The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Posts Tagged ‘health care’

Ugly? You haven’t SEEN ugly.

Posted by ALmod on October 14, 2009

Robert Stein has a great writeup on how we ain’t seen nothing yet as far as health insurance interests rallying opposition to reform.  Now that Congress will be working on a final bill for the full vote of both houses with all sorts of ways for it to be hacked into pieces and put back together again, you can easily predict that industry interests will be in overdrive to kill it.

Stein does an excellent job of summing things up here:

The saddest part of the spectacle in the coming weeks will be the near-impossibility of a rational public conversation about the issue in a time when TV ads will make “Harry and Louise” look like “The Waltons” and the staged public outrage will make the Tea Parties look like tea parties.

Indeed.  Though we can only hope that their moves of the past few weeks are signs as to exactly where health insurers might be headed.  They seem to have become quite pro at shooting themselves in the foot lately.

The fact that Beth McCaughey was outed (and then resigned after being owned in an interview with Jon Stewart, of all people) as a lobbyist and Rick Scott (head of Conservatives for Patients’ Rights) was openly the same Rick Scott who had to step down as the company he led pled guilty to one of the largest cases of insurance and Medicare fraud in history wasn’t even HALF as humiliating as the report AHIP released last week.  It was laughable enough at face value.  To start with, AHIP stands for America’s Health Insurance Plans.  This is the group who funded a report that basically contradicted every single other report out there.  Not only was it incredibly misleading by only reporting on measures that (migh, maybe, possibly) increase costs while ignoring the gazillions of other measures that would lower them, but it even said that it was misleading in the very footnotes of the report!  The report also was their way of saying that, left unchecked and without competition, private health insurers would increase their premiums– quite possibly giving their own argument as to why a public option might be needed to compete with them.  Shot one fired.  Shot two fired.

Then, without any prompting by FactCheck (or so they say), the company that compiled the report for AHIP comes out with a statement in which they fact check themselves and state that their report is extremely misleading.  You can’t make this up!  Shot three fired.

But the biggest hit to the health insurance interests has to be the story of Rep. Jane Harman— a Blue Dog Democrat.  You’ve heard of the Blue Dogs, right?  The Blue Dogs would be the reason why the Dems are not currently passing the most liberal piece of legislation they can muster despite their overwhelming majority.  Well, Harman became a much bigger proponent of a public option when that which has been happening to so many insured Americans happened to her own 27-year-old son.  He was dropped from his health insurance for– get this– a torn eardrum.

As Del put it (and I’m paraphrasing), we can probably assume that they forgot to mark his file with a big, red Post-It that said, “Do not revoke.  His mother is a congresswoman.”

Laura Sanchez was already on board, but I’m sure that Rep. Harman’s story will resonate with other mothers and fathers (and grandmothers and grandfathers) who call themselves Blue Dogs.  The uninsured and the poor aren’t the majority of the people who need good reform to pass.  They aren’t even close to being a majority.  The insured middle class are the ones getting the worst deal until something changes.  (After all, we’re the ones stuck with those private insurers who openly admitted that they’d want to raise their premiums while they have no real competition.  The poor and elderly already have government options.  And I’m sure that middle-class bankruptcy can’t be good for the economy.)  Shot four fired.

Now, right about now I feel like it’s that scene in Dirty Harry and Clint Eastwood is asking…  If you count McCaughey and Scott, did they fire five shots or was it six?  I’ve lost count.  So if you’re the health care industry and you’re about to start aiming that gun about chest or head level, you have to ask yourselves one question.  Do I feel lucky?  Well do ya… punks?


Posted in Federal Government, Health and Wellness, Legislation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Be careful what you wish for. (You just might get it.)

Posted by ALmod on September 28, 2009

Not too long ago, the right wing argument against health care reform went something like this:

  1. We don’t want single payer.  Canada and the UK are scary.  We want private insurance.
  2. We don’t want a public option.  We want the private insurers to be able to profit, and we don’t think private insurers can compete with a public option despite the number of other private services that do just fine in other areas with public options.
  3. Have you met Mitt Romney?  Isn’t he wonderful?  Isn’t his health care plan wonderful?
  4. We want a bill that pays for itself.
  5. We want the Democrats to include our ideas in this health care reform.

Be careful what you wish for.  You just might get it.  That wonderful Romney plan that Republicans seemed to love just a couple months ago?

