Posts Tagged With: Insurance

My $7.50

750

Who concerns themselves with $7.50? I found that I do. To my own detriment, I refused to give $7.50 for medication I need. That’s right, my Multiple Sclerosis medication co-pay was $7.50 and I refused the medication!

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over 16 years ago. I have gone through many Tecfidera 1different forms of treatment that have included daily injections, one week IV infusions and most recently a twice daily pill. Simply take 1 in the morning and 1 at night. Simple, right? Well… money and my hatred of pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies have combined to even complicate taking medication daily. The medicine I am talking about is Tecfidera. The insurance company is Humana. If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have sang their praises.

What changed? Well, Tecfidera costs OVER $6,500 for a 30 day supply.Yeah… take that in. When my doctor suggested I start taking Tecfidera, I said, “It depends on what it costs Printme!” I said I would agree and start taking it if my insurance paid for it. Behind the scenes, Humana Specialty Pharmacy worked something out and I was able to start taking the medicine. Now keep in mind, this is only one of MANY meds I take to help treat my MS and symptoms. Each month I would get a call to remind me to refill the prescription and it would be sent to me. The call ended with a “and your co-pay will be $0”. This went on for months.

The call at the end of July for my August refill ended with, “Your co-pay will be $7.50.” The representative was assuredly surprised when I exclaimed “WHAT?” The rep remained polite and explained my assistance program had expired. I asked how to get it restarted. I was transferred and was told by this new rep that they would see if funds were available. It did not take long and I was told there was no funding available. I said, “Oh, I guess that is my indicator to stop this med.” She seemed surprised. I replied telling her the pill costs over $6,500 per month and somehow no funds were available to help me?

Did I have $7.50? Yes. But, the idea or principle of the matter for me is that – my $7.50 does not matter. Humana or Biogen, one or both should be making PLENTY of money on a $6,500 a month drug. Getting $7.50 out of my broke ass just seemed to paying for someone’s Starbucks. I just imagined whoever in the chain came up with my co-pay being $7.50 said, “I will be able to get me a Starbucks off Thomas each month.” Well, at my health’s expense, I refuse to buy someone charging over $6,500 a month for medicine a Starbucks. What “funding” or assistance program no longer had $7.50? It did not matter to me.

My protest over my $7.50 co-pay hurts no one but me, but I feel a satisfaction that Humana and Biogen are no longer getting their money either. If I remember right, the meds were $6,594.38 each month. The meds price had been increasing each month it seemed and at $6,594.38 I was fed up. It is RIDICULOUS for meds to cost that much. In my case, since Humana is my Medicare provider, I am saving the taxpayer roughly $6,586.88 ($6,594.38 – my $7.50). Someone is getting PAID and someone is PAYING. I no longer will participate in this scheme!

I have noticed extensive advertising for Tecfidera also. During the Price Is Right, I may see the ad a couple times. It runs regularly. My question is why should I ask my docotor about taking Tecfidera as the ad suggests? Shouldn’t my doctor ask me? Shouldn’t Biogen be telling the doctors about Tecfidera? I OFTEN see pharmaceutical “reps” parade in with their lunch for the doctor’s office and I’ve attended informational dinners sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies  with my and other doctor’s being paid to speak at these dinners. So, there seems to be A LOT of waste for promoting medicines.This resentment may com from the fact I once wanted to be a pharmaceutical rep! lol

I will continue to treat my MS and symptoms with meds that are more affordable for the Tecfideratax payer, the consumer and ME! With swindlers like pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli raising the price of a HIV drug 5,000% and Heather Bresch raising life saving EpiPen more than 470% being rewarded with more and more money… I say NO MORE! I see pretty much ALL pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies as nefarious, greedy, and futile (futile to all but their stockholders)!

With the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I see no hope to reign in rapacious corporations. Another reason I morn Bernie Sander’s departure from the election. I know Bernie would have instigated change. As long as pharmaceutical companies have lobbyist, patients will be screwed! I hope to see Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren team up in the senate to attempt change but, I have little or no faith in the US government to protect me in matters of health.

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Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mr. Smith STILL NEEDS To Go To Washington

Mr. Smith

I am writing as a disillusioned American.  I recently watched the movie Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.  While the movie is very inspiring, I stay disillusioned because it was filmed in 1939 and very little (if anything) has changed in Washington D.C. in 71 years; except maybe for the worse.  A majority of our Senators and Representatives remain as corrupt and unreachable now as then.  It takes money to get elected, it takes money to stay elected and “We the people” cannot be heard anymore – unless we have money.

