Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sicko

No, I haven’t seen the Michael Moore movie. I don’t have to. I know the American health care system is in trouble.

And I’m warning you right now, there will be a little bit of ranting in this post.

I just finished reading a series of comments in a patient forum in which several people made catty remarks about how Michael Moore makes them ill, and about how that
great bugaboo of the right wing -- “socialized medicine” -- will end life on Earth as we know it. (How many of these same people would volunteer out of principle to give up their "socialized" Medicare benefits, I wonder?)

The real sickos, it seems to me, are people who don’t give a damn about those of their fellow citizens who aren’t insured, or who have substandard insurance, or who can’t get insurance because they can't afford it, or who are rejected by insurance companies because of pre-existing conditions like chronic lymphocytic leukemia. People whose answer is “go
to the emergency room, they have to take everyone.” Or “find a free clinic.” Or “establish a medical savings account,” as if the average American can sock away enough money to pay for the treatment of cancer or a chronic disease.

Tell it to this guy, who just “sold” his Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma on eBay for $242.50. Since auctions eventually are taken down from the eBay site, let me quote from his listing, and let me also post a picture of him and his family so that you can see everything that is at stake here:

Well, I've sold almost everything I own to make ends meet, I've nothing left so I thought I may as well try and se
ll my cancer on ebay. I was diagnosed at age 39 with Stage 4 Large Diffuse B-cell Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in April of 2007. I Recently finished my 6th (and hopefully last) round of chemo-therapy. I am trying to sell mainly because of my families dire financial situation, but my little twin boys are afraid that daddy won't make it, so I promised them I would try and sell it on eBay.

I obviously can
not send anyone any physical cancer, but the winning bidder will receive before and after photos from PET Scans and MRIs done on my entire body. But mainly the winning bidder will get the satisfactory feeling of helping out a family of 5 in grave financial distress.

In mid October I am scheduled for another PET Scan. If that is clean I will be in complete remission and the winning bidder will also receive a thank you card every year on that date for the rest of my life. In the unlikely event that this cancer takes my life, the winning bidder will receive a short biography of my life and a copy of my obituary. There is n
o reserve so please bid high and help my family survive this crisis. If you need proof that this is no joke you can send me a message and I will give you absolute proof. Thank you and God bless!

Or tell it to the CLL patients who I see posting on forums saying things like: I need treatment but I have no insurance. How can I pay for it without going into bankruptcy? Or things like: I am taking herbs for my CLL because I lost my job and can’t get insurance.

I have seen both these comments, and many more, in the few years I have been reading patient forums.

Is health care a right or a luxury?

These situations bring up the question: In a civilized modern society, is health care a right or a luxury?

There was an interesting discussion of this on an Oprah show where Moore and others appeared. Here's a quote:

Princeton University professor Uwe Reinhardt, one of the nation's leading authorities on health care economics, says the health care debate all boils down to a single question. "Should the child of a gas station attendant have the same chance of staying healthy or getting cured, if sick, as the child of a corporate executive?"


Professor Reinhardt says people need to decide whether medical care should be like public education — where every American simply has a right to it — or if it should be treated like a luxury good. Currently, he says health care is like fine dining -- if you have the money, you get it, and if you don't, you won't.

When hurricanes or other natural disasters hit, Professor Reinhardt says the government steps in to help victims. "That's social insurance," he says. "It's a natural disaster, and I would say if a lady in Mississippi has breast cancer, isn't that a natural disaster, too?"

As Michael points out in Sicko, Americans rely on many socialized services, like the police department, public libraries and the fire department. The U.S. Army even provides socialized medicine for all enlisted men. "I'd like to call it Christianized medicine because this is what Jesus would do, right?" he says. "He wouldn't let the child of a gas station attendant go without."

Of course, the right-wing solution, even among some of those who profess their faith all too loudly, boils down to this: Go die. Stop bothering us. Let us continue to bankrupt this country through a misguided war that will put the nation in debt for a generation. Expand the program providing health care for children? Surely you jest. That will lead to more government (which, as we all know, is much worse than having more of a health care crisis). Heck, let the free market take care of it: sell your disease on eBay!

Lucky for me, I guess, that I'm an eBay powerseller. As a self-employed individual with cancer, I can tell you for a fact that it is impossible to get insurance without some form of government intervention. There is a patchwork of programs depending upon the state you live in; there is no consistency to it or to the quality of coverage. I will need a stem cell transplant eventually but here in Arizona there is no way that I can get insurance that will pay for one. Neither would there be a program for me in California. But both New Mexico and Texas would cover me. Fortunately, I am in a position to move. Not everyone is.

