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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Death for Fun and Profit



Ah, Twitter, the bottomless wellspring of magic unicorns.


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A Trump supporter actually said, and I quote, "Cancer ... if you don't have insurance, they don't stop treating you!"

“… and if you don’t have insurance they don’t stop treating you!”

Say that out loud to yourself.

Mouth the words.

Say them as if you mean it, as if you believe it.

Pause in the middle, give the sentence a dramatic beat.

      If you don't have insurance...

              ...they don't stop treating you.

Feel the words in your mouth, the sweet, sweet taste of magic unicorn meat like cotton candy spun from the nicotine stained tears of Ayn Rand and red-boned Republican freedom.


If you don’t have insurance, they don’t stop treating you.


How many times have you heard this?

You can always go to the emergency room if you have cancer.

They have to treat you, even if you can’t pay. Nobody goes without healthcare in America.

How many times? How many times have you heard that in this debate, in this endless shitfight about healthcare in America?

Yeah, listen, if you could get treated without insurance in this country, well, then we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place and, actually, they do stop treating you if you run out of money.

Yes, they do.

Some specialized gene-specific cancer drugs are $15,000 PER MONTH. Or more.

In cases of aggressive cancers where all other therapies have failed, these drugs are the only options.

These drugs, they're difficult to develop.

They’re difficult to make.

They're difficult to get.

And they cost.

A lot.

Now, we can argue about the ridiculous cost of drugs in this country (and I'm sure you all will in the comments), but that's not actually the point here.

The point is this: if you can't pay, you die.

Hell, you don't even have to get cancer. It doesn’t have to be $15,000. A couple of hundred bucks is the difference between life and death for many Americans.

If you're allergic to bees and you can't afford $300 for an Epipen, well, you'd better hope somebody comes along with a clean pocket knife and some idea of how to perform an emergency tracheotomy when your throat starts swelling closed.

If you can't pay, you die.

This idiotic idea, that everybody has access to healthcare, that you can just go to the emergency room for any kind of condition and be treated free of charge, is one of the most obviously wrong and most deliberately obtuse blind spots of modern conservatism – which not only rejects the idea of universal healthcare out of hand but also thinks your healthcare should involve their religion and your employer and that the insurance you've been paying for (if you're lucky enough to have insurance) should be able to drop coverage if you get sick.

Earlier this week, Kellyanne Conway, Evil Counselor, ur, I mean, Advisor to the President, said "Obamacare took Medicaid, which was designed to help the poor, the needy, the sick, disabled, also children and pregnant women, it took it and went way above the poverty line and opened it up to many able-bodied Americans. [Those able bodied people] should probably find other — at least see if there are other options for them. If they are able-bodied and they want to work, then they'll have employer-sponsored benefits like you and I do."

If they are able bodied and they want to work, they'll have employer-sponsored benefits like you and I do.

They'll have employer sponsored healthcare.

Employer sponsored healthcare.

Like you and I do.

You. And I.

This is the kind of idiotic blather you get when you elect privileged rich people who have never actually had to work for a living at the bottom end of society.

This is the kind of ridiculous cluelessness that can only be achieved by people who never have to decide between eating and paying for a prescription.

This is the kind of smug arrogance that you get when your politics and your religion come from the same ideology of “Fuck you, I got mine.”

Furthermore, these are the same people who also reject the idea of a living wage.

They have no idea. They literally have no idea.

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I'm here in the impoverished South.

I'm surrounded by far too many people who have trouble putting food on the table and paying the rent.

They're good people, these poor Southerners. They work hard. They're mechanics who fix cars. They're yard care workers who mow lawns for rich people in the boiling heat. They run daycare out of their houses. They're students, trying to fit in classes at the junior college between shifts at the local burger joint.

Some of them, like my wife 30 years ago, might through grit and raw determination claw their way out.

But many, the majority, don’t.

I could go on and on. I could show you pictures. I could introduce you to them by name.

These people, some of them work 60, 70, 80 hours, six and seven days a week. And still – and still – they're trapped in an endless cycle of low wages and lack of opportunity, crushed by poverty and the inability to get ahead in any fashion. It’s just how it is. It’s always been like this here. It doesn’t matter if the economy is booming or has gone bust yet again.  These people, they don't own the crappy houses they live in, they rent. They don't have anything in the bank. Every couple of years a hurricane comes along and wipes out whatever it is they have managed to build up. Many of them don't even have teeth – and the cliché of the toothless Southerner is a whole lot less funny when you see an attractive young girl behind the counter at the local hardware store and her smile is full of rotten brown pegs because her parents couldn't afford even basic dental care for their children. And don't you think for one second that won't impact her future, her opportunity, her employment, her health. These people, they can't afford birth control, so they have kids they can barely feed, let alone send to the dentist, digging themselves in deeper and deeper. And the goddamned churches aren't any help, with the preachers and their useless messages of abstinence and damnation and guilt.

These people, they can't afford even random healthcare at some shitty neighborhood for-profit clinic staffed by a single physician's assistant in a dirty lab coat when their kid inevitably gets strep throat much less CANCER.

It’s not just the South, it’s the slowly decaying wreckage of Northern industrial cities, places like Flint and Detroit, Baltimore, Rome, Louisville, Milwaukee, places where manufacturing and industry and jobs long ago fled for more profitable fields. It’s New England where the fishing industry, never particularly profitable in the first place, has collapsed. It’s the Salton Sea. It’s the farms of the Midwest. It’s the coal mining towns of the Appalachians. 

It’s America, everywhere outside the gilded towers of the rich.

If you've got cancer, and you cut yourself, sure, you can go to the Emergency Room and get stitches even if you can't pay.

Of course you can.

But that is as far as it goes.

The ER doctor sure as hell isn't going to give you chemo treatments or $15,000 per dose miracle drugs based on an expensive DNA screening. You'll get a sympathetic referral to an oncologist who maybe does some pro-bono work if you're lucky, and shown the door if you're not.

Emergency rooms treat emergencies, not cancer.


If you can't pay, you die.


And there are far, far too many people at all income levels in this country who don't have access to even lousy healthcare.

There are far, far too many who don't have access to the drugs and the therapies and the doctors they need just to live.

There are far, far too many people who have to daily make a choice between eating and paying for healthcare – even when they've worked their whole lives.

And beyond that, somewhere above the poverty line, there are far, far too many people who did everything right, who got an education, who worked and did without and got insurance, who paid into Medicare for 40 years, who bought supplemental insurance, and then got sick and suddenly they got dropped, or faced lifetime caps, or just weren't covered for that illness because people who are already sick and out of resources can't fight the bottomless pockets of the insurance companies or their employer who suddenly decided covering cancer was against their religion.

This is what happens when healthcare isn't a right.

This is what happens when those in charge are insulated from those they govern, when they are safe in their districts and assured of their power and privilege.

This what happens when the morality of those in power is based on profit and greed and the arrogant certainty that they are better than those they govern.

This what happens when you elect a government that hires armed biker gangs to keep their own constituents away from town hall meetings – exactly as my own Representative did right here in Milton, Florida.

This is what happens when your healthcare is decided by thirteen privileged white men behind closed doors. No people of color. No women. Just thirteen rich white men.

This is what happens when religion and political ideology alike are based on the simple selfish principle of “Fuck you, I got mine.”

This is what happens when you elect billionaires to office and believe them when they try to sell you magic unicorns.

If you can't pay, you die.

168 comments:

  1. Hell. Effing (I'm at work, so...). Yes.

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  2. All of this breaks my heart in pieces.

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  3. Obviously, if you're stuck in a low-paying menial job it's because you're lazy and lack initiative. OBVIOUSLY.

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    1. *Sigh.* OR, you made "poor life choices."

      I hear THAT bullshit way too often.

      Excellent writing as usual, Chief.

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    2. Ernest Masotta, your moral compass is so far skewed, or you are just so woefully naive that I can't even begin to answer or debate your ignorance and the comment you have the nerve to post after reading this article. If you do not see the TRUTH in what is being said here on this page, then you do not see rightly, sir. I do realize that to admit this is your family member, your neighbor, you loosing your job, etc. It's scary to think this could happen to any of us ... especially ourselves. But in truth it happens every day, every hour, every time someone decides they need to make budget cuts, or cut hours, or cut their workers who are just a few years from retirement. CUT THEM so that they can impact their retirements ... even after 30 yrs of service to a company! I have seen it, I have loved ones who have been impacted in such ways. You sir are a FOOL if you truly believe what you wrote in your comment. A POOR BLIND FOOL~ I am submitting under anonymous because I do not wish to set up an account. But I have no problem signing my words, from Betty Weathers

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    3. Sarcasm. It truly is a wonderful way to get one's point across as Mr. Masotta has done with his comment. Maybe read it again?

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    4. Go back and reread what Ernest said, and think whether he might have been as bitter as you.

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    5. Anonymous; Respecting your wish I understand why you might not want to set up an account, but I think you missed the snark in Ernest Masottas post. It's obvious that the skull of the east, Kelly whatever her name is, has not a clue about what it takes to survive in todays USA, especially for folks who somehow got dropped through the cracks of the education system, or made poor choices, as I did. But the fact remains, that no matter how many jobs a minimum wage earner works, they are not going to get ahead. I would love to see Kelly Conway slinging burgers at three different places, at minimum wages, try to raise her 4 brats, and provide them with decent health care, or educations. Ain't gonna happen.

