Public Option Health Care for Kids in Our State

13 08 2009

Just up in our local newspaper:
With school around the corner, Florida officials push health care for kids

By Paul Flemming
Florida Capital Bureau

With a national health care debate raging, Florida officials Thursday pushed for enrollment in the state’s low-cost insurance program for children.

Back-to-school preparations should include making sure children are covered by health insurance. Uninsured children under 19 in families that meet income guidelines can get affordable coverage in the multi-agency program.

“Back to school is the time parents are thinking about it,” said Loranne Ausley, chair of the Florida Healthy Kids board. “Health insurance is available.”

There are1.6 million children in the 11-year-old KidCare. Its eligibility requirements and enrollment procedures have changed many times, leading to a 40 percent reduction from 2004-06. But further changes have increased enrollment since 2007. Since July, more than 50,000 previously uninsured children have signed up and started getting care.

The income guidelines include pro-rated premiums for families up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The majority do not pay premiums, but low-cost coverage is available with rates ranging from $15 to $159 a month.

Leah McCarthy sells real estate in Tallahassee. Her 8-year-old daughter has been enrolled in KidCare since she was 3 and on Wednesday McCarthy extolled the virtues of the program.

“KidCare rescued us, basically,” McCarthy said. “I’m a hard-working professional and mother, but I don’t know how we would make it without KidCare. I’d be drowning in debt.”

Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp said the national debate about the Obama Administration’s health care proposals is a chance to highlight Florida’s programs.

“It’s affordable, it’s comprehensive and it’s easy to apply,” Kottkamp said.

Efforts by the Departments of Health, Education and Children and Families, along with the Agency for Workforce Innovation aim to increase enrollment distributing information through county health departments, direct mailings and promotional materials. More information is available at http://www.floridakidcare.org.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Ausley said.

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42 responses

14 08 2009
Nance Confer

This is why my kids have health insurance — and really good care — even though we don’t.

We all had BC for a while but were completely priced out of that policy.

Nance

14 08 2009
JJ

So this must mean Florida’s Republican governor and US Senate candidate Charlie Crist is secretly one of those trashy Nazi socialist fascists plotting to pull the plug on grandma and kill off Sarah Palin’s baby — think the corporate insurance astroturf disinformation machine will get Crist on their death threat list in time to target him too, at the next town meeting youtube shoot?

14 08 2009
JJ

Hat tip Valerie Moon:

The Real Death Panels Killing Us?

14 08 2009
Crimson Wife

I don’t have an issue with the state paying the health costs of low-income citizens, but I do have a HUGE problem with taxpayer money being used to provide coverage to illegal aliens. Here in CA, the state spends $1.6 BILLION per year on it. Nearly 40% of all births paid for by Medi-Cal are to women who are in the country illegally at an average cost of nearly $10k each. This at a time when the state is slashing much needed services such as eliminating all funding for domestic violence shelters. Let’s take care of our own citizens’ needs first before extending charity towards foreign nationals…

14 08 2009
JJ

CW, honestly this is an unsettling comment to read from a cradle Catholic whose religion helps define her politics, someone from MA, right after hearing the incredible eulogy for Eunice Shriver from her daughter — the First Lady of your state, right? (And aren’t Mexican immigrants predominantly Catholic too btw?)

I just don’t get how the elite corporate conservatism fits with the example of Jesus and all the bible verses about taking care of each other first and waiting until well, never, to get all self-righteous about legalisms like the Pharisees and the money-changers and the men stoning the sinful woman.

Religion in public policy has whip-sawed me past my point of intellectual endurance since Terri Schiavo; there’s no tolerance for most of us to bother even trying to make it make sense anymore. Like that old man afraid of better health care policy and probably of all change, the one we’ve all seen on cable shouting at Arlen Specter that “GOD WILL STAND BEFORE YOU AND JUDGE YOU FOR THIS!” — really? That’s not how I decide what’s right, but if it’s how he does, he needs some better religious leaders because I think they’re misleading him bigtime about religious principles. . .

I did hear that the White House is sponsoring a religious confab on health insurance next Wednesday evening though. That should be interesting to watch.