U.S. Capitol

With the recent changes in health care…. I have heard many say that we did not need health care reform as much as we needed insurance company reform (ok…. I said it a lot).  But the insurance companies have a lot of money and their high-powered lobbyist were successful at getting their message to the Congress, but how many of us “ordinary” Americans were heard?  Congressmen were screamed at a lot at town hall meetings, but I felt that was all for show – they were not listening.

A big problem we have today that is not addressed specifically in the movie is the lack of bipartisan cooperation.  Republicans and/or Democrats alike act like children.  If I do not get ALL of what I want, I will just take my ball and go home and not play with you any more is the new party lines for both Democrats and/or Republicans!  Why do these men and women need their party to tell them how to vote?  OH – the money!

I am presently being abused by a federal law and decided I needed to contact Congress to let them know how the E.R.I.S.A.(Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) law is favoring protecting the insurance companies instead of the employees in matters on disabilities.  I have directly contacted U.S. Senators and U.S. Congressman’s office with no results – not even having anyone truly listen to what the problem.  I even contacted the White House and did not even get a dismissal or brush-off reply – I was completely ignored there.  I am certain there is at least 1 Representative or Senator that would be willing to help champion my cause – maybe even a newly elected Mr. Smith.

I just want anyone in Congress to listen to me and explain what solutions I may have.  E.R.I.A. is a federal law, so they are the source of helping me find a resolution to this problem.  I have been taught that good writing consists of a call to action.  Here is the action I hope you will take on: contact your Representative’s and Senator’s office where ever you may live (in the U.S. that is) and ask them to contact me at: olemiss94@aol.com, just tell them this poor guy needs you to listen to him but he has no money. Let me see if I can recruit an army to help me, because I have learned I cannot do it on my own!

Here is how to find contacts for your location – http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

P.S. Please let me know if you do reach out to your Congressmen/Congresswoman so I know who I might expect to hear from…. or for future blogs may be listed as someone else that ignored me.

P.S.S. Please share on your facebook, twitter, myspace or anyway to help share my plea!

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Happened To Compassion?

Now this CRAP is making its round on facebook as a letter to the President!!  lol  This guy needs an editor as bad as I do…. but I am not sending my letters to the President with misspelled words and BAD grammar at least.  If you like Dr. Roger Starner Jones point…. I ask that you read my point and reconsider!  Dr. Jones’ own arrogant culture of SUPERIORITY because he thinks being a doctor exempts himself from the human condition and makes his opinion more relevant is humorous and validates that sharing my opinion via my blog is IMPORTANT!!  lol

Originally posted on my blog March 20, 2010 – Photo added September 14, 2010 just in case claiming this to be for the President this time instead of the Clarion Ledger (as last time) will make it more relevant!!  lol

South façade of the White House, the executive...

This e-mail was in my inbox :

Subjet: A GREAT LETTER TO THE CLARION LEDGER EDITOR

This was written to the Clarion Ledger by one of our General Surgery residents at UMC. I don’t think he could’ve illustrated this more perfectly!! And, I 100% agree with him!!!! PAUL

Dear Sirs:

During my last night’s shift in the ER, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient with a shiny new gold tooth, multiple elaborate tattoos, a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B tune for a ringtone. Glancing over the chart, one could not help noticing her payer status: Medicaid. She smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and, somehow, still has money to buy beer. And our Congress expects me to pay for this woman’s health care? Our nation’s health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. It is a crisis of culture —20a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture that thinks “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. Life is really not that hard. Most of us reap what we sow. Don’t you agree?

STARNER JONES,MD
Jackson, MS

NO I DO NOT AGREE!!

I have more faith in the person that sent this to me than is indicated by that person perpetuating this kind of poor argument to a bigger problem than gold teeth and R&B ringtones on new cellphones of tattooed girls on Medicaid. The doctor shows little compassion considering he is a resident at a medical center and not a law clerk for a judge. I prefer my doctors to treat medical conditions and leave the judging to Judges. I feel Dr. Jones actually represents a crisis in our culture as well as the patient he discusses! But he is educated and should know better. I dare say he had many more opportunities in life than the girl he so easily judges!

Thanks – Hope you ENJOY!!