These issues are but a few of the problems our insurance system faces: Rising costs and declining benefits confront many in the middle class. Companies are squeezed financially and can no longer afford to offer insurance to their employees. For the fir
st time, there is a growing demand from business as well as from average Americans that something be done. And the conservative solution of "leaving it up to the states," which are in varying states of financial health, is no solution at all.

So what is the solution?

As much as I admire Michael Moore for raising issues that need to be raised, I do not favor a single-payer national health system to replace private insurance. There was a time when I did, and then I came down with CLL.

One thing I realized is that in countries with systems where care is rationed -- and where oversight boards of some kind, no matter how well-intentioned, decide who has a right to get what treatment -- the drugs that my doctor and I think may help me the most may not be available. Rituxan is not easy to come by in either Canada or the UK, for example, and therefore the standard of care for CLL is probably not as good as it is here. Australians have a heck of a time getting some prognostic tests, like IgVH mutational status, done. These are some examples I know from personal experience; there are no doubt others that relate to other conditions.

I saw Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards talking on
C-SPAN a week ago. He was being interviewed by reporters who cover health care issues. Edwards was among the first of the presidential candidates to lay out a comprehensive plan on health insurance and he may have hit upon a workable solution, or one that is about as workable as we're going to get.

Edwards would cover everyone, and everyone would have a choice: they could continue with private insurance, improved through the establishment of regional health care markets to increase choices and cut costs; or they could sign on to a Medicare-style public insurance program.

This makes the most sense to me: preserve freedom of choice while making sure everyone is covered. Edwards said that the beauty of his approach is that eventually American citizens would vote with their feet and gravitate toward the system they liked best.

What will they choose? Who knows. But it is evident from all the polls, despite the howling from the right, that they are no longer choosing to let things go on as they are.

I'll close with this quote from the Oprah article:

To get health care coverage for every man, woman and child in the United States, Professor Reinhardt believes it would cost about $100 billion in additional government spending. That's the same amount the government spends in nine months to fund the war in Iraq, he says.

AFTERWORD

This topic is an emotional one, as the comments section shows, and I plead as guilty as anyone. I am not always sure that I am right about a given issue but I am willing to go to the mat on this one.

There is one last point I want to make: If the private insurance system were willing and able to cover everyone and keep costs reasonable, I'd be all for it. For me, this is a practical issue much more than it is an ideological one.

But the private system is failing. Government, in the form of a patchwork of state programs and such federal efforts as SCHIP to cover children, is already involved. Medicare, for another example, has a major impact on compensation for care outside the Medicare system. It is a all a royal mess, and it would be far more intelligent for government to play a reasoned and constructive role in dealing with the whole problem, not bits and pieces of it. In this effort, there will no doubt be a role for private insurers and medical providers. But there will also by necessity be a public aspect, and it is a greater good to care for those without care than it is to deny care by refusing to change the system on ideological grounds. People who die of cancer and other diseases do not go to their graves as Republicans or Democrats: they go as human beings, and that is the bottom line for me.

RESOURCES

For a comprehensive rundown of insurance options state by state, visit this excellent website: healthinsuranceinfo.net

For information about states that have high-risk insurance pools that may cover patients with nasty pre-existing conditions such as CLL, go here.

State health risk pools that have websites:

28 comments:

Toni Brayer MD said...

I just found your site and agree with your post on Sicko, the Oprah show (it should be seen by everyone) and Universal coverage for all Americans. Check out my blog at www.everythinghealth.net for my post on the insurance industry and a prior post on Sicko. Best of luck to you as you navigate your life with CLL. You have a very nice blog.

Jenny Lou said...

Thank God that John Edwards has shown all American's how we can fix our medical insurance mess. We need this and we need this now. Great blog post David.

Vance Esler said...

David,

I have not read much of what John Edwards has to say. Thought I'd wait until he is a more serious contender.

Do you know how his plan compares to the Massachusetts plan I alluded to in one of my posts?

Jenny Lou,

I wish this was so simple that one person could fix it. Unfortunately, it is a political football now, and I imagine it will be more of a fix "by committee" -- which means everyone will agree to it, but no one will like it.

Fran said...

Another great post, David.

I read recently that a Senate committee is debating about eliminating some leukemia treatments from medicare coverage.

Seems like some days are bad, and others are worse.

David Arenson said...

