Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Care: Chapter and Verse

About a month ago, Bill Moyers sat down with Wendell Potter, a former executive at a major health insurance company, who's become a whistleblower, explaining the way the industry "put profits before patients" and is doing everything possible to block health care reform now.

Asked what prompted his change of heart, Potter said he visited a health care expedition in Wise, Virginia, in July 2007. "I just assumed that it would be, you know, like booths set up and people just getting their blood pressure checked and things like that," he said. "But what I saw were doctors who were set up to provide care in animal stalls. Or they'd erected tents, to care for people.... I've got some pictures of people being treated on gurneys, on rain-soaked pavement. And I saw people lined up, standing in line or sitting in these long, long lines, waiting to get care."

Potter added that families were there from "all over the region" because people had heard, "from word of mouth," about the possibility of being able to see a doctor without insurance. He asked himself, "What country am I in? It just didn't seem to be a possibility that I was in the United States."

What's worth remembering is that this exact same scene keeps playing out, across the country. Reader R.B. sent me this item earlier:

The free medical clinic at the Forum in Inglewood [near Los Angeles] reached capacity again Wednesday, as hundreds camped out overnight to receive medical and dental care. [...]

More than 2,000 sought services on the first day of the medical clinic -- and hundreds were turned away. People were lined up Tuesday night, hoping to get in. The MTA announced it was extending service of Line 115 because of "overwhelming demand" for rides to the clinic, which runs for eight days. [...]

Doctors, nurses and other medical workers who donated their time said most visitors' ailments were basic. But "many have chronic diseases -- high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma -- conditions we can't deal with in just one day," said Dr. Nancy Greep of Santa Monica. Some had problems, such as a recurring cancer, that demand long-term treatment.

"What country am I in? It just didn't seem to be a possibility that I was in the United States."

Remember, in some conservative circles, there's still a belief that health care reform isn't necessary. Last month, one right-wing member of Congress even boasted, "There are no Americans who don't have healthcare. Everybody in this country has access to healthcare."

Here's a thought: head down to Inglewood and let folks know about this. While you're there, let them know that health care reform might lead to "rationing" and "long wait times."

DougJ: Stopped clock

Where is the real David Broder and what have you done with him?

As I later wrote, the Johnsons “were engulfed by the crowd, and for more than half an hour, were reviled and jostled as they slowly made their way across the lobby. Johnson refused offers of police assistance, telling an aide that ‘if the time has come that I can’t walk with my lady across the lobby of the Adolphus Hotel, then I want to know it.’ “

The backlash was instant and powerful. As conservative columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak later wrote in their book about Johnson, the scene in the Adolphus “outraged thousands of Texans and Southerners. Sen. Richard Russell of Georgia, who had not campaigned for his party’s national ticket since 1944, telephoned Johnson that evening to offer his services.” The Johnson biographers concluded that while no one could prove the case, it is “a credible hypothesis” that the Adolphus incident swung Texas and perhaps other closely contested Southern states to the Democrats.


Much improvement is needed in the health-care bills, but I think these angry opponents are playing with fire.

The health care fight turns hazardous Aug. 12: At least four Democratic congressmen have received death threats since health care town hall meetings started. Why is this hurtful speech still going on? Rachel Maddow is joined by Dr. Warren Hern, director of the Boulder Abortion Clinic in Colorado.

SGW: Better To Be Silent And Thought A Fool

Somebody should have finished that saying for teabagger Katy Abram. She brings new meaning to the phrase "no nothing". Lawrence O'Donnell was great drawing out all over her stupid for all the world to see.

She said she "saw on TV" that President Obama said we would go to a single payer system in 5 years. Anybody wanna take a bet that it was FoxNews?

Anybody? Bueller?
Think Progress: Grassley Scaremongers About Government Pulling ‘The Plug On Grandma’

Yesterday, President Obama told a New Hampshire audience that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is “sincerely trying to figure out…a health care bill that works.”

But as The Iowa Independent reports today, during a health care meeting with constituents Grassley spouted the latest conservative conspiracy theory about health care reform — that it will put seniors to death:

Americans should be scared of provisions in a health care bill currently in the U.S. House because it will allow the government to have a say in end-of-life decisions, Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley told a crowd of more than 300 Wednesday morning.

