Category Archives: Health Care

Cartoon(s) of the Week – As Romney gets closer to the debates…

Tony Auth of Newsworks.org:

Romney plans health care for the 47%…

– and –

Rob Rogers in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette:

Is Romney sure he wants to cut off about half the contributors?

– and –

Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:

Isn’t Romney the king of mixed messages?

– and –

Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle:

At least he has Ryan to depend on…

– and –

 

David Horsey in the L.A. Times:

Now if he could avoid the bad dreams…

 

Debate in a week… Is Romney ready?

 

We are a week away from the first debate and folks are wondering if this is where Romney will turn around the devastating performance and low poll numbers he has been experiencing as of late. We’re all watching closely as he campaigns today in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts today – two turn-around states where he is currently lower in the polls than Obama. Will he make a new gaffe..or tell of his support of Romneycare which still operates in Massachusetts and is literally the model for Obamacare,

Mitt the gaffemonger has to face a premiere challenge in the debates. More Americans will be watching him at one time than at any other time during the campaign. He can’t do obvious flip-flops for an hour or  talk in vague sound bite generalities on the issues. He has to be at least marginally specific and lay out the so called “plans” he keeps claiming he has. Wii he do it? Doubtful.

As to Obama in the debates, the general feeling is that this is his event to win and he probably will.

 

Conservatives upset with Romney as he promotes Romneycare..

 

Romney is flip-flopping again.

His campaign is moving in a new direction on healthcare. Mitt Romney praised the health care law he signed as governor of Massachusetts – the model for Obama’s health plan. This has drawn swift and strong rebuke from .

In an interview with NBC News, Romney said:

“I got everybody in my state insured. One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”

Of course Romney has attacked President Obama’s similar law, which extends insurance coverage to millions of uninsured people across the country –  especially kids. Romney says he will repeal Obama’s law lock, stock and barrel, and replace it with vaguer reforms that would potentially leave more people uninsured by removing the ban on preexisting condition discrimination.

Democrats love it when Romney talks about Romneycare, using it to paint him as a hypocrite on health care reform. Conservatives, on the other hand, hate it. When a Romney staffer spoke positively about Romney’s health care law last month, conservative commentators said it “just might be the moment Romney lost the election.”

 

The New Romney Health Plan for the Poor…

 

I watched’ “60 Minutes” last night and heard Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney reveal his new plan for the millions of Americans who don’t have any health care coverage: Go to the emergency room.

“Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance. If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”

– The 2012 Mittster

As just about anyone will tell you, this is a publicly more expensive program and must less effective than insured quality care on an ongoing basis.

This is the same man who implemented the universal health care law in Massachusetts (what we tend to call Romneycare) while he was the governor. He also reiterated the need for universal coverage back in 2010 during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Look, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to have millions and millions of people who have no health insurance and yet who can go to the emergency room and get entirely free care for which they have no responsibility, particularly if they are people who have sufficient means to pay their own way.” 

– The 2010 Mittster

Does this guy ever stick to his opinions? Are any of his thoughts really his own?

I doubt it.

 

Watching Romney on 60 Minutes led me to remember the things he was lying about…

 

Post these on your websites if you want to be aware of what Romney-Ryan will do to Medicare… and what they will do to employment and tax income, etc.:

Gee, I’m lucky… being in the oldest category they only grab about 50% of my retirement payments from Social Security (or all of my pension each year for the next 8… then it’s gone.)

Did you hear Romney say he was going to cut taxes on Middle America? Go you remember ythe other day when he said the income rate of Middle America started at $200,000.00 a year in annual income… and averaged a quarter of a million dollars. All at once I was not part of Middle America any more. Neither were ALL of the people I know and deal with every day in West Virginia.

I hope most people realize the bullshit Romney is bubbling over with. We have the possibility of having the worst president in history. Let’s avoid that situation by not voting for him.

 

Paul Ryan Booed at AARP Speech

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Yesterday afternoon, Paul Ryan addressed the AARP’s National Annual Conference in New Orleans. The GOP vice presidential candidate attacked Obamacare for taking $716 billion out of Medicare — the very same cuts he included in his budget by the way — and made the case for transforming seniors’ health care from a guaranteed benefit into a premium support “voucher” program.

So what do you think the response was? Well, it didn’t go over with the audience. Take a look at this clip:

As you heard, audience members called Ryan a “liar,” told him to “go home” and repeatedly booed his critique of President Obama and health reform.

