Friday, August 07, 2009

Dissent will not be tolerated

White House Vows to Defend Democrats on Health Reform, Will 'Punch Back Twice as Hard'

If you happen to love somebody who is elderly, sickly, or disabled, you might as well contact the Make a Wish foundation and see if you can have one last nice vacation with them before Obamacare gets pushed down our throats. The Final Solution to the people the current administration sees as a waste of resources -- "useless eaters" is I believe the term they're looking for -- is on the way, and anybody who opposes euthanizing Grandma or Tiny Tim will be mowed down in the process. Dissent will not be tolerated.

But hey, they'll probably come up with a great cost-cutting measure! All the antifreeze from the functional cars Cash for Clunkers is destroying is probably being stockpiled so they can administer it intravenously to the "clunkers" among us -- the elderly, the frail, the infirm, the disabled.

Ebeneezer Scrooge summed up best the current administration's attitude toward our medically needy loved ones: Let them die, and decrease the surplus population. And their attitude toward anybody who disagrees with them is to destroy them the way they destroy the "clunkers".

This is the Administration of Destruction. And worse is yet to come.

11 comments:

Lilliput said...

Christina,

Do you guys have an alternative to Obama's suggestion about the health system - can you write it as a post? All i am reading is horrific incidents of people's insurance not paying for their care and people losing homes in fighting cancer? At least they are appearing to do something about it and I wonder if you have an alternative? I know it has issues - I live in the UK - but at least I know that if anything happens to me i will get the necessary health care without losing everything.

Also about the cash for clunkers, are you telling me that people who would normally give their clunkers to charity would no longer do this for the little bit of cash that they would get from the government? It doesn't sound right psychologically? Also, I'm sure the charities could go to the government and get the clunkers from them after they have been road worthied?

army_wife said...

The clunkers are DESTROYED by the government. They're not being made "road worthy". So what are the charities supposed to do with a car that is now a crushed cube?

If the government wanted to REFORM health care, there are a number of things they could do.
-Initiate some variety of cost control - to keep insurance companies from setting their prices too high out of pure greed.
-Require employers to offer a medical insurance plan to all full-time employees, and a reduced-cost medical insurance plan to part-time employees.
-Increase awareness of government programs currently in place to help the disadvantaged. Many of the "uninsured" included in the percentage that is given as a reason we "need" government health care already qualify for government health care programs and either don't know about them or choose not to apply for them.
-Require insurance companies to give a full-disclosure notice in plain english with every policy so that the insured person knows exactly what is covered and what is NOT covered.

The LAST THING we need is the government deciding who "deserves" health care, and what conditions would be "too expensive" to treat. Government interference is not the "fix" we need for the ignorance of those who don't read their policies and then get upset when their insurance doesn't cover certain treatment they need. It's the responsibility of the consumer to TAKE responsibility, read the fine print, and use common sense.

For example, most standard homeowner's insurance policies do not include flood insurance. If you want flood insurance, you need to get it separately. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure that they have all the coverage they feel they need and to know what their policy covers and doesn't cover. Homeowners that do not know their coverages and then have their home destroyed by a flood have nobody to blame but themselves. The homeowner's insurance industry isn't "broken" and doesn't need the government to take it over. People just need to take responsibility and pay attention. Not remain ignorant and then blame everyone and anyone else when it bites you in the rear. People need to be responsible and do their due diligence. I believe that the same is true for the health insurance system in this country to a large degree.

Food for thought. What about the horror stories coming out of countries that have government-run health care systems? Many people in Canada, for instance, come to the U.S. and pay for their care themselves when they are facing a very long wait time for treatment for conditions which need immediate treatment if they are to survive. There are an awful lot of people that find government-run health care to be completely inadequate.

We don't need the government to take over health care and stick their noses into our health care decisions. We definitely don't need to have our tax money going to pay for abortion on demand (there's enough of that going on as it is). We don't need our tax money going to pay for sex-change surgeries or anything else of the kind. We don't need the government to tell us that our ill/disabled loved ones will not get treatment because it's "too expensive" and they won't be "participating member of society anyway". We don't need them euthenizing the elderly or terminally ill for the sake of "cost cutting". We don't need government dictatorships running our lives and we don't need any Nazi-esque "useless eaters" policies either.

