06 January 2010

Universal Health Care- A Question

Almost no one likes this health care bill.
Liberals I read don't like it because it doesn't cover enough, or because it doesn't have a "government option".
Government option? !!
Yeah... those supporting the "government option" claim insurance companies need bureaucrats in there pulling levers and flipping switches in order to "promote competition".
I've got a personal story along those lines, and I'll discuss government competing against private industry at some point in the future...

Let's just say... government doesn't have to make a profit and therefore CANNOT compete fairly.

Back to my point...
If you come here often you know my Dad died in 2003 of lung cancer at the age of 81. He had worked all his life... he told us stories about riding his bicycle as a kid, delivering telegrams for Western Union.

While in his early 20's he went off to war in the Pacific with an Infantry Division in WWII, then came home and was fully employed until he retired at age 62.
He was pretty much a life-long smoker. I think there's just no way to determine what effect almost 70 years of medicating yourself with nicotine and tar will have on your body, but we can guess from my Dad's experience that it can cause you to be short of breath due to emphysema, then cause you to have several unexplainable incidents which, while being investigated, expose the fact you have Stage 4 lung cancer.

Two years or so before Dad died he developed macular degeneration. Though I had never heard of it, we are now seeing ads about it on TV, so it must be a fairly common ailment. Although not rendering him totally blind in the affected eye, Dad described it as "Like someone covering that eye's focus point with a "big fuzzy dot". We've since discovered that smoking is a big risk factor for the disease.

They treated Dad for macular degeneration, telling him it wouldn't cure his problem but might slow its progression and might improve his vision slightly. The treatment was expensive...
As I recall, it was $2,000.
It didn't work. But for some reason they thought another treatment might help, so they did it again...
Another $2,000.

I tell you this story to illustrate why I think this pending bill will doom health care in this country. My Dad paid for health insurance his entire life. He also contributed to our government "Ponzi scheme", Social Security, from the time he was a very young man. I don't begrudge him or others like him the costs they incur as their health fails.
But those costs!!!
Emphysema. Macular degeneration. A slow deterioration due to lung cancer...
I'm frightened to think of the expenses Dad accrued during his last years due to investigation, diagnosis, treatment, hardware/equipment, and pain control.

Now consider-
We intend to give health care to EVERYONE?
Heroin addicts diagnosed with Hepatitis C... we'll give them the best treatment possible, no matter the cost?
The same for smokers with smoking related diseases?
Obese patients... are we gonna smile as we replace their knees and hip joints? What about high blood pressure meds? And of course there is obesity related diabetes....
Do we intend to cover ALL the health-care costs for EVERYONE... even those with mostly self-inflicted problems?

No, in spite of the idealists out there who will argue otherwise, we cannot give everyone the treatment they will need. The budget for universal health care will necessarily mean some, like my Dad, won't be getting two-$2,000 treatments for macular degeneration at that late stage of life. Some bureaucrat with the intellect of say,
Joe Biden
, will sit in judgment and decide who will be treated, and who won't. (And of course politics and the corruption we are now experiencing will play a part too. Welcome to Socialist medicine, Komrade!)

Will they ram this bill through?
I'm sorry to say, at this point I'm fearful they will.
Have your pitchforks and torches handy.


Rita said...

Soooooo, you're more or less saying there will be "death panels"? Well duh, no one could see that coming, could they?

I work with a former Canadian citizen who is still bitter that when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 72, the wonderful Canadian "free" health care decided she was too old for treatment. He begged her to come to Texas, but she accepted her fate from the hands of the Canadian government and died from her untreated cancer.

When my aunt was 72, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, was treated and is cancer free and still going strong 10 years later.

Nah, there will be no death panels with socialized medicine. Just agencies that decide you are too old to be treated.

the golden horse said...

Of course our wonderful gov't likes to blame the high cost of health care on the insurance companies. Well, sure, they go up yearly, they have to react to the out of control Big Pharma, that has already cut their deal, and the out of control attorneys, that are free to sue without limits, and the Union health care workers. All three very large contributors to this last administrations run for the money, oops, WH.
I read an article the other day, where the insurance companies are running with a 2-3 1/2% profit margin and in industry they rate 85th. Not so good for them.
So now our gov't wants us to believe by adding 30 million without any new Drs, there won't be rationing. Please. And that will still be leaving millions uninsured. I don't see any improvement here.
When you take the original 40 million w/o insurance and take away the illegals, the ones that opted out and the ones that didn't fill in their paperwork for medicare and medicaid, you have about 1o-12 million that truly need our help. Don't have a problem with that. But if they are still insuring 30-40 million, that means we are insuring the illegals, that, I have a problem with.
If 85 per cent of the people are happy with their health care, why force them to get on the gov't plan. This tells me plain and simple, this isn't about health care at all. It is about control and power.

Flightfire said...

I don't think you really understand what you want. You claim to want to lower cost care, but to also be able to give the most expensive care at the end of life and do everything. You can't have it both ways.

