Tag Archives: health care

GOP Winning Strategy To Elect Democrats In 2014

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Sen. Ted Cruz, one of the Republicans who wants to hold the government hostage over Obamacare

Republicans in Congress HATE the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). They have tried to repeal it 40 times while not even considering a needed jobs bill. They would rather put the 1% ahead of those who need help with the cost of basic health care. Now some of the rogue GOP members want to hold all us hostage by causing a government shut down this fall. They demand that Obamacare be defunded or else. They are under the delusion that jazzing up their small block of bigoted selfish voters will bring them overall victory in 2014 and 2016. Going for a shutdown will in fact bring a strong victory for Democrats.
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Gov. Kasich And Anti-Women Ohio Republicans Have Lost The Next Election

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Ohio Gov. Kasich celebrating a victory against women

On Sunday June 30th, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law a state budget that included one of the most restrictive abortion regulations enacted by a state so far. This cheap attack on women’s right to choose was inserted at the last minute, with no debate or public input, and rammed through the Republican controlled legislature. The new law not only redefines pregnancy to include any fertilized egg but also says using birth control pills is an abortion. If Kasich and his Republicans get any votes from women in 2014, I will have to consider moving out of the state. I really hate bigots and I really hate stupid people and any woman who would vote for people who took away their rights would be very stupid.
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Access To Health Care Is Like Driving A Car Or Owning A Cell Phone ???

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Jesse Kelly – Human?

If you agree with Jesse Kelly, the Republican nominee in Arizona’s 8th congressional district, that access to health care should be treated like being allowed to drive a car or own a cell phone then we are in some serious trouble in this country. Health care should be a right and not subject to the whims and bias of people who live in a bubble of their own existence.
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Really, my last post about Health Care Reform

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I intend this to be my last post on health care reform. One reason is the battle is drawing to a close in the Congress and I need to admit that my view point of this bad bill has lost out in the debate. I also want to express my disappointment not only in the Congress but also in President Obama. I guess the kool-aid has left my system for good.

Occasionally I post things on the website Daily Kos. The debate there has been pretty nasty as I mention in the beginning of the text. Here is my recent entry with some additions made after posting it there:

I’ve been caught up in the current policy debate over the Senate version of the health care reform bill. The arguments have been nasty on both sides throwing around words like denialists, stupid, moron, kool-aid drinker and so on. And there has been some good discussions over the points in the bill between Kos, Dr. Dean, and David Axlrod among others who take these things seriously. Unfortunately the debate has been missing the forest for the trees.

On the Daily Kos it seems that those who support the bill have the means to come up with the numbers to recommend crappy diaries that support their position or whine about others who don’t agree with them. And by crappy diaries I mean ones that don’t offer any debate on the merits of the policy but either resort to name calling or appeals to emotions. People know the bill sucks. Even the “villagers” support it – that should be a red flag.

Truth be told both versions of the bills are a change of the status quo. They change the status quo in that they both do something to the current system.

The difference is can you support such a huge give away to the corporate interests just so you can say “We won health care reform…” It seems many can. I can’t support it for that reason.

A few more reasons specifically why I can’t support the Senate bill and probably won’t support the final bill if it is close to the Senate version include:

1. The Gay Tax – it seems there is language slipped in that taxes the health benefits provided to employees’ same-sex spouses or partners. Yes even though it is legal to have domestic partner benefits, the Senate has decided to tax it as a punishment.

2. The abortion language – we have a “choice” between not allowing private plans participating in the exchanges from covering abortion at all to allowing it if the woman pays extra out of pocket. So abortion is legal but the Senate decided to punish women who need to have them.

3. In an interview on Tuesday President Obama claims he never campaigned for a public option for health care reform. Not only did he campaign for a public option he also campaigned against the kind of mandate that he now says is important in the current bill. There is text and video evidence.

 

See also this article.

Those on the left who emotionally argue that the bill will be a great victory for President Obama are ignoring the truth. Yes it will change the status quo but getting anything because it is “better than nothing” is a wimpy cop out especially when Democrats supposedly had a majority in the Congress and controlled the White House.

4. The Senate bill is a big wet kiss to the insurance industry. Forcing millions to buy from private plans is a windfall of epic proportions.

Back during the 2000 elections, Ralph Nader, running for the Green Party and darling of the left, said he was running as a 3rd party candidate because Republicans and Democrats were not that different. Both were bought and sold by the corporate interests in this country. The bank bail outs and now the health care reform debate puts the truth in Nader’s words. It also seems the stock market agrees.

I wish I had a billion dollars sitting around and then maybe I could’ve gotten a bill that helps the most people rather than one that preserves the monopoly of the private insurance industry.

