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About That Romneycare

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I had to take a break from writing. The Republicans have Tim Taylored the spin machine, and just as all of Tim’s supped up creations, it is out of control. While the people are focused on some lame ruling somewhere, big bills are being signed without any common person’s knowledge. There are so many things I could write on, but these things are flying so fast, I don’t know where to start. The rapid fire of the Billionaires Club may stun me for a second, but I will overcome the dizziness. Eventually, I will cover all of the bases. I refuse to become a part of their plan. I refuse to let the lies fly by, without sight. They may appear blurry, but I still see them. Today, as I promised many, I am addressing the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable healthcare Act.

I have read many things regarding Obamacare. I read, time after time, that the political people are exempt. Well, Hilary Clinton had a perfect healthcare plan which opened the same insurance to all that the political base shared. We all see what happened to Hil. There has never been a doubt that Obama was going to put together a healthcare plan. Voters, you get what you voted for. I don’t think his plan is the best, Hilary’s was much better, but the truth is, we need a healthcare plan in this country. We are the only leading country that fights it. I know the Republican base is crying, kicking, and screaming, like the sore losers they are, but we have to continue to move forward. We grow stagnant and barbaric without forward growth.

Of course, I fully understand the power of the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, the medical profession, and the big business behind them. I know it’s going to crimp their style, just a little. Like every big issue in America today that splits our country, it leads us right back to the billionaire’s club. They so don’t like being told no. To them I say: bummer dudes get over it.

As for Romney, the puppet Pinocchio of the billionaire’s club, how dare he speak out about Obamacare when he is the master of forced healthcare? Why aren’t people aware of Romneycare? With Romneycare, we, the entire United States tax payers, pay taxes that cover Mitt Romney’s healthcare plan in Massachusetts. Fifty percent of the costs are paid back to his state by, yep; you guessed it, the American federal government; you and me. Of course, he raised taxes to put his healthcare plan into action. It was the largest expansion of Massachusetts Medicaid, ever.

Mitt does give three choices, but those aren’t plans you are able to choose, they are plans that are assigned, based on qualifying income. This is all run through the nonprofit sector (which I found absurd) of Blue Cross.
Under master Pinocchio, all Massachusetts residents are required, by law, to be insured. If a resident chooses not to seek coverage under one of his plans, then they are fined $1,000 dollars a year.

So, for me to hear Mitt Romney talk against universal healthcare, I want to spit his hypocrisy right back in his face. It shows his puppet status loyalty to the club that is funding his presidency. How can you stand, knowing you created much of the same plan as Obama, then talk against it? It certainly shows who he works for, doesn’t it? A man who can be bought to the point of selling out his own convictions is not a man I want for a leader. Then again, who did he prostitute himself to to secure his governorship? That is something I may look into.

When the facts are examined, without the Tim Taylored spin machine, America’s state of health is in shambles. We are a leading country that falls short, drastically, when it comes to our healthcare. I hear people, all the time, talk about how our health system is better than anywhere in the world. I can’t believe they think this. It is a pure fallacy. There isn’t a bit of truth to it. Our state of health is deplorable matched to our 1st world status.

America is 48th out of 222 when it comes to infant mortality. Infant mortality shows the overall health of our nation. We fall below Taiwan, for Pete’s sake. Our life expectancy over all is 70 years old (67.5 for males and 72.6 for females.) We rank 24th. We fall 14th, or last, on the countries rated for preventable death. This is what superb healthcare is? Not by any broad scope of the imagination.

Our medical costs are astronomical. I remember twenty years ago, my son was born with a hole in his heart. The pediatric cardiologist charged almost $800.00 dollars per office call. That didn’t count the ultrasound. My cost was only $20.00, because of insurance co-pay, but what if I didn’t have insurance? What if my son fell in the crack between too much income for Medicaid and not enough income for health insurance?

Today, if it weren’t for Children’s Special Care Services, which is a form of Michigan Medicaid, my daughters would have been buried long ago. Am I looking for a handout? No, I’m grateful. If it weren’t for this social net my daughters couldn’t survive. They both suffer from juvenile onset diabetes. I pick up monthly supplies that would cost about $400.00 per month just in co-pays. The true costs, with insulin costing over $130.00 a vial (and they get 15 vials per month, each,) would be financially crippling. That’s just for the insulin alone, not counting all the other supplies that go along with diabetes. I do have to say, there was a time that I could go to Windsor and purchase the insulin for $17.00 a vial, same brand, same insulin, but George W put a stop to that. Why? I wonder. Oh yeah, American free enterprise.

I had a dear friend, a very successful makeup artist for the movie industry, Lynn Campbell. Lynn was born with congenital heart issues. She married, and divorced, losing her instate medical coverage through her husband. She couldn’t find another insurance company to carry her with her prior condition. She needed new wires in her pacemaker. That surgery, along with serious leg surgery after being hit by a taxi in New York, wiped out her savings. No longer able to work while still healing, another health issue popped up: she needed a heart valve replacement. Without any money to pay the hundreds of thousands in American medical expenses, she was thinking of moving to France, for there they have superb universal healthcare. Living in L.A., her time was growing short. She spent a lot of time trying to get state coverage. After many denials, finally, her surgery was covered, maybe too late. She had the surgery, but died from an infection due to the surgery, and malpractice due to the lack of administration of antibiotics. The malpractice was blatant, but the caps and regulations inhibiting us from suing, another George W implantation, rendered nothing for her loss.

So, before people whine about Obamacare, think about what you are really saying. Do I think American’s should be required to have insurance or pay a fine, of course I don’t, no more than I think they should have to pay the Department of Treasury in Michigan for a traffic ticket, or wear a seat belt, or do a lot of things we suddenly have to do. Personally, I think the attack should be levied against the medical industry to bring down the costs of care. Nobody wants to talk against free enterprise. We can cap income on athletes, but not on our medical profession, interesting. We can throw a lid on malpractice, so the guilty go free, but we can’t cap our pharmaceuticals and our medical services? We can, we just continue to vote in favor of free enterprise. This isn’t democracy, this is capitalism.

