Got health insurance?

Universal healthcare you say? Every civilized nation on earth has it except us? Well, take a look at the average American when compared to a French or Canadian counterpart. Fat, dumb and happy. Chubby hand reaching out….trying to find a Hot Pocket, or an open pocket. Gimme more, gimme more. Fill my yap. I deserve it. Don’t expect me to care for myself, or my family.

We can thank the government and the educational system for creating a nation of uninformed cretins. We can thank the food industry for lining their pockets at the expense of good nutrition and health. We can thank the legal system for stealing Hansel and Gretel’s crumbs….leaving doctors to take the safest path. We can thank the pharmaceutical companies for corrupting our well-meaning doctors and putting profiteering ahead of health.

The truth is that most doctors are saps who care about the average American. I was married to one for many years. Never once did I see him hesitate to help an uninsured individual. He’s a fantastic surgeon who knows little about wellness. You’ve gotta cut to cure. You’ve got pain? Here is Vicodin. You’ve got inflammation? Let me give you a cortisone shot. Depression or anxiety? Zoloft and Paxil. Exercise? Massage? Acupuncture? Herbs? Good nutrition? Safety? Self discipline? Not on the radar. Medical education is driven by those that stand to gain. If there isn’t profit in a particular course of treatment, it is not part of the curriculum. The powers that be do not make money from whole grains, whole foods, supplements, Eastern medicine, helmets, exercise. Thus, our poor students learn nothing about wellness. And they are unaware of their lack.

Enter the greediest of parasites–attorneys. When managed care first came to the fore, every doc I know was willing to forego unnecessary tests, to save healthcare dollars. Dave had great confidence in his diagnostic powers. He knew what his patient needed and had the balls to refuse unneeded and expensive tests. In one year, when the average surgeon ordered several hundred MRIs, Dave ordered 11. Alas, it took only one lawsuit by a fat, diabetic smoker to change his opinion. “Did you order an MRI?” “No, it was unnecessary.” “Isn’t that the standard of care in the community?” “Yes, but it was unnecessary in this case.” Nevermind that an MRI would tell him nothing that he didn’t know. It was an Achille’s heel with a jury of uneducated peers. Now, my idealistic and caring husband has become jaded. Why on earth would he put himself, his family and his reputation on the line to save a few bucks for Centura? Especially when they are taking the “savings” to line the pockets of their top executives.

Let’s also talk about end-of-life issues. Many healthcare dollars are spent in the last two weeks of a terminal patient’s life. To say euthanasia is to belie one’s atheistic nature and to bring brimstone down upon one’s head. To suggest withholding care is to betray an uncaring attitude. Bullshit! Who wants to spend his last days unconscious, hooked up to IVs, soiling the sheets and dragging out the grieving process for loved ones? No one I know. But what doctor is brave enough to make the suggestion? Jack Kevorkian was imprisioned for honoring the requests of the dying. He was a revolutionary. He paid a great price. I won’t encourage Dave to take the same path, although I think it is a noble one.

Until the American public is willing and able to start looking out for their own health and well-being, until they are willing and able to educate themselves and their children, until people are willing to forego expensive testing, until they are willing to see a nurse, a midwife, a physical therapist or a physician’s assistant for their primary care, there will be no moving forward. Any presidential candidate promoting a universal healthcare plan best be prepared to confront not only the corporations who control our food supply and our education, but also the Unhealthy American and his cousin, the Greedy American. I will not support a candidate who doesn’t have the knowledge and integrity to speak truth.

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9 Responses to Got health insurance?

  1. Avatar Eric says:

    The problem as you point out, is much bigger than health care. But don’t we have to start somewhere? We have to start everywhere. Health care can’t wait on better education, or progressive regulation, or tort reform, or economic justice.

    Here’s Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) addressing another Libertarian sacred cow, repeal of the inheritance tax. At this hearing he ties it into health care.

    Since Bush has been president
    Over 5 million Americans have slipped into poverty
    Nearly 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance
    Median household income has gone down by nearly $1,300
    3 million manufacturing jobs have been lost
    3 million American workers have lost their pensions
    Home foreclosures are now the highest on record
    The personal savings rate is below zero
    (which hasn’t happened since the Great Depression)
    The real earnings of college graduates
    have gone down by about 5% in the last few years
    Entry level wages for male and female high school graduates
    have fallen by over 3%
    Wages and salaries are now at their lowest share of GDP since 1929.