14 08 2009
JJ

Betty, we could use your two cents in the collection plate along about now!

14 08 2009
Crimson Wife

If private individuals and institutions choose to provide charity towards illegal aliens, that’s fine. There are a lot of native-born Catholics in the U.S. who feel that the Church should not be helping illegal aliens, but I’m not one of them. If I voluntarily donate to my local Samaritan House and they decide to help needy families regardless of immigration status, that’s my business. I’m the one making the choice whether or not to support the program. It’s when the government takes a relatively large chunk of my family’s income in taxes and then uses those taxes to help out foreign nationals rather than needy Americans that I get mad. It’s not like the state is rolling in dough and can afford to be generous; instead, CA is slashing social service programs left and right. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of the state’s neediest citizens are going to suffer because of those cuts. It’s just plain wrong to cut services to needy Americans while at the same time spending tax money on illegal aliens.

14 08 2009
NanceConfer

The moment those babies are born, they are citizens. US citizens. So at least they are in the right place to receive the care they need. And, hopefully, they continue to receive that care throughout their childhood and, if our consistently disappointing legislators can find their spines long enough to vote correctly, throughout their lives.

Or the mothers could go into labor and the babies could be rushed to the ER if there’s a problem. Seems a less efficient way to do things. Not to mention less humane.

And, like FL, I seem to remember reading that you folks way out west had the opportunity to pay more taxes in order to be able to afford things like social services. But you voted no. And now have to deal with “rationing.”

And that’s how we handle things in this country. We collect taxes and use them to pay for services for the greater good. Not all of us can count on our church to come through and yet the needs are still there. OTOH, when churches start building bridges and hospitals and schools and roads and maintain fire departments and run the EPA and the FDA and provide enough for everyone, maybe it will be time to rethink that policy.

Nance

14 08 2009
NanceConfer

And why does delivering a baby cost $10K?

Or is it usually much less with a few really expensive cases thrown in?

Should the non-emergency deliveries be handled is less expensive settings?

If we figured out what a normal birth should cost, should we just tell the insurance companies that so they can lower their rates? Should we hold our breathe until they do?

And then should we have the hospitals charge the same rates for everyone — cash or insured or public option insurance?

Do we think any of the players are going to do these lovely, cooperative things with no pressure?

Nance

14 08 2009
JJ

Before the French Revolution (Obama’s Waterloo!) the Church was part of governance, actually taxing people for such things (the origin of the term tithe, right?) Unacceptable to meet the real human needs, apparently — between the nobles and bishops playing the part of the elite, there wasn’t even enough bread to go around for the working folks, so that’s no answer.

But lucky for all of us and both Church and State, this isn’t about choosing which babies to care for based on “birth certificates” and who to leave to suffer and die because there’s just not enough humanity to go around. We can do it all, guarantee basic care to everyone including ourselves — Nance doesn’t have that now, CW, and I’m pretty sure she’s a taxpaying citizen — if we just say no to the record profits of unregulated corporate insurance greed. We know a lot about hurricanes down here and what companies will do to keep the billions from going out to help people. This is no different to me. It is illegal and immoral and uncharitable and if there is any god judging it, it’s not the poor babies anyone is having anywhere, who should suffer.

14 08 2009
JJ

Somewhere I’ve been reading about American citizens who are now expats in countries all over the world where their own family medical conditions have been cared for superbly and affordably (free in one case) even though they were NOT citizens in those countries. Now they can’t come home because no American insurance company would sell them coverage at any price, and there’s no public coverage available.

They could pay for insurance and would want to pay for it, but would be shut out, the way State Farm has left our state high and dry on homeowners insurance. I won’t be able to continue my long-term policy past next June because I’m not profitable enough, even though I pay a lot despite having never had a claim. I think we DO have a public option for the house in FL, sigh, guess we’ll wind up in that, those SOBs. Corporate gamesmanship, that’s the definition of the “insurance industry.”

Let me see if I can find that column about the dad with the little boy born overseas with health problems, and the other expats who can’t come home until we do health insurance reform and regulation . . .