Interesting -- both Toni and Vance are practicing physicians and their blogs show that they bring rather different perspectives to the debate.

Toni, I read your piece on Sicko and could not agree more:

http://healthwise-everythinghealth.blogspot.com/search?q=sicko

Vance, I read yours also; the Massachusetts plan is a step in the right direction and Romney is to be commended for taking it. A similar plan is under consideration in California, if Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Democrats can agree on the details. If California takes that step, it will have repercussions throughout the land.

I think the Edwards plan is more comprehensive than that in MA in that it attempts to control runaway costs, both of care and of insurance, within the private system. Thus his "regional markets" allowing people to buy insurance in a larger group.

Edwards could surprise everyone yet, so I would not count him out. Like many Democrats, as much as I have grown to respect Clinton during this year's debates, I also want to make sure we win next year and Edwards may well get my vote for that reason as well as for his health care plan.

Jenny Lou, I think the basic outlines of the Edwards plan are likely to be the direction that things go if any Democrat ends up in the White House. Frankly, if I were Clinton or Obama sitting in the Oval Office, I'd consider signing John and Elizabeth Edwards on as point people in health care reform.

Anonymous said...

Finally, a post from a realist. Me.

First off, I see that you've gotten a tiny bit of sense when you reject the socialist model of government-funded health care such that exists in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and elsewhere. Even you realize that patients in those countries are denied the most efficacious drugs. Pity them, for they suffer from inferior care.

Apart from that small bit of sanity, you (typically) veer off into loony country.

Without question, the United States has the best health care system in the world (although I suppose you feel that Cuba would be the best place to have your CLL treated).

And you want to wreck it! Haven't you ever heard the old adage, if it isn't broken, don't fix it?

What you whine about is a minority of folks who don't have health insurance. As you may know (if you read up on the subject) many people without health insurance either choose not to buy it, choose not to get subsidized care (Medicaid), are between jobs or have other options (coverage from a spouse or parents). Or they are your favorite group, illegal aliens who steal into this country and exploit our good nature.

Contrary to your blatant and heinous lies, conservatives don't tell people to just 'go die'. This kind of statement shows your loose grasp on reality. Such an insult shows that you aren't interested in any real discourse on the subject. You just are filled with hate and your 'reason' is clouded by that hate.

So you are just arguing about health insurance, not health care. (As you know, you have had excellent care, in the United States. In fact, you have availed yourself of consultations in San Diego, Columbus, and in Arizona, and probably elsewhere as well.)

What Hillary and the other socialists are trying to do, of course, is exploit weak minds (with the willing complicity of the media) to expand government yet again.

The Democrats have one objective, and that is to take away as much of your freedom as possible, and make you utterly dependent on the government, just as it is in socialist Europe. Just try to smoke in public.

The casualty, of course, is the cancer patient, and his freedom.

We would willingly give up our Medicare 'benefits' if it were possible. The Democrats have co-opted the private health insurance, just like they plan on taking from the rest of us.

And the small minds of government are cutting back payments time and time again. Guess where the money goes? Yep; into the pockets of the politicians and the parasitic hangers-on.

David loves to employ exaggerated stories that he makes up; should the child of the poor be denied everything the child of the rich? No, he says. The wealthy person should be FORBIDDEN to spend their money as they see fit, even on health care! This is (or was) their own money, but David wants to regulate how he can spend his own money. Cute.

This is more than socialism, this is communism. Take from the rich, and give to the ruling class.

So, yes, the rich can live better than the poor. Unless you are in Cuba, where everyone is miserable.

The reason Medical Savings Accounts exist is to let the patient allocate funds as he sees fit. He will then know what the true costs are, and not just remain ignorant.

Yes, big corporations would love socialized medicine, because they would have the perfect excuse to cancel the coverage they provide to their employees. More profits for them, you may understand. That's why they are 'coming around' to socialized medicine.

David, that's just the way it is. I didn't ask for CLL, but it is my problem, and I am paying part of the cost.

That is how it should be.

The history of government (read: taxpayer) rescuing those who didn't buy flood insurance like they were supposed to is fairly recent. Until the 1920s or so, the federal government didn't get involved. You were supposed to count on your neighbor to help, and he you.

What a quaint idea! Neighbor helping neighbor!

And of course, you bring up the valiant effort to defend America from the Islamo-fascists, and blame the war on terror for the health care insurance 'problem'. What did you blame before the Iraq war? Huh?

Maybe Al-Qaeda will surrender because you are against the war on terror? Ya think?

