Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On Obama

I like the guy's big FDR/JFK sort of smile. He lights up wonderfully when amused. I loved the Jay Leno fake interview with him on Jay's first show. I would like him to be successful in making America better, stronger, safer --and more virtuous/moral/family strong.

But I'm not impressed that he's any smarter than Dems thought Bush was--or as virtuous as Bush. He speaks faciley --but what does he say? contradictory things that have holes so wide in his arguments that you can walk right through them! E.g. --"no addition to deficit with a new healthcare 'option'". RIGHT! "You'll be able to keep your private insurance." Not if the employers drop them to save money --since everyone's taxes will ultimately HAVE TO be higher to cover all our entitlement progams. Everyone is happy to sign up for a gov't. freebie --but will it be what we want??? I don't think so.

However, if the economy were strong, then insurance for everyone WOULD be feasible --if it's like the systems that still do it through ALL private agencies --like Japan.
Right now, employee health insurance is a motivation to a person to get a job. Yes, most people want work and good new jobs are scarce --but we have a percentage in USA who do not want to work at the skill levels they have --who have, indeed, found it more profitable to not work --because they can get more gov't help than the money they could earn. Free healthcare, foodstamps, rent subsidies, welfare payments. It's not a rich life being on the dole --but some calculate that the benefits outweigh those from work for which they have skill.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


steve said...

The days when folks could just sit back and collect a welfare check have long passed. The 1996 welfare reform act pretty much has done away with that sort of thing you are talking about. And even if there were a very small group of people that can, or do game the system, why should the rest of America suffer at the greedy hands of for-profit-insurance and HMO's that ration our care and tell us what, and what treatment we can or can't have? Why just last summer some poor girl was denied a liver transplant by her parents insurance coverage. All of her doctors wanted the transplant, but the insurance company said no until it was too late and she died.
What the girls parents should have done is let her get so bad off that she has to have a feeding tube, then threaten to take it off of her, then that's when the right to lifers come out of the woodwork. It's OK for the insurance company to determine life or death, but not the parent, or the spouse.

ShitStirrer said...


"What the girls parents should have done is let her get so bad off that she has to have a feeding tube, then threaten to take it off of her, then that's when the right to lifers come out of the woodwork."

Yo, you're exactly right. The hypocrisy of the religious right wingers in this country has no limits.

Barb said...

It's not hypocrisy, SS, that drives the religious right and other right-wingers --not that there aren't hypocrites in EVERY camp ---of course, there are --like the family values guy who talked about his 2 mistresses/lobbyists on a live mic. What a charlatan he was! But of course, if you or Whynot had made the same speech, it wouldn't be hypocrisy, would it? It's only hypocrisey if we profess to be more virtuous than we are --or advocating virtue that we don't believe applies to us.

I know a child right now who is not on the transplant list and probably needs to be. It's not the insurance company--this child is on gov't coverage. The Cincinnati team of doctors who do transplants said he was too young/small (under 1 or 2, not sure) and not ill enough yet --and I'm betting the problem is that they think his prognosis is poor --that there are older children who will benefit more from the rare transplants and that this child would likely die regardless. They said the cost of a transplant is a million dollars. Do we have a million dollars for everyone whose liver fails? I suppose the cost includes the matching and testing agencies, the plane flights of livers and patients?, the preservation of the livers on way to surgery site, the drugs to prevent rejection, a team of surgeons and staff at the surgery site and back home and expensive stays in the hospital. And complications. This child has already been in the hospital much of his young life as doctors labor over him to keep him alive --and has had duct surgery as he was born with a rare duct condition that caused high bilirubin, and cirrhosis of the liver.

I've wondered why it should be a million --but then when you see what we pay our movie stars and athletes, I guess surgeons and staffs and huge teams of care-givers and facilities --caregivers who put in years of difficult training and pay exorbitant malpractice insurance to protect themselves from lawyers, feel there is rightly a high price for their services and knowledge. And they'll charge it since the patient doesn't have to pay for it; of course, the transplant recipients never pay the millions. And I suspect the gov't program he's on doesn't pay what is charged either --and the insurers understandably do not want to carry high risk/high cost patients --but they DO carry and cover MOST things, as it is.

Your assumption that the gov't will guarantee that the deciding panels cover all the procedures we need or want for all --or for none --is not realistic. And I don't know that if this child had an insurance policy instead of gov't coverage that the insurance wouldn't cover him --whereas the gov't is either refusing to cover or the doctors are refusing to prioritize a liver for this patient due to age, size, condition.