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    6. Kellyanne Conway actually did start life poor she was the daughter of a single mom she lived with her mother and her aunt and she packed blueberries on local farms as a teenager but she came a long way from there and now that she's made it to the big time how she's parroting the same nonsense that the rest of the 1% parrots now she's forgotten the blueberry packing days and how difficult that work was and had she not achieved what he did a chieve she would still be back in South Jersey packing blueberries or working in a retail store for very low wages I give her credit she did educate herself she did work hard all of that is great and to be commended what's not to be commended is the fact that she forgot that for a lot of people they never Escape that life

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    7. You can't really fault Anonymous for not recognizing sarcasm. There are so many posters out there who sound like Ernest and ARE earnest, AND mean. And after you spend awhile doing battle with such dragons it gets hard to see sarcasm

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    8. Exactly right, Queen of Farina, it is getting harder all the time to spot sarcasm vs stupidity. This is not the environment for either when both are going on at the highest levels of our government ... as my hubby oft says, "we live in interesting times." And I hear you, Ed Cooper, and agree. I also did sign my comment even tho' posting under anonymous. Ernest, I do hope that was sarcasm~

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    9. Poe's Law was codified for a reason, it would seem.

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    10. I agree, Anonymous. These days sarcasm has no place when trying to make a serious point. It makes you sound too much like the republican fools that don't know how to research to find out the truth from the "fantasy" being spread. Everything Anonymous said it true, and what she shared about Conway clears up a few suspicions I had about her, that she is trying too hard to be accepted among the white house staff as important, being among them. Now I understand it, she hates her past and wants it buried.

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    11. There is always a place for snark. I find /s after a comment to be helpful to people who don't get it. My situation is this. My nephew had bone cancer. By the time it was discovered, it was already too late, it had spread. They tried...they replaced the knee, where the tumor was. His bill for that hospitalisation was $91K. As his cancer progressed, and he went to the hospital for the last time before he died, his parents were presented with a bill for $1.9 million. Of course they couldn't pay...the state of CA did. But only after he was declared terminal. But he did get treatment. They didn't chuck him out in the street to die. Maybe it's different in CA?

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    12. Private hospitals do a "wallet biopsy" - no insurance, no treatment - they route you to a public hospital. California has some public hospitals - but they still bill you for their work. After all your assets are gone (but not until), you're still on the hook for those bills. At least, that was my experience.

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  4. I'm in process of losing what little healthcare my wife and I have had since the ACA. Lost my job, now I don't qualify for a subsidy and good ole, Jesus loving, Trump backing, gun toting Texas didn't expand Medicaid, so we're SOL. And I'm an old man now, 56 and good jobs don't go to the old in Texas.

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    1. I hear you. Got laid off 5/22, 54 next week. Have autoimmune disease. Who would hire me? IN has their own version of expanded Medicaid. Still waiting on word.

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    2. If I were you, Mr. Coffee, I would move to New Mexico. Texas has the worst health insurance I've seen - I pay four times what I paid in NM with a $2,900 deductible (my deductible in NM was $250). Same insurance company. But in Texas, they know they can do whatever they please because regulators hate government and love business on principal.

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    3. OBVIOUSLY you're just supposed to move to a blue state, and stop being a Taker in Texass.

      (And yes, that is snark - but I hear that answer all the time. As if someone that close to the edge can afford to pack up and move.)

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    4. Anonymous,

      You may have insurance in NM for now but over half of New Mexicans receive all or part of their insurance through Medicaid. When Medicaid is gone, other premiums may shoot through the roof to compensate for some of the loss. We're screwed any way we go with this administration. And as far as cancer being treated in the ER??? Maybe a shot for the immediate pain relief... Go figure!!!

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    5. Pain medication in the ER? NOPE. The "war on drugs" put paid to that last year with new guidelines from the CDC. Guidelines that were based on faulty data.

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    6. My husband has end stage COPD and the threat of losing Medicaid scares me. He was self employed and we couldn't afford health insurance. And I'm stressed from the last 3 years of categorizing for him and an ailing family friend.

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    7. My husband has end stage COPD and the threat of losing Medicaid scares me. He was self employed and we couldn't afford health insurance. And I'm stressed from the last 3 years of categorizing for him and an ailing family friend.

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    8. And therein lies the unspoken component of this conversation on insurance costs, the STATE REGULATIONS. While the ACA set up certain requirements of insurance to be applied to all policies in all states, it does not void the individual states ability to regulate who can sell insurance within the state or how much they can charge. States that have failing systems are as much or more responsible for the harm done to their citizens as anyone.

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    9. I've got a frail Alzheimer's addled Mother in the nursing home and I can't go anywhere until she dies, as I have been left by default with her care.

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  5. We are so screwed unless we create the change we need. Flip Congress in 2018. Support anything that is resisting the oligarchy. Keep calling our reps in DC, and in State capitals.

    The voices are calling for single payer now. We need to support that over this abominable "wealth care" that is nothing but a tax break to the rich and a big Fuck You to the rest of us.

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  6. Well said, Sir. I was going to go into a long diatribe about the poor, the middle class, mention Shameless-the television show- and how we're all one accident or disease away from that level of poverty.

    But in the end, it's still about what you said.
    Thank you.

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    1. Yup. My wife is a Federal administrative law judge dealing with Social Security appeals. Before that, she was 13 years with the WA State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (Worker's Comp, basically). I don't ever hear details of cases that could identify individuals, but I hear generalities about why some of these people are there and the message I've gotten--and this chokes me up, 'cause it's a biggie--is this:

      If you got up this morning, went to work, and came home in pretty much the same shape as you did when you left, it's time to Count Your Effin' Blessings, because not everyone did. Through absolutely no fault of your own (and this is the thing that makes me very, very, very clear on what we need to do with the current crop of health care deniers), you can end up injured, crippled for life, maimed, blind, or just plain dead.

      And it's not something that they did, it's something that happened to them that kept them from working or living a normal life ever again: loggers who've had trees fall on 'em (and survived, can you believe it?), people who've lost fingers, hands, feet, limbs, or faces in industrial accidents when things broke dramatically, people getting shot by accident, auto accidents, things falling out of windows, even a doctor who've been accidentally clopped along side the head by a patient who stumbled when he fell during an exam, leaving the doctor with permanently doubled vision.

      NONE of these things were the victim's faults, yet they need medical care and support. And you'll never get that in an ER.

      Screw the GOP for trying to take away healthcare from people who will suffer and die without it.

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    2. Thank you for pointing this out. I worked in victim Services administering a crime victim Compensation Program that assisted victims with medical and mental health costs and provided some work loss compensation. It's true after victimization some people never fully recover. The rape victim that has permanent PTSD or the mother of a murder victim who could never work again because she is emotionally unable to cope. And as you pointed out a permanent physical impairment. These people not only lose their job but they lose their health insurance along with it. Crime victim compensation programs are limited in the benefit payouts. The only way these people can get insurance is to try to get on SSDI so they will qualify for Medicaid. This process can take years and they may never qualify. So we have these piece-meal programs that try to help people but they actually fall short and end up costing more in the long run. Victims really just want to be whole again and become productive members of society. Unfortunately some people just end up in a downward spiral.
      A universal healthcare system would allow all people to get the help they need both medical and mental health without having to become a welfare recipient. I believe in the long run the money saved from SSDI payments and other pieced together services could be redirected into a Universal healthcare program.

      Our leaders need to be brave enough to stand up to the health insurance companies and the drug companies and look at what is really best for all of our citizens. We need to elect leaders who are willing to do so.

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  7. Such is the truth, and a lot of Republicans know this also. They chose to deny it, because it doesn't fit their plan.Why did some voters trust them, and vote for them? Beats me.

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    1. It's got nothing to do with trust. Republicans rely on single hot-button issues (gay marriage, abortion, civil rights, etc) to pull in voters that will ignore all else for that one issue, killing themselves in the process.

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    2. talonts - Our side does pretty much the same thing with hot-button issues (pro-rights, gun control, environment, lbgtq equality, etc). There are moderates among the left and there are moderates among the right; when the party starts to spit out an absolutist stance, these moderates are forced to take a side. For every rabid bible-thunping, "n|gg3r-hatin'" homophobe out there [an extreme on the fringe, not every (R) is like that] who doubts another's conservatism if he supports public education and respects women's privacy, there's a tofu-eatin', flower-wearing, owl-saving anti-industrialist [an extreme on the fringe, not every (L) is like that] who doubts another's leftness because she owns a firearm. The myopic among us sabotage honest discussion and end up putting very clever circus clowns in office who are good at playing to our polarisation. The Us v. Them war won't work, until we listen to and acknowledge the issues in each others' hearts that led the frustrated on either side and the moderates to believe that a disingenuous, narcicistic, unprincipled tool who speaks (& tweets) like a 3th grader was the better option.

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    3. Beautifully stated

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    4. Oh goody. Another the Democrats-do-it-too false-equivalence argument. If Democrats are really that in lockstep with one another, then why is everyone complaining that they don't have an agenda.

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    5. Ted, will you head up a new third party for us? Because I'm continually convinced there is a moderate majority between the two parties that could push the wack jobs off the the edge.

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  8. Wish my Senators and Congressmen would take the time to read this. Even better if our governor and state level reps would join in. I'm in southwest Missouri. Great job.

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    1. I suggest we all print this out and MAIL HARD COPIES to our Members of Congress and Trump!

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    2. If you print and mail this, be sure to give our host proper and full credit.

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    3. Even better...
      https://resistbot.io

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  9. edit : come "from* the same ideology - I think?

    Perfect sentence: "And the goddamned churches aren't any help, with the preachers and their useless messages of abstinence and damnation and guilt."

    Great essay, Jim.

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    1. I'd add that not a small number of those preachers make a killing off of "healing" the uninsured congregation members.
      Watch those Sunday morning mega church's broadcasts sometime, you'll see some absolutely unbelievable (I mean B movie unbelievable, not amazing) laying of hands crap.

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  10. Again, fantastically and truly written, Jim. I, along with millions of others, have experienced some of this myself. Thank you again, for what you write and how well you write it.

