Blog Archives

Here’s a new problem which will probably start appearing in storm damaged areas (and beyond)…

Here’s something to watch out for that you probably haven’t thought of: if you are shopping for a used car you  should be on the lookout for flood-damaged vehicles that often hit the market after a major storm. They may not come from your particular geographic area, but the storm actually covered a lot of ground.

In the wake Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive flooding in several Northeast and Mid-Atlantic cities in the U.S., we should consider the advice given by Edmunds.com (the Car People.)

Once owners of damaged cars settle up with their insurance companies their vehicles are sometimes refurbished and resold. An unsuspecting buyer in a state unaffected by the disaster is the prime target. Long after the seller is gone, the new owner finds it is an unreliable car. Electrical and mechanical problems can then surface, and there is no recourse against the seller.

 

When the flood waters recede, they often leave behind damaged cars, and that’s where trouble can begin for used-car buyers. After the owners of damaged cars settle up with their insurance companies, vehicles are sometimes refurbished and resold. And sometimes, a middleman buyer intentionally hides a car’s history as a flood-damaged vehicle through a process known as “title washing” and sells it to an unsuspecting buyer in a state unaffected by the disaster. Electrical and mechanical problems then surface later — long after the seller is gone — leaving the new owner with an unreliable car and no recourse against the seller.

– edmunds.com

According to Fraud Guides, if you suspect a local car dealer is committing fraud by knowingly selling a flood car or a salvaged vehicle as a good-condition used car, contact your auto insurance company, local law enforcement agency or the National Insurance Crime Bureau at (800) TEL-NICB (835-6422).

Of course, the best advice when trying to avoid a flood-damaged vehicle is the adage you’ve heard so often: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

 

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.

Today continues the House Republicans’ waste of time…

Well, we need jobs legislation, and we need tax resolution, and we need many more necessary things from the House of Reps… but for the last couple of days, leading to a vote today, they have been wasting time and effort.

Today’s vote will be the 33rd vote to undermine the Affordable Care Act, either through repeal or blocking funding for various provisions, since Republicans took control of the House in 2010. It won’t matter. The repeal, if passed,  is sure to be defeated in the Democratic-led Senate. And even if it made it through the Senate, the President has pledged to veto such a measure once it reaches his desk.

Yesterday I watched the arguments in the House on C-Span and spent most of the time sorting out the truth in claims by both sides. And I heard Obama speak in Iowa saying:

“I will work with anybody to improve the health care law where we can, but this law is here to stay. And it will help the vast majority of Americans feel greater security. If you’ve got health insurance, it’s going to be more secure because insurance companies can’t jerk you around because of fine print. If you don’t have health insurance, we’ll help you get it.”

No matter how much they want to eliminate Romneycare … excuse me, Obamacare … the Republicans have no plan to replace it and will eliminate health care for millions of people, especially young people and seniors and the poor.

One would think that the best thing they could do would be to create a new plan which could replace Obamacare immediately, not remove coverage from the population, and save the millions of dollars they claim they want to do. Then, once voted in, it would replace the existing law without stranding anyone.

But they are not going to do that.

I’ll watch their vote today, but I know by their sheer numbers that Republicans will pass their repeal. Then, once they send it to the Senate, maybe they can get around to the things they really should be doing. Do you think they will?

Clarifying the Affordable Care Act’s Requirement to Buy Coverage…

The following chart from the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation makes clear who has to buy health coverage under Obamacare and how much it will cost. I feel it is better to know how this really works than to hear Republicans as they cry that the world will come to an end.

The Requirement to Buy Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act

Along with changes to the health insurance system that guarantee access to coverage to everyone regardless of pre-existing health conditions, the Affordable Care Act includes a requirement that many people be insured or pay a penalty. This simple flowchart illustrates how that requirement (sometimes known as an “individual mandate“) works.

Thanks to all of you who have called and e-mailed after my accident…

So many of you have wished me well. I am still in some pain in my ribcage (I’m  calling it “airbag shock”), but, in general I’m feeling much better.

