Health care reform controversy comes to Grove City

Yesterday, Grove City got involved.

Americans for Prosperity rolled through town collecting signatures on a petition opposing more government control of health care.

I wrote about the visit at World Magazine, just up today. Actually, I wrote the article sitting in the Four Star Pizza. They’re all wireless and tasty in there.

gc

Unpaid protester

GC crowd

People waiting to sign the petition

AFP Bus

Americans for Prosperity bus

  • Lynn David

    Careful, the soy they use in those pizzas will turn you gay.

    Asked why she opposed the president’s version of healthcare reform, Urmson said, “He wants to change Medicare and I am very happy with my Medicare. . . . I had a major surgery and they took care of everything.”

    He does? I guess he wants to make it more efficient. But she’s being selfish, she’s happy that she has a health plan, and not to happy to allow others who fall through the cracks get one themselves. I suddenly see the elderly retired in a different, much less sympathetic light. She wants less or not more government control over her health care plan? Her health-care plan is nearly completely government controlled right now!

    .

    Americans for Prosperty (Foundation) is on the Tenth Floor of 1726 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20036. Same as another conservative organization, the Independant Women’s Forum. And I’ve seen Google addresses for the AFP state affiliates of Maryland and Arizona at that same address.

    .

    Tim Phillips who is the president of the AFP was formerly a lobbyist and campaign strategist. Odd he worked for Bush in 2000, he put the guy in there that has spent this country into the ground the last 8 years on a war (Iraq) that should not have been fought and raised deficit spending to a new art form not seen since the like of Ronald Reagan. Then there is Phillips work for Enron, a job he supposedly got through his contacts with Karl Rove who later put him to work for Bush 2000. Need we say more? Oh, he tried to block Native Americans from buidling casinos at the behest of Jack Abramoff.

    .

    You might see, Tim Phillips the man behind “Americans for Prosperity” Corporate Front Factory. Yes, it’s a liberal blog….

    The rate at which the Koch Industries funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) churns out front groups to promote its right-wing corporate agenda sets the organization out among similar conservative “think tanks.” This week, AFP created their latest front group called “Patients United Now,” an entity set up to defeat health care reform. Patients United follows a familiar pattern AFP has used for their other front groups: create a new stand alone website, fill it with lines like “We are people just like you” to give the site a grassroots feel, and then use the new group to recruit supporters and run deceptive advertisements attacking reform. This “astroturfing” model has been used by AFP to launch groups pushing distortions against other progressive priorities:

    Maybe you ought to append your article with a little reality check.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Lynn David – If the President wants to make Medicare more like Medicare Advantage plans, that would be fine with me. However, he cannot save 177 billion in the process. The money not spent giving private insurers Medicare money will have to go to provide those services in regular Medicare. I think it will cost more that 177 billion to do that.

    If he wants to make Medicare Advantage more efficient, that is fine too but he cannot simply cut the amount of subsidies and expect the same care.

    The woman in the pic and my mother in law and others with Medicare Advantage plans will probably see cuts in services and an increase in hassle contrary to what Obama is promising. Selfish? We all are selfish I suppose when something we have taken for granted is about to be removed.

  • Jayhuck

    Warren,

    The Right has gone a LOOOOOONG way to scare people about “government-controlled healthcare” – c’mon!!!! I’m so incredibly tired of these kinds of tactics.

    I said it before and I’ll say it again – no one wants “government-controlled healthcare” – whatever that really means, yet NO ONE wants to give up their Medicaid and/or Medicare – LOL! I find that amusing.

    We are going to bicker and fight until the healthcare in this country gets SO bad we will finally do something about it. Its not there yet but we are well on our way.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Obama is lying to the American people about Medicare Advantage plans. He says they add nothing to seniors. I know directly that is not true.

  • Jayhuck

    I’m not sure what Obama specifically said about Medicare Advantage or what he meant – I DO know that The Right is lying about what Obama’s plan will and will not do: things like, euthanizing your grandparents or rationing or outlawing private insurance – my FAVORITE was watching Rush Limbaugh compare Obama’s healthcare logo to the Swastika – LOL!

  • Pathia

    It’s nice that they have coverage despite being older and probably have had coverage most of their lives. Many cannot get coverage now, at all, I have no clue what I would do under the current format thirty forty years from now. Assuming I am even still alive.

    Is there a limit on bankruptcies you can file? That’s the only way I’ll be making it to retirement age.

  • Mary

    I do know that the white privileged are fighting back and don’t want to give up their positions. But then … they start sounding like spoiled children who have no idea what other Americans (did I say Americans) are going through for us to sacrifice our health so that they can maintain theirs under the current format. I pay taxes and into social security, cannot get insurance at a reasonable cost but help maintain the current programs for these white privileged senior citizens. Yeah – I love the status quo. I might be more ameniable to a conversation if they just admitted that I am and many others such as Pathia are carrying their load and sacrificing our own. What children do these people speak of that will be harnessed with a huge debt? I’ve got it already and without the benefits of adequate health coverage (thank God I am very healthy except for mental depression) They speak of their own children – maybe – and certainly not of mine.

  • carole

    I think there are several basic concerns, all valid, IMO, of those who say, “No. Let’s look more carefully at this.”

    1) I became obvious early on that the admin did indeed think they could ram this through before the August recess with their super majority. Their very insistence that they do this is one reason the American people got suspicious. If their ideas were so good, if they made such sense, then why the need to ram it through so quickly? If ideas are good, can stand of their own accord, they will stand up even against opposition and the people know this. The admin bears responsiblity for the way they decided to proceed; it indeed reeks of Chicago politics and once again doesn’t deliver on “transparency.”

    So, the first thing that made people wary, then out and out ticked them off was that the admin wanted to proceed w/out public input. A man that campaigned touted transparency looked as if he was doing too much behind closed doors.

    2. People are upset by the admin’s persistent claim that the program will pay for itself. They know that is an out and out lie so once again the admin undermined itself.

    The Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan entity, has twice released their projections of its cost and has said the White House’s projections are simply not accurate/ Added to the already huge budget deficits, people sense the craziness of spending like this. I know people who rarely pay attention to the specifics of legislation, yet weeks and weeks ago they pointed to news reports of what the CBO said. I have to note also that these are not elderly people but those in their 40s, those who realize just how little of their pay check they will see after taxes for the rest of their lives.

    The admin keeps insisting that the cost savings from prevention will achieve their goals of cost savings. The problem is that many innovative insurance companies, particularly HMOs such as Kaiser Permanente (to which I have belonged for the last three years) began such prevention programs in the 70s and 80s. This was hailed as a way of improving health and achieving cost savings, and Kaiser’s model was watched carefully as a harbinger of improved health insurance programs. However, Kaiser eventually dropped most of their programs of prevention because just the opposite happened–they incurred greater costs. Even CNN, hardly an Obama-basher of a network, had a piece debunking the cost-savings of prevention programs.

    3. Many people know personally of people who live in countries in which health care is single payer, univeral. Cries of of “misinformation” have a hard time competing against the stories that real people know to be true from their real friends and relatives. Several years ago, long before the health battles began here, my neighbor’s father from Alberta had a stroke, what was termed a small stroke, leaving him with slurring of speech and weakness on one side. He couldn’t use eating utensils with his affected arm, and he couldn’t walk by himself because he could barely drag a leg. The Canadian plan took care of him very well during the initial phase of the stroke. However, he was sent home and provided with no after-care physical therapy; because he was able to eat and because his wife was deemed able to take care of him, they put him in a wheelchair and sent him home. He was 68 at the time.

    My neighbor, ticked off as you might imagine, brought back his dad and paid for private physical therapy for him at one of the many physical therapy facilities in a near-by town. That is the system that awaits us under this health “reform” only worse, since the Canadian population is very small compared to ours. This is not the only Canadian story I know, but my point is that I know the story to be true, not some urban legend and there are millions like me who also know true stories. We all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch for most of us. To get something, something really good, you have to pay for it. If you “save” you have to cut something out. I can see what has been cut out of the Canadian system. I don’t like it.

    You can improve something, to a degree, w/out tearing what is right apart.

    4. Unfortunately, there are other factors on top of all these. There are elephants in the room, involving factors that go beyond the obvious questions about money, health care, health management, supply and demand.

    They say there are 40-60 million people w/out medical insurance. Many of those don’t want to pay for it yet can afford it. I know many such people who have made that choice. They have jobs and are young and don’t worry about getting sick and so choose not to pay for health care in their 20s. Others are the working poor. There are a variety of reasons why these people are the working poor. Some are poor through circumstances that are no fault of their own, many because they’ve made bad choices in their lives. For instance, I am astounded at the number of educated people who fall into this category. Their lack of a good job with medical insurance is not the fault of society. Add to these in CA alone, millions of illegals.

    Those who say it’s only fair that all have the same medical care need to listen carefully to those who present the other point of view. If a stranger or even your neighbor came to you and asked you to pay for their rent each month, to pay for their food bill each month, to pay for their heating bills each month, to pay for their clothes bill each month, would you feel that their request was “fair”? Would you indeed pay their bills for them, at all or indefinitely?

    Well, those Americans who have indeed paid for their medical care all their lives are now being asked to foot the bill for others who have not paid their fair share, for those, in fact, who’ve paid no share at all. They are being asked to pay for those who have chosen not to pay into the system. They are being asked to pay for those who’ve squandered what money they have on big-screen tvs, fancy cars, every material possession imaginable while they themselves have scrimped and saved responsibly and gone w/out the material possessions that others have amassed. They are being asked to pay for the medical costs of people who are having babies at an unbelievable rate in an irresponsible way. They are being asked to pay for those who are not even citizens.

    And they now remember the cries of “redistribution of wealth” during the election.

    Surely if you agree with even one of these factors, you understand their concern about proceeding slowly and their suspicion and anger at anyone who tries to ram this through.

    5. Lastly, some who are politically interested people, recall Tom Daschle’s book about health care reform. They know that Daschle was Obama’s choice for point man for this reform. They recall hearing newsmen read the page in Daschle’s book about how seniors (BTW, after 55 you are a “senior”) “would just have to get used” to getting scaled-down tests and care. To such a “senior” do you think it makes sense for them to prefer keeping their private insurance or go to a government program? And, don’t you think they realize that if they keep their private insurance (to which they contribute a good chuck of their monthly income) they don’t also want to have to pay increased taxes to support a government program for those the others?

    6. Oh, and about the private insurance which the President says people can keep. YOu don’t think it makes people suspicious for good reason when they see video of him in 2003 in which he says he wants a single payer universal program but that he and his constituents can’t get it until the White House and Congress are reclaimed? (which has been done) You don’t think his claim that people can keep private insurance are undermined by recent video of Barney Frank saying he is very unhappy with the House’s “compromise” with the Blue Dog Democrats but that the compromise is the only way they can “eventually” get the univeral, single-payer plan for all Americans? Or the video of California’s own Maxine Waters saying the very same thing–that they will have to live with the compromise so that they can “get the single payer” in a few years?

    Is it any wonder the people are suspicious?

  • Mary

    But you can’t deny that congress has a single payer system and they get the best health care in the world. How do you compare that discrepancy with other CITIZENS in this nation?

    We are not all lazy good for nothing unemployed people w/o insurance.

    And I’m sorry – stroke guy should have done what I have to – take care of my health before it becomes an issue. Stroke is preventable. If the old geezer wants to eat poorly, not exercise, and not go in for preventitive health screenings to know his BP and cholesterol – then screw him – he doesn’t deserve better health care after he strokes out. And niether do people who overeat, don’t exercise, have diabetes Type II, and out of control BP and cholesterol. Poor health of their own making but they are insured!

  • Mary

    Anyone dare to bring up the origin of ‘Blue Bloods”

  • Pathia

    Carole,

    I can’t buy health insurance, I could afford it, but no insurance company will provide me a plan. Exactly what am I supposed to do? I could afford upwards to 200-300 a month for a health care plan, but no one will offer me one.

    Instead I am stuck with paying $500+ every time I visit my specialists, who have to run $1500-2500 a month of tests on me every six months. I pay off what I can, but my medical debt regularly exceeds my entire salary several fold.

    There is no one that will insure me, because of that, I am expensive. If no one wants to sell me a plan, exactly *WHAT* am I supposed to do? I find it ironic that the right is talking about ‘death panels’ when quite literally, I am planning on moving out of this country, because this one is killing me, albeit slowly, with the current health care system. I cannot continue as I am, using the ER as a primary care physician, it’s just not feasible, but it’s my only option 90% of the time.

  • carole

    Mary, said,

    And I’m sorry – stroke guy should have done what I have to – take care of my health before it becomes an issue. Stroke is preventable. If the old geezer wants to eat poorly, not exercise, and not go in for preventitive health screenings to know his BP and cholesterol – then screw him – he doesn’t deserve better health care after he strokes out. And niether do people who overeat, don’t exercise, have diabetes Type II, and out of control BP and cholesterol. Poor health of their own making but they are insured!

    Surely you recognize that what we know about diabetes (type 2), stroke, heart health, etc. is greater today than when my neighbor’s dad was born. Recall I said that this happened several years ago and he was 68 then! BTW, I met the dad and he was not overweight, Mary. I’d point out, therefore, that young people have, with the medical knowledge we have now, a greater opportunity to prevent some of these issues from developing.

    However, Mary, my own father at 5′ll” never weighed more than 170 pounds in his life and that was muscle, muscle from hard, hard work yet he had coronary artery disease (which is now believed to be caused a by low-grade chronic infection caused by bacteria). At the age of 72 he had by-pass surgery and suffered a stroke a month later. He received therapy and was able to talk and walk again.

    I am rather surprised at your response, Mary. I fully concur that Americans can do much do improve their health and their likelihood of developing disease. My sister’s type 2 diabetes and the damage it has done is no doubt due to her bad diet over the years; however, are you trying to argue that chronic and acute diseases/illnesses that afflict millions are always avoidable? Really? Like my good friend, a non-smoker, a health fanatic, who dropped dead from an aneurysm? Or most cancer victims? What have they done to cause their cancer, Mary?

    BTW, members of Congress do not have a single payer system. They are given a choice of plans as my employer has given me. If your point is that congressmen and women should have to reap what they sow, I would agree. If they force me into a single payer system, I believe they should have to opt for the same thing.

  • carole

    Pathia,

    It is because of people who are in your circumstance that I wish to reform health care for those with “pre-existing conditions.”

    My point, therefore, is that we need to address that, not throw out the baby with the bath water.

