Saturday, August 8, 2009

The state of the health care debate.

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

Attributed to Mark Twain.

And that was before the internet.

Attributed to Matty Boy.

So there's a provision in the health care bill that allows people to discuss end-of-life care every five years with a doctor and to have that consultation covered by Medicare. In the right wing media, this is being covered as forced euthanasia. You may get some e-mail from a right wing friend warning you about this. Here is the link to the page on Snopes that explains what's really going on.

I don't talk to tech savvy right wingers that often, though I know they exist, and I don't know what they think about Snopes. Since some felt that they needed their own version of Wikipedia, I'm sure that there are those who think Snopes is just a liberal commie plot. Sure, Snopes is right about the albino alligators in the sewers of New York and the Microsoft Lottery scam, but they are just putting that stuff in so they will look authoritative when they try to tell you Obama isn't personally going to kill your grandma.

Don't let Obama kill your grandma! That's what we've got Kaiser Permanente and Humana for! Free market forces should kill your grandma, not some damn socialist bastards from the gummint!

Oh, and another thing. Keep your damn gummint hands off my Medicare!

[That last one I didn't make up. Some wingnut was screaming that at the cameras at one of the town hall meetings.]


Anonymous said...

My Mother-in-Law lives with us and has for six years, she's 95. We enrolled her in Hospice because her time in near. She was greatful the doctor took the time to help her understand her choices for end life preparation. The doctors time, we now learn, was not covered by her Medicare. The new Health Care Reform hopes to correct that so doctors get a fee for the hours they spend helping a person who is preparing to die. When I saw the lies on TV I cringed. Is this really "my fellow Americans" out there hawking lies and scaring older people? What have we become Matty?

Matty Boy said...

We knew my mom's wishes if she entered a coma. That made the situation that finally happened much, much easier. My dad has taken similar measures. Everyone should, and probably before they reach the age of 65. Think of how much easier the Terry Schiavo situation would have been if she had drawn up a living will.

I agree with Chris Matthews often enough, but I can't stand watching him, even back when I had a TV. I read on the Huffington Post that he was repeating this same crap. There's also video from Crooks and Liars.

As to what we've become, I have to wonder what human nature really is and always has been. There's some need in the human psyche to believe in nonsense, and it's not just right wingers.

Anonymous said...

Appeared on Bill Moyers Journal show 10 July 2009.

Wendell Potter -- Profits or Patients

With almost 20 years inside the health insurance industry, Wendell Potter saw for-profit insurers hijack our health care system and put profits before patients. Now, he speaks with Bill Moyers about how those companies are standing in the way of health care reform.

Looking back over his long career, Potter sees an industry corrupted by Wall Street expectations and greed. According to Potter, insurers have every incentive to deny coverage — every dollar they don't pay out to a claim is a dollar they can add to their profits, and Wall Street investors demand they pay out less every year. Under these conditions, Potter says, "You don't think about individual people. You think about the numbers, and whether or not you're going to meet Wall Street's expectations."

Anonymous said...

August 7, 2009, 8:13 pm
Weekend Opinionator: A Sick Debate
By Tobin Harshaw

12. August 8, 2009 1:57 am Link
I have lived in Europe, the USA (NYC and FLA) and currently live in Canada. I am a reasonably well-informed financial executive. I make my living as a capitalist.

I wouldn’t know where to begin re: the health care debate but I will make a couple of observations:

1. The USA has the finest health care in the world — bar none — provided that you have a no-limit gilt-edged money is no object health plan. Or you are rich. In my experience the 2 go hand in hand.

Failing such insurance or such boundless wealth how any rational human being with an IQ over 75 and an income below, say, $250k (forget the social compassion argument) could defend the existing system is beyond comprehension.