You can't put a price on things like freedom and life.

Kathy said...

Lilliput,

Just to elaborate on what army_wife said: before the dealers are allowed to claim the money in the C4C program, they must destroy the engine; the vehicle is then taken to a scrap yard for I suppose recycling or to be crushed or to be used for parts. I recently read that one way scrap-yards stay in business is by reusing the engine -- that's really the most valuable part of the car. With that rendered useless, the defunct car is only worth the value of the scrap metal (although perhaps a door in good shape could be scavenged off one car and put on another that was ruined in an accident -- I'm unsure how totally trashed the car body itself has to be, or if it is merely the engine which must be destroyed).

Some people donate clunkers to charities, so they get a tax write-off which benefits them, while the charities can donate the car (if it works "well enough") to someone with no other means of transportation and no way to purchase a car, or they can sell the car to a scrap-yard and get the proceeds for that.

As far as the insurance goes -- you are reading some very sad stories which are quite rare in the scope of things. It's very difficult to go through if you're the one going through it; but it's still fairly rare. What you're *not* reading are the millions and millions of people who have health insurance (or could get it but choose not to) and have no problems with access to health care. The "official" numbers of uninsured individuals are guesses, and sometimes not very good guesses. Many of the uninsured are people who could get insurance but choose not to because they are young and healthy and think that bad stuff can't happen to them.

Most people in America have health insurance and are satisfied with their level of care and insurance... they're just worried about all the other people they've heard about (like you have) who aren't insured, without realizing the true scope of the numbers, and the fact that being uninsured is not the equivalent of being unhealthy nor unable to access health care.

My father lost his family health insurance when he lost his job when I was about 5 or so, then he became self-employed. We never had insurance, and only went to the doctor when it was necessary (my brother had appendicitis, my sister had mono, my dad had a hernia operation, my sister had braces on her teeth, we had wisdom teeth removed, chiropractic care, ear infections, the normal rounds of cold, flu, etc., and some "annual" check-ups, plus things like my dad's colonoscopy after his dad was diagnosed with colon cancer, yearly eye exams [all of us in the family need glasses or contacts]) -- pretty normal stuff, I think. And we paid for it all out of pocket, without insurance. Maybe we were just lucky. I think we were normal. Bad stuff can happen. It's wise to have health insurance. But this cr@p they're trying to pass is going to come to no good.

GrannyGrump said...

Lil, McCain had a proposal that was similar to one I first heard from Steve Friend nearly two decades ago: Tax credits and/or vouchers to buy health care on the open market, not linked to employment. The government would negotiate a bare-bones policy that all providers would be required to offer. The voucher/tax credit would be based on the person's income, and for the poorest would cover virtually the entire premium (with a token payment from the poorest people so that the idea that health care is PAID FOR would always be there).

There would be a small co-pay mandated for all services, even if only a dollar, to keep people from viewing it as entirely free.

People could upgrade their health care if they chose, but the basic necessities would be part of the basic plan that everybody could afford.

None of this would involve flat out denying care to people on the basis of being somehow undesirable or a supposed waste of money because of age, disability, etc.

Lilliput said...

Thanks for the info guys. I know that there are both positives and negatives with both systems.

How do you guys feel about the immense amount of money being made by the insurance companies? I think what people are most angry about is the fact that health care costs much more in the US then anywhere else because of the huge profit motive. I guess people can handle incompetance over greed?

Also, you speak about the flood insurance - is that because of what happened in New Orleans?

Kathy said...

A lot of the "immense amount of money" is a lot of hype by haters. They make a profit, to be sure -- that's the way businesses operate, whether your local grocery store or a restaurant or whatever -- it just doesn't compute to run a business only to break even. The Wall Street Journal recently had an article in which it said, "Health insurance companies aren't quite as profitable as many critics seem to think. For every premium dollar that they take in, about 83 cents goes out in medical costs -- doctors, hospitals, and drugs..." The rest is spent on overhead. Net income comes to just a few cents per dollar of premiums.... Consider WellPoint, the biggest private health insurer on Wall Street, which has about 35 million customers nationwide. Last year, it paid out 83.6% of revenues in expenses. Net, after-tax income as a percentage of total revenue came to a princely 4.1%."

