Whip The Public Plan: Putting The Public Back In Health Care Policy

For the last year or so, we’ve been dealing with a family health care crisis.  Most of you know that both my in-laws were hospitalized for months last summer, only to have my mother-in-law pass away last October. 

Since that time, my father-in-law moved in with us because he could not live on his own any longer.  He is a grieving, gentle man with health issues of his own — and we had a ring-side seat to the way that the health system in this country treats the people in it when they are most vulnerable. 

It’s not pretty.

The dirty little secret about "health care" is that the people who actually do the work with patients care about them a lot.  But the system itself is neither about health nor care.  It is about profit-making at any cost, pure and simple.

And profit is ruthlessly pursued, despite the toll that it takes on the very people who are paying for the privilege to be treated like beans counted in an abstract money-making enterprise.

We would find this gentle, grieving man up in the middle of the night worried about bill collectors calling to pick money out of his pocket for care that his wife of more than 50 years never even received because she passed away before getting it.  We helped him, time and time again, to walk through the jarring morass of endless mail from these people with its myriad attempts to get out of paying for covered services as basic as surgical care and meals fed intravenously while under sedation.  

Over and over and over again.

Any plan that does not put the public’s interest front and center, that does not make both "health" and "care" the standards, is a non-starter with me.  We are human beings and, especially at the stage that my father-in-law has reached, we ought to be treated with dignity, respect and decency instead of a bilking, badgering bill collecting frenzy.

In a system which is not about the money, but is about the care, well-being and welfare of the patients, that would make sense.  But this is all about dividing up the pieces of the profit pie. 

Millions of Americans with health insurance go through this every year.  Those without health insurance are in even worse shape.  We have a system of profit centers to benefit the people who rake in the profit.  And it’s not healthy for anyone except those lining their own pockets.

Recently, some testimony occurred in Congress which got little to no attention by the media. Watch it above, see the human face of why health care reform is needed. 

And then tell me you don’t have time to whip the Public Plan. To the phones!

 
82 Responses to "Whip The Public Plan: Putting The Public Back In Health Care Policy"
Peterr | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:08 am 1

The dirty little secret about “health care” is that the people who actually do the work with patients care about them a lot. But the system itself is neither about health nor care. It is about profit-making at any cost, pure and simple.

Put it in bold, Christy. Put it in bold.

If you listen to the rhetoric out of most in DC, they don’t get it. They talk about everyone wanting health insurance when what people want is health care.


selise | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:16 am 2
In response to Peterr @ 1

that’s why i am so conflicted — the only way i see to for universal healthCARE is single payer (like hr 676).


SouthernDragon | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:18 am 3

Even the public plan we haven’t seen yet is about insurance, not care. How do we get the dialogue changed? We must remove both labour and health care out of the commodity markets.


wigwam | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:20 am 4

The dirty little secret about “health care” is that the people who actually do the work with patients care about them a lot. But the system itself is neither about health nor care. It is about profit-making at any cost, pure and simple.

And profit is ruthlessly pursued, despite the toll that it takes on the very people who are paying for the privilege to be treated like beans counted in an abstract money-making enterprise.

Director and CEO’s of for-profit insurance companies have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profit. That’s why most of the industrialized world does not allow for-profit insurers into the basic healthcare-insurance market. See http://oxdown.firedoglake.com/diary/5739


foothillsmike | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:21 am 5

I agree that the vulture insurance industry is a major cost driver and has a tremendous impact on the dehumanization of healthcare. At the present time they by necessity are the opposition and must be defeated. After this battle, hospital administrators must be targeted. My daughter is an RN and for six years was in critical care (cardiac) in the major regional hospital in her area. She recently got totally fed up with the administration and left for a private clinic. They seem to think that administrative positions are of greater value than professional staff where they began cutting staff levels.


alank | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:22 am 6

Okay, so can you explain how you added the CSPAN video into your blog?


SouthernDragon | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:22 am 7

Off to swim in the great capitalist cesspool.

Be good to yourselves, and all other living things.