The people cry out on the tax issue. The issue is, as with any social net programs: “Why should we have to pay for someone else to have insurance when we have to pay for our own? It isn’t fair.” Well, to those of you who simply can’t get it, here is your answer: Who ever said life was fair? Deal with it, get over it, and pride yourself for being able to help those less fortunate.
I wonder when the people are going to open their eyes. Take off the blindfolds that the billionaires have wrapped around your heads. It hasn’t only inhibited your sight, but it seems to have cut the oxygen from your brains, as well.

We have a former GOP spokesman saying healthcare is a reason to draw our guns and to revolt. We have the conservatives saying Roberts isn’t fit for the Supreme Court, now, because of epilepsy medication, and then we have the presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, speaking out against Obamacare when he was the first to put mandatory healthcare in the works in Massachusetts, making all Americans responsible for the health of those in Massachusetts.

When you speak out to wage civil war all in the name of free enterprise, we must seek out the reasoning behind it. The words aren’t to create a free society, don’t be fooled, those are words that are simply spoken to give even more control to the billionaire’s club (I do not use that term lightly; there really is the Bilderberg billionaire’s club.)

The chatter of taxes on the middle class feeds the outrage that divides our country. Divide and conquer is a very old and reliable tactic. The club loves the division, they know exactly what they are doing, and they are laughing at their ability to buy feigned intelligence, almost subliminally, that is gaining power to strangle the real intelligence in our country. They are creating the minion class who will fight for rights they will never achieve.

Let’s overthrow the government under the premise that the Supreme Court doesn’t count (unless it’s in their favor,) we are Communist due to healthcare, and God only knows all the other extremist jargon the far right will come up with. Beware of those who use middle class taxes against you, when they are the corporations that can afford to pay, yet pay nothing.

I really wish the fundamental Republican base, the ones who aren’t eligible for membership in the billionaire’s club, could look beyond The National Enquirer type political sites, like The American Thinker, and see the facts that stand independent of any political affiliation. They don’t seem to be able to do so.

Maybe they were stung by drone mosquitoes.


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About Pam Messingham

  • Clavos


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    So are you saying, then, that it’s no big deal that more Americans are going out=of-country to get health care that they can’t get here (regardless of reason) than there are non-Americans coming to America to get health care they can’t get elsewhere (regardless of reason)?

  • troll @ #63:

    Don’t you mean “literally all the time”?


  • Clav

    lit·er·al·ly? ?[lit-er-uh-lee]
    in the literal or strict sense: What does the word mean literally?
    in a literal manner; word for word: to translate literally.
    actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy: The city was literally destroyed.
    in effect; in substance; very nearly; virtually.

  • Clav

    Igor, you need to work on those feelings of inadequacy; regardless of how justified they are, at your age you can’t be wasting time on foolishness.

    Don’t ruin what should be your golden years.

    Man up — deal with it.

  • Igor

    ‘Literally’ means “by the letter”. Using it improperly to enhance an argument is thievery, and reveals a bad side of the speakers nature, i.e., lying.

  • troll

    …one sees “literally” used as such virtually all the time

  • Igor

    @56-Clav: it appears that Clav has purchased the Popeil Trite-O-Matic brain transplant:

    “Your issue is entirely separate from that: apples and oranges.”

    Which, apparently, he considers a damning argument, despite being wrong.

  • Doug Hunter

    “… but is literally comparing apples to oranges, …”

    ‘No it’s not.’

    It’s not uncommon to use the word ‘literally’ in metaphor form, is that irony?

  • Doug Hunter

    “But if nobody pays for the innovation, the innovation just does not happen.”

    Very good. Part of the genius of the system lies here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t play into a metric very well… tough to put a precise figure on ‘innovations that never happened’, easy to put a figure on ‘people without adequate health insurance’ therefore you are doomed to failure. Progress, growth, and competitiveness are exhausting and difficult… as a nation we’re tired, we’re ready to sit back and vote ourselves bread and circuses and let someone else take the mantel. I hope someone is ready (in Asia perhaps?) to move us forward.

    I hope there’s always someone out there who’s willing to cast their lots on a bigger pie for all in the future over dividing equally today’s stale bread… the death of the human spirit.

  • Igor

    @33-Clav: this statement is both wrong and trite (try to do better in the future. You seem to be a glib fellow, try to engage your mind as well as your mouth):

    “… but is literally comparing apples to oranges, …”

    No it’s not. There is no mention anywhere of either apples or oranges, so there is no way it can be “literally” true. The word you are searching for here is “figuratively”, as in a figure of speech, like an analogy. Literally, it is not true.

    Second, there’s nothing wrong with comparing apples and oranges. Three apples have the same quantity as three oranges. Perhaps I have 4 oranges and the comparison sways me to eat an orange so as to leave a balanced choice for tomorrow. The apples may be ripe and the oranges unripe or overripe, so a comparison tells me to eat the apples. The apples may contain an unwanted chemical, so upon comparison I choose the oranges.

    Ordinary people compare apples and oranges every day without a second thought. It’s perfectly valid.

    There’s no need to make oneself sound stupider than one is already.

  • troll

    nah……I’m just being a meanie – driven round the bend by sloppy logic

  • Clav

    …which only reinforces my point, troll…

    Are you trying to forge something here? [pun intended]

  • Clav

    My point was NEVER that America wasn’t receiving more tourists than any other SINGLE nation – I never said that nor implied such. It was that more AMERICANS are seeking treatment outside America’s borders than there are non-Americans from the rest of the world coming to America to seek treatment.

    I understand (and understood from the start) your point, Glenn. It has no bearing on mine; it’s in fact, irrelevant to mine; I wasn’t discussing the outbound market, but you kept telling me my argument “…ignores the fact that we have by far the most expensive health care in the world, whereas the fifty million or so uninsured Americans can’t afford health care here (or are otherwise denied), and those who are lucky enough to be able to cross the borders to Canada or Mexico gladly do so just so they can get done what they can’t afford to do stateside.”

    Which is undeniably true, but so what? I wasn’t addressing that issue (which is totally separate from the phenomenon I was discussing: that because of the quality of medical care available here, foreigners spend more money to come here for their medical needs than they do in any other country. Your issue is entirely separate from that: apples and oranges.

