Friday, August 28, 2009
Has any family in recent history ever been so revered and loved but so mired in scandal?
JFK is often thought of as one of America's most beloved President, but was famously known for his womanizing, and affairs. Who can forget when his affair was famously rubbed in the face of his wife and country when Marilyn Monroe appeared at his birthday celebration. My mom remembers thinking how tacky it was, and how bad she felt for Jackie. It was also reported that Marilyn was having an affair with Bobby, too.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
The funny thing is, I actually like the universal health care system here in Italy. Having lived with the current American system, and the socialized system in Italy, I really don't have any personal complaints with either system. I see the good and bad with both.
In the US you pay your monthly insurance payments, which are subsidized by your employer, and hope you never get seriously sick, or injured. You also have, through your insurance coverage, the ability to go to the doctor when you have aches, pains, and colds. You can get checkups and yearly examines. If you do get a catastrophic illness or injury that is not covered in your plan, or if your insurance company denies your claim, or drops you, you can go in debt trying to cover those bills. That is, if you are lucky enough to have a job that covers the major part of your insurance, or you can afford it on your own. Only those who have private insurance, or who qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP are covered. This leaves people out.
In socialized medicine you pay monthly taxes which contribute to the universal health care program, and hope you never get seriously sick or injured. You have free access to the hospitals. If you get a chronic or catastrophic injury or illness, you are covered, in most all cases. (We do hear the stories of people denied care). If you need to go to the doctor for a cold or allergies, or something minor, you pay for the doctors visit. Annual examines tend to not be as frequent and you pay a fee for them (in the states the say you should have mammograms, colonoscopies, etc. every year. In Italy they don't push those tests as much.) Not all people pay, only those who earn salaries, and everyone is covered. No one is left out.
In the US I think there is actually more preventative care, for those who have insurance. In a universal care program there is better coverage for catastrophic and chronic illnesses. (That is from my personal observations.) I don’t think people utilize the system as much here, for preventative care, regular check ups, etc.
Many people have expressed a strong desire to implement an universal single payer health care system in America. I decided to make a (rather random) list all of the situations I could think of that directly affect, or are affected by, a change to the health care system. What would it take to get there, and what would be the impact on the tax payer, the economy and private industry?
Where to start? How to pay for it! To implement universal health care all wage earners must pay taxes to fund the universal HC system. Taxes will go up but how much? (I do not believe for one second that a program of this nature, covering 300+ M people could or should be funded by 1% of the population.)
Let’s say you make $50,000/year (median average household income). Under the current US tax system, you pay (rounded up) 30% in taxes. That is $15,000 out of pocket, annually for taxes. If we implement universal health care, and pay (a guestimate of) 45% in taxes, that is $22,500 ($1857/month) out of pocket for taxes. (That is an additional 15% in taxes to pay for universal health care. Is that enough?) This is an increase in taxes of $7500 annually for a person making $50,000 a year, an additional $625 a month. (Yipes, that's a lot. Can anyone offer any expertise/info in this area? How does that compare to what you pay for insurance annually?)
Now, take the figure $7500 (the additional 15% in taxes to cover health care) x the number of tax returns filed (in 2004) 131,113,969 = $983,354,767,500 /annual taxes generated for health care.
Take $983,354,767,500 divided by the number of Americans 303,824,640 = $3236 per person annually for health care + all costs for doctors, drugs, equipment, administration fees, etc. After all administration costs, doctors salaries, overhead, medical equipment upgrades, medications, etc. how much is left for actual care?
I wanted to find out how much England spent per person for their health care, and surprisingly, the numbers are very similar to mine. They spent £91.7 Billion on health care for 50M people. That is ~$3000 per person.
