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Letter to the new President

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
koga
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
I agree with you on most of it.


But, I have to take exception to one. Health Care. Force companies to become non-profit? What are you smoking?

Insurance, like every other endeavor of human kind, must turn a profit. That profit is then available to be reinvested in the company, to improve service and fund research, but it's simply damned unamerican (Yes, capitalist) to mandate that profitable, private companies stop supplying an optional service because you can't afford it.

It may suck, but there is universal health care. The County Hopsital system will treat any who come. The treatment may not be what you can expect in quality from the Private companies, but thats the reality of a world where I don't feel particularly obligated to give up large chunks of my paycheck so that people who don't make as much as me can enjoy the fruits of my labors.
ladyqkat
Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
The County Hopsital system will treat any who come.

Perhaps in some counties, but not all counties in all states. I have no insurance and damned little income and any healthcare I need is unaffordable. "Free" clincis aren't usually free. If I am in need of emergency care I am SOL because I cannot afford to pay for it. BTDT.

Add in to that mix the fact that the meds I need to control my depression are unaffordable - um, yeah. At least my SO gets some care through the VA, but they won't cover a hip replacement which he badly needs.
raindrops
Jan. 22nd, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
That's one of the major, overlooked issues... even if there is access to *emergency* care, there is almost never access to preventive (much less maintenance) care.

This applies to all sectors of health care. I used to work at a hospital that provided substance abuse and mental health care for adolescents. The licence required them to set aside 4 beds for "indigenous" care... meaning, those without insurance or the financial wherewithal to pay through the nose out of pocket for it. Funny thing was that the kids who had good insurance were never "cured" until the day it ran out, no matter that most of the time their real issues had to do with the dysfunctional families that checked them in. At the same time, the "community benefit" beds rotated their patients out every 30 days at max.

The kids with insurance were back in 6 months later, when it was coverable again. It was an insurance mill masquerading as a health care facility. And this is the norm, not the exception.
raindrops
Jan. 22nd, 2009 11:21 pm (UTC)
And don't even get me started on how emergency care actually works. An elderly man was struck by a hit-and-run driver, literally 20 feet from the ER entrance to St. Francis Hospital. After checking that he was alive, I got some onlookers to direct traffic around him while I ran inside the hospital to get some fucking help for him.

I was told that when the EMTs arrived, they would determine what to do. A sentence that had the words "but what if he doesn't have insurance" was actually used by one of their people. St. Francis is a private hospital, not county... I had been there not too long prior after being hit by a car - I lived a few blocks away at the time, and I walked myself in. I pointed this out to them, and they said that since I presented myself, they had to take me, but if "the authorities" are involved before presentation, they don't have to.

EMTs finally arrived, and they fucking drove the guy all the way across town to General, because he had no insurance. His blood was pooling in the street at the entrance to St. Francis by the time they arrived.
ravan
Jan. 22nd, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)
Sorry, but that rock bottom universal health care isn't. They don't treat anyone for everything that they need - not even close. The poor quality of the no budget care that is involved is the reason I buried a roomie a few years back.

Being poor and/or disabled shouldn't be a death sentence at the hands of the profit based insurance system.

The profit motive is failing America in healthcare - it's just plain greedy robbery, with the insureds as the ultimate victims. What it does is pit shareholders versus patients. Insurance profits aren't "reinvested in the company, to improve service and fund research", it's given away to shareholders as dividends, who essentially make money on the suffering of others. Nothing goes back to the medical system, no improvements (except in how to squeeze people more) are made.

Insurance should be run like a credit union - all profits belong to the people who generated them, not an owner class who gains from denying them care. Insurance companies used to be mutualized - no stockholders, just policy holders. Otherwise, take them out of the picture, they add no value to the system, and make a lot of people very miserable.

Healthcare isn't "optional". To imagine it is denies basic human rights to life, and fucks over their liberty and pursuit of happiness.

I've buried too many people who have had crappy or absent insurance, and the insurance shitheads contributed, and I'm tired of it.

My advice stands. Thing is, I probably make more than you do.
koga
Jan. 22nd, 2009 11:43 pm (UTC)
I know you do. I'm currently disabled. I need health care, and my wife works for it. Profit moves companies. Yes. We have health care insurance at ALL, as a concept, because Kaiser Steel saw that, hey, look at this, people want to pay for the benefits we are providing our employees.

Profit birthed it. Now, you expect it as a right of simply breathing? Because you think you are due it, entitled to it?

-Blatherskite-.

You are assured the liberty to pursue happiness. You are not assured of any actual happiness. What you are suggesting, 'single payer' health care, is not 'single payer'. Its everyone paying. I, for one, have NO DESIRE To pay for the health coverage for the gang banger, the criminal, the career benefits-collector, the illegal immigrant, the non-productive, the guy with 9 kids, the idiot who makes minimum wage and makes no effort to better himself.

