Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Frankly, what is surfacing is a survival of the fittest mentality. One demographic, being pitted against another, risks any true reform of the system and compromises the pursuit of good health for all.
One group in particular, unconvinced that change will not be destabilizing, has been the senior citizen population. Whether cautiously reluctant or downright suspect, seniors, many of whom are satisfied with Medicare, do not want to be scapegoated in the process to redress health-care grievances. At the crux, is the perceived threat that health care will be rationed for the elderly at the expense of insuring younger, healthier Americans. Seniors are not "on the chopping block," but propaganda and rhetoric would have you believe their interests will be disposed of readily.
What is true, however, is that there is already rationing in the America health care system. Insurance companies are able to differentiate which treatments are covered versus those deemed unnecessary. We, in the public, find this mediation palatable, but we question whether the government will interfere arbitrarily in our medical affairs.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Since his days on the campaign trail, Obama has promised the public that those who like their health insurance plans won't have to give them up, but he's stopped short of saying at what cost.
"I think that's the fear," said Diana Owen, an associate professor of political science and the director of American studies at Georgetown University. "Even though they are going to keep the plan, the plan is going to be at a much greater cost. And he's not been able to really allay that fear."
The themes coming up at town hall meetings across the country are broadly the same as doubts expressed during the campaign. Critics are voicing fears about socialism and the dismantling of the government they are used to. And those who have sufficient health care coverage worry they'll have to foot the bill for reform, echoing concerns heard during the presidential campaign that Obama would "spread the wealth around."
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is switching his message on his overhaul of the nation's health care system, readying a fresh pitch designed for those who already have insurance.
The White House is retooling its message amid polling that shows Americans — especially those who already have coverage — skeptical of the Democratic proposals to expand coverage to millions. Instead, Obama will use a potentially boisterous town hall-style meeting in New Hampshire to highlight how his proposals would affect workers whose employers provide their health insurance.
The shift also is a potential blueprint for lawmakers' August recess. Critics of the president's plan have grabbed headlines by disrupting town hall meetings, and the White House expects that Tuesday's event may be bumpy.
You have no idea what it's like to be called into a sterile conference room with a hospital administrator you've never met before and be told that your mother's insurance policy will only pay for 30 days in ICU. You can't imagine what it's like to be advised that you need to "make some decisions," like whether your mother should be released "HTD" which is hospital parlance for "home to die," or if you want to pay out of pocket to keep her in the ICU another week. And when you ask how much that would cost you are given a number so impossibly large that you realize there really are no decisions to make. The decision has been made for you. "Living will" or no, it doesn't matter. The bank account and the insurance policy have trumped any legal document.If this isn't a "death panel" I don't know what is.
Monday, August 10, 2009
As the first influenza pandemic in 41 years has spread during the Southern Hemisphere's winter over the past few months, the United States and other northern countries have been racing to prepare for a second wave of swine flu virus.
At the same time, international health authorities have become increasingly alarmed about the new virus's arrival in the poorest, least-prepared parts of the world.