Family Values American Style:

Does America take care of its children?

Our son has juvenile diabetes. He’s had it for seven years, since he was two years old. During that time we’ve lived in three countries — Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Italy — and he has had excellent treatment in each country. And when I say excellent, I mean superb. We visit a specialist once a month for a check-up, and once a year he has a full physical evaluation, including blood labs. We are provided all the tools we need to control his condition: insulin, blood glucose monitoring devices, needles, injection pens, etc. And every couple of months the hospital organizes a day of physical activity for all the kids they treat.

I’ve calculated the cost of all that over seven years, and here’s what it comes to: zero. . . .

And I found this one too, more families in the same spot:

Kelly is living in “health-care exile,” a term that has emerged in expat circles in recent months to describe the unknown number of Americans who left the country at some point to pursue a relationship, care for of an aging overseas parent, or accept a job posting in a foreign land — but who now can’t return because they or their dependents are effectively uninsurable.

They live in Europe, Asia, Canada, and everywhere in between, and their stories offer a fascinating window into — and unique perspective on — the health-care reform debate.

Here’s part about a permanently disabled child:

Take John Schoonover, an American who has lived in a western suburb of Paris since 1993, and who recently retired as head of computer security for a French bank. He and his French-national wife have three children, all born in that country. As a result of a birth accident, his second son, Danny, lives with a permanent and debilitating neurological condition.

“He lives in a special facility run by the Red Cross and supported by the French national health care system,” Schoonover reports.

. . .A year after his birth, the couple took their son to New York to get a second opinion on his condition. But . . . [b]ecause Danny’s condition would make the family ineligible for coverage, “The doctor said we would be quickly bankrupted were we to return to the States for his care,” says Schoonover.

14 08 2009
Crimson Wife

Nance-
My uncomplicated, unmedicated, midwife-attended vaginal birth in January cost my health insurance over $12k. The hospital stay was a little over $9k, and the midwife charged $3k for the L/D/P care she provided.

So yeah, I would tend to believe that the $10k average for a Medi-Cal birth sounds about right…

14 08 2009
JJ

I found the following in Snook’s spam cache as a comment to this post. I don’t want the mass mail sender to have an “in” here in the future so I didn’t approve it from that source, but here’s the copy-and-paste:

Throw The Healthcare Obstructionist Out!

More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 76% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (85% of democrats, 71% of independents, and 60% republicans). Basically everyone.

We have the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed world. And the most costly. Costing over twice as much as every other county. Conservative estimates are that over 120,000 of you dies each year in America from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don’t die from. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Insured and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies. This is what being 37th in quality of healthcare means.

I know that many of you are angry and frustrated that REPUBLICANS! In congress are dragging their feet and trying to block TRUE healthcare reform. What republicans want is just a taxpayer bailout of the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry, and the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry. A trillion dollar taxpayer funded private health insurance bailout is all you really get, without a robust government-run public option available on day one. Co-OP’s ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION. They are a fraud being pushed by the GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry that is KILLING YOU!

YOU CANT HAVE AN INSURANCE MANDATE WITHOUT A ROBUST PUBLIC OPTION. MANDATING PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE AS YOUR ONLY CHOICE WOULD BE A DISASTER. AND UNETHICAL, CORRUPT, AND MORALLY REPUGNANT. AND PROBABLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS WELL.

These industries have been slaughtering you and your loved ones like cattle for decades for profit. Including members of congress and their families. These REPUBLICANS are FOOLS!

Republicans and their traitorous allies have been trying to make it look like it’s President Obama’s fault for the delays, and foot dragging. But I think you all know better than that. President Obama inherited one of the worst government catastrophes in American history from these REPUBLICANS! And President Obama has done a brilliant job of turning things around, and working his heart out for all of us.

But Republicans think you are just a bunch of stupid, idiot, cash cows with short memories. Just like they did under the Bush administration when they helped Bush and Cheney rape America and the rest of the World.

But you don’t have to put up with that. And this is what you can do. The Republicans below will be up for reelection on November 2, 2010. Just a little over 13 months from now. And many of you will be able to vote early. So pick some names and tell their voters that their representatives (by name) are obstructing TRUE healthcare reform. And are sellouts to the insurance and medical lobbyist.