“In the House bill, there is counseling for end of life,” Grassley said. “You have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. Should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma.”

ThinkProgress recorded Grassley’s comments on the ground. Watch it:

In endorsing this latest right-wing conspiracy theory, Grassley seperates himself from other GOP senators. Yesterday Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) told an Anchorage crowd that she was “offended” that fellow conservative Sarah Palin wrote that health care legislation will force citizens to stand before “death panels.” And Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who has authored legislation calling for government coverage of voluntary end-of-life counseling, called the conspiracy theory “nuts.”

This isn’t the first time Grassley has scare mongered about health care. Last week he told an Iowan radio host that government-run health insurance programs would force people like Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who was recently treated for a brain tumor, to die rather than treating them.

Despite all this, Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has continued to insist that he “couldn’t ask for a better partner” for “meaningful health care reform” than Grassley.

(HT: Washington Independent)

Update Huffington Post's Sam Stein notes that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs hit back at Palin today for her death panel remark, saying that the former governor had given out "information that I think many of you all pointed out was wrong."
Update Politico's Lisa Lerer reports that "Grassley flagrently refused to denounce rumors for a second time on Wednesday that the House health care bill would allow government to make end of life decisions." "With all the other fears people have and what they do in England then you get the idea that somebody is going to decide grandma lived too long," said Grassley. "You understand why you get it."


Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the leading Republican lawmaker negotiating a "compromise" on health care reform.

One of the three Republican senators working on a bipartisan health care bill perpetuated a particularly outrageous untruth about the legislation on Wednesday.

Appearing at a town hall in his home state of Iowa, Sen. Chuck Grassley told a crowd of more than 300 that they were correct to fear that the government would "pull the plug on grandma."

"There is some fear because in the House bill, there is counseling for end-of-life," Grassley said. "And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear. You shouldn't have counseling at the end of life. You ought to have counseling 20 years before you're going to die. You ought to plan these things out. And I don't have any problem with things like living wills. But they ought to be done within the family. We should not have a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on grandma."

Just yesterday, President Obama described Chuck Grassley as one of his "Republican friends on Capitol Hill" who is "sincerely trying to figure out if they can find a health care bill that works." Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) recently said of Grassley that he "couldn't ask for a better partner" in working towards reform.

Obama and Baucus are wrong; and negotiating with Grassley in good faith is a mistake.

Grassley isn't serious about reform. Not at all. Seriously. He's proven this again and again. It's time to stop trying. Grassley will only let down reform advocates in the end.

Update: Joe Klein on Grassley's comments: "[H]e either (a) hasn't the vaguest notion of what's in the bill or (b) he is so intimidated by the ditto-head-brown-shirts that he is trying to fudge a response to keep them happy. Either way, he should be ashamed. And once has to wonder about the fate of the Senate Finance Committee deliberations if this is what the Administration is dealing with."

Think Progress: Steele: It was ‘proper’ for Sarah Palin to fearmonger about ‘death panels.’

On Fox News today, RNC Chairman Michael Steele became the latest right-wing figure to endorse former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s ludicrously false claim that health care reform will contain “death panels.” “I think that’s perfectly appropriate,” said Steele:

CAVUTO: Now obviously in this environment a lot of vitriol comes forth. Michael, I just wanted to get your reaction to some of your co-party members, former Alaska governor Palin, who calls these panels that are essentially going to be dispensing care or deciding it, death panels. That sort of thing — is that proper? Is that right?

STEELE: Well, I think it’s, I think it’s proper because its within the context of what people are seeing in some of the legislation that’s floating around out there. When you’re talking about panels that are going to be imposed, that will be making life and death decisions, that will be making decisions about whether or not you get health care or don’t receive health care. I think that’s perfectly appropriate.

Watch it:

Steele also repeated his false claim that state Republican Parties are not actively encouraging town hall mobs. “Anyone out there who says that the Republican Party or state parties or Republican activists are out there” disrupting town halls “are flat-out lying. They’re wrong.”

1 comment:

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