Archive for the ‘Health Care Reform’ Category

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Healthcare Fact Checks

July 9, 2012

Last week I took a quick 10-questions quiz on line about the contents of the Affordable Care Act.

It seemed pretty easy, so I was not surprised I got 9 of 10 correct – with the 10th being one I answered “don’t know”.    However, in looking at the right answers after the quiz, had I guessed on that 10th one, my instinct would have been correct and I would have scored a perfect 10.

What DID surprise me, however, is that I scored higher than 97% of the thousands and thousands that had also responded.

It was a wake- up call to what a good job of SPIN and MISINFORMATION  has been disseminated  by those opposed…and re-distributed and re-distributed by hundreds and hundreds of self-righteous know-it-alls….none of whom have read it.  Ah yes, they will tell you, who has?  It’s over 2000 pages long.  But of course, that hot air is only an excuse….they only know what they have heard in the SPIN….and somehow have forgotten that grade school exercise of playing “telephone” that demonstrates the  danger of verbal repetition of something that was inaccurate in the first place!   Remember how that message traveled around the circle and came back to the originator unrecognizable as the original thought?  Even kids in grade school  know better than to believe the word-of-mouth.

To these blow-hards I say, if you are so upset about it, you have had several years now to look it over…and surely, over that time, you had sufficient opportunity to read it if you REALLY were interested in what it says.

The bottom line when fact-checked is that the health law if it works as the nonpartisan government analysts expect, will provide more tax relief than tax burden  for middle-income Americans.

As to those that scream “they are using my money” to do this…that argument is used with everything you disagree with and is becoming old.  I wonder what the nay-sayers would say if some of us declared we did not want “our money” used for education and schools; we have no kids – or we do not want “our money” used to provide highways and alternative transportation to the outer ring suburbs and exurbs – after all, we don’t live or work out there; why should we pay?  In other words, it’s an argument that makes no sense and speaks of bullies in the sandbox –yet another childish habit that should be put aside.

I learned early on in my life how to minimize the impact of bullies on the playground and later, how to WIN quietly when playing in the business world with the empty suits so I am so hopeful, that the Affordable Care Act will follow those same principles for success.

But to Obama and the Administration, it reconfirms exactly what the Press have been saying.  The top line CONCEPT is disliked today by over 60% of the population….but 60% also say YES to the individual included elements.  This is a critical issue.  It needs a full –court press to get the country tracking with you – for their own good.

 

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CALLING ON THE POWER OF THE PRESS

June 12, 2012

So many positives in the STRIB today….

The Minnesota Manpower Survey predicts 22% increase in hiring in the third quarter, based on surveys of Twin Cities employers; United Healthcare takes the lead, and others followed, by stating they will continue to offer several features from the Healthcare bill  no matter what happens next  to the bill; Honeywell  Building Solutions  announced  a new Smart Grid division to better manage energy  as demand grows  at an expected 40% in next 25 years; MSP will have free wi-fi;  Apple’s new software may help the Facebook IPO; Granite City will open more restaurants; and the continuing story of the outreach suggested by the Governor and House Speaker of Canterbury to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community  that resulted in a win-win for both.

Note:  I am not be a gambling fan nor advocate of either casino or horse racing, but I was pretty impressed with the process that creatively found a win-win for both entities; and, because of my interests in Telling Native River Stories, the Reconciliation, and some exposure to MIGA last year, I was especially pleased to see Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community step up, negotiate well, and be an integral part of the solution.

But I am only cautiously optimistic about what of this good news will survive until this evening’s news cycle, and how much will be diverted by the not-so-good news and the “doomsday is coming” negative spin that will be put on it. 

First, the report by the Feds that family net worth fell to levels of early ‘90s:  Of course, it is not a plus, but we need to think back to those immediate days after the crash in the summer of 2008 of Bush administration.  For a very short period of time, there was almost a coming together and acknowledgement that of course, the boom of the 2000s was not sustainable, adjustments had to be made, and we would need to work together to define and establish the “New Economy” going forward.

Yup, that spirit of cooperation quickly vanished when the establishment of the time lost to the upstart and signaled we all were going to be playing in a new sandbox.  With no way out, we heard just six months later, the rallying cry of pouting GOP leaders …block Obama at all costs. …and we were off on a reckless ride that has left us in a mess four years later.

Second, the continuing coverage of the “unified, in-your-face, across-the board rejection” of the Equal Pay for Women Bill as the GOP openly admitted – they think women are worth less than men are: Yes, I admit, this one has me wondering what my life has been all about.  We had made such strides….why did we not anticipate that an out-foxed animal with no path to retreat ATTACKS!   I know the only way I can address this one for now  is to simply pretend it did not happen – so of course, I would prefer we would quit talking about it unless we can ENSURE  that all women in the country will unite, intercede, and get these fossils from a bygone era safely back in their cage.