    We have the highest rate of childhood poverty
    Over 18% of the children in this country live in poverty
    The highest rate by far than any [developed] country on earth.

    This country has by far the most unequal distribution of wealth
    The top 300,000 Americans now earn nearly as much
    as the bottom 150 MILLION Americans. The president believes
    that we should completely repeal the inheritance tax
    in a way that applies only to the wealthiest 2/10 of 1%.

    If we repeal the inheritance tax, the Walton family
    which owns Wal-mart, one of the wealthiest families in America,
    would receive over 32 billion dollars in tax breaks.
    Do you think it’s appropriate to give 32 billion dollars in tax cuts
    to one of the wealthiest families in America, at the same time
    when we have 9 million children living without health insurance
    in this country and the highest rate of childhood poverty?

  2. Avatar Marie Walden says:

    To double tax the rich, by way of an inheritance tax, is unconscionable. Yet another grubby hand in my pocket.

  3. Avatar Marie Walden says:

    Why don’t we end the war? It has cost American taxpayers billions of dollars. One family shouldn’t have to bear the burden of the horrific mistakes of the current administration. It’s amazing how much money the war coffers hold.

  4. Since my own medical condition was exacerbated by Tort Reform, the Right to Work Act, the Get a Job You Lazy Hippy movement, my reaction is going to be colored by those issues.

    The Very Richest have bought the government of the United States, and expect a robust return on their investment.

    They are raping the economy of the United States to the point that we will now, it seems, never get out from “our” debt, when, as Eric pointed out by proxy, the wealthiest less than 1/3 of a million individuals own more of the profits from that massive debt than Half Of All Americans combined.

    They got the wealth by incurring a debt, but then want to back off paying the debt, force more of that debt onto the people who did NOT become fantastically wealthy?

    THEY should “get a job”. Stop living like the parasitic slugs they truly are, on the flesh of the poor.

    The Walton family didn’t earn their daily bread by the sweat of THEIR OWN BROW, they “earned” it not only on the collective back of their American employees ooops excusez moi, “associates”, but also on the backs of millions upon millions of people in foreign nations like China, which doesn’t have a “semi-educated” to paraphrase the argument Jury system to decide Tort liability.

    The same with McDonalds. ANY of the Fortune 500 corporations.

    Design a brilliant software program for Microsoft, or Mcaffey, or Norton? You only get the one time payment. Then Microsoft gets residuals and perpetual ownership of that software. Bill Gates “earns” all the extra money from that software and any of it’s derivatives forever.

    What, do you truly believe Bill Gates actually wrote Windows himself? Then you really ought to look at the End User License Agreement for any of “his” software innovations. See, even the truly intellectual workers are in the same boat as the burger – flippers at Mickey D’s or the cart pushers at Wally World.

    Health Care? what’s that?

    We get the same kind of “health care” as the horse Boxer got in the dystopia Animal Farm. But Comrade Squealer will report that our last words were “I Will Work Harder”.

    But, as the Reaganite pundits will tell me, that was a slam against Communism, and couldn’t possibly refer to the same result being achieved through Capitalism.

    Here’s some more Welfare State stuff that needs to be reconsidered

    Giving anybody who itemizes it on his income tax free gasoline and a huge rebate on his car payments simply by stating that he uses his HumVee for work. Even if that means driving from his home, amazingly near a bus stop, to downtown Colorado Springs and back every morning.

    No? Not eliminate the “SUV Subsidy?” Then, and this one actually impacts the argument about Americans being too bloated to exercise and thus improve their health, Give The Exact Same Subsidy To Bus and Bicycle Riders as is given the the most arrogant and greedy Hummer Drivers.

    Since we don’t use as much of the road, don’t cause nearly the number of emergency calls or Very Expensive Emergency Room Care as automobile drivers do, we should get a check from the government every day.

    Why Not? The Gas Guzzling Coalition gets a HUGE collective check every April for their preferred means of transportation.

    Or, even better, because we wouldn’t be getting a daily or monthly or yearly dividend check for the exact amount of money we DON’T waste on behalf of everybody else, at least give us free public transportation.

