Tag Archives: healthcare

The Devil in the Details?

4 Mar

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Congressman Roger Marshall, a newly elected Republican to Congress who is also a doctor, recently said that he doesn’t support the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion because he believes some poor people just don’t want health care.

“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us.’ There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves. The Medicaid population, which is a free credit card, as a group, do probably the least preventive medicine and taking care of themselves and eating healthy and exercising. And I’m not judging, I’m just saying socially that’s where they are, So there’s a group of people that even with unlimited access to health care are only going to use the emergency room when their arm is chopped off or when their pneumonia is so bad they get brought the ER.”

That’s a direct quote from one of our Congressmen and a doctor who basically believes that poor people, as a group of people, just don’t want to take care of themselves health-wise…as opposed to rich people?

You’ve never seen a rich person who didn’t eat right and who never exercised or was overweight? have you? Like our President maybe?… But I’m not judging… Anyway, just like Jesus said once,… according to Congressman Marshall…Fuck em!

Apparently that’s how the Congressman understands his Bible when he reads it… and he is part of the GOP Doctors Caucus, which is a group of 16 lawmakers with health care backgrounds who are at the center of the Republican Congressional effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Wow! Is that how you read your Bible? Is that what Jesus meant?… There are poor people. There will always be poor people. Because poor people don’t care about themselves (like non-poor people do?)… Jesus was poor. He was always poor. He died on the cross rather quickly. Was that because he never exercised or ate right?

President Trump, in his most recent speech before Congress said that he wants to see Repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that “expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better health care.”…with freedom to choose our own healthcare plans (not forced upon us, but the ones we want) and Medicaid resources that make sure “No one is left out.”

I think that’s great! And I agree with that POTUS plan! And I hope we get just that and for everyone! But that is not what Congress is pursuing. Let’s hope that the President is true to his word and stands up to Congress. That’s why we elected him, right? So stay tuned! Will we end up replacing Obamacare with JesusCare with a capital J…or with a smaller case j…where the devil just may be… in the details?

It’s Not trhe Guns!

6 Oct

Attention America! It’s not the guns! it’s the people…the Sick people! We need to do something about the sick people!

This seems to be the general consensus among the Republican candidates running for the Presidency of the United States, in the aftermath of the tragedy that occurred at an Oregon Community College this week.

Guns are great! Guns are safe! It’s just that when you put them in the hands of sick people good guns are used for bad purposes and not for what guns are really intended to be used for. Which is of course…uh…well…um…killing other people. But let’s forget about that and move on.

Anyway, that’s why all of the Republican candidates agree on one important thing! As soon as any one of them is elected, and on the first day they enter the White House to begin their new job as President of the United States, they will begin to combat the rising tide of the mentally ill in these United States by…

Eliminating the Affordable Health Care Act and thereby eliminating affordable health care for millions of Americans who can now afford it…Yep, that oughta do it…

Goodnight and Good Luck…

16 Oct

Well, I honestly don’t know where to begin…The television set is positively aglow with the Ebola virus: the wheres, the hows and the whyfors. It’s here. It’s on the move. Is it an epidemic? A pandemic? Can it be stopped? who’s to blame? How can we stop it? Can it be stopped?… And of course don’t forget to check out your favorite networks’ new fall lineups! Let’s not get too crazy, I guess.

Over at MSNBC there seems to be genuine concern over the growing crisis and their guests seem to be pointing fingers at the fact that it’s a very big world out there filled with lots of people on the go, which makes it quite difficult to keep them from going where they want to. And there’s the question of our country’s lack of investment and interest in our nation’s infrastructure over the last 2 decades or so. Even though corporations are still making billions of dollars and especially so in the healthcare industries, not a lot of that money is trickling down to the first response workers when it comes to equipment, training and proper regulations and protocols…perhaps you have even felt or experienced this trend as a worker in your place of business, wherever and whatever that may be. It seems that Money has a habit of rising to the top and then staying there these days.

