Death Paneling

I know this whole “death panel” thing has been going on for weeks now, but I’ve gotten to the point where I want to slap someone every time I hear them talk about Government pulling the plug on granny because she’s too expensive. Ugh.

We already have death panels, they’re called INSURANCE COMPANIES.

As The Memphis Liberal points out the Supreme Court has ruled that

Inducement to ration care is the very point of any HMO scheme.

The argument on the right is that you can sue an insurance company. Perhaps, but you’re still dead if you don’t get the treatment you need because some corporation hedged their bets.

It’s not like it’s ever happened before or anything.

Oh, and how does a lawsuit play with conservative notions that tort reform will magically fix what’s driving up the cost of healthcare. Come on people be consistent.

Nope, the reality is we’re talking about two different cultures. One that believes corporations are going to do what’s right for people and that the government can’t do ANYTHING right, and one that believes government’s role is to provide an equitable foundation for all Americans and that corporations are more interested in protecting shareholders than doing right by regular folks.

Which one sounds more realistic?

Seriously, conservatives have been working for 30 years to protect shareholders and corporations far more than help regular Americans. Their perspective is that if the corporation benefits, somehow so does everyone else. From the union busting that the Reagan Admin. engaged in, to trade deals that have sent American jobs hither and fro, with the help of conservative and largely southern Democrats that have served as compliant enablers, the conservative ideology has destroyed America’s manufacturing base and left us in a position where good jobs for regular people are going the way of the dodo. All the while this same “Conservative ideology” is largely responsible for a tenfold increase in the national debt over the past 28 years.

Somehow, this is supposed to provide a better quality of life for all us little people. But aside from making really affordable “cheap plastic crap” made in places most people couldn’t find on a map, the only real benefit has been the availability of second rate goods to people who used to make a first rate version of the same thing.

So when we apply this ideological difference to the healthcare “debate”, if that’s what you want to call it, you have some people talking about healthcare, and others talking about something else entirely. Sobeale hit on this back in June when talking about the difference between the left and the right on the healthcare debate.

Progressives want to give everyone healthcare. The other side wants to give everyone health insurance.

Healthcare. That’s what I’m talking about, not insurance. Insurance is the ONLY thing in the world you buy and pray you don’t have to use. Healthcare is something EVERYONE NEEDS, but that a growing minority of working Americans DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO. Sure, they can go to the doctor or the hospital, but if it’s something serious, they’ll likely go bankrupt. That’s the reality, and 50% of the people who go bankrupt every year are in that situation.

So now that the Healthcare industry has dumped some $130m since April into putting the kibosh on any plan that includes a “public option” by stirring irrational fears and mobilizing a vocal but largely uninformed group of people to disrupt anything and everything that might further the “public option”. The debate has shifted from providing healthcare to all Americans to providing Americans with insurance, something they don’t want to have to use.

This is just plain madness.

The right wing reactionaries that show up in force at Town Hall meetings across this nation are grounded in the same ideology that has helped bankrupt this county and millions of it’s citizens. They are not there to debate, they are there to debase the process, to incite fear, and ultimately, deny you a right to affordable treatment when you need it most.

This is not the huge movement that the media would play it up to be. They are not taking to the streets demanding that things stay the same. They are a couple of hundred people per district, out of some 600,000+ constituents, mobilized to make a good show of strength for a very short period of time. It’s media manipulation at it’s worst, and the media is playing the role of compliant enabler, just like those conservative Democrats who are paralyzed with fear anytime someone proposes a change that they might have to defend.

It’s time for US to take to the streets and demand REAL healthcare reform that includes a “public option”. It’s time for us to show our strength. We’re running out of time, and the media “death panel” has written the obituary on meaningful reform, and is just waiting for that last gasp before they run with it.

It’s time to move this forward lest we have to wait another 16 years, or until we reach critical mass.

It’s time.

12 Replies to “Death Paneling”

  1. So true! Of course health care is already rationed–by the insurance companies! Duh! Why do none the tea baggers who are disrupting health care town hall meetings not seem to know this? How is waiting to get an appointment and tiered co-pays for prescriptions any different from “rationing?” Yet, that’s what health care consumers in this country face every day ALREADY!

  2. HR 3200 amends both the Social Security Act, as well as the Internal Revenue Code. Why? So anybody in the government can have access to your medical records.

    There will be no judicial or administrative review of the program, so they can do whatever they want and we don’t have any way to hold them accountable.

    Do you have a Health Savings Account? That’s true medical insurance. You pay for normal things, and the HSA takes care of the major occurances like Cancer so you don’t go bankrupt. That would be done away with.

    After the way the Tennessee state government handled TennCare, why do you think the Feds will do any different? TennCare, MediCal, Hawai’i, even the health program in Mass. have all been disasters. I ask again, what makes you think the Feds will do any better?

    I ask sincerely, are you Socialists? Because this would essentially nationalize 15% of our economy, and will eventually lead to a system like the old Soviet Union where everything was nationalized. If that’s your plan, please spell it out so everybody knows who you are.

    Another question: How many Americans are fleeing the United States to Canada for their health care system, and how many Canadians are jumping the border to get health care here?

    Last point: Please don’t confuse me with the Republicrats presently in office in the Congress. They are not Conservative. They follow the Liberals like a puppy trying to make friends. The last true Conservative in a major office was Ronald Reagan.

    1. Thanks for the comment.

      Even though we’re on different sides of the ideological divide, I appreciate your perspective on this issue.