If I take those who filed tax returns subtracted from the entire population, there are still 172,710,671 people not paying into the system. Minors, unemployed, and elderly. Wow, no wonder Obama wanted to *off granny*. haha
Government would then disburse those funds to doctor and hospitals. The doctors/hospitals bill the government for everything - tests performed, hiring staff, purchasing new equipment, surgeries performed, upkeep on buildings, etc. They also have to subsidize medications, and equipment for disabled individuals. They pay all salaries. (Public employees, not the private)
The government has the pot of money ($983,354,767,500 in taxes) in which to pay all of these services. What will the Government budgets be, and how will they control and monitor costs? What happens if they can't afford the system - raise taxes? Limit care? Eliminate types of treatment? Deny requests for updated medical equipment? We hear horror stories of private insurance companies denying care, but it happens in socialized medicine as well. People have been denied surgeries or drugs because they are too expensive. There can be long waits for non-emergency care. From what I have seen in Italy the buildings suffer - chipped paint, run down structures, no private rooms, no frills. (I wrote about this before.) These are scare tactics, they are realities, as I see them here.
My husband said in Italy doctors like to use their equipment because when they perform tests they in turn can bill the government for the tests. This brings more money into their hospitals. Could this lead to fraud, or excessive tests, costing the system too much money?
If a universal health care system is instituted, is it likely people would enter the system for preventative care, and for minor illnesses that they might otherwise have ignored or skipped? Will this strain the current system? Would the system need to higher more doctors, build more hospitals or clinics?
To convert to a single payer universal health care program you need:
- drug companies to lower costs or have the government subsidize the costs
- get eliminate private insurance
- (most likely) pay doctors less money
But with so many in Washington in the pockets of pharmaceutical companies, insurance and medical industries...is this even possible? Democrats have claimed universal health care as the holy grail of reform but many are concerned with reelection and the donations they get from these industries. I asked this before, and I'll ask again, shouldn't this issue be bigger than reelection or big dollar donations? Obama is taking a hit from his far left supporters for his secret pharmaceutical deal.
It's hard to trust people who are in the pocket of certain health care industries when they say they are acting in our best interests. And also profiting. Not to mention being sold by a media who is dishonest.
Under universal health care, I assume they would get rid of Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP. They would no longer be necessary. Or COBRA.
In Europe some people abuse the health care system using the emergency room instead of private doctors for minor illnesses. In Italy, doctors visits are not free. You pay about 150 euro for an appointment. You are sent to the hospital for tests, usually for a small fee. But to bypass the doctors fee, many will just go to the emergency room, which causes a backlog of patients, and long waits, and an extra burden on the system. If we still have people who can't afford doctors visits, is it likely they will use the emergency rooms as their primary care? Could we have lower cost clinics set up to help?
Chronic illnesses, obesity, cancer, smokers, diabetes, AIDS, etc. can all be drains on universal health care systems. For health care reform, do we also need lifestyle reform? HCR is only one solution to help with chronic conditions, but it doesn't address the larger problem. We need to stop some of these illnesses before they start.
Obesity - Do we need even more programs, starting in the schools, promoting healthier foods? More funds for physical activities in schools. More regulation on fast/junk food? Programs at large corporations like gym memberships, gyms on site, incentives for people to ride/walk to work. Other?
Diabetes - Type Two goes in hand with obesity. Type One needs more research to find a cure.
Cancer - Do we need more study into why we get certain cancers? Pollution, microwaves, food additives? Should we outlaw smoking? Need even more research to find cures for cancer?
AIDS - more education on how to prevent AIDS. Target high risk groups.
ADHD and Autism - Why are they on the rise? What causes them?
All of these things (and what else??) require money. Where would that come from?
What happens to these industries if the US does set up a single payer health care system?
How many people are employed by insurance companies? How much money is generated in the economy because of insurance companies, stocks, etc.? What will happen if we do away with private insurance companies and all the employees? Doctors still need malpractice insurance. Will it still be super expensive? Will the government subsidize the payments? Can clinics operate if they are forced to carry expensive malpractice insurance?