Namaste


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:23 am 8

Morning all — late start here, had to run an early errand. How is everyone this morning?


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:23 am 9
In response to alank @ 6

They have an easy embed code?


SouthernDragon | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:24 am 10
In response to foothillsmike @ 5

administrative positions are of greater value than professional staff

less cost = increased profit = greater value


selise | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:25 am 11
In response to SouthernDragon @ 7

peace and health to you and to all, SD.


Millineryman | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:25 am 12

When I took over the medical bills while being my parent’s primary care giver in the early 90’s it took me 9 months to straighten out the tangled mess of bills.


TarheelDem | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:26 am 13

Last night on Ed Schultz’s show, he had to go up against a new MSNBC morning host (the cost of pleasing the boss, I guess). And over and over again this rightwing dingbat was talking about opening the system to “patient abuse” by which he meant patients forcing doctors to order more expensive or unneeded procedures. Only a small percentage of patients do this, yet this is the bogeyman for keeping the current system of real patient abuse.


SouthernDragon | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:26 am 14
In response to selise @ 11

Namaste, selise *waving*


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:29 am 15
In response to Millineryman @ 12

We are still helping out a bit with that — and it’s been made worse by the fact that we are both trained professional lawyers who are good at negotiation and detail, and we still have a hard time with the fine print bullshit. If two lawyers get irritated by the idiocy, imagine how bad it really is?

And at a time when my FIL has been most in need of not having to deal with this sort of irritation with his own loss and health issues on top of everything. Let alone people who are chronically ill and battling just to get basic care services at the same time.

It sucks.


nomolos | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:29 am 16

At my age, 66, I do not know anyone, no one, man, woman or young person that have not had a bad experience with the “health care” industry. I do not dare go to my primary doc. for a check up in case he inadvertently writes down something that could drive me into bankruptcy. I have told him that the next time he sees me it will be because I am dying. My premiums, medicare, Part ‘D’ etc are 24% of my Soc Sec cheque. I do not have children to take care of me if I do get seriously ill and so I have laid in enough pills to remove myself from this fucked up world when the time comes.

When my spouse retires, 5 years, we are leaving this bloody country if I am still alive.


forrestbrown | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:30 am 17

Support the public option? Show Democratic senators by adding your name to a TV ad: here


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:30 am 18

Thanks for telling your story, Christy. I believe the system is meant to be dehumanizing, in order to make us as compliant and meek in the face of such overwhelming profit making obscenity.


wigwam | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:33 am 19
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 8

I posted an Oxdown diary with links to and quotes from articles by George Will and Robert Reich.

Will claims that pivate insurers can’t possibly compete with a government plan. To which I reply “Too bad, so sad,” more or less.

IMHO, Reich is “the man” on this healthcare issue. I think I’ve read an article per day by him, including this excellent open letter to Obama, exhorting him to get into the fight.


forrestbrown | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:33 am 20

alank | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:33 am 21
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 9

Where do you get the embed code?

You’re right. Millions of people go through this every year, but somehow these millions of stories never see the light of day. It would mean the exposure of possibly the worst failure in American ever.


twolf1 | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:35 am 22
In response to alank @ 21

Where do you get the embed code?

Looks like there’s an ‘embed – link’ button at the top of the video window


selise | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:35 am 23
In response to nomolos @ 16

(((((nomolos)))))

right now, as a nation, we are spending enough money to provide healthCARE to everyone. no copays, no coinsurance, no deductible.

that’s what we could do if we gave up our addiction to private insurance (see for example wigwam’s link @5) which adds something like $400 billion of useless overhead to our national healthcare bill.


beth meacham | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:36 am 24

Hospitals are also profit-making corporations. Of course they want to minimize their labor costs, and patient-care expenses.

I was absolutely stunned by Chuck Todd’s questions at the Obama presser yesterday. He seems to think that when Obama says “if you like your insurance you can keep it” it means that employers will be mandated to retain their current insurance contracts. How does he get that idea?