“Unlike Democratic proposals that would give Americans the choice of joining a government-run health care plan, Massachusetts has no public option. Instead, people in the state are required to buy private insurance, and the poor get subsidies.

“Analysts say “Romney care” is basically “Obama care” minus the public option.”

That last line is actually true.

Now the house bill has turned into a national version of RomneyCare– particularly if no public option is included.  So how are the right wing masses taking the idea that the federal government might require you to purchase private insurance (and actually enforce that)?  Well, see for yourself.  Some are now even saying that a single payer system is preferable.  Right wingers arguing in favor of single payer?  Has the world gone mad?  Nope.  The right just got what they asked for and then suddenly realized that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

It seems like they’re finally starting to grasp the whole reason why such reform is necessary.  Yes, people need insurance, but that’s only part of the problem.  This issue is just as much about people who already have insurance as it is about those who don’t have it.  For those of us who are already insured, it’s about giving us better care and lowering our costs.  A big chunk of those costs come from when the uninsured receive treatment and can’t pay up.  That is passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher cost.

The right already knew that a significant portion of the uninsured was made up of people who could afford it but weren’t purchasing it.  We know they knew because it was a point they made frequently— then.  We know that they like personal responsibility because it was something they argued for– then.  We know they don’t like the idea of having to pay for someone else’s health care, particularly if it is the result of their own irresponsibility, because it was something they said frequently– then.

So here we have an idea that says that if you can afford health insurance you must buy it.  You must pay for your own treatment instead of burdening the rest of us (again, if you can afford it), or you will have to pay the consequences.  Oopsie.  Maybe that whole forcing personal responsibility idea wasn’t such a good idea, after all– at least not when it’s forced.  But then you’d be back to having the responsible parties paying for the irresponsible ones.  You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.  But the idea of just having a plan where everyone is covered seems a lot better than putting people in jail for not giving money to a private corporation.  Again…  Oopsie.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of the Baucus bill, but I do realize that there’s no perfect sunshine and rainbows solution, and I also realize that some options are better than others.  Pun intended.

Unlike Democratic proposals that would give Americans the choice of joining a government-run health care plan, Massachusetts has no public option. Instead, people in the state are required to buy private insurance, and the poor get subsidies.

Posted in Federal Government, Health and Wellness, Legislation | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Be careful what you wish for. (You just might get it.)

You really can’t make this stuff up…

Posted by ALmod on September 15, 2009

For those using the “no federal dollars for illegal aliens” rallying cry against health care and are holding up Joe Wilson as your newfound hero, there’s something you should know.

However, in 2003, Wilson voted to provide federal funds for illegal immigrants’ healthcare. The vote came on the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, which contained Sec. 1011 authorizing $250,000 annually between 2003 and 2008 for government reimbursements to hospitals who provide treatment for uninsured illegal immigrants. The program has been extended through 2009 and there is currently a bipartisan bill in Congress to make it permanent.

Posted in Health and Wellness, Legislation | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

How to Address an Issue Without Addressing the Issue

Posted by ALmod on September 12, 2009

If anything, I wonder if Democrats shouldn’t be thanking Joe Wilson right about now.

His outburst has created a discussion on the true status of illegal immigrants in regard to H.R. 3200.  And what appears to be getting through is the truth, for once.  I wonder if that discussion would have taken place had Wilson kept his mouth shut.

And so, as more and more and more people are learning that the bill actually does contain a clause (on page 143 of the bill) that specifically states that “[n]othing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States,” the argument from the right appears to have shifted more toward enforcement of such a measure (or lack thereof).  The Heller Amendment seems to be the rallying cry, in particular.  If there is concern for making sure that illegal immigrants do not receive federal money for health care then why would the measure have been shot down?

The answer is simple.  The Heller Amendment was never intended to pass.  The only reason for its existence is to be a talking point.

First we have to consider something.  The bill does in fact address how illegal aliens would be handled under the new health care system.  Not only does it specifically say that they will not be covered, but the Congressional Research Service has suggested that illegal aliens would be required to purchase private insurance to cover their expenses or face a hefty fine.  And further clarification from the White House offered on September 12 stated that they will not be able to purchase insurance through the new exchange or the public option.  (In other words, they would still be paying for their own health coverage just like many of them are already doing today.)  Verification would be required when purchasing insurance through the exchange and/or public option.  So all this considered, why on earth would an additional amendment be needed– particularly one that might cause problems for legal immigrants?  It isn’t.