Several have asked what caused the the accident and the best I can say is “I don’t know.” Essentially I had a blackout seizure and when I finally realized where I was I was 30 miles down the road having hit two cars and a power line. When I noticed a police car behind me and I pulled over, I had no idea what was going on, or that the whole front of my car was just about gone.

Somewhere in the course of the accident I lost my Superfocus glasses… I terrible loss for me. We don’t know yet of the insurance covers the loss as part of the accident.

Anyway, they’re not likely to let me drive again unless they can figure out what causes the seizures (apparently I’ve had a couple of other ones, not while driving, over the last couple of years. Most of these include lapses of time that I don’t remember, either.)

So my computer and I will continue to travel the world… but I won’t be getting out of the yard unless someone else takes me.

Today is the day the Supreme Court weighs in on Obamacare…

The news media is waiting with baited breath for the decision of the SCOTUS which is due today on the President’s health care plan. So many questions are waiting to be answered:

1. Will the Court’s decision be primarily political?

2. Who will suffer the most if it is overturned?:

– Young people under 26 years old who are able to be on their parents’ health care plan, who could lose that  advantage unless the insurance company itself allows it.

– Protection for sick patients who can lose their coverage due to a mistake in paperwork.

– People in southern states who have the least amount of state-mandated protection on their health insurance as opposed to more progressive states.

– Women will not be able to get free birth control (this is Planned Parenthood‘s major worry.)

– The risk of coverage will increase immensely for insurance companies who will not be as supportive of the users and more supportive of themselves.

3. Will the Court separate the Mandate (the requirement that everyone have insurance) from the rest of the law?

So we await the decision which will be written by Justice Roberts and see if they use it as the standard  anti-Democrat response the court has made since putting George W. Bush into office.

 

Want to know where the NRA stands on shooting people like Trayvon Martin?

National Rifle Association

National Rifle Association – Our Great Protector 😦

In 2005, the NRA pushed it’s Florida members to vote to support the “Stand Your Ground” law. Now, when we’ve seen what that law can cause in the Trayvon Martin case, the National Rifle Association is now offering legal insurance for Stand Your Ground Shooters.

The insurance  covers policy holders’ costs should they become embroiled in a legal battle after shooting someone in “self-defense.” It is formally endorsed by the NRA and administered by Lockton Affinity exclusively for NRA members  (added as a rider to the “excess personal liability” plan.)

Here’s how the website advertises the added coverage for self-defense (emphasis in the original):

What’s Covered:

• Provides coverage up to the limit selected for criminal and civil defense costs.

Cost of civil suit defense is provided in addition to the limit of liability for bodily injury and property damage.

Criminal Defense Reimbursement is provided for alleged criminal actions involving self-defense when you are acquitted of such criminal charges or the charges are dropped.

And what does it cost? The basic liability plan costs either $47 or $67 annually, for coverage up to $100,000 or $250,000, respectively… PLUS a policy holder can add the self-defense insurance by paying $118 or $165 for the lesser coverage, or between $187 and $254 for the larger plan.The coverage amount stays the same.

I agree with ThinkProgress.org that Matt Bors summed it up better than anyone:

As usual, America is so lucky to have the NRA looking after our right to bear (and use) arms.

Not all parts of Obamacare are objected to by three major insurers…

While we’re waiting for the Supreme Court to make a decision on the health Care law, at least three major insurers promised yesterday to continue following some of the rules in the law.

United Healthcare, representing about 26 million people that could be affected by a change in the law, said it would allow young adults to stay on their parents’ policies up to age 26, wouldn’t reinstate lifetime limits on coverage and would continue to offer cancer screenings and other preventive services without co-payments. It also would maintain a third-party appeals process for treatment denials and wouldn’t cancel policies retroactively.

Later in the day, Humana said it would continue the same provisions. Aetna, said it would retain the young adult provision, the preventive care benefits and a third-party appeals program, but didn’t include a reference to lifetime limits on coverage or retroactive cancellation.