I want single payer. I’ll take public option insurance. I am frustrated because my Senators are hopeless cases who will vote against any bill at all. Yes, I’ve told them what I want. A lot of good it’ll do.


brendanscalling | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:38 am 25

christy please update with a link to the FDL citizen whip page, so it’s easy for readers to make their calls.

i’m after chaka fattah like a dog on a bone. he betrayed us on the supplemental and the IMF and i am not about to let him weasel out of health care. so far he hasn’t pledged to anything.


shootthatarrow | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:39 am 26

Once upon a time hospitals in America were centers of mercy and compassion. I grew up in a small town in the American Upper Midwest where the local hospital was run by nuns.

In America the “christians” over past two decades have sought to dominate American social and political conduct–one is left wondering where the “christians” are regarding any return of mercy or compassion to American “health” and “care” in WashingtonDC during this so called ” reform” American healthcare is being subjected to.

Healthcare based on “for profit” is some truly 19th century thinking Americans are being subjected today to by healthcare “for profit” insurers,clinics and senior citizen care providers.

That a Single Payer Universal System has not been in place since the 1950’s is a total American social and political disgrace.

The “christians” in WashingtonDC are not hesitant to give Americans large doses of moral posturing about abortion,gays and the infamous DOMA.

Where are the “christians” regarding mercy and compassion in American healthcare coverage,provision and security? Where?

The hypocrisy is numbing. Christ did not like the Temple money changers. It is doubtful this current American healthcare regime premised on profit would fare much better.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:41 am 27
In response to brendanscalling @ 25

There is supposed to be a link in the post, but I think it’s messed up — we’re working on it.


sjct | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:42 am 28

I called Kay Hagan’s office in DC again this morning. The aide I spoke with sounded quite a bit more defensive and harassed than he did when I spoke to him last week. A couple of times he interrupted me to protest that Hagan is “…not opposed to a public option,” “… has not made up her mind,” “…is examining a number of plans for providing health insurance…”

I am always extremely polite when I make these calls but I interrupted him right back, “…I don’t want health insurance. I want health care.” I told him in no uncertain terms, “We can’t afford to pay Blue Cross/Blue Shield for insurance. They want 20% of our income and won’t cover our existing conditions. We can’t pay 10% of our income for some ‘co-op plan’ that won’t cover the reasons we need medical care. This is a make-or-break issue for me. If Kay Hagan doesn’t vote to let me into a federal health care program like Medicare for a reasonable 5% of our income, she will face a primary challenger in the next election. She will lose my vote.”

“Yes, mam, yes, mam, I will let the Senator know your position,” He ended the call in a conciliatory voice and I wished him a “good day.”


Sufilizard | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:42 am 29

Thanks Christy, and everyone at Firedoglake for pushing this so hard. This is an issue I’ve personally taken very seriously for years. I’ve worked for my state’s medical association, I’ve been executive director of marketing and development for a small, independently-owned hospital and my wife’s a nurse.

And right now I’m coming down with a very bad cold that I worry might be strep throat, but I’m reluctant to go to the doctor because I don’t have the spare cash right now and haven’t met my deductible yet.

I’m one of the lucky ones with insurance.

There are much more heart-wrenching stories than my sore throat, but you know there’s a problem when a 41-year-old, generally healthy guy with decent insurance is debating whether he can go to the doctor to make sure he doesn’t have strep.


Millineryman | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:42 am 30

Yes it does. It’s sad, as I’ve mentioned I have 92 year old aunt who is on hospice care and her wish is to die in the only house she ever knew. Since she doesn’t have any children, my cousins and myself have been trying to make this happen. She was the eldest daughter and had to drop out of high school and help care for her siblings, out parents.

My cousin who is the POA has really been driven crazy.

My aunt’s life savings are gone, and so is her funeral money. The house she lives in was my grandmothers who set up a life estate for my aunt, so there is no way to tap any equity in it. Believe we have exhausted this route. Her insurance doesn’t cover long term care, and the state program is now one that will pay to keep her in the home she lives in because it cheaper then a nursing home. Notice it’s the cost factor, not the level of care.