Barb said...

Most people ARE satisfied with their private plans --no one likes the cost of them --and there is waste and graft and greed in every business --and in gov't you can add laziness and shirking of duty --because there is more job security and less incentive for real efficiency in gov't jobs. In fact, we have observed that there are a lot of workers in life who shirk --who sit on top of the desk waiting for the clock to move (one gal who used to work in my husband's office) --who chit chat the day away during their working hours/ who feel no sense of diligence or urgency on the job--ever. Who aren't careful. Who take advantage of employers by doing their private business and lollygagging on company time, etc.

Gov't in charge won't correct what's wrong in the human psyche with labor and management.

There is just something fundamentally wrong in a socialistic mindset that says the workers should float the non-workers who goofed off during school and are still doing it. Yes, we should be compassionate and help people be and do better for themselves --and the best way is for gov't to enable free enterprise and capitalism to do its thing unimpeded by high taxes when they aren't profitable --

But you've heard me say, that even I believe that companies who downsize due to falling revenues shouldn't have contracts to bonus and pay exorbitant salaries to corporate heads --and uni presidents --and coaches --or anyone who is unsuccessful at making the company profitable --yet fires people while paying himself more and more.

I don't understand people who think that a quarter million a year isn't enough to be rich enough on. And I can't believe there are enough people making more than that to pull our economy out of the hole without raising taxes on those under 250,000 a year.

A tax increase may be necessary to pull us out--but a better solution would be incentives for business to thrive --through tax relief for entrepreneurs --starting businesses --curbing certain monopolies as in the past.

And I do believe any corp taking gov't money should have caps on executive pay and bonuses --and that bonuses should only be given when the company is profitable, thriving, and taking care of its employees, expanding, hiring and so on. To pay a CEO millions and cut retirement benefits --it's wrong.

Barb said...

The new welfare game is "disability." Everyone who is overweight ultimately gets "disabled" with diabetes, inability to do stand up jobs --and need desk jobs for which they aren't educated enough.

steve said...

Barb, you have a lot of opinions about this that you sort of pawn off as facts. No problem there, I do the same thing. But when we are talking about concrete legislative action, we can't talk in just baseless opinions, we need facts and figures, and that is what is lacking in all of this, no matter what side of the issue you're on. I think the media does this nation a total disservice by assuming we are all stupid and can't deal with the minutia of the details. But here is what I know, from the things I've read, and from my own experience.

The current insurance / HMO / PPO paradigm is unsustainable. Health insurance costs climb at 2 or 3 times the rate of inflation, year after year. It's quickly coming to a breaking point at which time most American's, whether employed or not, will not be able to afford the insurance. I'm anticipating my employer dropping health insurance this year, they've already sent a memo that something big is going to happen. Since there's no possible way I can afford 2000 dollars a month AT THE LEAST for my own private coverage, guess what, I'm going to be using the emergency room for my health care at SIX TIMES the cost of a doctors visit, that cost is passed on to you, the insured, by the hospitals.

2. The United States has the MOST expensive health care in the world, mainly because of administrative insurance costs. But we are almost 40th in quality of care. Every other nation that has universal coverage is ahead of us in quality of care.. but pay less than half the amount that we do for health coverage. That is a fact. Just look at this graph:


See how our costs spike, but we have the highest mortality.. except for 4 other countries.. You look at that graph and know something is fundementally wrong with the way our health care is delivered.

3. One of the reasons that all of our jobs are being shipped over seas is because the workers overseas enjoy universal government sponsored health care. All those factories in China don't pay a dime for health care, so they can lower the prices of their goods and services. In this country, our employers are saddled with ever increasing health care costs by the insurance industry.. mainly to cover an exploding baby boomer generation. This makes US companies completely uncompetitive because they are saddled with a cost that the rest of the industrialized world doesn't have. Sharing the burden of health care among all taxpayers vs a limited amount of employers will immediately make many businesses profitable once again.

4. Great Republican President Eisenhower.. I'm sure you know the quote about the military industrial complex.., but just think about it. This country outspends 150% more than the rest of the ENTIRE world on the military. Let me repeat that.. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY PERCENT MORE THAN ALL THE REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED. If we just cut back a little.. say to spending on our military what the REST OF THE WORLD spends, that would free up 200 BILLION DOLLARS a year for health care. We could get gold hip replacements and have our IV's dripping with perrier water. It's time to bring the legions home and stop trying to be world cop. The USA would be much more effective as a beacon of democracy, vs trying to democratize the rest of the world with our bombs and bullets. Basically our taxes are paying for a 700 billion dollar a year jobs program for Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics.. ect.. Not to mention all the Million dollar wads of cash (they call them footballs) in Iraq that are just handed out to contractors like they are candy. Why aren't the teabaggers pounding down GWB door demanding where their TRILLION dollars went that just magically disappeared. Nobody cares about all that lost Tax mullah, but the minute you want to help a poor single mom with some health care.. Why you must be a NAZI or a COMMIE. OK, I'm getting hot, better call it quits.