Should there be tort reform with an universal health care system? Doctors will still be required to carry malpractice insurance (they do in Italy). Does the government pay for that insurance, subsidize the insurance, or not require public doctors to carry it at all? What will the outcome be to the legal industry if there is tort reform, and stricter guidelines for who can sue? Without malpractice insurance wouldn't the government be the target of lawsuits?
Under universal health care you can't expect people to shell out $500 a month in drugs, etc. So, the government also has to have a deal with the drug companies for lower drug prices, or they need to subsidize costs. What will that do to the drug companies wrt innovation, research, jobs, etc?
Medical Equipment -
Under a universal health care system, when hospitals and doctors put in requests for new medical equipment, will the government approve the requests? Will equipment become outdated? What would the policy be for updating new equipment? (I wrote in my other post that many hospitals do not have all of the tools available, like MRI or CAT scan machines. Some hospitals are not equipped to offer epidurals to women having babies. My SIL had to go to a different hospital to give birth because the hospital near her house was not equipped to administer an epidural.)
What would a possible reduction in new equipment purchases do to the industry, and would it affect innovation? Do we need reform for cheaper machines and equipment?
Currently doctors pay a lot of money to attend the best medical schools, graduating with huge student loans. Will government paid salaries pay off the student loans? Do we need to fix the cost of college admissions to medical school? Will admission costs drop anyway, because med students will opt for cheaper schools? What would that do to the universities, and quality of doctors, anything?
Other possible issues:
Strain on other government services -
Is it a possibility/concern that some people, under an universal health care system, might quit their jobs, which they had to receive health insurance, preferring instead to benefit from free health care (no job - no taxes) and receive welfare? Would this even happen?
Medical records -
Records would need to be entered into an overall government run system. Is that a concern? Privacy concerns? Government gettin' up in your business?
Current state of economy, our national debt -
Should this matter? Is this the wrong time? Does it matter, if we are paying with taxes to implement this program in this economy?
The Poor -
Again, the need for HCR is part of a much larger problem, isn't it? The large number of poor in the *richest country in the world*. While not every unemployed or poor person can become employed or no longer poor, I do think there are things that can be fixed.
There are those who can't work because of disabilities - mental, physical. - need more programs for creating jobs for people with certain disabilities? For example voice activated software for blind people, etc. However, some people are unable to work and will be on permanent disability.
A lack of education - Schools lack funding, not enough resources to provide quality educations in poorer areas? Also, when there are school funding cuts teachers lose jobs, programs are cut. We need to put more money into the schools.... how?
Those who lack skills - Institute programs where people go to college (teachers, nurses, doctors, etc.) and tech schools and then work for the government/community for a few years?
For those people living in depressed areas, places where unemployment is very high - do we need more relocation programs? Programs/new legislation/tax laws to bring industries back to those communities?
Jobs lost overseas
We have lost a lot of jobs overseas - China, India, Mexico....We need to fix tax and pollution policies to bring those companies back?
Undocumented workers - 12 Million undocumented workers *doing the jobs that no one else wants to do*. We supposedly have lost 12 M jobs to illegal workers but they are jobs no one wants anyway? Low paying jobs? Do we need to either make illegals legal tax paying citizens, or return those jobs to the unemployed. (I don't accept the idea that these jobs are *beneath* anyone. Construction, restaurant, hotel, and farm labor are all decent industries and honest work.)
Many immigrants are living and working, and have kids attending schools, but live below the poverty line. Solutions?
Chronic unemployed/welfare recipients - Not all welfare recipients are generational poor who just "live off the government", but it does happen. Women with kids. Do we need welfare reform? Government run day cares so women can leave kids and get jobs? Work for welfare programs? (Doesn't Canada require welfare recipients to work for their checks?)
Divorced parents, mostly women who were stay at home moms, have kids but no work experience, or money for day care?
Some of the homeless and poor are people who have addictions. Do we legalize drugs, and tax them? Need more programs to get people clean and off the streets? Tighter border controls? The war on drugs isn't really working is it?
What else am I missing?