    And, we need to allow interstate commerce for health care as we do other insurances, and we need to undo the notion that health care for groups must be tied to a job.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    carole said:

    BTW, members of Congress do not have a single payer system. They are given a choice of plans as my employer has given me. If your point is that congressmen and women should have to reap what they sow, I would agree. If they force me into a single payer system, I believe they should have to opt for the same thing.

    Some Democratic congressmen have been asked in town hall meetings if they will choose the public option, and to my knowledge, none have said they will. If any reader has different information, please post it.

    I favor health insurance reform which would be tied to a better funding of the nation’s health care infrastructure. I just don’t favor this plan.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Lynn David – The pizzas at 4star are soy free :)

  • Mary

    Okay – Congress has a choice and good choices that don’t drop them when illness comes their way.

    For all those people who want to do away with government funding in health care reform – then get their parents off Medicare and don’t dip into that pot because I’d like some health care and I support government funding.

  • Mary

    Oh – and this – those choices are provided to them by one single entity – the government.

  • carole

    Mary, said,

    Oh – and this – those choices are provided to them by one single entity – the government.

    Mary, the choices offered them include Blue Cross, Blue Shield, etc. That is not what is meant by a single-payer system.

    And said,

    For all those people who want to do away with government funding in health care reform – then get their parents off Medicare and don’t dip into that pot because I’d like some health care and I support government funding.

    What “government funding”? Huh?

    And…why should someone who worked from 18-65 and is ready to use the Medicare into which he or she paid for 40 to 50 years “get…off Medicare” for anyone? They paid into it all those years. You are more valuable than they? You’ve paid in more than they?

    And why should someone 65 years of age who has paid into Medicare since he or she was 18 som

  • Mary

    I’m saying if they are afforded Medicare – so should I be afforded governement help with health insurance. Since the time that a 65 yo today started working at 18or whenever, health insurance has changed substantially. I can’t get the same care that someone of 65 could years ago or today.

    Also, I know BlueCross, BlueShield etc… is offered to congress. Duh? That’s offered to them and not one of them has been purged from the insurance company or been denied a health service. If the admin is suggesting a more competitive system that includes more government funding to people like myself – it can only drive competition and prices down and services up. That’s basic economics. And as an active participant of this country, I should not have to wait until I am 65 to get health insurance (which under the current system will not be available by that time) I pay NOW into that system and am denied health insurance at a reasonable cost??? C’mon?

    My health is important, too.

  • Mary

    It just irks me that I am paying for some old fat person who smokes to get health care instead of me. I know not all people on Medicare are that person – but they all have a pre-existing condition and I’M PAYING for that instead of for myself? My taxes pay congress and not one of them has been denied insurance – find anyone and I’ll eat my words.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    Just to be clear – I don’t think anyone is more important or more deserving of health care than anyone else. I’d just like to be able to access affordable good health care because I pay taxes and I practice preventative health care. It angers me that I pay taxes for others who are less interested in their health and I cannot access the same services – and I cost less to maintain. I work hard why am I not compensated and all actuaries show that the same system today will not be able to afford me later – so who exactly is getting my money? Old people who have health problems caused by poor health habits over a longer life span.

  • Pathia

    Carole,

    My problem is not necessarily a ‘pre-existing condition’ (Though I have that for other reasons too) problem, as much as insurance companies refuse to insure transsexuals, even when I file a legal briefing explaining I will make no claims related to that condition while on their plan.

    It’s a legal matter, allowed by exceptions in ADA law and a few other places, mostly put in place by Jesse Helms. It’s not legal for me to complain, because it is considered perfectly illegal to terminate all sorts of services due to my ‘lifestyle’.

  • Pathia

    Perfectly LEGAL rather.

  • Mary

    Look at the people in those pictures. I see – high BP, cholesterol medication, over weight, bad psoture, etc… arthritis, eye deterioration, non protective clothing from UV rays, but hey…. what do they care spending my dollar for their excesses.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    carole – Nice try.

    Mary – Don’t hold back; I wouldn’t want you to restrain yourself on how you really feel about people and their bad posture and eye deterioration. When Obama is done, he will make sure you are in charge of making sure we all stand up straight and wear sunscreen.

  • timothy kincaid

    Why do i somehow suspect that those assigned by the govt the task of doling out healthcare will have an attitude similar to Mary’s?

    And should Huckabee or someone similar get in power, I have no doubt that my “lifestyle” will disqualify me from healthcare.

    In general, I prefer keeping politicians out of my life as much as possible. And that gooes doubly for my healthcare.

  • carole

    Mary,

    The House plan and Obama’s vision of health care would NOT have provided “good health care” –emphasis on “good”– for anyone, and that’s the problem.

    It would have given mediocre health care to everyone. I am speaking in the past tense since after listening to news reports today it appears the public option may be a sinking ship ( fingers crossed.)

    To say we need a better health care system is not the same thing as to say the House plan or Obama’s plan would have provided a better health care system. People realize there are other ways of reforming what is wrong and keeping what is good, but the admin didn’t want dialogue until the people rose up and legistators realized their re-election tails were in trouble with their arrogant attitudes.

    You said,

    I’d just like to be able to access affordable good health care because I pay taxes and I practice preventative health care.

    And I think we all need to work hard at that. I don’t blame you for wanting that. I want it for you.

    It angers me that I pay taxes for others who are less interested in their health and I cannot access the same services – and I cost less to maintain.

    But Mary, you cannot know how much you will cost at some point to “”maintain.” You could get a viral infection tomorrow that causes hospitalization. You could have an appendicitis attack. You could develop cancer. You might be struck in a crosswalk and taken by ambulance for surgery….how can you know your future “maintenance costs”. BTW, many Americans are very health conscious and many people much older than you (I really don’t know your age, admittedly) have never smoked, never been overweight, and have exercised. Age, however, is an evitability for them… and for you…and with age comes illness.

    I can’t blame you for being angry that you feel health care costs are beyond your reach. How much would be “affordable”?

    You point out that you have been paying into this system and getting nothing in return right now. So did “they.” They were paying into it while their parents drew on it. Same for every generation.

    I too have a gripe. I paid in to social security yet can never collect it when I reach 65 because my California teacher’s retirement system into which I paid for over three decades doesn’t allow me to “double dip” as they call it. It’s a rather inappropriate term, considering I paid into BOTH systems. I lose my medical coverage from the school district when I turn 65, still a few years away. However, because I did pay into Medicare, it’s supposed to be there for me. I already plan on having to pay for a supplement to Medicare and have been saving for years to do so. Like everyone, I see that it would benefit me to have a system that is reliable and affordable. However, I am one who never believes you buy a pig in a poke. The devil is always in the details.

    You said,

    I work hard why am I not compensated and all actuaries show that the same system today will not be able to afford me later – so who exactly is getting my money? Old people who have health problems caused by poor health habits over a longer life span.

    Old people? So, are you saying that as you age, you will not get sick and ever have to be “maintained” by the system as these “old people” are? You are going to outwit age? Tell us the secret.

    Furthermore, you are really generalizing : how do you know that most of these “old people” have problems caused by “poor health habits”? After all, it’s the younger generations, even those in their teens and those in their 20s and 30s and 40s that comprise the highest % of diabetics in the United States–not the older generation who was not raised on boxed food and fast food. So, one generation has health problems because of smoking (mostly men) and the younger generations have chronic health problems because because of a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. It appears it’s a wash.

    I am hopeful that in the next few months the two parties will act more like adults, sit down together, and work out a bill that addresses some major problems but not throw the baby out with the bath water. To do that, idealogues have to sit this one out.

  • carole

    Pathia,

    Let’s hope that a new era has arrived.

    As for your particular medical problem, I suspect you might not get what you’d like under a government system at all–they’d think you cost too much.

    I suspect that people with your circumstances might be looked upon as those who drive a Ferrari are–your insurance will cost more.

    I also think that tort reform would help someone like you in that the reason your waiver means nothing to an insurance company is because they know that a good trial attorney and a jury who always sees corporate America as having deep pockets often treat that signature on a waiver as dirty tissue–it’s meaningless when a civil suit is filed. However, the admin has not addressed tort reform.

  • carole

    @Warren

    carole – Nice try.

    I never learn, Warren.

  • carole

    I said,

    Age, however, is an evitability for them…

    Whoops. Meant “Age and what comes with it is an inevitability for them…”

  • carole

    A timely article about our Canadian friends’ system from their “top doc”:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jbjzPEY0Y3bvRD335rGu_Z3KXoQw

  • Mary

    Life is inevitable. Everyone deserves quality health care.

  • Pathia

    Carole,

    I would not cost much at all, if the drugs I needed weren’t on patent in this country. I manage to self medicate myself for roughly 1/20th the cost from imported drugs. Those are the primary cost of me being me, so to speak month to month.

    Most of the rest of my extreme medical bills came from bouts of pneumonia. I was homeless off and on from 19 to 24 years old, and I got pneumonia every winter. I racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical debt from that. I wouldn’t have gotten a single case of it most likely if I had access to care outside of the ER.

    The reason I cost so much is because I don’t have insurance. If i had it, my ‘upkeep’ so to speak, is not high. I’m not like a diabetic, if I get sick, it isn’t instant. It’s a chronic lack of care that has gotten me to where I am.

    Incidentally, I have friends in Canada, UK and Netherlands who have the exact same condition I do, or at least similar levels of treatment/payment needed. None of them have been euthanize yet and some of them are in their 50′s now. Something I won’t see, unless something changes.

    If after all this mess is cleared up, if I STILL can’t get insurance or health care, then my next bankruptcy will include throwing away my citizenship for this uncaring, brutal, discriminatory country. Good riddance.

  • Mary

    Yeah, I’m always surprised when somone pulls out one instance of someone not receiving good care in the UK, FRance etc… and want someone like myself to assume this is happening to everyone. Lots of details missing from these stories. Just scare tactics – while other Americans who pay taxes for Medicare etc.. for people who have poor lifestyle choices (smoking, overeating, drinking etc..) This system is broken and need to be reformed.

  • carole

    Pathia and Mary,

    No one that I can see is arguing with you that the system needs reform. But the proposals you have seen/heard/read of for universal health care or the single payer system or the public option are offered are not a panacea for the”system” that needs restructuring and so far neither of you has addressed that.

    Mary, I asked you a question: how much in dollar figures would it cost you to purchase what you consider a good health care insurance policy? Also, I’d like to point out that if one is on Medicare and wants a doctor of their choice, Mary, they pay a hefty sum for a supplemental insurance policy. You seem to think that Medicare pays for anything and everything–NO!

    Pathia, when will these drugs lose their patent and become generic?

    I am also left a bit confused by this statement:

    Most of the rest of my extreme medical bills came from bouts of pneumonia. I was homeless off and on from 19 to 24 years old, and I got pneumonia every winter. I racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical debt from that. I wouldn’t have gotten a single case of it most likely if I had access to care outside of the ER.

    1. I don’t understand why you couldn’t have gone to a physician/clinic when you developed symptoms of a respiratory infection or when you began to develop symptoms. I live in what is considered the area of the country with the highest COL and last year a gp’s visit cost $170. (It’s half of that in other parts of the countrym three-quarters in others.) While that isn’t cheap, it’s “affordable”. That is, most people have learned to keep a few hundred dollars in a savings account for just such emergencies. One can wash 5 cars in my neighborhood (20-25 per car) and make that and more over a weekend. Don’t mistake this for callousness, but it’s you who say you let your illness go until it required hospitalization so I am left asking myself why it is that you didn’t have enough money to pay for one or two visits to a doctor to nip the thing in the bud.

    Are you without a job?

    2. As for the hundreds of thousands of dollars–yes, it adds up quickly. However, it’s my understanding that if you are not able to pay, those hospitals did indeed designate the money you owed as bad debt and are not pursuing you. If that is true, we all are sharing the cost of your illness. So, yes, I agree and so do millions of others, that the system can be improved, yet the one offered was not an improvement for most.

    Why should a person who works and has sacrificed a hefty percentage of his/her income in salary concessions to receive what they believe is quality health care, agree to pay not only for that health care for themselves and their family, but also pay again in the form of raised taxes for a public option for others? Double paying.

    Or, why should these working people or their employers drop their private plan and go to a public plan that offers inferior care to what they were getting?

    Or, how would they feel when a government plan drove their private insurers out of business and forced them to accept the inferior care of a government plan?

    And why should retired people who pay for expensive supplements to Medicare do the same?

    In other words, Mary and Pathia, what the heck is in it for the 70-80% of people who pay for their health care and like it? What’s the benefit to them? I have pointed out the costs to them–can you point to a benefit?

    In order for a revamped plan to work, there has to benefits to everyone. Otherwise, all you are doing is requiring by force others to take care of your needs. How is that any different than requiring them to pay for the food bills, rent bills, mortgage bills, clothing bills of others?

    Lots of alternative ideas have been proposed, yet neither of you says anything about them.

    You do realize, Mary, that were a universal payer system put into effect, you’d get care, but not quality care. You have stated your inability to pay for good health insurance. That tells me you are concerned about your wages. Well, what the heck do you think will happen to your net pay if such a system were enacted? What do you think would happen to your wages?

    As for your contention, Mary, that people who know of problems in the other systems are only using scare tactics? I can only tell you that it’s our proximity to our Canadian friends that have validated for us that their system is not what we want. As I said, most Americans know a Canadian or two–real people, you know, not fictional ones. And, as I said, our knowledge of its problems comes from REAL stories, not made up ones.

    Seems you are making the same error Pelosi, Obama, and the admin did–by pretending that those systems do not have serious problems, by suggesting the stories we have REAL knowledge of are not typical, you are belittling people who do indeed have some familiarity with those systems.

    Do you, like Pelosi, think them to be “astroturf” complainers?

    Anyway, I’d be interested in knowing what you have been quoted for health insurance coverage, Mary. Are there those you work with who can get a group together to purchase group insurance? Have you spoken with several brokers. What does your employer say?

  • Mary

    Carole,

    There is no panacea answer that will be perfect.

    I employ myself. My quotes are at 650 and more a month. A system put into place would give me care – albeit not as good as yours probably – but better than what I have now.

  • Mary

    And that is with a huge deductible to pay plus pay for medicine. I can’t see that I would have any health concerns save in an emergency and medicine can be bought in other places. This of course will not cover my therapist appts. Because of my concerns, I have to go outside the system that promotes LGBT lifestyles as normal.