Supporters of the bill have said “we’ll fix it in conference” or “we’ll fix it in another bill” but since this go round was such a hassle and in the end a big sell out and based on the history of this Congress – remember the FISA fight – I highly doubt we will see anything better or fixed once the Senate bill is passed as the final version or worse the bill is watered down even more and the anti-choice language is left in.

Sure the status quo will be changed but can we really afford the price it will cost the people it is suppose to help?

What frustrates me the most is I don’t see people acknowledging that the bill under consideration is bad policy and if the abortion language is taken out I’m afraid we are going to be back right at square one. Senator Reid might have to dump another load cash on Nebraska or to others if the abortion language stays in.

In full disclosure I do not have health insurance right now so one would think I would want any bill – I don’t. I want a good one instead. I’d rather fight this issue once rather than have to fight it each time we need to “fix” what is bad in this bill.

The ultimate fix to the American healthcare system

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One of the priorities of the new Obama administration is to reform the healthcare system in the United States. Statistics show that while the US spends the most per patient, the quality of that care is less than in those countries that spend less than we do. An article in the New Yorker magazine discusses what can be done to fix our broken system and the answer might surprise many people on both sides of the issue.

Atul Gawande, a doctor, writes in his article “The Cost Conundrum” about McAllen, Texas. Based on data from several sources it is one of the most expensive health-care markets in the country.

In 2006, Medicare spent fifteen thousand dollars per enrollee here, almost twice the national average. The income per capita is twelve thousand dollars. In other words, Medicare spends three thousand dollars more per person here than the average person earns.

“The Cost Conundrum”

Gawande took a look at why McAllen was so expensive and if that spending resulted in better patient outcomes.

And yet there’s no evidence that the treatments and technologies available at McAllen are better than those found elsewhere in the country. The annual reports that hospitals file with Medicare show that those in McAllen and El Paso offer comparable technologies—neonatal intensive-care units, advanced cardiac services, PET scans, and so on. Public statistics show no difference in the supply of doctors. Hidalgo County actually has fewer specialists than the national average.

Nor does the care given in McAllen stand out for its quality. Medicare ranks hospitals on twenty-five metrics of care. On all but two of these, McAllen’s five largest hospitals performed worse, on average, than El Paso’s. McAllen costs Medicare seven thousand dollars more per person each year than does the average city in America. But not, so far as one can tell, because it’s delivering better health care.

Gawande then visited the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, which has the lowest cost but has the best quality:

The core tenet of the Mayo Clinic is “The needs of the patient come first”—not the convenience of the doctors, not their revenues. The doctors and nurses, and even the janitors, sat in meetings almost weekly, working on ideas to make the service and the care better, not to get more money out of patients. I asked Cortese how the Mayo Clinic made this possible.

“It’s not easy,” he said. But decades ago Mayo recognized that the first thing it needed to do was eliminate the financial barriers. It pooled all the money the doctors and the hospital system received and began paying everyone a salary, so that the doctors’ goal in patient care couldn’t be increasing their income. Mayo promoted leaders who focused first on what was best for patients, and then on how to make this financially possible.

So basically the answer to fix our system isn’t single payer or private insurance making decisions on care. The answer is to remove the profit motive from medicine all together. The whole system would pool the money coming in to pay for treatment and those who do the treatments would be paid a salary. What treatment would be used would be decided within a group, sharing data of what works and what doesn’t and so on with the mantra “The needs of the patient come first”. There would be an emphasis on preventive care.

As the article reports many doctors and medical providers see patients as a revenue stream to be squeezed as much as their insurance allows. On the other hand the insurance companies try to squeeze as much profit out of premiums paid by nickel and diming the decisions the doctors make. Neither approach addresses the problem of high cost and low quality results. The patient loses in the end.

Of course Gawande leaves one question unanswered. Who will be in charge of this new healthcare system?

Dramatic improvements and savings will take at least a decade. But a choice must be made. Whom do we want in charge of managing the full complexity of medical care? We can turn to insurers (whether public or private), which have proved repeatedly that they can’t do it. Or we can turn to the local medical communities, which have proved that they can. But we have to choose someone—because, in much of the country, no one is in charge. And the result is the most wasteful and the least sustainable health-care system in the world.

I found a lot of interesting points in the article to consider. Does Gawande’s “fix” look good? I think it does but like the last quote I think we need to decide who will be in charge.

I think the Federal government is a good choice just because it is able to marshal the resources to write and setup regulations that would be needed even though those regulations would be written by people who actually treat patients. They have been managing Medicare for years so they could do health insurance for the rest of us. The money would pool together would be safe from all but the worse economic storms.