Archive for July, 2009

HEALTHCARE: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

July 19, 2009

Here is your crash course in health care “reform”.

First, is our healthcare system broken? As my husband says, let me break it down Barney-style for you. No, it is not broken.  Do you believe our grocery store system is broken? You know, the system that works by providing what all of us would deem a basic life necessity (food) for a price. Nope, it works pretty darn well.  And, really how many of us want to be on the government grocery handout? Do you want to eat government cheese and rice everyday? I didn’t think so.

Let’s not forget that there are many different kinds of grocery stores as well to suit a variety of tastes, wants, and needs.  There’s organic and natural, gourmet, discount, regular, suburban, quickmarts, ethnic, co-ops, bulk warehouses, speciality (butcher, bakery, etc.),  and probably many more.  We have a marketplace of food stuffs out there providing for seemingly every taste and catering to all budgets as well. And those who truly struggle and cannot afford to supply all or any of their own food needs are typically provided for through community and religious efforts such as soup kitchens and Feed The Children, not by government. But most people get their food with their own resources through a grocery store of some kind.  And it works.  Can I afford to shop at AJ’s Fine Foods on a weekly basis? No. So I don’t, and the Basha’s family of grocery stores knows that and provides a solution.

The Basha’s family of grocery stores has 6 different store formats, 3 of which are major grocery stores.  Those stores are AJ’s Fine Foods (gourmet and high end stuff), Basha’s Supermarket (run of the mill average grocery store), and Food City (lower priced grocery store typically in less well to do neighborhoods.). I’ve shopped in all three stores, the food is fine in all of them.  But I cannot afford the high end stuff at AJ’s  every week (like seven dollar peanut butter), and I don’t have to when I can get a similar item at the other two stores for considerably less. That is because I have options.  Basha’s knows that people need that, that’s why they have different stores.  And any grocery also know that people need price options, that’s why they carry different brands and now have store brands (Progresso soup for $3.50 or store brand for $0.99?) You pick what works for you, but you have to pay for it otherwise it’s called stealing. And judging by the size (ahem) of many of what we call the poor, I think they’re getting plenty to eat.  In fact, judging by the size of many Americans of varying socio-economic classes, I’d say we are served well (pun intended).

We are constantly told about the millions of “uninsured” in America. There are apparently 46-50 million of these uninsured. Let’s address this number, again Barney-style:

“But it’s hard to envision how health reform can avoid tripping the immigration booby trap. Approximately 15–22 percent of the 46 million residents of the United States without health coverage are illegal aliens. That’s about 9 or 10 million people. More generally, a third of the foreign-born are uninsured, Census data analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies show. That means something like 12.6 million people, or more than a fourth of the total uninsured, are immigrants, both legal and illegal. Since 1989, immigration is responsible for 71 percent of the rise in those without health insurance.  The fact is, the problem of the uninsured would be a more manageable one if the U.S. were not admitting millions of uninsured immigrants.” —-from

And who are the rest of the uninsured? Let me tell you: Another 14 million are people who qualify for government care but chose not to sign up because they don’t want to pay the premium. These people are eligible to sign up whenever they please regardless of preexisting condition. Roughly 27 million of that number are those with personal incomes in excess of $50,000/year who don’t qualify for govt. care but could purchase their own in the marketplace, or possibly through employers, but they choose to do neither. This group may also have incomes that allow them to pay out of pocket for healthcare as it is required by them and their families. Two-0thirds of the uninsured are 18-34 year olds, a group that most likely thinks they are healthy so they don’t need healthcare, and thus are likely to spend their money in other ways they see fit.  The number of uninsured also includes people who are switching jobs and thus insurance companies.

That doesn’t leave a whole lot of truly unisured people.  Those people are still able to receive emergency care at hospitals.  There are probably also community clinics available to most of these people as well.  I used to work for Catholic Community Services in their Tucson dental clinic.  Payment was based on a sliding scale according to income.  Eligibility was determined by income (you had to be poor) and bring proof of residency (gas bill, etc.). The clinic offered dental, medical, eye, and ob/gyn care. Again, the community and religious organizations fill a need here.

There is plenty of access to quality healthcare for various levels of income. It may not be 100% perfect, but it’s pretty darn good.  So why do we want to make pretty darn good into really friggin bad? Why do we want to wait months for pap smears and CT scans? Why do we want to railroad seniors it to not getting care because they would not be considered priorities? Why would we give up timely treatment of cancers and arthritis and other diseases that, as of now, have a high recovery rate in this country? Here’s a good primer on what is wrong with socialized medicine:

Why do people think that the care will be better when fewer are able to administer it, access it, and payment to provides will be far less? One of the reasons that healthcare costs are high is because of lawsuits and the malpractice insurance required to defend against them.  If congress really wants to do something useful (besides working less and taking a pay cut…and by the way, their medical plan covers everything and they get it for life) they should consider looking at tort reform.