It’s a good thing senior citizens are part of the 47% and Ryan and Romney don’t have to worry about them.

My thanks to all of you who responded to my personal notice yesterday…

 

I can’t tell you how much your sympathy and suggestions meant to me. Just getting through this part of my life is so difficult. This poor old fatman (22 pounds down on my diet in the second month) has to come to some kind of way of extending his purpose.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to direct theatre again… can’t get to rehearsals and can’t find a theatre group that might want to do one of my experimental pieces. That is pretty depressing, too, having been creating such events since 1967.

Oh well… lots of blog writing to do what with a big election coming up (that’s how this blog started years ago)…at least that exercises my mind.

 

Trapped and depressed…

I’m now in the sixth week or so of being trapped in the house, unable to go anywhere, no longer living the life I had been used to. Even in this highly medicated, lonely situation I’ve had two smaller seizures which means I probably won’t be allowed to drive or bicycle or anything in 6 months as the doctors had specified (there’s a state law!) I have to go seizure free for half a year and they will assume the meds work.

They don’t.

“Don’t you have any friends who want to take you somewhere?” says my wife on her way to work. I make a couple of phonecalls, get answering machines, and still don’t hear from anyone. I used to be able to drive around Shepherdstown and visit folks at The Folly and at Mellow Moods or walking up and down German Street. Now I just sit and think about it.

A depressed man sitting on a benchIt is so depressing.

“Don’t you do crossword puzzles?” my Mother asked the other day. I don’t. I don’t want to. I read and write this blog and endured endless hours of news programs showing Romney’s gaffes – not as entertaining as they originally were.

So here I am waiting for my cell phone to ring, or waiting for e-mail to arrive or for someone to knock on the door wanting to see how I was doing. Unfortunately, I no longer think it will happen.

So Romney doesn’t care about half the country…

 

Mitt has been tripped up by an unplanned recording at a private and secret fundraiser among the very rich. This is what has caused attention in the press and has severely effected his ratings in the polls:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax….[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

According to the Washington Post, when you look at those Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes, 29% pay payroll taxes (of course, that is a direct tax on their income), and almost a quarter are elderly. For the most part they all work, and most are eligible for a federal tax credit for low-wage earners, a Republican idea created as an alternative to welfare. Perhaps Romney doesn’t know what his own party has created.

In the older population, the large quantity elderly white people and some of the white working class included in that 47 percent are the bedrock of the GOP base. When Romney rails against the “dependent,” Romney is talking about his older white base, which is dependent on Social Security and Medicare and doesn’t want either program touched. Both are his and Ryan’s major targets.

So once again, Romney has stepped in it and doesn’t even have a way to clean his foot off. If we get to the debates and he continues a similar performance, he will be kissing the election off.

 

A view from the far left…

 

…from Sam Webb, National Chairperson of the Communist Party:

 

“…I don’t believe that the Republicans even care if the economy rebounds. A sluggish economy in their view is their only path to the White House in this election cycle. If confronted, they will deny it, but if you judge them by their actions in Congress, it seems apparent that sabotage of the president’s economic plans is at the top of their agenda. It is the thin reed on which their return to power and domination rests.

“To say that Romney and his fellow Republicans are consciously undermining the economy for the purpose of winning this election is probably hard for many Americans to swallow.

“Even with their skepticism of politicians and the political process, many American people still believe that there are bounds beyond which neither party would go to accomplish its aims. That is not the case in this instance in my opinion. No matter what the cost and pain, Romney and the Republicans are hell bent on undermining any recovery of growth rates and jobs in order to emerge triumphant on Election Day.

It may bother you that Webb is a Communist, but he is an American Communist which means he has more of a left side political agenda and is strongly related to worker’s employment and unions. This is something the right has no concern with.

To see the rest of his article go HERE.

 

Have you considered what it means to you if Romney and Ryan get ahold of Medicare?

 

After hearing Romney on Meet The Press say that he wants to keep some of Obamacare, what he and Ryan want to do with Medicare, according to the Ryan budget, is a whole different matter.

It’s what it will cost you that you ought to think about.

I don’t know what age level you fall into, but knowing I’m being stripped of the money tobuy two years worth of groceries really pisses me off.

 

West Virginia Politics… why we have to elect a new comgressperson in our district…

Shelley Moore Capito is not a good representative. This election I am supporting Howard Swint.