When you look at a lot of nursing homes, as one cousin has for her mom, they leave a lot to be desired because the staffing levels are cut back to make a profit. The state requires anyone in this program to fall below a very low threshold to even become eligible for the program meanwhile the cost of 24/7 care has to be absorbed.

Now how is a person who is bed bound, and under hospice care suppose to navigate all this?


alank | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:48 am 31
In response to twolf1 @ 22

Okay, I think I’ve got it. For a list of RSS feeds go here:

http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/index.php

Here’s one for recent congressional committees:

http://www.c-spanarchives.org/…..ittees.xml

Click on a feed item and you should get a page that includes a red color WATCH button for a flash video with the letter “f” in it. Click that to open a player like the one above. The embed button is included. Click on that and copy. Nice!


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:49 am 32
In response to Millineryman @ 30

I don’t think they are, which is a huge part of the problem. I think the expectation is — and this is the part that galls me to no end — that elderly folks will just pay up and go away. Whether or not that’s fair or appropriate contractually or morally.


billybugs | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:54 am 33

Sent letters to my rep and both my senators (Kerry And Kennedy)
Also sent several letters to the editors of local and national newspapers through MoveOn.org
My rep Dick Neal-D actually responded to one of my letters.

72% of Americans want a public option , if only half those people, wrote to their congresscritter it would have a huge impact on the current debate.


oldgold | Wednesday June 24, 2009 06:57 am 34

I know I am a systems crank {no, I am not going to bitch about the Senate today}, but one key to this problem is putting money into our medical schools, PA programs and nursing schools for the purpose of dramatically increasing the number of these haelth care professionals. A 20% increase in 10 years should be doable.

Just today I read this article about Doctors postponing retirement because of a lack of doctors providing primary care.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31…..ealth_care


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:00 am 35
In response to oldgold @ 34

The critical shortage in primary care, family med and oby/gyn is an enormous problem. And it’s been getting steadily worse. And pediatrics is having trouble, too.

We do everything so bass-ackwards in this country. In a system where “hea;th” and “care” were at the forefront, the preventative up front stuff would be where the action ought to be. But not here.

Beyond frustrating.


bgrothus | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:03 am 36

My insurance company denied coverage when I wanted to switch to a lower cost plan. They canceled me for “mild seasonal allergies” and “mild osteopenia.” I never even used the high cost insurance I paid them for except for annual exams and mammograms, as directed. I did not even ask for prescription coverage when I applied for the lower cost plan.

I took care of my father so he could die at home. He had medicare and BCBS supplemental. He did not really believe in doctors, so he did not follow the usual protocols for cancer. His cancer was slow growing, and his will power was such that he really was not bedridden except very near the end. My mother paid more for her prescriptions last year than my father paid for his cancer doctoring.

I don’t know how people take care of their loved ones when the illnesses are chronic and the care is ’round the clock for years. I don’t know how people can survive any serious illness with insurance or without. It seems to boil down to the same thing: lack of coverage.


Millineryman | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:03 am 37

I know, it’s such a crazy juxtaposition of things. We have these great advances in treatment that come with significantly higher cost which create longer life expectancies, and then this whole mess with insurance.


foothillsmike | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:05 am 38
In response to oldgold @ 34

I have read recently that the number one area for graduating MDs is dermatology.


Sufilizard | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:07 am 39

It’s sad, a family physician can barely make ends meet, but if you specialize in making rich women’s boobs bigger you have more houses than John McCain.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:10 am 40
In response to Sufilizard @ 29

You know, I was just thinking about a lot of that same stuff this morning. We’ve had a rash of rampant ick here — one of the family who came to visit was sick when they arrived and everyone has now gone through some form of it or another for the last 3 weeks running here. It’s been an endless tissue dispensary at our house, let me tell you.

I had to go to the doctor because, with my lupus issues, once I start running a fever at a certain level and my joints begin to swell, tamping down the infection becomes a critical thing at the earliest possible time. We’ve worked our asses off to get everything we have — to be prudent with our money and careful, to try and take care of ourselves and the rest of our family as we can, too. Because that’s what you ought to do when you are a responsible adult, right?