Public opinion polls have shown these provisions to be very popular, even among people who say they don’t like the overall law.No other comments on significant provisions in the law, such as the requirement that applicants with preexisting conditions must be accepted for insurance after 2014.

No word yet from the Romney folks on this set of announcements.

4 and a half minutes with the Medical Industry

I blew my morning this morning with a Neurologists visit in Hagerstown. I see this doctor every six months because he has me on a prescription to not have the strange blackouts I had last year (he says they are seizures, but apparently I function normally during them…I just don’t remember what I’ve done when  I recognize my surroundings again.

Anyway… it takes close to an hour to drive to this Dr.’s office, five or six minutes to go over insurance information and copay stuff with the girl at the front desk, then, being shown to a little room, I wait.

By around 10:30 I have been waiting for my 10:15 meeting with the Dr. for fifteen minutes.

Then he comes in and asks me if I’m taking my meds (yes, I say) and have I had any seizures (no, I say)…good, he says, I’ll see you in November.

My total time with the Dr. is 4.5 minutes. I don’t know how much the insurance company is paying for this, or what they are going to charge me, but my main thought is “I could have done this over the phone.”

You’d think he’d tap my knees or look in my ears or something. But he didn’t (I didn’t even get put on a scale…the girl who checked me in asked me what I weighed. I could have said anything.)

The medical world is a gaggle of thieves.

Flash! Pat Robertson gives approval to Oral Sex in Marriage!

Well… one can be against having health insurance cover birth control, but can approve oral sex in marriage. Isn’t that one of the simplest forms of birth control?

Where are you leading us, Pat?… America’s employers will need to know before deciding whether their female employees should be denied birth control on religious and/or moral grounds.

Did you notice that Pat said “between two people who are married” and not “Between a man and a woman who are married”?

Oh, Pat… are you slowly crawling into the twenty first century?

The Courts may shut down the Affordable Care Act leaving us healthcare deprived…

E. J. Dionne has a great column this morning: Will the Courts Wreck Health Care?

A quote from the column:

Ken Cuccinelli

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli made a revealing argument against the mandate. He kept referring to health insurance as a “private product.”

    There’s the rub. Health care is anything but a “private product.” The system is replete with cross-subsidies from hospitals, taxpayers and the already insured. There is no law requiring a car dealer to give you a new Lexus if you just walk onto the lot that compares to the statute requiring hospitals to treat you if you show up. We consider health care a largely public good, but we don’t pay for it that way. That’s foolish.

Read the whole column HERE.

Here’s something I agree with 100% – but it won’t happen.

I picked this up over at BuzzFlash:

Let Congress Test Out Paul Ryan‘s Medicare Plan on Themselves and Their Families: That Would Kill It Right Quick

by MARK KARLIN, EDITOR FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Why is this man smiling?

If the politicians in DC are so serious about deficit reduction, then why don’t they start by cutting their own pay, health care benefits and pensions?

Doesn’t budget control begin at home?

And if Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan is so terrific, why don’t Ryan and other Congressional supporters of his budget immediately pass a bill that will replace their health care benefits with the Ryan plan?

In fact, why not run a test program with the Koch brothers, members of their Americans for Prosperity and elderly Tea Party supporters? All of them should volunteer to immediately go on the Ryan Medicare, drastically limited “voucher program” – which would leave a high percentage of seniors unable to afford medical insurance – as sort of a test model of Ryan’s plans for privatizing and shrinking Medicare.

Then we can see the actual results of a plan that would raise health care costs by adding the profits of corporations and administrative costs to Medicare, while drastically reducing benefits due to the small amount of money allocated to vouchers for each senior – and the for-profit insurance industry profit motivation to deny as much care as possible.

If Ryan is the “visionary” much of the corporate media makes him out to be, let Americans see his “vision” actualized by a trial implementation of his proposed program.

Let Ryan be the first volunteer, after he cuts his pay, pension and other Congressional benefits.

So what do you think? Any chance Ryan and his buddies will take Mark Karlin up on this one?

Yeah… you bet.

