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Is Obamacare Really Going to Kill Old People?

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With multiple proposed health care bills, the largest having over 1000 pages, and a lot of heat being generated on both sides of the debate, there are many misconceptions and odd beliefs about what national health care will eventually look like. Both sides in the debate have made assumptions about the legislation which may not entirely be borne out by reality and there is a great deal of confusion and acrimony as a result.

One example of this is the focus of some health care reform opponents on the issue of “death panels.” There is a widespread belief, especially among concerned seniors, that part of the health care reform is the establishment of some sort of severe rationing program of care for the elderly or the chronically ill which will include panels of doctors who will review these cases and decide which old people and long-term care patients are worth saving and which ones require too much care and will essentially be put down like stray dogs.

The fact is that there are no specific provisions at all for death panels or any kind of end of life review or forced euthanasia in any of the health care proposals. Congressmen are not entirely stupid. If such a thing were actually in a bill their staff (who actually read the bills) would tell them about it, they would realize that supporting it would be political suicide and they would take it out of the legislation.

So where does belief in these death panels come from?

Two elements in the main health care bill (HR3200) contribute to this belief. One is the section on “end of life” counseling, which is part of a large section on making various psychiatric services more widely available. But this counseling is only counseling — providing psychiatric support for the elderly — it doesn’t include any provisions for ending peoples lives, just for helping them deal with the inevitable. The other element is the extensive implementation in the bill of Comparative Effectiveness Research, which is correctly assessed by many as a form of health care rationing using boards of experts to evaluate what is cost effective and what is not. Theoretically, these CER boards could include one which rations care for the elderly in ways which might amount to deciding who is worth keeping alive and who it would save money to let die, but nothing like that is explicitly spelled out in the bill.

Another major factor contributing to the hysteria about possible death panels is concern about the role which will be played in national health care by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who has been made a White House health care policy adviser. The problem with Emanuel and his role in health care policy is that he is a bioethicist who has expressed beliefs which many interpret as endorsing eugenics and euthanasia in a prominent article in 1996 and another article on the subject which appeared in The Lancet this year. In his recent article, Emanuel’s basic position is that determining allocation of care based on ability to pay or quality of insurance coverage is unfair and that decisions on health care rationing should be made by boards of government appointed experts. While this is clearly a socialist approach to health care it’s not terribly radical, since actuaries are already making those decisions for insurance companies, but it does imply the creation of boards or panels to decide who gets treatment or doesn’t which could mean life or death for many, especially the elderly. His 1996 article is a bit more controversial, suggesting that there is no real social value in providing life preserving care to patients who are comatose or in extreme states of dementia or whose quality of life is extremely low.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that Dr. John Holdren, President Obama’s Science Czar, was involved in the population boom hysteria of the 1970s and co-authored an article with Dr. Paul Ehrlich in 1969 on population control, as well as writing another article in a 1977 textbook suggesting that the only way to deal with the growth of population would be measures like euthanasia and mass sterilization. Since then, Ehrlich’s thesis in The Population Bomb has been conclusively debunked and like other responsible scientists who once advocated radical population control, Holdren no longer supports it.

So the belief that national health care reform will lead to death panels or something like them for the elderly and infirm derives from the assumption that once the general concept of Comparative Effectiveness Research is established, people like Dr. Emanuel and Dr. Holdren will be in the position of determining the specifics of how CER will be implemented, and based on Dr. Emanuel’s past writings there are many who suspect that he will implement boards to review all aspects of care for efficiency, based on providing the most care to those who can benefit from it the most, which will leave many who require end of life or long term care way down the list of priorities, essentially condemning them to death by government panel.

On the one hand there is nothing at all in the proposed legislation which spells out this idea of death panels, eugenics or euthanasia. But on the other hand, the scenario on which the concern is based is entirely logical. Based on examples from other countries with national health care, the process of reviewing cases for efficiency and allocating resources — healthcare rationing — is an integral part of any such system, just as it is in our current private insurance system. So there’s reason to be concerned if the person or people in charge of such programs have a record of advocating writing off certain groups as not worth keeping alive, and while Holdren might not play much of a role in such policy, Emanuel very likely would.

Both sides have good arguments here, but there is also a good measure of hysteria. Dr. Emanuel’s articles are not as radical as many have made them out to be and he doesn’t really endorse organized eugenics, and Dr. Holdren’s position doesn’t really involve him in health care policy. Nonetheless, their association with the administration at a time when health care reform is being considered may look very scary to those who think every fetus is sacred and who wanted to keep Terry Schiavo alive as a vegetable for all eternity.

Yet all Emanuel really advocates is rationing health care, so once you accept that premise nothing he has proposed is particularly radical. What the real meat of this question comes down to is whether you prefer to have your health care decisions made by the state based on ethical priorities or by your choice of insurance plans where the limitations would be based on willingness or ability to pay. That’s a reasonable basis for disagreement, but reducing it to an argument over death panels and eugenics is mostly hysteria.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Clavos

    Even the Libs ought to find this one balanced.

    Props.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    I don’t know if ObamaCare is gonna kill old people but I find it curious that United Health Care is giving away copies of Soylent Green to their subscribers.

    I’m just kidding.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I said I would, and I am doing so:

    Thank you for wrting a fair, non-fire-breathing analysis.

    Now if you could only convince some of your friends and allies to stop spreading this pernicious nonsense, apparently in a cynical attempt to frighten old people.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good show, Dave. I hope you will continue in this, well-balanced vein.

  • zingzing

    well done. i’m glad this was written, as it’s just about the most balanced look at the issue i’ve seen.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As I said, zing, Dave can do it if he wants to. That’s why I never gave up on him.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Well, let’s don’t get all sickening and huggy and everything.

  • zingzing

    every now and again, he writes something fair, or something unfair that i happen to agree with. he’ll be back to his usual self in no time.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Why not, Handy? It’s an occasion to celebrate.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Where’s Cindy when you need her? She and I do a great duet of Cumbaya.

  • Clavos

    Wow, never thought I’s see it!

    Dave Nalle, darling of the left! :>)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Goes to show. The old categories are crumbling. It realingnment politics.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Let me be clear: I still disagree with the last part, that says basically that rationed care leading to untimely deaths is still built into the reform plans.

    But this idea is not presented in the usual, take-no-prisoners, propagandistic style.

  • http://joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Nice job and I’m glad to see you did your homework. However, I’m going to err on the side of safety — I’m still watching my back. I can’t trust a politician as far as I can throw one.

  • Clavos

    I can’t trust a politician as far as I can throw one.

    Nobody should.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The problem with writing a reasonable article is that it generates all these boring, reasonable responses. What fun is that?

    Now if you could only convince some of your friends and allies to stop spreading this pernicious nonsense, apparently in a cynical attempt to frighten old people.

    The articles are not here, but over on the RLC website I’ve written several articles advising our townhall activists to take a more non-confrontational tact, emphasizing serious questions over protest, for what it’s worth.

    Wow, never thought I’s see it!

    Dave Nalle, darling of the left! :>)

    If I confined myself to writing articles about gay rights and religious issues I imagine I could keep them happy all the time.

    Let me be clear: I still disagree with the last part, that says basically that rationed care leading to untimely deaths is still built into the reform plans.

    Well, unless they build something into the plan which explicitly prohibits rationing of care to the elderly and chronically ill, it’s going to be part of the system because that’s the nature of any kind of health care plan. And in fact, it would be unrealistic to expect otherwise.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “The problem with writing a reasonable article is that it generates all these boring, reasonable responses. What fun is that?”

    Never mind the fun. There’s time to be provocative and there’s time not to. I should consider it’s an obligation we should all share, as Americans, to speak and write our mind, to be responsive to the times. The good of the country is at stake.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The problem, Roger, is that IMO my other articles on this topic are just as objective as this one. It’s just that this deals with a very specific case, while the others deal with the broader issue as a whole.

    The health care bill can not be as bad as portrayed on this specific issue and yet still be unacceptable on this and other issues. I’d rather see it attacked on legitimate grounds than on misunderstandings and hysteria because attacking it on its real flaws is much more effective.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    Is Obamacare Really Going to Kill Old People?

    That’s a moot point.

    The real question is…..If Obamacare is good enough for us why isn’t it good enough Obama and the Democrats in Congress that want to make it law?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I agree about this monstrosity that passes for healthcare reforms. My only justification for it is that perhaps, just perhaps, a more radical reform wasn’t politically feasible. Consequently, I tend to look at it as only the first step in a long, protracted process. I may be wrong, but what else can I think.

    As to the other matter, I’m composing a fairly constructive article right now – not provocative at all but what I think needs to be said. And it is a pain in the ass. I’ll be the first to say it. Still, it’s got to be done. I don’t want to be contributing to causing more misunderstanding but, if possible, to unraveling it.

    Don’t worry. We live in interesting enough times for controversy. There’ll be time and occasion to be provocative.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I agree about this monstrosity that passes for healthcare reforms.

    You…do?