And the whole way over tot he doc office I was thinking “maybe I don’t need to go quite yet, maybe we shouldn’t spend the money on this since we’ve got more family coming in and other expenses coming up.” And so on, all the way there.

It ended up that I had a massive system-wide inflammatory meltdown, with a huge infection in my joints that caused me to gain – I kid you not — 11 pounds in fluid weight from the infection. I’ve been on a massive drug regime for two weeks — and just in the last couple of days have I been able to see and actually feel my kneecaps.

It has been a rough few days, and yet still I worry about (a) the drug costs, and we have “good” insurance; and (b) whether our insurer will now look at me even more squirrelly as a result of having been through something utterly beyond my control.

But the question of whether I should get medical care? I absolutely needed it, but I’m worried about having gotten it. Jeebus, that’s messed up. And, when you think about all of the above, if Mr. ReddHedd loses his job and we lose our insurance? I’m completely, totally uninsurable in today’s marketplace because I have a disease I didn’t ask to get. And he can’t retire without us being able to plan for catastrophic health costs as a just in case…and how in the hell do you plan for that?!?


bonkers | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:18 am 41

For those who will see this incredibly misleading headline, which is blazing atop the “Politics” section of HuffPo:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..19979.html

Pleas understand what’s happening at HuffPo, which has been hiring rejects from Politco and advancing false themes all over that place. It’s becoming increasing pointless to visit there. Excellent coverage here:

http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=1277


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:20 am 42
In response to bonkers @ 41

Dude, why are you posting this in a health care discussion thread?


selise | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:21 am 43

christy, i’m so sorry to know you’ve been sick. (((((christy)))))

hugs to everyone this morning.


redfish | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:26 am 44

There is a very real possibility health care reform might not pass in any form and compromise is an inevitable part of the process. You may not like that here but in my opinion that is reality. At this point blog cries for single payer are just non-productive. That is not going to happen, no way no how.

Obama needs to answer some questions better than he did yesterday at the news conference. He says that the private option would let people keep their health plan and doctor. Since most people get their health care through work and it’s up to the employer to pick the plan — what happens if the public health plan is more affordable and the company switches from a private plan to a public one to save money. The employee would have no say and could lose their preferred plan and their doctor. For instance the switch in plans may very well move him or her from a PPO to an HMO type with pool doctors to choose from. The details as to what a public component is — is crucial. I think they can make rules for the public option that could deal with this — details will be important especially to Blue Dogs. Talking reality here.

This is going to be the debate in Congress in my opinion. The reason this is such a complex difficult task; health care reform that integrates a public option, is that health care has been a for profit component of our economy for so long. You can’t snap your fingers and undo that reality. There are millions of jobs at stake as well as health care. How can private companies compete if the public plan does not need to make a profit and has no marketing or sales costs. You might say, “screw the private companies”, but this is the questions that Obama and Congress needs to answer.


spacefish | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:30 am 45

The article he links to is about Obama being open to dropping the public option in health care reform.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:31 am 46
In response to redfish @ 44

Well, it certainly won’t happen at all if everyone just throws up their hands and walks away. The point is to push all the options so that they all get a look — not just water things down to status quo so that nothing changes. Competing interests — including the ones you may not like — have a place in the comparison on this.

And whether you like it or not, single payer and public option are two competing interests. If you think we’ll just shut up and go away because the Heritage Foundation sends cranky people to wag their finger at us, you can think again.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:32 am 47

Then perhaps he should have talked about the content of the article and his problems with its merits instead of going on a bloggy ranty smear campaign paste-o-rama.

Having not felt well for a while, I tire quickly of petty internecine bullshit that takes our eyes off the real ball.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:34 am 48

And, FWIW, Greg Sargant has the same take based on something Rahm may have done.


spacefish | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:34 am 49

Agreed. Hope you feel better!


selise | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:36 am 50

thank you, that was the best answer ever!


oldgold | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:36 am 51

Since most people get their health care through work and it’s up to the employer to pick the plan — what happens if the public health plan is more affordable and the company switches from a private plan to a public one to save money. The employee would have no say and could lose their preferred plan and their doctor.