So what happens when Corporations control things? Say, in preventing premature births…

There is a new product out called Makena (Ma – Kee – na) which prevents pre-term labor in women who are prone to premature birth. The drug is a form of progesterone, and, for years, has been available to doctors from special compounding pharmacies at a patient cost of $10. to $20. a shot. And it has been pretty effective.

But things can change… and sometimes the change is devastating.

After years of exploration, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in association with The March Of Dimes carried out their program of tests and finally issued their support for the drug. Since it is FDA approved, the drug could be signed to a major manufacturer, in this case KV Pharmaceutical of suburban St.Louis, who won government approval to exclusively sell the drug. That means compounding pharmacists can no longer make Makena (or any similar progesterone) for doctors. So what is wrong with that?

KY has increased the cost per required weekly injection from $10. to $1500.

Nope. That wasn’t a typo. KY has increased the price 150 times, causing a rage among both doctors and patients. Dr. Roger Snow, deputy medical director for Massachusetts’ Medicaid program commented on the price change:

“That’s a huge increase for something that can’t be costing them that much to make. For crying out loud, this is about making money.”

NPR has cited some other doctors at major organizations:

“I’ve never seen anything as outrageous as this,” said Dr. Arnold Cohen, an obstetrician at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

“I’m breathless,” said Dr. Joanne Armstrong, the head of women’s health for Aetna, the Hartford-based national health insurer.

The thing that concerns doctors the most is that the cost is going to prevent middle and lower-class women from taking Makena, causing an increase in premature births which the standard progesterone compounds have caused to go down.

KY says the cost is justified to avoid mental and physical problems that come with premature births…a premie can add $51,000 in unexpected medical costs to new parents. This is according to KV Pharmaceutical chief executive Gregory J. Divis Jr.:

“Makena can help offset some of those costs. These moms deserve the opportunity to have the benefits of an FDA-approved Makena.”

The FDA plays no part in setting the price for any drug. KY has hired a marketing company to promote it and is supposedly setting up a patient assistance program to help uninsured and low income women. But “uninsured” is the point. Currently insured women will be hit with the $1500 price – which could easily be disapproved by their insurance companies… or else cause the price of insurance premiums to go way up.

In other words, an organization that gets our tax money, the FDA, and a non-profit that we give donations to (and have since we were children in school), The March Of Dimes) have paid to develop a product that has been given to a Corporation, KY, whose major interest is profits over people.

If this doesn’t make us reject the idea of corporate control of things the government should protect citizens against, I don’t know what will.

Watching the House go at it on Health Care…

This is a moment of extreme entertainment as the House of Representatives battle over amendments coming from the Republican Congressman King of Iowa trying to stop funding for the Affordable Care Act (which he insists on calling “Obamacare” even though that name has been protested by Democrats). Rosa De Lauro of Connecticut is organizing the Democratic opposition and seems to be doing a pretty good job at it.

Republicans seem to refuse to address the cost of ending the Affordable Health Care Act in lost jobs and extreme cost increases put on Americans by Insurance companies. They are carrying out an assault on the working poor, the elderly and the ill Americans. It is a travesty that we have to go through this.

King is putting out amendment after amendment, all going after the same end: ending what he calls “Obamacare”. Since there is no act with that name, why don’t they just tell him to shut up and sit down?

Republicans Hide Health Care Law Benefits From Their Constituents

clipped from tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com
Two days after a Republican Florida federal court judge voided the entire health care law, the multi-front Republican war against it continues in the Senate, where members will vote today on whether or not to just repeal it, full stop.
Simultaneously, Republican members are trying to sneak grenades into the heart of the law, crafting modifications which they admit are meant to destroy it.
But that presents them with a conundrum when they head back to their states and districts and face constituents who stand to benefit from the law right now — seniors who are entitled to free checkups, and young adults, who can now stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26, for example.

“I’m a practical guy. I believe redoing the bill and replacing it is the best for everybody. Until that day comes, if you have a legitimate need under the current structure, I’ll help you meet it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “It’s like the stimulus funds — I voted against it but, you know.”