    Yikes. That’s as sweeping a caricature as anyone else has offered on here.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    If the rather, um, eccentric folks who showed up at Arlen Specter’s and Claire McCaskill’s town halls today are representative of “The New Radicals,” then they clearly haven’t gotten around to reading Dave’s calls for moderation. Scary and deeply unpleasant — and, I would venture, not representative of most of the fine people in PA or MO.

    And the guy who showed up, loaded pistol strapped to his leg, outside the Obama town hall today — carrying a banner reading “It’s Time to Water the Tree of Liberty!” — and then agreed to be interviewed by Chris Matthews tonight. I encourage everyone to watch. As Bugs Bunny used to say, What a Maroon!

    Arch, was that you?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Right after I posted ‘Healther Skelter’ on another thread, I watched Jon Stewart’s outrageously brilliant and funny ‘debate’ on Obama’s Death Panels. Best thing they have done all year.

    It’s one of the clips from last night’s show:

    Obama Death Panel Debate

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Handy, I say the protesters who are over 55 should be handed a copy of Soylent Green as a thank you for being patriots. If you haven’t seen it, research it. It’s a hoot.

    P.S. I wish a politician would have the guts to look at the morbidly obese protesters and say, “you want cheaper health care? Lose fucking weight!” If Obama, McCaskill or Specter did that, they’d jump 35% in the polls. Of course all the self-righteous indignators would have their knickers in a twist but deep down they’ll be chuckling. Screw the death camps — open up fat camps!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    If the rather, um, eccentric folks who showed up at Arlen Specter’s and Claire McCaskill’s town halls today are representative of “The New Radicals,” then they clearly haven’t gotten around to reading Dave’s calls for moderation. Scary and deeply unpleasant — and, I would venture, not representative of most of the fine people in PA or MO.

    I mainly called for them to ask questions, not just shout slogans and gave some advice on what questions to ask so that they didn’t sound like idiots. How many are listening is a bit of a mystery. Our RLC people are only one of maybe a dozen groups involved, and they already tend to be the most rational and articulate of the “mob”.

    And the guy who showed up, loaded pistol strapped to his leg, outside the Obama town hall today — carrying a banner reading “It’s Time to Water the Tree of Liberty!” — and then agreed to be interviewed by Chris Matthews tonight. I encourage everyone to watch. As Bugs Bunny used to say, What a Maroon!

    This sounds like fun. I’m going to set time aside to watch the 11pm showing.

    Dave

  • Cannonshop

    …whether you prefer to have your health care decisions made by the state based on ethical priorities…

    The problem is the Ethics involved, and another phrase of praise for the plan bandied about from the beginning- “Revenue Neutral”.

    End-of-life care is some of the most expensive and complex care out there, so is dealing with some of our nastier terminal illnesses (and chronic illnesses beyond that.)

    Depending on the ‘ethics’ involved, the governing agency is either going to be more concerned with remaining “Revenue Neutral” (i.e. within budget), or it’s going to balloon costs trying to stay within at least a gnat’s whisker of the Hypocratic Oath.

    In other words, you’re down to a system that increases co-pays or slashes services, or you’ve got a perpetual balloon of costs drawn from a finite pool of funding-right at a time when the National Debt ratio exceeds the available income to Uncle Sam.

    I suppose you could devalue the currency over the short term, but that doesn’t make the funding there-it just means you can pay the bills with devalued money…ONCE.

    “Revenue Neutral” LIKELY means both increasing co-pays to the point of absurdity for those who actually HAVE an income/job (to pay for all the people who don’t), along with tax-increases across-the=board (easily hidden by devaluing the currency and basing taxation on quantitative, rather than qualitative, income-which Uncle Sam already DOES), COMBINED with rationing/denial of care for high-cost patients who lack extensive juice with Government Officials. (in other words, while your kid might not get Cancer treatment, or get insufficient/poor quality or delayed treatment, Senator Snort’s kid, or the kid of a mid-level functionary in the system, will get immediate care. Bet on it.)

  • Doug Hunter

    I wonder how the law of unintended consequences is going to play out if we get this plan.

    With emergency care mandated everywhere and no limits on preexisting conditions is there not a loophole where some people will realize there is no reason to pay for coverage at all? Just wait until you start to feel sick?

    A second issue will be the ‘good’ insurance plans. They will be punished under the preexisting condition clause. Everyone who knows they are going to consume massive resources for chronic care will choose the ‘best’ plans driving their costs up and level of service down. End result… there will be no ‘better’ plans.

    As for who’s spreading these rumors (in regards to death coucils), count the doctors in. My father has a genetic heart defect that has taken multiple surgeries and treatments from some very great doctors. They told him straight up they were worried about there ability to treat people like him under the new plan if enacted.

    I like the system where money, a proxy for contribution to society, helps prioritize things like this. At least there was a clear path to better yourself. Now, you will be at the mercy of unelected bureacrats. I suppose the path is still clear, be a government bureacrat yourself.. they take care of their own.

  • Bliffle

    Doug says:

    “I like the system where money, a proxy for contribution to society, …”

    Oh really? Including the money held by swindlers (like the Wall Street swindlers we have all become lamentably familiar with), the spoiled children of the rich, crooked politicians, etc.

    How did all that money get subsumed into “contributions to society”?

    “…helps prioritize things like this. At least there was a clear path to better yourself.”

    If you’re sick hold up a bank?

    “… Now, you will be at the mercy of unelected bureacrats.”

    Instead of bureaucratic cost cutters in the bowels of private insurance companies who will cancel your policy when you arrive at the hospital door.

    “.. I suppose the path is still clear, be a government bureacrat yourself.. they take care of their own.”

    Better yet, become an insurance company policy-canceler so you can work a deal with your pals to not cut your own policy.

    If we keep this up we will become just like any Banana Republic or communist Russia where everything is based on personal connections and bureaucratic privilege.

  • Doug Hunter

    Hmmm. Spoiled children of the rich and swindlers. There’s 2% of the population right there.

    For private enterprise, yes money is a sign that you something productive or dare I say nice for society. I mow your lawn, you give me money. I procure an apple for you, you give me money. I build you a house or ensure the power is connected to it you give me money. And yes, even the old I provide the financial means by which you can purchase said house and you give me money.

    That’s the thing about the private portions of a free system. You only get money for giving people things they want or need. Having acquired lots of money means you gave lots of people lots of things they need and did not ask for as many things in return. In my opinion that is a good thing.

  • Doug Hunter

    As for the spoiled children of the rich, I have always thought the best time to tax someone was when they were dead. I’m all for meritocracy where each earns their way instead of riding the dividends of their forefathers.

  • Bliffle

    Dave asked:

    “So where does belief in these death panels come from? ”

    I know! There’s a woman called “Betsy McCaughey”, pronounced “McCoy”, who is blithering these lies all over the rightist radio/TV echo chamber.

    You can look her up on youtube and listen to her rants, now that I’ve provided the correct spelling of her name. It’s amazing how many people accept her lies at face value, and even thank her for ‘explaining’ the reform bill.

    She has quite a history of lying and misrepresenting. If there were a three strikes law for liars she’d be serving several life sentences.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    Bliffy, I agree with Doug. We really have no better measure of merit or accomplishment than wealth. There may be a few people who got wealthy unscrupulously, but at least they’re good at what they do. I’d far rather a few of them benefit than have standards set by an arbitrary committee of bureaucrats whose standards will be far less objective.

    As for the “lies” about death panels, I think the article explains the logical genesis of those beliefs pretty clearly. They’re not lies, they’re conclusions based on more than just what’s in the proposed legislation. They’re somewhat speculative, but they could very well prove to be correct.

    Dave

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Doug,

    Are you sure that’s the only way people get money? Are you sure they never do things tantamount to legalized usury, coercion, theft, graft, murder, and bullying–as well?

  • Baronius

    A lot of the confusion is the president’s fault. Here’s something from one of his speeches:

    So when Peter Orszag and I talk about the importance of using comparative-effectiveness studies as a way of reining in costs, that’s not an attempt to micromanage the doctor-patient relationship. It is an attempt to say to patients, you know what, we’ve looked at some objective studies out here, people who know about this stuff, concluding that the blue pill, which costs half as much as the red pill, is just as effective, and you might want to go ahead and get the blue one….Whether, sort of in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question. If somebody told me that my grandmother couldn’t have a hip replacement and she had to lie there in misery in the waning days of her life – that would be pretty upsetting….So that’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that’s also a huge driver of cost, right? I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    No doubt wealthy folks will still be able to buy ‘Cadillac’ health coverage if they choose, as many do now here, and as some do now in the UK.

    However, using your [highly questionable] belief in the virtue of wealth as some sort of convoluted argument against health coverage for the non-wealthy is just bonkers.

    As for a few counter-examples of what wealth measures:

    Bernie Madoff

    Jack Abramoff

    The derivatives ‘geniuses’ who almost melted down the entire global financial system last year.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    at least [the wealthy] are good at what they do…

    And Paris Hilton? What is she good at, exactly? I forget.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Re: Baronius, #34

    This may be evidence of one of the disadvantages of having a brainy president who likes to ruminate on policy details. [I’ll take him over a non-brainy president who avoids details.]