So why would anyone suggest an amendment that they knew wasn’t needed?  Again, it’s a talking point.  Dr. Steven Taylor summed it up quite nicely here.

Minority member proposes amendment which it claims will do X (or prevent X or somesuch).

Majority votes it down, because they are already happy with their majority-crafted, majority-approved bill.

Minority and its supporters (e.g., talk show hosts) then claim that the rejection of the amendment is proof that the Majority is opposed to X.

However, there are any number of reasons for the rejection of the amendment, not the least of which being that it was a minority amendment to a majority bill. Why should the majority accept the amendment? Also, it is usually never so simple as X or Not X.

Still, the whole purpose for the minority in proposing the amendment in the first place was to create the X/Not X debate, as it knew from the beginning that it wasn’t going to get the majority to accept the amendment. It is textbook (seriously, this kind of behavior can be found in any text on the legislative process in the US).

I will add to that.  Assume that the majority party passes such an amendment.  At this point, the minority party can insinuate that whatever minor issue they inserted into this amendment is now something that the majority supports.  It’s a win-win situation for the party proposing the amendment– provided of course that your talking point is short enough so that the opposing response would result in a one way hash political argument.

A very similar situation has cropped up in the form of the anti-abortion argument.  Many have pointed to the Capps amendment which will mandate that the public health option cover some abortions.  But these same people overlook the fact that the exact same amendment also states that federal funds cannot be used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the mother’s life is in danger– situations where many Republicans have a hard time arguing against abortions.

But those who point out these problems do have a point.  More needs to be done to address these issue if in fact it’s something you believe in.  Tougher standards on abortions and hospitals that provide them.  (Even abortion advocates can agree that they want women to be safe.)  Tougher laws that address illegal immigration and reduce the number of illegal aliens that we have– thus reducing the number of them that show up in the ERs with a serious ailment and without insurance.  These things are needed, but to tack them onto a health care bill that is already very long and very complicated probably isn’t the best way to go about it.  Politicians aren’t exactly restricted to drafting and passing one bill per session.  So why not draft a separate bill to address these issues?

Because they don’t want it to pass.

Many Republicans have already made it clear that they have no intention of supporting any health care legislation regardless as to what’s in there.  Many seem more interested in making sure that the Democrats fail rather than making sure the country succeeds.  Why do I say this?  Because the only platform that I’ve seen thus far as been generic at best.  At worst, it’s been anti-Democrat rather than clearly a Republican platform of small government and strong defense.  In fact, some might find the irony in a party who goes on about how government has no business in health care and yet in the same breath insists that they should put restrictions on what can be covered, even by private funding.

But many might find it hard to pass immigration legislation that seriously penalizes employers who hire illegal aliens.  Some of them might find themselves sans nanny.  And many might find it even harder to pass legislation that would ban abortions outright for any reason.  So what better way to show you tried to do something about these issues (*nudge nudge* *wink wink*) than by showboating an amendment to another piece of legislation while knowing full well that your suggestion will never make it out of committee?

So the response to the right from the left is simple, and there need be no long answers to explain why X wasn’t included.  Rather, they merely need to ask the following:

“If this issue is so important, why hasn’t Senator Y attempted to pass this as stand alone legislation that would address the issue rather than trying to tack it onto a bill he’s trying to defeat?”

I’m sure the talking heads will eventually find a way to get around that one way hash, but at least it will be entertaining to watch.

Posted in Health and Wellness, Legislation, Public Outrage | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on How to Address an Issue Without Addressing the Issue and Jon Stewart vs. Betsy McCaughey

Posted by ALmod on August 26, 2009

A lot of other folks have already posted on this, but I was waiting on the response from before I covered it as well.  I did leave a rather lengthy comment over at Left in Alabama, though.  For those who haven’t seen the interview, you can find it in its full unedited form here (part 1) and here (part 2).  I’ll warn you that it’s rather uncomfortable to watch.

What you’ll see is McCaughey reading a passage from (I believe) HB3200 to try to prove her euthanasia claim.  Further, she’s arguing that the clause regarding seeing your doctor for what amounts to setting up a living will would not be voluntary.  McCaughey’s argument was that the bill gave incentives to doctors for providing this service and would therefore make it something that doctors rammed down their patients’ throats.  Here’s the portion she read that “proved” her point.