  • Pathia

    Carole,

    The drugs I need are already off patent as far as I can tell. Generics don’t seem to exist, or they’re just as outrageously expensive as the brand. For some reason they’re dramatically cheaper in other countries, even in ones that don’t appear to be cost controlling.

    When I had the bouts of pneumonia, I was homeless. I was raiding fast food dumpsters for food. Do you really think I was capable of spending $180 for a doctor visit? If I asked anyone for a quick job like washing a car, or mowing their lawn, they’d chase me off or threaten to call the cops on me. None of the shelters in town would take me either, as they didn’t want transsexuals inside using the facilities. So I mostly stayed on the street 24/7.

  • carole

    Mary said,

    My quotes are at 650 and more a month.

    Just about the same figure as what I pay. We gave up salary to cover it. Over the last few years, it has jumped a great deal.

  • carole

    Pathia,

    Sorry, I got the feeling you were suggesting that you still could not afford to see a doctor when winter came and with it, a likely respiratory problem.

    I can’t say much about the drugs you need since I don’t know your particular circumstance. You mentioned in a post a few days ago a pre-existing condition, right?

    I’d be the first to stand with you in urging legislators to work out something for those who are excluded from coverage because of such a thing. It could happen to any of us at any time. I’d say the same about castastrophic coverage (I think your pharmacological needs would fit into that category).

    However, I’d not be in favor of a single payer government plan to cover you.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    You pay 650 for one individual and what exactly is your deduction. And personally, I think, in this economy it is very high. Next year I move into the next age bracket where it will go up again. I can’t afford 650. I’m glad you can.

  • carole

    The Blue Cross I had had a few years ago had a 250 deductible and a 90%/10% for hospitalization. Because we hadn’t had a raise of any sort for several years, our union heirarchy decided to negotiate a small year for some health care cost concessions and so the Blue Cross policy I had was replaced by the District for one that had a 500 deductible. This was for the top of the line PPO. One could get a cheaper deductible with Blue Cross if one opted for the Blue Cross HMO. That HMO is quite good if you live near the hospitals that the HMO accepts. The hospital in my town wasn’t on the list so I didn’t opt for it.

    Our district also offered a range of plans from Kaider Permanente (which exists only in 12-13 states and not in all areas of those states). It’s an HMO with a new hospital in my town so I switched to it. There is no deductible for my plan although we do have to take generic Rxs. It has it’s down sides as well as it’s up sides. My friend who has a difficult time regulating her blood sugar level, was denied one of the drugs her Blue Cross doctor had her on by Kaiser so during the time period during which we can switch, she did so, back to Blue Cross where she now is able to see a specialist in endocrinology for her diabetes and he does prescribe for her the medicine that Kaiser would not offer her. She is happy with that plan.

    The approx. 650/mo for my plan as a member of the school district plan was a wage concession, Mary. I don’t write out a check for that each month.

  • carole

    Meant to say

    our union heirarchy decided to negotiate a small raise for some health care concessions…

  • carole

    Geez

    I just re-read the post–sorry for the poor spelling (it’s vs its and Kaider instead of Kaiser.) and sentence structure. I was in a hurry although that’s not a good excuse.

  • Mary
  • Pathia

    Carole,

    How do you propose you stop them from denying based on my transsexualism?

    That is separate from pre-existing condition. We’re specifically mentioned in numerous bills. The medical community acknowledges that it exists, but as far as federal law is concerned, we don’t exist, only ‘transvestites’ do and all transsexuals are lumped into that same category.

    They won’t even pass a law that makes it legal for me to use the restroom. How in the world do you expect them to pass something that promises health insurance from the free market?

  • Mary

    Wow Carole – wish I had the problems you have.

  • carole

    Mary said,

    Wow Carole – wish I had the problems you have.

    Become a teacher–they are always looking for good teachers in the public schools, Mary.

  • carole

    Interesting article here too from a Vancouver, BC paper–

    http://www.vancouversun.com/story_print.html?id=1878506&sponsor

  • carole

    Pathia,

    How do you propose you stop them from denying based on my transsexualism?

    That is separate from pre-existing condition. We’re specifically mentioned in numerous bills. The medical community acknowledges that it exists, but as far as federal law is concerned, we don’t exist, only ‘transvestites’ do and all transsexuals are lumped into that same category.

    It seems your problem extends far beyond the issue of medical insurance.

    It seems your problem extends far beyond the issue of medical insurance and extends into the law.

    Into what category are you “lumped” ? As federal law now stands, how is it your gender (male versus female) is determined (genitalia, chromosomes, etc.????)

    Is state law different?

    As for “how do I propose to stop them”….stop them from what? What has your transsexualism to do with catching a cold, needed an appendectomy, etc.?

    Let me turn the question around: what makes you think a single payer system run by a government that is broke would meet your needs medically any better than a private insurer?

  • Mary

    Well, Carole – I shall tell everyone who has a health insurance issue to become a teacher. That solves everything.

  • Pathia

    Carole,

    That’s just it, there is no such thing as private insurance for me. I have a stack of rejection letters 20deep. They’re not going to unless the government forces them to at gun point. I’ve *HAD* private insurance before, you know what they did?

    Started denying everything as based on my transsexualism. They did exactly what you just seem to believe they wouldn’t do. I’ve had the following decided to me by the insurance company.

    1.) Appendicitis

    2.) Pneumonia

    3.) Kidney Stones

    4.) Gall stones

    One of my bankruptcies came from costs WHILE I had insurance. It was completely worthless. In a coup that trumped all medical science, they explained to me that those four things were ’caused’ by my transsexualism and denied me the claims.

    Why would I *EVER* trust a private company ever again? Those debts are one of the primary aspects of what forced me onto the streets in my early 20′s.

  • carole

    Pathia,

    I admit I am stumped by something. Tell me how your transsexualism manifests itself. Forgive my ignorance (I am serious), but before I can “get” what you wrote above, I have to have it explained to me.

    1) How would a company of any sort, insurance or otherwise, know you are a transsexual? I mean, in what way are you so? (Surgery which a doctor would know about, for instance?)

    2) Was your medical insurance group insurance provided by an employer?

    3. Did you take your case to an attorney? For example, when you had appendicitis or gall stones, did you present their arguments (that these were the result of transsexualism) to an attorney?

  • Pathia

    1.) It’s a matter of public record, one can tell a transsexual simply by the prescriptions a person has. It’s also in all public records, a legal name change is a wholly public event, you cannot hide them and they stay with you forever. A simple background check, or a credit check, will reveal this.

    2.) No, it was a private plan I paid out of pocket while in college.

    3.) It is legal to discriminate against transsexuals in the state this took place at. There was no case.

  • carole

    Pathia,

    1.) I am not trying to pry, but have you had any surgeries to become trans?

    2.) Again, trying not to pry, but feeling as if I need to know to get a handle on your situation, how did a college student afford private health care?

    3.) Did this private insurer you had in college know that you were trans when you signed up for the health package? Did the papers you signed expressly ask you to list any medical conditions or special needs in the way of Rx or medical care? Or did such papers expressly state that they could refuse certain care to a transsexual?

    I am very confused.

  • Pathia

    1.) No, I can’t afford it, it costs 75-100k. Where would I get this money when I’m paying off all these charges from regular health issues?

    2.) I went to school and worked 2 part time jobs.

    3.) They knew I was trans, they were a BCBS provider that does not reject anyone. However, once I was on their plan, they saw fit to reject everything and anything under the basis of me being transsexual.

    If you look at ANY insurance provider plan 99% of them will say they do not pay for transsexuality. They won’t pay for therapy, drugs, doctor visits, nothing. You’re completely on your own, unless you find a doctor willing to lie for you, but eventually you get nailed for that.

  • carole

    Pathia,

    Okay, let’s see if I understand this, then: Since you have not had any surgery, you are labeled a transsexual because you take prescription drugs that help you match your gender identification to your body? (I don’t know if I am saying that right, but I think you know what I mean.)

    How do you pay for the drugs? That is, you don’t have medical insurance so I am assuming you also have no Rx coverage since they almost always go together.

  • Pathia

    The drugs are for life, even after the surgery. They don’t spontaneously give you ovaries (or testicles if you’re going the other way). You require hormones, regardless, you can take less, but you still take more than biological women with functioning ovaries.

    There is no way to make yourself completely vanish, they can always tell. IE: You are labeled transsexual for the rest of your life. It never leaves your legal or medical records. The only transsexuals I know who started over, forged a new identity, or fled to another country and forged a new identity there.

    If I may use an overused metaphor, you wear a scarlet letter, for the rest of your life. No matter how much you may visually appear as the new gender, there are always legal and medical paths to out you.

    As for the drugs…Estrogen is very cheap and generic, it costs about $10 a month, I can find that on the street in change.

  • Mary

    I don’t trust private insurance anymore. Too many people denied treatment by the insurance company not the doctors. Overall Americans (by those who calim we have the best health care system) have a lower average age of mortality than at least 20 something countries. Our infant mortality rate is also higher than some countries (that I find amazing) 36% of the population is considered obese – one of the causes of Type II Diabetes, High BP, Cholesterol, Joint Problems etc… and that is grwoing every year. The fastest growing population with STD’s are senior citizens who have Medicare AND YOU GUESSED IT – It matches the arrival of viagra and other ED medications to the market. This isn’t right. This is unbalanced “health” care or disease care for some.

  • carole

    So, here is where I am confused, Pathia.

    You haven’t had surgery. I assume you may have had a first name change, but so do millions of people for reasons other than a gender change. Why would an insurance company care to see that you changed from, say William to Wilhemena?

    You take estrogen, but w/out scouring your medical records, which, if they are like most people’s are scattered hither and yon, i who would know?

    So, if you’ve not had surgeries, and if they haven’t looked at your records, then how would an insurance provider know you are a transsexual?

    And, most importantly, if all you are taking is daily estrogen (again, forgive my ignorance here) have you really undergone much of a transformation? And, if you have, what would happen should you stop the estrogen? If the estrogen has affected you that much, would your physiognomy change back to male were the estrogen to be stopped?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Most interesting discussion. Other than the obvious pathology in Pathia’s case (you are claiming that you had no choice in being a transsexual person and had to take excessive medications to help you feel other-than-your-birth-assigned sex and the big, bad insurance companies did you wrong by not accepting that? Did DSM-confirmed GID not provide a pathway for you?), I am most intrigued by Mary’s situation. And I don’t wish to make light of Pathia’s or anyone’s similar problem, given my own history.

    Warren wrote:

    Mary – Don’t hold back; I wouldn’t want you to restrain yourself on how you really feel about people and their bad posture and eye deterioration. When Obama is done, he will make sure you are in charge of making sure we all stand up straight and wear sunscreen.

    I felt excessively guilty for allowing myself to suffer one or two bad sunburns in my college years when, at the age of 29, I began having what turned out to be the beginning of a chronic problem with basal cell skin cancer that will plague me for the rest of my life. So many treatable carcinomas and scars (no squamous cell or melanoma, fortunately) I lost count years ago. The guilt was replaced by medical curiosity when my dermatologist assured me I was one of those few people who has a genetic mutation. Mystery solved.

    Fortunately for me, the Tricare (retired military health insurance) system still has a good pharmaceutical benefit, and 3-M developed an amazing topical treatment a few years back that pre-treats and eradicates cancerous basal cells. Very little cutting, punching, scraping, burning and other fun procedures, including trips to the plastic surgeon, now required. But if military benefits go the way of the dinosaur, I am screwed.

    I also was blessed to have benefited from relatively simple and short-term, by today’s standards, antidepressant treatment from 1988 to 1993, also very inexpensive because I used a Naval hospital pharmacy. Mary mentioned being healthy but for “mental depression.” She also mentioned taking medications, which I presume to be one or more antidepressants. She expresses understandable frustration at the high cost of preventable ailments in this country. Carole pointed out that we cannot always be certain what is and isn’t preventable.

    Without getting into a long dissertation on whether or not depression is preventable or inevitable due to uncontrollable circumstances or traumas, I want to point out a couple interesting facts.

    Does anyone here know about or recall that it was President George W. Bush who pushed through an expensive medication algorithm called T-MAP in Texas while governor? And that he also was behind something called the New Freedom Initiative, which among other things, would have required mass mental health screenings, even down to infants and possibly expectant mothers, recommending the most expensive psychiatric drugs and obviously providing a great incentive for increased diagnoses in an already prescription-overloaded area of medicine? It was Congressman and physician Ron Paul, incidentally, who almost single-handedly fought this bill and turned back the tide a few years ago. I worked behind the scenes to fight against it myself. It still rears its head, of course.

    Mental health expenses — questionable and unsafe multi-drug cocktails along with expensive psychotherapy — have been at the forefront of health care costs for some time. So, Mary, how “physically” healthy is one who suffers from depression? It’s generally a whole body illness when it goes on long enough. You must know there is a whole school of thought out there about lifestyle changes, preventive techniques and even alternative/holistic medicine (rarely still covered by insurance) that makes reliance on the old-school drugs and therapy alone look more and more suspect.

    I just thought it was worth breaking my hiatus to provide some history that might be useful, since I have spent a great deal of time researching mental health care, in addition to having been my own lab in a one-time life-and-death struggle with major depressive disorder.

    This is a thread that touches every individual. A most important one. I appreciate Warren’s insights, as well as those of others.

  • Pathia

    Carole,

    The *DID* look at my records. They sent out inquires to all my doctors, including my therapist. My therapist did not lie to them and said why I was there. The denials started shortly after. It’s know that they care about my name chance it’s that they know what it means.

    Now we’re getting to nit picky, I’m also intersexed, estrogen is all I need, most transsexuals do need more, but I’ve got conditions that already let me in a state of limbo when it comes to hormones. If I stopped all hormones, I would develop osteoporosis, for I don’t make any on my own. The insurance companies will pay for testosterone, but not estrogen, in my case.

  • Pathia

    Debbie,

    Could you be any more condescending, honestly I don’t know if you could have. How do you expect anyone to have a dialog with you when you start off a conversation by insulting me?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Pathia, you could just come right out and tell us if your condition was ever deemed DSM-diagnosable as gender identity disorder (GID) or if you feel it falls under the long-removed DSM references to homosexuality in its varied forms (so is normal, but then why seek medical treatment for something that is normal?). Or, is it purely a physical malady, in your view? Changing one’s physical attributes to match one’s preferred gender identity is elective and cosmetic in the view of the insurance companies, no?