Ask them to contact their representatives and tell them that they are going to work to throw them out of office on November 2, 2010, if not before by impeachment, or recall elections. Doing this will give you something more to do to make things better in America. And it will make you feel better too.

There are many resources on the internet that can help you find people to call and contact. For example, many social networking sites can be searched by state, city, or University. Be inventive and creative. I can think of many ways to do this. But be nice. These are your neighbors. And most will want to help.

I know there are a few democrats that have been trying to obstruct TRUE healthcare reform too. But the main problem is the Bush Republicans. Removing them is the best thing tactically to do. On the other hand. If you can easily replace a democrat obstructionist with a supportive democrat, DO IT!

You have been AMAZING!!! people. Don’t loose heart. You knew it wasn’t going to be easy saving the World. 🙂

God Bless You

jacksmith — Working Class

I REST MY CASE (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)

Republican Senators up for re-election in 2010.

* Richard Shelby of Alabama
* Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
* John McCain of Arizona
* Mel Martinez of Florida
* Johnny Isakson of Georgia
* Mike Crapo of Idaho
* Chuck Grassley of Iowa
* Sam Brownback of Kansas
* Jim Bunning of Kentucky
* David Vitter of Louisiana
* Kit Bond of Missouri
* Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
* Richard Burr of North Carolina
* George Voinovich of Ohio
* Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
* Jim DeMint of South Carolina
* John Thune of South Dakota
* Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
* Bob Bennett of Utah

14 08 2009
JJ

I must have a great personal spam filter at home for email too. (And I don’t work so I’m not on a bunch of office lists.) That’s the first thing I’ve seen show up pro or con, although it gets reported that there are blizzards of them going all over. How about y’all?

14 08 2009
JJ

CW, if that’s right (wow!) and that’s what is being charged now just for the delivery you describe, much less any sort of complication or even anesthesia, no wonder we’re all getting crushed by health insurance as it’s been allowed to run off the rails. Don’t you see that as the root of all the other problems?

14 08 2009
NanceConfer

No, not this particular email. I got the one that came out of the White House. The one I was on the mailing list to get.

And, CW, the $10-12K is about right? Based on what? That’s the thing. All the pricing is based on exhorbitant profits for the insurance companies, overpriced drugs, built in cushions to make up for the uninsured, outrageous liability insurance rates, etc. It’s not pricing based on anything close to being rational. So how can we judge? And then know anything about who should be covered for how much?

DD and I just went shopping. We had the benefit of many stores competing and a very tight budget. We also had the option of walking away. And all the information was available to us — brand names or not, quality of clothing, easily compared prices, discounts, etc. Combine that info with a daughter who will not waste a penny 🙂 and it makes for some nice pricing.

Now, I know some of that is on the backs of underpaid and underprotected overseas labor. And the result of shops having a horrible time.

How much do we know about how much medical care should cost? And how much could I possibly understand? If I’m told my child needs a procedure, am I in a position to haggle or shop around? No. But at the point of purchasing my health insurance, I could shop around and it would level the pricing field a bit if there was one program that didn’t have a profit motive. Then all the other programs could try to appeal to me based on their wonderful service or their higher quality.

Maybe BC or other insurance would cost the same. Maybe they’d figure out how to make a little less profit and keep some of their business by lowering their prices. But the consumer/patient would have the baseline pricing of the public plan to judge things by.

Like going to WalMart for jeans. I can buy better jeans, fancier jeans, more trendy jeans at other stores. Or I can pay $10 for jeans from WalMart. If I had $30 to spend, and I really like the other jeans, I can buy those.

And maybe some part of the process of establishing what these prices should be (surely a messy process) will be to figure out what a natural delivery should cost — I’m thinking something substantially less than $10K done at a birthing center equipped for an overnight stay and a home visit from the midwife/nurse if needed. If you want an in-hospital birth no matter what, you pay more for your insurance.

Nance

15 08 2009
Nance Confer

One example I thought to add to illustrate the insanity in health care pricing that I have seen.