2. The outright lies — yes lies — that critics of health care reform spew is disturbing. The intentional misrepresentation of the Canadian and European models is outrageous. The Canadian model is flawed. There needs to be greater access to ‘private-delivery’ alternatives (which currently exist in some fields.) Having said that, since I returned to the province of Ontario in the late 1990’s until now the improvement in standards and care is staggering and in most cases matches anything I witnessed or experienced in NYC. Yes, health care is rationed here (hence a need for ancillary private care) but it is rationed everywhere — including the US. The exception being as per point #1 above. Per capita Ontario spends approximately 65% of what the consumers/taxpayers of the US/NY spend. However Ontario delivers 90% — or more — of the US standard. That is one very big financial/efficiency/productivity gap. That money gap goes to the US insurance companies, doctors, malpractice lawyers and lobbyists. The common canard about Canada etc is that “faceless bureaucrats make life or death decisions” (as opposed to, say, faceless HMO clerks). The truth is that in Canada the ‘gatekeepers’ who allocate critical care are the physicians themselves — the specialists.

3. Aside from private-payment plastic surgeons it is true you will not see many doctors in Canada driving a Rolls Royce. But you will see an awful lot driving a Benz or a Jag. Doctors here work hard and are well compensated. What we lack here is the concept that a medical degree should be attributed Venture Capitalist returns.

4. Lastly, a general observation/question (again, I really am a capitalist). Why is it that in the USA (a country I genuinely love) millions of people who barely make a living or are working class and/or just holding on to the ‘middle class’ are the most vocal — hysterical wouldn’t be an exaggeration — in defending the privileges of the rich and the corporate? Against their own self-interest I might add. Anywhere else in the western world the existing US health care tyranny would have people in the streets demanding reform — not ‘debating’ it.

— jon c

Anonymous said...

Thursday, July 30, 2009
The Health Care Debate and Tommy Douglas, Greatest Canadian of All Time
Few Americans may realize that a Baptist minister is recognized by Canadians as the "Greatest Canadian of All Time." Tommy Douglas, who died in 1986, is one of history's most influential Baptists that few outside of Canada know. And here in the summer of 2009, Douglas' legacy is extremely relevant to the biggest issue facing Americans: health care.

Tommy Douglas, you see, was the man who brought about Canada's universal public health care system, a health care system which Canadians for several generations now have chosen to pay extra taxes to operate and maintain, and a health care system which 91% of Canadians today view as superior to America's health care system. Furthermore, Douglas set Canada on the road to universal health care during the Great Depression, while here in America today President Obama is seeking to do the very same thing during the current Great Recession.

Douglas, a minister turned politician, first became personally aware of the moral imperative of health care when as a child he almost lost his leg to a disease because his family could not pay for treatment; only by the good graces of a doctor, who offered his medical services for free, was Douglas' leg saved. Influenced by the Christian principles of the Social Gospel while in collge, Douglas pastored for several years before entering politics during the Depression in 1935, becoming the Premier of Saskatchewan in 1942. He remained a leading politician in Canada for many years, consistently advocating for universal health care and basic human rights. Under his leadership, the Saskatchewan Bill of Rights was enacted. And while securing public health care for all citizens, Douglas paid off government debt and created a surplus.

Although today most Americans want a public health care option, we as a nation are slow to the table in responding to the moral imperative of basic universal public health care (although a number of presidents, beginning with Teddy Roosevelt, have personally supported public health care). If we as a nation this year do manage to place human life above the greed-driven free market health insurance industry by enacting a public health care option, we have Tommy Douglas to thank, one of the greatest Baptists of the past century.
Posted by Bruce Gourley at 7:00 AM
Labels: baptist, government, greed, health care, insurance, Teddy Roosevelt, Tommy Douglas

Matty Boy said...

Thanks to the anonymous commenter for the last three messages. Very informative.

carol said...

I can tell you exactly what wingers think of Snopes. They love it! I know from experience they read just long enough to find what they think is verification of whatever outlandish lie they want to believe...and then stop reading. That way they can says they checked the lie to find out it was true! Neat, huh?