H.R. 3200, page 431-432: (1) PHYSICIAN’S QUALITY REPORTING INITIATIVE.—Section 1848(k)(2) of the Social Security Act 19 (42 U.S.C. 1395w–4(k)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs: (3) PHYSICIAN’S QUALITY REPORTING INITIATIVE.— (A) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of reporting data on quality measures for covered professional services furnished during 2011 and any subsequent year, to the extent that measures are available, the Secretary shall include quality measures on end of life care and advanced care planning that have been adopted or endorsed by a consensus-based organization, if appropriate. Such measures shall measure both the creation of and adherence to orders for life-sustaining treatment.”

Now, if you look at this as is or listen to someone read it, you might be inclined to agree with McCaughey.  The problem is that you’d be skimming and not actually reading it.  And listening to someone read it isn’t exactly going to give you the opportunity to break it down and see it for what it actually says.  In other words, McCaughey’s argument depends heavily on you not reading or understanding the passage in question.  So let’s break this down a bit…

“For purposes of reporting data…”  This is for reporting purposes.

“…on quality measures for covered professional services furnished during 2011 and any subsequent year, to the extent that measures are available…”  They’re reporting what services were covered and what was available.

“…the Secretary shall include quality measures on end of life care and advanced care planning that have been adopted or endorsed by a consensus-based organization, if appropriate.”  This is big wording for saying that whatever is reported might include (but isn’t limited to) how many such consultations they did.

“Such measures shall measure both the creation of and adherence to orders for life-sustaining treatment.”  The key words here are “life-sustaining.”  This means exactly what it says.

And as points out, McCaughey’s claim that this somehow affects a physician’s “quality rating” is false.

What McCaughey didn’t count on and what so many others before her have taken for granted is the fact that Stewart is no dummy, and he doesn’t just nod his head and listen.  Nor does he follow the Bill O’Reilly formula of simply yelling over the other person.  Stewart allowed her to first make her argument and even produce the portion of the bill that she said proves her point.  Stewart probably would have been either a lawyer or investment banker had he not gone into comedy, and he saw right through the bullshit and interpreted the passage exactly as it was– line by line– to prove her wrong.  McCaughey was left with saying, “You’re wrong,” as her main argument.  She simply couldn’t produce the wording to back her claims, and what she did produce, Stewart read back to her to show her error.

To boot, McCaughey actually added to her argument that decisions made by a patient while they were still of sound mind and body were not really what the patient would want when they were no longer able to voice their wishes.  In short, the one arguing that health care reform would take away your choices was actually arguing that your wishes should not be followed if she (or someone else) didn’t personally agree with them– that your choices should be ignored.  Why?  Because you wouldn’t really know what you wanted unless you were unconscious and unable to convey your wishes?

Then McCaughey referred to as “”  It’s nice to think that Fact Check is the only fact checking site or source out there.  Unfortunately, there are several, and I haven’t found one that agrees with her.  And invoking, as our former vice president found out, is a sure fire way to get them to respond.  Calling the nonpartisan watchdog groups liars isn’t exactly the best way to prove your point.

Oddly enough, McCaughey resigned the next day.  From what?  Well it might explain where her true interests lie, but McCaughey was the director of a medical company.  The company, among other things, sells medical equipment and would likely have a much smaller bottom line after the passage of a health care reform bill.  Sounds familiar.

Posted in Federal Government, Health and Wellness, Laugh It Off, Mainstream Media | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on and Jon Stewart vs. Betsy McCaughey

An Idea for Those Who Favor Reform

Posted by ALmod on August 15, 2009

On the heels of my last, rather heated post, I have a rather interesting idea to “rally the troops” so to speak for the proponents of health care reform.

How about an organized effort to demand that opposing senators and congressmen opt-out of their own government health care plans?  Make ’em honest.  There’s nothing I’d love to see more than a t-shirt or two that says, “Give up my government option?  You first!”

Posted in Federal Government, Health and Wellness, Legislation | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Health Reform Opponents Adhere to Wizard’s Rules

Posted by ALmod on August 14, 2009

Brace yourselves for a long ride.

Wizard’s First Rule:

“People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.”

Wizard’s Third Rule:

“Passion rules reason.”

Wizard’s Fifth Rule:

“Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.”

I’m a big fan of Terry Goodkind and his Sword of Truth series.  And yes, I’ve been watching the Sam Raimi television adaptation.   But it hit me this week just how much some of his work really applies to various things in politics– particularly the opposition to health care reform, the first rule in particular.  It’s the first rule for a reason.