Rising health care costs occur because technology costs. MRIs. CT scanners. Rituxan. Campath. Heroic surgeries.

Are these free? No. They cost money, but we benefit, don't we. You certainly did.

And the estimate of the increased costs? 100 million dollars? Where is that money going to come from? From you, David. From you. Hope you enjoy paying taxes, because you are going to pay through the nose!

As I've mentioned, you admit that you have changed your mind about socialized medicine.

The funny thing is, is your efforts will make it a reality. If you survive long enough, you will be denied the life-saving drugs that may cure you.

You can enjoy this by yourself.

Just STOP TRYING TO KILL ME!

People like you must be stopped. Wrecking the best system in the world. You must be stopped.

Jenny Lou said...

Dear Realist--
What World do you live in if you truly think you are a Realist? I'd rather pay taxes for health care than War. Do you work for the Insurance Lobby? If not, I am sure they would welcome you with open, (and very rich), arms. My husband is an Owner of his own business. He has lived the American dream and we are very happy that we live in this great country. I am telling you this because I feel that you think anyone who would rather see health care reform rather than blindly running after "terrorist's" is not a patriot of our Country. Yes, my husband and I pay for our own insurance.....since his dx of CLL, Aetna has taken every step they can to make sure that the American Dream dies a quick death. We pay $2800.00 a month for health insurance. I am sure you can figure out that many American's could not afford that. Thank God we have the ability to cover that for a while longer. What? You think we should shop around? His business of 12 people have shopped every single health care provider and this is the best deal we can get. Like my husband says, "Health Insurance in America is a great thing until you get sick." Rich giving to the poor? What a concept. No, I'd rather give the $100,000 we have to pay in taxes each year to go to war games. (I am jesting, in case you didn't catch it.) Let's play a math game....How much does a person with cancer who owns their own business in America have to pay in health costs to treat their cancer and in taxes to go towards a war that was a personal vendetta of the President? $100,000+ a year in taxes and then add the cost that Aetna said 6 months FCR plus seeing a CLL Specialist cost to give my husband some sort of life left? $600,000 in one year. Yeah, the best health care in the World. No, we didn't have to come out of pocket for all of that. Only 20% out of pocket. And trust me, the Dr.s didn't see that money either. Only Aetna saw it. Or, don't trust me...ask either Dr. who just posted. Ask how they are making ends meet. There is your Reality check. Stop killing the messenger.
David is not going to kill you. Our health care system will take care of that.
Google who the most powerful lobby group is in our Country. Insurance will be in all the top one's names. You are a lobbyist, right?

David Arenson said...

Anonymous said: "Just STOP TRYING TO KILL ME!"

Judging from his post, it looks like I might bring on a heart attack anytime now.

Let me post something here that I posted on CLL Forum in answer to someone who made some of the same arguments, albeit with a little less hysteria:

For better or ill, and I say for the better, civilization has evolved away from survival of the fittest to a system of social contracts.

These contracts protect life and liberty and enhance the quality of life by providing a basic level of economic security and opportunity. Society is improved as its people are improved -- by publicly supported education, by a functioning infrastructure that allows for economic growth, and by security that protects from invaders. One way society is also improved is by insuring that the sick receive medical care.

Finding a balance between individual freedom and our obligations to the society in which we live is not always easy. Marxism-Leninism was extreme in one wrong way, and I would submit that the sort of social Darwinism advocated by the likes of Ayn Rand is too extreme the other way.

Yes, we must give up some of our own to help others, even others who have made unwise choices, or others who have not been blessed with our wealth. What we gain in this commonality is not only security and opportunity for ourselves but a civilization that speaks to the better angels of our nature.

Or should we just leave the sick to die in the streets?

Anonymous said...

Liberals love to 'feel'. Logic has no place when 'feelings' are considered.

I hope your German is coming along well, because you'd be speaking it if you don't believe that wars, including WWII, was absolutely necessary. Six million dead Jews probably wished we had waged war a bit faster and better in utterly destroying Hitler's Germany. But, you are against all wars. Goodbye Jews! Goodbye America!

Your health care taxes would be paid, but you'd have no vote, and you'd live as a subject of Germany. A fair trade?

Oh, but you say that was DIFFERENT! The fact that the new enemy has vowed to kill every last infidel, including you. Perhaps you'd rather live under Moslem law than to fight for freedom.

I suspect, with all do sincerity, that you just haven't thought through the issues very well. Most people don't. Reality bores them, and death threats scare them, so they just pretend that this is 'Bush's war.'