    But I thought he was quite brilliantly effective at yesterday’s town hall — boiling complex issues down without undue distortion, acknowledging valid points of opposition.

    McCaskill was pretty good too, in her folksy schoolteacher way. She actually seemed to win a few people over, by being frank.

    Specter is basically an embarrassment. A more effective communicator might possibly have been able to defuse some of the tension in the room and turned it from a freakshow into a conversation. Maybe.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    We really have no better measure of merit or accomplishment than wealth.

    I say we have plenty. Sacrifice, for example, is a much better measurement than wealth as far as accomplishment goes.

    Compare Mercedes Benz Co., which was manufacturing ovens to make a profit, with Irena Sendler. Ask someone like Oskar Schindler what is the best guide to gauge accomplishment.

    Watch this Dave.

  • Baronius

    Handy, I didn’t see McCaskill or Specter, but I’m sure Specter was an embarrassment.

    My point about the Obama quote is that for a while now, he’s talked about comparative effectiveness in the context of reducing treatment for the elderly. It’s easy to see how that could get misunderstood to mean that CER boards will restrict medical care for the elderly.

  • Doug Hunter

    Cindy,

    No, but how have you earned most of the money in your life? Through using those methods or working as part of something to provide a valuable service to customers who voluntarily traded your service for their cash. (if this is not the case then you likely worked for the government)

    I don’t condone any of those things you mentioned I was just trying to open people’s eyes to another way of looking at how money works(or at least how it should). I think about things in odd ways, I want you to think about something and tell me how I’m wrong:

    The only purpose of government is in forcing people to do things they wouldn’t do on their own. The growth of government is the increasing use of that force.

    How is that not the case?

  • Doug Hunter

    “However, using your [highly questionable] belief in the virtue of wealth as some sort of convoluted argument against health coverage for the non-wealthy is just bonkers.”

    I’m not against health coverage for the ‘non wealthy’ as you call it, I’m just not for forceful confiscation of my resources by authoritarian assholes so they can feel good about themselves for being charitable with other people’s resources. How fucking honorable of you.

    If your really want healthcare for poor people, then I advise you and the like minded to pay for it yourselves. If you really care, all you morons can start your own nonprofit insurance that provides universal healthcare to everyone whether they contribute a premium or not. Let me know how that works out.

  • Clavos

    If we keep this up we will become just like any Banana Republic or communist Russia where everything is based on personal connections and bureaucratic privilege.

    Exactly. Best argument yet for dropping those plans for government-run medical insurance.

  • Baronius

    Doug, it used to be that religious organizations provided health care for the poor. It wasn’t perfect, and we’ve definitely seen how for-profit systems develop and implement technology faster, but the charitable system did provide a safety net. So a goody-two-shoes safety net is possible.

    There’s a similar pattern in education. Private and public institutions have taken over from religious ones. This field isn’t as technologically oriented, so the benefits of the market had less impact, but we’ve seen the same skyrocketing prices and government inefficiencies.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Not that I want to spend much time defending Paris Hilton, but putting aside her family money she has made 10s of millions of dollars in her own right by cleverly exploiting her celebrity. She could certainly support herself without a cent of family money if she needed or chose to.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Before Medicare, something like 40% of the elderly lacked any health insurance of any kind. This is difficult to comprehend now.

    Did Doug howl, I wonder, when the ‘authoritarians’ ‘confiscated’ his money for useless wars that cost at least as much as any healthcare proposal that is likely to be adopted?

    This kind of rigid ideological folderol gets no one anywhere.

    [PS – I don’t exempt the current administration from the conduct of ‘useless wars.’ I don’t expect any government, anywhere to agree with me all the time. Barney Frank and others are pushing to reduce Pentagon spending to pay for social spending. Count me in.]

  • Bliffle

    Dave claims:

    “…As for the “lies” about death panels, I think the article explains the logical genesis of those beliefs pretty clearly. They’re not lies, they’re conclusions based on more than just what’s in the proposed legislation….”

    Yes, they are lies. She does NOT say they are her beliefs. She gives the page number and then lies about what it says. She is depending on her readers not troubling themselves to actually go and read Page 425. She is an accomplished and practiced liar.

    She does NOT say they are BELIEFS. that’s your lame excuse for one of your pet rightists. You only diminish your own credibility by defending that liar.

    There’s no ‘genesis’. they are not ‘conclusions’.

    She simply lies about what the document says.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The Paris Hilton remark was a feeble attempt at humor. Forgive me. She is nauseating, but not because of her wealth.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No more nauseating than any other celebrity. As to Dave’s comments on her making good of her celebrity status, having inherited the Hilton money was certainly of help. It gave her a head start, to say the least.

  • Lumpy

    Before Medicare families took care of their elders in the home to the great benefit of the family and society. Now the government helps us stick them in the medical equivalent of a death camp.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That depends on the family. The Italians and the Irish still take care of their own, it’s part of their ethos. As to the rest, we all have become upwardly mobile and the notion of extended family, for the most part, is a thing of the past. We’re no longer a traditional society.

  • Baronius

    “And the guy who showed up, loaded pistol strapped to his leg, outside the Obama town hall today — carrying a banner reading “It’s Time to Water the Tree of Liberty!” — and then agreed to be interviewed by Chris Matthews tonight.”

    That’s all we need to make the health care debate even more stupid. Some complete mental case on TV interviewing a town hall protester.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Now the government helps us stick them in the medical equivalent of a death camp.

    Glad to see that everyone is fully committed to keeping the tone of the discussion rational, without resorting to exaggeration or unfairness or such.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Death camps” – an exaggeration or unfairness? You’re being generous, Handy.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Very funny, Baronius.

    Actually, Matthews was so determined to be tough in the interview that he may have made the ‘Tree of Liberty’ guy look better than he should.

    The guy was fairly smart and articulate, but, unshaven, dressed in a t-shirt, and an utterly unreasonable true-believer extremist, he probably wouldn’t have been the firstPaultard/Gun-Worshiping/

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Sorry about that….
    I was about to say:
    He probably wouldn’t have been the first choice of the ‘movement’ to convince those of us who think of them as Paultard/Gun-Worshiping foaming-at-the-mouth extremists.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    If we keep this up we will become just like any Banana Republic or communist Russia where everything is based on personal connections and bureaucratic privilege.

    And nothing is based on personal connections in the U.S.? Bureaucratic privilege is nonexistent in the States?

    From what I hear (direct from people who lived under Soviet rule, mind you) things under Soviet occupation may have been better for some folks in Eastern Europe. Since the break-up those satellites of Russia still pay hefty fees to Russian business and government for energy, communications and food. At least in Communist Russia, most were on a level playing field unlike now where there’s a firmly entrenched oligarchy.

    Before Medicare families took care of their elders in the home to the great benefit of the family and society. Now the government helps us stick them in the medical equivalent of a death camp.

    Partly true. I know my g-great grandma lived with us until she died and it wasn’t so bad. She was a cool lady. The problem with families taking care of their own is that many elderly were left abused and unhappy. I always thought the reason why the government built so many elderly housing complexes in the 60’s and 70’s was to house as many elderly voters in one place. That way they were sure to stay in office. So I don’t look at elderly housing as “death camps” inasmuch as I view them as “voter block camps”.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Actually, Matthews was so determined to be tough in the interview that he may have made the ‘Tree of Liberty’ guy look better than he should.

    Matthews tried hard to catch the guy out and seemed really dismayed that he wouldn’t admit to being a Birther. IMO his answers could have been a lot stronger and more informed, but for some random guy picked solely because he chose to make a symbolic gesture about gun rights he did okay.

    The guy was fairly smart and articulate, but, unshaven, dressed in a t-shirt,

    Given the timing I doubt he had time to go home and shave and change. He also looked sweaty and tired as I imagine all protesters from that townhall did by that time of day.

    Dave

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    dave,

    Did you watch the video I posted for you in #38?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Not just Dave now. But every human being in the planet should watch the video I posted in #38, in full.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    in the planet, on the planet whatever…it’s my poker time…so, i don’t have time for stuff like grammar

  • Bliffle

    Lumpy has an idea:

    “#49 – Lumpy

    Before Medicare families took care of their elders in the home to the great benefit of the family and society.”

    OK, so how about we have a law that requires relatives to support indigent elders in their family? The IRS could go around and seize income and assets from the high-living kids and give the money to their poor parents.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos-/ Christine

    Dave, finally someone explaining the “death panel” “kill grandma” stuff from both angles. It has been so frustrating sitting by as a citizen and watching the madness and exaggeration, and the media only reporting and embellishing whatever pieces fit their political preference (bias).

    I think part of the problem is that instead of attacking misinformation (and anything “fishy”), Congress should have proactively simplified and explained the entire bill to all Americans. Instead we got a “Misinformation Czar”… reminds me of Iraq’s “Ministry of Information”.

