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10/02/2009

On Healthcare - I apologize for a political post

I apologize. There is no poetry in me, today. No Haiku. I am utterly and totally flummoxed.

I know, I know. I have said that I don't do politics here - and I don't. Normally. But I heard something spoken on XM Radio yesterday morning that has me wondering what planet the Right Wing Conservatives fighting the Healthcare Reforms so vigorously, are from.

What follows, below, is an excerpt from the transcript of an interview on "The Takeaway", a program on XM's Public Radio Channel, 133. It's on every weekday morning and I sometimes listen to it on the way to work - especially when the Old Time Radio program currently being re-broadcast on channel 164 doesn't interest me. The whole transcript is available at www.thetakeaway.org. If you're interested.

Anyway, I'm cutting right to the chase here and taking you right to the part that REALLY piqued my interest and got me wondering. Pay EXTRA special attention to the last sentence of Congressman Burgess' response to Celeste Headlee's question in the first paragraph. And then read on. Pay attention, again, to the first sentence of the last response of his, quoted here. Tell me if this guy hasn't learned how to talk in circles. You guys read - I'll catch up with you on the other end of this.

CELESTE HEADLEE, for The Takeaway: Congressman Burgess, I’m just wondering. You know, we’re talking a lot about keeping costs down and giving people a place to shop and marketplaces for insurance but how are we going to cover the uninsured and those who don’t have the funds and the means to go shop for insurance.

CONGRESSMAN BURGESS: There are any number of things that could be done right now without turning the entire system on its head. Fixing the problem with people who want insurance and yet find that they are priced out of the market because of a medical diagnosis they already have. Keeping people from losing insurance which they have paid into over time and then their insurance company drops them when they get a tough medical diagnosis. We could fix those problems right away. There are always going to be people in the country who resist the purchase of insurance.

HEADLEE: Resist? What about the unemployed?

CONGRESSMAN BURGESS: We can make the conditions more favorable by allowing policies to be sold that are within the economic reach of more individuals and for people who are unemployed or who cannot afford insurance policy. There are things we can do to stop punishing people in the tax code and make tax credits available to people for the purpose of insured.

HOCKENBERRY: But Congressman, how do you do that without a subsidy or without actually just offering the insurance though the government?

CONGRESSMAN BURGESS: Well offering the insurance through the government is no solution because, let’s be honest, if that were the solution, it would have fixed the problem. We’ve already got 50 percent of health care expenditures right now coming through the government and no one would pretend that there aren’t problems with the public sector today. In fact, that is the problem (unclear word) the rest of the system alive right now. And the problems of the administrative pricing that are brought to us by having a heavy hand of the Federal government involved. These are things that again, was within the purview of the federal government to fix because we caused the problems in the first place.


Okay. Enough. Like I said, I don't normally do politics here - and even now I'm going to keep my specific views to myself. But I will say this. BOTH sides of this argument need to get off the "I'm right and you're not" attitudes and start working for the good of the people. And maybe that needs to be modified - the good of ALL the people. Not just the rich. Not the Bankers. Not the Insurance Executives and not their Shareholders. The PEOPLE. All of us out here who vote and voted for them.

Those of us who have jobs and have lost jobs.
Those of us who have families.
Those of us who have homes.
Those of us who live under overpasses.
Those of us who have no one.
Those of us who aren't stable.

ALL of us.

Ndinombethe.

17 comments:

Nan said...

The thing that stuns me in the states is how people have to go to work when they are sick. No paid sick leave, see? So they go to work and spread the bugs around. And get sicker.

How is making a nation sicker going to save money???

Ashlie- Mommycosm said...

I think we need to parent the gov't with some tough love on this one.

When my kids can't agree on a movie or game or the flavor of the moment, I send them away to work it out and tell them not to come back until they have reached a compromise. I don't want to hear the whining and fussing within the process. Give me the finished result.

I refuse to call the Health Care reform a "debate" because a debate is a respectful process in which both sides respectfully articulate their ideas. Yeah, not so much.

And manners? Has everyone in Washington forgotten the basics they learned back in Kindergarten? For the love of God.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

WE criticise the NHS here in the UK because we are SO privileged to have universal health care people simply have NO concept of what it would be like to live in a country without it.

Currently sick with 2ndard infection from swine flu I have been provided with anti virals free of charge through the NHS, a consultation with a doctor, again free of charge, and antibiotics...yes, you guessed free of charge. We all pay for this service via taxation, so claiming the unemployed or the sick don't pay isn't really true.

We just do not know how lucky we are here.

Bendy Girl
PS lots of love to you all Lou! Xx

Hockeymandad said...

Amen sir. Equal representation sound familiar? It's sad to me that the "richest" nation in the world cannot elect leaders who choose to protect and care for their people before they protect and care for their bank accounts. They all suck.

Cathy said...

well said! we had to get private insurance for a while, and it was awful--several policies wouldn't even take us b/c of pre-existing conditions, and when we finally got on a policy it barely paid for anything. if this new law just got rid of that stuff, it would help a lot of people. but insurance companies can find ways around that without more gov regulation. plus--what about small businesses whom can't afford to insure employees, including part-time employees? in this economomy, more people are working several part-time jobs to make ends meet and therefore don't qualify for insurance. it's just such a un

Maggie's Mind said...

Adding to your list - And those of us (not me specifically) who *do* have medical insurance and *still* go bankrupt when the illness outlasts the job (and COBRA) or the pre-existing condition means treatment's not covered and so you still lose your house. Just saying. The system is broken. People need affordable access to appropriate medical care. Period. I don't really care what we call it or how we do it, as long as it works. Gah. Deleted the rest. Too riled up and disgusted.

Momisodes said...

I could go on and on about this topic (because it's been driving me nuts), but I won't. Because what you've said pretty much covers it.