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  11. Thank you for summing this up so tidily. I have had this discussion with people and they refuse to believe good people will die/do die. I can't begin to imagine how they could believe that, despite the avalanche of data that says otherwise. I live in a deeply red part of Washington and it is discouraging.

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  12. Thank god I made it to 65 and Medicare because I sure couldn't afford medical insurance before. Thank god (being sarcastic here) that the prostate cancer didn't come till 70. Supplemented HMO covered all the costs and recovery was complete. Without Medicare I'd be long dead by now.

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    1. I held my breath for 15 years until Medicare kicked in; until then it was Advil and me, bro.

      Definitely mail this to all the Rethuglicans in Congress and elsewhere.

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  13. "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" :(

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  14. Agree with every word. Except conservationism.

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  15. i'm just hoping enough folks can survive to flip congress, and then maybe congress will start to attempt to undo some of the damage...... but i think trump's got time bombs (in the form of incompetent people) positioned all over the government now.. so even that may not be enough.... *all assuming of course that our right to vote isn't taken away

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  16. My favorite thing is that "Well, if we had free market healthcare, this wouldn't be a problem!"

    Trouble there is... you can't have a "free market" when the "weak" bargaining position is 'or die'.

    "Yes, I'd like to buy this cancer medication please!"
    "Ok sir, that will be one million dollars."
    "But... I don't have a million dollars."
    "Well, I guess you'll just have to die then. It costs what it costs."

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    1. BINGO!!!!

      YATZHEE TOO!!!!

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    2. They never point out that inherent to a "free market" is that there are always winners and losers. A horrible model for health care.

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  17. One year ago today, I had a kidney transplant. Genetic disorder called Alport Syndrome.
    I have worked since I was 14, when I got my first part time job after school. I saved, I have an IRA and other investments. I worked my way up into management, made decent money. Own my own house.
    The bill for that surgery alone (not to mention all the pre-op tests in the preceding months) would have wiped out All my savings, and then some, and then some more on top of that. Insurance is a necessity, and you never know when you will need it. I wasn't diagnosed with Alport until I was 57.
    Yes, I am very afraid for my future with the shenanigans going on in Congress right now.
    But now i gotta go - my wife is my donor, and I am taking her out to dinner for this anniversary.

    Bruce

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    1. I am very pleased that your wife could be the donor. It suggests a level of compatibility in your marriage rarely achieved! :) :)

      Well done, and best wishes to you both on a happy anniversary indeed!

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    2. Anonymous,
      Your situation sounds so similar to my father's! He also was diagnosed with Alport syndrome and required a kidney transplant. He was at 5% kidney function when they put him on dialysis. This immediately ended his ability to work. This was very hard on him. As a Vietnam era veteran (Navy, submarine), he has always worked hard to keep a roof over our heads. When we tried to negotiate with the bank about our mortgage, they foreclosed on us. He lost his livelihood, his home, and nearly his life. If not for the assistance from Medicare, and a man who was an organ donor, he would have died. We are all worried that he will no longer be able to get the care he needs if things continue the way they are.
      We recently celebrated the anniversary of his transplant, his kidney birthday, a few months ago. Seven years and doing wonderfully!
      Thank you for sharing your story.
      I am so happy to hear you have a match in your wife. I wish you many happy kidney birthdays to come!
      --HN

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  18. amen! i was once in that situation - single mother, worked two/three jobs, could never get ahead, went to work sick, sent my kid to school sick. thank the GODDESS nothing horribly bad ever happened and i was eventually able to not have that life any more. but i know what it's like. it's terrifying every day. and diminishing. and the stress and the fear MAKE YOU SICK.

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  19. Thank you for this, Jim. I am constantly amazed at the people who don't have a clue how so many people live (or don't live) in this country. Poverty is a complex issue and "just getting a job" is a simplistic answer. Until you or someone you love has found themselves in the cycle of poverty you can't have a true appreciation for just how difficult - almost impossible - it is to work your way up. My 32 year old son has mental health issues and has made some really bad decisions. Thanks to Obamacare he now is on Medicaid, has access to a physician and can afford his meds. It has made all the difference in him being able to hold a job and function. Like so many small employers, his employer doesn't offer health insurance so he is still eligible for our state's expanded Medicaid program. Now he tells me that he lies awake at night afraid that his healthcare is going to be yanked away from him. I've told him that as long as I'm alive I'll be sure that he gets the medical care and prescription drugs he needs.

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  20. My best friend just had a stem cell transplant for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. It's her last shot at a cure or extending her life. She's had multiple rounds of chemo, and now the transplant and radiation, and the massive amount of drugs which come with the territory of transplants. She's worked hard all her life, she's well educated and has a supervisory position in a hospital- and if she lived under the GOP plan for healthcare, she'd be utterly bankrupt right now. Fortunately, like me she lives in Canada, where we just believe that healthcare is a right. How anyone believes otherwise is just flat out selfish and as Jim succinctly, comes from the school of thought of 'Fuck you, I got mine.' It makes me so sad that so many people in a wealthy country like the US, can feel that way. I really feel when you have more than enough to eat, you build a longer table- that's how civilizations work, that's how we as a species have survived.

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    1. That s/b 'as Jim succinctly put it'.

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    2. Celtgirl68 you would be amazed at the number of people in the US that believe Canadians get most of their healthcare in the US as opposed to home. They also cannot understand the concept of "if it is so bad in Canada, don't you think they would have changed it by now?"

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    3. I hear it plenty from Americans who've apparently heard a barrel load of horror stories (no doubt on Fox News) about our health system. I would never claim it's perfect but we never have to worry that having a baby will bankrupt us or have to worry about whether we can afford treatment for life threatening illnesses. We have wait times for some things, but if they think you have something serious going on you get in right away and everything is expedited. In my 49 years I've never gone over the border for medical care. I don't know too many other people who have either.

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    4. I just happen to know of two cases where people came to the United States for health care, but they are very extreme. They were both for cancer. He had cancer around his optic nerve. The only place in the world where they were treating that without immediately rendering his eye blind was in some photon lab in the SFO area. The woman has a very fast moving breast cancer and her doctor told her where to go in the States where they had this new specialized treatment. She also had the money for the treatment as well. But I think of all of the wonderful treatment my friend and her family have had in situ when she needs it. Regular steady treatments for ongoing health problems and mental as well.

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  21. I've drawn the conclusion that there is not limit to their greed.

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  22. I always liked the way Heinlein put it, "In God we trust, all others pay cash"

    Nicely done Jim, nicely done. As a veteran of two ACA projects (Vermont and Kentucky) I can tell you that while not perfect, it was a grand sight better than what came before.

    The only reason they want this so badly is to further de-legitimize Obama's presidency, plain and simple. Getting the added bonus of tax breaks for the rich is icing on the cake as it were.

    I love that the AMA came out and beat them with the "First do no harm" rule. Wonder if maybe they should establish this policy: if you are a licensed doctor and become a politician, any proposal you propose or support that causes harm would end up with you before a board of medical ethics for violation of the "First do no harm" principal.

    I lead Rand Paul there myself.

    Contact me if you ever want to discuss the ACA projects I was on.

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  23. As always, I stand by my statement that if I was ever elected President, I'd hire YOU to write speeches for me because you speak not just truth, but TO truth. You speak in a way that any decent person with just ONE FUCKING IOTA of compassion can see it as reality. This is an excellent follow up to "Is Healthcare A Right". Its just that those who purchased that unicorn have no desire or perhaps even the simple ABILITY to see truth. THE truth. So help us God.

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  24. I'm so tired. Tired of watching all the exhuberant hopefullness of my youth be extinguished day by day for the last 30+ years. This trumpian / ayn randian shitscape we now occupy feels as though it could be the end of Hope in America.

    I hope I'm wrong.

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  25. Do these people not understand that their health, even when it's good, can change in the blink of an eye? There could be a disastrous and unexpected medical diagnosis, a car accident, explosion with loss of limb, brain injury, etc. and their world would be radically different. They'd probably have a change of opinion about health care too.
    Why do some folks believe that if it hasn't happened to them (yet) it's just not a
    big deal?? They don't seem to be able to empathize with others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TFP think that preexisting conditions mean you just haven't lead a godly life.

      Or somesuch babble.

      http://www.salon.com/2017/05/02/alabama-congressman-people-who-lead-good-lives-dont-have-preexisting-conditions/

      Delete
    2. A friend of mine was airlifted to a hospital here in Denver because he had too much to drink and asked a friend to get him home. The friend ran a red light and crashed into another car and ended up killing the other driver. My fiend came within 5 minutes of dying if not for the medevac chopper that the paramedics called in. However, medevac choppers are expensive to operate.

      Delete
    3. A friend of mine was airlifted to a hospital here in Denver because he had too much to drink and asked a friend to get him home. The friend ran a red light and crashed into another car and ended up killing the other driver. My fiend came within 5 minutes of dying if not for the medevac chopper that the paramedics called in. However, medevac choppers are expensive to operate.

      Delete
  26. I think health insurance and drug company lobbies are the only reason universal healthcare is not only not a reality in this country but not on the Congressional table being debated. Both mainstream parties receive huge amounts of campaign money and perks from lobbyists in order to keep single payer out of the healthcare debate. Nearly all developed countries have some form of universal healthcare. It's cheaper,costs can be regulated and uniform,care is uniform,and quality of care can be held to a high standard. So the bottom line is the reason we don't have universal healthcare by now is the fact that our politicians are owned by health insurance and drug companies. Having to choose death over medical treatment in this country is absolutely ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I 100% agree with you. However no one wants to admit that the emperor has no clothes.

      Delete
  27. As usual, a well written and thought provoking piece. Thanks Jim.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm 59 with a gazillion pre-existing conditions and two kids in college. I have a good job that pays moderately well with decent health insurance, but I still paid over $1000 in co-pays when I was in the hospital for 36 hours back in March for a suspected heart problem that proved to be... we don't know what, but not my heart. My company was in a slow period for a few months and I was terrified of losing my job and my health insurance.

