Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Health care reform -- geezer fight, geezer fight

OK. Let’s rumble.

Let’s see if we can bring these health care/town hall theatrics to a showdown. You bring your geezer goons and I’ll bring mine. No prosthetics allowed. Set your Pacemakers on stun.

Let’s get in each other faces and shout. Up close. If your arthritis is not flaring up, jab your fingers in the air. Let the spittle fall where it may.

Let’s not let anyone talk. Spouses, neither. Ignore everyone saying “Sit down, honey,” unless they are wearing a badge.

If the two wires in your head are touching, that’s always a plus.

It’s the Bloods and the Crips. The Jets and the Sharks. Don’t make us resort to our ultimate threat—the shirts and the skins.

The Alamo. Apocalypse NOW! But please, don’t everybody wear a white belt with matching shoes.

A scheduling note: the bus will leave in plenty of time for you to maintain your fiber regimen.


Here’s the serious question: aren’t you tired of this angry and stupid spectacle that is playing out on the evening news? The unrelenting pounding is giving geezers a bad name: “No government health program – but keep your hands off my Medicare.”

Let's push back but in a civil way. Give some thought to this approach: Ronni Bennett, a woman we know from her writing on the aging process, is urging elderbloggers to link together in a grassroots effort to support health care reform. If we can get enough readers to respond, it might stiffen the spine for the Blue Dog Democrats so we can pass a bill. Learn more about her effort here. Join us August 20.

We need health care reform.

The humanitarian reason: 46 million Americans have no insurance.

The economic reason: duh.

Epiphany Now!


Ronni Bennett said...

Thank you, George. My topic for August 20 will be the public option. I fear it's losing traction - even President Obama said he might accept co-ops instead - but it is key to successful reform.

The South Plainsman said...

We absolutely do need health care reform.

We absolutely do need to reform Medicare, Medicaid, and along with those two, Social Security.

With regard to Medicare reform, there are different ways to reform it, but it has to be done.

Rationing health care for geezers is one way, and that is what is in the various bills.

Another way would be to gradually extend the age at which Medicare takes effect to age 70.

If you need more savings, raise the premiums and/or the co-pays a bit. The bean counters can tell you about how much.(Social Security needs to be raised to 70 as well.)

The latter way would save having a bunch of bureaucrats and/or politicians making life or death decisions for people.

I have seen 84 year olds for whom a heart surgery would be ridiculous, but Ed Koch just had one. I suspect that was cost effective. A bureaucratic rule couldn't make those decisions. Only the doctor, the patient and the patient's family can do that.

To impose the rationing option on a generation that has been unable to plan for it just would not be fair or appropriate. I doubt that now anyone on Medicare could qualify for insurance that would cover that stuff even if they had the money to pay for it.

As one who has been on Medicare for several years, I would not mind prremium increses or higher co-pays if they were fairly done.

As for the public option: that will lead directly to a single payer health program, and will be about as successful as the other such programs around the world. It is not an option.

The South Plainsman said...

Sorry about the typos.

Ken Martin said...

Beautifully written, George. You the man!

Anonymous said...

Can any of you well read, and wonderful writers answer one question with a simple yes or no? Question: As written today under the Obama Health Care Plan, is cerebral palsy covered?

Blog of Ages said...

Long answer: there's no one health care bill yet. Neither the house nor the senate have passed a bill. Then, of course, there's always the conference necessary to bring both sides into agreement.

Short answer: I don't know if cerebral palsy is covered. Should be.

The South Plainsman said...

One of the huge costs of Medicare/Medicaid are the infants born with cerebral palsey.

I don't have the citation readily available, but this is one of the things that the administration has talked about being "not cost effective."

Along with treatment of the elderly, the "cost effective" test will be applied to these conditions as well as others.

The real big problem that we all should have with these proposals is that nobody really knows what is going on with any of the bills being considered, but they were prepared to rush them through anyway.

The one thing that should tell you about the quality of the health care that ordinary citizens will get out of all of this is that (and pardon me for shouting)ALL OF THE BILLS EXEMPT CONGRESS, THE EXECUTIVE AND THE JUDICIAL BRANCHES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT FROM THE PROVISIONS.

If it isn't good enough for them, then I will invite them to exempt me and my family as well.

The South Plainsman said...,0,7884991.story

That is the site of an L A Times story about Congress' health plan.

Its a lot cushier than the plan they would MANDATE for you.

Obama has been asked whether he would be covered under the new bill, and every time, he has avoided an answer.

We need health care reform, but if we have it, everyone should be covered by it, even the elites in Washington, D.C.

If it is not good enough for them, it is not good enough for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

SP: If you are correct about the cerebral palsy issue, then I could care less what is in the rest of the plan, because it is just plain and simply WRONG!! Would anyone reading this BLOG care to debate me on this issue, assuming that The SP is correct?

Blog of Ages said...

SP is misleading or mistaken.

The health-care bill that recently passed the House does not contain, as some have suggested, any provisions that would deny treatment to the elderly, the infirmed, or people disabled with conditions like cerebral palsy. That notion was cherry-picked by nut-cake GOP Rep Michelle Bachman and reverberated into “death panel” by GOP nut-cake Sarah Palin.

Read more here:,8599,1915835,00.html

This shouting is insane.

The South Plainsman said...

What George is talking about is section 1233 of the bill, and that does not actually prevent anyone from getting any kind of care. It just provides physicians the incentive to give counseling with regard to end of life issues, and then outlines what must be included in such counseling.

The bill is being sold as one that will cut costs. Among the costs that have been mentioned are for infants and elderly where treatment would not be "cost effective." In a 1017 page bill, it is difficult to find any provision that directly states that funding for such things as cerebral palsy will be limited.

The devil is in the details of the various committees that will be set up to determine the coverages in the mandated policies.

And that is the problem: if government is given the power to do these things, then decisions will become political rather than medical. I personally am not willing to give them the chance.

Another issue to be discussed ultimately is if the government even has the power to mandate private coverage provisions, or to mandate the particulars of any coverage.

You see, the 10th Amendment really prohibits it. But that is an argument for another day.

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