Monday, December 21, 2009

My Unicorn is Listless and my Rainbow is Faded

OK, I'll fess up. I was an annoyingly vocal Obama supporter before the election.

But I'm disappointed.

I don't like the Obama health care reform bill.

Don't get me wrong! I still support President Obama and I think the health care bill is a step forward. It's just a very, very small step forward that is incredibly complicated and full of pork and compromises.

The best thing about it is the ultimate elimination of the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. That's huge.

But my biggest complaint is that the reform isn't big enough, isn't bold enough and doesn't go far enough.

Here is what I wanted to see.

Cherry pick the best benefits and features of the 36 health care systems in the world that are ranked above us by the World Health Organization, roll them into 1 single provider/single payer system, get the 60 votes, pass the fucking bill and be done with it.

Then they could tell the Republicans to choke on a fucking dick knowing that they had actually solved the problem once and for all instead of compromising themselves into an impotent, bureaucratic clusterfuck.

Here's the fucking deal.

People worry that a "public option" would drive private insurance companies out of business and force everyone into the government run system because premiums would be less.

GOOD! About fucking time!

They worry that the quality of care would decrease because the payments to health care providers under a public option would be less than the cost of the procedures.

There are a couple of bullshit assumptions here.

The first assumption is that the cost of health care procedures is fixed and fair. It precludes the idea that doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies charge WAY THE FUCK MORE than they should be charging for those procedures!

Doctors are rich. Pharmaceutical companies are OBSCENELY rich. How many not-for-profit, charitable hospitals exist in your community? If you have any at all, I bet you can count them on one finger.

The health care industry in this country is INSANELY profitable. Even the insurance companies who pay for the bulk of the health care are INSANELY profitable. They are all in cahoots (technical term) with each other. That's why they can afford so many lobbyists.

Let's be clear. The American model of health care is built around making doctors, surgeons, hospitals, drug manufacturers and insurance companies filthy rich from the pain, suffering and terminal illnesses of you, me and your family. They make the most money when your back is against the wall of mortality and you have no choice but to find a way to pay or die.

I think a public option would force insurance companies to pay less in order to compete, which would force providers to charge less, which would reduce profits for the health care vultures.

Maybe the cost of health care would be driven back down to reality.

I should not be able to grow wealthy by driving you into bankruptcy because you got sick.

Think about the last time you were in the hospital.

Who did you see most often?

Who exhibited more concern and care for you?

Who fed you, gave you meds, brought you blankets and pillows, fed you ice chips and generally made you comfortable and cared for you?

It wasn't your primary care physician, your surgeon, your surgeon's pharmaceutical rep, your pharmaceutical company's lobbyist, or the CEO and Board of Directors of the Hospital.

It was your nurse.

Nurses bust their asses working long shifts for little pay.

Nurses have a different motivation than the rest of the industry. They know they will work long, hard hours. They know they will be inserting catheters, changing diapers, emptying bed pans, giving showers and tolerating INCREDIBLY WHINY ABUSE from pussified patients like you and me.

But they are willing to put up with all of that because they genuinely care, they have empathy and they aren't looking to get rich. They just want to do what they love and earn a decent living.

With absolutely no research to back my claim, I believe we could reduce health care costs in this country by 80% if doctors, surgeons, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies had the same work ethic and motivation as nurses.

I want my care givers compensation to be based on the quality of care they provided, not the amount of revenue they generated.

Fix it.

10 comments:

Midtown Miscreant said...

I jumped off the O train about 6 months ago. My biggest problem, trying to do too much shit, way too fast. The dems are doing the same thing the right did when they were a majority, and bama is leading the charge. I'm disappointed, I expected more. It's just the same old special interest song sung in a different key. I'm moving to Amsterdam as soon as I win my Pulitzer. Don't laugh, if Obama can win the Nobel, I can win a fuckin Pulitzer.

Xavier Onassis said...

MM - I'm not jumping off the O train. Every president has a first year of fuck ups before getting their balance.

My biggest problem isn't that they did "...too much shit, way too fast." It's that they compromised and gave up way too much way too fast.