While you might here that you can keep the coverage you have, this statement should have an asterisk at the end of it.  If the “reform” bill is passed you will not be allowed to sign up for any kind of private plan, nor will companies be allowed to take on new customers (which seems to mean that if you and your family are covered by blue cross and have a baby, the new baby will have to go government), and within 5 years all the plans will have to be just like the government one. So, what the hell is the point in keeping what you’ve got? 

If we are going to make changes, they should be for the better. That should go without saying. I think the healthcare system should function, in some ways, like our grocery system.  There should be a marketplace, a variety of products for consumers to choose from.  This is one way to keep costs competitive.  I also think healthcare insurance plans should be portable, not tied to an employer.  And I believe that there should be a far greater emphasis on health savings accounts and catastrophic coverage purchased by individuals.

This healthcare bill is 1000+ pages and they want it passed by the end of the month (with less than 3 weeks to read and discuss it after it was written).  The Patriot Act was 342 pages(And remember all the noise we heard about that?), and began it’s life after the attack of September 11, 2001 and was passed on October 26, 2001 (with 98 yeas in the senate, 1 nay, 1 abstained and 357 yeas in the house, 66 nays, 9 not voting) and then again in 2006 ( senate 89 yea, 10nay, 1 no vote and house 280 yea, 138 nay, 14 no vote). And by the way, the constitutional convention in Philadelphia was from May to September 1787, the original document fit on 4 handwritten pages. After the Convention passed the Constitution it went to the states where in December of 1787 Delaware was the first state to ratify the constitution and Vermont the last in 1791, and Virginia was the last to ratify the Bill of Rights, also in 1791.

The short and succinct Constitution made a nation and took far fewer people than are in the congress today far more time to come to a consensus on such a reformative document.  Not to mention the pages and pages of discourse that were penned and exchanged on the topic in such writings as the Federalist Papers. But now, progressives want to transform the country into something it was never meant to be into something that is not achievable anywhere on earth, they want utopia.  This is a fanciful child’s dream of naivete. This healthcare reform act will only make things worse.

Please help to put a stop to this madness by signing a petition to keep healthcare out of the government’s hands. And after you sign it, please forward it to everyone you know. At this point the signatures are nearing 500,000, and the new goal is for 1 million.


Musings of an amusing mind…and stuff you should think about.

July 16, 2009

Today’s post is just snippets, previews, if you will.

1. Was Michael Jackson’s death a freak tragic accident or was it orechestrated by higher powers? And by higher powers I mean…The Republican National Commitee.  At first I thought maybe.  After all The King of Pop died right as the Mark Sanford scandal broke. It was like magic.  One minute it seems like we would be hearing about Sanford for days, then The Man in the Mirror dies and it’s wall to wall MJ. But then Sanford came out and made an even larger ass of himself saying that he needed to tell his story, when most people would have just quietly slipped into the background. So, no, it couldn’t have been the RNC.  But maybe it was the DNC or the Administration. I think it’s far more likely that if MJ’s death was orchestrated is was done so to take attention away from Iran, North Korea’s missle launching, deaths of our military abroad despite pulling out and no one named Bush in office, and anything that comes out of Joe Biden’s mouth.

2. Was Dick Cheney covering up some super secret black helicopeter CIA operation? Probably not. You might have heard the contrary, but this is mostly to cover Pelosi’s ass about waterboarding. The program in question was apparently not fully operational and the CIA is not required to brief on such things that are not operational.  And by the by, the program was to kill Al Qaeda leaders abroad. You know, the same Al Qaeda that those people who are against action in Iraq say we should actually be at war with. The same Al Qaeda that like to blow themselves and others up for fun and virgins. A program to kill those guys…raise your hand if you’re against that.

3.  I just saw the movie “Knowing” with Nicholas Cage.  It was dreadful (In fact the only decent movie I’ve seen in theaters in years is Disney/Pixar’s “Up”, but that is not the point). The premise is (spoiler alert) that this little girl in the 1950s has voices in her head telling her all these things that she writes down and sticks in a time capsule. The things she writes down are a giant list of numbers that are the lat. and long. coordinates, dates, and number of dead for all the catastrophes in the world for the next 50 years. Time capsule gets dug up, list is in Nick Cage’s posession, and being the brilliant astrophysicist he is he figures it out.  Through the whole movie we hear how there is an Indian summer, solar flares that will disrupt cell service, and so forth.  As it turns out, The last date on the list is happening in just a few short days after the list is discovered, but there’s only a date, no body count or coordinates.  And do you know why, cuz it’s the end of the world.  And do you know how the world ends? The Sun gets too damn hot and we all fade to white.  Or at least that was the artistic interpretation of what a giant solar flare does to the world. What I’d like to point out is that this movie is based on the fact that the sun is hot and volatile. Not only can and does it warm the Earth but it kills us all.  Not the SUVs (which Mr. Cage drives in the movie), not carbon, not coal, not anything but the Sun. I know this was a movie, but you do realize how much the sun contributes to our climate right? You’ve noticed that it gets cooler, even dramatically so at night or when it’s cloudy (even in the summer!), haven’t you? If you haven’t noticed this then give my regards to Osama, ’cause you must be living in the same cave he’s in.

more to come later.