What happens to my employees if I decide I can’t keep paying these incredible rates and drop their health insurance coverage? Your argument on this point is as weak as goat’s milk.


Twain | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:37 am 52

Many in Congress seem to think that it is OUR job to keep the private health care industry in business and making a profit. Why? If they can’t compete, too bad.


oldnslow | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:39 am 53
In response to redfish @ 44

Talking reality here

Really? Make up a bunch of shit and it is reality?

Your nongrasp of the issue is staggering.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:40 am 54

btw, a little note of thanks up top for everyone…


nomolos | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:43 am 55
In response to bonkers @ 41

Pleas understand what’s happening at HuffPo, which has been hiring rejects from Politco and advancing false themes all over that place. It’s becoming increasing pointless to visit there.

HufPOst is the tabloid of blogging. And you cannot even use it to wrap fish….


amghru | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:43 am 56
In response to beth meacham @ 24

Single payer is the only “health care” option. All others are a back door to the status quo. I am in the same boat with my congress critters. I live in PA, Casey has voted right down the Santorum line on every major vote. I have already written to him and Spector that I will do everything in my power to remove them from the Senate.

What’s worse is that I live in PA18 with Dr. Tim Murphy as my Congressman. Pressuring my representatives is the ultimate lesson in futility.

I have a tragic story from the healthcare nightmare that ends in my brother losing everything in bankruptcy due to medical bills incurred due to complications from untreated diabetes, only to have him die at 47 the week after the proceedings were final.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:45 am 57
In response to amghru @ 56

Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. How awful. I wish it were the only time I’d heard a story like that but…

It’s just so damned frustrating, isn’t it?


oldgold | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:45 am 58

Whooooooooooooops! At 51 I was responding to Redfish – not Christi.
Christi’s arguments are never as weak as goat’s milk!


nomolos | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:48 am 59
In response to oldgold @ 51

My spouse’s health plan for employees went up 30% this year and 60% the year before…. She is trying to cover everyone the best she can but it is becoming an unmanageable burden. Having employers supply health insurance is NOT the answer.


redfish | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:49 am 60

Who said anything about throwing up one’s hands and walking away? I noticed that is a recurring theme here putting words in people’s mouths. One can discuss all the options, pressure their representatives, exercise free speech, of course they can. I am just giving my opinion, single payer is not even in the universe of realistic possibilities in this country right now. I’m sorry you think your Heritage Foundation comment was productive. You might want to allow some alternative opinions in your “club” without trying to label or demean those expressing them.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:51 am 61
In response to redfish @ 60

So apparently this:

“You may not like that here but in my opinion that is reality. At this point blog cries for single payer are just non-productive. That is not going to happen, no way no how.”

…from you meant we have not yet begun to fight and keep up the good work, then? My bad.


amghru | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:53 am 62

Frustrating is an understatement. Since I have no recourse or voice in Congress, my only hope to see this national tragedy end is with Obama. I wrote him a long letter about my family’s story but it seems to have had no effect.

We need to convince the President to veto any healthcare reform that is not single payer and he needs to threaten to keep Congress in session untill they pass single payer.


Twain | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:55 am 63
In response to redfish @ 60

You always write about how terribly you are treated here so why are you here? We do get to disagree with you.


redfish | Wednesday June 24, 2009 07:56 am 64
In response to Twain @ 52

That’s brilliant. That will be great for our economy. Well done! Lose millions of health care related jobs, billions in corporate tax revenue. It’s not our business to keep private industry competitive — it is our business not to create a plan that helps put them out of business. I am for a public option, and strongly so, I am saying these are some of the questions that must be answered and integrated into a public plan if it has any chance of passage. If you don’t understand that, you can wait until there is no plan passed and whine about how awful the country is here.


redfish | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:00 am 65

Twain – I am just pointing out the non-acceptance of opposing points of view here. I don’t care personally, I welcome the discourse. I said this before and I will say it again. I am here because as a progressive and liberal on many, many issues I am troubled by the attempted high jacking of the democratic party by extremists, by attacks on Obama and Democratic members of congress. I like Obama, I like Democrats being in power, I like Obama getting to appoint supreme court justices, I like Obama’s foreign policy, etc., etc., etc.


bonkers | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:04 am 66

I tire quickly of petty internecine bullshit that takes our eyes off the real ball.