Take a look at this:

If you vote in the 2nd District and you are like me then make sure you vote for Swint over Capito.

Quote of the Day – Women, please listen closely…

 

On Wednesday night, I spoke on the floor at the Democratic Convention about what a Romney-Ryan America would mean for women.

An America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it. In which politicians redefine rape so survivors are victimized all over again. In which someone decides which victims of domestic violence deserve help, and which don’t.

And six months from now, we could all be living in that America.

– Sandra Fluke, Georgetown Law School Graduate

Fluke expands on the speech she made at the Democratic convention… a speech that was extremely well received.

 

Where’s the Controversy in Saving Lives?

Women should control their own health care, have access to contraceptives and safe abortions. Here is a nice animation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:

So when the Republicans want to step in and control women’s personal health and contraceptive solutions, show them this.

188 Fact Checked Promises Kept By Barack Obama

 

The next time a Romney/Ryan follower tells you Obama didn’t do anything during his first term, hit them with this list… and ask them what the Republican candidates have done! Here are 188 promises made and kept by Obama:

Add another Space Shuttle flight
Allocate Homeland Security funding according to risk
Appoint a special adviser to the president on violence against women
Appoint a White House Coordinator for Nuclear Security
Appoint an American Indian policy adviser
Appoint an assistant to the president for science and technology policy
Appoint at least one Republican to the cabinet
Appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer
Ask people and businesses to conserve electricity
Assure that the Veterans Administration budget is prepared as ‘must-pass’ legislation
Attract more students to science and math
Ban lobbyist gifts to executive employees
Begin removing combat brigades from Iraq
Bolster the military’s ability to speak different languages
Centralize ethics and lobbying information for voters
Champion the importance of arts education
Change standards for determining broadband access
Close the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug plan
Conduct robust research and development on future space missions
Consider “smart growth” in transportation funding
Create a best practices list for private businesses in accommodating workers with disabilities
Create a community college partnership program
Create a consumer-friendly credit card rating system
Create a ‘Green Vet Initiative’ to promote environmental jobs for veterans
Create a Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit (HOME) score for mortgage comparisons
Create a military families advisory board
Create a national declassification center
Create a rapid response fund for emerging democracies
Create a real National Infrastructure Protection Plan
Create a Social Investment Fund Network
Create a White House Office on Urban Policy
Create an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to invest in peer-reviewed manufacturing processes
Create an artist corps for schools
Create an international tax haven watch list
Create job training programs for clean technologies
Create new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud
Create new financial regulations
Create White House performance team and chief performance officer
Create youth service corps
Direct military leaders to end war in Iraq
Double federal spending for research on clean fuels
Eliminate the higher subsidies to Medicare Advantage plans
Enact tax credit for consumers for plug-in hybrid cars
Encourage farmers to use more renewable energy and be more energy efficient
Encourage water-conservation efforts in the West
End the “Stop-loss” program of forcing troops to stay in service beyond their expected commitments
End the abuse of supplemental budgets for war
End the use of torture
Enhance earth mapping
Equalize tax breaks for driving and public transit
Establish a credit card bill of rights
Establish an Energy Partnership for the Americas
Establish an independent health institute to provide accurate and objective information
Establish program to convert manufacturing centers into clean technology leaders
Establish ‘Promise Neighborhoods’ for areas of concentrated poverty
Establish school programs to highlight space and science achievements
Establish special crime programs for the New Orleans area
Expand access to places to hunt and fish
Expand eligibility for Medicaid
Expand eligibility for State Children’s Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)
Expand federal bioforensics program for tracking biological weapons
Expand funding to train primary care providers and public health practitioners
Expand housing vouchers program for homeless veterans
Expand loan programs for small businesses
Expand Pell grants for low-income students
Expand public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations
Expand teacher mentoring programs and provide incentives for more planning time
Expand the Nurse-Family Partnership to all low-income, first-time mothers
Expand the Senior Corps volunteer program
Expand the Veterans Administration’s number of “centers of excellence” in specialty care
Expand Veterans Centers in rural areas
Explore whether International Space Station can operate after 2016
Extend and index the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax patch
Extend child tax credits and marriage-penalty fixes
Extend monitoring and verification provisions of the START I Treaty
Extend the Bush tax cuts for lower incomes
Extend the Bush tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 (couples) or $200,000 (single)
Extend unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspend taxes on these benefits
Fully fund federal contribution to the preservation of the Everglades
Fully fund the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
Fully fund the Veterans Administration
Fully fund the Violence Against Women Act
Fund a major expansion of AmeriCorps
Get his daughters a puppy
