Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This Ain't No Disco. This Ain't No Debate.

Some things do not require debate.
To provide the opposite of the truth is to state a lie.
A lie does not deserve the same respect as the truth.
Here are some things I will not debate:
The grass is typically green.
The sky is typically blue.
Our health care system in this nation is a mess.
Americans need health care reform now.

A long time ago, in a land, far, far away.....okay, it was Chicagoland, but when you live in the middle of nowhere Georgia, Chicagoland does seem far, far away, I worked for a little membership organization called the American Association of Retired Persons. You might know them as AARP, but please don't call the arp.

Now, I had the good fortune to have worked there in the salad days of deeeee-centralization, staffing the federal legislative department, serving as field secretary for the Regional Representative. A jolly fellow who often slept away his afternoons, snoring so loudly that I had to close his office door to cover his large ass. I liked him and wanted him to keep his job.

Anyway, back then in some insignificant year of, oh say 1993, when this nation was previously considering, and alternatively scoffing at, health care reform, AARP became embroiled in the discussion when there appeared to be some sort of endorsement of what was then called "The Clinton Health Plan." And, no, that plan did not include therapeutic blow jobs, no matter what Newt Gingrich tries to say now, as he performs his usual historical revisionism. What a douchebag Newt is.

But I digress.

Anyway - the phones at the Midwest Regional Office of AARP lit up with irate members who felt that the plan sucked ass (some even used that phrase, I'm sure of it) or who were seriously ticked off that AARP, a non-partisan organization, would endorse what they believed to be a partisan plan. (For those not in the know - a partisan plan means the other side of the political spectrum. When it's your own side - it's a good plan.)

I was lucky enough to field some of the calls. Lucky can be such a subjective term, you know?

One call went something like this. Watch for the irony, okay?

The caller, an angry female in her 80s: "Blah, blah, blah!!!! AND I don't think the gubmint should be involved in health care!" (she was from Southern Ohio or Indiana and actually used the word gubmint.)

A Much-Younger, More Insolent Me: So then you want to stop receiving Medicare?
The caller, really displeased with that question: Uh. NO. It's not the same thing!

Me: Um, yeah, it is. Medicare is a government-administered health insurance program.

My colleague, the one who used to narrate her whole fucking day, turned and gaped at me. Then she actually laughed out loud, started holding her sides, wiping tears of laughter from her eyes and finished by falling out of her chair and onto the floor where she rolled around laughing until her ass fell off.

The point is - well, people are really stupid when it comes to this issue and I'm fucking tired of it. Yep. Fucking tired of it. Like when my kids ask me fifty different ways if they can set fire to something or order things online. Neither side is going to be happy until they win.

Last night, I posted on my Facebook about this because I am soooo tired of this "conversation." It's ridiculous. Health care is a human rights issue. I asked the question: If you weren't in a position of having insurance right now - would you oppose reform? Because I honestly do believe that it's easy to oppose change when you are comfortable. One of my commenters there linked to this article that demonstrates, that even when you are insured, you are not guaranteed coverage. The insurance companies hold all the cards.

Well, here's the thing I say to those opposed:

We've heard your side and we've tried it your way. For years. The insurance companies get rich. People die waiting for health care. Or go broke. And bankrupt. Mine and Mathman's first money troubles started as a result of a huge dental bill. I myself, can't do anything that requires quick movements like running, throwing or jumping because when I do, I pee myself because carrying and birthing three babies wrecked me. Even with our insurance, I cannot afford the co-pay for the surgery to get my pee place fixed. Not life threatening, but damned inconvenient and annoying. I mean, what if I needed to run for my life? It's bad enough that I run like a girl, but a girl with wet drawers? Come on now! You've heard me refer to the sneeze and squeeze, yes?

TMI? Well, this is a health care post. You'll live.

There is no more need to debate this issue another second because the opposed will not be convinced. So let's do this - let's try something new and radical like universal, single-payer health care. If in three years, people hate it, then they can go back to the mess we have now.

My guess is that we'll be happy enough with the new and radical, but we're going to have to drag some Americans' asses along. That's how it always is, you know. I mean, just ask MathMan. Back in 1987, when he tried to get me to use his brand, spanking-new hotrod of a Tandy 1000 personal computer to write a paper for some college class, I looked him dead in the eye and uttered these words...."No thanks, I'll stick with the typewriter."


