Friday, August 14, 2009

Health Care Reform: Glad to Get This Off My Chest

I have very quickly gotten quite ill with the "debate" over health care reform recently. Actually, this is not a debate at all. It is a shouting match. Well, not even a shouting match so much because a match would presume that both sides are shouting. No, truth is that it is "patriotic" Americans from one side of the aisle shouting over the top of anyone who supports the radical notion that all Americans should have access to health care without fear of bankrupting themselves. These loud Americans call what they are doing the democratic process, yet when the other side of the aisle shouted about the lies told that got us into Iraq it was called Un-Democratic , Un-American and downright dangerous to our national security. Clearly Democracy is all about the loudest dissenters drowning out the voice of anyone with whom they disagree, then putting a folksy, flag waving spin on it to keep unthinking Americans uninformed and really only interested in the Jerry Springer entertainment value of the whole thing.

So, in the spirit of "debate", here are my objections to some of the common objections about health care reforms:

1. Whine #1: Death panels
This is completely a falsehood and I am embarrassed for Sarah Palin because she is incapable of being embarrassed for herself. Even Republicans know that this is not part of the bill, but since Sarah's display of ignorance has gotten so much press and generated so much furor among the uninformed, no one is backing down from it. End of life counseling -living wills, medical intervention orders, end of life wishes- is a voluntary choice in the bill. (Now being withdrawn from the bill because of misinterpretation by idiots.) Once every 5 years, a person can voluntarily seek out a doctor to discuss end of life issues and get help drawing up their end of life wishes. The plan would pay for this service every five years. A few years back, my doctor and I sat down and had a frank discussion about my end of life wishes (which, in case you're curious are in a box under the desk in the office). It was an awkward conversation, because these are tough decisions. That said, I want control over who makes my decisions when I am incapacitated (Curt), what level of care will be provided (pull the plug) and how my remains are disposed of (cremation, and I don't care where you put me after that). A panel of doctors didn't decide this for me and they won't decide it for you in any government funded system. Duh.

2. Whine #2: I won't be able to choose the doctor that I want.
Honey, go look at your current health care plan if you are fortunate enough to have one. Do you need to choose a network or primary clinic as a requirement of this plan? Unless you are a senator with about 16 health plan choices, I'm reasonably certain that you can't see just any old doctor you want, without paying out of network fees. Similar concept with health care reform. You will likely have a choice of network or primary clinic. No where does it say that some bureaucrat will be randomly assigning you to a clinic. Think for yourself here.

3. Whine #3: I won't be able to get in to see a doctor when I choose.
Can you now? If you can, you are lucky. I have to wait several days sometimes for an appointment and I've got pretty damn good coverage. In fact, when I was on anti-depressants, I had to schedule appointments with my shrink 4 months in advance because, like most shrinks, they have a single day or two of coverage at each clinic they work from. Also, the current state of not getting to see a doctor when one chooses also contributes to the ridiculous number of emergency room visits for non-emergencies, which drives up health care costs for all of us. Typically these non-emergency visits come from people who don't have any insurance, or from under-employed/under-insured who can't leave work during work hours to see a doctor because their employers are dicks.

4. Whine #4: We will be no better than Canada.
What the f*ck is wrong with Canada? We talk about Canada in many regards like they are a third world pariah. Enough of that. Really listen next time when health care objectors get on Meet the Press or other news programs and mention the state of Canadian health care. All their objections are based on hearsay about what happened to a friend of a friend of a friend who was denied a specific treatment. Anecdote and hearsay do not represent the state of health care in Canada. Which leads to the next whine...

5. Whine #5: I don't want anyone choosing for me which medical procedures I have done.
Wake up, dear. What do you think the insurance companies do for you? Most clinics in this country are set up so that you never have to see the insurance pre-approval process for most procedures. The only time you ever hear about it is if it is not covered and you have to pay out of pocket, or the service is denied. Then we get into situations like all the scary anecdotes coming out of Canada about insurance companies denying needed services. And, don't tell me there aren't a LOT of complaints about our current system for anecdotes just like these. Lots.