    So again: no crow eaten here.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    My point was NEVER that America wasn’t receiving more tourists than any other SINGLE nation – I never said that nor implied such. It was that more AMERICANS are seeking treatment outside America’s borders than there are non-Americans from the rest of the world coming to America to seek treatment.

    It’s sad, really, that here in the richest nation in the world, more citizens travel abroad for medical treatment that they cannot afford here then there are non-citizens traveling to America for treatment that’s simply not available there. But hey, that’s FREEDOM…at least that’s the right-wing definition of freedom ever since Obama agreed with the Republican idea of the individual mandate….

  • troll

    Clavos – you fail to recognize that there are but two of these destinations…the US and the Rest of the World

  • Clav

    What crow, Glenn? All I alleged (and proved, and you repeated in your #51), was that the US is the #1 medical tourism destination in the world (based on revenue); an assertion Deloitte confirms!! Destination, Glenn, D e s t i n a t i o n…

    I didn’t even address outbound medical tourism, except to clarify that it’s a totally different animal from the inbound, and the two are apples and oranges, having no bearing whatever on each other. (Comment #41)

    No crow this time, Glenn. Again, you aren’t reading what I wrote.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    There be crow on the table, matey, and somebody’s a-gonna have a heapin’ helping thereof! Will it be thee, or me?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos #41 –

    Ouch! May I have another, sir! Ouch! May I have another, sir! Ouch!

    But you know what, friend, I’m not so think as you stupid I am. From a 2009 article of Medical Tourism Magazine:

    Inbound medical tourism to the U.S. is approximately $5 billion or 400,000 patients annually, according to the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

    And from the Wikipedia article referencing the same source as did the article above:

    A forecast by Deloitte Consulting published in August 2008 projected that medical tourism originating in the US could jump by a factor of ten over the next decade. An estimated 750,000 Americans went abroad for health care in 2007, and the report estimated that a million and a half would seek health care outside the US in 2008. The growth in medical tourism has the potential to cost US health care providers billions of dollars in lost revenue.

    Where did I get that 6M figure from? USA Today apparently referenced the same study that CNN did, for here’s what they said:

    Last year, the center estimated that 6 million Americans would make medical tourism trips in 2010. But Keckley has since shaved that projection to about 1.6 million people. Still, that more than doubles the roughly 750,000 Americans who traveled abroad in 2007, the last year for which Deloitte had actual numbers.

    “The last year for which Deloitte had actual numbers”. Hm. So they could be wrong, but Deloitte is not exactly a fly-by-night operation, and since they’re quite large and respected and such studies are a forte of theirs, well, I’d still be inclined to take their word over yours.

    Would you like some Tabasco with the crow, sir? It helps, really, and I should know. You’ve served it to me more than once – and seeing as how this involves your experience throughout your career, you might well find a way to serve up some more to me on this issue. But if you can’t, well, would you like some broccoli with your crow, sir?

    And one more thing – you said:

    Too bad you didn’t get to go to school in a state where they actually teach kids to read; your Mississippi education is like that entire state: retarded.

    Of course that has nothing to do with that being the reddest state in the nation. Of course it doesn’t….


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    I asked about the Stephen King story because there was a short story he wrote about a man stuck on a deserted island who wound up eating all his fingers, numnumnum….

  • Clav

    I do have a smartphone, an iPhone 4S, so named because its level of intelligence is four magnitudes of Smartness above mine. Besides telephony, I mostly use it to play Words With Friends with some really bright people — it keeps me on my toes (difficult while thumb typing) and on rare occasions, I’ve been known to win.

    But I wasn’t using it last night: there is no valid (at least in my world) reason for those most egregious errors I failed to correct before pressing “Post Comment.”

    I shall go eat some worms in penance…

  • Zingzing

    English: You aren’t doing language right. Correctly, I mean.

  • Zingzing

    Wait. If I say do do, then then would be the time when I said do then then said do again. That’s better.

  • Zingzing

    If I say do do, then and only then would be the time I said do then then said do again.

  • Zingzing

    That story was told years (yeaahs and yeahhs) ago, doc. Oh, hell. How old we are getting.

    And yeah, clavos does have a smart phone, I’m sure. But one cannot hold up the iron cross and type on a smart phone easily. It will be his… Downfall. (someone should make a downfall clip about how hard it is to be a error-free grammar nazi on a smart phone.)

  • Glenn: More like a Stephen Zing story.

    zing: Methinks Clav has himself a smartphone.

    And you said “do do”. Heh. Heh heh. Heh.

  • Zingzing

    I was simply agreeing there, clavos… Maybe I should have italicized the first “do” in “do do”. the other point I was making is that is a significant failure of our health care system. People shouldn’t have to buy international air travel tickets in order to afford health care.

    Also, “tyhe”? “mexican”? “stone age”? not capitalizing “and”? starting a sentence with “and”? “20 of my thirty”? …have you given up the iron cross?

  • Clav

    Many Americans traveling abroad for medical treatment do do so because it’s cheaper, or at least not exorbitantly priced.

    I know, zing, i pointed that out in my comment. And it’s most, not many. Americans going to mexico for medical treatment are ONLY after tyhe cheapness of it; mexican medicine is stone age compared to the US; that’s why ALL the mexicans who can afford it travel abroad (mostly here) for serious medical care. and that’s another fact I know for sure, I worked for the mexican flag carrier for 20 of my thirty years in the biz.

  • Clav

    You’ve bought off on the conservative shtick that because America’s got the very best health care in the world, it must therefore be the number one destination for medical tourism…based on nothing more than your own observations.

    Um no, Glenn. Based on actual data collected by USTS and cited by the International Healthcare Commission. Here’s the link, though if you had any initiative of your own, you could have Googled it. But no, you got so excited at the thought you caught me with my pants down, your reading comprehension went right out the window — again.

    But, in any case, I AM an expert on travel to and from the USA as a result of my thirty years as an airline executive. In the same manner that you claim expertise on matters military, I do so on travel, and my time in that industry was 50% more than your time as a lifer.

