It's been a while since I last posted on this site, or any other site for that matter. I got caught up both in doing my taxes (Obama's tax cuts saved me over $3000), and dealing with numerous and expensive home repairs mandated upon me by my homeowners insurance underwriter. I switched insurance companies, which took a fair amount of my time, with some time of what remained assigned to those repairs I deemed necessary and not merely cosmetic.
But the biggest issue impeding my output is that I have had a relapse in my health. I first wrote about this back in February, and expanded upon the topic since here on Blogcritics. Things have not gotten better since I was last able to write. Testing still has produced no meaningful results, but my symptoms are worsening. If my research is accurate (I can't know without certain tests being conducted – and you just KNOW the lab will act just on my asking!) I think I have to get my doctor focused on treating my illness and not my symptoms. I'm tired of being a Guinea Pig for the latest barely-tested but profitable pharmaceuticals which cause more problems than they solve.
I had to go the ER one day due to the sort of head pain for which Bret Michaels still gets so much coverage for suffering, even though I didn't come near to having a hemorrhage like he did. But it took some powerful drugs to get me back to having a merely bad headache. I have had to watch my activities ever since as "Too much stress" was deemed to be the cause of that immediate ailment, and having a headache is now a constant in my life. Only the intensity varies.
I also didn't have it as bad as did the mother of blogger Jack Jodell, author of The Saturday Afternoon Post, who was hustled out of necessary medical care by a "hospitalist". Said "hospitalist" is apparently intended both to save the hospital some money on "unnecessary" treatment and to "ease the workload" of the primary care physician. Jodell relates on how they had this "hospitalist" replaced with another, who discovered that cancer was the reason for the serious symptoms his mother was suffering. But who -on an official level- is really going to care about that when there is big money involved? Clearly her own physician doesn't, or there would be no "hospitalist" taking over the rounds.
I got the feeling when I was in the ER that they were in a hurry to move me along as well. Shortly after I was given the powerful painkiller which reduced my agony, I passed out. The attending physician came to release me, but as I was out cold he "allowed" me one hour to nap before awakening me and sending me on my way. I really was in no shape to go anywhere, and I didn't get off the unit before I was hit with a hard wave of nausea. I vomited messily in their only restroom. But I know when someone thinks it's time for me to leave. Despite the continued nausea and vertigo, I allowed my son Bookseller to drive me home to complete what recuperation I would have.
Is this what health care has become? Little more than a room rented by the hour to perform messy acts not suitable for family viewing only to be evacuated when the next paying customer comes along?
Now that the Obama Health Insurance Company Profit Subsidy Act has passed, the focus of the media has now shifted to just what Obama has delivered. Obama flits about in the nation spinning about what a wonderful job his administration has done with this bill, which "provides more control for consumers, more accountability for insurance companies and more affordable choices for uninsured Americans." Is he ignoring that new Gallup poll which finds that 61 percent or respondents remain concerned about the costs of a serious medical condition, not to mention that 48 percent still fret about normal health care costs? One has to wonder if Obama isn't treating symptoms and not the illness.
Over at Insurance Technology -whatever that means- contributing editor Susan J. Campbell discusses corporate plans to dump employee insurance coverage, opting instead to eat what penalty the new law mandates. Such a move would save millions if not billions just in costs. Administering their programs would also save big bucks and reduce the need for certain employees. Campbell concluded with the sardonic observation that any company cost saving from dropping employee health coverage in lieu of paying the fine won't end up in the employees' pay checks to subsidize a replacement plan.
Victor Godinez of The Dallas Morning News examined this issue using AT&T as the model. AT&T, which showed a 2009 profit of $12.5 billion, spent $2.4 billion that year to cover medical costs of its 283,000 employees. Dropping this coverage would result in AT&T being subjected to an annual penalty of $600 million, a net savings of $1.8 billion which could go straight to the executive bonus fund, among other things. Who gives a damn about the employees when there is big money involved? Clearly these employers have an incentive not to, and are making plans to implement this action, or there would be no reason to discuss the looming loss of coverage for their employees. For the record, AT&T insists it has no plans to end employee health care coverage. That would be "for now" as economic conditions could change rapidly.
Rep. Henry Waxman attempted to investigate what this strategy entailed, but after receiving over 1,000 pages of AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar and Deere company memos related to this topic, dropped his investigation and deemed the proposed action as being “proper and in accordance with SEC rules." It's as if the government has shot its wad while loading the cannon and now has nothing left but empty rhetoric to shoot at the problem. If I were a Democratic congressperson, I might obey Obey and bolt for the exit also. I wouldn't have to be around when the Republicans slit the throat of health care upon regaining power in the Congress.
But what about the people who need health care? Dr. Marc Siegel, writing in Forbes, has little comfort to offer:
I am compelled to tell my patients that there are no miracles coming and in fact nothing will change right away or for the better. They will still spend a long time in my waiting room and in the waiting room of the hospital ER. [I did not. I was in the ER within 10 minutes, and there was already a line in the waiting room.] They will still find that many of the tests I order are not approved by their insurance, neither public nor private. [This has happened to me.] My patients will continue to discover that they are often compelled by their insurance to take a different medication than the one I initially prescribe for them. [This has also happened to me.]
Dr. Siegel goes on to complain that Medicare no longer covers his costs and that he won't accept such patients. He offers no solution to his dilemma, nor to the larger one regarding health care in America.
I have said in the past that the only way real reform for the health care issues in America is for the entire system to collapse. Obama's sorry excuse for legislation is little more than a slick banana peel on the ramp. Inspiring America's employers to bail out on there employees long before any benefits from this bill can come about (not that I see many such) only increases the slippery slope, and hastens the time when this collapse will occur. I no longer see it as "if".
So as my medical needs become more pressing, I will have nothing to fall back upon once my personal assets are expended. As there isn't enough there to complete any treatment for my condition (not that a cure is even possible yet – and if there were my insurance wouldn't cover it, and I couldn't support it), and as I have little faith in modern medicine not bleeding me dry down to the last copper-nickel-alloy coin while not curing me or easing my discomfort, I am not going to allow that failure to affect the future support of my family. I have had my run, and I did OK. I refuse to spend everything I have on a losing bet and leave them with nothing.
As the head of the household (when my wife allows it, that is! JOKE! ) I have to be sure that my family is prepared to pick up where I leave off. I am not about to step into the grave, but my time to act is now. I have a wife of 35 years who deserves something other than impoverishment and digging through dumpsters for nourishment. I still have two children whose future avoidance of a similar state requires completion of their ever more expensive college educations. There is no place in this world for someone who expects to have even a comfortable existence working for a living, so college -while not any guarantee- does enhance their prospects for something better.
As the current experience in Greece demonstrates, it is the common working people who pay for the excesses of their economic elites. They pay with their jobs, their retirements, their health care and education benefits, and so much more. I don't want my survivors to lose what little I leave them. I want them to be able to do better for their children than I did for mine, and they are likely to face worse prospects than I did. Every cent is going to matter a great deal – and no thanks to Obama, Wall Street, or Corporate America.Powered by Sidelines