photo by Sheri Dixon

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Free Markets, Dogs Eating Dogs, and Hell In a Handbasket

So we as a nation have finally crawled out of the status of 4th world country and taken the first step towards a national health care system- something that's taken for granted in every other industrialized nation in the world plus most of the 2nd and 3rd world nations. The concept that how much money you have in your bank account should not = the kind of (or even if you receive) health care.

Not "emergency life-saving procedures"- for the most part those ARE treated in any emergency room.

The basic care and maintenance of the human body sort of care and those things that are serious but won't necessarily kill Things like cancer, and heart disease, and un-managed diabetes.

Now back in the day, when health care was herbs and likker and common sense and leeches, health care was taken care of at home or by crazy old women living in the woods. Same as everywhere else in the world.

Then came science and technology, and for the most part these things were shared, even here in the US of A- land of the Free Market Economy (which, no matter what the men in expensive suits tell us, seems to cost the end user more than a regulated market, has anyone else noticed this?)

I'll use as a case in point, MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston TX. It's huge. It's regularly rated one of the top TWO cancer hospitals in the world, not just the US. MD Anderson is a teaching hospital- it's part of the University of Texas- and as such, when it was first established, it was FREE to any Texas resident. Free. No charge. Our neighbor's dad was a patient there years and years ago and his lengthy treatment and hospital stays cost them NOTHING.

In nations with "socialized medicine" that's still the case. Everyone is covered, and all the really cool toys are available for everyone to use. But something happened here in the US, something that personally looked like this to our family-

Me- "Ward's graft is failing and he's not insured right now. He's had private insurance till a few months ago until it went so high we couldn't afford it, and he'll start Medicare in 4 months. He's been your patient for over 2 years so this is really continuing care of an existing and treated condition. Could we do a payment plan for the $3,000 scans we need to be sure his 'aggressive and problematic' cancer isn't back?"

Lady in MD Anderson business office- "Umm, sorry. No. Cash at time of service."

Me- "Are you freakin' kidding me? What part of 'current patient', 'always had insurance and are GUARANTEED to have it again' and 'aggressive and problematic cancer' are you not understanding?"

Lady in MD Anderson business office- "When did you say he'll get Medicare?"

Me- "November".

Lady in MD Anderson business office- "Well...he probably won't DIE before then, will he?"

Here's a really good, concise (albeit long) explanation of where we went all wonky-

An excerpt from the above article-

"Although many European nations had adopted some form of compulsory, nationalized health insurance by 1920, proposals sponsored by the American Association for Labor Legislation (AALL) to enact compulsory health insurance in several states were never enacted".

So that puts the US roughly *90 years* behind most of Europe when it comes to caring for our citizens in a humane and equal manner.

I've already covered why putting our health in the hands of the Free Market is not a good idea here and here

I hate reading stuff that's nothing but link after link, and promise I'm done now, but also figured the article I first posted is so much better written than I could've done I'd be doing you a disservice not to post it and most of ya'll are already sick to death of listening to me grouse about the insurance companies so I'd just jog yer memories instead of going through the whole mess again.

Anyway, the upshot is that the health insurance industry is now very very powerful in the US today, much to the bewilderment of the entire rest of the planet and the detriment to our health.

Insurance companies are big business and quite easily buy all the politicians on both sides of the aisle they need to stay that way- with OUR premium payments- genius, hey? So while the health care reform was a "foot in the door" of real reform, somehow it tripped over the threshold and is sporting some pretty heinous compound fractures.

Instead of giving power back to the patient, insurance companies are now racking up their premiums to "cover those they are forced to take now". UNTRUE.

They are happily denying coverage to anyone they don't want to cover- like children unless a parent is also covered. According to my agent, there's not a company in America right now that will sell an individual policy for a child.

Pre-existings? No problem- the government says you cannot be denied, but it'll cost you, baby.

Speaking of baby- you thought it was difficult getting maternity/birth insurance before? (and it was- that flat blew me away when I got pregnant with my 3rd child 14 years after the 2nd and tried to get insurance for "the duration")

Effectively, despite all their whining to the contrary, the insurance companies are way MORE powerful than they were before.

So what the hell happened? And don't tell me "Obama happened- howz that changey hopey thing workin' for ya?", because I'm really not in the mood right now- if "the other side" had won we'd be in WAY worse shape in all ways than we are now, and deep in yer little conservative hearts you know it. Anyone who's tried to stop something in motion knows it takes twice as long to stop and reverse than to accelerate and go out of control.

What happened is this-

No Public Option.

We need a Public Option- a.k.a Medicare for All a.k.a. Evil Socialzed Medicine.

It works for other countries- and beautifully, no matter what the insurance company lackeys a.k.a. elected officials tell you.

"Yeah yeah yeah, blah blah blah you've told us all this a gabizillion before- tell us something new".

Nothing new- just something to think about. I mentioned in my last writing that what I'm hearing from the Republican commercials is creepily like what I heard from the other sides of abusive relationships.

And nowhere is it creepier than in what they're saying in their Pledge to America (that little love note that should be accompanied by flowers and maybe something sparkly to overcome our collective bruises from their 8 years of beating us "but never meaning to HURT us because they LOVE us") about repealing health care reform.

They want to REPEAL OBAMACARE, and they are saying they will wash it off, take out the bad chunks, and put EVERYTHING THEY VOTED AGAINST back into it and hand it to us- their beloved constituents- smelling of flowers and all sparkly.


The current legislation needs fixed, but the people to do it are the ones who dropped the ball and morphed it away from what it should've been, not those who hated every bit of it in the first place.

IF we can get the current administration to grow a pair and actually DO what they set out to do FOR US- the people, we'll be ok.

And I think that's a way higher likelihood than giving the whole shebang back into the hands of those who not only voted NO for every line and word of it but had nothing to offer when asked for help with it- those are the ones who will take that shining start to being an actually civilized nation, smash it into little Repealed Shards and say

"Wow. Guess that can't be fixed- oh look- lets go fight another war to get your mind off of it- and I'm so very sorry but we'll have to lower minimum wage, privatize (read "destroy by giving it into the gaping maws of Wall Street) both Social Security and the VA to pay for it- you don't mind, do you?"

and laugh all the way to the bank. Again.


  1. Love it, friend. We have a lot in common. :-)


  2. Why thank you, dear- that's a happy thought :)

  3. The healthcare plan was FAR from "obama-care" it's more like a right wing prank... I knew last year that this issue was like the bag of dog shit someone lights on fire on the porch, knocks and runs away.... A major compromise... and, really just more corporate-welfare and propping up money grubbers at the expense of the masses. It took so long to get it passed because it took a long time to fit in all the demands from the right... that's probably why it was so "lengthy"... all the things they want to blame the left for! And while the dems bent toward the repubs demands, the GOP backed out just shy of voting for it! (this the equivelant of ringing the doorbell and running, while the bag of shit burns) The dems have been spineless...and now they are forced to step in the shit left behind.
    The left needs to really mobilize and start to speak up. I think I understand what they're afraid of though.... I live in a "conservative" area, and it seems a waste of time to speak up, but I do vote... for what it's worth.
    .. seems you've spend a few tours of duty in the war against stupid... and dealing with the hassles is fighting another different kind of systemic disease. You are not alone.

  4. And this is why I love reading your posts! You say what I'm thinking!!