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Health care reform

Forced Circumcision: The New Right Wing Meme

Perhaps disappointed that death panels failed to frighten the tar and feathers out of the average American, the right wing appears to have settled on a new meme to undercut healthcare reform: the CDC will force males to undergo circumcision. (h/t Avahome.)

Ted Kennedy's Dying Wish

Reprinted from JRichard's Gather blog. -- GH

Ted Kennedy's dying wish is no secret. He wanted to vote to bring in health care reform.

The right wing and the insurance industry denied him his dying wish. They played delaying tactics until he died. They spread lie after lie after lie about health care reform to try and stop it, and they kept delaying passage. "What is the rush?" Well, the reason for the rush is obvious. It was really always obvious. Ted Kennedy was dying, and everyone knew it. He was the biggest supporter of health care. It was his life work. It would cut into insurance company profits if he succeeded. If they could just delay things until after he was dead, things would be SO much easier for them.

But right now I need to introduce you to three of my friends. Don't worry. They are all safely dead, and have been for many years.

Randall Terry Ejected From Howard Dean's Healthcare Town Hall - video

Frank Schaeffer was one of the founders of the evangelical movement. With his father, the author of "The Christian Manifesto", and C. Everett Koop and their focus on issues related to abortion, they galvanized the Christian Right.

Schaeffer believes very differently now and the author of "Crazy for God" has tried to impart to the rest of us some of the important lessons learned as an insider of the movement.

He appeared with Rachel Maddow recently to argue the actual physical danger presented by segments of the movement he helped to create.

Operation Rescue's Randall Terry wasn't named but I recalled Schaeffer's recently expressed and ominous conclusions as I watched this video.

Randall Terry Forcibly Ejected From Healthcare Town Hall With Howard Dean

John King Pitches "Gotcha" Questions to Sebelius

I listened to John King (a Republican shill) interview Kathleen Sebelius on State of the Union. He was playing "gotcha" and Sebelius rolls over to let him scratch her belly. I have to paraphase this because there isn't  a transcript yet. John King asked:

Secretary Sebelius, according to President Obama in this NYT op-ed; he says if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. Is it true in the coming market after reform that you can guarantee you will be able to keep your doctor? I mean if your employer changes plans or goes to the Public Option will you be able to guarantee you can keep your doctor?

Tobaccoup Road

Originally posted Thu, 08/06/2009 - 03:34, bumping back to the top as it is worthy of additional attention during this period of debate over national healthcare reform - standingup

This is the first installment of a collaboration between deltadoc and TheFatLadySings. Articles will be alternately published under each moniker.

In 1999, speaking to physicians, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, a Reagan appointee, decried the hold of Big Tobacco on health care legislation.

He called tobacco “the sleaziest, slimiest, most devious industry in the world,” whose members “also are the smartest and the richest," and then added. "...that’s a bad combination.”*

Koop remarked:

The biggest scandal in Washington was the Republican Senate selling out to the tobacco industry.

Always prescient, Koop was drawing attention to a coup d'etat: a bloodless takeover of government by big business...one that would drastically effect us for over a decade and is still derailing healthcare reform efforts today.

Koop warned, "We have lost control of medicine to the business world."

Your secret weapon in the health care fight

You have a secret weapon in the health care fight, both now that your Representatives and Senators are in recess and once they get back to Washington DC. You may not know it yet, but this weapon is yours any time you need it from now until September 21.

I am sick and tired. Literally. I am sick, and I am tired. I am sick not only with kidney failure but with watching these damnable corporate-funded thugs called teabaggers disrupt townhall meetings to try to stop their corporate masters from having to deal with honest competition.

Taunter shreds health insurers' claims that rescission is rare

Cross-posted from The Economic Populist

A big tip'o the hat to okanogen at CorrenteWire for picking up this one: Death by Math.