If you are for or against universal health care please explain why. If you have money, you have access to private care. Is it taxes, no faith in the government, just this administration, worried about the horror stories we hear, what else? I just found this article: An American Universal Health Care System
I believe a public option insurance plan would eventually lead to universal health care, so even though a public option is currently (possibly) on the table, not universal health care, I think this discussion is relevant.
What did I leave out? What else would be impacted?
I read on HotAir: "Weiner wants to destroy the private sector insurance market, which accounts for 15% of the American economy, in order to have government control health-care decisions." Insurance makes up 15% of the economy? That is pretty significant. Getting rid of the private insurance will leave a lot of people unemployed, and destroy?? 15% of the economy?
Someone else on NoQuarter asked: "That’s something I haven’t heard addressed in comparisons to UHC countries - do their presidents/prime ministers and other representatives have to use the UHC system?"
To which I replied:
Berlusconi went to the US for surgery.
Berlusconi, whom the AP calls “a media mogul and one of Italy’s richest men,” came to the United States in 2006 for surgery to correct an irregular heart beat with a pacemaker, a problem he likely discovered after his collapse at a political rally, though he maintained that fatique was the source of his fall. The operation took place at Cleveland Heart Center in Ohio. “Everything went according to expectations and without any particular problem,” Dr. Andrea Natale told the Italian news at the time.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
In America we have Medicare for the elderly, Medicaid for lower income Americans, SCHIP for children, and COBRA for the temporarily unemployed. The main argument we hear for reform is that 46 million Americans do not have insurance. Who are these 46 Million, and why don't they have access to Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP or Cobra?
For the record, according to the latest figures from the Census Bureau, 45.6 million Americans currently lack health insurance. This is actually down slightly from the 47 million that were uninsured in 2006. However, those numbers don't tell the whole story.
For example, roughly one quarter of those counted as uninsured -- 12 million people -- are eligible for Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), but haven't enrolled. This includes 64 percent of all uninsured children, and 29 percent of parents with children. Since these people would be enrolled in those programs automatically if they went to the hospital for care, calling them uninsured is really a smokescreen.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Thursday, August 13, 2009
But, what do ya know, it is a pro-single payer group that has been lugging around the gigantic Obama Hitler poster.
And not only are the people behind this poster with La RouchePAC (Stop Obama's NAZI Plan) and in favor of Single Payer, but they are also supporters of Congressman Dingle.
Read more about it here, at the blog prof.
And speaking of plants, remember the little girl who asked Obama about all those *mean signs* she saw outside? (I wonder if she saw the Obama as Hitler one?)
Well, turns out her mom is a huge Obama contributor and fundraiser. She has met Michelle, the daughters, Biden, and Obama. Shocking, I know.
Gateway Pundit and Michelle Malkin both did some digging and it is really quite remarkable that the Obama camp tries to pass these things off as anything other than plants. The media has now picked up the story. (well, FOX has, anyway. Also here.) Bill O'Reilly covered this, and the AARP false claim in his Talking Points memo.
(How long will it take for the left to accuse people of attacking this little girl, for pointing out her mom is connected to Obama? The same type of people that attacked Palin's children - like this site: Trig is the name, and I am retarded.)
Be sure to check out Michelle's The illustrated guide to Obamacare human props, where she features more plants.
Plants aren't only found at Obama events. Seems Sheila Jackson had a rare type of plant, an Obama delegate who lied about being a doctor.
Check out Patterico's Pontification for the full story, including an email exchange with *Dr.* Roxanne Mayer.
The liberal media is ridiculing opponents to Health Care reform accusing them of societal sabotage, and calling them fake astroturf groups and racist who just can't accept a black president. They have been called ugly, nasty and unhinged teabaggers. And Tingles is convinced they are all racist birthers.
Ed Shultz (honestly, who really gives a flying fig what Shultz says, does anyone even watch his show?) said, "...these folks, I think, they're dumber than Joe the Plumber....the old right wing, they're playing on the old, angry white uneducated misinformed Americans to go out there and carry the torch in the Republican party right now."