    The AHCA could quite literally kill me if things go even a little wrong.

    I'll keep on calling my Congressmen, but I'm not sure how much good it does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One Senator this week said his office got 224 calls against Trumpcare and only 2-3 in favor. The volume needed to sway his vote against was very small.

      Delete
    2. sadly, even when my Senator's office (Rubio) has received thousands of calls against it, he still supports the concept. He says he is waiting to "see what impact it will hsve on the state"- but but he is one of those Republicans who think that the poor bring it on themselves, and that no one deserves health care if they can't pay for it.

      Delete
  29. The retail cost for the ONE MONTH of prostate cancer therapy I'm about to embark on is $135,000. I'm fortunate to be be on Medicare, but if I wasn't this therapy would simply be unavailable to me.

    ReplyDelete
  30. and even if you say you can't pay....they still send you a bill. not to mention people who have never had to go to a clinic have no idea how hard it is to get care, and how many folks die of things that were ultimately curable, but they didn't seek care worrying about the bill. This the great culling by the wealthy. This is how all out class wars start

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  31. Wow... well thought out, well worded, simply stated that anyone should understand, grasp your point. But alas, my evangelical indoctrinated relative would say same here as she did over Comey / Sessions hearings, this is silly.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Yes Yes Yes. Been part of the working poor my whole life, and I'm sick of the lies from the far right on this matter. And, of course they lie. They can't very well admit they're after ALL the money, can they? Con artists, the lot of them. So, naturally, they try to cover up their complete lack of interest in our well-being by giving us "helpful" advice like "just get a job" -- working 3 now, thanks. "Just go to the ER," and get yet another bill I can't pay. Right. I'll just put up with the mystery pain in my guts for now, thanks.

    I don't understand how anyone who is not rich votes for those twatwaffles.

    ReplyDelete
  33. "If they are able-bodied and they want to work, then they'll have employer-sponsored benefits like you and I do."

    This statement makes me feel mad, sad and guilty. I am a healthcare provider, a small office with only a couple of employees. We see mostly children on Medicaid and CHIP, and the cost of providing insurance to my employees is way beyond my means. So my employees' children are on Medicaid and CHIP, and the employees are uninsured unless they are pregnant. It is so messed up. With the proposed cuts to Medicaid and CHIP, we may all be out of work in the next year or two as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fabutronic SheilaJune 29, 2017 at 12:02 PM

      That statement made me angry as well. What about people who work part-time at two or three jobs? Part-timers generally don't receive health insurance, even if their combined hours per week are more than 30 hours.

      I work for a mid-size employer, and as a part-time employee, I am not eligible to be covered -- not only that, when the ACA passed, my hours were cut from 38 hours/week total to 29.5 hours, just so they could avoid giving me benefits. I am SO lucky that I can be covered under my spouse's insurance. But what if he loses his job? We're both over 50, and we're not likely to get another good full-time job with bennies at our age.

      Delete
  34. My daughter and I both have pre-existing conditions.I just got a permanent job after temping for three years and just turned 60, so I'm damned lucky and I know it. But if Obamacare goes away, even having insurance through work won't be much help. Lovely pre-existing conditions. :(

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  35. Even if you have insurance it may not do you any good. My grandson needed surgery and surprise, my son's company laid him off. He was the only one laid off. Just him. Now try to prove it was because they needed pre-approval for surgery. That's what private insurance is. They want your money, but don't ask for any of it back!

    ReplyDelete
  36. My grandson, in 2004, at 1 year of age, was discovered to have a cyst in the back of his skull, pressing on the spinal cord, not allowing the spinal fluid to drain, thus causing hydrocephalus. Not immediately life threatening or emergent, but pretty damn serious in the long run. One surgeon was recommended, said he would do it, BUT only when he had a 10,000 deposit up front, because my son and his wife had no insurance on their kids. So we held benefits, maxed out credit cards, took out loans, and got the kid the surgery he needed. Fast forward a few years, my son gets a "real man" job in the local sawmill, which he hates (he had been a chef at a local casino, which he loved) and now has insurance on his whole family. I won't swear to it, but I think he voted for Trump. I work as a Medical Language Specialist, so I know the stories of being treated (or not) in the Emergency Room. They patch you up and tell you to follow up with your primary care or clinic. So I wonder, what is the point of being the most medically advanced country in the world and yet allowing people to only get the care they need if they have the "right" job, enough money, enough power. I also think it really shitty when hospitals charge more for services for a private payer than they do for those with insurance. They do this because employers contract with insurance companies who in turn contract with the hospital and negotiate the prices for group rates. Kind of like buying a 24 pack of toilet paper at Walmart for 50 cents a roll versus a 4 pack at your local supermarket for 75 cents a roll. There are all kinds of glaring injustices in the US, healthcare should not be one.
    Vicky Massey

    ReplyDelete
  37. So true. The ER is only required to be sure you won't die on their doorstep and they can send you packing. I knew a young man who had health insurance and aids. His insurance company denied coverage. A representative for the company told him they expected him to die before the system forced them to pay the bills.

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  38. So. I am retired from a government job (local law enforcement) and through one of the many "in lieu of salary" raises I got, I have my employer's insurance coverage until I turn 65. My wife (thanks, Obergefell) is permitted to purchase the same coverage for $750 a month. I am a cancer survivor, she was just diagnosed with Type II diabetes. We both are insured well....for now.

    I have several friends who are varying degrees of disabled. All stand to lose their insurance coverage. All of them will die, either by suicide (chronic, unbearable pain) or because their disease will kill them (chronic untreated Lyme disease) or other autoimmune disorders that severely disable them.

    To have tied insurance to employment benefits was an odd choice. Health care needs to be available for everyone. Period. Whether you work or not, have a good job or not. Thanks for your essay on this.

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  39. Even if you look at it from a rational standpoint, the long term cost to all of us is horrifying. If you are diagnosed with a treatable cancer, your rational option if you want a chance at treatment would be to quit your low wage job, dispose of all your assets, leave your friends, family, and social support network behind and move to a Medicaid friendly state to try to get treatment. How is a sick person supposed to find the energy and wherewithal to do this? What's the human cost? How does anyone benefit? And the blue states where people care now have to treat the sick person.
    How does the cost of insulin and diabetes monitoring stack up to the cost of an emergency room amputation and hospital stay? How do the costs of cancer screening compare to the costs of cancer treatment? It's one of the reasons we spend the most money on healthcare with mediocre results.
    What is wrong with this country? None of this is even remotely rational.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Having taught in school districts that had up to 75% of students who received free or reduced lunch, I learned the innocent face of poverty. Having lived for 15 years in poverty due to very bad choices, I can understand the face of adult poverty, and having gone through breast cancer and the subsequent treatments for it, I can understand the face of illness and disease.

    The ability to care for one's self or family should not be a financial consideration for anyone in this incredibly rich country. No child should have rotten teeth or have to wait months for an appointment with a dentist who accepts Medicaid when they are having pain. I had a child in class who had an appointment in 6 months with a dentist but he had a tooth hurting so badly that was preventing him from chewing on it. That's under the current conditions. If benefits are reduced, how long will he have to wait?

    I know of a 54 year old man who started his own company and was extremely successful in Los Angeles. He moved to the Ozarks, had no health insurance, and died because he didn't have the money for colon cancer treatment.

    We-the United States-are better than this! We can provide a living for our citizens. We can provide access to health insurance for our citizens. Anyone who lives in this uber rich country should be able to survive. There will be deadbeats no matter what, but we are "throwing away the baby with the bath water" when we lump all our poor into the same category.

    My husband is a therapist who works with many who are hard working poor. One missed day of work throws their life into a tailspin. One flat tire changes their week. They don't have any cushion that allows for unexpected expenses. They don't try to cheat anyone, they love overtime at work, they do what they can to meet their obligations. Sometimes they fall short. Illness is a complete game changer. They don't deserve to die because their employer can't provide health benefits. They don't deserve to die because wealthy men have decided they are not worth saving.

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  41. You break my heart because you are so spot on eithbuour writing. My country in tatters.

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  42. My son had brain cancer when he was 15 months old. 15 MONTHS old.

    I was lucky in so many ways. My employer sponsored health care didn't give me any shit about the care he needed.

    His recommended care was surgery and radiation, and fit (just barely) within the 3 months of FMLA, so even though I had to take 3 months of unpaid leave from my job to stay with him for a week in the ICU, and take him to all his post-hospitalization doctor's appointments and scans, and move with him and his twin baby sister to Boston for 6 weeks so he could get his needed radiation, I was able to be back at work full time within 3 months.

    Yeah, I dropped about 10K on his medical care that year, in co-pays and deductibles and so forth. Plus obviously took at 75% pay cut with my 3 months of unpaid leave, while concurrently having higher expenses, what with continuing to pay rent at home, while also paying to travel to and live in Boston for 6 weeks, and paying for childcare for his twin sister while I was taking him to his daily radiation appointments. But I could afford it, and for my son, it was easily worth it. I would have bankrupted myself for him.

    His insurance company paid out at least a million dollars.

    I am so lucky - he is now 5, and alive, and his cancer hasn't come back, and I am not bankrupt.

    I was offered the opportunity to take a great sounding job last year. The opportunity for higher income, easier and more interesting work, etc. The problem - it was a small group I'd be working with, and everyone kept the money they made and bought their own healthcare on the exchange, or used their spouse's insurance. Much more entrepreneurial than a salary job. I don't have a spouse, and I couldn't take the risk that the Republicans would savage the exchanges and my son's cancer would come back, so I didn't take the job.

    Savaging medicaid and the exchanges is cruel and counterproductive, and also stifles the entrepreneurship which is supposed to be part of the American spirit.

