeover of health care.  (This is the 'biggie')
Taking them one at a time:    
TORT REFORM  was enacted in some states (most notably Texas)  and was a dismal failure. It did nothing to bring down the cost of health insurance.  A study of Medical Malpractice Reform done by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation   3 to 5 years after it was enacted  found that premiums were not lowered.  Even if premiums had been reduced, this is a small component of health care costs and had no impact on reducing overall costs.   You can read the findings here:
PRICE TAG - (see previous post).  Ultimately the savings more than offset the costs.
A GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF HEALTH CARE -  This one gets tricky because if I had my way it would be correct.  However, it is NOT correct in the current bills that are being considered now.  Therefore, that is not a valid excuse for not supporting reform.  Even the Public Option (Medicare for all) was dropped from the terrible Baucus bill.            
I have repeatedly given my reasons for a single-payer health system.  It is the only one that eliminates the biggest reason that our health care system is so fragmented and costly - the profit made by a few large insurance companies and by the pharmaceutical companies (who now spend inordinate amounts of money advertising drugs that need a prescription  from your doctor).         
But there is another reason for the Public Option: some things are done better by government.  Social Security and Medicare are the best examples of a government run system as opposed to private industry.  The republicans tried to scuttle both of them using the same tired arguments they are using today.         
The big bad government is out to take over your life like they do with gasp) Medicare, the insurance for veterans and current government workers like your Congressmen and Senators.   Which individual that is the recipient of these government services would willingly give it up?   Reality Check:  There are some things that only a centralized government can do in a country with 50 states and an array of contradictory and confusing laws.              
The U. S. Postal Service does a wonderful job, in spite of gripes about it.  Think how quickly a letter goes from NYC to LA now.  Then there is Transportation, the regulatory agencies like the FDA (making sure your food and drugs are safe), Public schools offering an education for everyone, the FAA, and, dear to the heart of conservatives, the Department of Defense.  State governments regulate things that make us safer like the Police Department, Fire Department, speed limits, etc.   Many of these regulatory agencies came into being after private industry failed miserably to do a good job.           
We all agree that the census is accurate in spite of the monumental task to achieve the results.
All these things are  doing the job at the least cost.  (Remember, there is no profit.)        
To sum it up, there are no VALID reasons for the conservative opposition to health care reform in it's  current form.     The republicans whine that they weren't included in the process.  This is not true.  Obama bent over backwards to get bi-partisan support and, in so doing, lost control of the message.  He is now having to do double time to regain it.      
They simply refuse to help Obama because it might stop them from their dream of a Republican take over of the House and Senate in the next election.  Politics trumps everything else.  They are playing the same game they played for eight years; whether the legislation is good or bad, they vote as a bloc no matter the consequences.        
Why do I keep fighting?  The following quotes might explain why.             
"It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." --Samuel Adams --'  
Personal note:  I am really disgusted with Blog Spot.  I have spent hours trying to put spaces between paragraphs,  eliminate unwanted spaces, etc.  I have it looking fine and when I post it (saving it all first, you understand) the spaces are gone or double spaces are where I don't want them.  The text is a different color, etc.  Blog Spot is really messing with my mind.  However this comes out I am posting it for the umpteenth time and what you "sees' is what you 'gets'.  

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Cost of Health Care Reform

I am continuing my series on the misinformation swirling about health care reform.  Today I will focus on the trillion dollar cost you keep hearing about. 

Somehow, logic gets lost in all the numbers being bandied about.  You know the old saying, "Figures don't lie, but liars can sure figure."  Never was that more true than in the debate over the cost of health care reform.

At the risk of sounding simplistic I would like to point out that common logic proves that the single payer system would be the most cost effective way to go.  It makes me crazy when the pundits tell how much this is all going to cost while ignoring the horrendous amount we spend right now.  At the risk of repeating myself I will point out that we spend over double the amount of any other industrialized country PER PERSON on health care right now.  How can this be?  Those countries have eliminated the outrageous profits that the insurance and pharmaceutical industries reap under our care.  How hard is that to figure out?  (If you don't read the rest of this post,  please scroll down to the sentences I have highlighted in red.)