My pleas to the press today is that we all NEED  just one good day of focusing on the positives to give us a little strength to keep going on our journey through all the negatives.  Please help!

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FROM MY PERSPECTIVE

March 24, 2010

There are reasonable Republicans with philosophical differences from the Democrats. Cutting through the scare tactics rhetoric, their biggest concern, I believe, about the health care legislation is cost and the impact on the national debt. Putting the historical perspective of the last two administrations aside – when in one we saw improvement of our nation’s fiscal health, and in a second, we were pushed to the brink of disaster- the concern regarding national deficits is a legitimate one. Unfortunately, who is right in that issue will only be proven with the implementation of the legislation just passed, and I certainly understand that from the viewpoint of those who wanted the legislation curtailed, it will be “too late”.

However, that concern regarding fiscal responsibility, energized by the loss of power, has led this reasonable group to follow, like sheep, those members of their party driven by the need for revenge and a belief in power at any cost through any means-and perhaps a self-righteous mindset that borders on divine right that mostly disappeared in the 19th century. To achieve their goals, it appears reasonable Republicans are willing to transfer leadership of their party to the angry, petty, ego-centric , regressive members of the flock that have been able to move a legitimate philosophical difference between states rights and the role of the federal government into an acceptance of any reprehensible action and violence as long as it gets attention, can be justified by their illogical arguments, is accepted as truth and gains support.

This is the group that emerged into public view early in the Clinton administration when we witnessed the beginning of the new “Great Divide” between the two parties. At that point, honor and respect among our government officials began to erode, but to some, was justified because they were strong believers in the “end justifies the means”. These folks recaptured power under the Bush/Cheney administration, felt the pain of “what you give may be given back” as some Democrats mimicked that model set by the rebellious Republicans during the previous administration. However, this third iteration of disrespect visible to us today, upped the stakes to a dangerous level as they unveiled latent philosophies expressed in childish tantrums of racial slurs, power to the states, muskets, revolution, permission to destroy personal property in disagreements, threats of bodily harm and death to those that oppose them, and threats of another Civil War. This is the American way?

At the same time, I can relate to the anxiety felt by those reasonable Republicans whom I think are still buried someplace in this muddy scene. They legitimately believe we are headed in the wrong direction and much fiscal harm will come to us as a country.

I can relate to that sick feeling because, as a student of history with some surface level knowledge of the Middle East, and one that does go on line and search for the facts, I, too, have felt this anxiety. It was nine years ago when the initial ramp-up of public support for another confrontation with Iraq “to finish what George Senior did not get done” was given great impetus by the tragedy of 9/11. At first, I presumed the truth and a sense of reason would prevail to keep the focus on Afghanistan; so I tried to present the “other set of facts” in discussions with friends. Soon those friends followed the lead of the administration and picked up the “unpatriotic” chant to make me feel guilty and be quiet. And quiet I was, but with that same sinking feeling of doom, that I presume rational Republicans feel today, as we raced headway into a war that we track only by the number of Americans that were sacrificed – generally dismissing the impact on their fellow soldiers, the families of veterans and the MILLIONS of innocent Iraqis and citizens of neighboring countries who lost lives, were maimed for life or became refugees because of our actions. And, this does not include the RUN UP of the deficit to unmanageable amounts that has been strongly impacted by an unbudgeted war that is still not done-nor yet proven to be either justified or a disaster.

Believe me I feel no sense of self-righteousness as my worst fears materialized during this past decade. I only regret for the good of our country that those of us who had these premonitions of what was to come, were not able to make our voices heard; did not try harder; and thus our prophesies were fulfilled.

And I felt that sick feeling again this past weekend, as I watched angry dissenters encouraged by Congressmen from the balcony of House as all respect for personal opinion of anyone but themselves were trampled to the ground. And that feeling increased as I learned some members of this group now feel justified to launch a physical attack on Democratic offices, destroying property around the country. I was appalled to learn of threat messages left for various Democrats that supported this first step in health care reform. And my stomach churned as I watched the one-time presidential candidate for the Republican Party in the 2008 election – in what can only be described as a tantrum because he did not get his way again- pout and declare he was through legislating (even though he wants his state to elect him again- go figure)

However, under no circumstances do I think that my personal beliefs are so omnificent that I could act out in the manner we are seeing now, and put our very country at risk. The United States has given its citizens the lives envied by others and been a respected global leader because of our form of government. That government maintains a healthy balance between diametrically opposed parties and provides for disagreements and transfers of power. And it works over the long term – as long as its citizens do not decide that personal satisfaction, wealth, gain, and a need to win as an individual is more important than the common good of the country, and the citizens that reside within it. As we witnessed in the late 1840s-1850s, our country is threatened when one believes one has a right to maintain personal life styles at all costs including slavery, and fights for this right under the banner of states rights.