Personally, I think the most moral and lowest cost system lies in the best care for the most amount of people. It's where those two curves intersect that we find the ideal. It's not where our system currently is which is exceptional care for the relative few who can afford it and the lucky few who the government pays for.

Rita: Breast Cancer doesn't mean the same for everyone. There are multiple categories of breast cancer with different histological subtypes in each category. This is why people go to school for a long time to learn this stuff. Most 72 y/o F probably would've been operated on as the surgery for non-metastatic breast cancer is relatively simple. However, if she has stage 4, triple negative, comedo type metastatic breast cancer, no technology on earth is going to help her.

Greybeard said...


I'm lookin' to see where Rita suggested that Breast CA was a "single category" disease, the same for all.
I can't see it.

Every single time you come here Dude, you show how much you have to learn.
So start.

Rita said...

Flightfire: Really? Tell that to YOUR mother or sister or DAUGHTER.

Tell someone you love that they are stage IV so just roll over and die so the treatment can go to someone "more deserving".

I've known a woman who was diagnosed at stage IV ovarian cancer. Yeah, we all know what that means, don't we? Because of our health care, she lived five years after she was first diagnosed.

Only five years? Right, and tell that to her then-middle school twins. Tell them they shouldn't be allowed those five extra years with a mother they loved.

God help us if you are the future of our medical care.

YOU ARE the death panel we all fear.

God, I'm gonna go hug my family doc now and thank him for understanding his patients and that he doesn't just play some numbers game with people's lives, just like the sad sad people who will be replacing him.

Flightfire said...

Sigh, where to start...

Rita suggested that breast cancer is the same for everyone when she compared her coworker's mother's case to her aunt's case without giving any specifics other than their age. They were probably were not the same grade or stage of breast cancer. Also, telling me that I have more to learn doesn't automatically make your argument right. Greybeard, you're gonna need to defend your positions better than that.

If my mother had stage 4 breast cancer, I know for a fact that there is no way that she would want to try to cure it. We've had this conversation. She wants to die a peaceful death and there is no way that she is going to go through futile rounds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to prolong her life a few months. Ever seen someone on chemo. Take the worst episode of flu you've ever had, multiply it by 100, add constant nausea and vomiting, your hair sloughing off, your skin burning, your nerves refusing to obey you and having to live in the hospital for months on end. If you want to go through it, it's your choice, and you can rest assurred that I'm not going to let anyone tell you you can't, but I would only want that for my mom if there was a reasonable chance of her being cured.

Again, the devil is in the details of the ovarian cancer. There are even more types of ovarian cancer than breast cancer. Don't chalk your friend's 5 year survival entirely up to "our health care system." She was lucky, and she was a fighter. There are lots of people who are fighters who are not as lucky.

Greybeard said...

Ya know, I have pretty much given up trying to talk sense with lefties.
I'm gonna try this just one more time...

As you know, my Father died of lung cancer. And yes, I'm involved in the medical industry, so I know there are many types of cancer, just as there are many types of heart disease. Anyone thinking most intelligent folks don't already know that is a flat-out fool.
My Dad and my Mother also had the "What'll we do under such-and-such circumstance?" conversation. Both decided they'd not want extaordinary or aggressive measures done if the diagnosis was likely terminal. But when Dad was told he was stage 4, yet there were things they could do to prolong his life, he jumped at the chance. Mom was shocked.

Talk is easy. For instance, it's easy to say "This will be the most transparent administration in history"!
Following up and putting truth to that statement, as we have seen, ain't so easy. When you are hit in the face with the fact of it, rather than just mouthing the words, things can (and generally do) change.

I'm prayin'...
This Massachusetts election looks like it COULD be a game-changer. We can only hope.
FF, your statement that I want to reduce costs is correct... I just don't want to ruin what still may be the best health-care system in the world to do it.
Bluntly, I don't want someone like Nancy Pelosi determining what me and my medical professional can do so far as my care is concerned.

And that is where we are headed if this idiotic bill passes.
And with that Sir, I am done trying to convince you of anything.
Be safe and be well.

Greybeard said...

For those with OPEN MINDS, the truth is here.
(As always, there is enlightenment in the comments.)

Rita said...

Like you said GB, there is no point in arguing with people who believe that the decision about your health care should not be in your hands, but should be determined by "more educated" people like FF or an even more educated governmental bureaucracy.

FF: Don't assume you know ANYTHING about what I have experienced with cancer, stage IV and chemo. Your arrogance and your true lack of empathy make me hope that you will not last in the medical profession.

I held my father's hand as he took his last breath on earth. It was his choice to fight his cancer, not some government's.

Your condescension is pathetic. You are recommending that if that time, God forbid, may come that your mother may face such a situation, the government tells her she's not allowed to change her mind and fight for her life. That is exactly what GB and I are fighting against.

I'm OUT.