Saturday, March 20, 2010

Health Care, a real debate

Well I apologize for the hiatus.  I haven't logged in for a little bit due to this cough that I seem to have contracted.  Ahh, I have healthcare, but I just haven't made it to my doctor yet. 

Call me lazy.  You're probably right. 

So earlier this week, I posted a tweet that fed into my personal Facebook page.  The post was meant to make fun of Denis Kucinich, a longtime Congressman from Ohio, who was mayor of the city of Cleveland, and who eventually led the city directly into default.  First time in history a city had ever done that. 

The concept of this attack on Denis was that he flipped his stance on the health care reform bill.  He opposed it prior to this week.  I basically said that Denis traded his vote for a ride on Air Force 1.  He did.  When you watch the video of President Obama disembarking from his 747 in Cleveland this past week, right behind him, the guy who looks like his butler, yeah, that was Denis.  Good ole, retard Congressman who seems to get re-elected year after year for no apparent reason.  The guy, who year after year, attempts to run for President.

So the President came to a suburb of Cleveland to take about healthcare.  All of a sudden, after a pretty routine speech for Obama, Kucinich decided, you know what, I support this bill. 

Whatever Denis.  Stick to your guns.  You made another boneheaded move.

Well this little post of mine sparked ignited a debate in the comments section.  28 comments later, we are still duking it out.

It's just amazing.  Because I want to make sense of the debate, I am going to try and explain what happened.  My good friend Carrie and her Husband Josh, live in and around Washington DC.  [Line redacted upon request.] To say they are neck deep in political bullshit on a daily basis is to say that it snows in the winter [unless you're Al Gore, then that just made no sense]. 

Carrie supports this healthcare reform because it will give healthcare to everyone.  Warm and fuzzy, cue the music.  Everyone is happy.  She sites the Canadian plan as an example of how government healthcare works and is good.  Her argument has valid points, and I too support a plan that will give everyone healthcare.

Now, my other good friend, Heather, and for clear disclosure worked for the Republican Party during the presidential campaign, is NOT a supporter of this plan.  She says that the government plan will slow down services like chemo if cancer is found.  She sites that this is what happens in Canada.  She says that our system needs revamping, but not at the high cost that this healthcare bill is going to do. 

In a nutshell that is the argument.

Carrie asked what the Republicans have brought to the table?  She said that all she is seeing is them trying to attempt to block ANY reform. 

Now Heathers point, and there is no refuting this, is that the Republicans can't stop shit.  They don't have a majority at all, or the power to influence the majority. 

The partisan card needs to be put back in the deck.

So who do you believe? Carrie, who thinks this plan offers healthcare for all.  Or do you agree with Heather?  She thinks that the cost of this plan is too great.

Well here is where I am going to chime in. 

I agree with both of these ladies.  They both make a compelling argument.  Who wouldn't want healthcare for all?  It's a great thought.  It reminds me of the movie American Tale.  There are no cats in America and the streets are filled with cheese. 

Sadly, just as Fivel found out that the song he sang wasn't exactly true, much is the same with healthcare reform.  It sounds great.  There are a ton of great talking points.  But I don't see the vision.  

This bill is going to give coverage to 32 million Americans who are uninsured.  Awesome.  Well according to the last Census it stated that there are 45 million who are uninsured.  So this bill isn't giving all Americans health coverage.  For that matter, there are 308.9 million Americans according to that same Census.  So, 14% of America is uninsured.

So why are we revamping a system that will only effect less than 14% of the population?  It's like we are trying to use a broad sword to put a cake.  It doesn't make sense. 

There are points in there that say, well, insurance companies can't deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.  Awesome, that's great.  But now that they HAVE to cover me for my cancer, that is going to drive cost up, which the government will pay, which they will pass back down to you and me, the American taxpayer.  The bill even states that this will raise taxes.  That is how it MIGHT cut the deficit in the first 10 years.  But when has a government project ever been within its budget?  History is indicitive of future performance.

So here I sit, in a place right now, knowing I have coverage, but not going to the doctor.  It's a nice place to be, but I don't support this bill, but its one thing to oppose something to oppose it, but I offer some other ideas.

What happened to the free market?  Insurance companies have allowed the prices to increase, because they can pass it down to the plan holder.  The market could keep that price kind of in check, because if people couldn't afford the premiums, they would stop the coverage [but in Ohio, we are not allowed to change our insurance plan with our employers at all unless we have a qualifying event, thanks government].  But as a false housing bubble has bolstered our market, during that same time, health coverage rose too.  Because people were using their houses as an ATM, they kept paying their medical bills, and not bitching about it.  If they were bitching, there were not bitching to the right people and the politicians weren't listening anyway, they were getting paid off BY the insurance companies.  As one system went unchecked, so did another, so did another, and so on.

So now what do we do?  Reform!  But reform for the sake of reform is not good.  Never has been.  If we are going to reform, give me back my ability to negotiate the price of my healthcare. 

Make hospitals who bill the insurance companies more accountable for their prices.  A recent report showed that a patient was charged $1.50 some cotton balls.  Awesome.  I can get a pack of 1000 for $0.89 at costco. 