Barb said...

I don't know what trillion dollars lost you are talking about? I do understand, however, that gov't is a black hole when it comes to our taxes.

I'm astounded at what gov't PAYS people. That lady who embezzled in some town around here made at least 100,000 a year, they said for her clerical post. Yet, some medical personnel responsible for your healthcare and school teachers make much less than this gal did. I was astounded to hear what the uni pres. made and his bonus for staying on! School secretaries around here make a very good hourly wage --right up there with trained medical personnel --and more than some of those. (Due to their unions, of course.)

Back to the topic! Your girl who should've been on a feeding tube --you said the parents should have let her "get so bad off," --how did they NOT let her get so bad off that she went on feeding tube, etc. --considering that she died without a transplant???

Part of your problem with transplants, you know, is NO LIVERS! and too many people needing them. So are you sure it was just the insurance issue here?

we already know there are "death panels" (not really a misnomer as democrats claim) --who decide if certain conditions will get covered --with the insurance companies --and the government agencies. But as it is, most people are getting what they need --regardless of age or prognosis. There is a limit to what can be done as there are limited resources/personnel w. expertise/livers/hearts/

I agree that reform is needed --but get the economy going first; get tort reform. As long as lawyers make their living by suing doctors and settling out of court because of suffering people --regardless of fault for their suffering, there will be no real reform in the high cost of healthcare. A national system will simply mean that you pay your $2000 a month to the gov't in new taxes to squander wherever --instead of to the health insurer who would invest the money in order to cover your healthcare.

Profit-motive in people of integrity can mean efficiency and prudence in healthcare and business --the gov't purse covering everything guarantees greed and graft, inefficiency and sloth and ever rising pay for poor service. That's why we need to keep gov't local and small --and look for REAL reforms. Gov't and law should help to keep private industry honest and fair --not replace it. And they'd do well to start policing the malpractice lawyers --and limit their rewards for chasing ambulances.

Jeanette said...

Most large companies self-insure. They just pay an insurance company to enforce the policy they have decided on and to pay the claims. They don't buy policies from insurance companies.

The companies my husband and I worked for are both self-insured. His company was stingy in their benefits package because there was no union to bargain those benefits.

I worked for a union company that bargained excellent benefits. During my entire working career all my insurance except for additional life insurance over the amount of my yearly salary was absolutely free.

Then the company demanded we do co-pays and the union agreed to a $10 co-pay. Reasonable, and I could pick any doctor in the network, which is all of the doctors I was using anyway, and the hospitals in this area.

The co-pay went up to $30 and we had to pay a premium each month. I don't mind paying the co-pay or the premium as it is a fraction of what I would pay on the open market.

In this instance the union is good for employees. Whether you belonged to the union or not you got the same benefits.

So, if you have employer insurance and are refused a procedure it is highly likely it is not the insurance company refusing except on the letterhead. It is the coverage the company offers and that's where the refusal originates. You can appeal and the appeal is always to the company panel that decides these things.

My two cents for what it's worth.

Chuck O'Connor said...


I work in the health-care industry and have been charged with gettind educated on these issues.

I find your take on these to be ignorant of the facts.

Please address your take on comparative effectiveness, the sustainable growth model and the econcomic benefits wrought by portable electronic medical records only then will I read anything you post as informed. Other than that you come off exactly as what you are, a christian polemicist arguing for some sort of biblically supported caplitalism to argue for your superior morality based on ancient superstition.

Barb said...

Huh? Welcome, Chuck.

I'm all for electronic records for healthcare --if they can be made user-friendly--and uniformly so. Some capitalist should get going with a great system to sell all the providers. It's my husband who hates computers, their failures, their slow windows, their jargon --he's old school.

BTW, you are right: I think the morality that is based on the Bible IS superior! and proven to be so --for the emotional, economic, physical well-being of the most people. Not to mention our hope of eternal life, fortified by a risen Savior.

Man's greatest need is the Savior. (our minister just preached on that.)