Category: health

Single Payer Health Care Now!

Bill Moyer has been doing several interviews with medical professionals about health care in the United States. More specifically he tries to play devils advocate which really draws out the professionals.

Part of the argument is based on the equation of socialism with communism.
Merriam Webster gets it very wrong, in essence saying government controls all means of production and distribution. There are some things governments are very good at when properly regulated and with ample oversight. Banking is one industry and health care another.


1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

The U.S. already has a form of socialism if you really want to get down to brass tacks. Fire Departments, Police Departments, Public Schools, Public Works Medicare, Medicaid and the list goes on and on. I have no objection to our form of socialism. The only issue I have is that there seems to be a lack of oversight.

We the people are the actual owners of all those services which is why I object to Merriam-Websters definition of socialism.

Anyhow the video linked above is interesting because it exposes the prime reason that we don’t have single payer health care. Our congressional representative are afraid to push anything that would be disruptive to their prime campaign financiers.

There is nothing wrong with disruptive change. Ask the telecom and cable companies. They know.

Single Payer health care on Bill Moyers Journal

Check out Bill Moyers Journal on health care in the U.S.

Watch the video following the one linked with Public Citizen’s Dr. Sidney Wolfe and Physicians for a National Health Program’s Dr. David Himmelstein. They make a good point, while the insurance industry would have you believe that a nationalized single payer system would limit choice, the reverse is actually true. In Canada for example there are more single doctor practices than anywhere in the U.S.

There are other lies and fibs told by the insurance industry too. For example, that care would be rationed, or that there would be long waiting lines. Been to a hospital ER lately, or tried to book an appointment with a new doctor? That’s right, you wait and wait, and wait some more.

It isn’t just the greed of the insurance industry either, but a whole new class of company that sprung up to handle the complicated billing for doctors and practitioners. I found out just how greedy and complicit the billing companies were when I helped out a bit in the case of the State of Rhode Island v. Dr. Judge. I recall a meeting with the billing company representatives about obtaining data about the doctors billing practices. The company swore up and down that they didn’t have the data, that they only kept a small window of data (3 months) on billing. You could smell the rat from a mile away.

They’re brought along their I.T. guy. One of the thing I learned years ago is that I can tell when someone is lying to me, I get a good read on people right away. And I could tell this guy was telling a lie but wasn’t comfortable with it.

Couple years later I’m in a new state agency and we’re hiring a system support guy. Whose resume comes in but the guy who was the I.T. director for the billing company. He had all the qualifications so we brought him in for an interview. At one point he and I got to talking about the Judge case. He of course was being told to lie by the management of the billing company. The billing company knew full well what the doctor was doing yet never said a word because they were making a profit!

One thing that is a constant in the video though. Any industry be it banking, health care, etc. cannot be allowed to self-regulate. That’s sort of akin to the fox guarding the chicken coop. There are some things governments are very good at, regulation being one of them.

The question remains though. What do we do with all the people that would lose their jobs if we dismantled the insurance and billing systems we have now? Not really my concern but that’s got to be a significant number of people.

But don’t get me wrong, I support single payer health care. It’ll be a hard and disruptive change but it is something we nee to do in order to avoid the ultimate end of total and complete economic bankruptcy. We’re barely surviving the bank debacle, we won’t survive the health care debacle.

Health Care Stories

This evening I attended a Spaghetti Dinner sponsored by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Met up with a couple of people on Sheldon’s staff that I had worked with when we were all at the RI Secretary of State’s office. Overall all about 130 people showed up for the event.

The event was MC’d by Providence Mayor David Ciciline:

Mayor Ciciline MCs Health Care Dinner
Mayor Ciciline MC's Health Care Dinner

And then Sheldon got up to say a few words before handing microphones out to the crowd:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

It was a bit of a political who’s who, what with city councilmen John Lombardi (Ward, 13) , Nick Narducci (Ward 4), Peter Mancini (Ward 14), Terry Hasset (Ward 12), and Michael Solomon (Ward 5) and Rep. Grace Diaz. Also in attendance was Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman. One commonality among the politicians that attended, they all represent areas with a large number of elderly and economically disadvantaged.

There were some compelling stories. I didn’t tell mine but I’ve gone without treatment for this inner ear condition because I don’t even have coverage at this point. And the nerve sectioning in the inner ear won’t be cheap I’m sure. Other people were talking about the $15,000 for this, $7,000 for that, etc. The time and money wasted because we don’t have a viable public health care solution yet.

Sheldon did talk about a public insurance program. And he alluded to something that I should have asked but didn’t. He says that the public system will cause the private system to shape up. I suspect the public system would drain off the more expensive cases from the private insurers. In order to balance the system strong regulation would need to be put in place. Perhaps a fair system for those with expensive chronic conditions would be to create a pool of insurers including the public and assign people to those insurers by random lottery. This way all plans would share in the care for chronic conditions.

Sheldon did touch on efficiencies in health care delivery which is encouraging. But the idea of a for-profit insurer or a for-profit health provider runs counter to my beliefs. I don’t mean doctors and nurses should be taking a lower rate of pay, but that hospitals and insurers need to change the focus form providing for the shareholders to providing for the insured.

Blow hard Billo vs. Ron Paul

Bill O’Reilly has to be one of the biggest blow hards on Fox news.

In this story, he faces off against Ron Paul. Paul is an interesting candidate, I don’t necessarily agree with his anti-federalism approach but he does score on calling the administration what it is, incompetent.

Anyhow read the article and then watch the video. I note that O’Reilly’s main tool is to try and outshout his opponent. O’Reilly is such a charming fellow that he has even gone to the lengths to cut off the microphone of someone he disagrees with.

Every time you run across a clip of the guy you can feel the insecurity rising because deep down, he knows he’s wrong.

Now playing: Maze f. Frankie Beverly – Running Away
via FoxyTunes

I thought MD’s were supposed to be Objective

Apparently I was wrong in thinking that a person who goes through the rigorous training that the average MD gets would have no choice but to face fact that God is a fiction. Pharmacists fall into this category too.

But this just disturbs the hell out of me. A doctor unwilling to help because a client is gay? This doctor should have her license revoked, let her fall back on her church to support her because she has no business practicing ‘medicine’.

Of course in my case not only would I report the doc to licensing authorities, I’d also report to local law enforcement. Why? Because most docs accept medicare/medicaid. And I can tell you from my time at the state AG’s office that a good chunk of docs abuse the mc/md business, using tricks like upcoding, packing in visits, etc.

The woman needs to be both prosecuted and persecuted.