      Obviously, you have some experience with the topic as you posted the comment from an IP owned by a large health insurance provider. (which one is not important)

      I did some digging and found that your duties involve, among other things, recovering erroneous claims made against the company.

      Not to besmirch your credibility, but I guess you have a vested interest in the status quo.

      In the future, it may be wise to disclose such ties. People take you more seriously when you let them know on the front end both your motivation and where you’re coming from.


  3. Almost good digging.

    Yes, you have located my parent company. My job, however has nothing to with my position on this subject. I have had this position on this subject long before this job and I will continue to have long after I stop working here. Therefore my job and company are irrelevant.

    The exact subsidiary I work for would profit under the health care bill, as I work under government programs. Oh, and you got my job wrong. Without getting too specific, I work with people who have mental health problems.

    And what does it say about you that you have to check up on peoples IP addresses?

    1. It says that I like to know who I’m talking to and I’m as thorough as the interwebs will let me be.

      Again, thanks for the comments. I doubt that we’ll change each other’s minds, but you are more than welcome to rebut me here as you see fit.


  4. The birth of a terrible industry… Immediately after this, a president whose very name has become synonymous with Republican integrity started working on the HMO Act of 1973.

    John D. Ehrlichman: “On the … on the health business …”

    President Nixon: “Yeah.”

    Ehrlichman: “… we have now narrowed down the vice president’s problems on this thing to one issue and that is whether we should include these health maintenance organizations like Edgar Kaiser’s Permanente thing. The vice president just cannot see it. We tried 15 ways from Friday to explain it to him and then help him to understand it. He finally says, ‘Well, I don’t think they’ll work, but if the President thinks it’s a good idea, I’ll support him a hundred percent.’”

    President Nixon: “Well, what’s … what’s the judgment?”

    Ehrlichman: “Well, everybody else’s judgment very strongly is that we go with it.”

    President Nixon: “All right.”

    Ehrlichman: “And, uh, uh, he’s the one holdout that we have in the whole office.”

    President Nixon: “Say that I … I … I’d tell him I have doubts about it, but I think that it’s, uh, now let me ask you, now you give me your judgment. You know I’m not to keen on any of these damn medical programs.”

    Ehrlichman: “This, uh, let me, let me tell you how I am …”

    President Nixon: [Unclear.]

    Ehrlichman: “This … this is a …”

    President Nixon: “I don’t [unclear] …”

    Ehrlichman: “… private enterprise one.”

    President Nixon: “Well, that appeals to me.”

    Ehrlichman: “Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason that he can … the reason he can do it … I had Edgar Kaiser come in … talk to me about this and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because …”

    President Nixon: [Unclear.]

    Ehrlichman: “… the less care they give them, the more money they make.”

    President Nixon: “Fine.” [Unclear.]

    Ehrlichman: [Unclear] “… and the incentives run the right way.”

    President Nixon: “Not bad.”

  5. The Memphis Conservative,
    To answer your question about whether or not we’re really a bunch of socialists, in the realms of police protection, military, schools, healthcare, and firefighting, yes, most of us are, I guess. ust like, for all the problems, I’d rather rely on the MPD to protect me from crime as opposed to paying the crips “on the private”, I’d rather rely on a publicly funded public health service, with clear and transparent “rationing”, than a for-profit private business to do the same. Healthcare delivery is just “one of those things” that matters too much to leave to the mercy of the free market.

    On the subject of HSAs, they’re not going to be banned. None of us want to prohibit anyone from purchasing whatever healthcare services they wish to buy, just like we don’t want to ban private schools for those who can afford them. Healthcare is like schools in the sense that a universally available “something” is better than nothing. I’d send my kids to private Montessori if I could afford it. I can’t, so I’m homeschooling. If life hands me a lemon and I end up a single mom, I’ll be grateful for the public schools.

    Our present insurance system is collapsing. It doesn’t honestly matter if reform passes now, I don’t think. With the rate at which insurance premiums are rising, eventually half of us will be priced out. So reform is coming one way or another.
    But rest assured, that although we think healthcare is like school in our “socialist” ways, we’re not anti-choice communists or anything. We’re still Americans with traditional American values.

  6. And because I’m pedantic…

    “The argument on the right is that you can sue an insurance company.”

    You can, but not for a bad outcome resulting from HMO rationing. The Supreme Court decided in “PEGRAM et al. v. HERDRICH” that you **can’t** win a case if you’re harmed by private-company rationing. Because rationing health care is their “very point”, if you are harmed by the rationing, you are SOL. Because rationing health care is their “very point”, they can harm as many people as they can get away with by their rationing, and we have no legal recourse whatsoever, because “good rationing vs bad rationing” is beyond the scope of the courts. So, just suck it up.

  7. Jupiter,

    Thank you for your salient points.

    Police are funded by the government to enforce law and order, not to protect private citizens. You can’t sue the police for not getting there in time if you call 911. It’s been case law since 1856 (South v. Maryland).

    Why don’t you send your kids to public school? If you’re thankful for them if you have no other choice, you should be thankful for them being there no matter what. And you are not a proponent of having the government give you back enough of your school taxes so you could send your kids to Montessori? Or do you think Memphis City Schools is a great institution?

    Have you actually read H. R. 3200? I have. And just in case you don’t believe me, here’s someone else who also read the bill.

    And just in case you think governmental run health care is all sunshine and puppies, you should read this as well.

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