I ain't laughin' about the Pulitzer, I'm stuffing the ballot box for ya!.

Amsterdam is in Holland, right? Isn't that where they have legal hookers and hash?

I'm letting Captain Kirk book my flight!

http://www.priceline.com/

I am SO there!

m.v. said...

this was the year when all circumstances converged to make health reform go through - majorities in congress and senate may not be available next year.I thought obama was a fraud from day 1 and the fact that there won't be any health reform just proves it.if he has any balls he should veto this crap,because he wasn't elected for backroom deals and big business giveaways- he needs to send it back to put the public option back.otherwise he wasted his mandate and false tears oprah cried were for nothing.

Xavier Onassis said...

m.v. - I agree! I would love to see him go balls to the wall and do that. But he won't and that makes me sad. Not all that surprised, just sad.

Joe said...

I too am disappointed in the health care bill. People voted for Obama believing in his mandate for health care. We want a public option. We're the only industrial country where health insurance is tied to being employed. That's the real issue and that needs to change.
Actually, I'm disappointed in Obama period. I expected more out of him than what he's done. With a House majority and a filibuster proof Senate, there's no excuse.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

I agree with you on a couple of things. Of course, I don't like the Obama health care reform bill. And, the best thing about it indeed is the ultimate elimination of the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. And, the cost of insurance for those who have it cannot keep going up.

Unfortunately, under the Obama plan the cost of insurance for those who have it WILL go up. The CBO estimates that 10 million people will be dropped from their employer provided plans. Why? Because the employers can for $750 a year, and that's way cheaper than the thousands they are currently paying. And you, the employee, will be forced to join a plan in the exchange which probably won't be subsidized if you have a middle class salary. Therefore, the full burden will fall on you.

Next, let's look at the states (except for Nebraska who got a private deal). They have all said they cannot afford the new costs of medicaid in this bill. They have to balance their budgets. Therefore, they will also pass the costs on to you. They have no choice.

And, then there's the effect of the bill on the deficit. CBO scored it as deficit neutral. However, CBO also scored it based on the fantasy scenarios the dems gave them. Nobody believes $500 billion will be cut from medicare. Even the CBO warns that's probably not realistic. The dems also didn't include the $250 billion "doc fix" (underpayment from medicare/medicaid), but we all know it's going to be paid for anyhow via a separate spending bill. So, how are the fantasy cuts going to be made into reality - increased taxes of course which will also be put on the middle class.

So, in the end, if you add all these things up, your costs of insurance are going to skyrocket unless you're on medicaid.

Make no mistake, however. I am not happy with the Republicans. I have written to my reps for years telling them to fix the health care problem. I wrote to them years ago when I had to pay for the huge cost of COBRA while my daughter was out of work cause she sure couldn't afford it for her family. I wrote to them when my friend was dropped from chemotherapy coverage because of a "pre-existing" condition he never even knew he had. He almost died before getting on state aid. Hell, I write to them all the time. They probably ignore me by now.

Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are blameless for the situation we're in. Their pockets are all greased by legions of lobbyists. Almost all of them are rich, some obscenely rich. None of them will suffer no matter what bill goes through.

The answer: TERM LIMITS for all of them AND HEAVY RESTRICTIONS FOR ACCEPTING MONEY FROM LOBBYISTS. Maybe then our representatives would do what's right for the American people and forge a bipartisan consensus. Unfortunately, that's as much of a fantasy as Obama Care.

May said...

Seriously... the only reason our health care system is this fucked up is because people are making money off of it and don't want to stop. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to do some more thinking.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

If you want to be shocked, read this which I just copied from the Huffington Post. Nurses' Association comments on bill. This is their 3rd comment. If that's not enough to scare the hell out of you, I don't know what is:

"3. An affordability mirage. Congressional Budget Office estimates say a family of four with a household income of $54,000 would be expected to pay 17 percent of their income, $9,000, on healthcare exposing too many families to grave financial risk."

Al said...

Jools,

Thanks for the informed comentary.

I'm against the bill not because I don't want reform, I just don't know what the bill is about.

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