One way to cut health insurance costs is for people to pay out-of-pocket and then be reimbursed for expenses. There's an "ouchy moment" that happens when you pay for something, especially in cash, which really makes you stop and think, "Do I really need this?" Many times, patients do *not* need that, and there is even some evidence to suggest that more tests and procedures "just to be sure" drive up costs while not helping and perhaps even hurting the patients. This article is a long but insightful look into one factor that is driving up medical costs unnecessarily in America.

One thing that we already have in America is "Health Savings Accounts" -- it's basically a form of high-deductible insurance, which is most beneficial for generally healthy people. Basically, you pay a set premium every month (which is cheaper than standard insurance), but you have a high yearly deductible (of perhaps $4000 or something), and you pay out of pocket until you meet your deductible, and then it picks up everything else after that. This way, if you have something catastrophic -- which is what most people fear, and what causes the most problems, whether a heart attack, cancer, or some other expensive medical issue -- then you know you won't ever have to pay more than that $4000.

Flood insurance may have been brought more to the forefront due to the major hurricanes in recent years, but flooding has long been a cause of concern in some areas of the country -- for instance, the Mississippi River Valley had a "flood of the century" back in '91 or '93, I think, in which water went higher than ever before (mostly due to huge storms that dropped massive amounts of rain that broke levees and dams and such) and then just a few years later there was an even worse "flood of the century" that superseded the previous one. There are also many smaller areas (typically valleys near rivers, or perhaps homes along the coastlines) that are in a "flood zone," and they have to have flood insurance.

The deal with the flooding of Katrina, is the argument from home insurance companies that the damage to the homes was caused by water (rather than the wind) and was therefore a flood and therefore not covered by them. So there was a huge conflict about whether the damage to any given home was due to the wind or the water, or whether the wind caused the water damage so it should be covered regardless. A huge mess.

bmmg39 said...

For suicide tourism, OC?

army_wife said...

Christina, the voucher program you discussed in your comment sounds like it would be worth at least considering. Much better than the current "government takeover" concept being pushed on us, at any rate.

I grew up in a family which, by the time I was of an age to leave home, would probably have been considered upper-middle-class. My father had employer-based health insurance which was very good. We had to pay a $5 co-pay for regular doctor's visits ($10 for a visit with a specialist), which was infinitely reasonable. Their coverages were great for eyeglasses, etc. Although I am satisfied with my husband's current health provider (military health care is provided by a company overseen by the DoD), I believe that the coverage was somewhat better under my father's employer-provided health insurance. My mother had two children under that same health plan and she said their maternity/childbirth coverage was wonderful (it paid all expenses).

I have to say that the military health care system is not bad. I've given birth to two children in an Army hospital and we didn't have to worry about paying anything. The quality of the hospital facilities were somewhat dated when I had my first child (approaching 5 years ago), when I had my second (almost 2 years ago), the facilities had been renovated and would compete with any civilian hospital in this country.

Although our health care is overseen by the DoD, they aren't inserting themselves into our health-care decisions or doing any of the rediculous nonsense that the President and Congress are wanting to do with all Americans' health care. Our health care works much like any other HMO. I'm thankful that the government doesn't interfere with our health care excessively and I would hate to see them start.

Yes, I am a middle-class (or even lower-middle-class, depending on the income cutoff you might use) American and I am SATISFIED WITH MY HEALTH CARE.

GrannyGrump said...

Army Wife, my son was born at Ft. Ord, and frankly I'd rather have a taxi driver deliver my next baby than give birth again in a military hospital. They mistreated me and my baby, and when I protested they told me to shut up, it was free and I had no reason to complain. I pointed out that my husband was indeed paying for it by turning his life over to the control of the US government, then checked both myself and my baby out of that hospital AMA.