    Furthermore, your argument ignores the fact that we have by far the most expensive health care in the world, whereas the fifty million or so uninsured Americans can’t afford health care here (or are otherwise denied), and those who are lucky enough to be able to cross the borders to Canada or Mexico gladly do so just so they can get done what they can’t afford to do stateside.

    No, in fact, I pointed out that most Americans who travel abroad for medical reasons do so because in primitive countries its cheaper. You really should go back to school and learn how to read.

    Too bad you didn’t get to go to school in a state where they actually teach kids to read; your Mississippi education is like that entire state: retarded.

    Before you erroneously jump all over my ass, learn to read Glenn; you’re embarrassing yourself.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc #38 –

    Did you get that from a Stephen King short story?

  • Zingzing

    No. I just got one of those gothy skull rings that makes it impossible to bend your finger correctly.

  • Was it at about this point, zing, that you bit off your own fingers and ate them so that you would never again have to use the shift key?

  • Zingzing

    Its. Damn iPad assumes it’s for some stupid reason.

  • Zingzing

    Well, clavos, between what I said and what Glenn said, I guess the takeaway is that the us may have superior health care in many ways, but it fails us citizens in several ways. If you can’t access it, what the fuck good is it? I had a friend fall down his stairs recently, and he flat out refused to go to the hospital because his deductible was far too high for him to actually afford. He obviously was showing signs of concussion (although he was in enough of his own right mind to figure out it would cost him too much to go, i suppose), but there was nothing we could do to convince him. His girlfriend stuck her fist so far up my ass I could taste her rings. My own insurance is pretty much catastrophic only. I haven’t used it for anything but dental cleanings and the like in almost 6 years, although I sprained my wrist a few years ago. Would have cost me almost a grand to get it straightened out (and it did on it’s own anyway). Ever tried to roll a cigarette with a bum wrist? It sucks. And all you goddamn want is a goddamn cigarette.

  • Zingzing

    Many Americans traveling abroad for medical treatment do do so because it’s cheaper, or at least not exorbitantly priced. They also travel abroad because other countries aren’t so stupid about the obvious benefits of stem cell treatments. My uncle flew out to australia, went on a south pacific cruise, got his life saved (or at least greatly extended,) and still saved close to $100k in costs. Yay, USA! (stem cell research, if not treatment, has come a long way since the second bush dark ages, I’ll admit.)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You’ve bought off on the conservative shtick that because America’s got the very best health care in the world, it must therefore be the number one destination for medical tourism…based on nothing more than your own observations. That’s sorta like me stating that my own experience has shown just the opposite (and it has).

    One more big hole in your argument is that America is perhaps the single most difficult nation to travel to, whereas an American passport is like gold – we can go almost anywhere we want. Furthermore, your argument ignores the fact that we have by far the most expensive health care in the world, whereas the fifty million or so uninsured Americans can’t afford health care here (or are otherwise denied), and those who are lucky enough to be able to cross the borders to Canada or Mexico gladly do so just so they can get done what they can’t afford to do stateside.

    For instance, it was cheaper for me to fly to the Philippines and pay to stay there for a week in order to get six crowns for my teeth by a dentist who proudly displays a Harvard certificate on her I-Love-Me wall than it would have been for me to get the same work done here where I live stateside. A nurse that worked for us had to fly to Thailand to get surgery that would allow her to have children – she couldn’t get the surgery stateside – and now she’s got two kids and her husband (who works with the DEA) is much happier.

    In 2010, CNN noted that 6.6 million Americans were going outside our borders for health care.

  • Clav

    Where do you get the idea that the USA is the #1 medical tourism destination?

    From my 30 years in the airline business, during which I saw that datum repeated on an almost annual basis in industry publications.

    The ratio you mention is true, but is literally comparing apples to oranges, because those traveling to the US are seeking better medicine (particularly in the more sophisticated specialties such as oncology, cardiology and neurology)than they can find at home, while Americans traveling abroad for medical reasons are seeking cheaper treatment.

    The International Healthcare Commission, a rating agency for the medical tourism industry, has this to say about the USA’s ranking in world medical tourism:

    USA’s In-bound Health Travelers

    USA remains the number one “medical tourism” destination in the world in terms of revenue…. by far. International patients currently make up almost 3.5% of all inpatient procedures performed in the U.S.

    In their 2008 report on medical tourism, Deloitte and Touche suggested that in 2008 that non-U.S. residents receiving care in the United States would spend almost US$5 Billion for health services.

    Some of the most common treatments that international patients are seeking are: Cancer/Oncology; Orthopedic; Cardiovascular; and Cosmetic Surgery.

    BTW, Chris, during my thirty years in the commercial airline industry, the position of the US as a medical tourism destination was widely known and exploited by foreign airlines with service to the US, including both of the foreign carriers for whom I worked.

  • Clavos, what’s up buddy? You appear to be trying to keep me busy querying some of your many assertions these days.

    Where do you get the idea that the USA is the #1 medical tourism destination? I can’t find anything to support that notion and, according to Wikipedia’s article on medical tourism, the ratio of people travelling from the USA or to the USA for treatment is 10 to 1.

  • Clav

    I don’t doubt there is, Pam, but I have never personally experienced it; not even when my first wife took five slow and agonizingly painful years to die from an incurable cancer. As her primary caregiver and case manager, whenever her care wasn’t up to my standards, I fired the doctor at fault on the spot and demanded a replacement; over the five years, I only had to do this three times, though I did demand (and got) nurse replacements regularly.

    But don’t be naive: there’s at least as much “sloppy medicine,” if not more, in those countries you so admire, especially if their governments are in charge.

    The US is the world’s number one medical tourism destination, precisely because the best medical care in the world is available here, although admittedly not everywhere; particularly in rural and poor areas. But no one in the world beats the likes of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, etc.

    Government providing the medicine in no way ensures that it will be superior in its execution; rather, I tend to see, from the abysmally poor execution of other government endeavors, that it will likely suffer from government oversight, especially if the government overseer is the US government.

