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Comments for An Eclectic Mind

Web site and blog for Maria Langer, commercial helicopter pilot, freelance writer, beekeeper, and serious amateur photographer.

Last Build Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2017 22:04:55 +0000


Comment on Shouldn’t We All Be Able to Get Affordable Health Care? by Maria Langer

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 22:04:55 +0000

I agree. I think there should be a single payer system for basic health services, including maternity, mental health, and catastrophic (think cancer or heart) health problems, funded through our taxes for all. People who don't like the service included in the program can get their own doctors.

Comment on My Health Insurance Story by Sean C.

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 21:10:45 +0000

"All mouth, no trousers"...I like it! Sort of reminds me of our own saying "All bark, no bite", but that's not really a fair comparison. Not fair to the dogs, anyway. :)

Comment on My Health Insurance Story by Bob F.

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 19:14:23 +0000

Exactly right. As we say in the UK: "All mouth, no trousers". (In translation, that means they asserted a political position and found themselves unable to perform as they had advertised).

Comment on Shouldn’t We All Be Able to Get Affordable Health Care? by Sean C.

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 17:43:36 +0000

I agree that health care is a human right, and in a country as wealthy as the United States there needs to be at least a certain minimum level of care that is guaranteed. We will always have a societal obligation to care for those who are unable to care for themselves, and it will always come at a cost. As you note however, there seem to be plenty of people who consider themselves "good Christians" yet are somehow willing to literally let poor people die of preventable medical issues solely for the sake of their wallets. The issue of charity and how a person judges another persons "worthiness" for that charity is one that seems to bring out the ugliness in people, especially religious people. It exposes the true nature of their character, which is often anything but admirable. Linking health care to employment is harmful to our economy in many ways. It forces people to take jobs that they hate or that they are overqualified for solely because they need the insurance that a particular company offers. It forces people to remain working for companies long after the point where they would have otherwise quit to follow other, better opportunities. If forces people to work when their health doesn't really allow it, or do jobs that they shouldn't be doing because of health reasons, and makes them less healthy as a result. It limits what kind of jobs people can consider, and limits the risks they can take in the job market, especially if they have a family. Most of all, it favors big business over small business, which just can't compete in health-care coverage because of it's exorbitant cost to the employer. It's long past time to free employers from their involvement in the health care system. It's a burden that shouldn't have been placed on their shoulders in the first place. A single-payer system is the only logical way to go.

Comment on My Health Insurance Story by Bob F.

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 12:22:46 +0000

Sean diagnoses the illness perfectly. I have little experience of US medicine but I have seen people in pain sent away from a Maine ER because they could not prove they were insured, even when the staff in the ER were friends of one of the patients. My American uncle had a good job, ocean view house on Rhode Island. He was certainly in the top 15% of earners but he and his wife ended up in a very modest communal 'home', because of the awful cost of health care. He needed a triple bypass and afterwards found that his premiums rose exponentially. If he could not cope then there must many more millions left in either permanent fear or premium-induced poverty. Our National Health system, here in the UK, is also in crisis. There are too many old people with multiple needs who are hard to discharge and too many health tourists who dump their serious illnesses on our system. Nigerian women are famous for flying here, 8 months pregnant, to use our humane maternity care units for their deliveries, rather than their own chaotic ones. But, our NHS I still well-loved as it has an essentially ethical underlying philosophy. Everyone pays for it out of tax and the more you earn, the more you pay. If you dislike being treated with the 'common herd' you can opt to pay for private medicine but the surgeon will probably be the same person as you would have seen in the NHS. Most of Europe operates this sort of mixed system and there is none of the awful anxiety and excess greed which seems to characterise the US system. My US cousins have a fear of 'socialist' systems like ours but then no one dies in the car park in a UK hospital because they did not 'qualify' for treatment. It's great to be a tourist in the US, everything is about half UK prices, with the exception of your medical system which is insanely greedy and hopelessly inefficient, as Sean says.

Comment on My Health Insurance Story by Sean C.