So give me back the power to not only talk to my doctor about my care, but also, how much it costs too. 

The biggest thing about this bill I hate is how they slyly packaged student loan reform into this bill.  I'm sorry, I thought this was healthcare reform?

I am not opposed to student loan reform, but because they packaged these together, and tried to pull the wool over our eyes, I'm downright pissed off.  This is the bullshit the President promised to stop.  He promised transparency.  He promised so many things, but alas he has DONE none of it.  

Government intervention hasn't lead to many great things.  Carrie sited Canada as a good example of government health care.  Yes, Canada seems happy with it's system.  But where Canada is 1 example of success, there is Russia, Nazi Germany, and China who's systems eventually collapsed.    

So this is where America sits and waits.  The President's political party is in office and they are having trouble passing a health care reform bill HIS party came up with.  The Republicans have nothing to do with it.  They opposed it and the most of the Democrats oppose it as well.  This should scream loud and clear to America, don't pass it.  Even the people who wrote the bill don't even agree with it's entirety.    

So please, as we near this vote in Congress, how do YOU feel about it.  Don't be shy.

*photo credit is here


Leah said...

26 ys working in health care I've seen a lot of changes. When I first started in a drs office the office visit was $20. That is NOT a co-pay, that is the cost of the entire visit. If there were any tests we wrote a "super bill" & gave it to the patient & they submitted it to their insurance co to get reimbursed. We did not deal with insurance companies at all. Then along came HMOs (Managed healthcare organizations). Suddenly ur insurance co had complete control of the kind of care u were allowed to receive. They controlled the drs referrals & tests he could run & costs skyrocketed. Reimbursements to the drs went down & consequently the drs had to charge more to cover overhead and the vicious circle began. Then there is the UCR (usual customary rate) regulation which was basically the insurance co telling the doc how much they could charge. For instance, if a patient needed an EEG the cost in 1987 was about $500.This cost had to pay the technician to hook you up taking over an hour, run the test taking about an hour,the doc to read it taking about 30-60 min & the secretary to transcribe taking about 20 min., not to mention supplies & equipment. Medicaid paid only $37 for the test & the hospital was NOT allowed to bill the patient for the balance. So the hospital ends up in the red every time. With skyrocketing costs and the red tape of the insurance companies,entire departments were created in every healthcare practice just to deal with insurance co road blocks. They could decide for no particular reason that they want to deny a claim & the heathcare provider has to appeal & it goes on until the window of opportunity to collect closes by the insurance co & the doc is in the red again still paying for overhead. Talk about Canada's health care?? I know about that as I worked in the International Dept @ Cleveland Clinic & arranged health care for patients from other countries. We had our share of Canadian patients. They said the system was fine if your illness fit into the monthly quota. For instance,heart surgeons could only perform a certain number of surgeries per month. If there was an emergency & was near the end of the month & the doc/hospital already met their quota, they could not do the surgery & the patient hoped they didn't die & pray to fit into next month's quota therefore many of these patients came to Cleveland Clinic for surgery & paid out of their own pocket. So social medicine has many flaws as well. The medical industry is controlled by the insurance companies with a high school graduate sitting in their cubical telling doctors with 12 years of college what they are allowed to prescribe as treatment for their patients. I have seen it way toooo often. There is something wrong with that!! Additionally the cost of medical supplies are ridiculously high. Ex: tubing for the oxygen cannula in your nose cost at least $50 to $100 but the same tubing can be purchased for your fish aquarium for about $.20 a ft. Difference??? One is a "Medical" supply & insurance dictates the cost of it! YES reform is needed but it needs to be the insurance companies & done properly. This plan is wrong & comes with a side dish of "pork". Didn't they tag on some "pork" to the bank bailouts too? As an unemployed healthcare worker, This one hits home!

Leah said...

And Dennis?? Don't get me started!!! I lived through him putting Cleveland in the Crapper. I could tell you about the threats on his life and was even at a party and overheard the mafia planning the hit...YES that is entirely true!! He ran and hid in California for a few years until the voters forgot about what he did. When he was Mayor he was such a dweeb....he would have breakfast every morning at the diner on the corner of W. 117th and Lorain and ordered Steak and eggs but the waitress would have to cut his steak for him. TRUE!!!! All of Cleveland's former Mayors had portraits painted and hung in City Hall...but Clevelanders refused to put a portrait of Dennis in City Hall. That is until Clevelanders lost their memory and a few years ago finally painted his portrait and put it up in City Hall. He was Mayor in 1975-78!! And he was recalled, much like the Toyota Prius! His flip flop on the healthcare issue is no surprise to me. I truly do not understand voters and their short term memories. Ok....I'm done!

Vodka Logic said...

Adam you make great points and I for one agree. Putting the control of who and when I see a dr in the governments hands is WRONG.

The hospital I work finally got in the black because they hired a businessman to run the place not a dr.

When I started there 25 years ago my premium was $0 now I pay over $50 a week. I have heard people tell me I am lucky to only pay that

And as your mother says the cost of supplies. In the blood bank we use just drops of certain reagents and some of them cost about $30 a drop. can you imagine that. That is just wrong. We pass the cost on of course but we "eat" a lot of it too...

wish I had the answer but the one proposed isn't it.