Give a speech at a major Islamic forum in the first 100 days of his administration
Give tax credits to those who need help to pay health premiums
Grant Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send money to Cuba
Help states and localities address sprawl
If you don’t have insurance, or don’t like the insurance you have, you’ll be able to choose a new plan on a health insurance exchange
Implement “Women Owned Business” contracting program
Implement and fund proven health intervention programs
Improve climate change data records
Improve relations with Turkey, and its relations with Iraqi Kurds
Improve water quality
In non-competitive markets, force insurers to pay out a reasonable share of their premiums for patient care
Increase efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy
Increase funding for land-grant colleges
Increase funding for local emergency planning
Increase funding for national parks and forests
Increase funding for progams that conserve lands and habitat for select species such as the Osceola turkey
Increase funding for the Environmental Protection Agency
Increase funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Increase funding to expand community based prevention programs
Increase minority access to capital
Increase non-military aid to Afghanistan by $1 billion
Increase special operations forces and civil affairs
Increase spending to prepare for longer space missions
Increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps
Increase the Veterans Administration budget to recruit and retain more mental health professionals
Initiate a grant and training program for law enforcement to deter cyber crime
Invest in all types of alternative energy
Invest in public transportation
Launch a supportive services-housing program for veterans to prevent homelessness
Launch an international Add Value to Agriculture Initiative (AVTA)
Launch educational initiative for employers on tax benefits of hiring employees with disabilities
Make greater investment in advanced military air technology
Make military deployments predictable for troops and families
Make National Guard leader a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Make U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional on anti-terror efforts
More controlled burns to reduce wildfires
No permanent bases in Iraq
Open “America Houses” in Islamic cities around the globe
Open new consulates “in the tough and hopeless corners of the world”
Organize successful Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in 2010
Partner to enhance the potential of the International Space Station
Promote cultural diplomacy
Promote innovative ways to reward good teachers
Promote more pre-school education
Protect American intellectual property abroad
Provide $30 billion over 10 years to Israel
Provide affordable, high-quality child care
Provide grants to early-career researchers
Provide grants to encourage energy-efficient building codes
Pursue a wildfire management plan
Push for a college football playoff system
Push for enactment of Matthew Shepard Act, which expands hate crime law to include sexual orientation and other factors
Raise fuel economy standards
Raise the small business investment expensing limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009
Rebuild schools in New Orleans
Recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession
Reduce subsidies to private student lenders and protect student borrowers
Reform mandatory minimum sentences
Reform No Child Left Behind
Reform the patent system
Reinstate executive order to hire an additional 100,000 federal employees with disabilities within five years.
Release oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve
Release presidential records
Remove more brush, small trees and vegetation that fuel wildfires
Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy
Reproductive health care will be “at the heart” of health care reform.
Require 10 percent renewable energy by 2012
Require Cabinet officials to host Internet town hall meetings
Require children to have health insurance coverage
Require economic justification for tax changes
Require health plans to disclose how much of the premium goes to patient care
Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions
Require large employers to contribute to a national health plan
Require more energy-efficient appliances
Require new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions.
Require states to provide incentives for utilities to reduce energy consumption
Restore funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program
Restore funding to the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
Reverse restrictions on stem cell research
Seek verifiable reductions in nuclear stockpiles
Send two additional brigades to Afghanistan
Set goals and timetables for implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act
Share enviromental technology with other countries
Sign a “universal” health care bill
Stand down nuclear forces to be reduced under the Moscow Treaty
Stop the development of new nuclear weapons
Strengthen and expand military exchange programs with other countries
Strengthen antitrust enforcement
Strengthen the levees in New Orleans
Support airline service in small towns
Support commercial access to space
Support funding and reform for Amtrak
Support high-speed rail
Support increased funding for the NEA
Support network neutrality on the Internet
Support regional innovation clusters
Use the International Space Station for fundamental biological and physical research
Use the private sector to improve spaceflight
Vigorously pursue hate crimes and civil rights abuses
We will kill bin Laden
Will seek more accommodations of bicycles and pedestrians
Work to build natural gas pipeline from Alaska
Work to overturn Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
Work toward deploying a global climate change research and monitoring system

 

Tom Brokaw rushed to hospital in Charlotte this morning…

 

The former Nightly News anchor was reportedly transported to a hospital after an appearance on MSNBC‘s Morning Joe. Brokaw felt “light-headed” and taking great caution, he was removed to the hospital for evaluation.