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  43. I was in a heated discussion about this topic earlier. A mom I know got a letter from her insurance company stating they would no longer cover her son's insulin. Now in Canada that would not even be a question, but in the U.S. this Mom has to fight, claw and snarl until someone listens.

    I know of many parents in the States who have kids with medical difficulties and the more of them I meet, it makes me even more grateful to be Canadian.

    Our system is not perfect, it could be a lot better. It could also be a lot worse.

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  44. The whole thing is so crazy-making. Realize it or not we all pay for all of it already, in taxes, in deaths, in lost productivity, with the well-being of the nation. Failure to provide for this is a violation the constitution--"...promote the general Welfare..."--but that never stopped the bastards from screwing us before.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Here in California, if you make less than 17,000 dollars a year, you get Medical (California's Medicaid) through the ACA. But for Kelly Ann, $17,000 a year doesn't mean you're poor? What planet? What planet is she from?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's from the planet of "I was poor when I was young and now that I'm not poor and I'm running with the movers and shakers, I want to fit in with them, I don't want anyone to know where I come from and I want to forget it myself". Some people who struggle and fight their way out of miserable poverty reach their hand back to help others make their way out, and some firmly turn away.

      Delete
  46. What is invariably lost i discussions on health care is how Republicans are so willing to foist the burden on providing health care onto employers, setting up the inevitable conflict between workers and employers over exactly how much will be provided. Republicans like conflict, and they will always side with the so-called "job creators" who must make the tough choices of where to find the money to pay for this "benefit" while maintaining capital to invest in their business.

    Lost in the debate over health care is the arbitrary and unnecessary burden placed on employers to provide health insurance for workers. This sets up a predictable conflict between workers and employers over exactly how much should be contributed to this "benefit." (SIDEBAR: Health care should not be a "benefit" it should be a mandated right. That has been acknowledged on both sides of the aisle based on the fact that no one can be turned away from an emergency room. So, the debate is how much health care are people entitled to?)

    Republicans love conflict. It drives wedges between people and pits the interests of various groups against each other. Republicans will always side with the so-called "job creators" who must make the tough choices of where to find the money to pay for this "benefit" while maintaining capital to invest in their business. Republicans thus gain advantage to pursue their goal of funneling money to their wealthy benefactors, who, in turn "trickle" that money down, not to ordinary Americans, but to, you guessed it, Republican politicians. So driving a wedge between workers and employers is a feature, not a bug of employer-based health care.

    The best solution, the simplest, most cost-effective solution is and has always been expansion of Medicare to cover all Americans, and to pay for it with not only payroll taxes (which are regressive and favor the wealthy), but a dedicated tax on capital gains that kicks in at the highest income levels say, above $1 million), as well as taxing CEO bonuses and other income that currently escapes taxation through loopholes that favor the super rich.

    It is in the interests of workers of all stripes and the vast majority of small businesses that are NOT on Wall Street exchanges to implement single-payer health care. The only thing standing in the way is a successful decades-long campaign by conservatives to vilify the very concept of "government run" health care (which in itself is a bit of a misnomer. It would be government funded, not government run).

    Now I understand that this would be catastrophic for the health insurance industry, and perhaps even the health care industry, since single payer would drive down health care delivery costs. But health care administered by for-profit corporations is an idea whose time has come & gone. It's been tested over decades and is an abject, demonstrable failure for everyone but the insurance companies and their lobbyists.

    Perhaps the most fundamental difference between conservative and progressive is how they view health care.

    Conservatives (Republicans) see health care as a commodity that should be bought and sold in a “free” market for profit, and be made available to anyone who chooses to purchase it and has the means to pay for it.

    Progressives (Democrats) see health care as a basic human need, something every single American will need at some time in their life. A basic need that should be accessible to every American regardless of their ability to pay.

    To keep a system that is detrimental to ordinary Americans to protect an obsolete model that benefits giant corporations is immoral. It’s insane. And contrary to Constitutional principles. It’s long past time for Democrats to stand up for progressive principles and show the courage it will take to defy the warped logic of for-profit insurance based health care.

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chris-cangeleri/on-health-care-killing-sacred-cows/1593883163958109/

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  47. I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't an actual attempt to kill us without being obvious. Overt genocide makes for lousy visuals on the evening news, but letting millions die quietly of preventable stuff? Nobody notices.

    We, the working/lower middle class, aren't really necessary in their world. We're dangerous, because we have the education and the words and the background to cause change. Better to shunt us into ill-paying jobs and keep us sick and exhausted and dying young. The poor and working poor are even more expendable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think so, yes. I've looked at the horror which this bill will make of women's health care, especially for pregnant women, and it is hard to see how it is not a manifestation of woman-hatred. Then there's the Medicaid cuts. Then there's what people over 50 with a bit of income will be paying for insurance.

      The smart people who are doing this - not just the ones who want their tax breaks - seem to think most everyone not of their own are cattle, and they think the herd needs thinning. Trump believes in his own genetic superiority (he has said), but that is not surprising. McConnell? The Koch Brothers? Rand Paul? I wish I knew.

      Delete
  48. "Get a job, and have employer based insurance". Sure. After two years, I finally was full time at my crappy paying job. I was offered insurance, hooray! Then the benefits package came. Such a bargain, only 360.00 a month, for just me, not my child. Slight hiccup: I only brought home 1400.00 a month after taxes. I couldn't make it already on that, so my auto immune disease continued untreated for another 4 years. And because my state didn't do the Medicaid expansion, (Fuck you North Carolina) I made too much money for Medicaid. I'm only still here because I have a child to live for and I'm hoping the universe gives me the chance to see Mr. Mcrory get his ass handed to him by someone bigger than me.
    Thanks for this essay, you hit the nail on the head, as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Kristina FalconeJune 28, 2017 at 3:51 PM

    When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, she was on Medicaid. That determined what treatment she had. She was not able to access any of the more successful treatments because she had not private insurance. When she fractured her pelvis (due to chemo treatments), she had an external pain pump installed, which entailed dragging around a pack while she was using a walker. It was a nightmare. They would not implant a pain pump because of the cost. Nevermind the nightmare it was to track and manage as an external pack to lug around and try not to get caught on anything. It was an awful experience in general. Thank god for the people who did take care of her nevermind the cost, they were angels.

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  50. In my personal experience, emergency room visits are the most expensive of all health care facilities. And, many employers will only hire part-time help, which relieves the employer of the obligation to provide health insurance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The ACA required employers to include part-time employees in their plans. I know b/c this is how I am covered at the moment. It's been a great couple years, not worrying about this finally, actually. Haven't checked and haven't seen anyone mention it, but I have to think that would go away under whatever bill the Rs end up passing. (Approx. 30% of the positions at my company are part-time precisely because they are cheaper due to less benefits, and I was told directly by management their study showed they get the same amount of production from part-time employees as full-time...well, we all know how the Rs love to prioritize "business" interests.) Frankly, I've been expecting to lose my coverage since the election though. Just trying now to get as much done (hello permanent birth control!) while it's affordable as I can.

      Delete
  51. If not for Medicaid, (and a referral from Planned Parenthood) I would have been dead at 27, leaving a small child behind. I never increased my financial status to more than a lower middle class degree, and skidded across the finish line (65) a couple of years ago, feeling lucky that I made it. Working all my life gives me a small fixed income and Medicare. There's a good chance that I'll be diagnosed with Alzheimer's in the next few years; both of my parents were. Healthcare for the not-wealthy in this country is a crapshoot and the house is going to win.

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  52. I work for a micro-corporation (Owner, myself--the only full time employee, and two part-timers), which is exempt from mandates regarding worker benefits. I have a working wage and the chance at a cash bonus if company performance is good. I took the job because my boss is compassionate and flexible, which I needed, coming off of four years of unemployment with a school aged kid and a self-employed husband in the skilled trades. We get ACA health insurance because there are no other affordable options. The "free market" would cost us a massive proportion of our monthly income for sub-basic coverage. We're lucky, we've stayed out of the hole for a couple of years now, and we still own our house and cars, but it's all a finger snap from catastrophe when you don't have a cushion, isn't it?

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  53. Medicaid Divorce. States that expanded Medicaid have a 5% less rate of divorce than states that do not.

    I actually used to run numbers (cost benefit analysis) for a living before my autoimmune disorder(s) tried their best to kill me.

    My marriage penalty (I'd qualify for Medicaid if I was single) is roughly $400 a month. $4800 a year on a dual income of $25K. I'm too damn romantic to give up a 28 year marriage but if trumpcare makes that number a lot bigger it's something we may have to do.

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  54. I feel this every single day. My husband has Multiple Sclerosis. The only reason he had care for his condition while we fought to get him on disability was that we lived in a county that allowed us to make use of the huge public hospital in downtown Atlanta. Without Grady hospital he wouldn't have had care. He wouldn't have had medication. No neurologist. No programs that got him the med he was on in an attempt to control his condition those first few years. ((first med didn't work well enough either. The side effects were as bad if not worse than his MS)). I am thankful every damn day for that publically funded hospital. It saved his life. If we'd lived in the wrong county, he wouldn't have been able to go there for his care. But because we lived in the right county, his care was taken care of by tax payer dollars. And now he has Medicare and Medicaid. Without government funded healthcare my husband would be dead. And because our state didn't expand Medicaid I'm shit outta luck.

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  55. Sadly, your description is accurate. If you, we, me, are poor they not only don't care if we die, they are upset that we aren't doing it sooner. In their tiny, greedy minds, the faster we die off, the more for them.