    Where’s the “Health Care 1000-Page Information Explanation to the American People Czar” when you need them? LOL

    However, I am concerned about Emanual and Holden (too many Czars) and would not want government to control my health care, better off with the greedy insurance policies.

    Also, I do believe there should be “non-violent” displays of outrage over this massive bill and the fact that congress is trying to “cram” it through without even reading the damn thing!!! We should have open debates over the details and discuss the impact it will have on American’s both individually and collectively. Not to mention how Congress plans on paying for it….taxes, taxes, taxes!

    23 – handyguy
    I saw that John Stewart episode and I laughed for three days!

  • Jordan Richardson

    Some rambling (also, kudos to Dave on a fine article):

    Aren’t the town halls designed exclusively for people to “explain the entire bill to all Americans?” You guys always complain about a lack of information, but it’s actually all there for you to check out for yourself. You wouldn’t want the government’s help, would you?

    And while I’ve finally understood that part of the American Experience is to protest all taxation regardless of its cause (even compassionate causes are overthrown as “welfare”), I guess I can never quite relate to those who think they’re actually better off with greedy insurance providers than disinterested government.

    This is, of course, a part of the continued mythology that the rest of us with some form of government-run or government-supported health care (read: most of the world) have somehow been doing it wrong all these years.

    From what I can tell, Americans tend to think that their governments are VERY concerned with them as individuals. There’s talk of computers being taken and Obama collecting information on dissenters presumably one email address at a time. There’s talk of Obama death camps (nicely refuted and explained by Dave in this article, of course) that again propose the government is terribly interested in the affairs of senior citizens and others. There’s talk of other such processes, all of which revolve around a basic conception of American ignorance and arrogance regarding the role of their own government.

    There’s a reason people around the world in industrialized countries prefer their health care to America’s system by incredible margins. Perhaps instead of continuing the circus of anti-government nonsense when it means a touch of sacrifice for others, Americans could discover that it’s not all bad to be compassionate and that sharing (gasp!) is not the Great Horror it’s made out to be.

    I understand reluctance in terms of allowing the government to run health care, but the list of things the government does run and most of you benefit from is quite long and quite good. Most people wouldn’t give those things up, like, ever.

    Besides which, America isn’t a nation of DIYers anymore; it’s a nation of consumers losing jobs overseas to cheap labour and importing products by the crateload without regard from where or whom it came from. Most of America has been leaning on other entities for ages now and that individualistic spirit died out long ago.

    What I don’t get is how some are still able to say that they’d rather lean on a corporation whose sole purpose for existence is PROFIT (look at how these companies are poisoning the debate now…talk about misinformation!) than anyone else, including their fellow citizens.

    Insurance companies, who profit from rejecting payment and creating conditions to screw people out of relevant coverage, are the REAL “death panels.”

  • Jordan Richardson

    Also, two questions:

    1. What’s in it for government to pass a universal health care bill? What do they gain in a practical sense?

    2. What’s in it for insurance companies, drug companies and the medical industry as a whole if things stay as they are? What would they gain with the passing of universal health care?

  • Cannonshop

    64:

    1. Power. More Power. More Agencies to fill with cronies, more people on the Government Teat, more people compelled to vote a certain way or lose access.

    2. (a)Stable markets, though non-passage could allow more serious (and less potentially destructive) reforms of existing regulations… you know, regs that can actually be complied with because they can be understood without spending seven years in Government courses to understand the legalese they were poorly written in.

    (b) (1)The chance to find another line of work for the people unfortunate enough to work in the “Front line” end of the insurance biz (that’s all your non-executive types who follow up on claims and do customer service)
    (2)For the drug companies, the chance to soak the taxpayers by jacking up the prices through the extremely complicated and lucrative bidding process, as well as the ability to abandon further research costs since the profits are controlled by uneducated (sorry, but a lawyer is not a doctor) oversight. The opportunity to expand legal departments at the expense of research to remain in compliance with arcane regs imposed by government healt Czars (most of whom don’t know anything about the subject, save how they can use it as a slush-fund for the good of the Party), the chance to seek out new ways to exploit the arcane and ineffective restrictions on lobbying, and the opportunity to reduce staff in order to cut costs and still show a profit to shareholders (probably including Uncle Sam in that one.)

  • Jordan Richardson

    So Cannon,

    Going beyond “power,” because I think it’s a rather broad concept:

    Would you say that UHC, by its very nature regardless of where it is located, is a power game played by politicians threatening removal of access if they’re taken out of power?

    Or is this a uniquely American distinction?

    RE: stable markets. Those are essential for business, which is part of why so many American businesspeople are willing to play ball with the Chinese government to ensure their existence there. Nevermind the social and political issues and the obvious oppression, either, as stability trumps all of those things.

    In America, isn’t this virtually the same thing (ie. the denial of access of care for all to protect stability)? In other words, if non-passage allows for more serious reforms of existing regulations, doesn’t that run the risk of opening the floodgates to corrupt government officials in America lining their pockets with “power” and profit while the social and political issues go entirely unheard? Isn’t there less risk with the passage of UHC for those merely looking to have some modicum of health care?

    Moreover,

    the chance to soak the taxpayers by jacking up the prices through the extremely complicated and lucrative bidding process

    What is this based on? What other model do you have to go by? Drug costs in countries with UHC are generally cheaper than in America, aren’t they?

    Further to that, there is nothing in the provisions that suggests how, why or IF such a bidding process would take place. Where is this taken from?

    The rest of your last paragraph appears to follow similar patterns. Where is this taken from?

  • Jordan Richardson

    is there not a loophole where some people will realize there is no reason to pay for coverage at all?

    Yes and no.

    Yes, some people might realize that there is no reason to pay for coverage at all. The very same rationale is peddled by right-wingers to denigrate welfare programs, with the inference being that people won’t have any incentive or “reason” to work “at all” because the government will cover their asses.

    In the same line of thought, therefore, we have the question you asked: why work/pay for it if the government will give me it for free?

    For starters, it won’t be free because it can’t be free. Second, you’re asking a behavioural question primarily that can’t be answered at all because it requires speculation based on how people will or, more accurately, could behave.

    In Canada, despite our basic health care coverage due to UHC, there are still insurance companies and they still do quite well. My dad has a pretty good plan and I’ve got another form of coverage that comes thanks to an insurance company as well. This additional coverage covers other things that the basic coverage doesn’t, like more of the cost of drugs or specialist visits and so forth.

    The government plan in Canada does not cover those things. Only part of the cost of drugs are covered, for example, depending on one’s income level.

    Depending on how this particular plan is structured, there could be incentives to get other coverage that would be preferable to the government’s option and would provide more service options, drug discounts and so forth.

    In sum, then, it’s not particularly accurate to say there’s “no reason” to spring for additional coverage and/or insurance beyond the government option.

  • Bliffle

    Christine is curious:

    “62 – Christine

    Dave, finally someone explaining the “death panel” “kill grandma” stuff from both angles. It has been so frustrating sitting by as a citizen and watching the madness and exaggeration, and the media only reporting and embellishing whatever pieces fit their political preference (bias).”

    Did you bother to go read the content of HR3200 at opencongress.org? It’s available in PDF and HTML format. There’s also a 4 page summary.

    The section you’re interested in is section 1233.

    It seems to me to be dumb to wait for the newspapers to report things.

    There are NOT two angles to the “kill grandma” furor. It was all a hoax, a lie, created by that “Betsy McCaughey”, pronounced “McCoy”. You can waste your time listening to her hysterical rants on youtube, or you can read the actual HR3200.

    See my comment #31 above.

    You really should try harder before making an opinion. You know, do some research and reading.

  • Clavos

    I would add to Cannon’s very fine response in #65, the “power” subset of “control,” which in the case of UHC, is, IMO, one of the principal driving forces behind the idea.

    Whomever pays for your health care will have the right to dictate how you lead your life in terms of your health, providing the government yet another increment of control over the citizenry, in this case a rather substantial one. I can even see the authorities decreeing at some point that guns owned by citizens are unhealthy (getting shot is certainly a detriment to your health) and moving to ban them on that basis.

    That’s just an example. In years to come, I’m sure the creative minds on the civil service payroll will be able to come up with all sorts of ways of exerting ever greater control over their charges.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos-/ Christine

    68 – Bliffle
    Thanks for calling me dumb, however, I am not waiting for news because I have done my own research and have my own thoughts on what is going on, but chose not to say them here. I was just pointing out the hysteria going on right now and how Dave addressed them so well in his article.
    Have a nice and healthy day!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Try to ignore it, Christine. Lots of tempers are flaring these days, from the left and the right, and people are becoming unreasonable. Sign of the times.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos-/ Christine

    Thanks Roger, I needed that reminder!

  • Bliffle

    It IS dumb to expect the newspapers and opinion journals to explain HR3200 to you when you can look at the document yourself.

    Why let your view of the facts be distorted by opinion rags?

