Elderly Bridge Denied Health Coverage

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A bridge badly in need of medical care recently received news that given its preexisting condition, it would no longer be covered under Trumpcare.  Distraught, the bridge called the Trumpcare hotline for help.  A transcript of the conversation has been obtained by the investigative unit of Ribbie’s Weblog and reads as follow:

Trumpcare: You’ve reached the Trumpcare hotline, how can I hurt help you?

Mr. Bridgey: Yes, I received a letter indicating that my preexisting condition will not be covered under Trumpcare.  That CAN’T be true.  Trump promised preexisting conditions would be covered.

Trumpcare: I’m awfully sorry, what he meant was that you would have access to health care in a high risk pool.

Mr. Bridgey: But I can’t swim.

Trumpcare:  That’s why it’s a high risk pool.

Mr. Bridgey: How much will my premium be?  It’s currently $1,700 a year.

Trumpcare: Well, that depends on your age, condition and salary.

Mr. Bridgey:  I’m 64 and earn $27,000 a year and I suffer from crumbling infrastructure.

Trumpcare: Let’s see, just a minute – ok, that would be $13,000 a year, assuming your state does not request a waiver of rules under Obamacare.  In some states, the rehabilitation services you may need will no longer be available.

Mr. Bridgey: That’s crazy, I can’t pay that and you are saying that even if I could, rehabilitation services might not be available at all.

Trumpcare: That’s right. However, if you live in Alaska, and you are a bridge to nowhere, you might just be in luck.

Mr. Bridgey: But I don’t understand.  I paid into medicare and social security dutifully my whole life. I have helped millions of commuters get to work over the span of my lifetime.  Whatever happened to the social contract?

Trumpcare: Sir, I’m afraid that’s been renegotiated.

Mr Bridgey: So this is it.  A death panel.

Trumpcare: Is there anything else I can hurt help you with?

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Congressman PDR – What’s in a Name?

Congressman Paul Davis Ryan.  Darn.  I was hoping his initials were PBR, which would be rather fitting for a man from Wisconsin and the original home of Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Davis.  Maybe that’s a typo, and his name is actually Bevis, or Bates or something.  But my fact checker says that he is in fact Davis.  So he’s PDR, not PBR.  But that’s ok, because PDR helps me point out something alarming about the Congressman.  Google PDR and you know what you get? PDR.net, a drug information company that publishes the Physicians’ Desk Reference and works hand in hand with the FDA to provide safety alerts and information.  However, Congressman PDR has not lived up to his initials.  Do you know why?  Here’s why – just take a look at his voting record:

  • Against FDA appropriations
  • Against the FDA Modernization Act
  • Against FDA regulation on tobacco labeling, ingredients and warnings
  • Against Food Safety regulations
  • Against the Mine Safety Act
  • To limit regulation of Farm Dust
  • To repeal EPA standards for cement manufacturers
  • To repeal prevention and public health funds
  • To repeal Obamacare
  • Against funding to combat Aids, Malaria and TB.

That’s some record there Congressman PDR.  If your vision comes true to dismantle health care, clean air and food safety regulations, more people would have to rely on the Physicians’ Desk Reference and Web MD to self-diagnose and self-medicate, provided they can afford the drugs.  I am sure this would give rise to snake oil salesmen and women, unregulated elixirs and home remedy advice.  Here’s one, next time you get a headache, rub some cauliflower on your temples.  Oh, and rub some on your forehead to improve memory.

Ask Your Dr. If Health Care Reform Is Right For You

The House passed a health care reform bill that is some 2,000 odd pages long.  I have to confess that I have not read it all…ok, any of it.  But NO  legislator should make the same confession.  That’s malfeasance in my judgment.  Our federally elected officials are compensated well financially to represent us so the least they can do is stay on top of the leading domestic issue of the day.  Read the bill.  Stay engaged.  Consider this elected officials: you have a generous health care package paid for by your constituents, while many you represent have no health care at all.  Don’t forget that!