My response for Dr. Jones and others that agree with him:

ALTRUISM & PORK

What has happened to America’s ALTRUISM? 46,000,000 people in the U.S. have no insurance and the other 250,000,000 are scared shitless !! They are scared because they have sit on their butts and done NOTHING to help the uninsured for so long, that now it could possibly affect them, they wake up. But the sad thing is they do not wake up out of concern of the uninsured, they are only worried about themselves and how it affects them! Shame on us! I support REFORM, but not what Congress is trying to pass off as reform. It is just more bureaucracy and pork.

Altruism is defined by Merriam-Webster as: “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others[1]”. Okay Merriam-Webster did not bold and underline unselfish I did, but the definition is exact. In the U.S. we now have over 46,000,000[2] uninsured. It sounds to me like many Americans hold to the notion “In God We Trust” because there is no one in Washington D.C. to trust. They also have to trust God to keep them healthy, because only heaven can help them if they get sick in the U.S. with no insurance or little funds in savings for illnesses. Even as healthcare reform is discussed in the nation’s capitol, politicians are taking the opportunity to attach their earmarks and pork as usual. No wonder the U.S. is the most obese nation in the world[3], it cannot even pass healthcare reform without a big serving of pork. As Americans we have gotten so selfish, that providing healthcare for the less fortunate is a hot button issue. We cannot even share healthcare without complaints.

I find it is people with insurance that are so upset, but I hear little from the ones that would benefit most from healthcare reform. Why have the insured people decided to be so loud now? Because they have not had to worry about a sick child or spouse getting healthcare if they need it, but now they are thinking about it. Now their healthcare is only in discussion of possibly changing they start screaming. Why hasn’t anyone screamed out about the injustice of denying healthcare coverage for the less fortunate? Welcome to the nightmare all the uninsured are living! These uninsured are worried about their family’s healthcare too. It is not until their own coverage is challenged that Americans cry foul. I chose the term “less fortunate” because another objection I hear often is they do not want their tax money going to help those that sit back and wait for the government to help them. The disappointing news there is, “those people” are already getting that tax money in the form of welfare, food stamps and health coverage via Medicaid. Or better yet, they do not pay their hospital bills and that cost is passed on to the actual paying patients. Yes, there are some that are abusing the system, but are we okay with punishing the innocent to make this point as we use the extreme as if it is the norm? The majority of uninsured today are made up of the working poor. Nearly 1.3 million full-time workers lost their health insurance in 2006[4]. Over 8 in 10 uninsured people come from working families – almost 70 percent from families with one worker[5]. So the idea that the people to benefit from reform are free loaders waiting for a free ride is ABSURD!

I remember from Sunday School and my church training that Christ instructed us to care for all people, but especially the poor and those suffering from social injustice. That is why there are well over 100 passages in the Bible addressing this subject[6]. So I would think that Christians would be leading the pack for reform, but that does not seem to be the case. Over $83 million was spent by both sides of Prop 8 ballot initiative trying to prevent the right for gays to marry. I think it would be safe to say the majority of the donors giving $39.9 million supporting Prop 8 (which bans gay marriage) were doing so based on their own personal and religious beliefs. It is America and they have the right to do that, but even if they do not feel gays being denied the right to marry is a social injustice, how can anyone say that making healthcare more accessible and affordable is not a social injustice? “Healthcare access is a right, not a privilege”[7] is what all Americans should be screaming, especially Christian organizations. I guess the almost $40 million spent keeping California’s gays from getting married is much more important than providing healthcare for the less fortunate!

I would say it is true that no one is denied healthcare in an emergency, but at what cost. One trip to the emergency room for kidney stones totaled over $3,200 and I was never admitted to the hospital and only treated in the emergency room. Luckily I had insurance at the time and only had to pay $640.00 out of my pocket. When I had the same problem in Colombia, South America; I had the same treatment and the total cost (with no insurance) was $275.00. If prices were more affordable for healthcare, insuring Americans would not be a problem. Preventative treatment and early diagnosis of health issues could also save Americans a lot of money. But with the big money made by pharmaceutical companies, healthcare organizations and insurance companies, I do not see any real reform coming. The lobbyists representing those groups are so deep in the politicians pockets that what is best for Americans is surpassed for the lobbyist with the most money. Surprise, once again the topic of corruption in politics needs to be mentioned. Since a lot of our congressmen and senators were lawyers before politicians, we will never see tort reform; so the lawyers can continue to sue, sue, sue and get rich, rich, rich and healthcare cost rise, rise, and rise!