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 23:29:04 +0000

Single-payer is really the only way to go if you want everyone covered at anywhere near an affordable cost. Of course, this derails the gravy train for big pharma, the health insurance mega-corps, and all the various for-profit leeches and parasites that have attached themselves to the system as it exists now. You can depend on every single one of them to fight tooth and nail against any significant change from the statue quo. They'll pay the spin doctors to rail against it using terms like "long waiting lists", "lose your choice of doctors", and the ever-popular "government death panels", but the real reason they'll oppose single payer is because it will inevitably weed out the unnecessary middle-men. All the wanna-be "rock star" doctors and Hollyweird plastic surgeon types will hate the hell out of the idea too, since it'll cut into their bottom line. Single payer systems require large numbers of (modestly paid) family practice and general practitioners, not hoards of highly-paid specialists. Even if we somehow magically converted to a single-payer system tomorrow, it'd still be years until our existing medical system could adapt. We'd need to look at a total revamp of the medical school system, since you can't expect new doctors to pay off quarter-million dollar loans on what the government doctors salary would likely run. We'd need some sort of public funding mechanism for medical school students, or significant subsidies which would come with long work payback obligations. Our medical system is overloaded with specialist clinics and practices while simultaneously being under-staffed and under-equipped with preventative-care and general practitioners, especially in rural areas. Our Emergency Medical Service system is hugely imbalanced, with excellent response times and multiple options in wealthy / densely populated areas, while rural areas and poor communities can expect unconscionably long wait times and lengthy transports, often by minimally-trained volunteer ambulance services. The most ironic part is that the Trump-voter demographic would likely be the group that would benefit the most from a single-payer system. A government-run system would level the health care playing field between urban and rural areas, and between rich and poor counties. There would be lots of new local health clinics in "flyover country", which would raise the standard of health care in nearly all of rural America, especially the poorest areas. Of course, that would come at a cost for the residents of the urban mega-cities and the bluest of the coastal liberal enclaves. Rich suburbanites might even find themselves forced to share a waiting room with people who...gasp!...ride the bus! And yet...if you dare to float the idea of nationalizing the nations health care system, just you see which constituency bitches the loudest and longest. I'll bet you right now that it'll be those same low-information eagle/flag/slogan-T-shirt voters who complain endlessly how "government ruins everything"...while sucking down their Social Security disability check and their Medicaid. The Republitards have been feeding them the Tea Party Kool-Aid for so long now that they've forgotten what any of the other flavors taste like.

Comment on Lake Berryessa and the Glory Hole by Maria Langer

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 12:03:24 +0000

Thanks and I agree. There are definitely photo jobs that a drone is much better for. Basically anything up close and personal. I flew over the area twice in my helicopter but wouldn't ever get low enough to get shots like these. Just too close to spectators. And a woman did fall down the hole back in 1997. As you surmised, she didn't survive.

Comment on My Health Insurance Story by Maria

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 11:49:40 +0000

Well said! I am 100% with you on this.

Comment on My Health Insurance Story by Sean C.

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 01:51:02 +0000

The whole thing stinks to high heaven of hypocrisy and corporate self-interest, with a ripe after-stench of mean-spirited greed and rigid partisan demagoguery. Is it any wonder why even the most obtuse of the Republitards aren't smelling a sweet deal here? I'd like to think that its failure is because representatives have gotten the message loud and clear from their constituents that purging ~24 million of the sick and poor from the ranks of the insured (just when they finally started getting some halfway decent preventative care too) is counterproductive and cold-hearted, even by DC standards. I suspect the real reason they can't get a repeal is because the states and the big hospital chains are putting some serious pressure on through their connections and lobbyists, since they're the ones that will really be left holding the bag. You can't just dump that many of the poorest and sickest back into Medicaid without disastrous consequences for the states budgets. And ever since Obamacare kicked in the Feds have taken away a huge pot of money from the hospitals that they used to chip in for indigent care, which nobody has even mentioned restoring. The hospitals know that all those uninsured will just end up right back in their Emergency rooms with the same untreated problems once they lose their insurance. If you want to see why the U.S.has the most expensive (though far from the best) healthcare system in the world, you need look no further that this debacle. Why need to just admit that the only way to cover EVERY American at a reasonable cost is to nationalize the healthcare system. There are so many corporate hands in the healthcare cookie jar, it's no wonder it cost orders of magnitude more than everywhere else.

Comment on My Health Insurance Story by Maria Langer

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 01:31:49 +0000

I don't think it's over yet. But it sure does show how ineffective the Republican party is. They're experts at obstruction and this time they managed to obstruct themselves.