Fortunately, the House bill provides a public option, which is absolutely necessary for driving down the cost of insurance by injecting competition into the system.  Why aren’t antitrust laws being enforced?  And I hope the Senate passes a bill that includes a public option too,  but reactionaries (a/k/a the lunatic fringe) are up in arms about it and have launched a full-scale propaganda campaign comparing health care reforms to death camps under Nazi Germany, comparisons so vile that they could only come from deeply rooted feelings of hatred and racism.

And what’s all this about abortion coverage restrictions?  What happened to reproductive rights in this country?  Are we going to sit back and let Bart Simpson, I mean, Bart Stupak, a Democrat, yes a Democrat from Michigan, overturn Roe v. Wade, something even the right tilting Supreme Court has not attempted?  The Senate may include similar provisions making it difficult if not impossible for women to obtain coverage for an abortion procedure, coverage they may now have through private or employee sponsored plans, if those plans participate in the government created exchange, regardless of whether federal funding actually goes to the patient.

Assuming the Senate passes a bill, I think “pro-lifers” and public option supporters will butt heads.  But I would hate to see health care reform hijacked by the abortion debate, which happens to be the special interest of a radical few and doesn’t belong in the health care reform debate. A likely outcome of the bill reconciliation process would be softened language on abortion restrictions and a watered down public option.  In the end, maybe half of the 40 million are so without medical insurance will be able to buy into some kind of health plan to ensure basic needs coverage.

Health care reform is about two things and two things only:  1) a cheaper and more effective delivery system and 2) insuring the millions who are currently uninsured.

Here’s what I would like to see in a bill:

  • No restrictions on abortion procedures.  Women have a right in this country to reproductive freedom.   The issue doesn’t even belong in the debate.
  • A public option to guarantee competition.
  • Anything to promote wellness among patients – exercise, preventative care, good nutrition for example.
  • Incentives for hospitals to “clean up their act” to reduce infection rates.
  • Something to stop the drug companies from advertising on TV.  I’m sick of the
    “ask your doctor if ____________ is right for you”.  Hey, I trust that my doctor knows what’s right for me…but pharmaceutical companies please stop giving out freebies to doctors to promote your drugs.  Just make the drugs and sell them at a reasonable price already.
  • Tort reform to prevent frivolous lawsuits against physicians.  I don’t want a future generation of talent to shrink away from the medical profession for fear of being sued and the reality of paying high liability insurance premiums.  The high cost of med school resulting in years of student loan payments deters too many as it is.

Why Should I Care About Health Care?

Health Care, what do I care?  My wife and I work.  Our family has a good insurance plan.  Our premium is reasonable,  meds cheap. We like our doctors.  We live in a city with some of the best medical care facilities in the country, if not the world.  Life is good.  Who needs reform?

The above scenario may be true for the many employed and insured Americans.  It’s a me first mentality.  Survival of the fittest.  Social Darwinism. Screw the social contract.  Rousseau was a liberal fraud, even a communist, or so the argument might go.

Don’t insured Americans care at all about the 49 million who don’t have health insurance?  Do they advocate the theories of Thomas Malthus who called for the elimination of social programs that benefit the poor as a means to curb population growth?  Malthus believed national health care initiatives and social safety net programs only bring about short term relief, but ultimately promote more suffering as the earth’s resources are stressed to the breaking point.

How many pro-lifers support health care reform?  If the right to life is so sacred, then what about the right to a decent life with affordable health care for all, not just for the “fittest”.   I am not saying that all opponents of health care reform view the uninsured as unimportant, though I do think that people unconsciously blame the victims; thinking perhaps that the uninsured might be lazy or “not enough like me” or of bad moral fiber.  And there is also the anti-immigrant sentiment – don’t help “them”, forgetting the fact that we are them.

There are those who simply object on political grounds, who oppose and will oppose any idea coming from the Obama administration, even if they believe it to be a good one.

I hear people say that they don’t trust the government to run a public health care option, but are not medicare, medicaid and social security government run?  Do the naysayers advocate eliminating these programs?  No, because they work.

Affordable health care is a basic human right, as sacred as any found in the U.S. Constitution.  No one living in America should be without decent health care.  It is unconscionable that 49 million people do not have health insurance in a wealthy, technologically advanced, stable democracy.  Shame on the U.S.; shame on us.