This world moves by people who have the impetus to get up and move. Not because anyone is entitled to anything, least of all something I need to pay for.


ladyqkat
Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
The illegal immigrant gets better health care in our country than a legal resident. Plus, if you have any social 'defect'*, the chances of getting adequate health care diminishes. Not to mention the inability of getting any decent dental care if you have no insurance or any means to get any insurance. If you do not qualify for medicare and are unemployable you are screwed. If I live five more years I might qualify for medicare. If my SO dies in the next few years (a good possibility with his health) I know that I cannot survive on my $565/mo retirement and the thought of living on the street terrifies me. Which leaves me one viable option. There are a number of people that will probably encourage me to take that step because I am a 'drain on society'.


*Depression, OCD, bi-polar, any condition which limits mobility so that one cannot exercise to name a few.
ravan
Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
No, profit birthed "insurance" - and insurance is a scam. Profit didn't birth health care. Single payer isn't "insurance".

Insurance is a slightly more civilized form of protection racket. It isn't health care.

In fact, if anything, I am willing to pay for the disabled, the criminal, the gang banger, the immigrant, the twit with too many kids, because I would expect them to contribute toward my care too when they can. They all, in "insurance" parlance, expand the risk pool, and the potential payment pool.

There is no justification to deny a person decent medical care because you don't approve of their life, lifestyle, or level of ambition. If you're going to do that, you might as well kill yourself if you end up uninsured - because that's essentially what you want to do to them, only slowly.

Yes, my taxes will go up, but my employer's taxes and my contribution at work would go down with a single payer (non-insurance) plan.

I can't, in good conscience, put a value on someone's life and health based on how much they or their spouse makes. To me, that's unAmerican. Just like our education system is for everyone, rich and poor, so should our health care be.

I am not willing to pass judgement on people's potential (and thus "need" for care) based on what they earn or who they work for. I am not willing to say "People who work for crappy employers don't deserve as good of health care as those who work for good employers." I'm not willing to do that - and I don't think that those who do are in support of American values, but instead are talking out of mistaken ideology or plain greed.

Yes, even criminals and coke heads are entitled to health care. Even hard core social darwinian capitalists are, although holding them to their own standards sounds appealing some days.

I have nothing against profit, but I refuse to tie profit into the lives and well being of my fellow Americans.
weofodthignen
Jan. 25th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
I disagree with Ravan on several of her points. But on the health care one . . . I believe you are placing the profits of insurance companies above the profits of every other company. They're inflicting a double hit on employers: demanding their cut, and then allowing only cheapskate health services to be delivered, thereby reducing the fitness of everybody's workers. And that's not factoring in the people who can't work, or die, because they didn't have jobs or jobs with health insurance. If people like me can get inhalers; if people like ladyqkat can get their head meds; if people like Ravan's former roomie can get their heart ailments treated, we can all work. And pay taxes. Without those things, we are a drain on society. And we hurt our employers if we have any by coming to work sick because we can't afford to go to the doctor, or to buy medication, or by being absent more often than we would have been with medical care--either way. Or if we have health insurance and use it, we hurt the employer and our co-workers by making the premiums go up. Then we hurt the employer's retiree plan and the country both by swelling the ranks of the ill elderly, whether or not we're forced to retire early. We even hurt the employer if we stay in a job we loathe, or don't move to take one we're offered, because our family needs the health insurance coverage. What kind of capitalist system is that?

Anyway, who do you think pays for the county hospitals? And the unnecessary emergency room visits because someone doesn't have a doctor, or has a health plan that doesn't pay for preventive care?

It's simple math. Take the money everybody is being gouged for health insurance and put it toward a government-paid system instead. The costs would be more equitably distributed as part of income tax, businesses would be relieved of a tremendous burden, and people would lose their major incentive to be censorious about others' lives. It's none of your or my business whether someone has 9 children or "makes no effort to better himself." Or is fat or smokes, so long as they do the latter far away from me. Or has a spouse or not. (That is currently obscenely connected to whether one gets healthcare.) Or saves up for a sex change or a nose job or boob implants or to retire to Mexico at 35 or spends every penny they have paying their grandmother's rent.

If Kaiser was originally supplying health benefits, why do you suppose they did so? I'd bet it was because it made their workers more productive. Damn good idea. The country should go back to that idea and the insurance companies can go back to selling auto insurance, theft insurance, and home insurance.

M
raindrops
Jan. 22nd, 2009 11:51 pm (UTC)
You remember when I broke my foot... in the wee hours of New Year's Day (the actual injury occurred around 2am, I went to hospital around 9am, after realizing it wasn't just a sprain).

Just so happened that $CORP had just changed insurance providers, and the rollover was midnight on that New Year's Day. Several years of back-and-forth ensued between the new provider, the one that was actually obligated to pay, and the old one, that was never very inclined in the first place to pay for what the contract said they had to pay for.

They argued about the meaning of time, I kid you not, and about what midnight really means. In the end, I got stuck with the bill. After already paying for the insurance... it wasn't cheap, and I was making a lot more then than you make now.
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