Thursday, July 30, 2009

'We need a clean up on ailse...hey isn't that...'

My excuse for neglecting my blog is weak and inconsequential. It's not like I work for a DOD contractor and there's a war going on with another one looming large on the horizon over the Korean wait...that is actually the case. Sorry.

I need all my closed-minded conservative friends to stop reading at this point. I'm going a bit left today (only a tiny bit), and I don't want to ruin our near year-long love fest on Tony C Today. Don't worry. I'm still firmly a conservative and will remain so...but I'm not a Kool-Aid drinker for either party. Stop reading now.

The headlines from my local paper looks like this today:

President talks health care reform at Bristol Krogers event
By Hank Hayes

Yes, the ObamaNation has descended on the uber-conservative foothills of the Appalachian mountains in East Tennessee...(cricket noises). He decided to visit the deli section of a local Krogers Supermarket, not for a pound of thinly sliced Butterball turkey cold cuts, but instead to discuss health care reform...that's to discuss health care reform with a bunch of people who don't currently have health insurance. Hmmmmm.

If I seem skeptical, you perceived correctly. Now before you start assumptions, let me state I'm not in the 'everything Obama does is evil and a socialist plot' club. The man is my President as voted by the Electoral College electors this past December. He made a lot of promises. Some I agree with...some I don't. Can he get anything done is the question...absolutely anything?

Not long ago, I had a conversation with my retired U.S. Representative. His son and I went to Vanderbilt at the same time, and we became good friends. I jokingly inquired if he missed Washington, and the conservative gentleman from East Tennessee remarked, 'Absolutely not.' He said Washington had become so bogged down in quagmire that it was near impossible to get anything done. 'If a Republican comes up with a good idea, there's no way Democrats will support it. Same goes the other way if a Democrat comes up with a good plan.'

That's not breaking news to most of us, I know. But it frames the picture of what our elected officials are doing on our time and with our dime. When did argument for the sake of argument become productive for anything outside of marriage (guys are always angling for the make up loving ladies)?

Back to health care reform. Something has got to be done...period. As I've stated before, Republicans, under the veil as conservatives, spent money hand over fist during the years they control both houses of Congress and the White House. Were we better off at the end of their run? There is no logical way you can answer anything but no to that question...loyalties aside.

Now Democrats reign, and they've talked about heath care reform for years. It's an important issue for all Americans on both sides of the aisle. I personally know people from both parties that are either currently hurting or have been hurt by our current heath care system. Why? And how can the most prosperous country on the planet rank 33rd in the infant death rate (just ahead of Croatia by .1 deaths per 1000 live births) and 45th in life expectancy. How?!

Don't even start with that conspiracy theory/skewed statistics garbage! I'm sick of hearing it from both sides. We have a problem. Our health care system is not what it should be. If a government can't protect its citizens, care for its sick and elderly and educate its youth...what good is it?

Just like our financial institutes, greed has overrun our health care system. I see it everyday...right out my kitchen window...which overlooks one of our local hospitals. A hospital that continues to expand and spend as if the word recession is only make-believe. A hospital that would at one time ask what the problem was when you needed services before asking if you had insurance or not.

My neighbor is a doctor at said hospital, and he shared this story with me not long ago. Apparently he was suffering from a sore throat and asked a colleague to check it out for him. His fellow doctor did a quick exam, offered and took a throat swab to make sure it wasn't strep, and gave him a prescription of salt water gargling for a few days. Two weeks later, he receives a bill in his hospital mail box for $98 for services and the culture kit. He was irate to say the least and said those culture kits are thrown away by the dozens on any given day. Welcome to our world Doc...a world where the fee is more important than the service.

Does President Obama have the answers? I don't know...but I do know if we continue to sit on our hands and let the system spiral out of control, people will suffer even more. I ask you this- Is it more important our government focuses on the current college football ranking system, the 'did they/didn't they' shenanigans of the CIA, Dick Cheney, or fixing our health care system?

Is it a coincidence that my health insurance premiums didn't go up this past May for the first time in...well...ever? Will Michael Moore ever shut up about Canada and stop being a divisive instrument on an issue so important everyone?

Don't let your politics and talk radio scare you to the point of thinking that doing nothing is better than doing something. Our politicians have good health care already. The people not worried about health care issues are probably in the same boat. Take a look around your family and circle of friends...can all of you say the same?


NC Sue said...

Clearly there is a problem with our current system of health care. And here I speak from the perspective of a nurse with some 35+ years of experience.

There are far too many inequities in our distribution of health care. That doesn't mean that the rich have it all in the bag. To some extent, being well insured or having assets can be a detriment, in that the medical community sometimes pours out huge quantities of expensive care.