Ah, I hear you saying, we don't have to cover everyone as other countries do.  But isn't one of the main reasons for reform?  To take care of that issue, the current plans being discussed are  to make everyone share the burden.  That's how all insurance plans work.  They charge premiums from the healthy to pay for the illnesses of the sick.  Ah, you say; "I pay my way; why should I have to pay for someone else's misfortune?"  Aside from the moral issue, here is the elephant in your room.  You could be one of those who get sick and have the insurance company cut you off in spite of being a responsible citizen.  Maybe you are able to pay your way right now just because you are lucky.   

I will point you to two articles that bolster my premise.  The first was by Paul Krugman, New York Times, the Pulitzer Prize winner economist.  It was written some time ago before the sell-out by Max Baucus (that Max is so proud of.)

The second is by Bob Ceska from The Huffington Post.

(Caveat:  I have edited both articles for brevity and for staying with the cost subject of this blog.)


The Congressional Budget Office scored the full proposed legislation from the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). And the news — which got far less play in the media than the downbeat earlier analysis — was very, very good. Yes, we can reform health care. 
Let me start by pointing out something serious health economists have known all along: on general principles, universal health insurance should be eminently affordable.

Insuring the uninsured shouldn’t cost all that much, for two reasons.

First, the uninsured are disproportionately young adults, whose medical costs tend to be relatively low. The big spending is mainly on the elderly, who are already covered by Medicare.

Second, even now the uninsured receive a considerable (though inadequate) amount of “uncompensated” care, whose costs are passed on to the rest of the population. So the net cost of giving the uninsured explicit coverage is substantially less than it might seem.

Extending coverage to most or all of the 45 million people in America without health insurance — should, in the end, add only a few percent to our overall national health bill. And that’s exactly what the budget office found when scoring the HELP proposal.

The HELP plan achieves near-universal coverage through a combination of regulation and subsidies. Insurance companies would be required to offer the same coverage to everyone, regardless of medical history; on the other side, everyone except the poor and near-poor would be obliged to buy insurance, with the aid of subsidies that would limit premiums as a share of income.

Employers would also have to chip in, with all firms employing more than 25 people required to offer their workers insurance or pay a penalty. By the way, the absence of such an “employer mandate” was the big problem with the earlier, incomplete version of the plan.

Those who prefer not to buy insurance from the private sector would be able to choose a public plan instead. This would, among other things, bring some real competition to the health insurance market, currently a collection of local monopolies and cartels.

The budget office says that all this would cost $597 billion over the next decade. But that doesn’t include the cost of insuring the poor and near-poor, whom HELP suggests covering via an expansion of Medicaid (which is outside the committee’s jurisdiction). Add in the cost of this expansion, and we’re probably looking at between $1 trillion and $1.3 trillion.

There are a number of ways to look at this number, but maybe the best is to point out that it’s less than 4 percent of the $33 trillion the U.S. government predicts we’ll spend on health care over the next decade. And that in turn means that much of the expense can be offset with straightforward cost-saving measures, like ending Medicare over payments to private health insurers and reining in spending on medical procedures with no demonstrated health benefits.

So fundamental health reform  is now within reach. The “centrist” senators, most of them Democrats, who have been holding up reform can no longer claim either that universal coverage is unaffordable or that it won’t work.

The only question now is whether a combination of persuasion from President Obama, pressure from health reform activists and, one hopes, senators’ own consciences will get the centrists on board — or at least get them to vote for cloture, so that diehard opponents of reform can’t block it with a filibuster.

This is a historic opportunity — arguably the best opportunity since 1947, when the A.M.A. killed Harry Truman’s health-care dreams. We’re right on the cusp. All it takes is a few more senators, and HELP will be on the way.