Somewhat later, a tweet came from Brokaw in the hospital laying the blame on a sleeping pill:

“All is well Early AM I mistakenly took a half dose of Ambien and made less sense than usual. Made a better comeback than Giants…”

Brokaw, 72, has been contributing to a number of NBC and MSNBC discussion panels on both the Republican and Democratic conventions. He should be back at it soon.

 

 

 

What you remember from a convention makes a big difference.

 

Among all the very effective speakers at last night’s Democratic Convention – the most important being Michelle Obama who brought down the house – the one I remember the most was Stacy Lihn.

Stacy Lihn

Lihn is mother to little Zoe Lihn, a child born with a congenital heart defect, who already has needed three open-heart surgeries which would, in all likelihood, push her close to, or past, her insurance company’s lifetime coverage limit. Lihn told the crowd that President Obama‘s health care reform law “is saving my daughter’s life,” and made it clear that if Mitt Romney is elected, and makes good on his promise to repeal Obamacare, the consequences for Zoe would be disastrous.

“Governor Romney says people like me were most excited about President Obama the day we voted for him. But that’s not true. Not even close. For me, there was the day the Affordable Care Act passed, and I no longer had to worry about getting Zoe the care she needed. There was a day the letter arrived from the insurance company saying our daughter’s lifetime cap had been lifted. There was the day the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare… And like so many moms with sick kids, I shed tears.”

Lihn went on to outline what Zoe’s future would be after the election of a Romney/Ryan ticket:

“If Mitt Romney becomes president, and Obamacare is repealed, there’s a good chance she’ll hit her lifetime cap. There’s no way we could afford to pay for all of the care she needs to survive. When you have a sick child, it’s always in the back of your mind and sometimes, in the front of your mind. On top of that, worrying that people would let an insurance company take away her health care just because of politics? One in one 100 children are born with a congenital heart defect. President Obama is fighting for them. He’s fighting for families like mine, and we need to fight for him.”

The audience’s response to Lihn and her family, who appeared next to her on the podium, was highly emotional and supportive. Certainly, this was a speech that everyone would remember when they think of Obamacare… I know I will.

Conventions are a lot like commercials for political positions and and, like commercials, help the voter determine which brand to buy. The big difference between Republicans and Democrats on this issue is that people will remember the major positions: The Republicans will dismantle Obamacare and cut Medicare and Medicaid using the money to afford tax cuts for the rich. The Democrats made it clear that if Republicans are elected a little girl will die.

How the Republicans deal with the actual results of their campaign goals can easily affect voters. There is no way they can make their cuts sound beneficial to sick children.

 

Convention Video: The stories of our platform

 

This makes the Democratic platform have more understandable content.

 

Remembering the creation and importance of Labor Day…

The contributions made by unions to the betterment of America’s workers is primarily the reason we celebrate Labor Day. The influence of organized labor cannot be ignored.

Most of the benefits workers now enjoy are directly attributable to unions:

  • The 40 hour work week
  • paid holidays and vacations
  • sick leave
  • grievance procedures
  • collective bargaining
  • generally superior wages.

Unfortunately, we have come to take those benefits for granted. Benefits came about because of unions and soon became the norm for union workers and many non-union workers as well. All American workers owe a debt of gratitude to Organized Labor for its achievements.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country. By 1909 all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.

On Labor Day, let’s look at the benefits brought to us by Organized Labor:

Benefits of Unions:

Reinforcement of  the middle class. States with higher rates of unionization have lower rates of poverty, crime, and failing schools.

Raise of wages for all workers. Studies show that a large union presence in an industry or region can raise wages even for non-union workers. Women in unions make 33% more non-union women, and are more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and pensions.

Reducing wage inequality. Unions raise wages the most for low- and middle-wage workers and workers without college degrees.

Creation of mine safety laws strengthening mine safety standards and protecting the rights of mine workers.

The legal participation of Organized Labor has gotten many bills through Congress. In the last 50 or so years these include:

    •    The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
•    The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
•    The Voting Rights Act of 1965
•    The Civil Rights Act of 1964
•    The Equal Pay Act of 1963

So as we celebrate Labor Day, let’s look at it as not just a day off from work, but as recognition of the relationship of the worker to democracy.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – What was the Republican Convention like?