Lawrence O'Donnell went absolutely apeshit on one of his guests, while filling in for Shultz. Will this go down as one of the WORST interviews in history? (It probably would if anyone actually watched this show...)
Is it really any wonder that msnbc is the worst in cable news? Perhaps if they actually put aside their bias, and did their jobs, (and quit obsessing over FOX) they wouldn't be tanking like they are. Heck, Chris Matthews lost to CNN hosted by Kathy Griffith.
Don't think they are bias? Who said this, and when?
"It is political dissent that created this country and sustained it and improved it.”
And what does he say about dissent now?
"The staged astroturf protests at the health care town halls are no longer about the proposed reform, no longer even about health care-now, transparent euphemisms for racism....It isn't taxes and it isn't tea parties and it isn't stimuli and it isn't Sotomayor and it isn't health care reform and it isn't the public option. Do some of these people simply fear and hate a black president?"
My how the times have changed.
People are angry, and frustrated, on both sides. But I have a feeling the *right wing racist teabaggers* are fed up and pissed off because they aren't being listened to. They are just attacked. How can anyone expect civil debate when one side is repeatedly attacked and insulted. And no, they don't deserve this. It started long before the HCR debate did.
Monday, August 10, 2009
"As the Democrat leadership and their media minions try to convince America that town hall protesters are an angry mob organized by conservative organizations, they completely ignore the efforts by Obama supporters at such gatherings.
The following video shows how members of Organizing for America -- the new iteration of the presidential candidate's campaign group Obama for America -- passed out pro-healthcare reform signs and leaflets before Rep. Kathy Castor's (D-Fla.) now infamous town hall meeting in Tampa, Florida, last Thursday."
But people who oppose the HCR are accused of astroturfing? I wonder if being locked out, knowing that people supporting HCR were allowed in made people a bit angry?
"From a townhall attendee: Kathy Castor's union thugs beat up a guy (in the green shirt - evidence 3:21) and shut the doors to prevent the opposing opinions from being heard. She then proceeded leave, not taking any questions, because "she couldn't hear." Translation: she doesn't have answers 'cause she hasn't read the House bill.
There are other videos of citizens who accidentally made it into the hall through the back door before the event because people thought they were union. Castor's constituents were basically banned from the event because they picked a small venue and stacked the audience beforehand."
Nancy and the Astroturfers
And what about this woman who was arrested for joining in on beating Kenneth Gladney? First she says to him, "Get down here, black man." Then she attacks him hours later, and is arrested, and she says she works for Congressman Russ Carnahan. (And now the left is trying to smear him like they did Joe the plumber.)
This was the scene when I arrived at Stout Street Clinic in downtown Denver. Nancy Pelosi is to pay a visit to the clinic within the hour. About 200 people opposed to Obama’s healthcare agenda braved the mile high Denver sun and high temperatures to show their opposition. Their signs indicate that they are well aware that they have been vilified and targeted in an Oval Office astroturfing campaign designed to discredit their opposition.
First let’s look at the messages and faces of these hardy dissenters. Take a close look so you can compare them to the community organizers who will soon enter the scene and harass them. These citizens have been described by the Democratic National Committee in an ad as “angry mobs organized by desperate Republicans and their well funded allies.” Continue here for the rest of this story.
We have seen some shouting matches at the events, and personally, I am not into shouting. But if people are being locked out, and are being treated how they were at Cantor's townhall, who can blame them. Oh, the media has ignored that protesters have been slapped, too.
Protesters are being called teabaggers, racist, un-American, Nazi's, liars, mobs, etc. Democrats have said they are too well dressed to be grassroots, that they are showing up wearing swastikas, that they are astroturf movements, etc. They have been called angry mobs! Are you a member of the mob?
Protesters have been assaulted. And they have had thugs show up at their homes in the middle of the night. And they are being screamed at by members of Congress.