Health Reform According to Baucus: (My title)
By Bob Cesca (Huffington Post)

One of Baucus' concessions to the Republicans was tort reform language which not only won't work, but has also failed to bring in any Republicans (bad policy -- bad politics). Meanwhile, the bill is so diluted and bad that roughly half of the Democrats on the Finance Committee appear to be opposed to it.

By Max Baucus' own estimation, his plan carries a price tag of $880 billion over ten years. The press is tossing some very serious kudos and political cover his way because this is clearly less than the $1 trillion mark. It's also $20 billion less than the number President Obama mentioned in his address to Congress last week. And it's the Baucus Plan that many centrist Democrats -- the budget hawks and fiscal conservatives -- appear to prefer.

But wait. If the centrist Democrats were legitimately worried about government spending and deficits, they ought to be supporting the Kennedy Bill (the HELP Committee bill) instead, which, according to the CBO, clocks in at $611 billion over ten years, due in part to the inclusion of the public option.

The incontrovertible reality is that the Kennedy Bill is the more fiscally conservative health care reform bill. So why aren't the self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives in the Democratic Party flocking to embrace it?

One, the fiscal conservatives aren't always fiscally conservative (most of them voted for the Bush wars, the Bush tax cuts and the Bush Medicare Part-D blank check). And two, the Baucus Plan forces you and me to pay more cash to their contributors in the health insurance industry. This works out very nicely for senators like Max Baucus who, as Roy Sekoff pointed out, has pocketed millions in contributions from the health care industry.


Please note the thing that really makes health care reform affordable is the PUBLIC OPTION.  If the Blue Dog Democrats continue to oppose this using fiscal conservatism as an excuse you will know that they are being dishonest and that something else is at play.

I think it's time for the Democrats to quit 'making nice' and do what the republicans did for eight years - close ranks and vote in a block for whatever their president wants.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Illegal Immigration and Health Care Reform

Why are the Republicans so adamant against the Public Option?  That's simple; it's because it will work.  Next to a single-payer system (which would save the most money) it is the best option for stopping the doubling costs of health care while insuring everyone.   The Insurance companies are terrified of this option and are spending billions buy off our representatives and on spreading lies with false advertising and on paying loud dissenters to shout down the people who are for it.  
I intend to post the truth about the negative objections and lies being spread on my next blogs.  I will take them one at a time and dissect it.  Today's blog is illegal immigration.
When Joe Wilson's outburst "You Lie" was debunked it didn't stop the right wing  from claiming that illegal immigrants would be able to get health care under Obama's proposals and the five bills under consideration for health care reform.
Here's the dirty little secret; It's just a straw man as another way of defeating health care reform.   In an article by Froma Harrop I found the  following:
The House health-reform bill has an entire section titled, "No Federal Payment for Undocumented Aliens." Furthermore, it requires every worker to have coverage, while denying subsidies to illegal immigrants, whatever their income. In other words, illegal immigrants would have to obtain health insurance and pay full freight for it.

Republican foes of the legislation. The illegals will get around it. "Without the verification, you can't frankly believe it is serious," says Rep. Lamar Smith, Republican of Texas. Fair point. Let's address it.

As a practical matter, undocumented workers shy away from government programs that could expose their illegal status. A law passed in 2005 requires applicants to Medicaid, which insures poor people, to prove their citizenship. Two years later, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform studied Medicaid enrollments in five states (Kansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin). It found only eight illegal immigrants on the rolls.

But, says Georgia Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey, "a lot of their kids are in the school system." That's true. The schools don't check for immigration status. Medicaid does. And so would the health care system now envisioned by Congress.

The administration has just started requiring any company seeking sizeable federal contracts to use the E-Verify system, a database containing Social Security and other records, to ensure that its workers are legal. (First it had to fight off a suit by the Chamber of Commerce and industry groups that use undocumented labor.) 

Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat who heads the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, is promoting biometric tools to replace the use of documents that can be counterfeited or stolen. Biometrics rely on such unique identifiers as fingerprints and the iris of the eye.
To sum it up, the Democrats' policies are already reining in illegal immigration, and the proposed health care reform would, if anything, contain it further. Those trying to stop reform should look elsewhere for scare tactics.
When you search for facts instead of listening to the ones who are the shills for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. you find that the Single Payer system is the best way to reform our mess.  Okay, that's not on the table so the Public Option is the next best solution.  If we don't have that, the Insurance Industry that is only interested in profits will continue to run, and ruin, our health care system.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I just returned from reading a blog on being asked for advice.   I am stealing his theme and running with it.

When my children became adults I seemed to think my job wasn't over and continued to give them unasked for advice.  Needless to say, this was not welcome.  Still, I continued to lavish pearls of wisdom from my mouth and watching my children ignore my bounty.  

I don't remember how many years it took before I learned to bite my tongue - sometimes until it bled.  I finally realized that they were adults entitled to make their own mistakes.   After I learned to zip my lip I discovered that they were much smarter than I had given them credit for.   Somehow, without my help, they had learned how to cope with the problems that came into their lives without any input from me.

Once in awhile I was asked for advice and I gave it lavishly.  I considered it a high compliment that they thought me worthy enough to seek out my thoughts.    I am ashamed to admit that there have been other times when I opened my mouth and words came out sounding patronizing.  I was giving unasked for advice again.  I was always ashamed after losing self control like that and regretted my outburst as soon as it was over.   My long suffering children have politely told me that they know I am trying to help, but I am sure their private thoughts run along the lines of "there she goes again."  

Others have made comments on giving advice and the following are my favorites:
  • Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.  Erica Jong 

  • Some people like my advice so much that they frame it and hang it on the wall instead of using it.  Gordon R. Dickson
  • The best advice it this: Don't take advice and don't give advice.  ~ Author unknown
  •  It is a good divine that follows his own instructions.  William Shakespeare
  •  Old men are fond of giving good advice, to console themselves for being no longer in a position to give bad examples.  Francois La Rochefoucauld
  • The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice we give to others.  ~Author unknown
  • No one wants advice - only corroboration. John Steinbeck
  • I always pass on good advice.  It's the only thing to do with it.  It is never any use to oneself. Oscar Wilde. 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy Sweet 16th Brithday, Rachel

Happy Sweet Sixteen
Happy belated birthday to my lovely granddaughter, Rachel. I am wishing that this is the start of a wonderful year for you.

You stole my heart the minute I saw you emerge in the world and you have kept it. I have watched you grow into the lovely young lady that you are.
I am so proud to be your grandmother. I am proud that you have high ambitions and I hope you can become the physician that you dream of being. I know you will strive hard to make that happen.

The date 9/11 is a sad day for the world, but it is a happy day for our family because that is the date when we got you.  I waited to post this so that the sadness of yesterday would not seep into the happiness of today.
Watching you grow up has been one of the great joys in my life.
I love you,

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's The Money Stupid

 I thought this article on Truthout was a funny 'tongue in cheek' rant that simplifies why we should have health care reform.  If you don't think it's funny, just look at the facts it contains. Facts are still stubborn things. 

( I have edited it a tad.  If you want to read the entire article here is the link:   

by: John Cory, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    The media tells me that health reform is a very complicated issue, that it is hard to understand and even harder to explain to simple-minded and politically unsophisticated people like me. It is about money and costs and free-market and big government socialists versus real America, or something like that. 

    So, I ask: How can the majority of other industrialized nations manage to provide affordable health care to their citizens?

    The fabulous media roll their eyes and show me the following Organization for Economic Development (OECD) report:

    Total health care spending per person as of 2007:
    US: $7,290
    UK: $2,992
    Japan: $2,581
    Canada: $3,895
    France: $3,601
    The average OECD expenditure: $2,964

    Next question: If other countries spend less than half of what the US spends (on average) with good results, where does all our money go?

    This is where my neat-o media suddenly points across the room at the man jumping up and down about wanting his country back or the lady hollering about the Muslim socialist in the White House. Look, look they say, Jerry Springer politics is so entertaining!

    But I still want to know where all that money goes. Don't you?