DH recently injured his hand. (Yes, we will just owe everyone in our county forever.) Before the surgery he had to have blood work. We walked in with the order from the surgeon and all was well. Sit right down. That will be $70. Oh, you’re paying cash (this was one of the few things we could actually afford to pay for and not set up on a payment plan). Well, cash is $35.

Now, to me, that just doesn’t make any sense. If I had insurance it was $70. Half off for cash.

What does that even mean? Is the burden of filing an insurance claim that high? Is that just the going rate for insurance companies but the real price is half? Why? Can it all be about illegal aliens?

I’m thinking there’s a lot more to the story. And I’m thinking we need some smart people to sort this out. Some people who are motivated by something other than profit.

Nance

15 08 2009
Crimson Wife

The only birthing center in the entire Bay Area is in S.F. and that’s simply too far from where I live. Only 1 of the hospitals close to me even has midwives so that’s where I decided to go. I could’ve had a homebirth that I’m sure would’ve been far cheaper but I wasn’t totally comfortable with the potential risks of that.

Both our insurer at the time and the hospital are technically non-profit entities, though they likely still pay their top executives pretty cushy salaries.

But having experienced both government-run healthcare (the 5 years we were a military family) and private healthcare, it’s a no-brainer which one I prefer. The military system did have no premiums, cost-shares, co-pays, or deductibles, but it was AWFUL. No choice whatsoever in whom we saw; long wait times; big hassles trying to get a referral to a specialist; procedures considered routine in the civilian world like a 2nd trimester ultrasound were simply not done; prescriptions switched to less effective but cheaper medications (for me this was more of a nuisance because it was just my allergy medication but I had several friends who had this happen with their contraceptives); and worst of all, the quality of providers ranged from the merely inexperienced to the downright incompetent.

What makes anyone think that government healthcare under Obama is going to be any better than what it already is providing to our country’s servicemembers and their families?

15 08 2009
JJ

What makes anyone think the CHURCH doing it would be better? Talk about getting switched contraceptives, how about NO contraceptives at all . . .or no care *period* unless you belong to the right community that has the wherewithal and the will to share it.

All the rhetoric about how high-quality health care should be affordable and a private matter between the caregiver and the careseeker to decide of their own free will, is a lie coming from anyone who doesn’t mean it except for their own folks.

15 08 2009
Nance Confer

What makes anyone think these are the only choices?

Nance

15 08 2009
JJ

Good point and speaking of which, here’s an instructive column about how France does it (and apparently like James Bond, nobody does it better!)

In fact, in 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked France as the best country in the world for health care; in contrast, the United States ranked 37th. WHO’s criteria included universal coverage, responsive health care providers, freedom of choice for patients, doctors’ freedom to make medical decisions, and the health and longevity of the country’s population.

15 08 2009
JJ

WaPo column by Rick Perlstein, author of “Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America” and “Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus:”

Before the “black helicopters” of the 1990s, there were right-wingers claiming access to secret documents from the 1920s proving that the entire concept of a “civil rights movement” had been hatched in the Soviet Union; when the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act was introduced, one frequently read in the South that it would “enslave” whites. And back before there were Bolsheviks to blame, paranoids didn’t lack for subversives — anti-Catholic conspiracy theorists even had their own powerful political party in the 1840s and ’50s.

The instigation is always the familiar litany: expansion of the commonweal to empower new communities, accommodation to internationalism, the heightened influence of cosmopolitans and the persecution complex of conservatives who can’t stand losing an argument.

. . .So, crazier then, or crazier now? Actually, the similarities across decades are uncanny.

Latest word is that the enlightened and mild provision in the draft legislation to help elderly people who want living wills — the one hysterics turned into the “death panel” canard — is losing favor, according to the Wall Street Journal, because of “complaints over the provision.”

The tree of crazy is an ever-present aspect of America’s flora. Only now, it’s being watered by misguided he-said-she-said reporting and taking over the forest. . .
Good thing our leaders weren’t so cowardly in 1964, or we would never have passed a civil rights bill — because of complaints over the provisions in it that would enslave whites.