    I am in no position to judge your motvies, but I (and others) will certainly wonder where the health care industry needs to draw the line in “treating” certain “conditions” that are not life-threatening or that do not render one incapacitated if left alone. I don’t believe you were ever damaged goods or mistakenly created one gender in another’s body. God does not do such things.

    Surely you must see that a vast swath of this country — ordinary tax-paying citizens in need of legitimate, occasional health care and those in the hierarchy of “the system” — is going to balk at burdening an already-burdened system with surgical/hormone or whatever treatments for transsexuals. Mental health care is another matter. You rate that kind of care for the emotional anguish. There is where you have my particular compassion.

    I hope you can draw a distinction between condescension and consternation. It is the latter I am feeling. Is it not legitimate to question how many of your problems may have cascaded from a series of choices you made at some point? I will freely tell you that I made choices that compounded my “condition” years ago.

    I know it is highly politically incorrect to dare to raise such a question. But the right to raise it does exist in a free country.

    Does Warren’s SIT approach have validity for folks like you? Perhaps. I would support health insurance covering such treatment. But insurance codes require a legitimate diagnosis the way the system is set up now. How does the T part of GLBT fit in with gay rights when gays want to be accepted as normal, and how does insurance handle it? Again, a legitimate question.

  • Pathia

    Debbie,

    As I have REPEATEDLY stated, I do not ask the insurance companies to pay for my GID(Yes, it is official, I have letters and all that rot from doctors). I have even submitted a written affidavit when trying to secure insurance.

    The only reason I brought it up is because of this freely admitted non-covered condition that I am perfectly fine with them not covering, is used as a complete disqualification for *ALL* coverage options. THAT is why I am frustrated with the system.

    tldr; I’m not asking them to pay for my transsexuality, I’m asking them to sell me a plan to assist in my other needs.

  • Pathia

    Debbie,

    You also continue to ignore the fact I am intersex. I was born with ‘damaged goods’. I was sterile from birth, operated on as an infant to ‘repair’ that mistake and then rejected it later on. My organs don’t look like either sex, my endocrine system is not naturally either one sex, my puberty was not of either sex. Heck, even my chromosomes disagree. I’m a XX/XXY/XY mosaic.

    Let me spin this question around. Who are you to question God? I haven’t found a single theologian that will actually postulate which gender God actually intended me to be. Quite literally, most shrug at me and tell me to be celibate, because they don’t dare guess any farther, because that’s what it is, guessing.

  • Ann

    p.s. – just want to add that things are much different now than they were 20 or so years ago regarding information and truth about same gender attractions – we can now make decisions based on realities rather than hype.

    My heart really hurts for everyone who was affected by hype and exaggerated truths, and particularly, for those who were graded or measured by unrealistic expections or told they were not praying enough, etc. I like the way Dr. Throckmorton referred to this – something to the effect of – real hope begins with the truth.

  • Ann

    sorry – the above comment was meant for another thread on this blog

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Thanks, Ann, I think hope not built on truth is not hope at all. What we all discuss a lot is what is the truth about a given matter. That should occupy us for awhile :)

  • Mary

    Debbie,

    Pathia has been blogging here for some time and tells us of being intersexed since birth.

    As to your question about my depression – I will answer later in more detail. Suffice to say, I resisted taking any medication for years and years doing all the others things suggested. Exercise, eat healthy, acupuncture, prayer and meditation, quiet time, massage, talk therapy (cognitive therapy) etc… So you can see, I am interested and have always mostly maintained good health. It runs in our family and I am sorry I did not start medication sooner. The toll has been difficult. When I did find a medication that works, many other aches and pains (physically) subsided. My work has suffered, my income has suffered, my relationships have suffered. I have finally just begun to turn things around. It’s a simple chemical imbalance. And I cannot get a reasonably priced health insurance plan inspite of my family;s healthy history.

    As for my geneology – we live a long time. My maternal grandparents are still alive and niether takes medication for BP, cholesterol, heart medication etc… We’re just a healthy bunch if we stay away from drugs and alcohol. Depression is our biggest health risk on both sides of the family. My paternal grandparents lived into their mid 90′s. My father died early due to alcohol related complications. The death certificate says heart failure.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Pathia, thank you for helping us to better understand what had been confusing until you used the word “intersex” — finally. How could I or anyone ignore what had not been revealed until late into this discussion? You used a form of the word “transsexual” a number of times, so what were we to think? I do apologize for missing the word intersex in your comment that appeared before my last one.

    As Carole implied, it’s not the design of folks here to pry into one’s private and personal affairs, unless it is necessary to bring some clarity to a discussion where that person has already inserted himself, and in this case, caused some confusion.

    So, yes it is fairly clear now what you were/are dealing with — a DSM 302.6 GID Not Otherwise Specified category, from a mental health perspective. What an insurance nightmare these cases must be! Difficult to get an overall perspective. May I ask if you know how frequently the intersex condition appears at birth? I would have to do some research to know more.

    I’m sure your story is quite an involved one. I’m sorry for what you have suffered.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Mary, we have much in common. Depression and other mental illness also runs in both sides of my family.

    One brother died at 45 from schizoaffective, bipolar-type disorder complications. He essentially smoked himself to death, but was frequently over-medicated.

    Dad was a depressive alcoholic (misdiagnosed as schizophrenic and bipolar, as was I), who nearly died, but eventually got his act together through AA and has remained sober for about 35 years.

    Mom suffered from depression off and on and attempted suicide before I was born. My grandmother, who died last year at the age of 95, was depressed all her life. I would have to say that both parents were an inspiration to me in my own recovery. The jury is out on what my grandmother could and could not change.

    Every generation I know of has been affected by mental illness. Most have been pretty physically healthy. Strong as oxen. Arthritis is the other thing that we are genetically predisposed to.

    I really struggled for years with taking medication, but finally did when it became a life-or-death matter. I am not convinced that all diagnosed chemical imbalances require medication for the long haul or forever. Brain chemistry is a tricky thing, arguably also at the whim of our emotions in many cases. Psychiatric drugs are sometimes the proverbial cure that is worse than the disease. Kind of a chicken-egg debate that will never be settled.

  • Pathia

    Debbie,

    It depends on how you define intersex.

    http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency

    Has a nice rundown on the various frequencies, depending on your definition. There are a good deal more than most realize.

    As Carole has mentioned, I’ve been responding here for at least a year, and we’ve even dialoged about my intersexism (extensively in fact) before, though it has been at least a few months.

    As for the frequency of my particular chromosome arrangement? I haven’t met another like me, though I have seen a few case studies if I google enough. Some doctors classify me as a klinefelter’s case, some classify me as simply ‘atypical sex chromosome arrangement’ or something like that. There isn’t a name for it, specifically.

    I’ve had the ‘pre-existing’ clause pulled on me for intersexism too, not just transsexualism. Of course it’s ‘pre-existing’, I had it when I was conceived!

  • carole

    Mary said,

    Too many people denied treatment by the insurance company not the doctors. Overall Americans (by those who calim we have the best health care system) have a lower average age of mortality than at least 20 something countries. Our infant mortality rate is also higher than some countries

    1). I think just about everyone on this thread who disagrees with you about a single payer system or a public option wants our public officials and health care experts to reform certain aspects of the health care industry. There is no argument there. That has been stated several times now.

    However, most people don’t want to replace “x” with an inferior “y” which is what they have evidence is what will happen. Yes, I said evidence. (This goes to the question I asked both you and Pathia a day or so ago and which remains unanswered: What’s in it for the majority of Americans who are happy with their health care and who will be the ones who have to make concessions with nothing in return? Why is it fair the vast majority of the public be losers in this?) “Reform” which institutes something the majority feels is inferior to what they once had and which they paid for is a sure recipe for civic upheaval and unrest (and I won’t even get into the issues of Constitutional philosophy here).

    2) You have cancer? You have a chronic illness? A genetic disease? You have this or that? Tell me, would you like treatment in the United States or in Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, or where? I am not being ethno-centric here. This is where people come for treatment, no?

    Yes, Mary, I have seen all those stats that the backers of the universal system have offered to try to convince people we are just the most arrogant, misguided, ignorant old Americans. However, be wary about stats until you have dug for more information. Luckily we have those who know how to read stats, compare and contrast them so as not to be misled. In my family, my son the mathematician will not let me get away with using stats unless they have been disaggregated over and over.

    I’ll try to make this simple in order not to bog down this thread in another direction. 1) The life expectancy of Americans is in the top tier of all countries and is at the very tip of the top when biodiversity is factored in (there is no such biodiversity in countries like Denmark. They as well as many other countries to which we are contrasted have a basically homogeneous biological population.)

    For instance, in the US, African-Americans as a group and Amerindians have not made the life expectancy gains of other groups, and if one removes them from the data, Americans are at the very top. These diverse biological groups do not exist at a statistically significant level in the other countries which supposedly are “better” than we in this area, but you’d never know that from listening to any United Nations stat nor anyone who wishes to sing the praises of a universal system while demeaning our “capitalist system.”

    There are biological as well as social/cultural reasons for the failure of these groups to match others for life expectancy. However, basic “life expectancy” lists fail to point out the factors that make the US a different statistical block from the countries with which they are most often lumped as “industrial nations.”

    Consider just one example: the high blood pressure and stroke stats affecting life expectancy of African-Americans, who comprise 13% of the American population, are not of consequence in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, etc. Also, we have discovered that these problems may not simply be related to diet but to biological factors of ethnicity that research scientists are still studying. Kudos to the American system of research and pharmacology for trying to find out the answers which will help this subpopulation! It certainly wouldn’t occur everywhere. Kudos to the same system which seeks to help the Ashkenazi Jewish population and the Persian Jewish population with genetic diseases. Or to people like my friend who has Huntington’s Disease in her family.

    Stats mean little unless someone breaks them down and compares apples to apples.

    2) The infant mortality rate in this country is directly tied to the birth rate among teens and very young mothers giving birth and young mothers w/out the financial benefit of a husband or a husband/boyfriend who provides financial support. In contrast, in Scandanavian countries, for example, the birth rate has been falling precipitously among the population and childbirth is delayed. Delayed childbirth leads to healthy babies.

    So, when someone pulls out infant mortality rates, they must look at all the data.Young girls getting pregnant and not even seeking medical help is one huge reason there are these negative stats. Think we haven’t tried to dissuade teens from getting pregnant? Think we haven’t offered those girls a way to avoid pregnancy with free contraceptives? Think we haven’t spend huge sums of money and invested all kinds of human capital in educating children from the affluent suburbs to the inner city about the negatives of children having children? Of course we have, but a naive young girl feels a check from the government looks like a block of gold and she has become used to seeing it played out in her community. It’s not an anomaly. She is not an anomaly. It’s what she knows. It’s what the boy knows. Social policy from the 60s has shaped and formed what she knows. Thus, social policy in this area has affected this infant mortality rate in ways that our politicians refuse to address. It’s another ‘elephant in the room.”

    I might add here that there is not a single really poor woman/girl out there who cannot get medical care, pre-natal and post from every state in the union!! If she doesn’t get it, it’s not because it’s not available.

    Now, care to talk about what country you’d like to be in should your child be born three months premature? There isn’t a country that tops the United States in saving and caring for premature babies who’d not have a chance of making it in any other country. Our doctors, our nurses, our technology is tops.

    If you’re going to talk stats, I am going to have to hold you to a dicussion of an interpretation of that data based on demographic breakdowns and social issues for which our system of delivery medical care cannot be held responsible. If you have a house which is made structurally unsafe by an earthquake, you cannot blame the painters who just painted your house when the stucco e cracks during the temblor.

    3. I am weary of people who continually say that people are being needlessly frightened by horror stories of universal care when the word “rationing” pops up. No, they are not; they simply have common sense about the basic law of supply and demand.

    This lesson is learned early in childhood. If you have 7 kids and 6 marbles, one kid doesn’t get his own marble.

    You add 40+ million people to a system, a system that already is short health care professionals, particularly doctors and even more particularly general practictioners, and just what HAS to happen when there are not enough marbles? And, when the production of marbles has slowed?

    You make medicine as a profession even less attractive to the best and the brightest of young people by overworking them and telling them they can only make so much money (and there is already a growing shortage of young people with academic diligence that is required of a budding doctor) and you see even fewer marbles.

    The single payer system many people tout ignores the basic law of economics even while it PRETENDS to address economics: it cannot achieve excellence when there are too many people, too few doctors and no money left over for technological innovation in medicine.

  • carole

    Pathia,

    When you said you were intersexed, things made more sense. You see, I couldn’t really understand why you couldn’t get insurance if you simply viewed yourself as transsexual. I wondered how anyone would even know.

    Okay, so after many posts about your condition, we have established your particular, unusual circumstance.

    I would not have known that insurance companies could discriminate against you on this basis so I have learned something.

    Tell me. Have you ever had a job in which you were enrolled in group coverage provided by your employer?

  • Mary

    Caorle,

    I don’t know where you got the stat that the majority of America was happy with their health insurance. If that were the case then this would not be such a contentious issue. Loud voices on both sides of the aisle here. And if I am paying into a government program that susidizes someone – I’d like that person to be me. I am selfish about this and so is everyone. Look I’m just trying to get something better than what I have – I pay taxes – I work – I contribute – I deserve better than to pay some other person’s health care bill – I deserve a piece of the pie that I am paying in to. And not later – and rather now.

  • Pathia

    1.) I don’t want anyone to lose their private insurance. I just want a public option, because there’s no way without mangling the insurance company’s business from top to bottom they will ever want to insure me. The only way they will, is at gunpoint. It makes more sense for the government to see to my needs than forcing a company to do something it obviously has fought to keep from having to do.

    2.) I would prefer to get treated in France most of all, barring that, the Netherlands. I run into so much hatred and discrimination even in the medical field, it sickens me. I’ve never been denied care, but I’m constantly bombarded with the constant assumption I have HIV, or that I’m a drug user, or that I have careful wanton anal sex and I’m STD ridden in general. I am loathe to go to any doctor because of this fact. The general consensus of the medical community in many places of the country is that transsexuals are all hookers and/or sluts.

    Regarding insurance via employment. No, I never have. I’m too ill to work full time for companies. I do my work as a contractor, which doesn’t provide medical benefits. Chicken and the egg problem there. If I could get consistent care for about a year, I think I could hold a regular job, but without that job I can’t get the care.

  • carole

    I am sympathetic to your problem, Pathia.