Many of us feel we are in a time of RESET in our economy – one that has happened because we put personal wealth and importance along with immediate rewards ahead of financial security. Perhaps it is time now, before a civic meltdown begins, to consider a RESET of our political practices as well.

Of course, from my perspective, I think Obama has been trying to do that – but I recognize that the opposing side sees things far differently. And yet, I am not ready to give up and accept that we need to live through yet another period of violence that will tear us apart and weaken our ability to continue to lead ourselves, let alone show leadership in the 21st century global arena. Somehow, someway, we need to engage those reasonable Republicans in meaningful dialogues going forward, so that, together, we can rediscover the path to working towards the common good of the country.

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WHAT AM I MISSING?

November 24, 2009

I understand the current health care reform debate is a very personal issue for everyone. I understand that it has also become a political strategy for the out-of-power political party to wage war with those that defeated them. I understand a bill with this impact creates a sense of bargaining power for every dissenter of any piece of the bill. But the fervor on the talk shows, cable TV and newspapers today seems a bit hyped and overblown as the fear-mongering reaches a whole new level each day. I agree, we each should bring up our personal concerns to light so that they can be taken under consideration, but in my mind, that is different than what is happening.

So what have I misunderstood?

• Wasn’t health care reform a promise to the American Public from both political parties in the 2008 Political Campaigns? Didn’t both candidates and most voters want reform?

• Isn’t the current heated discussion about a DRAFT of a bill up for discussion to be amended and voted on in the Senate that then must be merged with a House Bill, amended a second time, and then voted on again before we have anything to rage about?

• Aren’t the recommendations and restrictions being debated today only applicable with the public option?

• Doesn’t option mean choice? Won’t we have a choice to participate in the proposed public option or keep our existing health insurance?

• If we rage about proposed restrictions in the reform bill, why haven’t we raged equally as loud at the restrictions in our existing health insurance policies?

• If we think a public option is government control we do not want, are we willing to give up social security and Medicare which are also government programs?

In the last six months, my health insurance carrier paid less than $200 on a MRI billed at over $1500 and then informed me they would no longer pay for a prescription that costs almost $90 a month (with no generic drug substitution available). That’s two restrictions imposed by the insurance carrier that cost me personally almost $2000 on top of making individual health care premium payments – which, by the way, increased over 10% again this year.

I guess for me personally, I would rather pay for my annual mammogram myself than continue to be imprisoned by the insurance carrier – subject to increase after increase and denial after denial of coverage. After all, the choice is mine – if I want a mammogram, I can have it – it just may not be paid for by the government.

Of course, if I choose the public option, I may just save enough money that it won’t be a burden to pay for my own mammogram.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING

November 24, 2009

Since the health care debate has heated up, I have continued to wrestle with telling my personal health story of a fall from a platform, a broken back, the resulting muscle scarring and chronic inflammation of the sacroiliac that led to a financial nightmare that left me with no job, no savings, no home, lots of debt as I struggled to pay over $1000 a month in health insurance premiums and thousands and thousands of dollars of doctor and treatment bills, and eventually, to spend almost 24 months “house-sitting” for caring friends and relatives as I struggled to get back on my feet.

But along the way, because I was not working, I was also given a gift of time that I could spend with my mother and my family as we struggled through the eldercare/nursing home experience and finally her passing three years ago.

Seven years after that fall, I mostly have the health issues under control, am looking at the end of the debt perhaps sometime next year, am working again, and have come to appreciate that the time spent with my mother was far more important than the pain of the healthcare experience. I have learned to consider my situation a success story of perseverance over the adversity of our current health care system. And, for that, I am most thankful!

However, last week I was speaking with an elderly woman about upcoming Thanksgiving plans. When checking on her health, I learned she and her husband have been busy with doctor appointments because “when the healthcare bill gets passed, we will be abandoned.” Her fear made me so sad – that we have allowed this debate to sink to this level and create so much pain for the innocent bystanders.

Now that is something to speak up about. What right, as citizens of this country, do we have to instill that kind of fear into innocent people – all in the name of political gain?

I get it that the healthcare battle has raged for almost a century. I get it that whenever a political party loses power, they attack and when a party gains power and finds they cannot accomplish all they had hoped, they seem to lose their way.

What I don’t get is what it will take to realize this happens and find a way to get ourselves and our country past this to a better system in the future.

Food for thought, along with the turkey. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!