Doctors are paid well and nurses should make so much more for what they do. This is not where the cost of healthcare lies, it is in their bosses, insurances companies, lobbyist and politician’s pockets from our “for profit” healthcare system where money is more important than patients. I even see e-mails of doctors noticing gold teeth, cellphones and ringtones; begrudging treating those patients because they may have some kind of government assistance. I would LOVE to see more e-mails of doctors volunteering to treat the poor that have no insurance more so than reporting who they judge while giving medical assistance. If the doctors saw fit to do more volunteering, the government would not need to be as involved as much. It would also be good to see the wealthy doing more to help people that are not as fortunate as they are. Many Americans prefer to drive huge gas hog 4×4 trucks that never go off-road and Hummers in bright-ass colors to show off how much credit have instead of spending any time helping the ones less fortunate. No matter my station in life, I know there were and are people I could have done more for unselfishly! Can you think of even a friend that could use help from you?

Next time healthcare is a topic among friends, ask for a slice of bacon; because by the end of healthcare reform all Americans will have is PORK! The insurance, pharmaceutical and health organization companies will be even richer, our taxes will be higher and there will be no benefit seen for the poor, under insured and uninsurable! People should be paid for treating the sick, but not profit from it. But the best thing about America’s healthcare system – it will STILL be the only country in the world that allows people PROFIT form treating the sick! But keep in mind, it is still possible to demonstrate that as individuals we can be even more greedy as well!

Please notice and check my facts, I am not making up false information like some of the media is doing to scare people.

[1] “altruism.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009. Merriam-Webster Online. 25 August 2009.
<http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/altruism>

[2] “Facts on the Cost of Health Insurance Coverage.” The National Coalition on Health Care. August 25, 2009. http://www.nchc.org/facts/coverage.shtml
[3] “Health Statistics > Obesity (most recent) by country”. NationMaster.com. August 25, 2009 http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_obe-health-obesity

[4] DeNavas-Walt, C.B. Proctor, and J. Smith. “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007”. U.S. Census Bureau., August 2008.

[5] The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Employee Health Benefits: 2008 Annual Survey. September 2008. http://www.kff.org/insurance/7672/index.cfm
[6] “Bible verses: Caring for the poor, Christian service: serving others.” Southern Nazarene University. August 25, 2009. http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/poor.htm
[7] Thomas J Papadimos. “Healthcare access as a right, not a privilege: a construct of Western thought.” Philosophy, Ethics, Humanities in Medicine. March 8, 2007. August 25, 2009. http://www.peh-med.com/content/2/1/2

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This, That & the Other – Really Don’t Matter!

This, That & the Other

Desperation and necessity makes my decisions for me – who or what makes your decisions?  Americans (for the most part) always feel the freedom to make whatever decision is best.  But for some of us…. we lack the freedom.   Actually we have the freedom, but not the money to back the decisions we want to make.  I know people who have choices and I envy them.  They complain about this, that and the other.  If they saw things from a different perspective, I think this world would change.  I have a friend here in Bogotá that gets upset (like I do) about the lack of common courtesy used by Bogotanos in public ( in private, it would be very difficult to find friendlier people).  I told him “you may not be able to change the world, but you can change YOUR world”.  Smile, say hello, be nice and he has noticed what I said is true, he is changing his world – in general people are more polite than at first.  He made a good decision and has changed his world and I do feel changing the world is possible – one step at a time!

Desperation helps make nontraditional decisions.  But is the a decision-making process you are familiar with?  I am too familiar with this process.  Two years ago, I found myself one of the millions of Americans with no health insurance.  I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and 2 years with no insurance made me desperate to find a solution.  I tried and exhausted all possible solutions I knew to try.  I even found living only on social security, I made $14 a month too much for Medicaid.  That close but still to far!  After all traditional alternatives were explored, I tried being creative.  After my private insurance quit paying my private disability I had begun to explore places to live on limited a limited income and Colombia was high on the list.  Soon I found they had a government option health care system that even as a resident I could participate in.  Desperate for insurance I made the move to Colombia, South America.

Necessity also makes bad decisions for us.  Some decisions are made and made too late even when necessary.  A friend from junior high school was on disability due to cancer and had a 2 year waiting period for Medicare (same as me) and he had used his COBRA time during the approval stage of getting on disability.  The cancer returned during this waiting period.  There was a front page story about his situation in the local paper and still, he found no help.  I chose to share my stories.  Necessity left him seeking help even from having his story shared with strangers to no avail.  Healthcare reform came too late for him. Charles Aaron Jackson III, 43, died November 21, 2009 at his residence in Osyka.  I often tried to remind myself – it could always be worse.  I hate my friend was one that had it worse. I shared the struggle and when I reached out, it was too late.  Cancer got him before Medicare did.  Insurance was necessary but the decision was out of his control.