Taunter analyzes the statement by Assurant CEO Don Hamm’s that "Rescission is rare." Rescission is when a health insurer cancels a policy, usually because the insured "lied" on the original application, usually by failing to disclose a previous condition. If you haven't heard the horror stories of people who required costly medical care only to be dropped by their health insurer, you haven't been paying attention to the world around you. In fact, the insurers have computer programs that screen their policy holders for a list of diseases and illnesses in order to drop those policy holders. Here is what Hamm told Congress in his prepared remarks to the Hearing of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on June 16 this year:


For-profit medicine is a national sickness

Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles

When my Mom was diagnosed with leukemia, the one thing I didn’t need to worry about was the cost. My parents have long had good health insurance, and have long saved as much money as they could to prepare for the eventuality of illness. Prior to her death, my Mom received as good of treatment as she could have gotten to fight the insidious cancer that finally took her life.

Still, even though my parents had a golden parachute of health insurance and savings, there were times they even had to scrimp - especially with some of the medicines prescribed to her running in the range of $2,000 per prescription. Then they’d either purchase half a prescription, or look for a cheaper alternative.

I rest comfortably knowing that my Mom fought as hard as she could and received good medical care. At the cost of several hundred thousand dollars out of their pockets, of course. This is what keeps me up at nights. Through my Mom’s entire ordeal, one line stuck in my mind - For-profit health care is a national illness.

Who Believes the $80B Pharma Pholly?

A couple weeks ago pharmaceutical companies pledged to "voluntarily" reduce their revenues by $80 Billion over 10 years. Forgive me for not standing up to salute that initiative.

Maybe it's because I can... like, do the math in my head.

$80 Billion / 10 years = too damn little $8 billion per year.

That won't stop the spinmeisters who are brazenly pushing this as a great sacrifice, however, some people see this offer for what it is.

To be sure, $80 billion is less than one-tenth the projected cost of healthcare reform. But by striking this cost-sharing deal with one of the reform effort's leaders--Sen. Max Baucus--and the White House, drugmakers could shame other providers into cutting their prices, too.

Nancy Snyderman's Fluffy Health Care News Show

Crossposted from DailyKos.

It yanks my chain whenever I see a show like MSNBC is putting on at noon Monday through Friday. Health care is at a tipping point, so what does MSNBC do? They put on fluff. She gets meaty guests, then flubs it. This interview with Tom Daschale is all broad strokes and no nitty gritty. She asks some tough questions, but lets Daschale skate without answering them.

Dr. Snyderman has been around tv for years. She was on ABC regularly. Now she's got her own spot on MSNBC at noon. The problem is she relies too much on her "authority" as an MD and she doesn't do what it takes to back up what she says.

Dr. Snyderman, trying to win an argument by saying, "Because I said so" or "I've read the research and it says I'm right on this" (without citing the source) doesn't do it for me. Take a page from Ross Perot's book and do the charts and show them to your audience. Cite your sources, don't use suspect sources. Spend less time grinding your ax and spend more time exploring ideas different than your own.

What Health Care "Choices" Are They Talking About?

Cross-posted from dKos with permission of author, JDWolverton.

It happened again this morning. Some talking head on CNN was talking about making sure consumers had adequate choice in health care. What the heck was he talking about? I don't have a lot of choices when it comes to "choosing" my health insurance. ...and I don't have a lot to say about what my doctor recommends for me.

My choice for health insurance is either

  • Take my company's plan
  • Take my spouse's company's plan
  • Go out on the individual market which offers less coverage at a higher price
  • Go bare and pray we don't get sick

Similarly, my choice of health care treatment is

  • Select and pay the balance (after my insurance pays) for the treatment my physician orders.
  • Cajole my physician into ordering a treatment my insurance company allows that will most likely be less effective or the doctor would have ordered it in the first place.
  • Go against physician advice and skimp on care or skip care.
  • Pay the mortgage, car payment, electric bill or skip on food or get health care.

This "choice" meme is particularly irritating to anyone who has faced these "choices".

Weekly Healthcare Series: The "Thou Shalt Nots" of Reform

Monday night I took part in a conference call in which our own Dr. Aaron Roland was interviewed my David Belden of Tikkun magazine about his article in Tikkun.  After the interview, there were questions from participants, and a final word from Rabbi Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun.  It was a very informative call with a number of very committed people with strong viewpoints.