There hasn’t been such partisan warfare about a bill or law since, perhaps, Republicans (and a few Democrats) passed Medicare Part D — the prescription drug benefit — back in 2003.

In a fight that in some ways mirrored the health care reform debate Democratic principals trashed the bill and the legislative process until the moment it became law. There was no talk of “death panels” but it was no secret that Democrats hated that bill, wanted to do it themselves — make sure it was paid for, close the doughnut hole, and otherwise improve it.

At the time, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was ranking minority member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee‘s HealthSubcommittee. He was one of the Medicare bill’s most vocal critics, but he changed tone after his constituents served to benefit from it.
Sherrod Brown, member of the United States Senate.

Sherrod Brown

“I worked with senior centers. I recall I sent out missives of some kind… to seniors and senior groups to make sure that

they could benefit from this under the law, but again, making sure that the drug companies and insurance companies watching them, that they weren’t gaming the system with higher premiums and taking people off formularies, and all the things that the drug and insurance companies are pretty good at doing.”

.In Republican Ohio today, Brown sees a different dynamic. 

“All I can see is a bunch of conservative Washington politicians who have been benefiting for their whole political careers… from tax-payer financed health insurance taking benefits away from seniors and taking benefits away from families,” he said.

blog it

 

Well, let’s see where the vote goes today… then maybe we can get on to funding the FAA.

While the House looks at repealing the Health Care Bill…

… perhaps you could use some information comparing America’s annual costs and patient life expectations to some of the world’s other countries (most of whom have Universal Health Care). Go to http://blogs.ngm.com/.a/6a00e0098226918833012876a6070f970c-800wi and get some stats that will make you mad as hell (and I write this on a day that California’s Blue Cross group wants to raise their health insurance rates by 59%… other states are lining up with similar increases.)

And the next time some Republican Congressional Type says we have the “Best Health Care In The World” you can assume that the speaker is rich enough to afford it. When will we get single-payer Universal Health Care like the rest of the 21st Century nations in our world?

If you missed Michael Moore and Wendell Potter on Olbermann, here is about ten minutes of it:

When Wendell Potter, the former CIGNA executive who turned on the insurance industry and is now working on the left, wrote in his new book, “Deadly Spin”, about how he was assigned to keep the Michael Moore movie “Sicko” from having the success of previous Moore films, it came as a shock to many that such garbage would happen in the professional world. Moore and Potter were brought together for the first time on Olbermann‘s show. Taker a look:

Quote for the Day – on the Health Care Bill

“The profit motive will still dictate everything. The Insurance Companies will still be in charge.”

– Michael Moore being interviewed on the

Keith Olberman Countdown program (which Bic has reproduced HERE)

The Posse is moving right now!

If you couldn’t make it to DC this morning to arrest the Insurance Companies and Big Corporations, you can join the posse right now wherever you are.

Chris Shifflet of the Foo Fighters will swear you in:

Go to Health Care For America Now to see pictures and to get involved.

Sam Stein, in HuffPo, raises this point: Obama is pointing out Insurance company greed…

I followed this HuffPo story all the way through Dan Pfeiffer’s Sunday blog post and, of course, it made me wonder which America the Insurance Companies came from… or do they not know that they are calling for us all to go after them?

Or do they care?

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

The Obama administration is making a late push for health reform by seizing on a report showing that market concentration for health insurance is so monopolized that insurance companies are willing to raise prices and lose customers in an effort to help their bottom line.

In a blog post on Sunday, Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said that the findings, which were put together by Goldman Sachs and first reported by the Huffington Post, presented clear evidence that health insurer “profits will continue to soar under the status quo.”

The last few days have brought even more evidence that the health care status quo is working out great for the insurance companies – at the same time as it continues to fail American families and businesses. No wonder the insurance companies are spending millions and millions of dollars to block reform.”
  blog it

Am I an American Person?

I listened to a Congressman from Alabama give the Republican’s weekly statement (after the President’s weekly statement) on NBC this morning and was told that despite what Pelosi and Reid want, despite the threat of using reconciliation to push the Health Care bill through, the American People don’t want the Health Care bill as it has been debated and argued over the past year. He said the American People want Congress and The President to “start over on a new page.”