  1. Amen, sister. This "debate" drives me insane, because the other side is loaded with little but lies and hyperbole, while people are dying and going bankrupt because of the health care mess.

  2. I think we need more health posts....


  3. This whole health care debate has gotten ridiculous. There are so many uneducated and uninformed about the issues and being swayed by the fear mongering of the right.

    I want the Democrats to grow some balls and pass the health care reform with a public option.

    I want the Republicans to show some compassion and empathy toward their constituents that are affected. Oh fuck, what am I thinking, that's way too much to ask of those assholes.

    Can we all just do the right thing?

  4. Excellent post, and so on point. I've been fortunate that when I needed health care I've had insurance coverage to pay for it. The years I lived without insurance I was fortunately pretty healty -- but also very lucky that nothing serious every happened!

    I've learned this past year that not having health insurance is a bitch. My sister doesn't have insurance, and had to be minutes from death before we could get her the care she needed -- and she still didn't get everything that would have helped.

    When someone is as sick as Jane was, and you take them to the hospital, the hospital pretty much has to accept them or face a lawsuit if they die on the door step. Jane got her bypass surgery, but not all the follow up care she should have had. Jane was fortunate to have a baby sister that wouldn't give up -- and who was willing to "make a federal case" out of it. Yes, I called our US Representative's office often, until we finally got what we needed.

    The bottom line is ... we shouldn't have had to do that. Jane should have been able to walk into a hospital and get the care she needed -- no questions asked.

    And finally, I fully support a public option. I think there won't be "reform" without it. BUT, the public option MUST include reasonable eligibility requirements -- and it must be a FEDERAL program.

    The current health care program for the poor -- Medicaid -- involves the states receiving block grants to provide coverage to individuals within the state. Once you are accepted the coverage is excellent! When Jane moved from IN to MD she had to apply again, and we are STILL waiting on coverage. A Medicaid patient takes a risk if they travel outside their state, because should they get sick the visiting state doesn't have to accept their coverage. And don't even try to get a prescription filled -- it's not going to happen.

    As someone who worked for an insurance company many years ago I can assure you the system is truly fucked up. Our jobs were to pay as little as possible -- while company profits soared.

    I'd better close, as I think I've just left a post instead of a comment. Sorry about that.


  5. Excellent and dead-the-fuck-on, Lisa. Will be linking to it on Hooterville - kids are back in school and perhaps I can being blogging again...

  6. Today, Lisa is B'Man's Hero.

    B'Man is very proud that a little tit slipped out, too.

  7. This whole health care debate or debacle has had my head spinning. I told my husband this morning, are there no poor, unemployed, under insured republicans? You would think not with their debate and scare tactics. We pay a fortune for our health care, which is strongly lacking.....I mean when I question if we should have something x-ray'd because the cost is so prohibitive that is a sad state of affairs, and we are presumably doing better than most. ha frickin ha! Great post Lisa.

  8. Once your drive off the free market path, there goes your innovation, pinko, then you WILL be stuck sewing up your gashes with typewriter keys.

  9. Look, Commie Pinko -- I not only oppose this whole health care business, I want them to cut out giving free food to those deadbeat mothers and those loser babies that don't contribute dime one to the economy.

    The only thing the government should supply is a guy with a cart strolling the streets every morning yelling "Bring out your dead!" like in that Monty Python movie.

    Man, those were the good old days -- when kings were kings, and the people were glad of it. I miss the Middle Ages.

  10. I couldn't agree more. There is NO DEBATE for me, because I have studied our health care system, Canada's health care system, and various European heatlh care systems. Theirs may not be perfect, but ours is certainly much worse, which is why the World Health Organization rates us (US! THE WEALTHIEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!) 37th, below Costa Rica. France is number 1, so MAYBe, just maybe we should learn from them. While access (a.k.a. the insurance issue) is only one part of the problem, it is a BIG problem for those who don't have access to our health care system, like a real life and death problem. People in the U.S. should not have to choose between paying their mortgage and paying a medical bill. People without health insurance should not be charged MORE than people with insurance just because they lack negotiating power. Insurance companies should not be allowed to profit by bleeding the middle class (because the poorest citizens either qualify for Medicaid or don't get insurance at all because they can't afford the premiums). Medicare works, damnit. I want in! You have more control over your government than you do over your health insurance comopany right now, so I'm not afraid to get on a government plan. I'm tired of the status quo and so was the rest of America 6 months ago. What happened? I would suggest to people who are scared by this problem to READ A BOOK. Educate yourself by doing research rather than watching a TV/radio show host who makes money by making outrageous statements. Read about how medicare works. Read a health care law book. Read about how other countries have dealt with this problem. Read about what will happen if we don't fix this problem. Read the actual bills passed by the committees in Congress! (Some senators haven't even done this). It takes some time, but education is the only way to combat ignorance and lies. There, rant done. Great post and I'm so glad you had the guts to say it like it is!