    Any reading and research that you do is bogus if it doesn’t include reading and thinking about the actual document, HR3200.

    And I’ll repeat again for slow people: the entire ‘death panel’ hoax was created by a liar named Betsy McCaughey.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Betsy McCaughey used to be our Lt. Gov. in NY under Pataki until he fired her as a result of some internecine GOP feud.

    Weirdly, she then switched parties and became a Democratic candidate for governor. She lost the primary; if she had won she would have been running against Pataki.

    After the primary, she returned to what she was doing before she was Lt. Gov.: writing controversial opinion pieces denouncing Democratic health care reform proposals.

    She made her reputation with articles warning that the 1993 Clinton plan would be a disaster.

    In 2007, in association with John Goodman’s libertarian National Center for Policy Analysis, she wrote an article comparing death rates from cancer in Europe and the US. The methodology was controversial, the piece was designed to score political points, and it remains a point of reference for people such as Dave Nalle who use it to warn what will happen if we go the way of Europe on health care.

    Her remarks that gave rise to fears of ‘death panels’ were made on Fred Thompson’s radio talk show. She denies deliberately using distortion and scare tactics, even though those distortions seem very plain indeed to many of us.

    As far as I’m concerned, she’s an eccentric self-promoter who has always been on the wrong side of this issue. She’s smart — PhD from Columbia — but her opinion pieces are trickily written and much criticized.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    On the ‘Tree of Liberty Guy':

    It strikes me that during the last administration, if the fellow had shown up packing a loaded firearm outside a building where President Bush was speaking, he’d have been grabbed post-haste by the Secret Service, tossed in a jail cell at least 500 miles away and had the book thrown at him.

    Interesting.

  • Baronius

    I don’t know if it’s worth reading HR 3200. There are several different proposals floating around the House and Senate. Interestingly, many of the bill’s key supporters would prefer a single-payer plan, so you can’t rule out a sudden shift in that direction. The administration has said that getting a bill approved is more important than the bill’s contents, which increases the likelihood of substantial revision even further. We saw the last-minute 300-page amendment to the cap-and-trade bill, so we know that this Congress is capable of such moves. Until final reconciliation, everything is up in the air.

    And please permit me a tangent. HR3200 says nothing about abortion funding. That’s one of the unimportant details, supposedly. A review board will figure out what the public plan will cover. Does anyone believe that, with the current administration and the current state of constitutional interpretation, abortion won’t be covered by the public plan? (Planned Parenthood supports HR3200, and the National Right to Life Committee opposes it.)

    Politically, it’s far more convenient for the Democrats to sweep abortion coverage under the rug, and that’s what the bill accomplishes. That tells me that the current process isn’t intended to inform; it’s intended to persuade. Congressmen aren’t going to town halls to listen or to explain. The town halls were designed to give the appearance of a national dialogue. As little respect as I have for the unruly protesters, it isn’t like they’re preventing any actual communication.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    In 2007, in association with John Goodman’s libertarian National Center for Policy Analysis, she wrote an article comparing death rates from cancer in Europe and the US. The methodology was controversial, the piece was designed to score political points, and it remains a point of reference for people such as Dave Nalle who use it to warn what will happen if we go the way of Europe on health care.

    Handy, I’ve never even heard of McCaughey before this comment thread, am not aware of ever having read one of her articles or even seen her interviewed, and my articles on the problems with European healthcare are based primarily on studies from Europe and Canada sponsored by the relevant government or from UN groups like the OECD.

    Nice try on the smear, but your ignorance undermines the effort.

    Dave

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    Did you bother to go read the content of HR3200 at opencongress.org? It’s available in PDF and HTML format. There’s also a 4 page summary.

    The section you’re interested in is section 1233.

    Bliffle, as I’m sure you’re aware, I’ve read HR3200 a number of times, including section 1233. Interestingly, I heard a snippet of Rush Limbaugh this morning, and like you he was encouraging people to go and read HR3200 and in particular section 1233. Apparently he’s as convinced that it DOES include the idea of death panels as you are that it doesn’t. Interesting.

    I’ve just read it again for about the third time. It still says nothing about Death Panels and seems mostly to be about living wills and helping people figure out whether they should put their oldsters in a home or do something else with them.

    But as I explained in the article, in combination with other factors which are not in the bill, the negative impression which many have of it is not unreasonable.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Not intended as a smear. Your intent was very similar to that of Goodman, the NCPA, and McCaughey: to ‘prove’ that government-run health care is inherently inferior. It has to be so because your ideology says it has to be so; therefore you set out to ‘prove’ it.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    For good or ill, the AARP is putting its considerable PR muscle to work to label the death panel rumors as unfounded lies and to praise the overall intent of the administration’s health care initiatives.

    Also, according to today’s NY Times, it’s an open secret that the White House expects the not-yet-finished Senate finance committee bill to be the centerpiece of the legislation — a [possibly] bipartisan, definitely compromised package designed to get the most votes in the Senate.

    The liberals in the House and Senate, who wrote the four completed bills, will be thrown a bone or two but asked to swallow their pride for the sake of passing something.

    Why all the emphasis on just one of the four finished bills, HR 3200?

    By the way, Baronius’s continued snarky use of ‘details’ as a putdown of the administration in general and Sec. Sebelius in particular, is off-base. Her point was that since there are 4 finished bills and 1 unfinished one, many details will change. So to pick individual provisions of the unfinished legislation as reasons to oppose the whole reform package [in advance] is wrongheaded.

    She didn’t mean we should ignore details blindly, just that we shouldn’t make the false assumption that each part we disagree [or agree] with will end up in the legislation, a work in progress.

  • Bliffle

    Dave says:

    “…Rush Limbaugh this morning, and like you he was encouraging people to go and read HR3200 and in particular section 1233. Apparently he’s as convinced that it DOES include the idea of death panels as you are that it doesn’t….”

    All the more reason that anyone who’s interested should GO READ IT YOURSELF!

  • Baronius

    Handy, you’re overlooking the catch-22: the lies are unfounded, but so is the support if the specifics are unknown. Anyway, as I note, they appear to be using ambiguity to avoid the abortion debate, so I’m disinclined to grant them the benefit of the doubt on specifics.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It’s definitely a conundrum: How do you allow abortions for privately insured rich women but not for publicly subsidized poor women? If the aim is to give all women choice, yet respect the precedent of the Hyde Amendment … well, perfectly well-intentioned and honest people could tie themselves in knots. And politicians? Forget about it.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Why all the emphasis on just one of the four finished bills, HR 3200?

    Because the others are not as “finished” having not made it through committee and through amendment on the floor. HR3200 is the only one to be submitted to the Senate for consideration in creating a final bill to be submitted to both houses.

    And btw, Handy. I didn’t set out to find problems with government run health care for ideological reasons. I came to that realization when a government run system killed a relative. I then looked into the facts and the truth was absolutely inescapable. With the exception of the lack of coverage for a small portion of our population, private insurance provides a uniformly superior level of service when compared with government run systems.

    I’ll write more about this later, but there ARE systems which are single-payer sysems which DO work, but what sets them apart is that they include private insurance as an integral component.

    Dave

  • Lumpy

    The people and businesses who pay the taxes which finance the government clearly do not wAnt this abomination and that should be the end of it.

  • Bliffle

    Dave (#84) brings up an excellent point:

    “I’ll write more about this later, but there ARE systems which are single-payer sysems which DO work, but what sets them apart is that they include private insurance as an integral component.”

    This may be the best path to a comprehensive healthcare system. The idea is to leverage the best characteristics of private free enterprise with the best coverage aspects of a government program. Really, that’s similar to what Medicare does now. Use he best characteristics of each system to supplement the weaknesses of the other. A cooperatve hybrid.

  • Bliffle

    Lumpy (#85) is back to being wrong again:

    “The people and businesses who pay the taxes which finance the government clearly do not wAnt this abomination and that should be the end of it.”

    Not clear at all. All we know is that a noisy bunch of obtrusive protestors is getting a lot of TV time. How do you know it’s not a small noisy minority? Maybe there’s a Silent Majority of Americans that favor healthcare reform, as indicated by some polls.

    The entire showbiz protest could be done by a couple thousand people backed by, say, $5million from Rick Scott.

  • Mike

    So reasonable. Why can’t our leaders and media take this as an example – perfect.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    From Paul Krugman’s column this morning
    [I used to think Krugman was too shrill; but his pessimism has proved awfully prescient lately]:

    So much, then, for Mr. Obama’s dream of moving beyond divisive politics. The truth is that the factors that made politics so ugly in the Clinton years — the paranoia of a significant minority of Americans and the cynical willingness of leading Republicans to cater to that paranoia — are as strong as ever.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Rachel Maddow last night provided some valuable and damning evidence of the hyprocrisy of two of the leading proponents of the ‘death panels’ lie:

    Newt Gingrich, who wrote a column praising a clinic in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, for promoting ‘advance directives’ [those are ‘living wills,’ folks] and thereby saving Medicare a bunch of money. He suggested that….adding support for advance directives to Medicare nationally would be a just dandy idea! Because it would save $33 billion a year. And he was right…then.