Could not agree more. That’s why I feel it’s important to head-off things like that article before 50 people here start linking to it over and over in a flurry of “Obama=Bush” comments.

We have a President that clearly wants publicly-funded healthcare, and I think he wants single-payer, and is simply trying to figure out a way to get us there given the cesspool system and Congresspeople he inherited. As he starts sticking his neck out farther for this, as he did yesterday in the press conference, I’d hope other single-payer advocates realize that his chances of succeeding are much greater with every bit of support he can get.

It would be a shame to squander this moment in history. That’s the “real ball” in my opinion.


redfish | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:07 am 67

Christy – fight all you want here. I applaud you for what you do. I just am of the opinion that Congress will not pass single payer or even a public plan without serious compromises on cost and many other particulars that the far left will not like. You can call and write Congress all you want — there are just as many doing the same on the other side. In no way am I saying people shouldn’t voice their opinion. I just feel my take on what this countries appetite is for health care reform right now is different than yours. That’s all.


lambertstrether | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:19 am 68

As does Paul Krugman.


lambertstrether | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:21 am 69
In response to redfish @ 64

Shorter redfish: Health care reform means making the health insurance for-profit business model work.


selise | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:21 am 70
In response to Twain @ 52

twain – hr 676 (conyer’s single payer bill) actually addresses the point (even if detractors want to pretend otherwise) of the employees who now work for private health insurance companies. from the faq:

How will the transition to the new system work?

The full conversion to a non-profit, single-payer universal health care program will not take place overnight once the bill is passed. The total transition time will be roughly a 15-year period. Important elements of the transition will include:

• Private health insurance companies will be prohibited from selling coverage that duplicates any benefits included in the universal national health care program. The private companies will, however, still be able to sell coverage for services that are not deemed medically necessary, such as many cosmetic surgery procedures.

• Private insurance company workers who are displaced as a result of the transition will be the first to be hired and retained by the new single-payer entity. Any of the displaced workers who are not rehired will receive two years of unemployment benefits


selise | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:24 am 71

(((((amghru)))))

i’m so sorry to hear about what happened to your brother.

and i agree re single payer being the only “health care” option, but i also want to show at least moral support (even if i disagree with them) to the public plan advocates here (so long as they are willing to reciprocate — which i think most are).


Blue | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:27 am 72

Any plan that does not put the public’s interest front and center, that does not make both “health” and “care” the standards, is a non-starter with me.

In my opinion that should include Obama’s plan and the so-called public option. If any half-assed measure is passed now it will guarantee that real health care reform will be put off for at least another decade.

Rather than putting the public back we should be taking the insurance out. Single payer would be a boost to the economy as well. Encourage businesses who no longer have to provide health care benefits to increase the wages of their workforce by, say, 30-40% of that previous outlay. They still realize a 60-70% reduction and the workers benefit financially as well. Pass tort reform legislation so that a portion of any liability (i.e, product liability cases resulting in physical harm, etc.) or accident settlement goes into the healthcare kitty. In addition, individuals should no longer have to pay for medical coverage in their auto insurance coverage – merely the cost for vehicle replacement … premiums should go down dramatically. I’ve never been in favor or separate programs for children or the elderly (don’t like pigeon-holing of any kind) – a single program treating every citizen alike will great reduce the costs of administering separate entities as well. If not now, when? This should be a no-brainer. Obama should have the guts to put it plainly and directly to the people … somethings should not be for profit – health care is one. More than the 50 million or so that have no coverage, there’s likely an equal or greater number that have coverage and pay their premiums but can’t afford to actually use that coverage. Our health care is a disgrace. Again, if not now … when?