6. Whine #6: This is going to cost the country too much money.
Yes. This is going to cost the country a lot of money. Our current health care system and government funded systems (Medicare/Medicaid) already have costs that are spiraling out of control. We taxpayers are already taking it in the ass for Medicare/Medicaid. Why not do something that will help control overall costs AND provide coverage to the under insured and uninsured?

But, let's face it folks. Most people who object to health care reform really just hate the working class and the poor. You just don't want to get everyone on a reasonably level playing feel because that would make you less special, less entitled. Most Americans are so incredibly greedy and selfish that the thought of actually just raising taxes by one iota of one percent so that all Americans can have access to health care makes them cringe. You believe that the poor are not just like you, that their values of faith and family must be flawed, that if they would only pull themselves up by their bootstraps then they would be better people, that they are just fundamentally so different that you couldn't possibly imagine doing anything to help them. Yet, most of you are one paycheck away, one layoff away from being in their ranks. Then who are you going to blame? And when you find yourself in the situation where you have no health care coverage and need assistance, are you going to be angry? Are you going to say that you're a (formerly) hard working American who DESERVES health care? Hmmm. If it takes you blowhards losing your jobs to find yourselves in this situation, then may the misfortune rain down upon you so that you will wake up and realize that everyone, even the poor and different, deserve access to health care.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

More Blog Miscellany

1. A few weekends back we had a marvelous crew up to the cabin. Jeff and Aldo came in from San Francisco and Carolyn and Jeff came up from Rochester. Here are some pictures.
Enjoying the pontoon. When the weather is nice, we spend more time on the docked pontoon than just about anywhere else. This particular evening the crew got lucky when a group of deer and wild turkey came down to the lake for drinks.
Our first cabin rainbow. I don't need to explain why we were excited, even if it was just a partial rainbow.
This is what happens when a guest's loon calling more closely represents the call of another of god's creatures. You know who you are. Practice might not make perfect, but it won't call the dolphins.
This is our favorite eatery in Minong- The Longbranch. The long branch is home to Nikki, Nikki and Trixie- our fabulous wait staff. The food is pretty darn good but their great service keeps us coming back.

2. We stayed home this weekend. It was our first weekend home since the beginning of May.

Between thunderstorms, I went to the farmer's market. I love the farmers market this time of year- so many great colors and smells. I have missed it with all our cabin weekends and was thrilled to take it in.
Here I am at the Uptown Art Fair. Okay, you can tell that's not me because I don't have a scorpion tattooed by my navel. Actually, this is a life size "sculpture" but I just call it creepy. I don't know that the artist ever sells anything, but he sure draws a crowd. The artist strikes me as a little off- maybe necrophiliac or something. I didn't want to get too close, though I'm not dead yet so probably needn't worry.

3. I saw a beige squirrel on Saturday. I've seen gray, red, black and white, but never beige. It was pretty, but strange. Today we saw a gray squirrel with a big white, furry tip on its tail. This was our lucky squirrel weekend.

4. There is a great editorial about the "birthers" in the Star Tribune today. Birthers are the whack jobs that, despite all evidence to the contrary, continue to try to prove that President Obama wasn't born in Hawaii. The gist of the opinion piece was that these "birthers" are just masking their racism. I couldn't agree more. We have a president whose skin is darker than yours. Get the f*ck over it.

5. The job is frustrating and I'm thinking of seeing a career counselor. My brother tells me that if my goal is to make a high hourly rate, it would likely involve a hand job. He's terribly supportive.

6. 25 more days and we'll be on our way to our Mediterranean cruise. Doesn't seem real yet, but it will the night before when I've lost my passport and am scrambling and cursing while packing. Perhaps this trip I'll do some thoughtful planning.
7. Physical fitness is a problem. Not for everyone, but it is for me. I've been too mentally wrecked after work to do much of anything but be a lay about. *sigh* Must change.