  11. I'm hearing your irritation and seconding the motion that we get on with it... why is it so hard to get this done???? apparently greater minds than mine are in charge...ROFLMAO.


  12. Good rant..... but if the Gubbermint takes over health care, then what? They may take over all the Breweries.... and then .... and then... if they own the health care and they own the breweries .... damn... would they make me drink 'light' beer cause it was healthier?

    I don't trust the gubbermint wit my beer.

  13. I don't think health care is a human right. Humans have the right to die.
    Only wealthy have the right to be healthy. See they even rhyme which proves my point.
    I think I'll go join the republicans now.
    Hard to believe sometimes that the country that started off talking about government for the people is now terrified of government.
    Good luck getting the reform but with billions of dollars working against it and a gutless crew of politicians that think they can get things done without angering anyone I think it will be a long time coming.

  14. Well done Lisa.. very well done. To the point and full of facts.. that's what has been lacking in the "debate" from the right side of the political spectrum.. With no integrity from the media to tell the truth we lost focus and the argument for a while.

  15. Thank you. I am so on board with everything you said. Pisses me off to no end, so it's hard for me to talk to anyone on the right about it. They're so freakin' paranoid about everything.

    Single payer. YES! Start the hell over on that and see what happens. Put it on the table. Bet anybody in the for-profit insurance biz gets their costs in control in a hurry.

  16. great post. our leader is on now so i must go get brainwashed!

  17. So many choices, so little time:

    public option

    single payer

    expand Medicare to all

    model the Frenchies' system.

    Go Dennis Kucinich!!!!

    Thanks for your stories, Lisa.

    Words for the wise.


  18. My money troubles didn't start w/ a medical bill, but they were added to substantially by one.

    May I share? Scenario:
    *Kate is employed FT, has insurance, and goes in for a pap.
    *Pap comes back w/ severely abnormal cervical cells, just as the last one did a year before when she was on MNCare, a state program for the un/under-insured.
    *Kate's insurance OKs a biopsy even though the condition was pre-existing.
    *Kate's biopsy comes back and the doc says she MUST come in for surgery. Surgery is scheduled for four months away in Nov.
    *Meanwhile, Kate's employer switches insurance providers. Kate falls through the cracks due to an HR error and has a lapse in coverage.
    *Kate gets surgery.
    *Kate gets bill and realizes she's been uninsured.
    *Kate raises hell w/ HR and the lapse is corrected.
    *Kate's insurer still rejects Kate's surgery, labeling it a pre-existing condition.

    I fought the insurance company. And I still haven't won. And it's been 2.5 years. And that expensive surgery? Is now in collections It doesn;t even matter if I win at this point as my credit score is in the hole. And I no longer qualify for student loans because of it. THANKS A LOT, INSURANCE COMPANY.

    The health care thing is too close to home for me; I have to tune it out because I get so emotional.

  19. The republicans are crazy, the democrats are selling out. Not too many options, are there? Heard the speech. Underwhelmed. Better than nothing is not good enough. Time for a third party.

  20. Ah well, you know I agree with this one. I've been writing letters for Dennis to share with Congress and for my state senator to share with the Senate. I don't have much money but I've made donations for newspaper ads and tv spots. I've worked in medicine for most of the time I've lived in this country - specializing in getting ins auths for patients needing surgery the past ten years. I feel it must be some kind of penance for leaving Canada where my son was born at no charge, where my parents were well cared for until they died at great age, where my friends are sure this country is totally nuts, where I'll be returning in the not too distant future.

    I'd hoped to see a difference but I'm thinking nothing other than a major rebellion will accomplish anything. The trouble nowadays is that three million people could march on Washington in protest of the status quo and the media would either ignore them or report that a few dead-enders caused a slight traffic jam.

    I'm just a person who has to tell someone with liver cancer their insurance company has refused to pay for further treatment so what do I know?

  21. Great to see your post

    Just to say.. am glad I live in UK. The NHS may have its problems but at least I know I can go to the Drs, have an emergency operation etc etc and not have to worry whether we can afford it.