You put quotes around the word terrorist. Curious. Where you sleeping on September 11? Did the terrorists kill 17 on the USS Cole? Did 212 die in the bombing of the US embassies in August 1998? Not to mention the 3,233 American dead on September 11, 2001. Have you forgotten?

Do these people mean nothing to you? The danger that Islamo-fascists represent to Western civilization is not an issue to you, apparently. It is up to those who fight, who recognize the danger, who push for funding of the war, who won't let people like you forget the bigger picture.

I have CLL as your husband does. I'd like more funding, but I recognize the survival of the US is more important than my own survival. There are many important demands of the budget. Much could be cut from the budget, but liberals what more and more programs, more and more taxes, and more and more of a drain on my pocketbook.

Personal vendetta of President Bush? In what regard? I suppose you cried the day that nice man Saddam Hussein was killed by that mean George Bush.

Saddam was an evil man and responsible for the torture of thousands, perhaps millions of Iraqis and Iranians. He did have 'weapons of mass destruction.' He used them to gas Kurds in his country. Why do you 'Google' that? The world is better off without him.

As I've indicated, if there is any problem, it is an insurance problem, not a health care problem. England and most other countries on the planet has socialized medicine. They come here (if they can afford it) for the best treatment possible. King Hussein of Jordon (NHL sufferer) came to the US for treatment. Not Canada. Not England. Not even Cuba!

And liberal Canadian MP "Belinda Stronach, who is battling breast cancer, travelled to California last June for an operation that was recommended as part of her treatment, says a report."

You go on the say that the expensive care you have received, and perhaps will receive, will cost you only 20% of the full price. And you are ready to destroy the best medical system in the world? What do you want? 99% coverage?

Your complaints just don't add up.

I love your statement, 'our health care system will kill you.' I don't think so, but I do know if I were in England, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere else in the world, I would be dead now.

Jenny Lou said...

Working off of emotions? Not me, but surely you are. Do I remember 9/11? My husband was on a United flight in the air from New York to Chicago. Need I tell you how horrible that was? No one on his flight even knew what was happening in NY. Do I worry every single day for my nephew who is on his 4th tour in Afghanistan? Please. Do I believe that waging war on Iraq has saved American lives and made our country safe? NO.....That's where you are letting your feelings lead you astray. But hey, if you can absolutely say that invading Iraq has made you feel that we have stopped the attacks on our Country, then I envy you. George Jr., was trying to get the man who embarrased his Daddy while his Daddy was in office. Google that. The Muslim's are fighting for their "God". We are fighting for our "God". I wonder God really thinks about this. Who wins when God fights God? Am I saying that I am against all wars? Of course not. Just this one that we were all blindly railroaded into because of our EMOTIONS about 9/11. Do I feel lucky that we only have to pay 20% of a ridiculously outrageous bill because of the insurance company over pricing? NO.....I am just relieved that we paid it without hocking our home.
why do so many American citizen's go to Mexico and India for health care? Google that. How come all the new trials on cancer are quickly moving out of the U.S. and into Germany and India and other countries? Google that.
And may I just say that I really do enjoy bantering with you. I respect your views and know that we really do want the same things in life. You are fun.

Anonymous said...

I hate to tell you this, Jenny, but what you 'believe' about the safety of America is wrong, sadly wrong. The most important function of government is to protect its citizens from enemies, foreign and domestic. We are fighting Al Qeada in Iraq. I will provide supporting evidence if you don't believe me.

The war in Iraq is not over. American troops will probably be in Iraq (as they are in Korea) for years to come. Were mistakes made in prosecuting the war? Of course. If you watched the Ken Burns documentary, The War, mistakes, terrible mistakes, were made in that war as well. Does that mean the goal was, and is, not admirable? No. If nothing else, we have eliminated a ruthless, vile man from the face of the earth. Good riddance.

Thank God we have men and women who are ready to risk their lives in keeping us safe. They are fighting in Iraq so we don't have to fight here. If you don't believe that, ask yourself why there has not been a terrorist attack in the US for over six years. No one expected that, and you MUST CREDIT BUSH for that great feat. It is because of him that we haven't been.

I think it's funny that you drift from the war on cancer (set in motion by the hated-by-the-wacko-left president Richard Nixon (who was no conservative) to a rambling denunciation of America's defense of itself.

Jenny, most people don't agree with you, fortunately for the good guys. President Bush was elected, and re-elected. So much for the 'powerful' left-wingers.

