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25 August 2009


Winston Salem

Rod, I am reading this LA Times piece and I am seethinb and speechless. I had no idea this is what "health care reform" is supposed to be.


What is so funny is that insurance companies have convinced people that a public option will ration care, when anyone with private insurance (me included) knows that they regularly determine what they will and will not cover. And all that talk of tort reform is a non-issue-- even with strong reform the premiums have not stopped going sky high.

Insurance companies will laugh all the way to the bank. So much for reform.

Nathan James

Healthcare in the United States today is a disaster. Here in Queens, four hospitals (Parkway, St. John's Queens, Mary Immaculate, and St. Joseph's) have permanently shut their doors in the last three years. In my area, that leaves just two hospitals to serve nearly 400,000 people. You want to talk about "rationing care"? The two surviving hospitals, Jamaica and LIJ, are so overwhelmed by patient demand, they can't even begin to cope.

If you want to be treated (or, God forbid, admitted) to either hospital, you'd better be:

a) well-insured or independently wealthy,

b) bleeding,

c) having active chest pains (with an EKG to confirm a heart attack)

or d) suffering from severe trauma, like a gunshot wound to the head.

If you don't have insurance, and are not in extremis as described above, the hospital will do the minimum necessary to get you well enough to walk right back out the door you came in. The hospital has no choice because it must allot valuable bed space to those patients most likely to pay for their treatment, in order to survive.

Even insured patients are no guarantee of payment for a hospital, since all American insurers except Medicaid/Medicare can refuse authorization for any or all of your care. The four hospitals that closed here in Queens were all done in by a combination of uninsured patients and refusal of insurance companies to pay for treatments these hospitals had already given their patients.

So the two "survivor" hospitals have adopted severe rationing of their available resources. Your socio-economic status now determines whether the hospital will deem you worthy of care. That's the right-wingers' "death panel" right there: if you don't have money or insurance, you are not fit to receive medical care, and this reality might kill you. You'd better believe this is twice as true for LGBT of color in NYC, who encounter stunning obstacles to care on top of their ability to pay.

This is, very succinctly, why we need a single-payer system in our country, similar to NHS in the United Kingdom. Even Obama's reforms won't help much, as Rod makes clear, because we'll still be at the mercy of the insurers...I hope I live to see a single-payer system, at least if the current system doesn't kill me first.


Thanks for that very moving post Nathan.

And Kevjack is right: "Insurance companies will laugh all the way to the bank. So much for reform."


Rod...I know you dont hear it enough..please let me say the blog is spectacular and your health coverage is wonderful.


Take a political system that is bought and paid for...add to that a system of mass media that is bought and paid for...and then lay those two over a culture that actually values ignorance as a virtue over knowledge.

What you have then is a society that is unreformable without revolt.


Thank you for posting this, Rod. I've been following this on Keith Olbermann's show on MSNBC. His coverage of the sheer greed and mendacity of both congress and the healthcare industry is enough to make any sane person ask their doctor(if you have insurance) for blood pressure medication. It's that enraging.

It's funny that the loons on the right keep carrying on about government takeover and loss of freedoms when any fool should be able to see that what we have to fear, whether on the right or left of the political spectrum, is the power of corporations. George Orwell got it all wrong.

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