It still amazes me how many people have really latched onto the falsehoods being spread by opponents.  It’s so easy to get the truth, but people refuse to believe the truth.  Why?  Well maybe the lie is more interesting.  It’s much more dramatic to think that someone is going to create “death panels”, ration health care, take your money to give care to people who don’t deserve it (That would be everyone but YOU, of course.), pay for abortions with tax dollars, and turn us into the new USSR.  That’s a rather exciting notion, and it’s one that would be GREAT for a fiction novel.  Reading any of the actual proposals (because there isn’t really a single bill to be for or against just yet) is just… well… boring.  Finding out the truth– that in reality not much is going to change for the average patient, except maybe not having to worry so much about whether or not your next surgery will cost you your home– is boring.

But these lies are just that– fiction.  And yes, they’re lies.  I’m not going to soften it. These lies are currently being spread by some of my fellow bloggers– some that I provide links to over on the right side of this page.  Some of them read this blog, and you know who you are.  If you’ve insinuated any of the ones on this Fact Check article, you’re lying.  You’re helping to spread ignorance.  You’re hurting America.  Period.  If you don’t know any better, inform yourself.  Otherwise, I’m left to reason that you’re purposely misleading the public for whatever nefarious purposes.  More on that in a little bit.

Even the people who are currently railing against reform have admitted in the past that America’s current situation is less than stellar.  So much for horror stories about government systems.  We have our own in a perfectly privatized system.  We have rationing, too, if you want something else to worry about.  Nobody is claiming that a government option or single payer system would be perfect– just better.  And there’s more than ample evidence to back that up.  On average, people who live in countries with government health care pay less, live healthier, and live longer.  That’s one fact you don’t hear opponents touch.  Rather, they tend to single out one-in-a-million horror stories while the medical malpractice lawsuits in the U.S. pile up.

The truth is that the lower classes aren’t hurt by lack of reform.  The middle/working class is what suffers.  The poor qualify for government programs, but the middle class simply makes too much money to qualify for most.  (The rich can afford whatever they like, so it doesn’t affect them, either.)  The way the system is currently set up, one could observe that it actually ENCOURAGES people to do worse so that they can qualify for government assistance, as the chances of hitting the lottery are very low.  It encourages a greater gap between the haves and have-nots.

So if the current system is set up to work against the hard workers of America, who make up a majority, why on earth would someone want to perpetuate support for it?  The answer is simple.  There is a mindset, a cult if you will, among certain people in power that they deserve that power and are entitled to certain benefits of that power.  And the only way for them to keep that power is for them to encourage the majority of people not in the same position as they are that it is somehow in their better interests to support them.

Wizard’s Third Rule:

“Passion rules reason.”

I know.  I know.  I sound like some government conspiracy theorist who needs to get out her tin foil hat.  But I’m not talking about the government as a whole.  I’m talking about select individuals who really do believe this.  And while there may be more than a few who don’t technically believe it, those who do have a nasty habit of gaining support, and so others may perpetuate ideas favorable to them.  Think of them as “goupies.”  And groupies can be in positions of power or member of the media and will basically parrot whatever their heroes on pedistals tell them.  And when groupies speak, “minions” listen.  (Okay, so I’m making these words up, but I don’t know if there’s really a set word for it.)  It’s not exactly a new phenomenon, and it’s a common formula in corporations and churches.  The elite order the few, and the few run the masses.  It’s more complicated than that, of course, but that’s it in a nutshell.

How do you spot it?  Well, let’s look at the Wizard’s Fifth Rule:

“Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.”

So back to the privileged elite.  The deserve power.  They deserve special treatment.  They deserve entitlements.  That’s what they believe, and it’s what they want you to believe.  If you don’t believe that, then go read a right-wing blog for a week or so.  Why else would countless waves of supporters from the middle class argue against their own best interests because of a program that, they believe, will “punish the wealthy” or “punish the corporations”?  Trust me.  The wealthy and corporations have ample representation in D.C. It’s okay for you, the middle class, to stand up for YOUR rights.  Be a little bit selfish.  You’re not exactly defending the meek or the helpless, though it would be nice if you did help someone who truly met that definition.