  22. Agreed. My "insured" cancer cost us $25,000!!!

  23. Amen, sistah!--and you make me laugh!--sneeze and squeeze--LOL! :) (Sorry about that, though--that must suck.)

  24. I have insurance coverage, and have for three years now.

    I was without for over 15 years, and even though I had money at times to see a doctor once in a while, I was extremely fearful that something would be found that would be deemed a pre-existing condition later.

    I know that it may seem crazy, but that notion kept me away from a doctor's office for many years.

  25. The "gubmin" anecdote is priceless. Good grief, Americans can be SO stupid and so eager to collude with those who DO NOT have their best interests in mind.

    This should be printed in The New York Times (seriously) and then syndicated in every dinky paper around the U.S.A. It is funny, pithy and exactly to the point.

    And btw, I discovered last year that I cannot jump on trampolines anymore. Yes, sister, yes.

  26. Fantastic post!

    Universal Health Care for everybody.

    Again, fantastic post!


  27. Can we forever more call it the gubmint? It makes it sound fresh and minty.

  28. Here's what drives me absolutely out of my freakin' head crazy. Every other industrialized country has universal health coverage at a fraction of the cost of our own.

    Doing this should be really easy. You want affordable health care? Look at the way Britain, Japan, Germany, France, Norway, Denmark, and other civilized countries do it, then copy.

    It isn't just that our rulers are stupid. Our media is stupid. They are so stupid they think the rest of us are, too, and enjoy watching stupid people scream stupid things so they can get on TV, like, "SOCIALISM!" or "KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF MEDICARE!"

    Copy what works best, and do it here. That's it, and that's all. Those folks who whine about how we will soon become the Soviet Union, well they can find another country to live in that doesn't have federally subsidized health care, like, say Somalia or Zaire.

  29. Well, Lisa -- believe it or not, I've managed to link this post to my volunteer job at Jane Austen House. LOVED this post and can't get it out of my head.

  30. yay. you're absolutely right. there is no good reason for american healthcare to consume 20% of our gdp... and still bankrupt our citizens.
    it's time to fix it.

  31. OK, so here's thirty-six of us.

    Well, thirty-five, NoSlapz is face down in the Kool-Aid again.

    I say the rest of us go down to Washington with pitchforks and torches, gathering up as many llike minded patriots as we can along the way, and drive the lobbyists out and have a little tete-a-tete with our so-called representatives.

    Single Payer isn't the only answer to this problem (the Germans, for instance, do FAR better than the US at half the cost without it,) but SP would solve ALL of our major systemic problems, including tort reform and the price of liability insurance for doctors and hospitals.

    I'm damned tired of looking for middle ground with idiots and compromising with FUCKING LIARS.

    Some day I'll tell y'all how I really feel!

  32. Yeah, like the countries which rate far higher than we do with the WHO pay bigger bills. Cut ours in half and you begin to approximate theirs.

    But this isn't either of our forums, and not necessarily the place for this argument. Lisa humors your presence, God bless her, but I'm not inclined to let your thin-minded bullshit slide.

    Rather, come visit me when I'm in a socio-political mood, which frankly isn't all that often, and we'll go mano a mano.

    Seriously, you pathetic tool.

  33. Single-payer? Universal? We can demand all we want but it isn't going to happen. The best we can hope for is some form of public option. And even that is looking fairly dismal.

    I've lost all hope on this issue. I have health coverage; pretty good health coverage, in fact. I just wonder what will happen if I get sick. BC/BS of Mass is not known for dropping ill patients but they do put caps on certain treatments. You're just fucked if you get sick here and can't pay. It's a national tragedy.

  34. I agree. Between the fear mongering, the lies, the useless Dems and the I-got-mine-screw-you stuff i wonder if we will ever manage to make it right.

  35. I found your blog this morning, two minutes before work - bugger!! Will be back for your previous posts later ;0)

  36. Hell yes we are SICK of the BS debate.... but nothing would make them happier for us to shut up & let them have the spotlight, and only their side of the issue- with all the lies & scare tactics..... run this thing.

    Squeaky wheels get the grease.

    At least we need to be bugging the hell out of our politicians w faxes, e mails, letters whatever to give a good rant for our side.

    I don't want to debate with the delusional tea bagger types, but we need to make a fuss over something so important.

    Let's not let the lunatic fringe run the show & discussion due to disgust on our side.

