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Currently viewing the tag: "Health Care"

There really is no depth to which the GOP will refuse to sink right now:

Claiming that the president was preying on the public’s fear of contracting a fatal disease last week when he declared the H1N1 virus a national emergency, Republican leaders announced Wednesday that they were officially endorsing the swine flu.

“Thousands of Americans—hardworking ordinary Americans like you and me—already have H1N1,” Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said during a press conference. “Now Obama wants to take that away from us. Ask yourself: Do you want the federal government making these kinds of health care decisions for you and your family?”

Other prominent Republicans opposing Obama’s declaration of emergency include Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who urged residents of his state to continue not washing their hands.

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One thing that I didn’t take away from the news reports today about Harry Reid’s announcement about the inclusion of a public option in the bill that will be presented to the Senate for a floor vote is this:


I highlight that because one of the main arguments in favor of a public option has been the cost pressure that a public option would exert on the private “health” insurance market due to the potential scale of a real public option that ANYONE could choose to opt into.

If the public option is only available to a tiny slice of the American people, this “economies of scale” argument gets dramatically weakened.

Just something to bear in mind while pondering the convoluted legislative goulash the spineless schmuck in charge of the Senate put out there today.

h/t to The Rachel Maddow Show and Senator Ron Wyden (from my home state of Oregon) for casting this in the light I describe above.

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Here’s a random thought I wrote on Facebook recently about the announcement today that weak little Harry Reid managed to muster what little gumption he still possesses in order to include a public option in the health care reform bill that’s headed for a floor vote in the Senate, which is qualified by the idea of a state “opt-out”:

If it’s an opt out after the program has been in place for a few years, I don’t think there’s even a slim chance that insane wingnut politicians (even in the south) will have the stones to actually affirmatively yank millions of their constituents out of a health care option that’s been made available to them for years.

In my opinion, the opt-out is just a bit of Washington Kabuki to allow corrupt, spineless conservadems to strut and preen like they forced something “responsible” into the bill while all the liberals were off going crazy with wacky ideas like single-payer, communism and what-not.

What do you think?

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More of this please:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) took shots at his own party’s leaders in the House currently, and blasted fellow Republicans for having failed to [pass] reform healthcare during the first six years of the Bush administration, when Republicans held Congress and the White House.

“Unfortunately, I see a lot of Republicans simply involved in political games,” Rohrabacher said in an interview with conservative bloggers at this past weekend’s Western Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in videos posted by the conservative blog Hot Air.

The Republican leadership in the House right now is constantly trying to play a political game every day to try and get a headline, and I don’t think that’s going to take us anywhere,” he added.


This is really just too sad for words:

One of the worst tragedies of the recession has been people losing their health insurance because they lost their job. Nearly 14,000 Americans lose their insurance every day. Wisconsin father Bill Caudle was laid off from his job at a plastics company in March 2009, which resulted in his family losing their employer-subsidized health care coverage. This put the family in an especially precarious position, because Bill’s wife, Michelle, was an ovarian cancer patient. After months of unsuccessfully looking for work, Caudle did the only thing he could to get his wife chemotherapy — he joined the Army:

Bill needed a job. He needed health benefits. […]

The Army would solve their health coverage problem. In years past he would have been too old, but in 2005 the age limit for enlistment was increased from 35 to 40, and a year later it was raised again to 42. The tradeoff would be his absence from home.

In the end, although he risked leaving Michelle to fight cancer on her own, Bill chose the Army. He signed on for a job as a signal support systems specialist, a soldier who works with communications equipment.

“Seventy percent of the reason is for the insurance,” said Bill’s mother, Marguerite Hemiller. “He told me, ‘I’ve always wanted to do something for my country and I have to help Michelle.’”

The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not guarentee comprehensive health coverage to all of its citizens. In the rest of the developed world, Bill would not have to leave his cancer-stricken wife behind and risk his own life in order to get her care.

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Stories like this have been coming out on a regular basis lately. I must say that they are all terribly heart-wrenching. To think that the Republican Party has basically become the party of “Let them eat cake” in the face of stories like this is very depressing to me.

Here’s Dawn’s story:

Yesterday, Dawn Smith — who has a brain tumor her insurer has refused to help treat — traveled from her home in Atlanta, Georgia to request a meeting with H. Edward Hanway, CEO of the health insurance giant CIGNA. She has been a victim of a series of insurance company abuses, and she wanted to give both Hanway and leaders in Congress a message. Hanway refused to meet with Smith, and instead dispatched his Cheif Medical Officer Jeff Kang to listen to her. Kang admitted that CIGNA’s complex claims unit requires serious changes but said his company would not even review the possibility of paying for her care until November.

Smith, a premiums-paying customer of CIGNA, was diagnosed with a type of brain tumor in 2005, then another one in 2007. Although CIGNA covered her brain biospy and some medication payments, she has battled with the insurer for years because of multiple denials of payment for the specialized care she needs to cure the tumors. After paying out-of-pocket for care in one instance, CIGNA nearly doubled her premiums anyway. In early October, a CIGNA representative told her that the co-pay on her anti-epileptic medicine was being hiked by more than $3,000 a year.

ThinkProgress asked Smith what message she has for Congress “I would encourage them to hear the stories from their citizens because, you know, a lot of people talk about the cost [to] children of our future, our grandchildren. But, there are grandchildren dying now. There are children dying now. […] I don’t understand how you can justify ‘die now, so we can save money later.’ Because that’s what it is; that’s what it boils down to.”

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Why the Democrats aren’t running with ads 24×7 highlighting stories like this is beyond me:

In the state of New York, insurers are legally prohibited from discriminating against individuals who submit large claims. So when Guardian, a major insurance company, was faced with the high-cost claims of 37 year-old muscular distrophy victim Ian Pearl, it decided to cancel its entire line of coverage in the state of New York rather than pay for Pearl’s claims. In an e-mail obtained by The Washington Times, it was revealed that one executive at the company refers to patients like Pearl as “dogs” that the company can simply “get rid of”:

Legally barred from discriminating against individuals who submit large claims, the New York-based insurer simply canceled lines of coverage altogether in entire states to avoid paying high-cost claims like Mr. Pearl’s. In an e-mail, one Guardian Life Insurance Co. executive called high-cost patients such as Mr. Pearl “dogs” that the company could “get rid of.”

A federal court quickly ruled that the company’s actions were legal, so on Dec. 1, barring an order by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Pearl will lose his benefits.

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