The health and well being of people are stake. There should not be a price on it, and it should certainly never be a business.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

As someone who currently doesn't answer the phone unless she recognizes the number on caller id because she isn't able to handle another medical collection agent, I am MORE than eager for them to JUST DO IT. Stop talking about it. The system we have Does. Not. Work. America is drowning in debt and illness. We have the good fortune to be able to change it! So CHANGE IT. Enough with bureaucracy. I would like to know that if my kid gets sick or hurt, that I can take them to doctor without having to field phone calls for thousands of dollars, a couple years later. My husband IS working! We HAVE insurance! And we are DROWNING.

Grrrr. Now I'm all grumpy, Lou. WAY TO GO.

moneythoughts said...

Unfortunately, health care is politics because there is a lot of money on the table. The insurance executives aren't worried about getting into heaven, they with their huge salaries have heaven on earth. Health care for some of us is a right, yet others think it is a privilege. If you believe it is a right for every person to have health care, then you can't be with the insurance companies. They want health care to be a profit center, their monopoly to make money off of you. It is really that simple. I am for a public option for those less fortunate than me.

Honeybell said...

This is why you are my hero. This country's health care situation is BROKEN. On the side of the patient, on the side of the health care providers.

As always, I'm astounded that those that fight the renovation of public health care are those that have no worries in that arena. They can vote themselves better coverage whenever they like.

Karen said...

My personal opinion on this whole "health care reform" is that what they are talking about in DC is NOT health CARE reform, but health INSURANCE reform. As long as there are huge insurance companies who have bazillions of dollars to lobby and bribe the lawmakers in this country, we will NEVER have health CARE reform. The industry does not want it. They want to continue to make their profits.

Why would they want to change a system where they take the American citizens hard earned money month after month, and as long as the people paying the premiums are not sick, the money they take in is pure profit. And the minute those people DO get sick, the insurance company starts looking for ways to NOT PAY their claims.

I have not had health insurance since 2001. In that year, I was diagnosed with type II diabetes, my husband was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. He went through horrible treatments, which was covered under the existing policy through my employer. Right before the end of his treatments, I was laid off from that job. We lost the health care along with the job. Yes, we could have kept it under COBRA, IF we could have paid the premiums. But, no income, all savings wiped out by the costs associated with his cancer treatments, there was no money to pay with.

In the 9 years since then, the only coverage we could find was offered at $1200 per month--$14,400 per year for health insurance. In the same 9 years, we have spent out of pocket less than $14,400 total for health care, which included one 4 day stay in hospital for him, and one afternoon in the ER for me. Why in hell would I want to pay $14,400 per year for health INSURANCE, when I could 1/10 of that for all the health CARE I need????

And that brings me to another aspect of health care reform that no one seems to be addressing--why should a 3 hour stay in an ER for a kidney stone cost $1009? after a 10% discount for paying in full?

They gave me 1 IV bag of saline solution, one shot of Tordol, and one shot of something else for nausea, did one urine test. Wrote an RX for percocet, and sent me home with a strainer for my urine so I would know when I passed the stone. Ridiculous to charge that much. I was lucky that I had the money to pay in full. How many people in this country have a spare $1000 just lying around, to be able to pay that out of pocket? Not many.

I say again, they need true health CARE reform, not health INSURANCE reform. Anything else is an injustice to the people of this country.

Sorry for the diatribe, Lou, just had to speak my piece here.

Hyphen Mama said...

Amen! I love what Karen says. It's not health care reform. Not by a long shot. It's not about the CARE anybody is receiving...it's about who will ultimately pay.

I found out last week that a one hour procedure I'll be having next week will be billed out by the hospital at just under $20,000... for ONE HOUR. I will pay my physician separately, pathology separately and all labs separately. The $20,000 will be the "rental" of the hospital room for one hour. It's anybody's guess how much my insurance will pay.

SOMETHING needs to be done, but I fear that those in charge of changing it (you know, the ones who have the world's best health insurance and who won't be required to use the new 'policy') are absolutely the wrong people to decided what is best.

Joyce-Anne said...

Health care in this country is such a huge problem-but until someone wants to put the needs of people first (and not the pocketbook) nothing will ever get fixed. Just sayin'.

Heather said...

I couldn't agree with what you said more, and that's really all I'll elaborate on the subject (lol!)

LceeL said...

To all of you who commented - Thank you. Thank you very much.

Indigo said...

I couldn't agree more. I have to tell you anymore I'm beginning to wonder if it's healthcare they're protesting or the fact it may be a solution. A solution brought about by Obamas presidency.

I keep asking myself where the hell where all the naysayers when Bush was driving us into the ground? Now that there is a possible solution, people are knocking heads.

At some point everyone needs to sit back and try to see things civily. Hope never hurt this country. (Hugs)Indigo

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Two things:

1) The root of our health insurance problems is frivolous lawsuits. It took me 16 years to pay off my bachelor's degree. To pay off a medical degree? A mortgage? Car payment? Kids? Rental/mortgage for medical office space? Employees? Equipment? AND liability insurance? I think to be a doctor in today's world is insane. As a piddling scuba instructor, carrying a one-million dollar liability policy, my yearly liability insurance payment went from $150 to $550 in just two short years. Can you imagine what that's like for anesthesiologists or OBs? The two most-sued areas of medicine in the US today? No wonder our costs are sky-rocketing. But, tort-reform will never happen as long as the majority of Congress is made up of lawyers.

2) Term limits. That same Congressional majority is in this gig for themselves. I'm convinced of it. 2010 and 2012, we need to vote out all incumbents. Maybe then, when we literally get new blood in Washington (no matter the party) then maybe something like health-care/insurance reform will be done with some friggin' sense.