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  56. My story can't compare to many here, but perhaps it more common than the serious conditions you've mentioned.
    We have healtth insurance through my husband's employer. Which is good. But...
    Last January, I had an abnormal pap test result and was sent for a biopsy (negative, fortunately). In February, I was laid off from work. Our insurance didn't cover the biopsy. We hot their negotiated rate, and it was applied to our deductable. So we were on the hook for a few hundred dollars. It took a year to scrape together the money.
    I'm now self employed as a freelance editor and taking care of my aged parents, so working full time is off the table basically until they die.
    I was supposed to go for a follow up pap test this past January, you know, just to see. It's covered, so I could do that much, but what's the point? Either it's normal, so I don't need to worry, or it's not normal and the doctor will tell me to get a test I can't afford to pay for and the insurance won't cover. And if *that* came back not normal? Well, I guess I'd die.

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  57. Funny thing about that, here in N Oklahoma, I remember being told I needed to pay ahead for an emergency room visit for my 2 year old when he swallowed something he shouldn't have. Oklahoma is one of those that didn't take the Medicaid expansion.

    Additionally, this hospital will give you one month to pay in full before they send your account to a lawyers office where you're expected to pay in full in 3 payments or they'll file a claim in the city court and get your paycheck garnished. I have insurance and still have had problems.

    There were many years where insurance was out of reach. It wasn't uncommon for my part to be $360 a month when my gross was only $1700 (take home was obviously less).

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  58. My deepest condolences for your collective suffering, I offer.
    Here, in Canada, we (most of us) feel your pain.

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  59. You can't talk logic to the conservative masses. The only thing they respond to is fear. That is why they voted for who they voted for. They want to keep the bad guys out of the country and put up walls and be safe. They are mostly so poor they don't expect things to get better or well off enough to not realize how bad it can get. Most employers don't sponsor health care and the ones who do will fire you if you are out sick. People who decide not to have health coverage don't find out until they actually do have to go to the ER and then they join the poor because that $15,000 for a broken arm keeps collecting interest. And the politicians are so far removed from the rest of us that they don't care. THOSE are the scary things.

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  60. Obviously, unless you were smart enough to fall out the right womb, you're supposed to just roll over and die.

    Obviously.

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    Replies
    1. Just make sure you roll out alive and then either die of disease or starve to death. If somebody takes you out of the womb ahead of time, why, that would be criminal.

      Yours crankily,
      The New York Crank

      Delete
    2. Welcome to the world kid. You're on your own!

      Delete
  61. My sweet niece, a 47 year old single woman, artist, and business woman who has worked hard and struggled for years, had to leave a problematic situation on the East Coast to come and serve as guardian to her now-demented stepmother some months ago. She contacted me a month ago to ask for some emotional support. She's been having increasingly severe pelvic pain since last January, but she had no insurance, and little money. So she waited, trying to tough it out. Finally, she went to Planned Parenthood. She needed a scan, and a physician, which she finally got. He referred her to a gynecologist -- the scan showed worrisome stuff in her woman parts. I urged her to get insurance, and she didn't know how she could afford to. I kept encouraging her to see the doctors, get the tests, and talk to a social services person in a medical office about her options for coverage. She has cancer. In fact, she may have two cancers -- only surgery will tell for sure. She qualifies for her state's version of Medicare, fortunately, although I do not know how long that option will continue to exist if the Republican abomination they are mis-labeling as "healthcare" passes. The bottom line is, she didn't have insurance, and so she waited, unable to pay for care. That may kill her. I don't even dare start to telln you all how hard this is, how angry I am, and how very often, too often, I have seen this scenario play out. My calls to Senators are still civil, barely, but less and less "measured".

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  62. Oh, yeah. I should add that today I got an automated call from a Senator in MT, inviting me to join his conference call "Town Hall", where I heard him describing ObamaCare as being in a "death spiral", and taxing thousands of people, and increasing the national debt by "trillions of dollars" -- and how it denies "choice" because insurance companies are leaving the exchanges (he didn't mention that was because of deliberate sabotage by Trump). He also railed against ObamaCare's expansion of Medicaid because it was never intended to go to "able-bodied adults". Apparently, he wanted the opportunity to give a propaganda speech without facing his constituents, and the chance to pick an choose what questions he would respond to. Coward.

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  63. My husband and adult daughter are both disabled. Our daughter receives SSI & Medicare thank goodness. My husband is on my insurance through my job. Most of my paycheck goes to that insurance, and we paid off our house in 2014. It is a small 2 bedroom home, but it ours free and clear. We have nothing but medical debt, and believe me we live far below our needs. I am still paying off a college loan, and probably will be until I die. So as the 2% are forever greedier, and living far beyond their need is it no wonder that I am a wee bit pissed? The Dirty Rotten Bastards Club sat on their collective asses for 8 years, and did nothing for the American people. NOT A DAMN THING. So they don't like the anger and the protest? They can kiss my ass cause I will fight tooth and nail to give my family what they need. I have avoided my own healthcare needs because what else am I suppose to do? They have left me without a choice. We all are human beings, and we all are suppose to be working for the "common good for all". Why is that such thing to do? They all are morally bankrupt.

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  64. I read a tweet last night from some deluded jerk who said that only those who "aren't right with the lord" need healthcare of any kind. His "rationale" is that he smokes three packs a day, drinks a bunch, and has never been sick - which he thinks is because he's the right kind of Christian. Anyone who DOES get sick? It's our own darn fault for not being a good enough Christian -- and apparently, if you're not a good enough Christian, you shouldn't get to live anyway. Don't worry about car accidents or shootings or tornadoes or things falling on you from above. If you're a good enough Christian, God won't let those things happen to you. If they happen to the person next to you, it's because that person wasn't a good enough Christian. If they do happen to you, it's clearly your own damn fault & fuck you for being a horrible person.

    In other words, nobody needs doctors or health insurance or anything. If we get sick or injured, it's God's will & we're only supposed to live if we can repent quickly enough & convincingly enough for God to grant us an immediate cure.

    I'm a little unclear as to how infants manage to be poor enough Christians to get sick, or to be injured by abusive parents. I guess it's punishment for the parents for not being good enough Christians?

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    Replies
    1. Clearly, he's never read his Bible. There's one whole book (Job) about a virtuous man who never did wrong losing everything.

      Delete
    2. Well!

      I would say, "that's quite a 'Christian attitude' he's got there", but I've met REAL Christians and they would be mortified by this person's interpretation of scripture.

      Delete
  65. Indeed. My treatments for pancreatic cancer cost about $750,000, and there are certain drugs I'll be taking for the rest of my life as a result. I'm one of the lucky ones--I had good insurance and I beat the VERY long odds.

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  66. "If they are able bodied and they want to work, they'll have employer-sponsored benefits like you and I do."

    My employer offers health benefits. I'm covered. My wife and kids are not.

    The jump in premium from individual to family coverage through my employer-sponsored plan is so steep, it was a choice between health insurance for all of us, or a roof over our heads.

    As long as I have to be healthy enough to work, and as long as our rent goes up faster than my income, I guess my wife and kids will just have to pray for good health.

    As regards the ER, they'll treat you, but they'll bill you for it one way or another. Whilst between insurance plans after a layoff and starting a new job, I caught a quite acute case of Appendicitis which required surgery, as Appendicitis often does. That's $10k in bills for the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the radiologist, the ER, and the pharmacy that I can't afford to pay for a while. I was able-bodied, I was working, I had enrolled in the company health plan, but my timing sucks. But hey, at least they didn't stop treating me...

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  67. Hello from Northern Alberta, Canada, Jim. I thoroughly enjoyed your post, and am happy that I've found someone who feels, and writes in a manner that I thoroughly enjoy and agree upon.

    After reading some of the comments below your post, I feel dirty, cheap and weak, knowing that in my 55 years, (23 in the Army), I've never been let down by the Canadian Health Care System. From my wife's Breast Cancer to my Degenerative Nerve Disorder (and resultant Stress Disorder), we've been blessed with minimal billing issues.

    Yes, Health Care is not totally free in Canada, but that's mainly if you need the "Cadillac" treatment for esoteric disorders/diseases, and even then, there are other avenue's one can turn for financial support.

    It's not perfect, but it is light-years beyond what the "average" American has access. Sure we pay a wee bit more in taxes, but garner way more benefits when bulk purchases are made by Gov't agencies rather than For-Profit Hospitals.

    Drugs? Same deal! When it's the Gov't buying drugs from Big Pharma, they get the discount costs. Not Big Pharma in the US...bleed 'em till they cry! Remember the Epi-Pen scandal? Is THAT typical in the USA?

    My pharmacist actually asks me if I would like to try the "generic" brands of medications as that saves "everyone" a lot of money - if the medications work. I try them, and if they work, I'll stay on them if it means that someone else can access a slightly more expensive medication. That's the way our system can be beneficial to other patients without insulting them.

    Dental Care is not free in Canada. Dental Insurance is NOT Dental Insurance - it is a Dental-care-plan that covers a few thousand dollars per year, but is still very affordable. Poverty-income folks DO have alternative clinics available to them, and many clinics offer yearly free checkups so one can budget future work, or to quickly fix what they can in the time allotted for each patient on these "free" days.

    Please keep writing your posts - I will bookmark them and try to keep reading them when I can.

    Kind Regards from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta,
    Edwin W.

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  68. I think I will be starting to call the Cheeto-in-Chief "Ozymandias"

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  69. What those GOP apologists either are too ignorant to understand, or willfully pretend they don't know, is that sure, SOMETIMES, some people who start out with some insurance, or with some money, getting cancer treatment, who then run out of insurance and/or money, SOMETIMES the hospital will continue to treat (and the bills pile up, and then the survivors eventually go bankrupt) but the cost of that unreimbursed treatment ALWAYS gets pushed onto the ever dwindling (without the ACA) pool of insured patients. Driving costs of health insurance up, and so inevitably driving the number of insured patients down, in a death spiral. The money to treat the bankrupt, if they CAN find treatment, still has to come from somewhere. The end game is health insurance only for those at the top of the heap. Which is exactly what the GOP is trying to achieve, and has been their aim since Lyndon Johnson created Medicare in 1965.