    1) This in response to your point #1–you say you want us to be able to keep private insurance, but I must reinterate a point I have made several times that deals with basic economic prinicples: private insurers will cease to exist if they have a competitor (the US government) which can undercut them at every turn and which plans on taxing small business owners who offer private insurance plans to their employees until that small business owner has no choice but to join the public option. This is one huge reason average Americans who voted for Obama are now perceiving him as duplicitous. They know the basic info and the basic economics–when he says a person can keep their private plan, he is telling the truth–he can keep it as long as it exists, but it will cease to exist.

    Furthermore, these same Americans have read what is on page 16 of the bill–once you leave a private plan, you can’t go back to a private plan–EVER. And, after a particular date of the year 2013, no private insurer can ADD a new person.

    Americans realize that this is not an example of free enterprise and competition at work.

    That is what has been sinking the President’s credibility with the American people. W/out the internet and w/out access to the bill itself (and access to videos of his past speeches) this would be just one more example of a politicians lying and getting away with it.

    2. Since we do not have such a single payer system right now, I cannot say what kind of care you would get in the United States under such a plan. Surely you realize that the industrial countries that have such a system of health care delivery do not have to serve the needs of 300+ million people. I suspect that when the boards who decide who gets what under a socialized system looked at your rare problem and the expense of taking care of some of your problems, you might be disappointed in what they doled out to you.

    3. I asked you if you had employment of a group nature because under such coverage, you would get your health care needs met. I have no idea what you do as a contractor. I’ve a friend who’s an IT and works 90% of the time from her house and is covered by her employer’s group medical plan. Can you get such a job in which you needn’t be on site? It might require a career change, but that’s a reality for Americans under the age of 40 in this the Age of Information, several job changes in a lifetime.

    4. It seems to me that your chromosomal proof of your condition would allow you to be treated under the laws of some states by their human services policies. I am sure you have researched this. Are there any states that would allow you to get medical services for this under their welfare policies? Or what about Social Security provisions? (There are all kinds of loopholes for those with conditions)

    5. Just as you say you don’t want people to lose their private insurance, I don’t want people with your problems to slip through the cracks. So, it seems from my POV that what needs to happen is for a meeting in the middle–offer a health insurance policy that isn’t free–everyone pays–and offer a catatrophic insurance plan that those who don’t want coverage for things like colds, flu, etc. can buy; allow interstate commerce (which fosters competition); deal with the “pre-conditions” that allow insurers to reject people.

    I believe the free market can solve problems if it is unemcumbered by dis-incentives, and if government acts as a real regulatory watchdog instead of lap-dogs to lobbyists and contributors.

    So, while they may not “want to insure you” ( I still don’t understand why) I believe we can reform so that they have to insure you.

  • Pathia

    2. Needless to say, since there aren’t many people like me, I rely on the internet to meet folks. I’ve met folks who have similar situations such as myself in Canada, UK and France, as well as the Netherlands. None of them have ever mentioned EVER having any issues at any point in time getting their rare and costly problems taken care of, because, guess what? When they’re regularly maintained and can see a doctor now and then, they *AREN’T* costly.

    A few doctors visits and hormone levels altered is dramatically less expensive than waiting until a ticking timebomb in my body hospitalizes me for weeks on end. The people over there in other countries? That never happens, because their doctors keep track of them. I don’t have anyone to do that for me here.

    3. IT Contracting is what I do.

    4. It does not, I have tried that route. Federal expressly gives the OK to discriminating against transsexuals. Intersexism is not listed in law anywhere, so the transsexual exclusion laws apply foremost. Jesse Helms put amendments into both the equal housing opportunity laws and the ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) that exempt the laws in the case of transsexuality.

    5. If someone has a pre-existing condition that they know they’re going to be fighting for the rest of their life, paying bill after bill. What kind of incentive could you possibly give them? The drugs that I need take are TWO THOUSAND dollars a month. What could the government possibly do to help that, barring direct intervention?

  • carole

    Pathia,

    Now see, you have confused me again with

    The drugs that I need take are TWO THOUSAND dollars a month. What could the government possibly do to help that, barring direct intervention?

    You just told me yesterday that you needed estrogen. That doesn’t cost $2,000 a month.

    When you say that intersexism is not listed in the “law” what has that to do with anything? Is it causing medical problems or is something else causing the medical problems? For example, if one has malformed urethra, (I am just making that up) and it is causing problems, it matters not if that person is an XY male or an XY female or an intersexed person.

    You said,

    Heck, even my chromosomes disagree. I’m a XX/XXY/XY mosaic.

    This is not “listed” anywhere? Or are you saying that there are no medical conditions “listed” anywhere that are concomitant with being intersex and XX/XXY/XY? I don’t get it. Are there particular medical problems that exist because a person is intersexed? And if so, are they the cause of your medical problems, directly the cause?

    Or, are implying that the insurance companies refuse to categorize transsexualism, not intersexism, as a medical condition?

    You have complicated this by conflating intersex and transsexual. One is a medical term, the other a non-medical term, right?

    ***********************************

    Once again, I don’t see why you necessarily think a socialized system in a country serving over 300 million people will behave as one that serves about 15 million (Holland) or 66 or so million (France.) There’s a huge difference in needs.

  • Pathia

    Lets break it down this wa

    It’s this way:

    For My Transsexualism: Estrogen, very cheap

    For My Intersexism: Cocktail of pituitary affecting drugs, very expensive

    Both are medical terms, both apply to me. The fact I have BOTH at the same time is what causes this mess.

  • carole
  • Lynn David

    Carole…. You said,

    Pathia…. Heck, even my chromosomes disagree. I’m a XX/XXY/XY mosaic.

    This is not “listed” anywhere? Or are you saying that there are no medical conditions “listed” anywhere that are concomitant with being intersex and XX/XXY/XY? I don’t get it. Are there particular medical problems that exist because a person is intersexed?

    Well it was listed in the page Pathia referenced.

    Below we provide a summary of statistics drawn from an article by Brown University researcher Anne Fausto-Sterling.2 The basis for that article was an extensive review of the medical literature from 1955 to 1998 aimed at producing numeric estimates for the frequency of sex variations. Note that the frequency of some of these conditions, such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, differs for different populations. These statistics are approximations.

    .

    Not XX and not XY one in 1,666 births

    Klinefelter (XXY) one in 1,000 births

    I knew a woman who was a XXY. Usually, such people are Klinefelter and phenotypically male. Yet, once I looked into it I found that there have been women who were XXY and also fertile [if I remember right one woman was found in France and another in India]. The woman I knew was not fertile and had a number of congenital problems including cancers because of her genetic condition. One of these finally claimed her at an early age.

    .

    I am a bit confused however about how a person can have a diagnosis as a XX/XXY/XY mosaic and also GID. It would seem that only persons with the normal XX or XY configuration could be considered to have GID. Though I frankly consider the idea of GID to be somewhat problematical in most all cases.

  • Pathia

    Lynn,

    I’m classified as having GIDNOS, it’s right in the same section as GID, thus essentially as far as the medical community is concerned I’m a transsexual, except I have an asterisk. :P

  • carole

    Lynn David,

    Didn’t see Pathia’s reference–just went back up and saw that in a response to Debbie he gave a link.

  • carole

    Pathia,

    I had to look up GIDNOS and got this:

    The category Gender Identity Disorder Not Otherwise specified can be used for individuals who have a gender identity problem with concurrent congenital intersex condition (e.g., androgen insensitivity syndrome or congenital adrenal hyperplasia).

    from the site http://www.mhsanctuary.com/gender/dsm.htm

    Pathia you said,

    For My Transsexualism: Estrogen, very cheap

    For My Intersexism: Cocktail of pituitary affecting drugs, very expensive

    Both are medical terms, both apply to me. The fact I have BOTH at the same time is what causes this mess.

    If you didn’t identify as a transsexual, then you’d not have this problem of coverage?

  • carole

    Pathia,

    Just to simplify, let’s see if I have the basic gist of this: 1) you were born intersexed; 2) someone (I’d imagine doctors) designated a gender for you; 3) at some point in your development, you didn’t feel as if the gender they designated for you matched the gender you felt yourself to be; 4) You changed the designation of gender that someone once imposed upon you and that is why you are considered by insurance companies to be a transsexual.

    Do I have it basically right or am I still confused?

  • Mary

    4 Big Health Reform Myths Cloud Debate

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_fact_check_health_poll

  • Mary

    Carole,

    You did notice that the report you provided on the longer life expectancy was not compared to other countries? Just our own. And you did notice that obesity is on the rise? Compare our health stats to say France, Canada, UK on infant mortality, life expectancy and obesity ( a pre-cursor of many other ills that follow). Somehow, asking someone like myself to think or even consider that no health care is better than some health care is not reasonable. I don’t know the answer to reform – but the private insurance companies have run many citizens (AMERICAN CITIZENS) out of the health care system by high premiums, deductibles, denial etc… Did you even read the article I provided by the one time inside insurance man?

  • Pathia

    Carole,

    That about sums it up, the combination of the two causes more issues than one single condition on their own. If I stayed how I was assigned at birth, the insurance companies would insure me and pay for testosterone injections, which are considerably more expensive than estrogen.

    My main issue is the free market does not treat my situation rationally. It makes no sense. My main medical bills are from things not relayed to my ‘lifestyle’, but they will use that lifestyle to deny coverage outright. I can’t even get catastrophic plans.

  • carole

    @Mary

    You did notice that the report you provided on the longer life expectancy was not compared to other countries? Just our own. And you did notice that obesity is on the rise?

    1. Yes. I figured that because you raised the subject of life expectancy, you might be interested in it. It mentioned other countries. There was no obfuscation.

    2. Of course I know obesity is on the rise. That is why type 2 diabetes is of so much concern. Too high a carb intake, even if one is thin, is a killer. One of my hobbies is reading about health and science topics. That is how I accidentally happened upon this site–PANDAS.

    You have read and heard then, that the UK is so upset about rising obesity that they have been planning a campaign against it , right? Their problemm with obesity is as great as ours.

    3. Speaking of the life expectancy rates — you didn’t respond to my post at 2:09 of Aug 19 in which I took time to explain in greater detail than you, how those rates are misleading if all one does is give a rank, that apples are not being compared to apples and that the data needs to be disaggregated. There’s been some very interesting analyses of it lately and you oversimplified it so as to make the data meaningless if one is actually trying to learn from the data.

    To oversimplify is a talking point strategy. Simply listing the rank of country wouldn’t pass muster in a basic stat class if the goal was to examine relationships concerning cause/effect. (i.e. “Is the health care system of this country the reason for the country’s rank?” )

    You might find these a place to start:

    This study was in the news all over the place for the last few days. I chose the most neutral of write-ups to offer here, from Reuters New Service.

    http://blogs.reuters.com/james-pethokoukis/2009/08/20/turns-out-us-healthcare-system-is-actually-like

    Here is the actual University of Pennsylvania study upon which all the news stories were based:

    http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1012&context=psc_working_papers

    4. You said,

    I don’t know where you got the stat that the majority of America was happy with their health insurance. If that were the case then this would not be such a contentious issue. Loud voices on both sides of the aisle here. And if I am paying into a government program that susidizes someone – I’d like that person to be me. I am selfish about this and so is everyone. Look I’m just trying to get something better than what I have – I pay taxes – I work – I contribute – I deserve better than to pay some other person’s health care bill – I deserve a piece of the pie that I am paying in to. And not later – and rather now

    1. I got the data about the majority of Americans from the PEW Poll, Rasmussen Poll , and the Quinnipiac Poll, the three most referenced polls in the the country. They have websites.

    2. Like you, I too pay into a system for health care for people who don’t pay, and they get 100% coverage of their medical, opthalmic, and in some cases some percentage of dental–they are the millions of welfare recipients of the state of CA and an absolutely astonishing % of them are young, able-bodied American citizens and young, able-bodied non-citizens.

    In addition, of course, I pay into the federal tax sytem, and, since you want to play this game, I’ll just say that because I am probably older than you, I have paid into it for far longer than you.

    Do you think that should matter–the amount one has paid into the system and/or the length of time? It sounds as if you do. So, if you do, then you must concede that those who are older than you, those who have worked longer than you, or those who have a higher income and have been taxed at a higher rate than you, have paid more into the system than you, right? Thus, should they receive greater benefits than you (since after all, they’ve paid much more than you)?

    If you don’t like this logic, think of your own logic–that older people, because they are ill, are TAKING YOUR HEALTH CARE!

    That was your rant about older people getting sick and using up all the health care dollars that should go to you. How dare they get sick. I addressed that point (I think Warren did too, only he did so succinctly) but you ignored it–ignored the simple fact that health care dollars, whether private or public, are spent on ill people, and gee, older people are more likely to get ill more frequently than younger ones. Imagine that. Health care is for the sick; the older one is, the likelier one is to get sick. Astounding.

    3. When you chose a career path or a job or a business, I am sure you considered the benefits and drawbacks of such a job. We all have to. There are lots of jobs most of us would love to pursue as careers, but the marketplace will not sustain them. Fact of life. We have to make choices.

    Medical insurance coverage is one of those benefits that people weigh when they choose a job/career/business. I wouldn’t argue that medical insurance must forever be wedded to employment (a consideration Obama hasn’t even paid attention to); in fact, I’d argue the opposite, but in the past it has always has been job-related so you must have factored that into your choice of employment.

    If you can round up other people who are small business owners and form a group, then call several brokers (the larger your group, the less expensive the rates and it’s important to talk to those who are experts in risk management), you might be able to get a good, affordable health policy.

    4. Yes, I read the article about the insurance insider. There was nothing I found new in that article–I’ve was around politics too long to find it surprising. In fact, it shouldn’t be surprising to people who have watched even a tiny bit of tv news since we know that businesses lobby both Dems and Repubs, donate to both Dems and Repubs, and carry on behind the scenes like love-sick coyotes. Nothing new there. My own dues went to such shenanigans. The National Education Association is one of the big time players in lobbying in DC. (As a profession, teachers and NEA members send more delegates to the Dem. National Convention than any other entity–been that way for years, and it disheartens me to say that they don’t fight for kids’ educations– they fight for their self-interest, keeping their goodies, but admittedly, all groups do that.

    From that article you linked:

    The industry goes to great lengths to keep its involvement in these campaigns hidden from public view. I know from having served on numerous trade group committees and industry-funded front groups, however, that industry leaders are always full partners in developing strategies to derail any reform that might interfere with insurers’ ability to increase profits.

    Like I said–just like education groups. After all, the insurance companies, sure that Obama was NOT going to face trouble with this health initiative, jumped into bed with him and cut a deal. You recall that the high mucky mucks of AARP just a bit ago had a pretty secret meeting with the President, and that is when the Prez came out and said AARP was behind his plan.