Brendan said...

throwing in my 2 cents...

I have health care through my work, right now. If this bill were to pass what is keeping my company from saying you dont need us anymore go get the "free" health care. Which by the way will not be free, like taxes will be based on your salary. so now i will not only be paying for my family but i will also be paying for the bums down the street who go on disability because they are too fat to get out of bed in the morning. Let me get this straight you can get your ass to mcdonalds buy a gross of cheeseburgers everyday but you cant go get a job and pay fro your own health care? Thanks but I enjoy living in a world were you need to work for something, not have it handed to you. I am done with my rant now.

Brendan said...

one more thing, tell me why i should have to pay for someone to have an abortion because they wouldn't go buy a $2 condom, last time i checked you didn't need a prescription for that. Lets start a government program that starts teaching people a wonderful thing called common sense. It will be cheap and will just involve me slapping stupid people upside the head. I will do it for free if you want.

Leah said...

I'm Baaaack!!!! This time speaking as a person without health care coverage. Yes....I lost my job....I was given 30 days to extend my healthcare coverage with Cobra at a cost to me of $439/mo. However, my unemployment was initially denied and after appealing, it was finally awarded to me 3 months later. With no income there is no way I could pay for Cobra insurance. Even if I had initially gotten unemployment, I wasn't paid enough to even afford the $439/mo cost. So I have been without healthcare since October and praying I stay healthy. Had to cancel dentist and doctors appointments because I cannot afford them. I Have considered going to Human Services and signing up for wouldn't be the first time. When I was divorced at age 29 with 3 very small children and not getting any child support from a deadbeat dad, I went to Human services for help. Back then the system worked like it is supposed to. It was designed to help you get on your feet and get you off the system as soon as possible. It paid my babysitter so I could go back to school and work. It paid for meals so my babysitter could feed my children. It gave me healthcare coverage and $327/mo to live on. But every 6 mo I had to report for redetermination and show proof of my income and my assets. As I progressed I was weaned off Welfare assistance. It took 5 years and I was very proud of my accomplishment and my independence. Nowadays the system does not work like that. It encourages people to live off the system and tax payers money. Once you are in the system it is very hard to break free and it becomes easier to sit back and let the tax payers take care of you and your healthcare. I see this proposed plan fueling that fire. Sure I could use the "free" healthcare coverage right now but not at the expense of living off tax-payers. Healthcare should be affordable. My parents only had "hospitalization" insurance because you only needed insurance help to pay the bills if you were hospitalized....Everyday healthcare costs were affordable. Up until the mid to late 80's the same was true for my generation. I refer back to my first comment...costs were driven up by insurance companies.....and they are the ones that make all the profits. Let's dissect the insurance companies and find a good solution.

Heather said...

I love all the comments. So many great points. The great thing about this nation is that we can disagree.

What I would love to see are ideas that will bring about real changes that will make health care affordable for everyone. Hopefully we can all work to make that happen.

Vodka Logic said...

What I want to know is why so many that live with Universal Care also buy private insurance. If the Universal is so great why pay more for private.
As Brendan said, my taxes will pay for mine and all the deadbeats that want insureance too.
I pay for the welfares insurance now as it is and 25 years ago when I needed it, I couldn't get it. the unemployment I was getting put me over the limit... wtf.

And again to Brendan, the only thing about paying for the abortion is we don't have another mouth to feed with our money... but certainly you are right about common sense. Cover it or leave it in your pants.. and woman come on protect yourselves.

Thanks for the place to vent....

Chef P-Daddy said...

So, please tell me this. Why are we trying to make others feel bad about where they stand on this issue. I think that this has gotten a little out of hand. For one I believe we all should be aloud to have Health Care. After all shouldn't we be free to get the care that we need and deserve. We are not saying that should get free insurance, but we want everyone to have the chance to get insurance if they want it. We also agree that this plan that our president has offered is not the ideal solution and we are mad at both parties for not one person stepping up and stating a much better plan. Yes, this is why I am not in a political office since I can't offer a better plan that everyone would possibly like.
Either way I want to make sure everyone knows that we are not fully for the Obama Plan or not. We just want someone to come up with a good plan that will work. Other countries have many plans that work and wish that maybe the USA would adopt some of their plans and see if they work here too.

Uncle Skip, said...

There's a fella in Virginia who has a unique take on the healthcare/healthinsurance issue. Read his Silent Killer post from yesterday (3/20).

Chef P-Daddy said...

I personally want to say that this is truly an argument that we all need to just tell our respected senators and congressmen and see if they actually listen to their people.

Heather said...

Part of the problem is that our senators and Representatives are not listening to the people. I have sent letters, e-mails, and called. All I get form the people who were elected to represent me is attitude and BS. I actually had one ask me what my political party affiliation was before they would even take my info. When I say that I'm a republican they tell me that they are sorry he isn't in and hang up. Hmmm, makes you wonder if they realize that they represent the entire district and not just their party.