    The GOP apologists will say anything, do anything, pretend they believe anything that delivers tax cuts for the very rich. Tax cuts for the very rich are the only real and enduring objective they have ever had. The rest of what they ululate about is all cant and smoke and mirrors and shit-stirring and race hate in the service of gaining tax cuts for the very rich.

    The saddest part of this whole sorry show is that Mitch McConnell WILL in the end pass his bill, it WILL be signed by the person occupying the white house,it WILL become law, and people WILL start to die, by the scores of thousands as a direct and completely predictable result. But they will all be poor people. Many of them will be Democrats and many witll be black, but a very large number of them will be people who voted for Trump, and yet the GOP apologists will STILL be singing from that same hymn sheet, and the Trump suppporters will STILL be blaming all their ills, and all the deaths, on Obama.

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  70. "...covering cancer was against their religion."

    New GOP slogan

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  71. As a UK citizen I'm pretty well insulated from this, although if our right wing government carries on privatising by stealth I can see a path to the exact same situation. Anyway, I digress...

    I got my first experience of US healthcare when on a business trip to Vegas. I had a pain in my leg and our company medic was concerned enough that it might be a DVT that he sent me to the ER.

    After a wait that was at least as long as we'd get in the UK, I saw a doc and then an ulrasound operator. All clear to leave, stop by the payment office.

    Fortunately I work for a massive company who provide insurance for travellers and it was as simple as calling their hotline from the payment desk and then passing the phone over. Or so I thought...

    After getting home I started receiving ever more threatening lawyers letters because the insurance company (AETNA) was delaying payment for whatever reason, so they came after me. Fairly scary stuff and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

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  72. this post hits a home run with me. if you have anybody that wants to talk about not having healthcare means you die send them my way. i just lost my wife of 40 years to cancer in march of this year because we had no heathcare. when her cancer was initially diagnosed, the hospital sent her home. they told her she needed to see her primary care doctor about the small knot on her kidney and really acted like it was no big deal. they knew she had no primary care doctor because they also knew she had no insurance. the clinic where she sees a doctor tried to find a oncologist for her to see, but was unsuccessful, because of the lack of healhcare. if our godless republican governor had taken the medicaid expansion then my wife would still be alive today.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know how it could ever be enough after something like that, but I extend my deepest condolences for your loss.

      Delete
  73. We had good personal injury on our AUTOMOBILE insurance when my husband was in a roll-over and had to be life-flighted to a trauma center. Our auto insurance paid out great for medical, 100% up to $100,000. So I guess the answer is to get good car insurance and then only have medical problems arising from car crashes.

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  74. Here is a Will Rogers quote that I believe applies to healthcare as well as all other areas of finance. "The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellows hands" The only problem is the short sighted rich are the only people on this planet that can't understand it. Or maybe they just don't want us poor folks to even touch"their" money.

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  75. No one is safe. One of my senators, Pat 'Club for Growth' Toomey is claiming this bill won't effect people who get coverage through their employer; he's wrong. Get your preventative care done before the end of the year. Otherwise you will pay for it. And my guess is it won't be cheap.

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  76. First Up: I'm posting Anonymous as I don't have a profile on any of the options offered. I will work on that this weekend. Sorry about that.

    I'm Canadian. Several years ago I showed some American friends from several states my payslip. They were paying roughly the same amount in taxes as I do for the same income. I get single payer National and Provincial (think State) Healthcare with the taxes I pay. What are you getting for the taxes you pay?

    I forgot to mention, the Provincial Gov't has proposed Universal Dental Care for kids to the age of 26 (not sure as the exact cut off age)that would part of what we are already getting.

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  77. Hell to the yes, this.

    It is an absolute disgrace that the wealthiest country on the planet thinks it's perfectly OK for people to go without healthcare.

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  78. :

    Firstly as with others here, I also don't have a profile in any of the options offered - facebook is conspicuous by its absence! Hence I also post as 'Anonymous'
    Dennis Revell.

    Here's my post:-

    ThumpForTrump is RIGHT !

    He/She writes:
    " ... Cancer hits anyone, and if you don't have insurance, they don't stop treating you".

    .

    That is absolutely correct. As a resident of the buckle of the Bible-Belt Southern USA, I can attest that if you don't have insurance:

    They never START FUCKING TREATING YOU in the first place.

    .

    ... and of course, treatment that never starts can not be stopped ...

    The above article is worth reading in full.

    .

    Meanwhile probably the most peaceful, least war-mongering, least aggressive country on Earth, a country that gives the lie to the propaganda that "Socialism doesn't work" (a lie even under constant Western sabotage) , has the largest number of doctors per capita than ANY other country on Earth:

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0934558.html


    Dennis Revell
    .

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  79. It is wrong to refer to healthcare as a right. Rights are things that the government may not take away fron you. Using the word for something the government must give you serves to hide the fact that such a "right" must be paid for and provisioned. Unlike negative rights (e.g., freedom of speech), positive rights cannot just soring into existence by declaration. People who want to declare positive rights are often looking to deliberately hide the dfficulty and cost behind a noble-sounding word.

    That isn't to say that we shouldn't provide universal healthcare. We should. But we cannot pretend away the cost. Similarly for a right to housing, or the right to a lawyer.

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    Replies
    1. Hyman,

      The last five words of your comment make a mockery of the rest of it. Fail. Try again, try harder. A lot harder.

      Delete
    2. Did- did you really just try to use right to a lawyer as a point of argument?

      I'm not as nice as our good man Jim who wrote the piece. I'm going to lay it out in mocking black and white why your words are so blatantly *stupid*

      The wording of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of *Miranda v. Arizona* (pertaining to your bit there) is the following: "the person must be clearly informed that he/she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he/she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent him/her."

      Delete
    3. Rights are things that the government may not take away fron you.

      Ooookayy....

      So, what about right to life? The government absolutely CANNOT take that away from you right? Oh wait, we have death penalties yes? Executions? No taking away right to life.

      Well what about right to personal freedom, 1st amendment rights. Those can't be taken away or restricted yes? Oh right, the can. It's not just in terms of being incarcerated, basically any law that regulates stuff can be considered a restriction on the 1st amendment, sometimes even taking away the "right" to a particular something.

      And 1st amendment rights are "negative rights" who knew? What are negative rights again?

      Costs determines whether a thing is a right? Saying that something is a right hides the costs? Ummm not sure if you know but even those who are saying that healthcare is a right know it has costs and isn't free. SOMEONE has to bear the costs for just about anything, however, in the argument of those who believe that healthcare is a right, they are saying that those costs should NOT be borne by those who need healthcare, not that there are NO costs whatsoever. No one is denying or hiding that. They are simply saying the government should handle the costs. THAT should be the point of contention!

      Heck, not even the Trumpian politicians are saying that that government should not pay for healthcare (though that might exactly be what they are THINKING in private), their beef is in how much to pay, and for whom. The rich get the most in their book.

      Delete
    4. To say that health care is a right does not imply that it doesn't need to be paid for. Of course, it does. The question is, who pays for it, and how is payment organized? "Health care is a right" means that the government figures out how to get the money for it -- through taxes, of course, the way the government gets money for everything else it pays for -- and how to organize the system so that care is provided cost-effectively.

      Delete
  80. Jim, if you ever run for President....PLEASE run for President and save us from these crazy lunatic rich people!!! ;)

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  81. I work in healthcare. This is 100% true. Excellent writing.

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  82. I've never understood the "maybe you should have gotten a better job" argument. Do we suddenly not need custodians and burger flippers and landscapers and retail clerks now? Do you value these services enough to ensure the people doing these jobs can survive?

    If the answer is no, then the only ethical choice is to forego them. Bus your own restaurant table, cook your own burger and fries, trim your own hedges, empty your own garbage can at work. Take turns mopping the employee bathroom. Fix your own flatscreen TV. Change your own oil. Find your box of Wheat Thins crackers on promotion yourself. Bag your own groceries. Make your own clothes.

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    Replies
    1. Perfect. Just perfect rejoinder.

      I suspect the people making that argument simply don't see "those people" as equally human.

      Delete
  83. I have skin in the game while here- but the reality is I am Canadian- I can go move home and be instantly covered. But although we have lived here over a decade I still have a lot of things regarding this debate I don't understand.......I don't understand this whole preexisting conditions thing - I come from a medical family - my understanding of biology is that everyone has a preexisting condition- it may take a number of years for it to show up due to cell renewal rates but no one is exempt from the aging process-everyone will eventually end up with a preexisting condition unless they die from trauma early in life. I also don't understand this idea of not paying in when you are young and healthy to help offset when you are older and are going to need the help
    and why have so many americans seem to have bought into the fallacy that they don't have system that is designed to control and assign medical resources- they do- its just who gets the treatment and access is based on your ability to pay not how badly you actually need the care- my favorite was the whole death panels thing- what do they actually think insurance companies denying life and death care are doing ? Playing Bridge? There's your death panels... Ihave a great many people I care about that stand to lose their very lives due to the lose of ACA, I know others that will never get health insurance through their employers.....I don't understand how this benefits your GNP and I really don't understand how people don't understand that if you don't have access to healthcare you don't have freedom and that in a lot of ways your health insurance system is actually being used as an economic control.....can someone please explain to me why people continue to believe the lies the wealthiest among you continue to spout?

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  84. I did a research paper back in the early-mid 2000s and the figure I came up with then was that one in seven people die from preventable, treatable conditions in the US.

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  85. My husband learned he has stage 4 lung cancer last December. His regular old run of the mill Chemo Therapy without all of the Genetic Immunotherapy is 12K per treatment which is once every three weeks. Thankfully he was already 65 or else it would have bankrupted us.