Elliott | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:33 am 73

What Should a Public Health Plan Option Include?
upstairs


alank | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:41 am 74
In response to Blue @ 72

Absolutely bang-on.


alank | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:42 am 75

Right, in the meantime, Blue’s comment disappears.


alank | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:43 am 76

This blog site of Christy’s still sucks, from a technical standpoint.


selise | Wednesday June 24, 2009 08:53 am 77
In response to alank @ 75

refresh – it’s there!


redfish | Wednesday June 24, 2009 09:29 am 78

Here Is The Reality I Am Always Talking About:

“A majority of Americans see government action as critical to controlling runaway health-care costs, but there is broad public anxiety about the potential impact of reform legislation and conflicting views about the types of fixes being proposed on Capitol Hill, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll”.

“Most Want Health Reform But Fear Its Side Effects Most respondents are “very concerned” that health-care reform would lead to higher costs, lower quality, fewer choices, a bigger deficit, diminished insurance coverage and more government bureaucracy. About six in 10 are at least somewhat worried about all of these factors, underscoring the challenges for lawmakers as they attempt to restructure the nation’s $2.3 trillion health-care system”.


Kassandra | Wednesday June 24, 2009 09:34 am 79

Sorry you’re sick Christy. I’ve been screwing around with medical issues and insurance companies for 20 years now and it does take a toll. They count on that.

This public option thingy is repugnant to me. I think they should just leave everything as it is of that’s the best they can do and see what happens to America if they put US in the position of BEING FORCED to buy crappy insurance.

I watched my brother, who’s made a pile off health insurance sell his company a couple of years ago and the buyers said it wasn’t worth anything until he got rid of all the insurance bennies for the people who had helped him build it. So he did, to make a little more moolah. He’s gone over to the dark side, completely, prolly doing cartwheels at the thought of the gov turning US over to the likes of himself. Bleh.

Anyway, I found this article after hearing about on Hartmann the other day. I thought I’d share it with you folks:
CHINA: Experts urge stimulus package on social welfare

America is a laughing stock right now for what it’s done and is doing to it’s citizens. Even the Chinese know the well-being of their population is the way to pull themsleves out of the ditch of the economic crisis engineered by our American corporations.

I can’t BELIEVE there is even a debate on this let alone all this political compromise and posturing. They should be figuring out how to do it, not fighting about WHAT to do to to let the predators screw US over some more . Esp. after they sold US down the river to the banksters and the IMF, and , of course, more war.

They sure don’t have any trouble with THEIR publicly funded health care!

How we wound up with a government like this after all these years of fighting it is totally beyond my comprehension.


Gov4thePeople | Wednesday June 24, 2009 10:38 am 80

So, is Joe Barton for a public option (or better yet, single payer?) Does he think, after what he has seen in this one case alone that we should keep what we’ve got? Or does he think it is just our responsibility to contact our Congresscriter if our insurance gets canceled once we are diagnosed with a severe illness to see if they can get our insurance companies to cover our health care so that we can all say “I owe my life to Congresscritter X, thank you so much, Conrgesscritter X. You saved me Congresscritter X. You’re my hero Congresscritter X,” so Congresscritter X can feel good about him/herself (and get public praise) for this one life saved while having delegated 1000’s more to death? This is absolutely horrible what this woman went through, but if Barton didn’t learn a lesson from it, he’s worthless and deserves no praise from anyone.


lambertstrether | Wednesday June 24, 2009 11:25 am 81
In response to Blue @ 72

Blue, you quote Christy thus:

Any plan that does not put the public’s interest front and center, that does not make both “health” and “care” the standards, is a non-starter with me.

Since any for-profit insurance company has to put the interests of its shareholders first — it’s their fiduciary responsibility to do so — that would make public option a “non-starter,” right? Exactly because it’s only an option, and the for-profit insurance companies are still in place?


katiejacob | Wednesday June 24, 2009 05:07 pm 82

How about starting a campaign that will ask any Senator that doesn’t support government-run health care to give up theirs? If they are so committed to free markets, let the market do its magic for them. I have heard other people mention this idea. I think it would be very effective,


Sorry but the comments are closed on this post

Close