Here in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, about as American a location as you can find, I sit watching this knowing that I WANT a Health Care bill to be passed NOW. I know that if the government starts on a NEW PAGE it will be in the face of a rate-raising, highly profitable private insurance system and a 10-to-1 ratio of lobbyists who are NOT starting on a new page, who will work day and night to weaken any progress.

Do I want to allow this to happen? Do I not want to see the potential for Health Care plans that will be made available for 30 million more people, that will allow insurance companies to cancel existing plans or not let folks with pre-existing conditions (like little ol’ diabetic me) sign up if they change jobs? Am I not an American Person?

I asked my wife, who also wants to see Health Care passed NOW if she was an American Person. Oddly enough, she said she was. Last night we sat in a lounge with friends from the Philadelphia area (they are pretty American, too, and all 4 were People) and they had the same feelings about Health Care politics that we had.

Yet the Republicans keep pointing out that the American People want things to start again on a NEW Page.

Well, as an official American Person, in contact with lots of other American People, may I say that WE DON’T WANT TO START ON A NEW PAGE. We want the Health Care plan to go through NOW. We have too many other things to get to and we don’t want to throw away all the work that has been done so far. And we don’t want the Insurance Industry and the Lobbyists to be given still another advantage in the debate.

No Republicans have asked me for my opinion, yet, as an American Person, they are willing to form their opinion as reported words from my mouth. Maybe they should get on board with the rest of us and put America ahead of Party Politics.

When you think that most of the civilized world has universal healthcare…

…and we in the good ole USA don’t, encountering stories like the one about artist Tom Fowler that Cary Tennis tells in Salon makes us regret the corrupt political/commercial alliances that have given us our current situation.

A clip:

Tom had died. He had gotten a toothache. He had gotten a toothache but had not gone to the dentist because he didn’t have health insurance to pay for the dentist. He lived with it. Then he got sick but thought he was OK. Then he collapsed and the emergency medical people came and they told him he should go right into the hospital. But after reviving he said he’d be OK and he went home and made himself some soup. He lasted a couple of more days like that. Then he got really, really sick and they put him in the hospital but by that point the infection that had begun in a tooth had spread massively throughout his body and despite the doctors’ best efforts Tom could not be saved.

He died because he didn’t go to the dentist and didn’t go to the doctor because he was trying to be an artist and didn’t have health insurance and didn’t think it would kill him.

The stupidity of our system is so obvious, yet we are unable to move in the direction that would cure our ills and save our society. We are herded into our corrals by Big Pharma and Monster Insurance Companies and other Corporate Entities which are, by the grace of the Supreme Court, participating citizens in our government… and by politicians whose major goals are 1.) get reelected, 2.) bow to your big donors, and 3.) pretend that you will fix things…soon. Decades go by and the attempts by the few naive and well intentioned amateurs to bring us up to the Rest Of The World Standard in Health Care that appear from time to time get chewed up and spit out and (as Republicans say) we’d better slow down… we’re moving too fast. What’s the Rush?

It has given us our season of distrust. We elected a man on the assumption that things would change. We gave a Congress the majority it needed to make that change. We heard promises and patter designed to keep us believing that something would change. But, in the long run, all we have been is screwed.

And my wife asks me if I didn’t wish we lived in Canada.

I agree with Howard Dean…

We are getting fucked over by the Senate leadership, the Insurance companies, the Pharmaceutical companies and the Republicans (who are grinning their heads off). I am losing my confidence in Obama, who seems ready to accept ANY bill that comes out and whose staff started attacking and misinterpreting Howard Dean today.

Well, I agree with Governor Dean… and there are at least 100 Congressmen in the House who do as well, and there are Senators like Bernie Sanders who are getting screwed too.

The Health care Bill as it currently exists in the Senate is a gift to the same people who have made our Health care system the world’s most expensive and the worst coverage possible.