But over at Fox News there was nothing but non-stop hysteria. We’re doomed! Hide under the bed and change your paper money into gold and silver and lock it in your safe! (seriously, it was one of their commercials) And Fox’s experts (All Fox employees) know exactly who is to blame. And it took only a few minutes to impart all of this info to me as I surfed by their channel… Fox News is like a lighthouse beacon that shines one bright light around and around and around all day so you can’t miss the message…

Anyway, it is all President Obama’s fault because he is an African and not an American and has personally seen to it to allow the first Ebola case to enter the USA. He chose Texas because they didn’t vote for him in the last election. He is not closing the borders and isolating Africa into quarantine because he and his henchmen (damn Democrats) mean to kill us all. This is why me must all vote for Republicans in the upcoming election so that they can stop him before he is allowed to complete his dastardly plan. (Even though they pretty much intimated that it was too late to save any of us…but just in case vote Republican)

Finally Bill O’ Reilly and resident Fox comedian, (er…expert comedian) Dennis Miller summed it all up with a few jokes and laughs about how sad things have gotten in America and even though it’s too late to do anything about it and we’re all gonna die, they wanted us to know that later this month they’ll be appearing together in South Carolina where I guess their comedy routine will be appearing on the road…no doubt they’ll be making lots of money and converting it to gold for their post apocalyptic shopping spree.

I just sincerely hope that somewhere in America tonight there are still serious people doing serious work, who are non-partisan, earnest and industrious and seriously interested in doing their jobs because it is the right thing to do and not because there’s a bucket of money or a re-election campaign to win.

Of course there is. There has to be, right? We haven’t jumped that shark yet…have we?

Goodnight and good luck…

Should Feeling OK Keep the Doctor Away?

9 Mar

I’ve always suspected this but thought that perhaps I was just too cynical for it to actually be true but…

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010 statistics) here are the leading causes of death in America:

      Number of deaths

  • Heart disease: 597,689
  • Cancer: 574,743
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494
  • Diabetes: 69,071
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364

So heart disease and Cancer are the 2 big causes of death in the USA But, consider this… a recent study in the Journal of Patient Safety, which is a follow up to a 2010 report from the Office of the Inspector General for Health and Human services, estimates that as many as 210,000 to 440,000 patients who go to the hospital for healing die each year as a result of preventable medical deaths.

This makes unintentional medical errors during… doctor’s, hospital’s, and nursing home’s attempts to care for and improve our health… the third-leading cause of death in the United States!

And that is just counting the deaths from preventable errors…and that’s if you count preventable errors as a disease…which of course we don’t…and I also just have to ask. What’s the word “preventable” doing in front of the word “errors”? Isn’t the word error enough? Adding the word preventable implies that the errors wouldn’t occur if we just stopped insisting on the service, test or exam that leads to the errors being made.

And then…If we also count everyone who is in someway made sicker by an error in the healthcare they receive ( An error is defined as an act that produces an adverse outcome compared to the natural progression of disease) then up to one million more patients experienced some type of preventable error, that leads to injury. (according to the U.S. Institute of Medicine)

It seems that the more expensive healthcare has become, the more doctors, hospitals and insurance companies have become eager and interested in offering services, tests and screening exams to healthy patients in efforts to get a jump on their “potential disease” before it manifests itself as an “actual disease” to the patient…unfortunately many of these preventive measures have proven to be ineffective at best and dangerous at their worst. Most insurance companies and especially Medicare, reimburse doctors and hospitals regardless of outcome. In fact, there are now even billing codes for specific errors.

So what’s a body to do… healthy or Un?

Sadly, and as in most things once they become unimaginably profitable, it becomes necessary to “Let the buyer beware!”

That phrase “caveat emptor” arises from the fact that buyers often have less information about the goods or service they are purchasing, while the seller has more information. Defects in the good or service may be hidden from the buyer, and only known to the seller. Thus, the buyer should beware.

In legal theory this is known as information asymmetry...sounds like a disease doesn’t it?