And just because it's expensive, doesn't mean it's top-notch. In some instances, it's simply more expensive... not better. In some instances, it's only protracting the misery... extending the quantity, but not the quality, of life.

On the other hand, there are poor people who simply can't afford essential medical care.

Does President Obama have the solution? Frankly, no. But it's clearly time to do something, and clearly the medical system, private insurers, and the Medicare/Medicaid system don't plan to do anything until they are forced to do so.

Davd said...

I love that Tony C!!! It seems that unbridled capitalism has problems, as does government run anything. Yes, we need to do something! Just what is the question. So to have a perspective, we need to answer the following questions.

-1 We already have government run health care-- ask any vet about the quality and availability of services.

-2 When will we cap malpractice suits?????????????? Only the lawyers make money-- like John Edwards. The cost of insurance is 40% of what most doctors make. Do the math. If I lose a finger at work, it's worth $15K. And then I can sue for more. WTH is that all about!

-3 Why won't Americans make health care a personal priority? For the cost of an HDTV most Americans can have decent coverage for almost 2 years.

-4 Why are we paying for the medications for France, Canada and the UK? Our prices reflect the caps (lose of income) provided by those government run h-c systems.

In all areas of needed services we need healthy competition with reasonable regulations. If we are solely against large corporations making big profits, we need to be careful of extinguishing jobs, and motivation to excel.

And when it come to health, the average American has often chosen to work harder to get more, exercise and relax less while eating their way into obesity.

Poor - Education-- we need a new perspective. Here is my take on that.

What we need is encourage personal responsibility-- and the White House would be a good place to start. Sure we have issues, but this is still the greatest country on earth. I am always glad to come home.

Laretha said...

Hey Tony,

I almost stopped said to! But I didn't...and I'm glad I didn't.

I do believe something needs to be done. Although I work in banking, I work in healthcare payments - in banking. Obviously we offer Health Savings Accts as well as payment processing solutions to help healthcare professionals collect and process payments.

I do know something needs to be done. It must be done.

However the 1,000 plus page "solution" that not even our President understands and knows is the right solution.

We pay our leaders to do what is best for the people. They need to do just that.

Hugs to you!

photogr said...

Health care and politics. My favorite subjects.

First of all, both parties have not done much for the American citizens for decades. Both parties have catered to the special interest groups that pad thier pockets for decades. What we have here is corruption run amonk. Of course we do get some consolation some times but mostly the speial interest groups profit more.

I think it is high time we develop a new party dedicated to the ones who elect them with the realization WE are their employers and they have to do what WE tell them, not the other way around.

First of all we don't need any more lawyers as politicians. We all know they can't manage their way out of a wet paper sack as far as business goes. We need leaders with a strong busuness education and common sense. Not spend, spend, spend, and tax, tax,tax then spend some more.

Health care reform. From what I have heard so far, it means I get less services after all these years I have paid into my medicare account plus I will have to pay more for less coverage.

To top it off, I might be denied life saving services because a government beaurocrat that don't know his butt from a hole in the ground about medicine has the final say so. Sounds like genocide to me for the elderly as well as the unborn.

Granted we need to do something.

Let me give you some examples of our current health care. If you have insurance, that is great as your insurance dictates what the meidcal providers can charge. If not you will get soaked. Case in point.

Last year I had no insurance as my former employer was too cheap to even offer a group health plan. I had to have surgery and could not wait due to the possibility of cancer in that organ. The Drs. and hospital was going to charge me $49,000.00. Hitting on a friend that worked for a health provider, I was able to see what that health ins. company would pay for the same surgery. It was a total of $14,000.00. That was a real difference. Why do the Drs. and Hospitals get away with soaking the un insured? Because the government allows it. Same thing with prescriptions.

After threatening to sue with them price gouging, I was able to get the same rate and happily paid them the $14,000.00.

This year was a different story. Happily now on medicare I had a test procedure done in the hospital and was billed for $8,900.00. Medicare only allowed $2,000.00 and the Drs. and Hospital accepted that. I only paid a $100.00 deductable. Again why such a disparity?

Granted much of the cost is for libility ins. to cover lawsuits but that is where there has to be a cap on the lawyers ability to file such frivilous suits in the first place.

So far I don't think any party has a valid solution for health coverage or even a clue on what to do that would be beneficial.

In the mean time lets insist we cut the politicians health coverage out and put them on medicare. Guarantee you we will then have a great plan affordable for all.

photogr said...


If you are younger with no pre existing conditions health ins. is much more reasonable However, if your employer fails to offer group health ins. with accepting pre existing condition clause, then you are up the creek with out a paddle.

Because of our ages, health providers refused us coverage saying we were candidates for heart problems. Although the wife has some health issues that are controled, neither one of us has heart problems to this date and time. I think their issue was an age biased issue.