  • I disagree, because the healthcare is more readily available in those other countries. How many Americans cannot go to the doctor because they can’t afford it? They use infant mortality to show the overall health of a country. Why can’t we keep our babies alive and as well as those in Taiwan, or France? I have seen medical error over and over again in America.

    My year old son breaks out in a rash. He is on antibotics at the time, he also ate eggs for the first time. I call the doctor, my doctor is on vacation and his replacement tells me to go to emergency right away, it could be a reaction to antibotics. I do. They do a blood culture, which is very horrible to watch on baby. They come back, tell me they have to admit him and begin treatments right away for leukemia. I refused. I wanted to see my peditrician first and he would be back on Monday. When I took him to his doctor the following day, after a ton of fear and distress, my peditrician told me it was simply lab error. He said the hospital had grown so big, buying up a lot of smaller hospitals, but sharing one main lab, that it was happening more and more. He left the room and I could hear him screaming at the hospital from his office.

    After giving birth to another son, the hospital totally neglected a rash covering his entire body, his eyes swollen shut. They also continued to forget to circumcise him. I asked for my peditrician, they flat out told me “no.” When I decided to leave, against medical orders, and take my baby to the doctor, everyone in the world came to my room and wanted to fix everything. I disagreed. I left. Again, my peditrician was livid. He again called the hospital and raised such a fuss I never even received a bill, nor did my insurance company.

    My father, at 76 years old, went to the hospital with chest pains. He had heart issues for years and was on a large dose of daily cumiden, a blood thinner. He had issues with the blood thinner, sometimes thinning his blood too much.

    The hospital dianosed him with a bout of Angina. Harmless, right? As my father started violently vomiting, we were told it was probably a flu, but once he stopped vomiting, we were told, with a smile and laughter, that he was fine. We left our dad, thinking all was well. Through out the night, the nurses logged mental fatigue. They noted that he was less and less corherrent. In the morning, he was sleeping and resting comfortably, until 9:30 when a family member went to visit and noticed she couldn’t wake him. Now, the hospital paniced. They ran tests. He wasn’t asleep, he was in a coma, brain bleed. Survival was five percent with surgery. The reason? From the second he was brought into the hospital they hooked him up to an IV with heprin. A blood thinner. This was on record. My dad had been at that hospital many times and they had all his meds on file. Nobody looked. I watched my father die by bleeding out, after the heprin, mixed with his cumiden, disintigrated his veins. I watched the blood drain into his foley bag, until he was bloodless, lifeless. Why? Hospital error.

    Yep, I was going to sue, but attorney after attorney told me, after reviewing the case, that because of the limits and guidelines that Bush put into play to protect Doctor’s from rising insurance costs and litigation, there wasn’t much we could do.

    And the last story I will share is Dee, a woman I have known most of my life. Dee had a heart attack. In the hospital, after she recouped, she was eating well and doing fine. She was going to be sent to a rehab center. Dee was also 76. Her daughter was told that Dee’s heart was working at 15 percent. The rehab refused her saying she could do the therapy and the only place for her to go was in-patient Hospice. My friend didn’t understand the ramifications of Hospice, and Dee didn’t suffer from a terminal illness.

    At the hospice center, Dee was starved to death. Her tongue started to chip away from the dryness. When the nurses were questioned we were told that it was Doctors orders, no food, no water, and no medications. Dee was being euthanized. Of course, her daughter, a republican from the bible belt, said: “It’s that damn Obama and his Obama care.” Yes, we did take Dee out of the hospice center and though she did eventually pass, it wasn’t from her heart.

    So, when I see these things happening…it makes me want to hurl. Our system sucks.It is our system.

    Our healthcare is a wreck. All of these cases had insurance, so it isn’t an insurance issue. It’s our system of healthcare. Like everything else, we have grown lazy and have learned to accept the dummied down version of health.

    So, I disagree with you. I think a lot of people can’t go to the doctor because they can’t afford the high cost. Therefore, medical treatment is impossible for them to achieve. On the other hand, even those with medical insurance, are not in the greatest hands in the American health system.

    I lucked out with my peditrician, he was a great Doctor. He went the extra mile. But, Clav, there is a lot of sloppy medicine out there.

  • Clav

    48th out of 222 makes us pretty damn shitty

    My point exactly, Pam. We are the WORST in the First World in infant mortality. EVERY First World country keeps their babies alive better than we do.

    But that can’t be laid on the healthcare system; the vast majority of those babies’ mothers did not seek prenatal care and and significant numbers of them were and continue to be drug addicts and alcoholics (lifestyle again, not healthcare).

  • I used the same cite, but it dit backwards which made us 48th out of 222…now how does it look? Again, we fall beneath Taiwan. Why aren’t you listing all the third world countries better than us? I used the exact same site, Clave…48th out of 222 makes us pretty damn shitty…

  • Clav

    You’re stats are wrong. I just researched this and I tried to use the best of all the stats I could find. All the stats rate us very low on infant mortality

    Sorry, Pam, but it doesn’t work that way. If you’re going to do “research” to refute another’s arguments, you can’t simply say “all the stats rate us very low…” without citing your sources so we can all look at them. Not if you want to have credibility.

    Now, as to the infant mortality rates in the US vis-a-vis the rest of the world: the CIA World Fact Book, one of the most accurate and impartial information sources in the world, lists the USA as 174th in the world. That is to say, 173 nations have worse infant mortality rates than the USA, which might lead one to say, “See, US infant mortality rates aren’t so bad after all.” And that’s the interesting thing about data and statistics, Pam, because NONE (not one!) of those 173 countries is a first world nation. In other words, the USA’s infant mortality rate is the WORST in the first world — EVERY other first world country than the USA does better than us in that area. Therefore, when comparing overall life expectancy rates with other FIRST WORLD nations (which is comparing apples to apples), we see that the US’ overall longevity rate IS negatively affected by a circumstance in our society which is outside of our reputedly “bad healthcare system.” And there are others: very high drug use (both legal and illegal) compared to other FIRST WORLD countries, very bad eating habits, resulting in widespread morbid obesity, many more high speed passenger miles driven, resulting in far more fatal accidents, much higher murder rates, etc. ALL of these contribute to our low longevity, and none are a direct result of our healthcare system, and all are comparisons with other FIRST WORLD countries, not the Senegal, Algeria, Mexico, etc. — inferior countries in the THIRD world.

