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Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.

cathyb

Monday, March 22, 2010

Obamacare

....Sigh....  You knew this post would be forthcoming.  Unfortunately, so did I.  For any new readers, my position on Obamacare is very well documented in prior posts, but the short version is this:  I, along with most Americans, and every medical provider I know, are absolutely in favor of healthcare reform.  I, along with a very large number (probably the majority) of Americans, and all of the healthcare providers that I know personally, are opposed to the health care bill that was so tragically passed yesterday.  I'm about as uninformed as one can be on how the politics of it works.  I hear that the senate version is passed to the house, and the house does this or that and sends it back to the senate, and they vote on this, but it depends on that, and "reconciliation"... it all just goes right over my head.  I wish I did understand it better.  I'm afraid it's far more complicated than the Schoolhouse Rock's explanation.  I think there would be less outrage from the opposition (me) if the government had shown some initiative in fixing what's broken, rather than implementing an entirely new concept.  Absolutely something needs to be done.  But, as I have shouted from the housetop for many months now, the face of healthcare could have changed dramatically if Uncle Sam would simply have addressed the fraud that exists in Medicare and Medicaid.  I believe it is 60+ million dollars a YEAR in fraud that they KNOW exists.  So how much more that they haven't yet discovered?  I suck at numbers, but in a prior post I did the math (on my calculator) and divided up how many counties/parishes there are in the US, and divided 40 million dollars (which, at that time, was the estimated fraudulant amount) per year.  It was a huge amount that could have been used for public health, to at least give primary care to indigent patients, or sliding-scale fees to those who work but can't afford (or choose not to have) insurance.  While I know that I would still have opposed it, I think I could have swallowed it a little better, had the current administration been willing to take other avenues in an attempt to "reform" rather than "reinvent".  It will be very interesting to see how it all plays out.  I have asked some of the original Obama supporters, now more than a year after his term began, if they feel like what he promised during his campaign is what we're going to end up with.  Not surprisingly, everyone I have asked has given me a resounding NO for an answer.  Though many supporters stand behind him, I wonder how many of them (at large) are disappointed at what we're finally going to end up with.  I'm not into name calling, but I certainly think anyone who believes that this bill is going to reduce our deficit by x-amount (trillions) of dollars, is a very foolish person.  Maybe it won't be as bad as I think it will be.  But I'd be willing to bet the farm that it ain't gonna be as good as the supporters think it will be.  Do I think everyone deserves health care?  Absolutely.  Do I think it is the responsibility of the government to provide it?  Absolutely not.  Some laws need changing, like the 'pre-existing conditions' exclusion, and single college kids being able to be insured under parents' policies. I just don't understand how anyone with brains in their head could possibly believe that the government, who has PROVEN their incompetency handling healthcare (Medicare/Medicaid) could even remotely hope to reinvent the system.  That fact alone just blows me away. 

To be clear, I do not put blame on the Medicare fraud in Obama's lap.  This is a horrible case of mismanagement that has gone on for years under the direction of Democrats and Republicans alike. 

Oh well, at least now we get to find out what's in the bill.  (Nancy Pelosi quote

When I watch this video, a few questions/comments come to mind: 
~So much for transparency.  She eludes to "the fog" of controversy.  Shouldn't the bill have been understood before the vote?  My understanding is that a final bill didn't even exist before they voted. 
~Diet vs diabetes?  Yes, preventive care is totally the foundation for good health.  (See above regarding providing primary care.)  But wait...  now that this bill will probably be passed into law, does that mean the government will tell us what to eat?  Will they close down the fast food restaurants that make us fat?  Will they track our spending, and revoke our healthcare (or fine us) if we eat too much junk food?  Or, would they do the responsible thing, and go into the school systems and revamp the menu to provide kids healthier eating?  (Tune in to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on ABC) No, probably not, because that would cost a little money.  After all, there is no money for the kids in school... teachers on furlough and losing their jobs, government-mandated lunch menus that fill our kids with HUGE amounts of fat, meat by-products and all sorts of chemicals... 

...but that is another rant for another day. Now I must get busy at my job and work 12 hours today so that my federal tax money can pay for the 16,000 new jobs that will be created in the IRS department so that they can police the nation to make sure everyone has health care.  Buckle up, everybody.  It's going to be a wild ride.

3 comments:

  1. You pay when people without health insurance go to emergency rooms and hospitals around the country. We all do, through price increases at every level to recover the cost of free riders. The only way insurance works is for everyone to be insured. Unless we're ready to turn people away at emergency rooms to let them die in the street without any kind of care, we need insurance for everyone.

    For any Republican to point the finger about process or transparency is the pot calling the kettle black. There are several books on this subject I could recommend to you.

    Remember when we had a budget surplus? Clinton left it for us. Then we got Bush and bye-bye deficit. If you're really concerned about the deficit, stand up and demand that Congress increase taxes to pay for the Bush wars and the too generous tax cuts he enacted.

    Look at all the fact--not just those you like and agree with.

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  2. But quoting the facts I like and agree with is way more fun!! :-)

    I agree that it is a travesty that we went from a surplus to the largest deficit ever, especially in such a short time. And I do acknowledge that we working taxpayers do pay for the uninsured. I've been in healthcare for 35 years, and have seen it from all aspects. I don't know how to fix it. I agree everyone needs healthcare and should never be turned away. And since nobody wanted to take my brilliant idea about FINDING AND FIXING the Medicare fraud money to funding public health, I would personally even be willing to pay more taxes to take care of those uninsured folks and leave healthcare as it is, than to pay more taxes and have MY insurance ultimately change, and not for the better. Nobody will ever convince me that my benefits, that I work and pay for, will be unchanged by this new bill. One thing I wonder is... how will benefits be paid, who will decide the "reasonable and customary" fee schedule? Just because a person has insurance nowadays doesn't mean he/she isn't responsible for a portion of the bill. I had 35K in medical bills this past year. Even with an HMO policy (which is FABulous for the patient, but sucks for the provider), I still had nearly 1K to pay out of my pocket. As it stands today, an insurance card will get you through the door, but does not gaurantee that you will receive the payment your provider prescribes. Nor does it guarantee in any way, shape or form, that you will not be held responsible for part of the balance in the form of co-pays, deductibles, or non-covered services/products. So that means the taxpayer will continue to pick up the tab for services that he/she did not receive. Providing free/sliding-scale primary care would save billions of dollars in ER fees, on most of which not one cent is ever paid. I have already personally felt the crunch, (and probably the anticipation of crunchier times to come) in the form of a recent decrease in pay.

    This is an issue on which we'll never agree, I'm afraid. There are those within my family who have opposing views as well. Makes for interesting dinner conversations. :-D As always, thanks so much for your comments, and by all means, please let me know which books you're referring to. You know me, I'm always willing to look/read/listen to the opposing point of view.

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  3. Crotchety Old ManMarch 22, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    Thanks for your gracious response. You caught me between getting up on the wrong side of the bed and discovering pee in my Wheaties. It's a hugely complicated issue with no easy answers. We'll see how it works out but I don't think it will be nearly as bad as naysayers predict. The two books that really galvanized me were both written by John Dean, of Watergate fame. Conservatives without Conscience and Worse than Watergate. One made me mad as hell and the other scared me to death!

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