    That is how lobbyists work–they survey the playing field and study the players, consider the public’s mood, then lay down their bets, and IF they are sure they know who is going to win, they cut a deal with the expected winner. AARP cut a deal with the Prez. Why not? They figured he had the votes, no contest. He used them; they used him. It’s all a very symbiotic relationship.

    One problem occurred: there came about a public uprising against the plan. AARP, deluged by emails from angry clients, backed off their “support” for the Prez, at least their public support. Made him look bad; made themselves look bad. Made both of them look slimy.

    Sixty thousand AARP subscribers have dropped the insurance, most since that meeting. The number sounds bad, but when you insure millions, it’s still just a drop in the bucket; on the other hand, it’s worrisome for them, because more people are dropping them every day. They realized that insurance companies are like the goverment–slippery, slimy, deal-cutting, and most important of all–self-preserving.

    We know what they promised him (even if they did embarrassingly back off it).

    However, what did the Prez promise the insurance giant for their support? Or Big Pharma?

    Oh well, such is the sausage-making of both government and business. The same occurs on a much smaller scale with small businesses as well–you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Most of the time, while it all might be unseemly, it’s legal.

    Today, the former president of the Canadian AMA was on tv. I would imagine that by now, it’s on Youtube. He spoke of the failure of the Canadian system, spoke of the failure of the system to deliver medical care (lack of doctors) and of the long waiting line, (months) for surgery. If the Dems wish to institute a government plan, they need to explain why I should think the plan will not wind up looking like what Canada has. Why should I want what is bad for my family and me?

    However, they haven’t explained a thing. They speak in generalities and platitudes.

    Oh, speaking of platitudes– the President’s attempt to use religious leaders and his attempt to appeal to believers is a glimpse into…into what? Into slimy politics? Into dishonor? Into disingenuousness. My gawd, here’s a man who didn’t have a prayer breakfast so afraid was he of insulting his elitist base; here’s a man who had the cross behind him covered when he gave a speech; here’s a man who said he’d have a church in a few weeks because it was important, yet it’s 7 months after taking office and no church has been attended (but wow, he sure did want those votes!); here’s a man who sat in a church while racist rants continued for years (but he denies he ever heard them even though the man who shouted them was his self-regarded “mentor” and “father”; here’s a man who says that taking a position on a moral/ethical issue was above his “pay grade”; …oh, but here that man is yesterday meeting with religious leaders whom he tells that opponents of his health care plan are “bearing false witness.”

    HAHAHAHAHA. Talk about a guy that knows how to use religion, whew! Well, that’s not accurate–he know how to TRY to use it.

    One can just see that he and his staff are just waiting for Edward Kennedy to kick the bucket so his legacy can be shouted from the rooftops–PASS THIS HEALTH BILL FOR TEDDY! YOU JUST GOTTA. Win one for the Gipper!

    Even for those inclined to want a government-backed health plan, the lack of credibility of this guy is growing every day. Sebelius floats a trial balloon saying the public option is not necessary. The left big donors react with cries of “Traitor” Hollywood’s conception of itself as selfish just has to be assuaged, you see, by the passing of universal health care. Yes, the celebs have to see a beneficent reflection when they look in that mirror and they raise those big, big bucks. So, the Prez says, “No, not true–public option is a necessity. You misunderstood Cabinet Secretary Sebelius.”

    He keeps insisting “the plan” is affordable; the Congressional Budget Office, non-partisan, keeps contradicting him. Oh, and “the plan”? Now they are telling us that the Houes bill that is 1000 pages long is not really “the plan.” Well, of course it isn’t. Too many people hate it so there are other “plans” out there in the ether, plans we are to blindly accept even though they’ve not been seen, even though the Prez seems not to know what’s in them.

    How can even one who is inclined to want a single-payer system even believe what he is saying?

    I can’t blame you, Mary, for wanting medical insurance you can afford. So, I understand what’s in it for you–coverage, even if it’s not great coverage. I am still waiting for you to tell me what’s in it for me.

    I’ve nothing else to add.

    At least you can know that I have heard you–you have told me where you stand and why it would benefit you and I do indeed see that it would since you have no care now.

    Can you tell me how it would benefit me?

    Would you consider that there might be other answers to the problem? Different legislation other than a government option?

  • carole

    @Pathia

    My main issue is the free market does not treat my situation rationally. It makes no sense. My main medical bills are from things not relayed to my ‘lifestyle’, but they will use that lifestyle to deny coverage outright. I can’t even get catastrophic plans.

    From what little I know and all of what I know is from what you have told me, I’d say you are right. So few people have this problem (and I am identifying the problem as one of genetics since you identified your chromosome mixture) that I think it’s unfair that the insurance companies will not accept you.

    Once again today, I heard that some legislators in the center and to the right of center, are trying to get the admin to drop the public option and agree to reform of coverage–to force the companies to offer coverage to all. Once again , the far left shouted “No–it’s our way or the highway.”

  • Mary

    Carole,

    I appreciate your efforts to write and take time to do so. However, you have your opinion and I have mine. I suppose I can go item by item with a rebuttal but here’e the thing:

    You have your health insurance and are afraid of losing it. I have none and am afraid of a catastophic event and being without it.

    You have accepted as truth certain items and so have I.

    All I want (and especially tonight) is some sort of health care I can turn to. And I think that’s all you want to.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Carole for president!

    Think a kick-butt woman with some horse sense could help clean up Washington? How about a lot of similar-minded folks uniting under the “In God we trust” banner? Is that what it’s coming to? Stand by. Methinks Obama is ill prepared for the real backlash that awaits.

    Ooooh, those evil “dominionists” who dare to believe in a sovereign God.

    My sympathies, Carole, for all you’ve had to put up with from the NEA.

  • Mary

    I find it off that people want a government that is representative of a Christian community and yet when it come to providing health care for others – there is a lot of balking. I just find it odd.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Mary, I’m not sure which “people want a government that is representative of a Christian community.” I don’t. The Christian community is all kinds of messed up. It is God in whom we are to trust, not people.

    When the Church and her people are at their best, they are caring for “the least of these” far better than any government can, however. I’ve always thought the Parish Nursing program was a good one, for instance.

    Were God on the minds of our government leaders more, they would be able to either enact a fair health care program or allow the free market to do it. There is no perfect plan, but we can do better.

  • carole

    @Mary and Debbie,

    Just a point of clarification–I am an agnostic, something I have pointed out before but I can understand we can’t all keep track of everything everyone has said at one point.

  • carole

    @Mary,

    I intended not to post again on this topic since after my last post of yesterday, I felt I couldn’t add anything I hadn’t already said and since it seemed we both had said about the health care policy what we wished….until I saw this post from you. It’s one of those finger-waving digs that people issue just when the conversation seems to have concluded.

    You felt compelled to add:

    I find it off that people want a government that is representative of a Christian community and yet when it come to providing health care for others – there is a lot of balking. I just find it odd.

    I can’t let you get away with that so I am going to respond and my response goes directly to your raising the argument of “Christian” ethics or morality.

    During this discussion you said:

    I do know that the white privileged are fighting back and don’t want to give up their positions

    What the heck does being against this admin’s plans for health care have to do with the “white privileged”? In a discussion, such leaps of logic undermine anyone’s position. In fact, this, it could be argued, is a racist statement. Such a hyperbolized, unsubstantiated comment practically begs for such a charge. Does it represent your perception of a “Christian” argument? Is it a “Christian” charge?

    And here’s another comment from you:

    For all those people who want to do away with government funding in health care reform – then get their parents off Medicare and don’t dip into that pot

    You have presented us with some faceless, nameless people whom you wish to “get their parents off Medicare”…. Ahh, so your Christian morality, then, prompts you to deny benefits to those “parents” who worked decade after decade putting a % of their paychecks into that system (without their consent, I might add, since those deductions were as mandatory for them as they are for you ) ? That’s your Christian ethic? You wish to link what you perceive as the hypocritical lack of morality of Christians to their position on health care policy WITHOUT applying that same Christian standard to yourself?

    And, another:

    Look at the people in those pictures. I see – high BP, cholesterol medication, over weight, bad psoture, etc… arthritis, eye deterioration, non protective clothing from UV rays, but hey…. what do they care spending my dollar for their excesses.

    Might there be a more “Christian way” to address the health issues of “the people in those pictures” ? And might there be a more rational “Christian” discussion that doesn’t revert to hyperbole that devalues or demonizes people?

    Or, would you prefer that people indulge themselves and turn around and mimic your own Christian sensitivities by saying, “And what about you? Let’s examine your own medical history and how you did or did not take care of yourself throughout your life from the moment of birth to see if we can hold you accountable for your excesses or your failure to be a perfectly healthy homo sapien in mind and body?” Tit for tat. Is that what you want? Is it?

    If so, we can have the Department of Health Police, I suppose, and one day we can actually deny health benefits to those who are engaging in or who have ever engaged in or who are likely to engage in activities and/or practices that are deemed to contribute to a risk in one’s health. Is that your Christian perception? Health care only to those who are not at risk for illness? Health care only to those who have a perfect record of taking care of themselves? In other words, health care to those who rarely get sick? (That would be cheap, woudn’t it?) However, how would we determine all this? How would we measure this? Monitor that? Enforce it? And, even if we could, would you deem our efforts to do so “Christian.”

    And this, you said:

    It just irks me that I am paying for some old fat person who smokes to get health care instead of me. I know not all people on Medicare are that person – but they all have a pre-existing condition and I’M PAYING for that instead of for myself?

    You attack “some old fat person who smokes” (I surely concede such a person is not taking responsibility for his or her health), then say you know such a person does not represent all people on Medicare, yet then turn around and state that “all” old people “have a pre-existing condition” that you pay for. Yes, it’s called “age.” How Christian of you to expect that a person ought not age and so ought not suffer the ravages of age since their aging takes from you (even though, you seem not to point out they paid into the system over their lifespan for just such a time as old age.)

    In spite of all you have said, you have the gall to question the Christian ethics of those who’d call themselves Christian?

  • Mary

    I just find it odd Carole, that many of these old people on Medicare are opposed to my having health care paid in the same manner, in addition many of those oppossed to health care reform (in the sense that there would be a public insurance option) don’t want that as AN OPTION for people like myself. I find alot of contradiction.

    As I said: Everyone wants health insurance. No one who has good health insurance wants to give it up – and I don’t blame them. How we get to a place that is fair to all is a difficult issue.

    I find lots of contradictions from those who have medicare and don’t want to share. And I’m sorry alot of those senior citizens have health issues that are related to age – that are also related to poor health habits.

    Maybe if we did not coddle bad lifestyle choices, people overall would be healthier and there would be more resources to go around. You have to admit – would it not bother you if you were paying for others and denied the same health care?

    That’s the point I am trying to get across. I know you have a job that pays for your health insurance – even if you had poor lifestyle choices and a pre-existing condition. I am very familiar with what Teachers in California recieve and it is a great plan. But I don’t have that option. I am not a teacher.

    From the time I had health insurance as a child under my father’s county plan and then paying for it on my own until I was 40 – I had great insurance. Then an event happend and my premiums skyrocketed, deductibles skyrocketed, the economy went zap and now I’m SOL. I used to be like you. I didn’t want anyone messing with my good things. And then I became a statistic to the system. I had no idea that my friends were suffering, trying to make ends meet and keep thier families healthy. When they talked about price and pre-exisiting conditions – I thought – yeah – well how many stories are there like that out there? And then I found out how easy it is to fall off that grid.

    I find it ironic that these people with Medicare don’t want me to have the same, that people with a good insurance plan have all sorts of ideas onhow I can get insured (nice try – we are smart people and are not without resource – until we absolutely have no money anymore for the high prices, deductibles etc… ) You spoke to both Pathia and I as if we just don’t know what we are doing.

    I want another option to the private insurance companies. That’s all. They have gotten out of control and only when I was hit with the reality of this did I begin to understand there is a huge problem.

    BTW, those stats of comparing apple to oranges on mortality rates – you are right. If we compare minority groups with little to no health care – their mortality averages bring down the rest of the country. So…. those with good insurance plans do live longer and those without live shorter lives (much shorter lives). The country on the whole is suffering.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    What ever payments were made to the social security system over a lifetime still does not seem to cover the cost of health expenses. Ummmm.. currently the money I make that is being taken by social security is going into someone else’s pocket from which I profit and benefit naught. It is a debt to me all the way from which I gain nothing.

    I don’t want others to be without insurance. For goodness sakes, my grandparents are on Medicare as well as my mother and uncles. I am making the point that it is not evenly nor well resourced out to those who are paying for it. And just so you know – my mother is overweight and has health issues related to that. Hands down she admits it. And hands down she admits that it is a cost to me. She gets it. She doesn’t want to give up her health insurance either but she does not think it is fair that someone like myself who is pretty healthy cannot get reasonable health care at a reasonable price. Things are different now then they were when she was my age. She knows that. She still wants health care reform, too. Oh – and she did not pay into the system her whole life. My father did. And he is deceased.

    Btw, attacking me for not being Christian enough is fine – I am going to continue to point out the ironic inconsistencies in those who are against reform or against me getting health insurance (as I see it)

  • Mary

    It was my mother who pointed out to me that for all those who wanted no public insurance option – were they willing to give up their Medicare? And if not, why do some people (just because they are older) get insurance and others like myself who are less expensive to the system cannot get insurance at a reasonable price. And why would they want to deny people like myself.

  • carole

    Mary,

    I just find it odd Carole, that many of these old people on Medicare are opposed to my having health care paid in the same manner

    I am still confused by your comparing yourself to “these old people.” They didn’t start drawing on Medicare until they were 65; those are the rules. They paid, as you are evidently paying now, into the Medicare system all their lives and were told by the US government that some coverage would be there for them when they turned 65. Most of them find that the Medicare coverage is not enough so they have to purchase supplemental insurance from a private source like AARP –Medicare is their primary carrier and their private insurance is deemed their “supplemental.” It’s expensive, yes. They don’t feel they are getting anything “free” and they aren’t.

    So, my confusion arises when you compare yourself to them, a comparison that is not apt. You are not being required to do anything they weren’t required to do–pay into the system. They are not “stealing” from you. When they were your age, they didn’t get Medicare benefits either–they were paying for those older than they. Many of them didn’t like the idea any better than you–but it was and it is mandatory (with few exceptions from some public employees’ groups) but now that they ARE 65, they expect some return on their investment.

