Black People : The U. S. Health Care Bill Helps Us Too?!?

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by chuck, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. chuck

    chuck Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sez Who!?!

    Published on Black Agenda Report (http://www.blackagendareport.com)

    Played, Betrayed, Health Care Delayed: House Passes Bailout For Private Insurance Companies.

    By Bruce A. Dixon

    by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon

    Now we know what the Obama administration means by “health care reform”. They mean guranteeing the rights of insurance and drug companies to their profits. They mean making health insurance like car insurance, with everyone compelled by law to purchase it from a private vendor, except for the very poorest among us, who will be offered a “public option” so limited and expensive as to discredit the word “public” when used in assocation with health care at all.

    Played, Betrayed, Health Care Delayed: House Passes Bailout For Private Insurance Companies.
    By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
    There's no polite way to put it. If you're one of millions who voted Democrats into Congress and the White House last year to enact universal health care, you've been played and betrayed.

    The legislation squeezed out by the House on Saturday was a giant step away from ensuring the kind of quality, affordable, everybody in, nobody out health care that polling shows most Americans favor. Apologists for the White House and its party of course insist that while imperfect, it's a giant step forward, providing health insurance coverage to millions who didn't have it before, and that in any case it was the best they could do under the political circumstances. It's hard to see how anyone can believe this.

    Instead of recognizing a human right to health care, the White House and congressional Democrats have enshrined into law a corporate right to profit on the delivery or the non-delivery of health care. Health insurance will be mandatory, like car insurance, and government subsidies will enable everyone to purchase the shoddy, deceptive and defective products of the private insurance industry, which already rakes off fully one out of every three health care dollars in tolls for nothing more than standing between patients and their health care.

    Many of the millions of new customers the insurance companies will get due to the individual mandate, as it's called, are the young and healthy who pay premiums and seldom need much in the way of care --- the very most profitable customers of private insurers.

    Drug companies will be shielded against competition from generics in the fastest growing categories of drugs, the so-called biologics [1], which include just about all vaccines.

    The public option which progressives insisted all summer would be the line in the sand beyond which they would not retreat, had been gutted by early spring. Members of congress knew it, but fed us hype all summer and fall about its imaginary wonders, how it would keep costs down, provide choice and effectively compete with private insurers. Even Howard Dean told us the public option was “best thought of as Medicare.” He lied, and so did many Democrats.

    And the ban on pre-existing conditions is undercut by provisions in the law that encourage insurance companies to institute “wellness” incentives, a backdoor means of achieving the same kind of segmentation that discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions served.

    Insurance companies are not only prohibited to offer abortion services in any policy paid for in part with government funds, they are not even required to offer pelvic examinations or family planning services of any kinds. Doubtless then, some will not.

    Medicare will be slashed, depending on which version you prefer, from $300 to $500 billion and the medical benefits of those who have them now taxed to fund the “public option” and low-end private insurance offerings, enabling racist Republicans a peg to tell their constituencies that their hard working tax dollars are paying for the meds of undeserving, lazy black people and so-called “illegals.”

    And although millions more will receive some kind of health insurance, just about all those who do so between now and 2013 will do so through the expansion of Medicaid, rather than the private insurance exchanges, which are not scheduled to be fully operational till 2013 at the earliest.

    Why President Obama's attempt to reform health care should take 3 or more years when Medicare back in the 1960s was fully operational in under a year is a question almost never asked.

    2013 is a long way off. It's two election cycles down, past the 2010 mid-terms and beyond the 2012 presidential contest. Hope is a heady drug, but it's hard to imagine how the crack pipe can be kept hot that long. Between now and the time the illusion of Obamacare, if we can call it that, unravels, thousands more will die because they cannot get medical care, and hundreds of thousands will go bankrupt. The differences between the promises and the facts are multiplying, and could cost the Democrats control of Congress as soon as next year.

    But real change rarely if ever comes from above. Real change comes from below. The wave of sit-ins and civil actions in favor of single payer health care, the only plausible solution to the crisis, shows no signs of stopping. Like the housing and general economic crises, which the administrationa nd media tell us every day have turned around, the health care crisis will drag on for the forseeable future.

    Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and based in Atlanta.

    He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com
     
  2. chuck

    chuck Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Is Our High-Tech Health Care System Better Than War-Ravaged Sudan's?

    By David Morse

    Four men were carrying someone down the road in a bed.

    I had encountered some strange things in southern Sudan -- seen malnourished children; nearly stepped on a large snake the color of pinkly opalescent milk -- but nothing more compelling than this.

    What impressed me as I struggled to catch up, was the speed at which they were moving, each man carrying a leg of the bed, which was constructed of rough-cut wood and a lattice of rope. I could see its occupant was a woman. The little procession walked with fierce determination, despite the sweltering heat and the mud.

    Akon is a market town and a county seat in South Sudan, and this was the main road, but the rains had turned the red clay into a sea of braided puddles.

    Finally they stopped and I was able to meet with them. I learned that the woman lived in an outlying village. Her husband and brother-in-law and other members of her extended family had carried her like that for two hours to get to a clinic here in Akon that consisted of a big shade tree and a meager stash of medicines -- on the chance that someone could save her.

    She was gaunt and feverish, suffering from abdominal pains. She told her story in Dinka and someone translated. She'd gone into labor, and after two days of contractions, the traditional midwife had determined that the birth canal was too narrow, and had cut the baby up and withdrawn the pieces.

    I wondered if something was left in her uterus or maybe she'd been cut. They looked to me hopefully. Lacking any medical training, I felt helpless. But I sent for my Dinka colleague, Chris Koor Garang, a "Lost Boy" who had become a U.S. citizen and a certified nurse. He'd brought medicines with him. Chris gave the woman an oral antibiotic and instructions for taking the remaining doses.