You think you won the last election. But you didn't! Turns out that the Republicans fared better than historical averages in the sixth-year elections, which traditionally are very hard on a two-term president. So there!

By the way, it's not 'George Jr.' since his father's name is not the same as the son's.

And there you go, going off the deep end talking about whose side God is on. Nobody brought this up until you did. God gave us free will so we could make our own decisions.

I know about desperate folks who go to Mexican 'clinics' because there is no cure for their cancer (there is no cure for CLL, either). As far as India goes, Jenny, the trade is in elective surgeries for the most part, which are indeed less expensive in countries with poor standards of living. Of course, if there is a problem, it's a long trip to see the doctor again.

Google dental procedures to see more on this matter.

So what? I'm not going to India for cancer treatment (and how many are?) because I KNOW the US has the best healthcare system in the world.

Is your husband going to Mexico or India for his CLL treatments or doctor's visits? If not, why not? Indeed, why not Cuba, which Mikey Moore says it infinitely better than the US?

Yes, it would be fun debating with you, if the issues were not so terribly important.

I like the healthcare system just the way it is. It works well for me (would be better if there was a cure for CLL).

That's another point. If drug costs are forced down significantly, and the government limited the return on investment on drugs, then where is the money going to come from for more drug research?

It costs $802 million to marshal a drug from the laboratory through the clinical trial process. The only reason drugs are put through that process is so investors can make a killing.

With a background in business, you should understand that.

Jenny Lou said...

Anon--BTW, I call George Junior because he is the son, not because I think he has the same name. You remind me of the Lion in Oz. "If I only had a heart."
You said, "I like the healthcare system just the way it is. It works well for me (would be better if there was a cure for CLL)." Typical of your political views, me,me,me.

David Arenson said...

The American health care system is the best in the world if you have the money or fortune of good insurance to access it.

But the challenge of our society is to insure that all citizens have access to such care. There are a lot of people who are underinsured or uninsured who wait until they become very ill before seeking treatment, and then they end up in the emergency room with conditions that are far more complicated than necessary, which causes a greater financial drain on the system than if they had been receiving care all along.

Our right-wing friend here is typical of his ilk, in that he finds it easy to criticize the proposals of those who would extend care to all, but offers few solutions of his own to the problems of the uninsured, and to those working Americans who can barely afford the insurance they have.

Steve Madden said...

I must defend the Australian health system, a mix of private and public.

The reason we have free hospital care is because we can afford it. (unlike other places).

16 years of budget surpluses. Tax cuts every year for the past 8 years, $200 billion set aside in a "future fund" (interest used for infrastructure), ZERO Govt debt.

Before you say it is not free, for many it is. A family with an income of upto $55,000 pays no net tax.

This results in the 5th highest life expectancy in the world (US is 38th). Mortality rates for the major cancers are lower than the USA.

But I guess when your economy is stuffed you have no choice.

Anonymous said...

So, Jenny, I should hate the system because I am well served by it?

Not logical.

I speak for millions when I say that you and your ilk are trying to kill the rest of us by denying us life-saving drugs and excellent medical care. Since you are rich, you will probably always be able to bribe a doctor to give you the care you need, even when Hillarycare has driven the country into ruin.

You are the selfish one, not caring about the rest of us.

(By the way, given up on surrendering to the Islamo-fascists by now?)

One thing that you and the uber-liberal David and the other weak minds out there fail to mention are improvements to the system that are occurring right now.

There is an effort to steer illegal aliens and others to clinics run by hospitals instead of allowing them to deny care to legal Americans by clogging up the emergency rooms. The clinics are in some cases next door to the emergency rooms. This effort saves money and better allocates scare resources to meet the needs of all who require care.

I'm sure you left-wing nuts will find a way to criticize something that works. It has to 'feel good' for you to like it, right?

Hey Davey- where does it say I have to solve the world's problems? I know you libs have no answers, just whining about everything and everything. I'm sure you loathe it, but I still have the right to vote, even though massive left-wing voter fraud seeks to deny me even that (your buddy Kennedy lost the 1960 election, but organized crime had enough dead people voting the willing media was fooled (or didn't care. And you might read up on 'Landslide Lyndon' for some truth about your party)).

So, no, Davey, it isn't my job to come up with changes to the health care system, because, as I've said, I love it the way it is.

(And no, it's not up to you either; your 'power seller' status notwithstanding (whatever that means anyway; is that a Ph.D.?). That doesn't imbue you with any special insight.