    It would save the taxpayers, even the very wealthiest, more money than the insistence that a HumVee driver is socially More Important than those of us in the lowly Servant Class and thus the Servant Class should subsidize his Luxury-Car-Cleverly-Disguised-As-A-Work-Truck.

    That last is gratuitous, free of charge, a little extra service provided by Your Humble Narrator, because the same groups of “Free Market” pundits who whine so much about actually paying the health care or even fair wages for their employees are the same ones who bitch about the bicycle trails and public transportation upgrades here.

    They should get their hands out of OUR pockets.

  5. Avatar Marie Walden says:

    I don’t disagree with most of what you’ve said. My point is simply that our healthcare system is a complicated one and can’t be “fixed” without looking into the root causes of the crisis. The same scrutiny should be given to the ludicrous American tax code with its various incentives and disincentives. And the welfare system. And the legal system. And the political system. All are fraught with complexity. Greed rules the day. The common man has no voice. Corporate lobbyists hold the power. Change is going to come hard, if it comes at all.

  6. Avatar Jacques Poirier says:

    Reading your posts and comments, I am starting to understand why universal health care has no chance to succeed in your country. When we passed it in Canada years ago, we all looked at each other and said, not a little scared and not sure to trust: “Are we big enough to do this to each other and not screw up down the road?” We went ahead and never regretted it. Today, there are still problems, but we solve them one by one and we are very proud of the system in spite of its shortcomings:

    A. Canada has much less than one MRI per acre, the density found in parts of Florida.

    B. Most greedy Canadian doctors have already left for the US, so we are left with doctors happy on $400K a year, mediocrity.

    C. Sadly, medical acts are filed on the same one-page form all across Canada, with a single pay schedule for each medical act. America had at the latest count 70,000 different forms for different medical acts in difference jurisdiction or insurance plans. This is good for the economy, printers, form designers, administrators , people to interpret these forms, to help fill them up etc..

    D. We in Canada negogiate all the medication purchasing in bulk. That is sad ffor the pharmas, although it is good for the economy since the low prices obtained attract many “pharma-tourists”. If we paid more for our drugs, the pharmas could afford to have the same quality of TV commercials that you have in your country, helpful stuff wall to wall during TV news hour “Ask your doctor, Cialis, Viagra, HeadOn HeadOn,HeadOn..and Restless Leg Syndrome and the Purple pill that you need to take to fix your oesophagus if you had an acid reflux episode in 1956” In the US they spend 3x more for Public Relations and Lobbying than for research ( which, incidently, is farmed out to universities). Think of all the lobbying jobs that were destructed in Canada. We have a record of being not-helpful to the Drug Industry. Remember when we forbade the sale of thalidomide in 1955. My poor mother had to use Alka Selzer for her morning sickness, a second-class solution.

    …We have other problems that I will list later. We have a much lower illegal immigration, another proof that the US health care system is better since more people want to go there.

  7. Avatar Marie Walden says:

    The fact that Canada has less illegal immigration contributes to the success of your healthcare system. Your population is more homogeneous than ours is–the result of tighter border control.

    You are lucky to come from a country where change is possible. The only change that will come to the United States is an increasingly rapid downhill slide. I’d love to relocate to Canada before we become a police state. And I’ll be happy to forego an MRI if I’m injured scaling the fence.

  8. Mexico is also a pretty cool country with readily available cheap drugs. For $66 you also get a complete checkup, computer printout, bloodwork and all the refinements you would get in SD. A friend of ours had her young son break his arm; took him to hospital where she was billed a huge amount of money to be told that the arm was broken. God she was pissed.

  9. Mexico and Canada recognize their role as the buns in the hamburger sandwich. If the beef is not up to par, or way too juicy, or dripping with fat, we can absorb the excess. We absorbed thousands of draft dodgers in the 60’s, and recently quite a few “emotional refugees” from the US. Even here in Baja, our dear friend Stephanie from Carlsbad CA bought a house on the beach just to be capable of living out of the US permanently. MEanwhile she keeps her job as a pharmacist at Ralph’s in the hope that Democrats will change something. I am trying to find a job for her in Mexico as a drug specialist serving the “Pharma-Tourists” from the States.

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