This – I often see “this” is little to complain about.  As I complained to a friend about what I felt was a desperate situation, I saw a homeless man walking up the street and picking trough a garbage bag.  My problem is a big problem, but it could always be bigger.  I am not homeless or dying from cancer.  I need that homeless man and the memory of my childhood friend to remind me to keep things in perspective.  I am so lucky, I will NEVER be homeless, my family let me sleep on their floor until they find me a bed.  Even with little medical assistance I will ALWAYS have help getting out of the tub because when my legs are too tired to stand in the shower, they are also too weak to get me out of the tub and again, my family (even elderly parents) help me out of the tub.  More than once, I have NEEDED a cocktail and I have friends that will buy me a drink (lol) even when I am broke – I will ALWAYS have great friends because they care more about helping a friend than hoarding their money.

That – “that” is not my problem.  In the last few years, I have had so many problems I NEVER thought I would have.  As with the healthcare debate, I saw it from a different perspective being one of the uninsured.  Why do we have to find ourselves in a situation before we empathize.  President Obama was faulted for wanting empathetic Supreme Court Justices.  I like that a judge can empathize.  To understand law, I think a judge should empathize with the writers of the Constitution to understand how the law should be applied and also to empathize with the people who the laws are applicable to.  Only a politician would think empathy to be a bad thing!!

& the other – It is not me so why should I worry?  I was told that I gave up my right to share an opinion about healthcare reform because I had “chosen” to leave the country (actually a cousin told me that – distant cousin).  Her complaint was she worked hard for her money and did not want to be paying for others insurance.  I have been so surprised that there is a price for life and health and there is a point people think it is too much to help.  I have alienated myself from religion because of attitudes from Christians like this.  I am happy she can find comfort in her faith because it repels me from sharing her faith.  Maybe she even prayed for Aaron, but thank God she did not have to pay more taxes to save his life.

So let’s try keeping in mind desperation and necessity hinder decision-making.  We will be desperate at times, but knowing we are not the most desperate can help keep this, that & the other in perspective.  We will feel things are a necessity at times, but keeping in mind people are doing without necessities ALL of the time makes this that & the other less important.  This, that & the other are things we need to keep in perspective, empathize with others about and also know how our actions reflect to others our priorities.   In desperate times we should know it is a necessity that “this, that & the other” are kept in true perspective.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

No More Post Updating My Life With MS

I will no longer be posting accounts about my life with Multiple Sclerosis.  Cigna is trying to use this information against me as another way to deny me the benefits I paid for and they refuse to honor.  Since my next step will be to sue them, I will not post information for them to create more injustice with.  This is another example of how Cigna is ruining my life by NOT simply doing what they are supposed to do and preventing me from even enjoying a blog to share with friends and family about my health.  Look for a long detailed post as to how Cigna has done me wrong and continues to do so!  The U.S. does not need healthcare reform… what is needed is insurance company reform.

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Ignorance Is Bliss

Healthcare remains a HOT issue in the U.S.!  But if people actually took the time to read for themselves what is going on, maybe they would not be so frightened.  Ignorance is bliss, but I ask that you take the time to try to learn about what you think you are afraid of – Let’s turn on the lights and see the is no Boogie Man!!!

The highlights of the immediate change are:

  • No more caps on severe or catastrophic illnesses.
  • Help for the uninsured with pre-existing conditions.
  • Children will be able to remain on parents insurance until age 26.
  • Drug discount for seniors.

The highlights of changes for 2014 are:

  • Health insurance exchanges will be created to help insure small businesses, self-employed and the uninsured.
  • Health insurance will be required or individual will be penalized.
  • Medicaid expansion.
  • Tax breaks for families based on income.

I find none of these to be bad.  I see no reason for this to cause concern or alarm.