Liberals love to destroy things, then it's up to us adults to put it all back together again.

Which prompts me to invent a new bumpersticker. "Conservatives will save the country so that Liberals can continue to whine." Catchy, huh?

As for Steve Madden: Ha! I LOVE the illogic!!! 'Our health care is free!!!" "We have MAGIC BUNNIES that pay for it!!!" Our high taxes HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!!!

Uh, Steve, I hate to break it to you and your bunny friends...your taxes are high BECAUSE THEY PAY THE BILLS!!!

The notion that health care is free is laughable, though the illogic of it all does appeal to liberals in general. Logic and the truth are foreign concepts to the liberal left-wing nut jobs.

I suppose that in Australia (where a dollar is about 2.8 cents American) your mythical family never pays sales tax, value-added tax, no transfer taxes, no taxes of any kind.

Well, Stevie...the lower income freeloaders in America don't pay any income tax, either!

How about that!!!

And, Steve, how readily available is Rituxan for CLL as a first-line therapy? Has it been as available there for as long as in the US? No, it hasn't. I've read the complaints from the Australians for years now. How many clinical trials are being run down there for CLL patients (other than fiddling with the dose of Leukeran)? Nowhere near what the US offers, is it?

As far as our economy being stuffed, I have no idea what that means. I am stuffed myself, though, having feasted on this country's bounty this very evening.

Or are you just slurring the corpulent citizens of the United States again?

Steve Madden said...

Anon e mouse.

Can't you read? NO NET TAX.

The only comparisons I made to the US were Life Expectancy (lower that Cuba 5 v 38) and the fact the Cancer Mortality Rate was significantly lower in Australia.

If you think that public debt at >60% of GDP is sustainable, you are a fool.

Anonymous said...

Steve. Thanks for calling me a fool. Liberals have no arguments...They just shout louder and louder.

Don't worry your tiny little head about the US. We are a big country and we manage quite well, thank you very much.

And we will be here to bail you out (again) when you can't beat off the big, bad guys.

They think that wins arguments!

Sad and pathetic.

No, I don't believe there are no taxes on consumption in Australia. I don't know what planet you live on but taxes exist in Australia. You try to hide them because no one goes to Australia anyway.

Who would want to?

http://country.alibaba.com/profiles/AU/Australia/taxes_accounting.htm

Sorry, the US has an infinitely better health care system than 'shrimp on the barbie' plan that Australia has.

Jenny Lou said...

Ok Anon.....enough. Where this could have been an interesting debate, you are now just throwing insults around at whatever and whomever is in your sight. Take your meds like a good boy and relax.

John Wagner said...

I agree with Jenny Lou! Enough. I may never call myself a conservative again. In fact because of "Conservatives" like this I have started to say I am a moderate. I dislike labels, anyway. No wonder he hides behind the
"Anonymous" label.

Anonymous said...

In Michael Moore's movie, he posed the question of whether we want to be a "me society or a we society"..it's obvious into which camp 'anonymous' falls.

In reading your posts, anonymous, I venture to say CLL will not be the cause of your demise. I can think of nothing more poisonous to your mind, body, and soul, than the venomous anger coursing through your system. I truly feel sorry for those family and friends in your immediate sphere who are possibly subjected to your hate-filled rants.

Anonymous said...

Hi David,
You got an another good one started, love it.
There is a good reason Anonymous is anonymous.
My daughter and I enjoyed (lack of a better word)
Sicko.
Agree or disagree with the movie but I think everyone should see it.
Thanks,
Carlin
Anonymous is trying to engage you guys. Had my round with that person, no one won. Unless Anonymous thought he did in his/her big head.

Anonymous said...

I love the fake conservatives who say they are going to become liberals because of one issue. Obviously, phony baloney fakes.

As to those liberal left-wing wackos out there who think the American health care system is inferior to Cuba's, I say, go! Oh, you don't want to? You want to exploit the American system, then whine about it?

Typical.

And why shouldn't I be interested in my own health? That's being selfish? That I want the best system in the world destroyed by Hillary?

Fine! I know, of course, you are only words and moaning and groaning. You have NO intention of helping preserve this great system. You think you will benefit somehow, and you don't care about me or anyone else. You all have demonstrated that by not getting the point.

As far as Mikey Moore's stupid fat butt liberal movie, I wonder if HE went to Cuba for weight-management treatment?

Fat ass Moore is a liar and a fool, but those who reward that fat retard are even greater fools.