  • Igor

    Pam: despite their protestations about “Free Markets” what capitalists really want is markets controlled by their monopolies. Their domination of markets has the purpose of excluding competitors and forcing customers to pay the maximum.

    The effect is to prop up the crumbling structure of Potemkin capitalism, or, for another name, show-business capitalism. It’s a sham.

    The solution is either the radical one of getting rid of capitalism and trying to put something in its place, OR use the government to intercede with regulations and legal action.

    The perfumed princes of the Power Elite deceive themselves if they think they can avoid both revolution and regulation, but they get so drunked up after a couple cheap victories that they start believing their own propaganda and imagine themselves more powerful than they are. And that is the path to the Guillotine.

    Pam: “Free Enterprise in America, with the new global economy, made it against the law for me to take advantage of buying the product at a cheaper price and FORCED me to pay the price in America. ”

  • troll

    Pam – have you looked into the degree to which that price differential is made possible by the largess of the Canadian taxpayer?

    (I haven’t and am making no claim)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Pam –

    Again, I have to state the case with Novolog Insulin, $150.00 a vile in America, under twenty dollars in Canada. Free Enterprise in America, with the new global economy, made it against the law for me to take advantage of buying the product at a cheaper price and FORCED me to pay the price in America. That free enterprise thing should work both ways, shouldn’t it?

    Gee, isn’t that wonderful? That’s part of what gives us the best health care system in the world (as long as you don’t look at our national life expectancy, birth mortality rate, and cost of care per capita).

  • Igor

    Talking about “free rides”: Most medical advances occur in taxpayer financed Universities and NIH labs. Few, if any, are privately financed. Therefore the rich who are saved by an operation are getting a free ride at taxpayer expense.

    Most of us don’t even mind that as long as we, too, had access to all the best results of publicly financed medical advances.

  • Clav,
    You’re stats are wrong. I just researched this and I tried to use the best of all the stats I could find. All the stats rate us very low on infant mortality and preventable death…and like I said, we aren’t the greatest on life expectancy, either. Those are the facts. I looked at your cited article and I researched who American Enterprise Instutite is. It’s a conservative think tank. I’m disappointed:

    The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) is an extremely influential, pro-business, conservative think tank founded in 1943 by Lewis H. Brown. It promotes the advancement of free enterprise capitalism[1], and succeeds in placing its people in influential governmental positions. It is the center base for many neo-conservatives.

    Not a cool site to count on when you are looking for the facts. The fact is our heathcare sucks…no matter how you cut it. The propaganda can’t continue to hide the truth.
    As for us being the leading country? We have sacrificed our lead in most things. We used to have a grand education system, but we dummied it down and have been for years.

    In America, about ten years ago, my daughter and I both had the same prescriptions. Her prescription was covered by her husbands health care @ a $10.00 co pay. Mine wasn’t covered under my health plan. Interesting enough: I had to pay $320.00 for that prescription. The cost to her insurance was under $200.00. Why would the cost be higher to someone that didn’t have insurance and lower for someone that did? I questioned the pharmacy. I was told that the insurance companies agree to only pay so much for the product when it’s covered. So the insurance companies get a discount…and a 33% discount at that. A paying customer, without insurance, pays a third more. Only in America.

    Again, I have to state the case with Novolog Insulin, $150.00 a vile in America, under twenty dollars in Canada. Free Enterprise in America, with the new global economy, made it against the law for me to take advantage of buying the product at a cheaper price and FORCED me to pay the price in America. That free enterprise thing should work both ways, shouldn’t it?

  • Clavos, sticking to facts rather than rhetoric is always a good idea but your outburst in #19 appears to fall short.

    Isn’t it the case that government spending on things as diverse as social security and the military goes up and down?

    Indeed, the amount being spent on many fronts is quite variable depending on what happens with the factors that drive them.

    Of course, total government spending and the size of government does tend to increase, which is certainly bad in principle but, to the best of my knowledge, no workable process to change that tendency has yet been put forward.

    That doesn’t mean to say that it can’t be done of course. I think a total restructuring of the legal and political systems that made them both more responsive to the needs of we the people, less expensive and more efficient could be done but that would require a complete re-working of a country’s legal and constitutional framework, which nobody anywhere around the political spectrum in any country appears to have the appetite for – except me of course!

    As to your “facts” which you claim counter Igor’s position – which I am neither supporting nor rejecting – they don’t actually appear to be facts.

    To itemise just a few, the UN is not anti-American, it is just not pro American, which is just as it should be; granted not being pro probably seems like anti to some in the USA.

    The UN itself is in massive need of reform of course, but that is a subject for another time.

    It follows therefore that to exclude high speed auto fatalities, when there are plenty of countries, such as Germany for instance, that are also populous and have higher speed limits, or to exclude murder, again there are other countries that have large populations and higher murder rates such as Mexico, as being anti-American is NOT a fact but more of that typical special pleading many in the USA often indulge in. Very surprised that you support that view by the way but I guess today is just one of those days when you’re feeling a little more USA than usual for you!

    Similarly, referring in passing to “reputable studies that exclude” such factors without actually citing them is not factual but dogmatic.

    The references to the USA holding itself to the highest standards with regard to infant live birth is also just an assertion, not a fact.

    I could go on, but hopefully you get the point; what you point to as facts is, IN FACT, nothing other than political dogma, some fairly subjective interpretation of data and a spoonful of wishful thinking.

    In terms of a personal political perspective on such matters, in principle I oppose big government and high taxes and am actively working towards reducing my personal exposure to such things, particularly the legalised theft known as inheritance tax, known as estate tax in the USA.

    Reality appears to contradict my views though and such things as wealth redistribution and universal health care, although wrong in principle, seem to be the lesser of two evils in practice.

    Short of the fundamental restructuring of the legal and political framework which I believe to be both necessary and desirable but extremely unlikely due to the massive inertia of history and the status quo, we appear to be stuck with what we’ve got and nothing short of a complete systemic failure or a massive grass roots rebellion seems likely to change that.