Here is my story – I am an uninsured American that has found refuge in Colombia, South America.  I have had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for over 13 years and a few years back, my doctor determined I needed to be on disability.  I had worked for over 25 years and since I knew I had MS, I thought I had prepared for the possibility I would not be able to work one day.  In this post I will not even begin to describe the problems I have had with Cigna (my private disability insurer) but will only focus on the healthcare insurance aspect.  During the process of being approved for disability I was paying for my health insurance through COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act).  I moved from private short-term disability to private long-term insurance then to Social Security Disability and this process took all the time COBRA covers and left me 4 months uninsured.  I thought once on Social Security Disability I would have Medicare and was STRESSED to find out that I would have to wait 2 years to qualify for Medicare which meant 2 more years with no health insurance while living with MS.  Bush was still President and there was NO discussion of Healthcare Reform.  I began looking for alternatives and even applied for Medicaid.  The results.. even just with disability… I made a whopping $8 a month too much to qualify!  So I found myself living at home with my family (who does not have the money to help me but tries all they can) with no insurance, no alternatives for insurance and a chronic illness getting worse.

My search for alternative places began with looking for climates that better suited my condition.  Colombia fit this need.  Then I found Colombia has private insurance companies that do not cover pre-existing conditions, government option health insurance (called E.P.S.) which residents pay an affordable price to participate in and does cover pre-existing conditions, and there is also a system that is similar to the U.S. Medicare/Medicaid that assists the very poor and senior citizens for free.  I also found that prescriptions are also covered.  One of my medications in the U.S. with no insurance cost $1,500 a month (more than I make each month) and the other treatments have higher or similar costs.  I began to investigate how I could an American participate.  It turns out… there is a law requiring residents to have health insurance and the Colombian Consulate was happy to give me a resident visa.  The U.S. cannot consider a plan that works for another country because this system does not kiss the insurance companies asses.  It turns out Colombia has not only addressed the issue of Healthcare, but also immigration reform (they like to let visitors come as tourist and enjoy that they want to be residents as well), gays can receive equal governmental benefits via a civil union (everyone gets civil unions here from the government gay or straight and the church issues marriage certificates), and although drugs may be made in the jungles of Colombia… there is no drug epidemic in the cities of Colombia like in the U.S.  I have found that Colombia is much more progressive politically, socially and environmentally on issues American can not even discuss civilly.

Recently I posted on my facebook page “Americans are upset about healthcare reform.  I ask you to take one second and quit complaining about how this may affect you and take time to be thankful for the millions that have not had access that will be able to have insurance without having to leave the country”.  This is an actual response from a relative of mine “Since you are on disability and had health care and still made the decision to move out of our country, I really don’t want to listen to you discuss what is going on here. You lost that right when you chose to leave. Key word here: CHOSE.”  I had to explain that I dd NOT have healthcare and asked what choice she would have made.  I explained my situation and here is her response, “You are right; I had no right to say anything to you. This is a very touchy situation and those of us that have worked hard for our health care had rather not have to pay for healthcare for those sitting on their butts living on welfare! Let’s all quit our jobs and let the Gov’t completely support us! Get real Tommy. Do they have welfare in Columbia? Yes, this free health care works great in countries that don’t have welfare. Our country can’t afford it, and we shouldn’t have to suffer because of it!”  The U.S. cannot afford this?  The U.S. has spent close to $1 trillion on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (http://costofwar.com/), but the U.S. government cannot afford healthcare?  Since when did war become more affordable and more important than citizens health?  Why does healthcare cost so much to begin with?

I guess I had not worked hard enough while working for 10 years with Multiple Sclerosis. lol  About 11% of Americans are on welfare and ALREADY have Medicaid (government-run healthcare), so what else is she thinking she will have to pay for the people sitting on their butts that she does not already pay for?  Healthcare reform is for the people who do not have access to insurance through work (opps working people), people with catastrophic illnesses (we understand it is expensive to treat cancer… but after X amount, you are not worth covering and that is acceptable behavior for insurance companies), people with pre-existing conditions (damn lazy people who have sat on their butts and not curing the diseases they have) and uninsured ( people who cannot pay crazy expensive health insurance premiums with honest days wages – they should have gone to college and let the illegal immigrants have their low paying job), and expanding Medicaid (OMG poor people, when they get sick… we should just put them to sleep like an old dog).  But an expansion of Medicaid would help cover the working poor not the freeloaders sitting on their butts. So lets not reform or change anything because “I (any American)” might have to pay something more for the less fortunate!!

Contrary to her opinion, I did work hard, I tried to be prepared for illness or disability and my CHOICES were taken from me, my preparation was useless.  Few Americans realize how close they are to being in my situation.  But I have resolved my issue of not having insurance by taking extreme but necessary changes.  I would love to know what choices I had that I did not consider before leaving the United States?  I would like to know what others would have done in my situation that I had not already tried.