So with all these people fighting for the rights and interests of the wealthy and overlooking the needs of the middle class, the workers, is it any wonder that those who have their minions railing against government entitlements are some of the biggest beneficiaries?  Why don’t any of those attendees of town halls held by Republican congressmen railing against government health care ask those congressmen where they get their health care?  Being on government health care must really suck for them, which is of course why they’re railing against it.  I mean, it’s not like any of them are rich enough to purchase a private plan instead.  And I know none of them would ever justify having someone else pay for their health care– like the taxpayers.  Taxpayers should not be burdened with paying for the health care of others– unless it’s someone who can already afford to purchase their own.  Yeah, that makes sense.

What is true, and what these congressmen don’t want to admit, is that the fact that they prefer the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to a private insurer is proof that the government is perfectly capable of running a quality health care option.  They just believe that they deserve it and you don’t.  I mean, just because you work for a living doesn’t mean you deserve anything.  I wouldn’t imply that.  But if you belong to an elite group that can spend billions every two years to win a glorified popularity contest– now that’s something.

The situation is reminiscent of the European caste system.  The lower classes were kept in their place by, among other things, denying them proper access to education.  Few could even read.  Nowadays, the only person keeping any American from information is themselves.  But those in power are always ready to pounce on willful ignorance– which is what brings me back to Wizard’s First Rule.

“People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.”

Know your place, middle class.  You don’t deserve a health care system as good as the French or the Japanese or the British.  At least, that’s what we’re being told to think.

Posted in Entertainment, Federal Government, Health and Wellness, Legislation, Scandal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

On Privacy

Posted by ALmod on August 12, 2009

I have to give a tip of the hat to Joe Windish over at The Moderate Voice for finding this.  I needed a good laugh.

As he points out, you should go back and watch the news ticker at the bottom.  There is an absolutely side-splitting headline.

Those darn EULAs.

Posted in Laugh It Off | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on On Privacy

Utter FAIL in the Attempt to Argue Against Government Health Care

Posted by ALmod on August 11, 2009

This made me giggle more than just a little bit.

In a nutshell…  A conservative editorial decided to criticize the British health care system in an attempt to argue how us having such a system would be oh-so-horrible and of course went straight to the rationed health care and euthanasia scare tactics.  Of course, their point would be moot anyway, since the proposed reform would be nothing like that in the U.K. or Canada.  They have since corrected themselves, but before the edit, they wrote the following:

“People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”

Anyone notice a small problem with that argument?

Stephen Hawking has indeed defied the odds when it comes to surviving ALS.  Most die a little over a year after they’ve been diagnosed.  Some might argue that it’s partially due to exceptional health care.  There’s only one small problem with the above argument.  Stephen Hawking is British.

That would be the sound of the British laughing at our right-wing friends right about now.

Now the fun part will be seeing who ends up repeating the editorial in question.

Posted in Federal Government, Health and Wellness, Laugh It Off | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Utter FAIL in the Attempt to Argue Against Government Health Care

Sen. Sessions to Host Town Hall on Health Care

Posted by ALmod on August 11, 2009

Because the best person to inform the public on a bill is someone who’s vehemently opposed to it and tends to encourage misinformation?  And of course, the glass-eyed masses in this state will eat it up like ice cream.  Not that they’re interested in any serious discussion on the issue, or the truth, for that matter.  Just a few predictions on things that will be “drilled home” with the faithful:

Illegal immigrants will have health care paid for by taxpayers.

“They don’t want illegal immigrants getting the same health care as tax-paying, law-abiding Americans.”

How, exactly?  A public option is simply that, and just like Medicare, folks would be required to have a card and identification.  Even Canadians who have a single payer (which is not being discussed seriously) have social insurance cards.  Of course, there’s always the possibility of identity theft, but that happens now under private plans as well as government plans, and it’s just as illegal.  Nobody is discussing free health care for illegal immigrants.  Period.  Only about 21% of the uninsured are immigrants, and that includes those who are here legally (as in those who pay taxes, too).

A public option is designed to insure people who don’t “earn their keep.”

“They don’t want to spend a bundle of money they don’t have to insure millions of Americans who can’t afford to pay for their own policies.”

This is simply untrue.  As you can see from this Fact Check article, the uninsured has almost nothing to do with not being able to afford health care.  “Twenty percent of the uninsured have family incomes of greater than $75,000 per year, according to the Census Bureau…  Even higher-income jobs don’t always offer employer-sponsored insurance, and not everyone who wants private insurance is able to get it.”  In fact, the problem isn’t entirely limited to those without coverage.  Rather, some with coverage are denied benefits later based on whatever loophole the insurer is able to find.