    Given the extremely short term nature of contemporary politics and the lack of either politicians that tell us the truth or public demand for substantive reform, my expectation is for complete systemic failure at some point, unless unexpected factors such as transformative technological innovation change the dynamics.

    There are some encouragingly positive signs on the technological horizon that hold out real hope but it is probably too early to start counting on such welcome developments just yet.

    That pretty much leaves us with muddling through for now, with all the excessive burden of the legal and political systems that we both instinctively dislike. Unfortunate but true..!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    and every year in the free world, hundreds of thousands of people lose their homes or go bankrupt because they can’t pay for health care…

    …and ALL of them are in the United States.

  • Clav

    ALL the other advanced nations (with UHC) have pro-rata GDP health costs of barely half of the USA.

    As the article I quoted from above noted, that’s because most of the world’s medical R&D is carried out in, and paid for by, America. The rest of the world gets a free ride on that.

    Also, most of the rest of the world does not allow the extent and degree of litigation the USA allows — a factor that, in the form of defensive medicine, adds significantly to the cost of medicine here.

    No matter what the lying slime in the White House and their minions in the bureaucracy say, Obamacare will NOT reduce the cost of healthcare in this country; NOTHING the government runs goes down in cost — nothing.

    Your constant refrains about excess government costs and mismanagement are simply not borne out by facts.

    I literally laughed out loud when I read that, Igor; it is so typical of you: you invoke facts yet present none — none at all.

    You want facts? Chew on these, Igor, from the same article I quoted earlier — and then present some of your own research with facts before you pathetically and lamely denigrate others’ arguments with nothing more substantial than gas.

    ” Many of the surveys of “outcomes” that show other countries spend less for similar or better healthcare than the United States are just intentionally disingenuous (i.e., they lie). The ultimate example is the U.N.’s 2000 World Health Report, which has been extensively cited by progressives and the media. Yet there are concrete examples of its anti-American bias. For instance, the study included high-speed auto fatalities and murders in their assessment of a country’s life expectancy, and then progressives cited that life expectancy to indict the U.S. healthcare system. Well, Americans drive more often on a more extensive highway system than most others, and we sadly have more crime than many. Reputable studies exclude these fatalities as, while tragic, they are not the fault of the healthcare system and should not be used to judge or modify the healthcare system. With these fatalities excluded, the U.S. ranks 1st in the world on life expectancy. With them included, we rank 19th, as reported in the 2000 study cited so often by ObamaCare advocates. The studies of infant mortality may be even worse, with the comparisons of what constitutes a live birth (and thus an opportunity for mortality) substantially different across countries, with the United States holding itself to the highest standard (and thus producing worse statistics). But, this does not stop enemies of free-market healthcare from citing warped statistics showing the United States to rank well below the truth, while to a person they’d all opt to have their babies in the United States, particularly if it was a complex or premature situation. That kind of hypocrisy is simply breathtaking…

    “…Perhaps even more insidiously, most of the U.N.’s 2000 World Health Report does not really even rank healthcare outcomes. The actual oft-quoted final rankings, with the United States ranking poorly, are an average of many different ratings, many of them explicitly about how “socialized” or “progressive” a healthcare system is. For instance, their rating system gives 25 percent weight to “financial fairness,” and if one goes through their other categories you find they again are not rating who lives or dies or lives better (you know, healthcare outcomes), but how much the healthcare system has such things as “respect for persons” (this is part of the 12.5 percent weight they gave to “responsiveness,” which is separate from the 12.5 percent weight they gave to “responsiveness distribution,” whatever on Earth that is). The report goes further, judging these things with such objective measures as “respect for dignity” and “autonomy.” In total, more than 60 percent of a country’s score in this survey was some measure of progressive desires, not what you or I would call a healthcare outcome. And, as in our auto example above, much of the rest contained expressly anti-American flaws. That we pay for the United Nations to lie about us is a topic for another day.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    So how are those car companies doing?

  • Igor

    Other analyses I’ve seen predict healthcare savings of $300-$600billion for UHC. And it makes sense since ALL the other advanced nations (with UHC) have pro-rata GDP health costs of barely half of the USA.

    Most drugs are developed in universities and the NIH, not drug companies. Drug companies spend 3 times as much on advertising and lobbying as on research, and most of their research is devoted to finding a patentable variation of a generic drug so they can demand Big Money.

    So most drugs are developed by taxpayer funds and thus there should be a more equitable way to spread the benefit rather than just giving a monopoly to a drug company.

    Sick Americans are being ripped off by insurance companies and drug companies, each of which has developed ways to operate virtual monopolies.

    Your constant refrains about excess government costs and mismanagement are simply not borne out by facts.

  • Clav

    Except that your assumption of a 20% savings based on your company’s experience is only that: an assumption — and an unwarranted one at that.

    The government hasn’t a clue on how to save money; everything it runs inexorably grows in cost. LBJ’s Great Society ended up costing trillions more than forecast; as have both Medicare and Medicaid, every war we;ve ever fought AND all the weaponry and machinery we’ve produced to fight them.

    And Obamacare will be no exception:

    ” Part of the reason we spend more is other countries have price controls and we don’t. For instance, they restrict the amount drug companies can charge much more than we do. That sounds great; price controls save us money! But if nobody pays for new drugs, they don’t ever get created. Without these controls, our consumers here indeed pay more, but that funds much of the life-saving and life-extending healthcare innovation available for Americans and the rest of the world.

    It is frankly unfair that the world is free-riding off us. Free-riding means they let us pay for the innovation that benefits them at lower cost. But if nobody pays for the innovation, the innovation just does not happen. If we try to free-ride off ourselves, it doesn’t work, innovation dies for us too. U.S. consumers paying fair prices (not government restricted artificially low prices) does lead to higher U.S. healthcare costs, but the alternative is far worse: Joining the world in severely limiting prices, and not seeing the next generations of new innovations and improvements…

    Let’s get back to healthcare. Due primarily to the tax subsidy given to employer-provided healthcare (a bipartisan, so-far-untouchable disaster), catastrophic health insurance is not Americans’ norm. Rather, employers provide essentially all healthcare from basic health maintenance and symptom relief to the most expensive life-saving procedures, and they do it because the government massively subsidizes this approach.

