Monday, June 8, 2009

If You Kill the Government Health Care Option I Will Make it My Mission in Life to Run You Out of Government

Let me start by saying my health care plan sucks. It's a joke. For example, I need to have ankle surgery, but it doesn't cover rehab. Of course, anyone who has surgery needs rehab, but it's not covered. Moreover, the surgeon recommended trying rehab first, which I did, but stopped when I found out it wasn't covered.

The reason I have such a terrible plan is twofold: (1) It's cheap, and (2) I didn't have a better choice. Let me explain. For five years, I saw a doctor in his late 70s as my primary care physician. He was a decent man who genuinely cared about his patients, but in retrospect, I believe he was getting slightly senile. (He retired a couple years ago). I believe this doctor (in retrospect) was a bit panicky about certain harmless symptoms I had and wanted to put me on statins and other harmful medications I didn't need, which I refused. Except that when I went to change to a more comprehensive plan, they downgraded my status to Tier 4, based largely on that doctor's diagnoses. I appealed and lost, and so I had the choice of paying $500 a month for myself (I was 36 at the time with no known health problems other than torn ligaments in my ankle), or $79 dollars for a terrible plan (Tier 1 price). I chose the former, as I didn't want to give up my tier 1 status.

Now that I have a few other health problems, thyroid, adrenal glands, pre-diabetes, and still the chronically sprained ankle for which I am going to shell out $6000 in out of pocket costs for the surgery, I realize how meager the scope of my coverage is.

While there are many factors as to why health insurance is a joke in this country (from drug company lobbyists, to our poisonous food supply to the lack of preventative care), there's little doubt that the bloated infrastructure and big CEO paychecks of health insurance companies are a major one. If one is sick, one needs someone with knowledge (a doctor or nurse) and the best materials/medicine/technology for treatment. The costs of those two things are unavoidable. Throw in the rent for the doctor's office, the salary of the receptionists - that's all fine.

But why the fuck are we paying the salaries of the incompetent health care customer service, their office overhead, their marketing and advertising costs, their adjusters, their lawyers, their lobbyists, their management, including their wealthy CEOs? How did this slippery middleman weasel and connive his way into a huge piece of our paychecks in an area we have but no choice in?

It is quite easy to find doctors online. One does not need Blue Shield of California to provide a directory of doctors these days - one merely needs a bank of sorts, a pooler of risk that charges a very small vig for administration and processing.

That is why we need a government option - one that simply costs some taxpayer money and the only function of which is to pool risk, so that those with financially catastrophic problems are covered.

And if one wants still to keep his piece of shit private insurance, that's fine - keep it and continue as you were. Being foolish in your financial choices should always remain legal. But let's see how well these useless and outdated middlemen fare when they are no longer the only choice we really have. We will see the costs of insurance go down dramatically.

But the spineless "Blue Dog" democrats are now opposing the government option saying they will only support it if and after insurers fail to meet a particular set of goals. In other words, they will delay any real reform until after the insurance companies - the same ones under whom health costs have skyrocketed - get another chance to meet some benchmarks, which no doubt they are currently lobbying to set low. Only then should we consider giving people another option these "Blue Dog" dems argue.

Sorry, the time for those companies to provide a solution for us was in the last 15 years, and they have not. They had their chance, and the state and cost of health care have gotten substantially more expensive, more complex and arcane and flat-out worse. No one fucking likes our health care system. Not the patients, not the doctors and certainly not anyone with an eye on our long-term fiscal situation. It's over.

So you cowardly, unprincipled piece of shit representatives who have taken so much money from the health care industry

Jason Altmire: $405,279

Michael Arcuri: $103,547

Joe Baca: $159,250

Marion Berry: $536,917

Sanford Bishop: $356,496

Leonard Boswell: $304,680

Chris Carney: $167,664

Ben Chandler: $223,300

Jim Cooper: $894,414

Jane Harman: $292,694

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: $323,924

Tim Holden: $386,278

Frank Kratovil: $86,556

Mike Ross: $833,670

Loretta Sanchez: $183,162

Adam Schiff: $380,708

Zach Space: $144,125

Charlie Wilson: $138,724

Mike Thompson: $631, 532 (His take from the health care industry, was second only to beer/wine/liquor business, which gave him $1,009,370)

if you stand in the way of an alternative to the status quo, I will make it my fucking mission in life to be absolutely sure you are removed from office and never work anywhere ever again until you repent and do something useful rather than destroy the well being of the very people whom you purport to represent.

And by the way, the next phase of health care reform will be to go after the drug company-funded studies that skew the results and help them sell billions of dollars worth of useless and often harmful drugs. There needs to be a truly independent board that puts the kibosh on that deeply corrupt and harmful practice. And finally, it needs to be made illegal - to the point of sanctions and the threat of losing one's medical license - for doctors to accept lunches and paid trips by these drug companies. Every doctor should take the time at least a few times a year to read up independently on new developments in his or her field (just like everyone does at every other job) and not rely on for profit salespeople to tell them what the latest and greatest medicines they're selling are while bribing them with gifts, meals and travel. It's a fucking disgrace that a person whose job it is to help other people heal from illnesses would ever be involved in that kind of transparently obvious corruption. But far from being the exception this is now the norm - as even doctors on the Harvard Medical School faculty are being paid to turn their students into pushers of product.

The bottom line, our current medical establishment is by and large as morally bankrupt and grossly incompetent as we recently discovered our financial one to be. The reason for the corruption is the same - that greed and short-term profit have caused systemic blindness to the facts and a callous indifference to the damage it does to the citizen that lives with it. While the financial sector, with a massive assist from the banking lobby which corrupted government, first created a great disparity in wealth between the rich and poor, then destroyed the pensions, home equity and the job security of millions while saddling everyone with a massive debt, the health care lobby is destroying what little we have left while giving us inferior and unaffordable treatment, resulting in avoidable illness and death. It, too, is our greatest long-term fiscal liability.

So getting a government option is mandatory now. And if you people on this list - you who purport to represent us - stand in the way, I will personally see to it that you're finished in government and that your reputation is permanently and irrevocably destroyed