    And Sarah Palin, who gave us the very term ‘death panel,’ issued a proclamation as governor in April 2008 declaring Health Decisions Day, devoted to…yes, ‘advance directives’ aka living wills.

    The odor of insincerity, deception, and cynicism is very potent.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Stench is a better term.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    This may be the best path to a comprehensive healthcare system. The idea is to leverage the best characteristics of private free enterprise with the best coverage aspects of a government program. Really, that’s similar to what Medicare does now. Use he best characteristics of each system to supplement the weaknesses of the other. A cooperatve hybrid.

    What government does well is collect and distribute money and set general rules for service. Actually providing service is best done by the private sector.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Not clear at all. All we know is that a noisy bunch of obtrusive protestors is getting a lot of TV time. How do you know it’s not a small noisy minority? Maybe there’s a Silent Majority of Americans that favor healthcare reform, as indicated by some polls.

    We also know that Democrats are stacking the audiences at these events with shills and can’t get people to come out to support their health care plan without paying them. We also know that they’re defensive enough that they feel they need to intimidate, threaten and demonize the opposition.

    And as for polls, we know from the latest ones like the recent Rasmussen Poll, that 57% of the public oppose health care reform and 26% believe it won’t improve health care or will even make it worse. So maybe that vocal minority is actually speaking for the majority.

    Dave

  • Doug Hunter

    “and 26% believe it won’t improve health care or will even make it worse”

    You’ve got your numbers wrong there. Only 26% believe it will improve healthcare. The remainder believe it will stay the same or get worse (17% and 51% respectively)

    I think it is a testament to the selflessness of American people that so many are willing to sacrifice the quality coverage they get now to extend coverage to those who aren’t willing or able to pay for their own. (although I don’t count myself among them)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Does that mean 74% believe health reform will make things better? While only 43% actually support [or don’t oppose] reform? Lotta mixed up folks out there in Rasmussen land.

    Polls have also found that while the public is divided on ‘health reform’ without specific provisions attached, a majority support the ‘public option’ and also taxing the wealthy to pay for expanded coverage.

    So there’s a lot of ambivalence in the land. People are nervous about big spending and big change. Understandable, and a good basis for debate.

    But many in the GOP would like to defeat Obama, period, by failing to allow him a bill at all. And they are more than willing to allow ugly scary rumors like the subject of this article to guide the tone of the ‘debate.’

    Many people, when asked about individual planks of the proposals, find them sensible.

    Opponents want to throw out the baby with the bath water — to use irrational fear to ‘trash this whole bill’ — rhetoric repeated word for word in town halls nationwide.

    Conservatives like to pretend that the misinformed loudmouths we see on TV represent the majority of public opinion. They know it isn’t true, but they hope this lie will gain credence and defeat all the legislation, in toto.

  • Doug Hunter

    Handy, he had the numbers reversed. More people support the reform than believe their personal healthcare will be improved by it. I think some of those are compassionate folks willing to sacrifice to help others plus a good segment who just want someone else (preferably the rich) to pay for theirs whether it is better or not.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    You reduce this to an ideological slogan: the government wants to ‘confiscate’ money from you to help the poor.

    There’s much more to the legislation than that, such as getting rid of the repugnant practice of denying coverage because of ‘pre-existing conditions’ and capping the lifetime value of coverage. Assuming you have health insurance, this will help you. What is it you find objectionable in that?

    No one should go bankrupt due to medical bills.

    And your taxes already support Medicare and Medicaid. Failing to rein in costs, as the much criticized new agency would do — the one that would set rates and attempt to get expert determination concerning which tests and treatments are effective and which are a waste of money [you know — the ‘Death Panel’]– will bankrupt the Treasury. In other words, keeping the status quo is very expensive too — maybe in fact downright unaffordable.

    Look at the 62 million CAT scans that are administered each year in the US. Millions of them are almost certainly unnecessary — and paid for with your tax dollars.

    You caricature the plan as a government ‘takeover’ of the entire industry that will rob from you and lead us all to perdition. Your scenario is despicable and is based upon lies, distortions and half-truths. And you know it.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    By the way, if we’re going to throw numbers around, let’s check them first:

    Rasmussen Poll on Dems Health Proposals

    26% Strongly favor
    16% Somewhat favor

    9% Somewhat oppose
    44% Strongly oppose

    5% Not sure

    So that’s 53% to 42%. In the presidential favorability polls, Rasmussen has consistently found higher negatives for Obama. Maybe they’re right and all the other polls are wrong, but on what basis? I put more credence in the range of poll numbers from various firms.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Interesting article about the Rasmussen poll and its results that sometimes differ from other polls — almost always in a conservative direction.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    New evidence of the slow death of political courage in the US and particularly in the Republican party:

    Now the highly principled Johnny Isakson, who has heretofore been a strong backer of end-of-life advice and care, suddenly backpedals. It’s pretty shameful.

    …the Georgia conservative found himself in a storm of criticism when President Barack Obama said at a town hall meeting this week that Isakson was a chief architect of the House approach. Isakson quickly issued a statement repudiating the proposal.

    “The House provision is merely another ill-advised attempt at more government mandates, more government intrusion and more government involvement in what should be an individual choice,” he said.

    “There are similarities … but there are substantial difference,” Isakson said. “I’m not running away from anything but I’m not going to accept the president of the United States telling people I wrote something that I didn’t.”

    Isakson, who initially referred to Palin’s criticism of the proposal as “nuts,” [now says:]

    “The best I can read she’s applying the House bill and using her child with Down syndrome as an example,” Isakson said. “I would never question anyone’s defense of their child.”

  • Bliffle

    Dave says:

    “We also know that Democrats are stacking the audiences at these events with shills…”

    Well, some might say “turnabout is fairplay”.

    One might also note that Obama has shown remarkable restraint in the face of the lurid personal attacks and partisan politics coming from the rightists. There seems to be little doubt that the Republican Party in particular has launched a rule-or-ruin campaign.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Did it really look like the Specter and McCaskill meetings were filled with ‘shills’? And can Dave honestly say he believes, 100% certain, that the, shall we say, overwrought and underinformed folks at Specter’s meetings are anything like a fair cross-section of Pennsylvanians? PA is one of the bluest of swing states.

  • Deano

    “We also know that Democrats are stacking the audiences at these events with shills…”

    Well if they are, they are doing a pretty piss-poor job of it, based on the one’s I’ve seen televised…they mostly seemed filled with extremely overwrought, wildly hysterical people shrieking incoherent accusations and slogans about socialism, the doom of their America and death panels at their representatives.

    Really the Dems need to take a page from the Bush book and fill their townhalls with mild-mannered, appreciative, pre-screened people who ask polite, complimentary questions that are pre-written for them by a kindly GOP representative…..Preferably with the standard opening preliminary of “Good afternoon, Mr. President. First of all, it’s an honor to be here with you, and we want to thank you for your godly leadership in serving this country.”….

    Yeesh…I thought the election dropped America’s collective IQ by 40 points, but this is stupidity on a quantum level.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Obama’s own meeting, in NH, was so mild mannered he ended up asking for challenging questions at the end.

    Supposedly many of the seats were given away by online lottery, with no screening. But it was odd coming after the contentious Specter and McCaskill events the same day.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Maybe those meetings which are presided by the President ought to be, out of respect for the Office, “civilized”. Those members of Congress who preside over their district meetings are the representatives of the rest of us. They are our eyes and ears in Washington. They serve you and me, NOT the Federal government. If a member of Congress fails to discharge his/her duties accordingly, it is up to US, the constituency, to replace them with a representative we believe will serve our best interests. Is this such a difficult concept for the public to comprehend?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    All from HandyHack:

    One might also note that Obama has shown remarkable restraint in the face of the lurid personal attacks and partisan politics coming from the rightists. There seems to be little doubt that the Republican Party in particular has launched a rule-or-ruin campaign.

    Which is their job as an opposing party. Plus they’ve offered 4 different alternative proposals which the Dems are giving no consideration to at all.

    Did it really look like the Specter and McCaskill meetings were filled with ‘shills’?

    If you check the chronology, those two meetings were among a handfull held before the order went out from the White House to send in the union and ACORN thugs and shut down dissent.

    And can Dave honestly say he believes, 100% certain, that the, shall we say, overwrought and underinformed folks at Specter’s meetings are anything like a fair cross-section of Pennsylvanians? PA is one of the bluest of swing states.

    This is the state where Obama accused people of clinging to “god and guns.” And as a former resident of that fine state, I can absolutely confirm that it has more intense extremists on both sides of the political spectrum than most other states.

    Obama’s own meeting, in NH, was so mild mannered he ended up asking for challenging questions at the end.

    Supposedly many of the seats were given away by online lottery, with no screening. But it was odd coming after the contentious Specter and McCaskill events the same day.