    We spend twice the money on health care as most other countries and we are supposed to just accept this as the cost of a free market, the price of being American? Let's face it folks, if health care was manufacturing or Walmart, the jobs and services would already have been outsourced to the cheapest foreign competitor.

    I'm not a journalist or a particularly educated guy, but golly, gee whiz Batman, it seems to me that somebody is getting ripped off here - and that somebody is, us.

    Here's more figures I hear tossed around without examination: The administrative costs of Medicare run about 3 percent while the corporate health insurance industry administrative costs hover at 30 percent.

    How can that be? I thought the government was really bad at managing anything while private enterprise is expert at cost containment. But the businessmen require ten times as much overhead costs as big government politicians?

Whatever happened to the old adage "follow the money?" Who in our media or journalist-pundit class is willing to give up the ratings gold of raucous town hall meetings to investigate where our money is going?

How much of that $7,290 per person in the US goes to exorbitant CEO salaries? How much goes to lobbyist funding to deregulate the insurance industry? How much is waste and fraud? How much of that money is actual medical treatment?

This is America, the greatest nation with the best health care in the world. I know, because my TV tells me so. But something is not right here. Something is off.

America is the home of innovative capitalism. Europe is a bunch of socialistic democratic republics. How can they provide health care at a lower cost? How do they get lower drug prices than we do? Why can't we?

Lift one rock and you find more and more. Medical bankruptcy comprises 50 percent of all bankruptcies nationally. And 80 percent of medical bankruptcy comes from people who have insurance.

Treatment clinics set up by Remote Area Medical on American soil from California to Kentucky just to provide basic health care to those who cannot afford it. Think of that: A medical organization that specializes in Third World underdeveloped countries has to fill a need in America, the wealthiest country in the world.

Is this what we've come to? The value of a healthy life is determined by deductibles? Does the value of a life have a monetary cap? Is life itself a pre-existing condition? The corporations that sell insurance think so. They sat before Congress and justified "rescission" as a cost-effective management tool, and no matter the examples of ruined lives shown to them, when asked how many of those executives would put a halt to these practices, not one manicured hand was raised. No need to fear government death panels - they're already here in tailored suits and silk smiles that say, "Show me the money."

    US: $7,290 - the average: $2,964 - results: Quality is fairly equal. How can that be?
    It's always about the money.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

All the President's Men and Health Care Reform

I am providing a link to an article and video published before the President's address last night.   Bill Moyers said all I have wanted to say about the nuttiness that has invaded the health care debate, so instead of repeating what he said, here is a link to read it.  It won't take long and it might make you feel better.  It did me.
Did you hear the president's speech to Congress and the Nation last night?  I thought it was one of his best yet.  He certainly put the whacko's in their place.  I loved it when he said that if they continue to lie, "we will call you out."  
Here are a few things that have not been stressed before.   Some of them I learned from a doctor on C-Span.
  • We spend 1 1/2 times as much on health care as other industrialized countries.
  • Only 2% of students studying to be doctors are now becoming primary care physicians because the way the current system works the specialists are paid much more.
  • Universal care in other countries is based on Primary Care physicians.
  • Doctor's are unable to negotiate with the insurance companies.
  • There are four different amounts doctors are paid for the same procedure.
Our system is very broken and anyone who wants to keep it this way is making money from it in some fashion or a very uninformed idiot.  (Yeah - I can be nasty  too.)
The Republicans looked so small and petty as they sat on their hands and glared.  The ones that actually were texting instead of paying attention made it obvious that they were not about to listen.  They have already decided they will do everything in their power to sabotage the President's agenda, even if it means that the country goes down the tubes.  The shameful outburst by Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, was the most disgraceful thing I have ever witnessed in all my years of hearing presidential addresses.  Talk about  having no class.  When uncivil discourse has fallen to this new low I think Americans had better look at the image we are projecting around the world.  Freedom of speech should not cover boorishness.
Not only did Joe Wilson look rude, he showed his lack of knowledge.  The President did not lie.  Coverage of illegal aliens is NOT in any of the five bills floating around Congress.  One thing Joe (not the plumber)  should have considered is that we are now paying for their care when they show up in emergency rooms.  Personally, I think coverage should be provided for them in some form.  If they have an infectious disease, wouldn't it be better to have medical attention available to them so they wouldn't spread it around?  Maybe we could work with Mexico to be reimbursed for their care, but even undocumented workers deserve to have medical attention; especially innocent children.

