Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ted Kennedy's desire for national health care

From Sen. Ted Kennedy's keynote 1980 convention speech:

"Finally, we cannot have a fair prosperity in isolation from a fair society. So I will continue to stand for a national health insurance. We must -- We must not surrender -- We must not surrender to the relentless medical inflation that can bankrupt almost anyone and that may soon break the budgets of government at every level. Let us insist on real controls over what doctors and hospitals can charge, and let us resolve that the state of a family's health shall never depend on the size of a family's wealth.

The President, the Vice President, the members of Congress have a medical plan that meets their needs in full, and whenever senators and representatives catch a little cold, the Capitol physician will see them immediately, treat them promptly, fill a prescription on the spot. We do not get a bill even if we ask for it, and when do you think was the last time a member of Congress asked for a bill from the Federal Government? And I say again, as I have before, if health insurance is good enough for the President, the Vice President, the Congress of the United States, then it's good enough for you and every family in America."

Interesting how similar issues affect us now. Interesting also that here, Kennedy comes right out and says what today's Democrats are unwilling to.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

When everyone gets a chance they should watch this outstanding Bill Moyers Journal on healthcare. A very good journal which gives many reasons why our health care is the best in certain areas, and substandard in others. It is based off the book Money-Driven medicine and details the growth of the medical industry and how this leads to higher costs.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's about me not you...

Randall Terry hijacked the last eight weeks of Notre Dame's academic year last semester and now is aiming at town halls and the healthcare discussion.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not every problem has a great solution.

Looking at the posts/comments on this blog is fantastic, I always get a real visceral response.

So, I'm going to throw this out there......

Is it possible that there is no way to fix the escalating cost of health care?

I believe you get what you pay for, plain and simple. Health care is expensive. That's probably not going to change. You may squeak out some 10% efficiency here and there.You may eek out some cost savings from reducing administrative costs, but in general health care is expensive. There is a whole lot of investment and research tied into everything. Who would guess that the people who invested in and did the research would like to earn money for there effort?

So the question is pretty simple. Do we want health care to be more affordable? And if so what is the cost of more affordable health care?

I hate to say it, but most likely if you have cheaper insurance your end of life care will be given at a cheaper cost. If you pay less for something you will probably get less...

Let's scrap health care reform. Let's just get insurance companies to provide the service they claim. We need to reform insurance companies, not health care. The US has the best health care in the world, and by the way it's expensive.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

He was TOLD this so it's not his fault if it's wrong...

GRASSLEY: In countries that have government-run health care, just to give you an example, I’ve been told that the brain tumor that Sen. Kennedy has — because he’s 77 years old — would not be treated the way it’s treated in the United States. In other words, he would not get the care he gets here because of his age. In other words, they’d say ‘well he doesn’t have long to live even if he lived another four to five years.’ They’d say ‘well, we gotta spend money on people who can contribute more to economy.’ It’s a little like people saying when somebody gets to be 85 their life is worth less than when they were 35 and you pull the tubes on them.

"Well, I'm sorry to say that's the most ludicrous thing that I've heard," Ara Darzi, a surgeon and former minister of health of GREAT BRITAIN.

To be fair, the second half of audio Grassley says a lot of good things and I am sure Grassley will post a correction in his biannual newsletter.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Because this blog's too quiet

The many health care reform plans in Congress are catching a lot of flak. Unsurprisingly, the media has focused on some of the more rabid and ridiculous claims from the conservative entertainment industrial complex.

I think the President and his supporters are being a little bit naive about the "death panels" claim, when the President himself was talking about the difficulties in having Medicare pay for end-of-life care:

THE PRESIDENT: Now, I actually think that the tougher issue around medical care — it’s a related one — is what you do around things like end-of-life care —

NYT: Yes, where it’s $20,000 for an extra week of life.

THE PRESIDENT: Exactly. And I just recently went through this. I mean, I’ve told this story, maybe not publicly, but when my grandmother got very ill during the campaign, she got cancer; it was determined to be terminal. And about two or three weeks after her diagnosis she fell, broke her hip. It was determined that she might have had a mild stroke, which is what had precipitated the fall.

So now she’s in the hospital, and the doctor says, Look, you’ve got about — maybe you have three months, maybe you have six months, maybe you have nine months to live. Because of the weakness of your heart, if you have an operation on your hip there are certain risks that — you know, your heart can’t take it. On the other hand, if you just sit there with your hip like this, you’re just going to waste away and your quality of life will be terrible.

And she elected to get the hip replacement and was fine for about two weeks after the hip replacement, and then suddenly just — you know, things fell apart.

I don’t know how much that hip replacement cost. I would have paid out of pocket for that hip replacement just because she’s my grandmother. Whether, sort of in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question. If somebody told me that my grandmother couldn’t have a hip replacement and she had to lie there in misery in the waning days of her life — that would be pretty upsetting.

NYT: And it’s going to be hard for people who don’t have the option of paying for it.

THE PRESIDENT: So that’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that’s also a huge driver of cost, right?

I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.

NYT: So how do you — how do we deal with it?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that’s part of what I suspect you’ll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now.

This is a pretty easy set of thoughts to twist out of shape, no? Obviously, "death panels" is unfair -- but why put it out there in the first place?

My sympathies are with the President, who's got a very tough nut to crack. Thankfully (for my long-term job prospects), it's pretty clear that it's the insurance industry that's going to take one for the team first. Doubtless, pharma will be next (although they appear to have negotiated with the crocodile) and then it'll be hospital employee salaries...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"First, we kill all the chemists"

Sarah Palin, channeling Michelle Bachmann, revs up the fear machine by describing how unwanted children and seniors will be put before a Big Brother Death Panel to determine societal worth. I don't know where she gets this from because it is my understanding that the "Death Panel" will be used to lower unemployment by getting rid of the jobless.