    This was her seventh pregnancy; all had ended badly. The pills, condoms, and other birth control options that we take for granted in the industrial world were not available to her. Nor were the anti-diarrheal medications and routine vaccinations that save infant lives. South Sudan, torn by decades of colonialism and decades of war, has an estimated sixty percent infant mortality rate, about the highest in the world. Maternal mortality is also high: one in ten women dies giving birth.

    Miraculously, this woman lived.

    Now fast-forward two years, to last March. I was visiting my son in Vermont -- which was fortunate, because when I experienced stomach pain and nausea, I could get to a local ER, and then be taken by ambulance to one of New England's top-notch hospitals. There I underwent emergency removal of eighteen inches of small intestine that had become twisted and gangrenous.

    I was lucky. Had I been traveling in South Sudan, we might have assumed I had some parasite. I never would have made it to an airport for transport to Nairobi in time for surgery. I wouldn't be alive to write these words.

    As I lay in the Intensive Care Unit, emerging from a five-day medically induced coma, attached to various life-support systems -- attended by a bevy of surgeons, anesthesiologists, pulmonologists, radiologists, and nurses -- I experienced a string of hallucinations. When my mind was finally clear, one image kept surfacing.

    It was that woman being carried down the road in the bed.

    We were fortunate, each in our own way. She had become for me an emblem of survival.

    Our beds could not have been more different. Mine contained computer-driven air-pouches that pulsed in a manner designed to preserve muscle tone and prevent bedsores. It weighed probably 800 pounds.

    Was I grateful for the technology that saved my own life?

    Of course.

    But my point in recounting theses two stories is not to contrast a failed or non-existent healthcare delivery system with a successful one. On the contrary, that woman and I both represent failed systems. They've simply failed in different ways -- the one from poverty, the other from profits.

    My own treatment was commodified, under the dictates of U.S. hyper-capitalism, to an extent that comparable treatment under socialized medicine is not. The total price for my surgery and related expenses came to $144,000, or eight thousand dollars per inch of intestine removed.

    Fortunately my expenses were covered -- under Medicare, supplemented by the excellent private healthcare insurance my wife gets as a retired University of Connecticut professor. Our private plan is almost as good as that enjoyed by members of Congress. I was out hardly a dime.

    My son in Vermont has no such coverage. He works as a chef in a small restaurant and is one of the estimated 47 million uninsured Americans. Like most, he’s in debt. Too young for Medicare, and struggling to make ends meet, he lost his private healthcare coverage last June by failing to make a monthly payment on time.

    Others among our fellow citizens are denied coverage by private insurers because they are sick. Cancer, diabetes, or heart conditions make them "poor risks" for profit-driven companies. Still others have coverage tied to their employment, marital status, parents, or tuition payments. And finally, others are too poor to do more than put food on the table.

    In other words, it's a completely insane system that makes sense only to those who reap profits from it.

    Is this any less bizarre than that woman being carried down the road to a clinic that barely exists?

    In short, it seems that we in the U.S. have shaped our technology, or allowed it to shape us, into a system which at its very essence is less humane than one ravaged by colonialism and war.

    This is why a "public option" must be central to any healthcare reform. It offers an alternative for the uninsured, while serving as a yardstick to measure the performance of a private healthcare industry notorious for its greed and runaway costs.

    This public option is precisely what Republicans and conservative Democrats want to strip from the reform package. Republican Senator Charles E. Grassley argues that a government-run plan "will ultimately force private insurers out of business," and that its supporters are "trying to open a back door toward a fully government-run, or single-payer, health system like those in Canada or England." Even as polls indicate that most Americans favor a public option, the Senate shows itself a rich man’s club whose members are all too indebted to the healthcare industry.

    Two statistics are often quoted by President Obama in arguing the case for healthcare reform. One is that Americans pay one and a half times as much as citizens of other industrial nations, and have a lower life expectancy. The other: our spending on healthcare accounts for one sixth of our national economy.

    However, neither statistic adequately reflects what we do not spend individually because we can't afford it -- the inequity that translates into life or death for millions of Americans who, like my son, might not feel they had the luxury of going to the hospital.

    In my own mind, the image of that woman being carried down the road in such a determined fashion, despite the mud and heat, has taken on special meaning in the context of the present debate. It was the urgency that surrounded her. We could learn from that. We who may carelessly assume that our own system is somehow more "civilized," simply because our resources are more abundant and our technology more sophisticated, need to rediscover our collective caring -- to understand access to healthcare as a basic human right.

    David Morse is an independent journalist and political analyst.

    He can be reached at [email protected]

    Source: alternet
     
  3. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    It was amazing how peaceful protestors and supporters of the Single Payer (not to be mistaken to be those at town hall meetings or tea baggers)System, were treated the way Reagan treated the Black Panther Party.
     
  4. chuck

    chuck Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Some just reveal they're a mere minority and rule their majorities by the way of arrogence reflective of ignorance etc.

    Therefore the real life fear factor of folk who don't truly represent anybody but themselves...

    So that ole sixties protest song lyric puts it well about such folk:

    As in?

    "Paranoia strikes deep..."

    Though this too (like a case of bad gas) will eventually come to an end...

    Why so?

    Because like him or loathe hwill too:

    A lot of whites voted for OBAMA!

    Not MCCAIN!

    Whatever the future consequences of that:

    The present will never be like the past...

    Again...

    FYI...

    Later...
     
  5. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Like i said

    hopefully the folks demonstrating for single payer "Will not be" mistaken for tea-baggers
     
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