15 08 2009
JJ

President Obama at CO town meeting on health care (I saw it live but here’s the transcript, some good stuff!)

15 08 2009
JJ

NYT:
In Debate Over Health Policy, Some Words Are Seldom Spoken :

What has bioethics contributed to the current national debate over health care reform?

. . .questions obviously pointed toward issues of social policy, scarcity and equity, and scholars in the field soon recognized that few issues in bioethics could be isolated from the larger framework of how health care was delivered and who had access to it.

16 08 2009
“We Prefer Your Extinction to the Loss of Our Job” « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Prefer Your Extinction to the Loss of Our Job” 16 08 2009 Maybe Crimson Wife is right, and illegal aliens really are what’s wrong with our health care system — if health […]

16 08 2009
Meg

You know, as the grandchild of an illegal alien (it’s a long story) that snuck into this country in 1906 I have quite a bit of a problem with people that like to point to today’s illegal aliens and blame them for a lot of the things that aren’t working. Many of these people come because of the situations we are contributing to (by which I mean here in the states, not even in their home countries.) If you don’t want them here, then change how business works in this country.

As someone said (Nance maybe?) once those babies are born, they are US citizens. They have full rights to the same state paid health care as someone with parents who were also born here. This is where we draw the line on becoming a citizen. Again, if you don’t like it, then work on changing our laws.

I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing our health care system through the eyes of our last exchange student. She developed bad migraines while she was here and wasn’t too thrilled with the hassles of private insurance (the program required it) in comparison to what she was used to at home.

17 08 2009
JJ

Ironic that every other comparable nation would better serve their citizens AND immigrants!

Krugman today has news I can use, some things I didn’t learn from the fear-and-smear “town hall” youtube shoots:

. . .plans on the table would, roughly speaking, turn America into Switzerland — which may be occupied by lederhosen-wearing holey-cheese eaters, but wasn’t a socialist hellhole the last time I looked.

Let’s talk about health care around the advanced world.

Every wealthy country other than the United States guarantees essential care to all its citizens. There are, however, wide variations in the specifics, with three main approaches taken. . .

Worth a read if like me, you haven’t heard these explained clearly.

17 08 2009
JJ

From the president’s weekend radio address:
“”No one in America should go broke because they got sick.”

17 08 2009
JJ

JJ’s corollary is:
“No one in America should die because they’re already broke.”

17 08 2009
COD

I thought this was especially ironic.

Correction: In Friday’s column I mistakenly asserted that Senator Johnny Isakson was responsible for a provision in a House bill that would allow Medicare to pay for end-of-life counseling. In fact, he is responsible for a provision in a Senate bill that would allow a different, newly created government program to pay for such counseling.

A Republican proposing to create a new government program. I thought they were against that sort of thing?

17 08 2009
JJ

😀

Dick Armey now of Freedomworks, said yesterday on Meet the Press that we didn’t need some government employee with a bachelor’s in sociology working in our health care policy, and I thought okay. What’s the alternative? Let Beck and Limbaugh and Hannity (privately rich know-it-alls, no government, no bachelor’s degrees, whoopee!) set our policy instead? — with the help of the guys bringing guns to the town hall “meetings” because that’s their idea of health care debate in a democracy?

17 08 2009
Crimson Wife

Obama: “”No one in America should go broke because they got sick.”

JJ: “No one in America should die because they’re already broke.”

Me: “I’d rather go broke paying for my current insurance than die because of bureaucrats refusing to pay physicians enough to attract competent individuals to the field and/or refusing to compensate pharmaceutical companies enough to encourage them to develop the medications needed to cure diseases and/or determining that I fail some actuarial ‘quality-adjusted life years’ formula.

17 08 2009
JJ

Well, I guess I’d rather go broke than die too, except that’s not the choice.
It needs work before the next health care town improv event. 😉

Although reinforced by an AR-15 semi-automatic assault weapon plus a pistol just in case, I guess it might prevail as is.

18 08 2009
JJ

At least it’s all pretty educational. I’m learning for example, that it’s not so much health insurance that needs reforming, but the wholly-owned subsidiary of the lobbyist industry, Congress itself, that needs reforming.