Why are the Democrats even holding these townhalls. We keep hearing about how they have the majority. If they want this so bad, why don't the Democrats just vote and be done with it? If Democrats truly, truly care about accomplishing health care reform, shouldn't their yea vote be more important than their reelection? Why don't they have the votes?
And why doesn't the media report on the violence, yelling, mob behavior, threats and the astroturfing that has come from the left?
Friday, August 7, 2009
CONTESSA BREWER: Is a poster of the President as the Joker racist? The posters in Los Angeles and elsewhere show the President as The Dark Knight version of the Joker above the word ‘socialism,’ you see it there. Except nobody seems to know who came up with this Obama image, face painted white, lipstick in the shape of an extended grin, he’s got the dark eye shadow. And no one seems to know who’s hanging them up. Phillip Kennicott is a style reporter for The Washington Post. Phillip, have you been able to get any further in finding out who’s behind it?
PHILLIP KENNICOTT: Last I checked, we still don’t know who’s done it, and I’m not sure that we will find out anytime soon.
BREWER: Alright, in your article on The Washington Post, you say – let me just give the title: ‘Obama as the Joker: Racial Fears, Ugly Face.’ Explain what you mean.
KENNICOTT: Well, I go back to the original context of the Joker in the Batman films. And these films have always been about urban fears, and quite simply, those fears code in many ways, black. They play into anti-African-American stereotypes. Which is one of the reasons I think they chose this particular comic book villain, instead of some other, to superimpose over the face of the President.
BREWER: But we – and we just put it up there – we saw George W. Bush on Vanity Fair as the Joker. I mean, then why would this be racially motivated?
"I guess the Democrats were right after all. At a town meeting held by a Democrat congressman, a rowdy group of organized and angry thugs showed up to make a point about ObamaCare, and then beat up a man. Race was involved, too: the victim was black — attacked by a man yelling racial slurs.
It’s every Democrat talking point you’ve read about in the last day or two, come to life in an ugly fashion.
With one twist. The black victim was a conservative."
And the man arrested was an SEIU member, part of an astroturf movement to counter Americans opposed to Obamacare.
It wasn't enough to insult the people, accusing them of racism, carrying swasticas, calling them un-American, and a fake, well dressed (?) astroturf movement, calling them brown shirts, and asking supporters to *snitch* on those who oppose them, and much more at memorandum, but to send out thugs, with the message: “If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard” is a wee bit extreme, don't you think?
Bottom line, the Democrats have the majority in the House and Senate. If they can't get the bill passed, it is the fault of their own party, not Republicans, and not American citizens protesting. They are lashing out and blaming these crazy *mobs* for their own failures, and shortcomings.
Heck, they're even attacking members of their own party.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
One patient in Oregon got a letter that made this all too clear, when in the same letter rejecting her request for life-extending chemotherapy, Oregon offered her “physician-aid-in-dying”. In other words, Oregon offered their customer a heapin’ helping of death:
Yikes, *sorry, no drugs for you, but we can help you commit suicide*. I think this is what Obama was talking about when he said maybe a pill is best?
When it comes to health care reform, I have listened to both sides of the debate, and can agree with portions of both arguments. Living in Italy, where we have socialized medicine, I also see the good and the bad with this type of system. For the most part, I have stayed out of the health care reform issue. I believe the American people should be *the deciders* on this important issue. But, I am pissed when the Senate scoffs at reading the bills, and I worry about the attempts to pass this so quickly.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
One issue I have been wondering about/trying to find addressed is how the Health Care reform will reconcile the costs of Medical School with the new govt. subsidized Doctor salaries.
In American, doesn’t med school run upwards of $100,000+?
My husbands cousin spent around $300o - $4000 for her entire university and med school in Italy.
Doctors graduating in America, with massive debt, I would assume expect to earn salaries that will allow them to repay their loans. Under a gov run plan, I don’t see that happening…?
Has this issue been addressed?