What in hell are we going to do? This blog is going to spread Dean’s words as far as we can. I hope you will join me.

clipped from www.cbsnews.com

Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, Vermont governor and presidential candidate – who is also a medical doctor – continues to attack the Senate’s compromise version of the health care reform bill.

On ABC’s “Good Morning America” Wednesday, Dean said the bill represented “a bigger bailout for the insurance industry than AIG.”

“This is an insurance companies’ dream, this bill,” he added. “This is the Washington scramble and I think it’s ill-advised.”

The White House responded to Dean’s criticism Wednesday afternoon. In his daily press briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said “I don’t think the insurance companies have gotten the memo” that the bill is to their benefit, since, Gibbs said, they continue to fight against it.

Yesterday Dean stated flatly that “honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.”
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And here’s my Quote Of The Day:

“I’ve been involved in this all along. I put up with a lot of stuff I didn’t like because I thought at the end of the day what was good about the bill outweighed what’s bad about the bill. I don’t believe that anymore.”

– Howard Dean

And this from Mad Kane the Online Poet:

Removing the Medicare buy-in from the Senate health reform bill (to appease Senator Lieberman) was the last straw for Howard Dean. Dean says, “Kill the Senate Bill,” and I’m inclined to agree:

This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. And, honestly, the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill and go back to the House and start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.

I blame President Obama for this health reform fiasco. For it’s Obama who empowered Joe Lieberman to blackmail the Senate and hold health reform hostage.

And that brings me to my latest double limerick:

Dressing Down The President
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Dear Obama, your job is to lead.
You have failed. So has Senator Reid.
Seems you’d sign any swill
Labeled “health reform bill,”
And then brag that we’ve got what we need.

Yes, you’ve tragic’ly blown your great chance.
So spare us the song and the dance.
Though many will swear
You’ve done much for our care,
I am sorry — the prez has no pants.

This is NOT the news we wanted to hear…

Democrats Strip Medicare Buy-In From Health Bill, Can They Still Achieve The Goals Of The Public Option?

From the Wonk Room at Think Progress:

clipped from wonkroom.thinkprogress.org
Democratic Senators told reporters that the caucus yielded to Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-CT) demands and dropped the Medicare buy-in provision from the Senate health care bill, leaving only a network of nonprofits to stand in for the public health insurance option.

“The general consensus was that we shouldn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good and if we’re going to get all the insurance reforms accomplished and a number of other things [and] dropping the Medicare expansion was necessary, well then that’s what should be done and it appeared that would be necessary to get the 60 votes,” Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) told the Hill. “At some point you have to switch from the sentiment, the emotion of the words, to the facts,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). “And then you’ve got to decide if I didn’t get what I want, in the form that I wanted it, am I willing to cashier 31 million Americans? I want a bill.”

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More of the article HERE.

Insurance Companies are NOT going to GIVE UP!

Here’s a piece from Nailing Jello To The Wall – a blog I particularly like.
Put them on your regular visit list!
clipped from nailingjello.wordpress.com

“New Bill Would Raise Rates, Says Insurance Group”

Well. So nice of the insurance companies to suddenly become so concerned about our rates, isn’t it? I mean these are the same insurance companies who insist that they will not pay for my mother’s physical until she first submits a claim to Medicare — knowing full well that Medicare does not cover physicals.  No, these insurance companies insist that Medicare must waste time processing a claim which they have stated quite clearly — and upfront –  that they would not cover. Only then will the private insurance company — you know, the ones who are so concerned about us and who are oh-so-much-more efficient than Medicare — only then will they accept the claim for a physical.

Yeah.  It’s a great system we’ve got going here in the U.S. of A. ….

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Does it bother you that what the Insurance Companies are threatening is, if a Public Option goes in, UNTRUE? Does it bother you that this is a blackmail threat prior to the Senate Finance Committee voting on their bill, and the whole Congress putting together a final bill in which 4 out of 5 committees HAVE a Public Option.

Let’s get ready to be 1.) disappointed or 2.) totally supportive, depending on whether or not these Congressional doodlebrains are working for the corporate Insurance monster or for the American People. I hope they decide to earn our trust rather than our contempt.