    Now is the time to put the pressure on.
    Expose the mount of cash those for-profit ins people are stuffing into congress person's pockets.

    Let's face it... people in medical bankruptcy can;t compete with big pharma & health ins money machine tactics.

    But we have the truth, and we have a voice....
    now is the time to use it.... especially if your Congressperson is on the fence or waffling

  37. I hear ya. And for every lie we debunk, fifty spring up in its place. When you don't want to believe something, you'll find every way in hell to justify not believing.

  38. What does the Constitution have to do with giving health care to those who need it? I want this explained to me.
    Lisa this a great post! We have to continually look for facts, and inform those who haven't got them yet. We also need to attempt to dispel those claims about health care that are obvious lies or exaggerations etc. This post is a good step towards that end.

  39. What kills me is all those who say a government option would be bad for the insurance companies and maybe cause them to go out of business, LIKE THAT WOULD BE A BAD THING!!! They are the reason healthcare is FUCKED UP!!!

  40. Okay - no-slappz, I've put up with you long enough. Now shoo. This is not your home. Get lost. And don't give me the free speech bullshit, not interested. Get you own blog, I'm done letting you hold court here.

    Bye now.

  41. Ugh. I had the same discussion with my brother in law, a huge disser of said health care plan. He will be 65 next year and I told him to prove he wasn't a hypocrite, he should donate his medicare to the poor.

    He didn't think I was funny at all.

  42. The first rule of Medicine is to DO NO HARM. This means that if you can remove the factors that cause harm, you do that first. Often, an ailment will clear out by itself, especially an Economic Ailment.

    This Recession was caused by Malinvestment, and has impacted upon Healthcare. The good news is that as the Economy recovers, Healthcare will improve. When Malinvestment is liquidated, the Economy recovers. The defunding of ACORN is therefore the Liquidation of Malinvestment, which will improve both the Economy and Healthcare.

    There are other non-intrusive measures that can improve Healthcare: 1) Tort Reform and 2) Permitting Insurance Coverage across State Lines. I say impose these measures, wait a year, and see if any improvement takes place. A mindless overhaul of Healtcare helps no one.

  43. Waitaminute. What's wrong with therapeutic blow jobs? I've been administering those for years and can attest to their efficacy.

    Did I just say that out loud?

  44. ModerateDem - Nope, more bandaids. Perfectly good systems already exist. We can model ours on them. I'm not crazy about the current bill. I want to toss out our system and have something completely new based on the concept that health care should not be a for-profit system. Remember - I'm the person who wants new and radical.

    Nice try, though.

  45. The trouble nowadays is that three million people could march on Washington in protest of the status quo and the media would either ignore them or report that a few dead-enders caused a slight traffic jam.

    ain't that the truth!!!

    we had some of the largest anti-war demonstrations at the beginning of the Iraq war but they were almost totally ignored. a few tea baggers get in a snit though and we hear about it endlessly!

  46. Lib! Hurray! I remember that one :-)

    All I have left to say is that our Gubbmint has had no problem at all in bailing out the rich. There are perhaps a hundred trillion dollars worth of credit default swaps still ready to come due. Nobody knows for sure how big that black hole is because, just like the ones in outer space, this one too is hidden by a massive accretion disk - only in this case it's people's lives and businesses being sucked into the maelstrom. The other thing continuing to drain the national treasury is the ongoing expense of waging useless wars of attrition in Iraq and Afghanistan. This summer Congress appropriated another $84.8 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009. President Obama signed it on June 24, 2009. Just think what improvements could be made to people's lives and communities with even a fraction of those levels of funds. It's heartbreaking to see the levels civil discourse has sunk to in this country.

  47. Lib! Hurray! I remember that one :-)

    All I have left to say is that our Gubbmint has had no problem at all in bailing out the rich. There are perhaps a hundred trillion dollars worth of credit default swaps still ready to come due. Nobody knows for sure how big that black hole is because, just like the ones in outer space, this one too is hidden by a massive accretion disk - only in this case it's people's lives and businesses being sucked into the maelstrom. The other thing continuing to drain the national treasury is the ongoing expense of waging useless wars of attrition in Iraq and Afghanistan. This summer Congress appropriated another $84.8 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009. President Obama signed it on June 24, 2009. Just think what improvements could be made to people's lives and communities with even a fraction of those levels of funds. It's heartbreaking to see the levels civil discourse has sunk to in this country.


And then you say....

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