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  86. What amazes me about stories like this one is the blindness to the motivation; blindness on the part of both the speaker and the listener. The reason why people say "you can go to the emergency room" is because the emergency room is "free". Except it isn't free, aside from not covering the specifics that you mention here.

    It is an externality; off the books, not recorded. It's an expense that cities soak up, if you are lucky enough to live in a city that has an emergency room and it isn't already overflowing with sick, poor people. As an externality no one counts the cost of providing these services. Quarterly filing public corporations love externalities. Any businessman or woman loves externalities.

    "If I don't have to pay for it, it's golden."

    Except you do have to pay for it. You pay for it in local tax rates. You pay for it in homelessness and bad neighborhoods. In crowded rentals and overpriced real estate. You pay for it in ways that aren't flagged as "healthcare" but it is the state of the system that makes those prices spike.

    This fact of the healthcare externalities is what lead Obama (and HRC before him) to try to come up with a way to put these costs on the books, to turn the externalities into costs that could be predicted and accounted for in advance, so that the system could be made flexible and robust enough to handle the actual stresses placed on it. Both of those plans failed in the end. Neither of them made the kinds of changes required to sever the link between business and healthcare. They did not remove the ability for businesses to offer healthcare plans. They did not place basic services off the negotiating table, guaranteeing things like basic lifesaving measures to anyone who wanted them; in a word, they did not institute a single payer option for essential services. A single payer that could be tasked with forecasting demands into the future in order to make sure the system was as flexible as possible. To make sure that public health concerns are met not only in Austin but in Roby (find that on a map) as well.

    Making services available in areas that don't have reliable demand to sustain those services is what government does best. It was true with the rural electrification project, the "title II" communications providers portion of the FCC. It is what is needed in healthcare as well. Propping up rural hospitals and doctors so that they can actually afford to provide services where they are needed, when they are needed. And "Medicare for all" can do this with less overhead than any private insurance company.

    Another instance where we discover that government isn't the problem, it is the solution.

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  87. I was diagnosed with progressed prostate cancer two months after I was enrolled in Medicare. $325,00 of radiation later, my total out-of-pocket was $1,000. They don't fucking DO radiation in the ER. They don't DO PSA testing, rectal exams biopsies in the ER.

    What the ER does for seriously ill American citizens is stop the bleeding, administer pain medication, and send your ass home to die at whatever pace your disease decides to claim you.

    Fuck anyone who has the power to enact sensible, moral healthcare legislation and fuck Walmart too!

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  88. I live in western NC, another seat of much deep poverty with some pockets of wealth. Sadly it is the impoverished who buy into everything they hear from our representative Mark Meadows (chair of the House Freedom Caucus) and from Fox News. I wish they could understand that this is about the health and well-being of every person in our district, including pregnant women and infants. And that they could understand how everyone's health contributes to our economic viability.

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  89. When I had cancer the surgeon that did my surgery wouldn't even see me unless I paid up front and they didn't schedule anything until my Medicaid was approved other than the first visit that I had to pay for myself.

    Without Medicaid I would not have had any treatment.

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  90. When I had cancer the surgeon that did my surgery wouldn't even see me unless I paid up front and they didn't schedule anything until my Medicaid was approved other than the first visit that I had to pay for myself.

    Without Medicaid I would not have had any treatment.

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  91. Bastards. God Damn Bastards - all of them, be it public or politicians who support rolling back accessible and affordable health care in this country.
    As a former 20 year medic, 12 as a flight medic in rural/remote Alaska I had just over 2000 patient contacts. Myself and all involved saw first hand the direct results of lack of affordable care and in many cases denied care. I witnessed first hand families hit with medical bills that completed wiped them out for life financially.
    At 56, my entire life career has been steered toward employment that offered health insurance as I was one of the folks with a pre-existing condition.
    I do love my country and it is because of those like Jim and others who care about humans and our planet. To the others who denigrate me and those who stand for the good of all humans and this planet - Screw you.
    Karma is a bitch and it will haunt your ass. Maybe not in the realm you are in now but at some point, your ass will be grass.
    Thank you Jim and thank you to those who reply. We can stand before a mirror and know that the person looking back at you is standing for truth, justice and human kindness.

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  92. While I still disagree with your assertion that health care is a right in this country, I see your point regarding hard working people who may not have the resources to obtain even the most basic healthcare services, having been in that situation myself.
    In a country as wealthy as this one, where we can justify spending a trillion bucks on a fighter plane that doesn't work, surely there's a way to provide some basic form of healthcare for those among us who can't afford it on there own.
    Or have we truly allowed ourselves to become the heartless barbarians the Republican party seems to insist that we be?

    ReplyDelete
  93. Read this again. Cried again.

    A friend of mine died last year from a treatable form of lymphoma, because she was not wealthy and had no insurance and could not afford treatment.

    "ThumpForTrump" is a dumbass with no experience of the world.

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  94. It isn't difficult to describe the leaders of this movement to kill healthcare access--and with it, a lot of Americans. They are evolutionary humanists. They think that they are at the top of the evolutionary pile, that they got there through their own merits, and that helping the poor, the sick, and the disabled is just slowing down the process of evolving into something better--you know, like them. They attribute their own success to hard work and your failure (on their terms) to laziness. They will deny healthcare to those who work three jobs and put in 80 hour weeks. These folks, KC among them, will still call them lazy and tell them to get a better job. It never occurs to someone like Trump that the reason he's rich is because he way lucky, or that some people are poor because they weren't.

    So let's deny health care to people because they won't 'rise' they way 'we' will. That's their outlook. Pay, or die. Well said, Jim.

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    Replies
    1. I think the words you are looking for are social Darwinists. Believe me, these people aren't humanists.

      Delete
  95. And when you go to the ER and can't afford the bills that come from the hospital, radiologist, lab, etc? You get your credit ruined. Possibly a big fat judgment entered against you or a lien on whatever property you possess. The argument "But the ER HAS TO treat you!" leaves off the reality of how that care gets paid for. Someone said that hospitals just "write it off." They do, but that doesn't mean that they don't sell your debt to a collection agency that will come after you with a vengeance or who'll be satisfied with your $10/mo. for life.

    ReplyDelete
  96. I'm not American but I live in the US (legally). Where I come from we do not have a bill of rights but we do universal healthcare (well at least for permanent residents). I am the happy recipient of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy all paid for by my government. I had to pay about $500 out of pocket to get diagnosed and another $500 for the medications I took home with me. One of those medications costs *only* $1500 a pop in the US but cost me $35 with the government picking up the rest of the tab. I have no idea how much each chemo dose cost but it cost me nothing. Many of us pay a 2% levy on our income to cover the system, those with higher incomes have to pay another 1.5%.
    For me, this is one of the roles of government and a country in general - to look after its people. To nurture them and give them the best possible chance to further themselves and the country. I can't do anything overtly political here but I do tell people my story, particularly to those who think that healthcare is an individual responsibility.
    Thank you for your thoughts, your anger, your despair, your caring, your patriotism and your blog.

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  97. This is more for your interest and future use than comments here, although it backs up my comment.
    I'm reading Neurotribes, the Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. Steve Silberman, the author, does a good play by play of the Nazi takeover of Vienna, the US origins of eugenics (he does mention Galton), and folds in the Law for Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring with plenty of exposition (pp. 106-139 if you want to do some cheat reading). The guy writes well so it's worth picking up anyway if you like authors like Oliver Sacks. The sequence of events is fearsomely like what is happening now, so I thought I'd share.
    Thanks for your work. It's a breath of fresh air.
    SFC Mike

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  98. What happened to the Hippocratic Oath?

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  99. Truth is if employers paid employees a living wage and health insurance there wouldn't be such a need for Medicaid. But they no longer want to deal with healthcare and workers are screwed as insurance is much for expensive if you try to purchase it as an individual. I'm embarrassed that our country cannot figure out how to provide health care for all. Germany has had universal health care since the 1890's!

    What we have now is an industry filled with graft and corruption. The problem is We the People are being ripped off by Big Pharma, who with laws passed by Congress can charge whatever they desire, Big Insurance, a middleman which provides no care, and Big Hospital Groups who price fix and our politicians are paid by these same groups to keep the status quo. Our country can no longer afford this corrupt way of providing care. It must change. We must demand better, cut the graft and corruption and take the profit motive out. This will make health care attainable, affordable and better for the majority of our country.

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  100. It's embarrassing to live in a country that cannot provide health care for all. Germany has had universal care since the 1890's, no lie. If we are to have a strong, vibrant country we must provide health care for all our citizens. No one is more deserving than another. This petty selfishness where some feel they are more deserving or "I shouldn't have to pay for someone else" will be the downfall of this country. Go ahead, eliminate pooled resources. Pay for your own health care out of pocket and see how long that will last when you have an illness like cancer.

    We the People are being ripped off by Big Pharma, who because of laws passed by Congress can charge whatever they desire, Big Insurance, a middleman who provides no care, and Big Hospital Groups who price fix and rip people off. Our politicians are paid by these same groups through political donations to keep the status quo.

    Our country can no longer afford the graft and corruption in this industry. It must change. We must demand better, cut the graft and corruption and take the profit motive out. This will make health care attainable, affordable and better for the people of our country.

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  101. Unknown & frisbeeredcat, you speak the truth. Germany also has a more humane prison-correctional system. They have strong Unions and worker-councils. France has the best health care/recovery, that I've heard of. The US is afraid of implementing best practices, why? $$$.

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Comments on this blog are moderated. Each will be reviewed before being allowed to post. This may take a while. I don't allow personal attacks, trolling, or obnoxious stupidity. If you post anonymously and hide behind an IP blocker, I'm a lot more likely to consider you a troll. Be sure to read the commenting rules before you start typing. Really.