18 08 2009
JJ

See Newsweek’s Health Care is a Civil Right:

The only thing that should be unbreakable in a piece of legislation is the principle behind it. . . In the civil-rights bills, the principle was no discrimination on the basis of an unavoidable, preexisting “condition” like race.

The core principle behind health-care reform is—or should be—a combination of Social Security insurance and civil rights. Passage would end the shameful era in our nation’s history when we discriminated against people for no other reason than that they were sick.

A decade from now, we will look back in wonder that we once lived in a country where half of all personal bankruptcies were caused by illness, where Americans lacked the basic security of knowing that if they lost their jobs they wouldn’t have to sell the house to pay for the medical treatments to keep them alive.

We’ll look back in wonder—that is, if we pass the bill.

18 08 2009
JJ

I didn’t know much about the history of paying for health care, especially with insurance and how it became public policy, do you? Thought this was interesting in that regard —

Short Version of A Long History of Health Reform Efforts

18 08 2009
JJ

Dr. Andrew Weil: Why I am a [TRUE] conservative on health care reform:

Since when is it conservative to embrace new, overpriced, corrupt systems, like the health-destroying and ruinously expensive protocols of much of modern medicine?

“Conservative” has several meanings, but two central ones are “favoring traditional views and values,” and “avoiding excess.”

I hold that nothing could be more wild, unconstrained, and downright liberal than the path medicine has taken in just the last 20 years — an unprecedented bacchanalia of excess and contempt for traditional American values.

18 08 2009
JJ

GOP health care negotiator Chuck Grassley was exposed on BBC radio early this morning btw, as either a) lying through his teeth or b) gullible and doddering.

A sound clip of him speaking falsely about the British national health care system was played for a surgeon politician there, Lord Somebody or other, who was shocked to hear it said outright and called it “absolutely false” before going on at some length about what a distasteful lie it was.

18 08 2009
Crimson Wife

Not BBC radio, NPR’s “Morning Edition”. I heard the same piece when I was dropping my DH off at work this morning. To my ears, it was Gordon Brown’s mouthpiece Lord Darzi that I felt was lying through his teeth. “Absolutely ludicrous” was his phrase when asked about the “quality-adjusted life years” formula. Oh really? That’s not what the New York Times (not exactly a bastion of conservatism) reported recently:

“[Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence] had set a general limit of £30,000, or about $49,000, on the cost of extending life for a year.

18 08 2009
JJ

Quite right. BBC is on before that and because then this story was still about Britain, and a Lord, I didn’t realize lying in bed in the dark that the time had shifted to NPR early morning programming.

And I do remember the word “ludicrous” being used several times!

So I guess Grassley is gullible and doddering, the Lord is leaping and lying, and we all just lose — again?

18 08 2009
JJ

See if this works for the audio:
Surgeon Defends Britain’s National Health Service

And as CW linked, transcript here:

Lord DARZI: Well, I’m sorry to say that’s the most ludicrous thing I’ve heard. I’ve heard that written down but I’ve never heard it in real speech. And the answer to that is absolutely no.

INSKEEP: So, Grassley’s comment is based on nothing, so far as you can say?

Lord DARZI: Absolutely – not just false, these are lies which have been used to set fear against reform.

INSKEEP: Ted Kennedy goes to Britain, he’s a British citizen, he’s going to get full treatment and that treatment is going to be fully paid for. Is that what you’re saying?

Lord DARZI: Absolutely, irrespective of the tumor type as well.

18 08 2009
JJ

Btw, it looks to me like Britain’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence that CW mentions above, is more like our FDA or something; it’s not the actual universal health care system, the NHS that was being discussed this morning. NICE advises the NHS and recommends/approves drug protocols etc, and it does seem to have some controversy about its approach, says the New England Journal of Medicine:

Saying No Isn’t NICE — The Travails of Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Of course that’s a complete government-funded, government-run universal (single payer) health care system, so I’m not sure what’s to be gained by setting it up as a straw man even if Grassley’s story *can* be made to stick to it.

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