The president showed leadership. Now it's up to his men, the Democrats, to help him.  He laid it out and they must see that his agenda passes with the stipulations that he outlined.  He was not firm on the Public Option, but did say that if someone had a better plan to bring costs down he would listen.  I think it's pretty obvious that there is no better plan.  The Repubs claim just cutting waste and fraud and doing away with tort reform is enough.  Baloney!  Those savings would do nothing about covering all the people who do not have insurance. 

If there isn't some way to eliminate the profit - I might say obscene profit - in health care the problem will be with us forever.  The trigger is not a solution; it is only a delaying tactic.  The cooperatives are still handled by insurance companies with all of the pitfalls involved.  Nothing except Medicare for all will really solve the current cost.

After analyzing the objections to reform it really boils down to this:  ideology.  The belief that less government is better.  Well there are many things that government does better than private industry.  However, that argument is for another day.  No one will every change the minds of the people who believe that.  But for the rest of us, we demand that, after fifty years of talking about this, we will now get reform.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day.  As summer begins to slip away I hope you are all enjoying a backyard bar-b-cue or a picnic on the beach, mountains, or by the lake

For Arizonans the end of summer is welcome.  It is cooling down and the high today will be 93*.  That's perfect weather for me, although if you live in a humid climate that is a miserable temperature.

If you have had your fill of potato salad, corn on the cob, and watermelon I will post something that made me giggle and I hope it will bring a smile to your face.


I went to the doctor for my yearly physical.

The nurse starts with certain basics.

"How much do you weigh? " she asks.  "135" I say.

The nurse put me on the scale.  It turns out my weight is 180.

The nurse asks, "Your height?"  "5 foot 4" I say.

The nurse checked and saw that I only measure 5' 2" ..

She then took my blood pressure and told me that it is very high.

"Of course it's high!" I screamed.  When I came in here I was tall and slender! 

Now I'm short and fat.

She put me on Prozac.  What a bitch. 

Is anyone else having trouble with the new formatting on blogspot?  I cannot change the type size or make it bold once it's written.  I am also unable to use delete to make the following sentence move up. 

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Meme and a Splash

I have been tagged by Rain of Rainy Day Thoughts to do a Meme.  The rules are to pick the book nearest  to you, turn to page 161 and copy the fifth sentence.  It so happens that I have Jane Austin's book, Northanger Abbey on the shelf above my computer and that is the book I will use. 
I didn't realize what really looooong sentences Jane Austin used until I started counting to number five.

The top of the page is the last half of a sentence started on the preceding page and I ignored that.  The next sentence is almost a full paragraph in length.  Thank goodness it isn't number five.  Whew!  Sentence number five is one word:  "Why!" Well, that seems too simple so I will add the next sentence, "How can you ask the question?"

I believe the object of this Meme is to see what people are reading.  Actually, I am reading Death Of An Expert Witness by P. D. James.  The book is on my nightstand because that is where I do a lot of my reading.  I usually read mysteries for entertainment ; they take my mind away from thoughts that might keep me awake.  (Such as what will I write about on my blog?)

I am to tag  five more people to play this game so the five I have chosen are:
  1.  Lydia of Writerquake.
  2.  Joy of The Joy of Six
  3.  Sylvia of Sylvia From Over The Hill
  4.  Tabor of One Day At A Time
  5.  Judy of Imagine
  6.  Marie of Grannymar
Did you count six?  So sue me - I cheated.  I would like to add more, but if I didn't put you on the list I don't think there is any law that says you can't play if you want to.  Just let me know so I can read your 5th sentence from page 161.