I also found the care at the pediatric clinic in Augsburg to be substandard and disrespectful of patients and parents. I had to nag and pester to have my son seen, in the face of constant, "Lady, there's nothing wrong with your baby" to have him diagnosed with freaking PNEUMONIA when they finally did -- against their express wishes -- examine him. They also diagnosed him as "failure to thrive" when he actually had lactose intolerance -- something that was only diagnosed when I pestered for months on end for a consult with a dietician.

And every step of the way it was, "Why are you complaining? It's free."

No thanks.

army_wife said...

I'm sorry your experiences were so rotten, but do know that not all military facilities are that way, and I would ask how much time has elapsed since you had these experiences. I've had a few unpleasant experiences with this system, but nothing as severe as yours. The majority of the problems I've had were related to the attitude of just certain providers, not everyone there. I just learned to avoid the one or two providers that I didn't like. I didn't like the attitude of the OB that delivered my first child but she did her job correctly and the rest of the staff was wonderful (that OB no longer works at that Army hospital). Although we don't pay out of pocket for it, I don't consider Army healthcare to be "free". It's part of my husband's benefits package just like a civilian with employer-provided health insurance.

They seem to have made many changes since you had your son. I've never been berated with "it's free, so shut up!" sorts of comments. The pediatrician we had at our former post was WONDERFUL and really knew his stuff (I was sorry when my husband got PCS orders because I didn't want to leave our pediatrician, in fact). He genuinely cared for my children and did all he could for them. I had some attitude issues with one of the nurse-practitioners in the OB clinic (she was a civilian) but all I had to do is ask for someone else when I made the appointment. My regular OB during that pregnancy was military and she was very nice.

I was with my mom when she had one of my little sisters (I was 20 when she was born). My mom at the time had an excellent health insurance plan my dad obtained through his job. So, I had a chance to observe a civilian facility during a delivery. Comparing that to the birth of my second (after the LD floor at the Army hospital had been renovated), my care in every way was comparable to my mother's.

My mother was with me when my 2nd was born (my husband was deployed). I never heard her criticize my care except for some minor attitude stuff with the midwife who was attending. My mom handled that with no difficulty. Beyond that, Mom had zero complaints about my care. The actual facilities/room amenities were better than the civilian hospital in which she gave birth (because of the recent renovation).

Right now, my husband is in a transitional status (TDY en route during a PCS), so although we already have a place near the post he is going to be reporting to soon, because he hasn't reported yet I had to choose a local civilian PCM (TriCare covers this). And I received better OB care in a military facility than I do at my civilian provider. The OB is kind, and although the ultrasound tech is generally nice, she really offended me when I was there. I had an ultrasound (I was about 11 weeks, LMP dating) to confirm due date. At the end, she said "I'm not going to give you any pictures because it's just a blob of baby at this point anyway." I had just seen my "blob" putting its fingers into its mouth and bouncing around all over the place. You know as well as I do what an 11-week fetus looks and acts like. I was in so much shock I didn't say anything to her except to make her give me pictures anyway. Nobody at a military facility EVER called my baby a "blob".

The only "good" thing at this civilian OB is that she takes a little more time talking with her new patients, but I have to say that it's not very efficient. I was in there for HOURS and most of it was waiting. I told them when I made the appointment that it would be a new OB patient appointment so they really didn't have an excuse not to schedule in enough time for everything they routinely do in that case.

I'll be glad when my husband reports and I can be seen in the military OB clinic again. I have been in the hospital facilities here and they are even nicer, larger, and newer than the post we came from. I'll know how the care providers are after my husband reports. :-)

army_wife said...

And by the way, just because we have military health care doesn't mean that I am advocating for government health care. Quite the contrary. I'm very much against it. My earlier comments about the fact that I was satisfied with my health care were related to one poster's comment that there were no lower- or middle-class people in America who were happy with the current health-care system, which I took issue with. I have never considered our health care to be "government health care". It's an employer-provided HMO/insurance plan, basically. And they are accountable for how patients are treated. In our previous TriCare region, we received a survey request in the mail after every appointment, and there are comment cards available as well as a patient affairs rep to handle complaints (and there are always the NCOIC and the OIC of each department to direct complaints to).