 

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

What a tremendous image the Republicans set at their Convention…

– and –

Steve Sack in the Star Tribune:

It was interesting to guess who was in charge…

– and –

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Of course, I wonder why so many seniors at the Convention thought Romney and Ryan were their solution…

– and –

Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune:

The Convention showed us how Romney started in the lower middle class…just like us!

– and –

David Horsey in the L. A. Tribune:

The Convention, however, had great moments of entertainment…

 

 

Want to know what Medicare will cost you when you retire under the Romney Plan?

 

There is a great danger in electing Mitt Romney and letting him and Paul Ryan get their hands on Medicare. According to a report from Harvard economist David Cutler, an Obamacare architect, and the Center for American Progress the cost of health care at retirement will be obscenely expensive.

If Romney and Ryan are allowed to turn Medicare into a voucher system for Americans under 55 when they qualify for Medicare, 48-year-olds would have to pay $124,600 more for Medicare, 39-year-olds would have to pay $216,600 more during retirement, and 29-year-olds would have to pay $331,200 more in total. That’s because the vouchers would not keep up with rising health care costs. For those 29-year-olds, the extra costs would consume 62% of their lifetime Social Security benefits. And that’s as long as the Republicans don’t destroy Social Security altogether.

It’s up to you and who you vote for to preserve and continue to improve Medicare as Obama has done so far. It’s your choice… don’t forget it when you approach the voting booth.

 

Healthcare Question: WHO GETS HELP AND WHO DOESN’T?

My friend Ted Czukor sent me this essay and I am pleased to pass it on to you:

WHO GETS HELP AND WHO DOESN’T?
By Ted Czukor

info@tedsyoga.com

I’d like to take a poll of all readers over the age of 30. How many of you think that life is going to unfold the way you had envisioned? It certainly hasn’t been like that for me! I’m 65 now, and on the one hand I’ve had some wonderful experiences that I never could have predicted, while on the other hand some experiences have been the sheerest crap; but very seldom in my life has my planning brought about the exact result to which I had looked forward.

One of the more disturbing surprises I’ve had recently is that finally getting Medicare health insurance is not necessarily a guarantee of receiving proper medical attention—because healthcare providers are sometimes slow to order medical tests. I say “sometimes” because it’s a very mixed bag. Sometimes our doctor may send us immediately to the lab for something that he feels is necessary, but other times we may have to come back to his office for multiple appointments over several months with the same persistent complaint before he will decide that the quickly-written prescription isn’t doing anything, and we really do need to have a tube stuck down our throat or a picture taken of our brain or joints to see what the hell is actually going on.

It’s hard to predict when our doctors will jump on a test immediately or delay one for several months—but it seems clear from the national discussion on TV that some tests are being delayed due to concerns about cost. Our healthcare system is losing money, and some patients are guilty of what the insurance industry calls “over-utilization of services”—which makes it damned hard on those of us who legitimately need the testing.

On the Today Show on Wednesday morning, August 28th 2012, Dr. Nancy Snyderman actually suggested that any medical test will come up with something treatable, so therefore people in their 90’s should hold off on such tests so that younger people with longer-expected life spans can benefit from the treatments instead!  We like and respect Dr. Nancy, and we never expected her to take such a cold-blooded stance on the subject. It sounds logical and fiscally responsible on the surface, but how low on the age scale should we set the cutoff point? Age 80? 70? What about people over the age of 60? Shouldn’t other factors besides age be considered in such a decision?

Such a stance is easy to support, so long as the older people in question are generic groups whom you have never met. But when that older person is suddenly a personal friend or a member of your own family—or when, God forbid, it’s actually you—then you will probably take a second look and decide that in this case, at least, an exception should be made!

Another unexpected and recent surprise has been that we have to do our own diagnosing. More accurately, we have to research our symptoms on the Internet and take our questions about possible causes to our doctor, to get him to look into them and determine whether we are barking up the wrong tree—or not. Only our doctors and their labs can diagnose for certain, but we have to tell them what to look for! This is doubtless due to the overwhelming number of patients they see every day, with the result that even the most conscientious physician can only pay full attention to the patient who is right in front of him. As soon as that patient has left and a new one has come in, the first one better receive proper follow-up from the doctor’s staff, because the doctor himself will have forgotten about him until their next scheduled appointment.