    2. Mary, I don’t know how many times I can say it: I do want you, I want Pathia to have affordable health care choice. As I said once in a post, I lose my school district benefits when I turn 65, and my husband and I have been saving for that day when we have to pay for a supplement. I realize that if a serious illness were to hit us between now and then, if we were to develop certain conditions, a private insurer that we would use as our supplement when we turn 65 could turn us down on the grounds of having a “pre-existing” condition.

    I don’t want that to happen to us and I certainly don’t like the fact that it happens to others. I’d like that problem solved too.

    Here’s my last point: I feel that supporters of the House plan did themselves a whole lotta damage when they attacked those like me and millions of others, who WANT BETTER HEALTH CARE FOR ALL AMERICANS.

    The political strategy on their part, a strategy that backfired, but which many in the party are still employing, is to imply or outright state that people like me who don’t approve of the House plan or of Obama’s “vision” of single payer/universal or of public option, are mean-spirirted or selfish or unkind or dumb or otherwise horrible Americans.

    This is even illustrated in the way you yourself have framed our disagreements about the health care policy on this thread. You make a huge leap when you assume that those who don’t approve of the Obama plan are somehow opposed to health care reform that would benefit you.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. I and evidentally millions like me, simply don’t feel that the reform of 1/6th of the American economy will be either affordable or good, but no one on the other side ever addresses our concerns.

    We want health care reform so that people CAN afford it . YES. However, the admin can offer no evidence that it is affordable or good.

    The CBO says we can’t afford it. A government has to do two things when it can’t afford something: 1) raise taxes so you, a person who already is hurting financially, will have to pay even more in taxes and 2) prints money which leads to inflation, which in turn devalues every dollar you earn.

    The other systems in other countries that have it freely admit its limitations and disadvantages and they don’t serve 300 million people.

    So, while I don’t mind debating the various advantages and disadvantages of ANY health reform package that is offered, I DO mind the idea put forth that if you are against HIS PLAN, you simply don’t care about health care and people. I DO mind that he and his people can’t or won’t answer specifics; I DO mind that he and his people have contradicted everything the CBO says about his plan; I do mind his cavalier acceptance that the government can run a program that will eventually serve over 3 million people better than government agencies currently serve the people; I do mind that he wants us to leap before looking at the waters’ and more than anything else (because I DO want health care reform that benefits all) I mind that he gives no consideration to other ideas. I do mind that he says he’s bipartisan, transparent….yet he’s been neither.

    The guy had no executive experience and we are paying for that now.

    Make no mistake–I do want affordable health care for you, Mary. I just want the best and the brightest of American heads to come up with something that will provide it while enabling the country to remain solvent and still provide quality care.

    I don’t like this notion of if you don’t like my plan you are the enemy.

    The reason Obama can’t sell his plan? He can’t answer the question I asked of you: how would his plan benefit me and my family. The reason he can’t answer it is because….it woudn’t.

  • carole

    @Mary,

    It was my mother who pointed out to me that for all those who wanted no public insurance option – were they willing to give up their Medicare?

    Mary, I have decided that you don’t know how Medicare works. Why should or would they “give up” something they already paid for??? They have paid more than you. Why should they give up something they paid for to someone who hasn’t paid as much for as long and when they were not allowed to get it until they were 65????????

    I repeat–they had no option–their employers were required to take it from their paychecks during their working lives.

    There have been many attempts to reform Medicare. A certain segment of conservatives have said that Americans like you, ought to be able to opt out of Medicare and put that money to use in any way you choose. Opponents of that counter that if enough people pulled out, there’d not be enough in the pot to pay for those that were set to draw on it after a lifetime of paying into it. It’s a conundrum, but if you lean politically to one side or the other, I can tell you it’s the liberals who’ve been most opposed to reforming and allowing people like you to opt out and use the money for something else, like private health insurance.

    Some conservatives have offered the idea of your being able to opt out and set up your own personal health account (sort of like a Roth IRA or a regular IRA) which would be invested the way you chose and which, if your investment was wise, would be there for your health care in old age.

    Any attempt to even talk about this is met with sneers from the other side. It’s the same old, same old: the libs believe that others know best for you, that because not everyone makes good choices, the government must make choices for you; the conservatives believe you should get to make your own choices, that self-reliance and individual initiative is fostered when one gets to choose for one’s self, that people make less wasteful and careless choices when they have to rely on themselves.

    As people who pride ourselves on good sense, we know the truth is probably somewhere inbetween: there are those of us who are not profligate and would make responsible decisions; there are those who wouldn’t make wise choices and if there were enough of them, society would suffer. So, it would seem compromise, somehow offering the best of both, might be a place to start.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    Are you aware of the statistics about the cost of social security and that it runs on a deficit using the money I currently contribute to it? By the time I am able to draw from that there will be nor more to draw from?

    I don’t want anyone to be without – and that includes me. But I and many Americans are throwing money down a rat hole that we will never ever see and in the meantime our health pays the price.

    Have you read the Bill in both the House and the Senate?

    BTW, when LBJ introduced Medicare the same arguments arose – could prove it’s use, it’s cost. it’s effectiveness etc… but it worked and worked for a long time. We need reform – and we can’t prove a thing until something changes.

  • carole

    Oh, I forgot,

    There are indeed those who have argued that you ought to be able to opt out of Medicare and use that money for anything you choose (not just for personal health insurance for retirement). So, yes, they would argue that you should be able to take that money and use it as you see fit.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    I don’t want people to give up their Medicare – you misunderstood me. I was making a point that if someone pays for something then they become agrresively defensive of it when it is at risk. Or defensive and angry when they don’t recieve benefits for which they contribute. I pay for Medicare today because social security was borrowed against and it runs at a deficit.

    That was the point in asking people who do not want public insurance to give up their Medicare? How does it feel when the shoe is on the other foot? I pay – I get nothing. They paid less, get more today and when my turn comes – stats say there will be no more money to finance the Babyboomers Medicare.

    No one wants anyone to suffer but it is ironic that I pay for something which is not available to me. Taxation without representation??

  • Mary

    Carole,

    Here is an interesting article in the NY Times.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/13/us/politics/13health.html

  • Mary

    Carole,

    How could we be running out of money if the money seniors contributed is supposed to be enough to finance them? The money is coming from somewhere and as you read the article – you will see- it is coming from those who are not 65 and are still contributing. Sounds kind of …. well… mismanaged and unfair.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Just a point of clarification–I am an agnostic, something I have pointed out before but I can understand we can’t all keep track of everything everyone has said at one point.

    That is certainly true, as Pathia had to let me know at the top of this discussion.

    You’re agnostic, Carole? That means for you the door is not closed. I’ll take that. You’re a sensible analyst, regardless of what your faith is or isn’t.

  • carole

    @Mary said,

    I don’t want people to give up their Medicare – you misunderstood me. I was making a point that if someone pays for something then they become agrresively defensive of it when it is at risk.

    Absolutely, I agree–they become defensive, especially IF what is being offered as a replacement is inferior; and, especially if what is being offered as a replacement will still cost them and be inferior; and, especially if what is being offered as a replacement is will still cost them, will be inferior to what they have, and especially if the salesman that is selling it has been contradicted by non-partisan entities.

    I pay for Medicare today because social security was borrowed against and it runs at a deficit.

    It’s been borrowed against for forever, it seems. It’s the so-called “third rail” of politics. Neither party has ever successfully addressed the problem.

    I pay – I get nothing. They paid less, get more today and when my turn comes – stats say there will be no more money to finance the Babyboomers Medicare.

    I paid and have gotten nothing yet either. Neither you nor I are to get anything until we are 65. Will it be there for me? I don’t know. However, I do think it unfair to hold Medicare recipients responsible for the fact that a greater % of your income goes to Medicare than did theirs. Remember, a person who is now 75 was born in 1934 and has memories of not having food on his plate during the Depression; he went through a childhood of war and war-time rationing and sacrifce; he was raised in a country that offered no such thing as welfare even if his belly was growling; such a person has worked 60 hour weeks in places like the coal mines and in the oil fields, on ships loaded with asbestos. People of such an age may have bought their first house for $5,000 in this part of CA, but such a person also worked for wages we can’t imagine.

    Every generation makes its sacrifices. Frankly, my generation can’t hold a candle to theirs or to the one before it. We were spoiled.

    That’s part of the problem–the country is trying to provide for people who don’t want to provide for themselves. Before the crash of this economy, what % of people under the age of, let’s say 45, worked a 40 hour week? In CA the stats are horrendous in that regard. We have come to absurdly accept that people suck the life blood from this country and we keep on giving more blood when others actually deserve it.

    This has to stop if the country is to regain it’s sense of itself and if the work ethic is to be re-established. Isn’t is absurd that every time politicians and their supporters speak and say that we have big troubles and that we cannot afford this or that, they conveniently leave out our inability to afford the millions who continue to pour over our borders and whose numbers have overwhelmed our schools, our medical facilities, our social services?? Those who argue for universal health care, the biggest mouths of them all????? Seems they never say, “We are burdened by millions who are using our dollars that could go to health care.” And, their silence encourages more to come. And why not, with that attitude?

    Why is that Mr. Obama (with aid from a spokesperson from the Repubs) doesn’t announce that in order to save tax dollars to fund medical plans for citizens (or to fund Medicare) he is going to stop the flow of illegals over the border by placing the National Guard on the border? Or, why doesn’t he announce that no one under the age of (pick a number) who is able-bodied will receive housing vouchers beyond (pick a number)…say one year?? Why is it our governors don’t announce the same thing so that all savings from such welfare can go to health care programs that people like you can afford?

    I think you’d see a different attitude from the majority of people who feel they too are tired of sending money down a rat hole. They know that government programs never go away–they just continue to eat up more and more money while doing less and less good.

    Forgive me if my comments seem odd. Perhaps you live in a state unaffected by such inane policies. The problem is that the entire country pays for the inepititude and vacuousness of California and its politics. Whatever starts here spreads like a virus. Call us “H1N1.” Better yet, call us The Plague. What happened here in the housing sector is responsible for the collapse of the entire US economy and what has taken root here in the form “I’ll let the state take care of me since it offers to ” has spread like the Plague to many other parts of the land. There is no more self-reliance and independence.

    Here’s an example of what I mean. I think it’s corrosive. I think it illustrates our softness as a people. You know how Congress and the President extended unemployment benefits when the first set ran out? Really, as sensitive a policy as that seemed to be, is it, really? Or does it contribute to a nation of people who look to government? Does is simply make us softer? Does it make many people sit home, content to collect unemployment benefits which are, after all, paid by everyone’s tax dollars?

    That 75 year old I spoke of? He or she wasn’t raised in such a country. He or she would have been out looking for a job, any job. There was no such thing as a job that they were “too good” for.

    Unemployment in CA has shot up to over 13%, yet I can tell you two things about my community, a community hurt by it as much as the next: 1) I have two friends who own small businesses. One says that no one has come in to ask for a job. No one. The other, who owns a small restaurant that makes breakfasts and burgers the rest of the day, was asked by a teenager for a job. She was ready to offer it to him until he told her that the minimum wage she offered was just not good enough. “Afer all,” he said, “I have experience. I have worked at Taco Bell.” He left, believing that our minimum wage, the highest in the country, I believe, just wasn’t good enough for him.

    I know, I know, I am on a rant, but there is a point to it, after all. Too many people needing health insurance and too few people contributing taxes because too few people are productive. So, the pols attack the rich, saying they need to pay more instead of getting rid of enabling policies that disincentivize work.

    Lastly, as someone who saw this up close and personal, I can tell you my greatest fear about this health care crisis. It’s really related to the crisis in education ….which is related to the crisis in the American family…. which is related to the crisis in the enabling of people by the government: we aren’t producing doctors! We have to import them from India. We aren’t producing kids who want to study, who will go through the rigors of med school. That is not going to get better quickly, if ever.

    Yes, the family has fallen apart. People don’t get married. A look at our “births” section of the newspaper shows that only 1/3 to 1/4 of the babies are born to a married couple. Many men here chose not to work at all, but instead live with their girlfriend(s) and off her welfare check; she keeps having children who in 15-17 years do the same thing. They are abysmal failures in school, mostly because they live in dysfunctional homes and from an early age are allowed to attend school on an irregular basis. This is practically the whole of LA County. Imagine that. LA County has a population larger than those of several states. And, that’s just one county. My county is larger in population than that several states.

    Yet, not a word from Congress or the President about this.

    It’s a systemic problem. All systems are failing because they are interconnected, but when I trace each problem back to its root, I come up with one thing–enabling social policies, policies that may have been well-intended, but failing policies.

    Sorry for the rant.

    I’d love to see you get health care, Mary; and I’d love to see a work ethic re-establised in this country. I think there is only one way to force that, but no polician or political party has the guts. You’d think they’d band together and say it in one voice, but they won’t–because, well because there are those who benefit from the failure of those policies.

  • carole

    And lastly.

    Just so that my rant doesn’t seem too partisan–Mr. Bush didn’t attempt to tackle the real problems either. No one has. Neither party has. There are a few voices in the wilderness, but that’s about it.

  • Mary

    But Carole,

    You have a job that pays for health insurance – I don’t. Are we all supposed to be teachers? Should I not work at the local grocer because it does not have a health insurance plan Or should I not work at the local grocer because my education and pride prevent me from doing so? Believe me, I have taken some odd and humbling jobs to make it through this economic fiasco. But non- of them have health insurance attached to them. BTW, part of your salary compensation of providing health care comes from some of the government stores because you are in education. – again who exactly is paying your health insurance.

    You bring up many things with which I agree – poor work ethic in others, a whole generation of moochers etc… but those are distractions to the issue of health care reform. You have gone off on a tangent albeit – it is all connected.

    I’d like to see a public insurance option that competes with the private insurance companies. While it is your view that this will sacrifice quality – it is my view from a very basic economic view that the private insurers will have to start to compete with the public option and I guess their fat checks that go to the administrators (not the doctors) will have to come into a more realistic scale with what the market (all Americans) can hold.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Mary said about Medicare:

    How could we be running out of money if the money seniors contributed is supposed to be enough to finance them? The money is coming from somewhere and as you read the article – you will see- it is coming from those who are not 65 and are still contributing. Sounds kind of …. well… mismanaged and unfair.

    Mismanaged and unfair. Sounds like the public plan I want to compete with private health insurance. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae comes to mind. I suspect there is a way to make insurance/health care available to you without creating another mismanaged and unfair program.