    This is odd. You don’t go to your car insurer to fill your car with gas or to your homeowner’s insurance company to change a light bulb…

    Why does this matter? ObamaCare sets out to fix health insurance, and to provide it to more people. Laudable goals. But the system we had was not badly managed health insurance. It wasn’t insurance at all. ObamaCare does not throw out the crazy system we had in favor of real insurance, which would actually work, but rather enshrines and extends all the problems of an insane healthcare payment system masquerading as insurance and built as a tax dodge.”

    The end result, of course will be that instead of a 20% cost reduction (or even just 10%), we, the taxpayers, will be stuck with a vast unwieldy and essentially unchanged system administered by bureaucrats with lifetime sinecures, and its costs, like the costs of everything the government manages, will escalate inexorably and incessantly, until it becomes yet another Medicare monster, rife with waste and fraud.

  • Igor

    Years ago I worked for a famous paternalistic company that took care of it’s employees and their families. The medical plan was excellent: they even paid for the flowers when my kids were born. Then one day they announced that they were going to “self-insure”, that is, instead of paying premiums to the insurance company and then filing claims with the insurance company, they would just put the premium money in a fund and then pay claims out of the fund. Brilliant! It worked perfectly and we saved 20% of insurance cost! And they still sent flowers to my wife’s room!

    That’s exactly what UHC, single payer, will do. And the actuarials for 300 million people are even better than for 200,000 people.

    Now let me see, the USA spends $2.5trillion per year on healthcare, so a 20% saving is $500billion! That’s pretty darn good!

  • Clav

    Forgot the “independents.”

    Them too.

  • Clav

    Double check those history books and replace Obama with Dem Senators like Baccus who are responsible for the ins. co. windfall

    Point taken, EB, but Obama didn’t try to stop it, did he?

    As I’ve said many times before, they’re all in it together: president, Congress, SCOTUS — all three branches.

    Democrat or Republican.

  • “Obama has thrown…”

    Double check those history books and replace Obama with Dem Senators like Baccus who are responsible for the ins. co. windfall

  • Clav

    But we don’t allow highway men to menace our roads and our travellers like that anymore, so there’s no excuse for allowing insurance brutes to menace our citizens.

    You might wanna tell that to Barry, Igor.

    With Obamacare and its despised “mandate,” which is a tax, but isn’t, depending on whether Johnny “flip-flop” Roberts or Barry is doing the talking, Obama has thrown the insurance companies the biggest windfall in the history of American health insurance; I’ve been buying stock in them since last week.

  • Igor…touche’

  • Igor

    What all of us want is good medical care.

    Nobody cares about getting a good insurance policy EXCEPT that the insurance companies have planted themselves firmly in the middle of Lifes Highway and would force every traveller that comes thereby to pay a tariff, a tariff that is made ever more huge by benefit of the highwaymans monopoly of the road.

    But we don’t allow highway men to menace our roads and our travellers like that anymore, so there’s no excuse for allowing insurance brutes to menace our citizens.

  • Clav….I didn’t say Obama wasn’t a Sero’s plant…I firmly believe he was…but this…what we are seeing today…is really out of hand and abosolutely not right. I was just thinking a few minutes ago…we need real men that have dignity and honor that can’t be bribed or bought. Someone that stands for something and isn’t afraid of not having the big $ support. I honestly think we need to break the backs of both partys and start over…maybe then someone will run on something besides the desire to win and money.

  • Clav

    …if I could buy support like the billionaires have been doing…

    Biillionaires like George Soros, Warren Buffet, Teresa Heinz, the Rockefeller family, Carnegie, Mellon and “…In Chicago, Obama’s hometown and the location of his re- election headquarters, fundraisers include Les Coney, an executive vice president at Chicago-based Mesirow Financial; John Rogers, chairman of Chicago-based Ariel Investments LLC; Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm, managing principal of Chicago- based Walton Street Capital LLC and chairman of a new casino operation opening this month in suburban Chicago; entrepreneur and philanthropist Fred Eychaner, who supported Hillary Clinton in 2008 and is one of the nation’s top Democratic donors; and Penny Pritzker, who led Obama’s 2008 fundraising efforts…” to name a few of those who give and collect enormous sums to Obama and the Democrats?

  • Clav

    …cheating the people out of freedom.

    Like a law forcing everyone to buy health insurance does?

  • #4…Igor, so many people think I bash Republicans. The meaning used to mean less government involvement. I understand to a point, but it certainly doesn’t mean that now. What the Republicans are doing today is a disgrace to all of human kind. Even the supporters are duped, believing the base stands for something…when in reality…they stand for nothing except helping corporate America grow richer by abandoning laws that contribute to evironmental demise, creating laws that make slave labor a priority, and cheating the people out of freedom. Why? Because extreme right is fascist and thats what they want. It’s as plain as day…I am not a democrat, I am an independent…so that says a lot. If I had the power to control people or to gain support, you know, if I could buy support like the billionaires have been doing, I would suggest and support everyone voting against both parties to break the backs of the stranglehold the two party system has on the people….damn it…I lack that power.

  • Igor

    Once again, what we need is single-payer UHC. Whatever steps we can take towards that goal are good. But all the republicans are offering is “Repeal and retire”. They have NO intention of replacing Omneycare. They will simply stop after repeal. That’s all they care about. They have never offered anything beyond window-dressing.

    The Republicans are lying to you.

  • #1 Dr. Tax junk food, really? Why not simply tax the rich at the same rate the middle class is taxed. Legalize marijuana and tax that. Food shouldn’t be taxed, it’s already costly enough.
    #2 Thank you!

  • Boeke

    Good article, Pam.

  • We should be reauthorizing renewed funding for the Hill Burton Program which offers free or reduced cost care to people who cannot pay. Also, The National Institutes of Health offers free care (even surgical ) if you fit into their protocol. In addition, when is the right or left going to talk about excess consumption taxes for junk food which is the cause of quite a bit of ill health.