 

 

 

Afghanicare?

12 Feb

According to the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government 2013 report…The Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, will be the most expensive wars in US history—together totaling somewhere between 4 trillion and 6 trillion dollars. This includes long-term medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replenishment and social and economic costs. The largest portion of that bill is yet to be paid.”

That’s 4-6 trillion dollars for 2 wars that President Bush said would cost between 100-200 billion dollars, one of which would pay for itself with Iraqi oil revenues. Boy was he ever wrong!

But forget about that because here we sit in 2014 with Republicans up in arms over the Affordable Care Act and still trying to do their darnedest to repeal it or nay-say it because they say it will be too costly for the American public to sustain… but when it comes to a  4-6 trillion dollar boondoggle designed to destroy American lives, foreign countries and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi and Afghan citizens where is their public outcry? Or anyone else’s for that matter?

And now consider the fact that (by conservative estimates) we now spend 4 billion dollars each month in Afghanistan! That’s around 50 billion dollars per year spent in a country that has a GDP of 20 billion dollars! And then when you subtract the amount of money included in their GDP that comes from opium production and foreign aid (mostly ours) Afghanistan is pretty much worthless! (at least to us)

So we pump 50 billion dollars per year into a giant sink hole that is all set to revert back to the exact conditions we found it in, once we pull out in 2015, but we pull our hair and clench our fists and tie ourselves up in knots over whether or not we can afford to spend some money on each others healthcare…and no matter how much we spend it’s going to be money spent by Americans, on Americans, in America to make certain other American’s richer.

Boy is that a bad idea, huh?

Why feed Americans or house Americans or heal Americans or fix American cities when we can blow a hole in a foreign country and dump all of our money into the big black pit that we’re just going to leave behind anyway? Like we always do…

There must be an answer…right?

Anyone?

Horrible Humans

9 Feb

So Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson are on TV talking about how much better healthcare would be in America if only we let free enterprise do its job and allow health insurance companies to compete for customers instead of the dreaded new healthcare law that we have now…and they were laughing and chuckling and smiling and having a grand old time agreeing with each other about how much better and cheaper things are when you “outsource” to private enterprise and get government out of the way.

Anyway, their conversation suddenly took a serious tone when Ms. Coulter told a little anecdote about how her “friend” in California called her up one evening and told her that the friend’s sister had lost her insurance because of “Obamacare” and then when the sister became sick they couldn’t even go to the emergency room because they had no insurance. So days went by and Ms. Coulter had to go give a speech and when she got home afterwards she received a text from the friend informing her that the sister had gone into septic shock… and died! And the friend added in the text that her sister was “killed by “Obamacare!”

“Can I tweet that?” Ms. Coulter asked her friend. And her friend replied, “Of course you can. My sister would have wanted that.”

“Oh my God!” said a suddenly saddened Tucker. “That is really upsetting!”

“Shocking but not unexpected”, said Ms. Coulter with a chuckle (she’d apparently gotten over her grief) and then went on to conclude that “Obamacare” kills people just like she and all Republicans always knew it would and that the obvious answer is free market capitalism which as we all know saves countless lives all over the world and never is responsible for the death or mistreatment of anyone.

However, Never once did Ms. Coulter mention the fact that Blue Shield (the friend’s sister’s insurance company) did not pull out of California, like she said it had, and the company did not leave people without insurance, like she said it did… And in fact, in California, customers are allowed to keep their existing insurance plans through March…and of course that obvious scholar of all things American, Tucker Carlson, never once corrected her.

Nor did Ms. Coulter happen to mention to her friend that anyone can go to the ER in a hospital for emergency treatment, with or without insurance, and must be treated for life threatening illnesses. (any illegal alien knows that!)  In fact that has been one of the cornerstones of Republican angst whenever they discuss the sorry state of healthcare in the U.S.A. and how expensive it is to supply free ER care to the millions or immigrants, illegals and uninsured in the country today.

