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Three score and ten or more

Friday, September 04, 2009

No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick

I have written below that I am one conservative who believes that some kind of national health program probably should be enacted, though I don't think that what is currently offered could be fair, fast, and impartial.  I believe that any National Health program, if enacted must meet those criteria.

Having said that, I must react to the title of this post, which has been rampant on Facebook all day yesterday, and again today.   Simplistic  little homilies like this are, in my opinion, extremely dangerous.  It wouldn't take anyone much research into the  past to find examples of this kind which have done great harm.  Heinrich Himmler was a master at this type of homily, and modern advertising shoves them down our throats constantly.  If you say and hear them enough times they seem to be truth by default.  On their faces they seem innocent enough, but little advertising homilies like this become evidence of "global warming"  the evils of almost every war (they were common in World War I, they were used as evidence supporting the internment of Japanese citizens in World War II, and their use to attack the nation and the military during both the Korean War and the Vietnam War, let alone the conflicts in which we are now involved is pretty obvious to any thinking person).  The are the basis of merchandising hucksters of every variety and I dare say almost everyone can think of a homily of this type used during our lifetime to identify the best toothpastes, chewing gums, oral antiseptics, feminine hygiene products , etc.   They are little emotional tugs that we are trained by our society to accept as if they were evidence.

This is a very personal thing with me right now.  I have a son who is suffering from cirrhosis of the liver who might indeed die soon because he (and I) can't afford the treatment (liver transplant among other things) that are necessary for his survival.   He has no insurance and, as closely as I can figure it, we don't have the resources, even by going broke, to take the place of the needed insurance.

Aha, we say, a perfect example, but it is one of the reasons I am fearful of the "so called"  public option.  The fact is, that the resources are available for his treatment if he could be declared disabled.  His liver doctor has produced massive evidence that he is disabled.  Anyone who sees him knows that he is disabled. All the proper forms and examinations have been done, but this label of disability is so wrapped in red tape and difficulty that almost no-one gets there without a lawyer.  If you watch television you cannot avoid the millions of dollars worth advertising for the "Nation's most experienced disability and Social Security law firm."    Can you imagine how many people have to be in my son's position, not all with Cirrhotic livers, but with Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, (a diagnosis mistakenly dumped on me, some years ago), Muscular dystrophy and just plain heart disease, etc. for these tort  types to make enough money for them to afford million dollars worth of advertising.   If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would conceive of government bureaucrats by the thousands taking little cuts of the attorney fees, for making things that are already  provided by our government difficult to get.   

The New Health program as presented to us provides so much opportunity for corruption (can you imagine our taxes taking the place of malpractice insurance to uplift the lifestyles of the Attorney Class.)

On the other hand, I listened to Neil Boortz yesterday attacking a caller who is diabetic, who lost his job in the downturn, and is functionally unemployable because new employers would be faced with the difficulty of insuring a type 2 insulin using diabetic.  Boortz in his deliberately offensive manner asked the man "What is it in your misfortune make you feel that you are entitled to part of my earnings for your support?  Is there anything? Yes or No?"     When the caller tried to explain Boortz boorishly cut him off , asking for that Yes or No answer, attacking the caller, and eventually cutting him off so that he (Boortz) could berate him a little more.

Only moments before the call, Neil had pointed out that he had a million dollar house in Florida and another of about the same value in Atlanta, and because he had mistakenly deducted the interest on his mortgages and had had to pay some 60,000  dollars in penalties.

After he finished his tirade, my thought was "Mr Boortz, can you think of any reason, if your million dollar houses caught fire that you should get the benefits , from my (Well, not MY, I don't live in Florida) taxes to send Firemen to risk their lives putting out your fire?"    The diabetic in California didn't deliberately give himself diabetes to make a claim on Boortz's  treasure, but Boortz certainly deliberately build the houses, which, if on fire, he would expect the firemen to come visit.

This is not an easy damn topic, and clear measures are taken in the current bill(s)  to protect union men and congressmen from having their "insurance and pensions etc. at risk.   Somewhere along the line Obama and his supporters have to acknowledge how much the lawyers and their malpractice games are costing us.  I fear governmental rationing of healthcare that would be important to a seventy five year old coot, but fear of malpractice is already rationing care by doctors who refuse to do dangerous or new procedures because of Lawyer paranoia.   Care is already rationed by bureaucrats for people like my son who hasn't got the right lawyer interested in his liver.   Care is already rationed by Insurance companies (have you noticed that you just about can't get hospital care until you run the project past your insurance company.  

I think the Sean Hannitys of the world who say over and over again that we have the best medical care system in the world are really saying that we have the best Medical Care in the world, but the system needs to be fixed to protect doctors so that they don't have to inflate the costs billed, so that the insurance companies or the state can't limit the payments to amounts way below cost, so that nearly half of every medical bill is not a cost created by malpractice insurance.    Nothing in the current prospects as they have been revealed to us solves those problems.  No one that I can discern, has even sat down analytically to try to discover what problems really exist in our current system.  All the solutions are emotional band aids  trying to cover sores that are not even known for sure to be there, or to be there in a form that can be treated by their Band-Aids.