    An online lottery announced to partisan supporters before it was announced to the public, so that 70% of the seats was filled with shills and then intimidation at the door made sure taht most of the remaining 30% was also filled with supporters. Have you seen the videos of the thousands of protesters who were left outside? Strange how none of them were in the hall.

    Dave

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Which is their job as an opposing party. Plus they’ve offered 4 different alternative proposals which the Dems are giving no consideration to at all.

    The problem here, Dave, is that there is NO opposition party. Once they get in the Beltway it’s all about who can raise the most cash. They all put on a great show. That’s the flaw in our system. On a more level playing field, smaller parties like Constitutionalists, Libertarians and Greens would have a better shot at achieving office. Neither Dems or Repugs want that. It is in their best interest to put out dog and pony shows in an effort to make the American public think we have a genuine two-party system. By refining the electoral finance and campaign process we would have a much more effective Democracy where coalition building could finally be achieved.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Great! We’re back to name calling.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    You have a point, Silas, but with these protests and the viral net activity that goes with them, it’s quite clear that there’s an opposition party OUTSIDE of the beltway.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Oh and for Bliffle of the Polls, the support for health care reform in the latest Rasmussen poll is only 32%. Just to make it clear that this is not that far out of the norm, the last Gallup poll has only 35% of respondents wanting their representatives to vote for the bill, while Quinnipiac has only 39% approving of how Obama is handling health care.

    Dave

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Opposition parties outside the Beltway don’t count, Dave. Imagine if special interests started pumping up the Green or Libertarian Party with the same kind of money as they invest in Dems and the GOP. It goes back to level fields of playing for all sides.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I think Dave confused Bliffle and myself at least twice in a couple of the above comments. [All liberals look alike to him I guess.]

    ‘Twas I [#98] quoting the Rasmussen figures, which I pulled from Rasmussen’s own web site. Perhaps Dave has a better source. But I think I’m right: 53%-42%. Handyhack, eh? Hmmm…..

    And you continue to ignore Gallup’s observations that some of the individual parts of the reform plan still get majority support, including some of the pieces that drive conservatives most crazy:
    the ‘public option’ and raising taxes on the rich to pay for expanded coverage.

    [These also are pieces that some cowardly Dems are leaning toward dropping from the president’s preferences. So if they listen to the loudmouth know-nothings and ignore the majority of the public as a whole, is that some newfangled kind of democracy?]

    The Specter and McCaskill meetings were carried live on CNN Tuesday, the same day as the President’s meeting in NH. So maybe you need an alternative explanation for how nasty they were.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s easy, Handy. You’re both the Left and the individual views are indistinguishable.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    So I was ignoring the Gallup poll when I wrote “the last Gallup poll has only 35% of respondents wanting their representatives to vote for the bill.” Uhhuh.

    The Specter and McCaskill meetings were carried live on CNN Tuesday, the same day as the President’s meeting in NH. So maybe you need an alternative explanation for how nasty they were.

    Actually, I was talking about the McCaskill and Specter meetings of the week before. The ones from this week were far less contentious. I think between some of us with contacts in the movement suggesting a focus on questions and the efforts to fill the crowd with shills the result was that their townhalls were a lot more civil. Both of them still faced serious questions they had trouble dealing with, of course.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    dave, you apparently can’t tell a “shill” from a guy sitting in a seat or standing up and yelling, unless all dems are shills while all republicans are “concerned citizens.” as soon as more dems start to attend the meetings, you say that the dems are packing the place and then intimidating republicans, who, of course weren’t intimidating dems last week.

    that guy who brought the loaded gun to the townhall? concerned citizen.

    all those protesters? concerned citizens, not shills with instructions.

    Kenneth Gladney, your black conservative victim of the dems thuggery? punched a reverend, was slapped around a bit by security, taken to the hospital with minor injuries, doesn’t have insurance and rolled up at a rally the next day in a wheel chair (which he didn’t need), begging fellow republicans to cover his medical bills. damn. concerned citizen.

    but those dems sitting in their seats? a socialist plot to take over america by silencing you crybabies. sure.

    and do you think that a member of congress would be stupid enough to show up at one of these things without security? granted, you don’t. but you seem to think to think they would be stupid enough to use gestapo tactics. no one would stand for that. you know, they know it. it’s far more likely that this is just more right wing hyperbole. you guys seem to be fairly good at it lately: death panels, socialism, despots, hitler, etc.

    and don’t you dare try to say that the dumb hicks that are making all this dumb noise are a democratic plot to discredit the republicans after it all comes out that this is just more republican stupidity. remember that girl who carved a “b” in her face? yeah, that was you guys.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    dave, you apparently can’t tell a “shill” from a guy sitting in a seat or standing up and yelling,

    Seems to me that folks who are paid to be there and have reserved seating and get in when others are kept out and are brought in on busses are shills, plain and simple.

    You’re trying to create gray areas where they don’t actually exist.

    all those protesters? concerned citizens, not shills with instructions.

    Sorry, Zing. I know these people. I’m in touch with them. They’re concerned citizens by any reasonable definition. Maybe pissed off, maybe organizing some of their activities, but not paid, not bussed in and not holding signs printed by some party organization for them.

    Kenneth Gladney, your black conservative victim of the dems thuggery? punched a reverend, was slapped around a bit by security, taken to the hospital with minor injuries, doesn’t have insurance and rolled up at a rally the next day in a wheel chair (which he didn’t need), begging fellow republicans to cover his medical bills. damn. concerned citizen.

    Wow, your callousness is remarkable. And I’ve never heard any of this about him “punching a reverend.” I’ve seen the video. The thugs knocking him down and kicking him weren’t wearing clerical collars.

    but those dems sitting in their seats? a socialist plot to take over america by silencing you crybabies. sure.

    you seem to think to think they would be stupid enough to use gestapo tactics. no one would stand for that. you know, they know it.

    The people aren’t standing for it. Hence the protests. As for their tactics, all I offer is the facts, draw your own conclusions.

    after it all comes out that this is just more republican stupidity.

    I’ll say it one more time since you seem not to get it. 70% or more of the protesters ARE NOT REPUBLICANS AT ALL. Most are independents, many are libertarians and some few are Democrats. Yes, about a third are Republicans, but the ones who are really pissed and disruptive are the new and growing population of highly motivated and really angry independents.

    Dave

  • Astropuff

    I’m sure the dems are secretly relieved people are pissed. They wouldn’t be able to swing some bloated government expansion now. Later maybe. But-

  • zingzing

    “Seems to me that folks who are paid to be there and have reserved seating and get in when others are kept out and are brought in on busses are shills, plain and simple.”

    yeah, that would be a shill. but i see no proof that this is going on from the dems end. if you can show me some sort of proof that is not from a right wing rag, i’d be surprised.

    “Wow, your callousness is remarkable. And I’ve never heard any of this about him “punching a reverend.” I’ve seen the video. The thugs knocking him down and kicking him weren’t wearing clerical collars.”

    he punched him before they knocked him down. obviously. and it’s not callous to call an idiot (who hits a reverend, has to be forced to go to the hospital, then shows up in a wheelchair using his sudden “hero” status to beg for money to pay his medical bills because he doesn’t even have/can’t afford INSURANCE) an idiot.

    “The people aren’t standing for it. Hence the protests.”

    so they started protesting something in the future? this isn’t a chicken/egg situation. the protests are about health insurance, not supposed gestapo tactics, and they are hyperbolic enough. there haven’t been any serious protests about gestapo tactics, because they don’t exist in the situation.

    “I’ll say it one more time since you seem not to get it. 70% or more of the protesters ARE NOT REPUBLICANS AT ALL. Most are independents, many are libertarians and some few are Democrats.”

    ok, “right wing stupidity” then, call it what you will.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Zing, you really aren’t paying attention. You’re just projecting your assumptions onto the protests. They are hardly just about health insurance and they aren’t stupid or being carried on by stupid people. There’s a whole big world out here you’re ignoring. Wake up.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    He can’t see it from under his rock.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Or maybe…

    Republicans are taking advantage of this relatively small group of overwrought, paranoid people, and using them to try to engineer a political victory of the ugliest sort. Ethics, the truth, and certainly health care itself are only side issues.

    As long as Congressional Republicans and their allies defeat the Democrats by preventing this legislation, they don’t care how they accomplish it.

    If Dave is right [I’m not convinced] that these ‘new radicals’ distrust Republicans as much as other politicians, then, inevitably, maybe sooner rather than later…

    …shit’s gonna hit the fan.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Back to the main question at hand: Is Obamacare Really Going to Kill Old People?

    Sure would cut down on social security and medicare costs.

  • zingzing

    dave: “Zing, you really aren’t paying attention. You’re just projecting your assumptions onto the protests. They are hardly just about health insurance and they aren’t stupid or being carried on by stupid people. There’s a whole big world out here you’re ignoring. Wake up.”

    a whole new world… a dazzling place i never knew and with new horizons to pursue… oh dave, take me to lala land with you! it’s so lovely… the government keeps their filthy, filthy hands off of my medicaid there…

    clavos: “He can’t see it from under his rock.”

    can you please stop jerking him off when you write that? how’s the view from the yacht?