This blog will continue tomorrow I have only commented on one statement I find completely confused about and do not understand as a response to healthcare reform.  I will discuss one of these comments and if time permits both:

“Nebraska Senator’s status: Obama’s healthcare plan was written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it, signed by a President that smokes, funded by a Treasury Chief that didn’t pay his taxes, overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and financed by …a country that is nearly broke. What could possibly go wrong?”

and this comment and exchange:

“Everyone, your new Medicaid card is now in the mail! Bad day gang!”

Categories: Colombia, Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Altruism & Pork

This e-mail was in my inbox :

Subjet: A GREAT LETTER TO THE CLARION LEDGER EDITOR

This was written to the Clarion Ledger by one of our General Surgery residents at UMC. I don’t think he could’ve illustrated this more perfectly!! And, I 100% agree with him!!!! PAUL

Dear Sirs:

During my last night’s shift in the ER, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient with a shiny new gold tooth, multiple elaborate tattoos, a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B tune for a ringtone. Glancing over the chart, one could not help noticing her payer status: Medicaid. She smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and, somehow, still has money to buy beer. And our Congress expects me to pay for this woman’s health care? Our nation’s health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. It is a crisis of culture —20a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture that thinks “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. Life is really not that hard. Most of us reap what we sow. Don’t you agree?

STARNER JONES,MD
Jackson, MS

NO I DO NOT AGREE!!

I have more faith in the person that sent this to me than is indicated by that person perpetuating this kind of poor argument to a bigger problem than gold teeth and R&B ringtones on new cellphones of tattooed girls on Medicaid. The doctor shows little compassion considering he is a resident at a medical center and not a law clerk for a judge. I prefer my doctors to treat medical conditions and leave the judging to Judges. I feel Dr. Jones actually represents a crisis in our culture as well as the patient he discusses! But he is educated and should know better. I dare say he had many more opportunities in life than the girl he so easily judges!

Thanks – Hope you ENJOY!!

My response for Dr. Jones and others that agree with him:

ALTRUISM & PORK

What has happened to America’s ALTRUISM? 46,000,000 people in the U.S. have no insurance and the other 250,000,000 are scared shitless !! They are scared because they have sit on their butts and done NOTHING to help the uninsured for so long, that now it could possibly affect them, they wake up. But the sad thing is they do not wake up out of concern of the uninsured, they are only worried about themselves and how it affects them! Shame on us! I support REFORM, but not what Congress is trying to pass off as reform. It is just more bureaucracy and pork.

Altruism is defined by Merriam-Webster as: “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others[1]”. Okay Merriam-Webster did not bold and underline unselfish I did, but the definition is exact. In the U.S. we now have over 46,000,000[2] uninsured. It sounds to me like many Americans hold to the notion “In God We Trust” because there is no one in Washington D.C. to trust. They also have to trust God to keep them healthy, because only heaven can help them if they get sick in the U.S. with no insurance or little funds in savings for illnesses. Even as healthcare reform is discussed in the nation’s capitol, politicians are taking the opportunity to attach their earmarks and pork as usual. No wonder the U.S. is the most obese nation in the world[3], it cannot even pass healthcare reform without a big serving of pork. As Americans we have gotten so selfish, that providing healthcare for the less fortunate is a hot button issue. We cannot even share healthcare without complaints.

I find it is people with insurance that are so upset, but I hear little from the ones that would benefit most from healthcare reform. Why have the insured people decided to be so loud now? Because they have not had to worry about a sick child or spouse getting healthcare if they need it, but now they are thinking about it. Now their healthcare is only in discussion of possibly changing they start screaming. Why hasn’t anyone screamed out about the injustice of denying healthcare coverage for the less fortunate? Welcome to the nightmare all the uninsured are living! These uninsured are worried about their family’s healthcare too. It is not until their own coverage is challenged that Americans cry foul. I chose the term “less fortunate” because another objection I hear often is they do not want their tax money going to help those that sit back and wait for the government to help them. The disappointing news there is, “those people” are already getting that tax money in the form of welfare, food stamps and health coverage via Medicaid. Or better yet, they do not pay their hospital bills and that cost is passed on to the actual paying patients. Yes, there are some that are abusing the system, but are we okay with punishing the innocent to make this point as we use the extreme as if it is the norm? The majority of uninsured today are made up of the working poor. Nearly 1.3 million full-time workers lost their health insurance in 2006[4]. Over 8 in 10 uninsured people come from working families – almost 70 percent from families with one worker[5]. So the idea that the people to benefit from reform are free loaders waiting for a free ride is ABSURD!