Go ahead small brained liberals! You will be whining in a few years when you won't have rituxan or campath or other modern treatments.

Don't you understand that if, for example, drug companies can't make a profit, they can't spend money on research?

No, liberals just don't want to face reality.

I'm just fighting so they don't take the country down with them.

You'll thank me one day. You'll never admit it, but you will thank me.

Anonymous said...

Read the posts of the conservative "anonymous," above. Notice how many times this person uses the word "you" compared to "I" or "me." This person is on the warpath. This person is stating what he/she IMAGINES liberals are thinking (setting up a so-called "straw man"), then savaging those imagined views, often with nothing more coherent than adolescent personal insults.

I have a challenge for this person: try writing a post that does not insult your opponents. Try stating your own views positively, and leave it at that.

I'll bet you can't do it.

I'll be you're incapable of writing without using epithets like "loony" and "lies." I'll bet you can't restrain yourself from using the name "Hillary" as though it were some kind of swear-word. I'll bet you can't even think of those who differ from you without picturing them wearing SS uniforms or waving hammer-and-sickle flags (you've compared them BOTH to Nazis and Communists, which is quite a logical feat, I have to say).

I'll bet you can't do it, because you're addicted to the adrenaline rush that comes with anger, and writing anything that responds to issues and not personalities (real or imagined) leaves you feeling desperate to pour another shot of firewater down your throat.

This blog has been an oasis of rationality and simple, human respect - for which I give its author a lot of credit. Please don't keep poisoning the well.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy how little Stevie Wonder talks about no 'net taxes'. This means nothing more than the taxpayer gets out in services what he pays in. Well, that's totally meaningless because EVERYONE (except in places like Zimbabwe) gets out in government services what they pay in. That holds for lazy, inefficient bureaucracies (but I repeat myself) as well as the finely honed military (sort of efficient)services.

So we can disregard what he writes as meaningless nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I can only describe what is real. The left is loony, illogical, engaged in wishful thinking, sill, not grounded, insulting, angry, childish and much, much more.

Engage a liberal on Iraq. After a few minutes of calm discussion on the facts about the necessary war, liberals get angrier and angrier, and their voices get louder and louder, until they start screaming.

The left has no cogent arguments. They think if they out-shout you, they can win on shear volume if nothing else (and of course, they have nothing else).

We are being sold a bill of good on Hillarycare. Hillary is a shrill, angry feminist who hates Americans, and will do everything in her power to destroy this country, buy cutting the military, ruining the health care system, raising taxes on the middle class and more.

I saw something on one of the morning news programs today that I thought was well-put.

The Democrats think that if you are making $60,000 a year, you are poor and you need government assistance to fund this S-Chip child health care boondoggle.

John Edwards says that if that same family makes $75,000 a year, they are rich and need their taxes raised!

I guess you're only safe if you make between $60,000 and $75,000 per year.

Such is the Donkey math!

Anonymous said...

For those mentally challenged, reference to 'me' makes it easier for liberals to understand, since they generally can't count over five or six.

It's OK for liberals to move their lips when they read these words!

As I've said, I'm just trying to save you from yourselves.

David Arenson said...

The title of this post is "Sicko" and in reading this thread of comments it seems to refer to the state of mind of our friend Anonymous more than to the state of the health care system or to the Micheal Moore movie. So I will exercise my power as blog owner -- hey, it's a free country (chortle) -- and delete any further comments by Anonymous on this topic. He has made his points, many of which are nonsensical, ad nauseam.

His comments about liberals might well apply to him: "They think if they out-shout you, they can win on shear volume if nothing else (and of course, they have nothing else)."

Marc said...

I know this is a little late David, but for those who think the US has the best health care in the world, I thought this little anecdote was of particularly relevant.

It just so happened I was riding my bike, with a general surgeon, this morning, and he indicated that compensation per unit work performed has dropped about 75% over the past so many years.

I'm sorry, I forgot the exact number of years he stated, but that's really irrelevant. It doesn't matter if it was 5, 10, or even 20 years

What matters is, just how good a job do you think you would do, or how motivated would you be, if you kept getting less and less for performing the same job, or had to work twice as hard just to stay even? (He happens to work 6 days a week, taking a rare day off today, which is what sparked the conversation. )

I certainly can't answer for everyone, but if I were sick (oops, I am sick), or could possibly get sick (I think that applies to everyone else who isn't sick at this moment), I be a little worried.

In fact, I'd be a LOT worried.

But I'm sure he was just exaggerating!

Right?