  • Clavos

    can you please stop jerking him off when you write that?

    Aaawww, did I hurt your feewings, zingy?

    Good.

    how’s the view from the yacht?

    Excellent, as it always is. The sky’s the limit, and I can see all the way to the horizon.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “Aaawww, did I hurt your feewings, zingy?”

    terribly. i am now in a pit of despair.

    “The sky’s the limit, and I can see all the way to the horizon.”

    beautiful day, i’m sure. my days are so cloudy and dark.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle


    As long as Congressional Republicans and their allies defeat the Democrats by preventing this legislation, they don’t care how they accomplish it.

    It’s not really about defeating this legislation. It’s about discrediting the Democrats and winning back Congress in 2010.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    “It’s not really about defeating this legislation. It’s about discrediting the Democrats and winning back Congress in 2010.”

    ain’t that the truth.

  • Bliffle

    Gee, isn’t there a little room in the republican plan for the interests of the US citizen?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “It’s not really about defeating this legislation. It’s about discrediting the Democrats and winning back Congress in 2010.”

    Dave, that’s the most cynical statement I’ve heard from you yet. I would have thought you were motivated by higher ends.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Actually, it’s downright discrediting. Even if deep down you thought it, you should never say it.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Gee, isn’t there a little room in the republican plan for the interests of the US citizen?

    Republicans believe that the interests of the US citizen are best served by electing Republicans. I’d disagree with that in that I believe that the best interests of the people are served by election BETTER Republicans.

    And Roger, I wasn’t writing about MY motivations. That should have been clear. But I do believe that real reform and putting this country on the right path requires the defeat of the Democrats and the ascendancy of a reformed Republican party.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Even if deep down you thought it, you should never say it.

    Wouldn’t that be hypocritical and deceitful?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It was an appeal to Dave’s better instinct. And in any case, there’s a much need correction as per #131.

    Have a good night!

  • zingzing

    roger: “Even if deep down you thought it, you should never say it.”

    and deeper down, that’s so meta, it eats itself.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Are you saying it’s infinitely circular?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski
  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Why don’t people just read the damn bill? I’ve gone through the original, line by line. We’ve placed it on the web in such a way that it’s simple to navigate. Insofar as this “death panel” thing goes, I’m more incensed about the fact that anyone would want to withhold counseling for the dying. That’s just now what we’re about, folks.

    I hope that the Democrats who are digging their heels succeed. The Public Option has to be a part of any health care reform. And that is because of the great lengths insurance, pharmaceuticals and medical groups have gone. They’ve invested millions into defeating any kind of reform. There was a comment made by a Southern pundit that there was “sumthin’ in the woodpile”. Well, taking that subtle racial reference to a new height I would like to identify what’s in the woodpile — special interests with their well paid members of Congress playing the role of bitch.

  • zingzing

    “Are you saying it’s infinitely circular?”

    sorta. i guess.

  • http://www.traderspicks.net Penny Trading

    Silas very well said. The public option is a must IMO. Anything less is just putting lipstick on the pig.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Very interesting read in today’s Washington Post about Tom Daschle’s visit to the Oval Office yesterday. When the President considered him early on for the HHS post, I questioned it based upon Sen. Daschle’s history with medical and insurance lobbyists.

    After reading the article it dawned on me that Barack Obama’s Administration may very well have been doomed from Day One. He filled his Administration with the same Washington insiders who have been part and parcel of America’s woes. They were all paid handsomely by special interests and then achieved office in the Executive branch. History may well regard Obama’s legacy to be that of irrevocably weakening the Executive Branch. The US Supreme Court (the remaining branch) is top heavy with Conservatives. While the current configuration is a bit too far on the right, these 9 individuals could emerge having a more pivotal role in the next few years than they did during the 2000 elections.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Why don’t people just read the damn bill?

    I’ve now read the bill (HR3200) five times. How much that is worth is debatable, as the bill currently in committee is rumored to bear little resemblance to it.

    But I’m confident that whatever we end up with will still be uttelry unacceptable, because it will continue to include mandated universal insurance without a single-payer option which is just ridiculous and will destroy small businesses, and it will still include a public option which will undermine the free market even further and just make things worse. Plus, all of the stupid restrictions whcih encourage monopolization in the insurance industry will still be there.

    Why is it so outrageous to want to start from scratch and design a system which actually works and incorporates an actual FREE market in health care as part of it?

    Silas, how can you support this cobbled together pile of shit and perks for special interests?

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Saying this will destroy small businesses is an irresponsible exaggeration/falsehood.

    Insurance will actually become more affordable than it is now for small businesses, through tax breaks and subsidies. The tiniest businesses will be exempt from the mandate, and most larger small businesses would like to offer health care. The subsidies and tax breaks in the legislation are designed to help them do so.

    If you could forego this kind of nonsense, the discussion would be more constructive.

    Moderate Dems in the Senate want to remove the mandate altogether. Talk about a cobbled together piece of shit.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    How can the same legislation ‘undermine the free market’ with a public option, and simultaneously ‘encourage monopolization in the insurance industry’?

    I assume the bill will also curdle milk and make babies cry while it turns the US into France and makes us all shuffling Obama-bots. This bill, damn it, will single handedly destroy our freedom!

    And I heard it will mandate free sex change operations on demand, and give old people a choice: euthanasia or be shipped to Bagram, and besides, Obama is Hitler anyhow and just…a big bully! And I’m gonna take my ball and just go home now!

  • Clavos

    or be shipped to Bagram

    Might be an improvement over living in the USA…

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Actually, turning the US into France [or maybe the Netherlands] sounds pretty damn cool to some of us — too cool to ever come true.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Silas, how can you support this cobbled together pile of shit and perks for special interests?

    I can’t in the original form. And it’s the perks that scare me most. However, we mus have health care reform now. It’s too big of a part of the GDP to be ignored. While Bush and Obama Administrations have stated that some financial institutions or manufacturers were just too big to fail, I maintain that the entire health care system is a larger albatross destined to make a handful rich while subscribers get the short end of the stick. When Tom Daschle, a minion of United Health care, becomes the whisper in Barack Obama’s ear I see nothing but status quo or a slight variation thereof.

  • HitAndRun
  • leighann

    As I have said before, the only first hand experience I have had with government healthcare is what I have had with my father. He fought in Vietnam where we think he contracted Hep B and he is mentally ill. He self medicated for a long time with alcohol until the VA finally gave him meds for his illness.

    He now is in need of a liver transplant and is too sick to feed himself or even talk to me on the telephone because he can’t hold the phone. With this very serious illness he is only able to see a nurse practitioner. She is very rude. He has been unable to even get on the transplant waiting list because every time he tests positive for drugs it keeps him off for another six months. He has been testing positive around the sixth month every time and swearing that he has not touched anything (which they totally ignore). The last time we knew the positive drug test couldn’t be right because he is unable to do anything. We took him to the civilian doctor the next day. He tested negative. Only then would VA run their test again and say that they made a “mistake.” There are countless other things I could write about the VA and their treatment of my father but I will not.

    I will just say that I think they do not think he is worth it and are waiting for him to die. After all he did it to himself, right? They are doing nothing.

    If my son has a little rash or stuffy nose I will take him to a nurse practitioner but if he is really sick…then he goes to a pediatrician, a specialist. How do they justify someone with liver disease not seeing a real doctor?

    There are people who say that they are satisfied with VA, I would bet that most of them have never been had a life threatening illness. I often go on a liver disease support site on-line. I often read posts from people who have had the same experience with VA as my dad.

    If government run healthcare is like VA then I want no part of it. I saw a protest in Nashville today. Both sides were out there and I just happened to be passing through. There was this elderly man (I think he was homeless) yelling obscenities at the side protesting the healthcare reform. He was holding up a card that showed he was a veteren and saying “What about me?” When asked about VA, he said that they did nothing for him. I wondered how he did not know that he was supporting more of the same.

    I do not want people to not have healthcare. I want to find a way to help but this is not it. The wealthy people should and Christian people are called to help those in need but should not be forced in to doing so. The protesters who were for the reform were holding up “What Would Jesus Do” signs and talking about how he healed the sick. It is true that Christians are required by God to help but they should know that Christianity can not and should not be forced on anyone. Anyway I am rambling….Sorry.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Leighann, I sympathize with your plight. Let me give you a piece of unsolicited advice as it has worked for many people I know in the past. If your father is receiving substandard care from the VA, call your member of Congress, your two Senators and copy the letters to the Secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I wish it were not that way, but it’s reality in the United States.

    We have three V.A. Hospitals that I can think of in this area and I’ve always been amazed at the quality of care at one in particular vs. the other two. As I’ve said before the V.A. health delivery system isn’t perfect. It needs work and is not completely ineffectual. My prayers are with you and yours.

  • leighann

    Silas, Thanks for the advice. I think I will try that.