I remember from Sunday School and my church training that Christ instructed us to care for all people, but especially the poor and those suffering from social injustice. That is why there are well over 100 passages in the Bible addressing this subject[6]. So I would think that Christians would be leading the pack for reform, but that does not seem to be the case. Over $83 million was spent by both sides of Prop 8 ballot initiative trying to prevent the right for gays to marry. I think it would be safe to say the majority of the donors giving $39.9 million supporting Prop 8 (which bans gay marriage) were doing so based on their own personal and religious beliefs. It is America and they have the right to do that, but even if they do not feel gays being denied the right to marry is a social injustice, how can anyone say that making healthcare more accessible and affordable is not a social injustice? “Healthcare access is a right, not a privilege”[7] is what all Americans should be screaming, especially Christian organizations. I guess the almost $40 million spent keeping California’s gays from getting married is much more important than providing healthcare for the less fortunate!

I would say it is true that no one is denied healthcare in an emergency, but at what cost. One trip to the emergency room for kidney stones totaled over $3,200 and I was never admitted to the hospital and only treated in the emergency room. Luckily I had insurance at the time and only had to pay $640.00 out of my pocket. When I had the same problem in Colombia, South America; I had the same treatment and the total cost (with no insurance) was $275.00. If prices were more affordable for healthcare, insuring Americans would not be a problem. Preventative treatment and early diagnosis of health issues could also save Americans a lot of money. But with the big money made by pharmaceutical companies, healthcare organizations and insurance companies, I do not see any real reform coming. The lobbyists representing those groups are so deep in the politicians pockets that what is best for Americans is surpassed for the lobbyist with the most money. Surprise, once again the topic of corruption in politics needs to be mentioned. Since a lot of our congressmen and senators were lawyers before politicians, we will never see tort reform; so the lawyers can continue to sue, sue, sue and get rich, rich, rich and healthcare cost rise, rise, and rise!

Doctors are paid well and nurses should make so much more for what they do. This is not where the cost of healthcare lies, it is in their bosses, insurances companies, lobbyist and politician’s pockets from our “for profit” healthcare system where money is more important than patients. I even see e-mails of doctors noticing gold teeth, cellphones and ringtones; begrudging treating those patients because they may have some kind of government assistance. I would LOVE too see more e-mails of doctors volunteering to treat the poor that have no insurance more so than reporting who they judge while giving medical assistance. If the doctors saw fit to do more volunteering, the government would not need to be as involved as much. It would also be good to see the wealthy doing more to help people that are not as fortunate as they are. Many Americans prefer to drive huge gas hog 4×4 trucks that never go off-road and Hummers in bright-ass colors to show off how much credit have instead of spending any time helping the ones less fortunate. No matter my station in life, I know there were and are people I could have done more for unselfishly! Can you think of even a friend that could use help from you?

Next time healthcare is a topic among friends, ask for a slice of bacon; because by the end of healthcare reform all Americans will have is PORK! The insurance, pharmaceutical and health organization companies will be even richer, our taxes will be higher and there will be no benefit seen for the poor, under insured and uninsurable! People should be paid for treating the sick, but not profit from it. But the best thing about America’s healthcare system – it will STILL be the only country in the world that allows people PROFIT form treating the sick! But keep in mind, it is still possible to demonstrate that as individuals we can be even more greedy as well!

Please notice and check my facts, I am not making up false information like some of the media is doing to scare people.

[1] “altruism.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009. Merriam-Webster Online. 25 August 2009.
<http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/altruism>

[2] “Facts on the Cost of Health Insurance Coverage.” The National Coalition on Health Care. August 25, 2009. http://www.nchc.org/facts/coverage.shtml
[3] “Health Statistics > Obesity (most recent) by country”. NationMaster.com. August 25, 2009 http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_obe-health-obesity

[4] DeNavas-Walt, C.B. Proctor, and J. Smith. “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007”. U.S. Census Bureau., August 2008.

[5] The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Employee Health Benefits: 2008 Annual Survey. September 2008. http://www.kff.org/insurance/7672/index.cfm
[6] “Bible verses: Caring for the poor, Christian service: serving others.” Southern Nazarene University. August 25, 2009. http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/poor.htm
[7] Thomas J Papadimos. “Healthcare access as a right, not a privilege: a construct of Western thought.” Philosophy, Ethics, Humanities in Medicine. March 8, 2007. August 25, 2009. http://www.peh-med.com/content/2/1/2

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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