August 14, 2009


Healthcare, Americans & David Frum

I am not a fan of David Frum. Maybe its his snotty demeanor as one of Bush's speechwriters ('axis of evil', anyone?), but, ugh.

Anyway. He's waded into the current American debate on revising health care. I like the use of the word 'revise', actually, considering 47 million Americans are uninsured - and that's the number from 2008, which of course has no doubt increased with the subsequent crash of the economy. So. Revising is one term; actually getting any is probably more on point.

Frum writes in the Timesonline here his take on why Americans are right (well, right wing Americans) in getting angry enough to arm themselves at townhall meetings.

Now, read the Frum piece and explain something to me. He makes no frigging sense at all. He notes that Medicare and Medicaid scoop up the poorest people (and provide the poorest coverage), and people with good insurance get good care, even fantastic care. Oh, and those tens of millions - and growing - in the middle? Oops. Whatever.

He notes that they do get care. Emergency room care, the most expensive kind. But hey, at least they get some. And apparently, that glut of people in the middle - they yous and mes - don't deserve day to day, preventative, decent medical care. The kind that prevents major diseases with early detection, screenings, and all those things that happen when untended moles become mountains.

Oh, he says that laws make medical care prohibitive, and those pesky states lob on more requirements to the federal statutes. "Fifteen of the 50 states require insurers to cover fertility treatments. Twenty-four states require coverage of eating disorders. Thirty-five states require coverage of reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy. New York state requires insurers to charge the same rate for all customers, regardless of health conditions, while 11 other states tightly restrict the ability to charge more for more sick patients."

Man, how horrid is that? Forcing coverage for surgery after a mastectomy? Stupid women thinking they deserve something frivolous. Your kid is anorexic? Tough. Not being able to charge more for sick patients? That's positively un-American.

Oh, and that damned Obama, daring to point out that 80% of funds go into patients literally in the final days of their lives. See, that's just the truth. We have this belief that our bodies are supposed to last forever, at any price.

I have several friends in the medical community, and they are obligated to provide strenuous, full out care on any patient. Regardless of diagnosis, age, condition or, in most cases, even against the patient's wishes. And this is the real debate, I think.

There are all these forums in the States, where Sarah Idiot Palin has decided to fluff up the morons and tell them a panel will pull the plug on the weak, the old, the infirm, the addled. Oh, please. Have any of you ever actually dealt with someone in the final stages of their lives? Do you know how many of them would welcome an honest conversation about their prognosis, how many would like the pain to stop, how many would like the dignity to decide for themselves? How many would like to go home? Rip out the damned tubes, opt out of the surgeries that can't save them, and stop the pretense that they're going to get better?

My mother was this person; my father was not. But my father had the option to keep fighting, and my mother did not. It's time somebody asked the people who's opinion matters the most on this: talk to the terminally ill, the bedridden, and the people who are tired of superhuman efforts to prolong their lives. If they want to fight, more power to them. But if they don't, please consider their wishes.

And I know there will be no Death Panel, no grim reaper passing out death sentences. If there were, Palin would be the first to go, under the 'addled' heading.

This woman needs to have her platform yanked, and soon. And guys like David Frum need to stop writing their smug bylines from the comfort of their insured nests.

9 Comments:

Blogger Christian said...

There are so many issues surrounding the health care reform that one hardly knows where to start. Fault lies everywhere, in the citizens who eat poorly and refuse to exercise, in the insurance industry which quintuples its profits yet refuses more and more claims each year.

It didn't help when Obama tried to shift the debate from health care reform to health insurance reform. No one is served when the Republicans have to hyperbolize trivial issues and completely fabricate others, just to buy time, to stall, to present an obstacle to progress. And now that the CEO of Whole Foods has weighed in to declare no one inherently deserves health care and lobby against single-payer health care reform, I'm so curious to see what happens to his business.

The entire system is corrupt--more than flawed: corrupt--and the people who've benefited from this corruption currently wield the clout to obstruct progress and reform. Never have the motives of the health care industry been clearer, never has the corruption of the Republicans been clearer, and yet I doubt anything is going to change.

August 14, 2009 2:07 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Thanks for this, Christian.

As an American, you live it. As Canadians, we're sitting here watching everyone, it seems, take potshots at our system which, while not perfect, sure is better than what tens of millions of Americans have now.

I have seen the best and worst of our system, firsthand.

And not a day goes by that I don't thank Tommy Douglas for implementing the basis for what we have now.

Oh, yeah, he's Keifer Sutherland's grandpa - Jack Bauer has some serious genes at work :)

August 14, 2009 2:11 PM  
Anonymous buzzwhack said...

I suggest that David Frum be ferretlegged.

August 14, 2009 4:27 PM  
Blogger OmemeeOzzie said...

As in a ferret dropped into his pants? Let's make it even more interesting and have grubs and the like attached to parts of his lower bod that the little furry ferret could gnaw upon...!

Wonder what his HMO would recommend for treatment?

August 14, 2009 11:00 PM  
Anonymous buzzwhack said...

The HMO probably reccommend the death panel after the ferret's done with him. "No serviceable parts inside" and all that....

August 14, 2009 11:28 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

Seldom is there a perfect solution to a serious situation. Although we in Canada have an excellent health care system let us remember that if you want a screening or any kind of preventative measure quickly the only way to do it is head south and pay through the nose. My daughter had a large mole removed from the back of her leg. It was promptly sent off for testing. "Good news and bad news, Mr Brown. It's not malignant... so that'll be $347 please." If it HAD been malignant and she subsequently needed $40,000 worth of treatment because she'd left it alone when it WASN'T malignant, then that would be OK. But God forbid you try and nip it in the bud early.

Oh well... it really is a small price to pay for what is, all in all, a very good system. It has looked after me and my family in more than a fair manner. I'm pretty sure if the ferret was infected with rabies it would be covered. But if we strapped a couple of fire crackers onto the little devil we'd be into Workman's Comp, I think.

August 15, 2009 10:08 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I'm not a fan of David Frum either. I can relate to our neighbours to the Souths' dilemma, just this week in fact. Because of the nature of freelance business(es) we are in, we have no safety net or nests when it comes to anything beyond OHIP. All three of us wear glasses, my daughter has allergies which requires a constant renewal of Epipens ($100)bucks a pop,etc.etc. I spend a small fortune on massage, vitamins, homepathy to keep us well. This week my teenage daughter had to get four impacted wisdom teeth removed (this is not optional surgery when you are in pain!)to the tune (including consultations and post-op med) $2100. Thank God we are able to cover it. Yes, half is on credit. But what if we couldn't? My question remains When did the mouth become removed from the body?!

CN

August 15, 2009 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lorraine....agree with you ...gawd but its nice to read someone telling it like it really is ...keep it up ...new to your blog but long time admirer of your columns ....

August 22, 2009 4:56 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Welcome aboard the Crazy Train!

Do not be alarmed by comments from an 'anonymous' who is actually my sister. Or my other sister. They can't figure out how to enter a screen name.

There are some whackdoodles with odd pictures you'll eventually get straight.

And Webgod Jeff sometimes makes an appearance, usually to tell me I'm doing something wrong.

All in all, a glittering crew.

August 23, 2009 9:50 AM  

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