In the last three years my wife and I have been successfully treated for degenerated hips and shoulders, melanoma and allergic reactions to various medications—but in every case we were the ones who had to self-diagnose the condition and then go to the proper specialist to have it verified! Until we did that, we were simply given prescriptions for pain or infection in an attempt to mask symptoms.  It was never suggested that surgery might be needed, or that a medication should be discontinued because it might be messing us up.  Suggestions of that nature had to be put forward by us.

I have two reasons for writing this essay and sharing it with others. For those in the medical profession, I want you to know that educated patients understand your dilemmas concerning healthcare costs and the limited time you are allowed to spend with each of us—but we insist that attention be paid to us as individuals, rather than as generic members of a certain age group. For my contemporaries who are experiencing the same frustrations that I am, I want to encourage you to Keep Doing Your Searches on WebMD, and Keep Asking Questions. Don’t take a doctor’s “I don’t know” for an answer. Get your facts lined up, and insist on getting tested for anything that alarms you and that your doctor isn’t completely sure doesn’t need a test.

For those of you who aren’t wealthy and are under 65 without health insurance, I empathize.  I went without insurance for two years before finally making it to Medicare age. The best advice I can give is to do whatever you feel is necessary to maintain your functionality, until you can finally get coverage to see doctors again. The trick is to just stay alive. But remember that getting the insurance won’t be enough. You will have to be an active advocate for your own health and for the health of your spouse and parents.

Why do we take medications that can kill us?

Have you noticed on more and more TV commercials for prescription medications that something upsetting appears?  According to law, prescription meds have to state their side effects in advertising, and since I take a lot of prescription meds I monitor these commercials with scrutiny.

A great number of these side effect revelations include such things as depression, sleeplessness, stomach problems or DEATH! So in taking these sleeping pills or pain killers or diabetes medications, the side effect could be that you die.

Does this cause any problems for the medications industry? It looks like doctors have very little trouble prescribing these potential killers… and the TV ads convince many patients to request these from their physicians.

I see no one on the news or in other source material debating this issue, so I wonder if it is important to Americans (it is becoming important to me because I take at least one of these pills.)

Let me hear from you if you have any thoughts on this issue.

What is it about Republicans and Rape?

Tom Smith is running for Senate against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey in Pennsylvania. When the Akin/Ryan/Rape business came up he was interviewed by Mark Scolforo of the Associated Press. Catch this:

SCOLFORO: How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who, God forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her own will? Do you have a way to explain that?

SMITH: I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to.. she chose the way I thought. No don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape.

SCOLFORO: Similar how?

SMITH: Uh, having a baby out of wedlock.

SCOLFORO: That’s similar to rape?

SMITH: No, no, no, but… put yourself in a father’s situation, yes. It is similar. But, back to the original, I’m pro-life, period.

Perhaps Republicans have no real idea what Rape is… a violent and immoral crime. For the state to have control of a woman’s decisions related to the use of her body is equally as violent, whether psychologically or physically, and just as criminally immoral.

At least we know now that birth out of wedlock is “similar” to rape.

I hope you Pennsylvania folks keep a very good Senator that you are lucky to have… Bob Casey.

(Special thanks to Wonkette for the transcript.)

A personal note – I’m living in considerable fear…

Yesterday I had another seizure like the dozen or so I’ve had in the past three years. As I mentioned at the time of the accident 4 weeks ago that left me with broken ribs and shoulder blade and collarbone (and sent me to the hospital for close to a week), my fall down the stairs was caused by one of these seizures. My car accident which took away my right to drive was the result of another seizure four weeks before that.

The worst part of these seizures is that after blacking out (and falling or actually carrying out some activities), I remember nothing until I come out of it… maybe a few minutes later, but occasionally a much longer time. Those who have experienced seeing me in such a state have confirmed that I talk to them and often do things… something I have never had a memory of.

My fear now is that these seizures may start coming more frequently. I’ve been through a large number of medical tests with no results. One doctor thinks it might be epilepsy and a couple of weeks ago had me watch out and see if new seizures happened, even with prescribed medication. I’ll have to call her today and tell her it has happened… not something I look forward to.

Elly is afraid that I’ll have one while she is at work and that I will fall and hurt myself with ho one around. I fear that, too… but I’ve got to go on living somehow.

Actually, this blog is one of the things that keeps me going and for that I thank the several hundred readers who view it every day. Sorry I’ve spoken about it now… I’ll try to lay off in the future.

– Bill