Grannymar is an Irish blogger who writes a wonderful new post every day (I don't know how she does it) and she was given a Splash award.  I admired it and she told me to take a share.   I thought it added a lot to my sidebar and am grateful for her generosity. 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

An Award, A Visit and a Sunset

This morning I look like a spotted owl.  A visit to my dermatologist yesterday ended up in my having so many keratosis burned off  one side of my face that it felt numb.  I had more burned off of my hands and arms and had two more biopsies taken.  This will make 14 skin cancers I have had removed if they prove malignant.  Little did I know when I was a teenager that I was destroying my skin when I baked and burned trying to achieve a 'Copper Girl' tan. 

The above is an explanation of this hodgepodge post.  A little of this and that.

On my last post I told you about my visit from my friends from Switzerland.   I just uploaded the picture I took of them and I will introduce them to you now.  I met them when we moved into an apartment in Spencer, Massachusetts.   Mark was in High School and Gail was just starting first grade. 

Karl and Margrit lived in the next door apartment.   Being Swiss, Margret was the most capable housewife I have ever met.  She had learned to knit, crochet, sew and cook when she was just a child.  She could knit a sweater without dropping a stitch while carrying on a conversation. 

It was an unhappy time in my life because I missed my house in Tuscon and didn't know a soul in New England.  I was snowbound in my small apartment and had very little to occupy my time.  Bless Margrit - she taught me to knit.

I discovered that I loved doing it and over the years I have made a dozen afghans, more sweaters than I can count, plus scarves and ponchos.  I will take photos of some of them that I kept to show you what a good teacher Margrit was.   The upshot of it was, Margrit saved my life.  Wayne was working from early morning until ten at night and the children had their own friends and activities and I could only read so many books. Without this new hobby I would have been miserable.
The challenge of a new activity kept me happy and I will always be grateful to Margrit.
So I now present the Wuegers from a small town near Zurich.
Lady Luz of the great blog, Everything and Nothing gave me a Kreativ Blogger award and I am to write seven interesting things about myself. That will be the hard part, because I inherited one negative trait from my maternal grandmother. She always said, "If I talk to you for fifteen minutes you know my life history."  Because I have been writing this blog for a year I have already divulged anything that could possibly be of interest about me.  And a lot that wasn't.  ;-)  
(I suppose some would say that I have diarrhea of the mouth.  Kinder souls would say that I am a very open person.  I just say, I never did have sense enough to keep my mouth shut.)
I am also supposed to pass this award on to 7 others. Now that will really be hard because I love all of the Blogs I read and I don't want to leave any of them out. Could I just say that if you like this award and you are on my blog list please feel free to help yourself? Am I breaking blog rules here? Help!!!
Okay, seven interesting things you don't know about me. At least, I don't think you do.
1) My favorite color has changed over the years. When I was a child it was pink. Then that became dusky rose. Years later I fell in love with teal. Now I love apricot. Does this mean that I'm fickle?
2) I am sure I qualify as an Anal retentive type.  My drawers are neat and my closet is color coordinated. (Sometimes ---)
3) I was never athletic and have always had a poor sense of balance.
4)  I was very good at roller skating, though, because my parents wouldn't buy ice skates for me. I compensated by learning all the dance steps possible on wheels.
5)  As a child I loved dolls and played with them until it became embarrassing.
6)  I suffer from wanderlust.  My only regret in being old is that I will never see the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids, or the Great Wall of China. I wanted to see all of those places before I died.  It is no longer a feasible dream.
7)  Christmas was always my favorite holiday. The weeks of anticipation, preparation and decorating before the big day were magical to me. Then the arrival of the big feast day, starting with a champagne breakfast and ending with a contented glow after a happy day.  (Not from the champagne, you silly -.) 
So there you have it. Not exactly the Seven Wonders of the World, but I have fulfilled my obligation. Now if I could only post the award on my sidebar. Sigh!
The other evening I  went to my front window and was greeted by this sight.  I ran to get my camera and am sharing the view with you.