  • Mary

    Well, reform means reform – not just adding to it. Everyone knows that there are costs that are out of control with Medicare. Medicare is mismanged and private insurance is also mismanged. My best bet is to have reform and a public insurance option. Re- vamped system. My point about Medicare to others when they bring up the issue of not wanting a public option is – are they willing to give up their mismanaged (public option) Medicare or change Medicare in any way? Most yell – “No!”

    Seems ironic and inconsistent. They will fight – just as Carole has demonstrated for the last few days, for their right to continue using a system that is draining my money because “that’s they way it is” Don’t touch Medicare – don’t allow a public option – is the battler cry and yet there are huge problems throughout the system.

    As far as Freddi and Fannie goes – that is just throwing in distractions to the issue and those are guided by different market motivators. You are aware that we spent 1,500 billion bailing that situation out and people are griping about the cost of health care for others (these are our lives not just bank accounts and investments)

    Let’s not confuse health care with houses and administrator compensation.

  • Mary

    As a nation, we have all learned a lot about mismanagement (sp?) and the costs and problems faced by a growing population. None of us saw all the things coming that have happened recently — had we – we would all be very rich for knowing.

    Reform is needed at all levels – private and public. We have never had a closer look at corruption and misuse of power as we do today. The internet has changed our lives, the way we communicate, the way we develop our social ideas and the pace at which these things happen.

    We can downlowad a PDF file of the bill in both the House and the Senate and actually read what congress is reading and debating on. We can partake of the debate in a more personal interested way as we never have been able to before – save when the founding fathers started this country. And our voices and concerns can reach congress immediately – by tonight – in just a second. This is a unique time in our lives.

    Yes, I want reform. This is something that all growing companies and families go through. What worked for a smaller group or different composition of that group needs to be looked at, re-evaluated from time to time, and adjustments need to be made. Change happens.

    As an ex gay – I know change is not easy. It is frightening when you don’t know what is out there, when there are no promises, when there is no road map. Young mothers learn, dad’s learn, a VP of a small company learns, and so do we as a nation have to learn.

    It’s time to change and grow again.

  • carole

    Mary asked,

    Should I not work at the local grocer because it does not have a health insurance plan Or should I not work at the local grocer because my education and pride prevent me from doing so?

    A career change might indeed be advised. Many people are able and willing to attend inexpensive community colleges at night to further their education while they hold down their jobs. It’s done all the time.

    I mentioned what I did about jobs, Mary, because our society has only prospered in the past from incentives. One doesn’t and shouldn’t expect to buy a house nor get a good enough job that provides great medical benefits from stuffing tacos at Taco Bello, no matter how honorable all work is. Such a job requires little to no skill. It’s the law of supply and demand. There are lots of people who can stuff taco shells so that “skill” is not valued highly in the marketplace.

    Our system works because it, unlike the old Soviet system, rewards individual initiative and encourages the development of skills, particularly skills scarce and valued in the marketplace. HIgher salaries and better benefits are incentives to fill needed positions. After all, if working at a fast food place paid this imaginary “living wage,” what in the world would be the incentive for most people to sacrifice time and money and sweat to become doctors, nurses, engineers, math teachers, psychologists? Why would they study hard in school, go through rigorous programs only to earn the same as one who stuffs taco shells?

    again who exactly is paying your health insurance.

    I have paid for my health insurance…for 35 years. A lower salary was accepted in exchange for good benefits. Here’s how:

    My teacher’s local had a collective bargaining agreement with the district. Thus, contracts were arrived at through collective bargaining practices as set down by the state of CA. Salary, benefits, were negotiated. Sometimes the contract was for three years, sometimes for two, sometimes for one. The last 6 years of my teaching, we received no raises, not even a cost of living adjustment. The last ten years, my salary went up only twice, for total of 3 %, at a time when the salaries of most Californians was going up several times that rate during the “good economic years.” I am not complaining, just offering a comparison.

    Because health benefits had skyrocketed so much in the last decade, we agreed to zero salary increases in 8 of those 10 years to compensate for the district’s increased costs for medical coverage. In the 35 years I taught, we frequently received no raises for years at time in order to keep our health packages. We shopped around and changed medical carriers and the brokers who acted as liasons a jillion times in that time frame.

    You asked who paid my salary? The taxpayers of my county and the of the state, of course.

    I have to give my mother and father credit for my good sense in choosing a job/career/profession. Children of the Depression that they were, they drilled into me the importance of a woman getting a good education. When I was in college, basically the three fields that were “friendly” and open to educated women were nursing, social work, and education.

    Luckily, I had a talent of sorts for teaching. Over the years, the field changed because kids and parents and society had changed. My parents told me to be sure that I chose a field that offered good benefits and because public school teaching will never make anyone rich, districts often offered decent benefits’ packages in lieu of attractive salaries. That is the way it has always been in teaching in the modern era in most states–underwhelming salaries, good medical benefits to make up for the lack of cash. We used our summers to go back to school and to work a second job.

    You asked if all should become teachers? No, of course not, although if you are educated and if you have a desire to work with kids, why not?

    There is a demand for teachers these days. It’s not a field that most college grads go into anymore. As times and laws have changed and as women are now able to get jobs and advance in other fields, education has lost its automatic labor pool in the college-educated woman.

    Today, most new teachers quit the profession w/in three years and because districts still cannot pay well, they can’t compete for those college grads. If you are a math/ science person, you are even more assured of being needed. Unfortunately, most of the time our math and science classrooms are not staffed with people who have majored in those fields. Math/science majors can make much more money and have an easier job elsewhere, at least they could before this recession hit.

    So, when I went out looking for a teaching job, I interviewed with three districts and choose the one that paid a bit less in salary but more in benefits. My parents had forewarned me.

    I still believe there’s a system out there other than a single-payer public option that can be fashioned to meet people’s needs and that includes your needs.

    What we need is the political will to do it. I am afraid, however, that the rookie President (rookie in the sense that he is showing his lack of executive experience) has allowed himself to be boxed in by his own.

  • Mary

    Carole,

    While I appreciate your managing my life and telling me how to live so I can be a teacher like you – I do have other ideas about how to live. And get my insurance needs met.

    I’m sorry my parents did not have the good sense to tell me to choose a better career. Hmmmm….. then all the major universities that give business degrees must not be very smart people either. Salaries, commissions and sales are down across the board, across several industries – only did last month’s reports show an indication of loosening up in the markets.

    No doubt I need to change things but I am sorry – I should not have to be a slave to a get health insurance. In case you have not noticed – the country is suffering financially. School districts have stopped hiring teachers, substitute positions are not as easy to come by and while school is in my plans – I have a couple of other investments and things on my plate that need to be maintained through this period. Reading what you wrote is sort of like hearing someone say – well – the stock market is down – you did not have the good sense to not invest.

    And again, the bulk of your post was spent on distractions to the blog.

    While I have tried to lay out that while we both see things differently and yet want the same things – it is just what it is… We see things differently.

    You have not provided me with an financial or economic theory or model to prove to me that you are more right than I am. Thus, I know what I know about the poor broken down system that is antiquated and does not meet the needs of the citizens any longer.

  • Mary

    BTW, I did not ask who paid your salary. I pointed out that a government entity pays your salary and part of that compensation package is your STERS or PERS package, health care, vacation time, sick time. All paid by tax payer money.

    Why does it bother you for me to have a health insurance option paid in a similar manner – from a government entity – public option>

    Really you don’t need to answer because I’m not curious for your answer. As I have spent much time in trying to get you to see that :

    1) Your health insurance is provided for you out of taxpayer money (something I would like)

    2) Not all employment or career choices come with such taxpayer health insurance (I am not in the same career as you nor should people have to be herded into cubes to get health insurance . This is how private health insurance has not met the needs of most people based on profit making decisions only – no pre-existing, high premiums, high deductibles)

    3) Medicare is not funded on the money put into it by those who use it but by the working population today that doesn not even have access to it. (I’d like some of the pie – estimates show Medicare being broke by 2017

  • Mary

    Just some food for thought/

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090822/ap_on_bi_ge/us_health_care_insurance_competition

    So far, the response from you Carole has been – I’m sure there is something other than a public option. But you have not provided that something. Just more of the same that you don’t want a public option. I know you want everyone to have some insurance.

    This little article talks about the reality that there is no incentive for private insurers to do a thing about high premiums, deductibles and keeping patients with a pre-existing condition.

  • carole

    Ah, Mary you twist things:

    1) When you said in a post, “Should I not work at the local grocer because it does not have a good insurance plan…” I took the “I” to be representative of any American adult, not you in particular. After all, you told me earlier that you were self-employed; thus, I did not conclude that your primary job was that of working at a local grocery. Telling you how to manage your life? I didn’t do anything of the kind: there’s that hyperbole again. I was offering up the simple rule of economics: some skills and some commodities are more scarce than others, thus more valued. The only kid in the neighborhood who knows how to fix a car knows that. The only kid in the neighborhood who has the latest version of Madden knows that.

    If someone thinks/expects a good benefits’ package & salary is likely to be offered from a “local grocer” , who afterall would be a very small businessperson in today’s America, then he or she knows going into it that the job is not likely to compensate well, no matter the economic situation of the country. There might be rare exceptions, but the emphasis is on “rare.” Now, if you meant by “local grocer” a job with a large retail corporation like Safeway or Raley’s, then that wasn’t made clear.

    So, I wasn’t speaking of you in particular, but frankly, if your situation is similar, you asked, and I answered–yes, some jobs offer a more secure financial future, or if not security, then a higher compensation than others in our system. What the heck is news there?

    2.)

    In case you have not noticed – the country is suffering financially. School districts have stopped hiring teachers, substitute positions are not as easy to come by

    This depends totally on your location and on what you are willing to accept. A former student of mine living in Springfield, Il has been offered three teaching positions this summer, two in public school districts, one in a Catholic school. She’s an English teacher, not a math/science person. (You recall that stimulus package monies added “government positions”?)

    In depends on the state in which you live. I don’t know where you live. In my district alone, teachers quit in mid-year or earlier, and the district has to scurry around to find people. The lower the socio-economic area the district serves, the greater the chance jobs are either unfilled in critical areas or staffed by uncredentialed people (they are allowed to do that in this state for a limited time) or the greater the chance that in two or three months, as the reality of teaching in such districts becomes apparent, hirees quit and jobs open up, even in a recession.

    Some districts offer extra pay to first year teachers to teach in such districts as long as they stay for three years. That is how hard it is for them to find people who want to accept employment there.

    In addition, my comments about jobs pointed out some pre-recession facts. I assumed you had been concerned about not being able to afford health care long before last year when the recession hit, right?

    2. Come on, Mary: saying

    my parents did not have the good sense to tell me to choose a better career.

    childishly suggests I was attacking your parents rather than praising my own for offering me advice that was valuable. That’s not a fair or reasonable statement on your part. I offered that as a statement of context, not as a criticism of your parents and you know that.

    3.

    I should not have to be a slave to a get health insurance.

    Huh? A slave? People who don’t have what they consider good compensation for their labor are “slaves”? Choosing a dead-end job or one that suffers in comparison to others makes a person a “slave”? What happened to free-will, individual intiative and choice?

    Is this your way of saying that all jobs should offer basically the same wage? That the surgical nurse and the and the person sitting in a chair taking money through the fast food window ought to receive the same compensation?

    If that is what “income redistribution” is all about, this country will not look like America in 20 years–and there’ll be very few engineers, very few skilled people in anything.

    4.

    You have not provided me with an financial or economic theory or model to prove to me that you are more right than I am.

    I didn’t know you asked for one although to be fair, I did point out basic economic principles. I’ll add, since you seem interested, that our history shows that when taxes are lowered, both huge corporations which employ thousands and small businesses which fail at a huge rate because of taxes, prosper. Further, when taxes are lowered, people invest money. When people invest money in mid, small, and large cap companies (in their 401 k’s maybe), those companies expand, and expansion leds to jobs.

    Since you seem to want a “model,” if you want to read two opposing views, two different models, I can recommend reading John Maynard Keynes versus Thomas Sowell. See who’s been right.

    5.

    Thus, I know what I know about the poor broken down system that is antiquated and does not meet the needs of the citizens any longer.

    Once again, 80% of people say they are happy with their health care. To be fair, before the President/House began in earnest to speak of their vision, most said they wanted our health care system reformed to be made more affordable. However, once they heard what he had in mind and the reality of it set in, they switched from saying they wanted reform to make health care more affordable to “happy with what they have.” What’s that tell you about both the vision of the democratic conception of health care and their presentation of it? And this is not from just seniors, for sure.

    6.

    Your health insurance is provided for you out of taxpayer money (something I would like)

    Just as worker “x” in private business gets paid a salary and has a health care package, I got a salary and a health care package. Worker “x” has a package that is funded by his private employer through profits. The private employer made money from you and me, the consumer; the consumer is also a taxpayer. LIke the worker in private business, I gave a service for which my employer, the local district, paid me. The local district is funded by the tax payer who is also a consumer of my services.

    The taxes I have paid into Medicare I have not yet seen a return on–no different from you. I am not receiving those “benefits” Mary any more than you are.

    7.

    Medicare is not funded on the money put into it by those who use it but by the working population today that doesn not even have access to it. (I’d like some of the pie – estimates show Medicare being broke by 2017

    Mary, you know very well that I know this. It’s not supposed to be “funded on the money put into ti by those who use it.” And, those who are under 65 who “don’t have access to it” were NEVER supposed to have access to it before they turned 65. Why do you think you are being persecuted, asked to do something they were not asked to do. Do you realize that almost from its inception politicians have been clamoring about Medicare going broke? Think the receiver of those benefits wasn’t worried about ever getting a return on what they put in, just as you are? They didn’t get “some of the pie before that age.” Geeeeez.

    8.

    And again, the bulk of your post was spent on distractions to the blog.

    LOL. If so, then I am pretty sure that Warren will not shoot me. And, I have always tried to address your points, even if I have added others you didnt’ touch on.

    Such comments sound as if you are mimicking the President–attack the people who disagree with you, rather than talking specfically about the pros and cons of the issue.

    9. I finally understand, Mary, that you have not and that you will not consider any other reform to make health care more affordable other than the public option. So be it.

    However, that you seem to consider those of us who wish to consider other plans to make health care affordable as villains and as obstacles is unfortunate and politically counterproductive.

  • Mary

    Pkay Carole – I’ll comment point by point. However it will have to be later.


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