Speaking of broke people…  I forget the numbers, but there are  quite a few bankruptcy filings that are the direct result of medical costs.  Many of those are from people who actually had insurance.  I wonder what the overall effect to the economy would be as a result of removing those medical costs from the equation.

And we all know how Sessions feels about the uninsured…  Those children ought to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and buy their own health insurance.

Democrats bad.  Republicans good.

Parker Griffith is a fine example of how people just don’t pay attention to what is actually going on.  The poor guy is a member of the Blue Dogs and has very loudly proclaimed his opposition to what’s currently out there, but that didn’t stop some rather disturbing scenes at a recent press conference.

“They complained he was scared to hold a town hall meeting of his own, regardless of the fact that he held one in Huntsville in early July. He said his staff is working out the details for another such meeting this month in the Shoals.”

Yeppers.  The opposition won’t let little things like “truth” and “facts” get in the way of their outrage.  It makes me wonder how many of these yahoos showing up at the town halls are birthers.  Then again, I probably don’t want to know.

It’s “socialism.”

In the words of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”  In all seriousness, the word “socialism” gets thrown around so much that it’s hard for me to take it in any form of seriouness.  I’d imagine that it’s having that affect on a lot of people, since it was thrown around quite heavily in the last election, for all the good it did.  The reason why it continues to be used is because it conjures up pictures of Nazis in the heads of the weak-minded.  Yes, the idea of using taxes to pay for public services could possibly be defined as like socialism, but it’s far from the actual thing.  And regardless of that, we’re far from becoming a Nazi state.  The thing that politicians and their nodding, smiling (when they’re not foaming and shouting) minions are calling “socialist” is the same principle that is applied to schools, police protection, fire departments, water and utilities, road work, etc.  And yes, there are some things that should be considered rights and no privilleges, and those things are better left to government as oppposed to private industry.  Can you imagine the expense if you had to pay a private organization for all these services?  Not to mention, could you imagine the chaos if different companies were working in the same areas for some of these things?  I happen to be one of thos people who thinks that health care is one of those things that should be a right, and that it’s better organized and less expensive in the hands of government.  And considering that countries with have government-run health care pay less for better care and live longer…  I’d say there’s good evidence to support my belief.  We aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel, here.

The elderly will be euthanized.

Mark my words.  Some form of this will be encouraged.  None of it is even close to being true.  The language that many of these people are referring to is actually describing counseling every five years on setting up a living will.  As for “cutting Medicare expenses” as some have latched onto, what’s being discussed is how to cut out unnecessary tests and procedures by those who are trying to milk the system and essentially drive up costs for everyone.  I’m talking about that doctor who actually ran a blood test on me to diagnose an ear infection and the other doctor who decided that a freak one-time high cholesterol test was cause to put me on expensive medication for the next 50 years of my life rather than attempt diet and exercise first.  Both were situations that I actually experience, and for the record, my cholesterol was better than normal at my checkup the following year– without any expensive meds, I might add.  It doesn’t just happen with humans, either.  Keep an eye on your vet bills, folks.

And kudos to the team at The Daily Show for coming up with this piece regarding the “death panels” comment by Sara Palin.  I was in stitches last night, no pun intended.


…is what you call what’s happening now.  Most (if not all) plans out there now have limits on what they’ll cover.  Even if you wish to have a covered procedure, the insurance company can deny coverage should they find a loophole.  No, the government isn’t going to cover every single thing you want them to, but neither is private insurance.  Chances are, you’ll actually get more coverage from a public plan.

You won’t be able to choose your doctor.

Not true.  You should be able to keep whatever doctor you like.  The truth is that it’s actually private insurers who force you to stay “in network” with the doctors you select.

Horror stories!

Medical malpractice happens under private insurance, too.  Denial of coverage happens under private insurance.  In fact, it’s more likely.  Next.

Abortions will be covered!

Not even close. Sorry.  Next.

We do want reform.

Okay.  Here ya go, Skippy.  What are you going to do?  What exactly is this profound revelation you have for us that is going to put our health care on par with other industrialized countries?

Yeah, that’s what I thought you were going to say.

Posted in Federal Government, Health and Wellness, Legislation, Public Outrage | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Sen. Sessions to Host Town Hall on Health Care