How I lost my health insurance at the hairstylist's

So you’re chugging along doing all the things you do as a responsible citizen, you work, and pay your bills and your taxes, you are there for your children, and fighting for your marriage, you even volunteer.  It’s spring, 1998, and gradually you just become so tired it’s a struggle merely to climb a flight of stairs. 

Oh, well, you do have two daughters in college, another nearing the end of her senior year in high school, a son in middle school, a full-time job, a house to take care of, are back in college, and have two dogs, two cats, and oodles and oodles of marital strain.

Fatigue sort of goes with the territory, and like many working moms, you just push past it.  You get up, you get the family off in various directions, you go to work, you go to class, you cook dinner, you help with homework, go to games and track meets, do housework, set boundaries for the two kids at home and field frequent counseling-like calls from the two who are not, you try to work through problems with your husband, and you collapse exhausted into bed, get up the next day, and do it all over again – it’s a routine you dare not interrupt with reflections on your fatigue – there is no time.

Then one day...

You show up two weeks later than you should have to the hairstylist (pretty common when you are constantly pressed for time) and instead of the usual lecture about the color of your roots, she turns you around in the chair and says:

“I look at people’s skin tones all day long and try to decide the best coloring for their hair, and I can tell you this: gray is not a normal human skin tone.  Get out of here right now and go see your doctor.”

For some reason, though she is not the first person to note you don’t look your best lately, this is the one thing that manages to penetrate the fatigue-fog and you do as you are told.

You call on the way, check in, sit down in the crowded waiting room resigned to waiting for a couple of hours, and a mere minute later the doctor, passing by the glassed in sliding windows on the other side of the wall catches sight of you, comes out, and demands to know: “How did you get so anemic?”  You say, “I am?”  He says, “Come with me right now” takes your hand and drags you back to an examining room.

Later that day, at the oncologist/hematologist office, this new strange doctor takes blood, orders up an outpatient transfusion, tells you that you no doubt have acute myelogenous leukemia, could keel over dead at any moment as long as you are untreated, and should now go home and call him the very minute the HMO calls you and tells you to check into some local hospital or the other – but should on no account whatsoever check into that local hospital.

You find this direction to avoid hospitalization confusing, in light of the “keel over dead untreated” stuff and say so.  Whereupon oncologist/hematologist guy says HMO will try to check you into local or even regional hospital – because it’s cheaper – but in his opinion no local or regional hospital should be treating leukemia, since cure rates double in large teaching institutions.  Risk of keeling over dead while he is arguing for your life with HMO is less than risk of dying in local hospital.  Then he writes you a list of five hospitals in Chicago that you can allow yourself to be checked into, and says if it’s one of these ok, but it won’t be, so call me when they tell you to go to a local hospital.

Sure enough, he’s right; they do, the very next day.  You call him.  He works some magic you know naught of (though local rumor tells you later that he informed HMO that he will be sure to make himself available to testify at your spouse’s wrongful death suit later) and you get the referral to the large teaching institution later that day.

Telling your children...no, you won’t write the details here, beyond saying that especially for someone who lost a parent at the age of eleven, it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done to try to be honest about the prognosis (which is grim) but reassuring about your love for them and intent to fight for your life. 

Skip ahead then.  On your first day in large teaching institution, you are visited by a social worker, who surprises you by demanding to know not the details of your home life, or about your state of mind on being diagnosed with a more-lethal-than-not form of cancer, but simply: “Who is carrying your insurance, you or your husband?”

You think this is rather cold for a social worker and inform her somewhat frostily that you are sure the bill will be taken care of – it’s pre-approved.

Social worker looks at you with what you interpret as pity and says it’s really, really important.  So you say, spouse, as you work for small non-profit that offers no benefits, but also admit to her that you think marriage is for sure doomed now.

“Good, good!” she says.

And you wonder why, why, on top of extra-lethal form of cancer, must you also get unbalanced social worker?

She must be able to tell from your expression that you think she’s nuts, because she explains, like so:

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