And Ms.Coulter apparently forgot that she is a mufti millionaire and could have saved her friend’s sister by simply telling her friend to “take your sister to the doctor and send me the bill. I’m really rich! Spare no expensive because after all, we’re good friends!” …but she didn’t…and Mr. C. didn’t point that out to her either.

All Ann did was go give a speech and then text her friend, after her friend’s sister died, “Can I tweet that?”

 

Then Tucker and Ann went back to alternately smiling and looking concerned and feigning outrage while continuing to discuss how President Obama and his horrible “Obamacare” (actually it’s called the Affordable Care Act) was specifically designed by the President of the United States and forced down the American people’s throats just so he could purposely kill people.

And the thought of that was amusing to them too! Silly Americans, you elected a murderer! Hee, Hee, Hee…

And for some strange reason Ms. Coulter also failed to mention how, if only her friend’s sister had been a Liberal Democrat, this all would have been a very happy story with a very happy ending and also the title of her next book, “How Obama murders liberals and I don’t care!”

How do these horrible human beings live with themselves? They make a living laughing, joking, cavorting…lying and worst of all, pretending to care about relieving the abject despair that so many real Americans live with every day of their lives… when they really couldn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone other than their own sorry, selfish, insincere, money grubbing selves.

How do they do it?

Will somebody please tweet me that.

 

Health Scare II

1 Nov

It’s All Hallows Eve tonight and I drove past an open casket with a skeleton peering out at me. Of course it wasn’t real. It was just a decorative home owner’s yard display but it got me to thinking about our views on death and the dead and the sick and the dieing. Ghouls, ghosts and graveyards are commonplace on Halloween but rarely thought about by humans on other days…at least not in terms of ourselves or our loved ones.

Death is our destiny and certainly a very personal one at that, but when we think about dieing and the dead it is almost always in terms of someone that we don’t know and who we don’t care about. That skeleton in the coffin could and would never represent someone so personal as myself or my loved ones…could it?

And yet still we are fascinated by death as though it will never touch us…until of course it so horribly and always untimely…does.

But we are not just fascinated with death on Halloween. We love to watch zombies in the movies and on television. We cheer on Dexter, the serial killer, even though there is absolutely nothing that would be cheer worthy in such a personality should he be real. We watch countless scenes of death and murder and violence, time and time again, on television. Whether it’s part of a fictionalized drama or on the nightly news, it’s really all the same to us…isn’t it? And war is just a lot of death all at once.

We debate guns and gun violence as though if it were to actually touch us in our lives it would be no never mind. We’d just better be ready to shoot the bad guy who tries to do us harm. No big whoop. And if little children get in the way of terrible violence perpetrated by disturbed adults…well, we didn’t know them…and if we did, our grief will consume any meaningful debate that we or others will have on the subject.

45,000 people die each year in our country, the richest in the world, because they cannot afford or have no health insurance…but in a country of over 300 million citizens they represent only .00015 of the population or about 100th of one percent, which in actuary terms is negligible, as in practically non existent. And it seems to me that is precisely why they die. Literally no one cares.

Mathematically, in a capitalist and materialistic society such as ours, of things and money and numbers, they simply do not exist. And to be fair there is probably no society of 300 million humans, no matter what their beliefs, religion or politics where those 45,000 people would exist or be cared about. So I wonder…

Would we all be better served if thoughts of death and its all consuming claim on our living soul were more dominant and influential in our daily lives? Would we feel more empathy for and consequently be more helpful to those who were not in our ordinary and personal sphere of the living…and the dieing?

Or would we be so consumed with that image of the skeleton in the casket as our own… that we would be rendered unable to make it through a single day amongst the living…and that part of us that is dieing with each day?

Perhaps it is our indifference with all things not us that makes life liveable… and which also affords us the uncanny and innate ability to debate war and violence and ghosts and graveyards and guns and medical care as though they are really and truly debatable things.

All we have are our precious lives…that is all any of us have…and it is equally precious to each and every self…and any skeleton, if he or she can ever know anything, knows that.

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