View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Possible Health Care Reform Implication?

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Blogger David Marciniak said...

More than possible.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Possible Health Care Reform Implication?":

Please stop the hatred for Barack Obama. Because you do not understand the logistics of the health care plan does not mean you should make an uncharitable stab at him as you have with this poster. Shame on you."

First, I do not hate Barack Obama. I am gravely concerned about some of his words and actions - but I have also defended him and praised him (such as when he backed off his Gates comments). I judge a person's actions, not the person himself.

The poster is not mine. I found it online elsewhare.

I have read portions of the proposed health care plan - I may have read more of it than some Congressional Representatives! - and I understand the implications of some of the wording (I'm an English teacher, and a former reporter). The poster touches on one aspect of the proposal as it is currently worded: It could lead to evaluating whether money should be spent of keeping up medical treatment for seniors. Cost could play a role in the five-year evaluations, and it may be determined that at a certain point, it is no longer cost effective to provide that care. In addition, there is discussion of euthanasia concerning the proposals. If euthanasia is permitted, it could be deemed "patriotic" to end one's life rather than tax the system.

I suspect the plan as proposed will not get through, but we need to alert people as to posdsible implications so that they know not to ignore it.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...

In part the matter boils down to this: Republicans are no less willing to separate citizens from their money. They and many Democrats would prefer that injured and ill people shovel money to their benefactors instead of other aspects of our economy.

Health insurance will cost. We know that. We also know that a for-profit system already forces people to make decisions that others are suggesting the feds will force on us through insurance reform.

Lee, in part, you contribute to the ignorance with your title. I don't think health care needs reform other than improvement in care, research, and availability of treatment.

What the US needs is reform in medical insurance. Let's not only keep our eyes off the hate, but also on the real issue.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Todd, I contribute nothing to ignorance. I ask a question in my headline - a legitimate question.

Portions of the proposed health care reform bill can be interpreted as allowing and possibly even encouraging older and very sick people to decide against (or even not be given in a timely way) care. If it happens, it could even be couched in terms of a "patriotic" act.

Just look at the abortion decisions. I suspect the judges who initialy ruled that abortions could be allowed for reasons of health never relaized how broadly that word would be interpreted. A woman can now argue almost anything is detrimental to her emotional health and get one.

As for hate, I am not expressing hate. Why are you suggesting that I am, or that I am promoting ignorance?

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barack Obama, as our President, deserves our respect. He was elected to his office and one fair and square. All the whining isn't necessary.

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

Lee, my friend, I would suggest that you are contributing to the ignorance already.

If you suspect the federal government to clamp down on care because of the beancounters, you can bet the private corporations are already making decisions for people.

While there is no guarantee a government won't someday determine old and sick people are expendable, I think you've been drinking the corporate kool-aid on this one. Governments are, in theory, accountable to the citizenry, and in many popular areas, don't appear to be terribly concerned about the economic bottom line.

I don't think insurance reform is going to usher in totalitarianism; at least not to the degree VP Cheney and the neocons attempted.

The hate is not yours, of course. But like many bloggers, you tend to attract it. Haven't you admitted as much?

11:58 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Todd, I know the bean counters in industry are already doing it. But I also believe that if the government gets it there will also be some - so how is that contributing to ignorance? Remember Todd, I was a political reporter. I covered how government works - or doesn't work.

I suspect we will get some sort of reform of the insurance coverage reform, not the full-scale plan being proposed. But unless people speak up, we might get something more than would work or than we really need.

Frankly Todd, everytime you make an accusation that I am contributing to ignorance I feel as if you are insulting me. That was not likely your intent, but that is the way it strikes me.

6:30 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

But then, I am a sensitive plant!

7:27 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Anonymous 11:16.

Criticising policies and actions is not whining. It is part of the democratic discourse.

One can be respectful of the office of President, one can be respectful of an elected official, yet still comment on things he or she is doing wrong. That is not be disrespectful - that is also part of the democratic process.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"The death of a teenager is a greater tragedy than the death of an 85-year-old, and this should be reflected in our priorities." -

-- from "Why We Must Ration Health Care" by Peter Singer, bioethicist at Princeton University, in the July 19 "The New York Time Magazine."

The talk is already out there.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...

The talk has been out there for decades. It's one reason why Christians should take the lead and end the hate-talk.

And while I appreciate your experience as a political reporter, I see government and our system of law as a check against the brutality of large corporations.

Few enough voices have come from politicians, and certainly none from conservative bloggers all atwitter these days on the injustice in the present for-profit system.

In an ideal capitalist setting, I might have a number of insurance plans to choose from, completely disconnected from my employer, and backed by federal, state, and local law to ensure a degree of fairness.

The real story since the days of President Nixon is why we lack either a true capitalist system, or a national insurance system that works in other countries.

My question is why politicians of both parties have dodged insurance reform and steered the gravy train to their supporters. The question you and others should be asking is why politicians have been allowing insurers to set as policy aspects you only see as "implications."

I think my consternation with you, Lee, is less intended as an insult and more a challenge to open your eyes.

May I ask the source of your concerns?

9:06 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Or, from the Catholic League:

There is language in this section of the bill that implies that the federal government may become involved in euthanasia. So over the past two days, July 27-28, Catholic League staff contacted the following persons, committees or offices looking for clarification:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi; Rep. John Dingell; Rep. Rob Andrews; Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr.; Rep. Charles Rangel; Rep. Pete Stark; Rep. Henry Waxman; Rep. George Miller; Rep. Dale Kildee; Rep. Carolyn Maloney; Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; HHS Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Aging; HHS Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation for Discretionary Health Programs; HHS Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation for Mandatory Health Programs; HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation; HHS Congressional Liaison Office; HHS Office of Human Services Policy; HHS Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy; HHS Office of Planning and Policy Support; HHS Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation for Human Services; Ways and Means Committee; Education and Labor Committee; Energy and Commerce Committee; Oversight and Government Reform Committee; Budget Committee; White House Health Reform Office.

No one with whom we spoke said the government is entering the business of euthanasia. But this is not enough. We need to know exactly what is meant by the following: “An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available….” We also need to know exactly what is meant by “The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register proposed quality measures on end of life care and advanced care planning….” The public has a right to know exactly what is meant by terms like “end-of-life services” and “quality measures.” Now is the time to settle this issue.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

Bill Donohue is not a convincing spokesman on this. I might indeed want to know what certain wording meant if I didn't understand it. But I haven't read it yet.

I do know that Mr Donohue tends to hyperbole, and while euthanasia is indeed a concern, I'd like to know why it's suddenly a concern now that insurance reform is suddenly a presidential priority, and why it wasn't when your for-profit insurance provider was making the determination on end-of-life care?

Sorry, but I'm not drinking the Catholic League Kool-Aid on this one.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I have the impression Todd that I could cite any number of commentaries and analyses and you would find reasons to dismiss or discredit them all. Let's just end it here.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Richard Grabman said...

You mean cost of treatment and age of patient doesn't play a role in health care now? Even for those who have health insurance (especially for those with insurance) there is a rough form of rationing already done. I've seen the U.S. ad with the older couple complaining that the guy's treatments won't be covered, but abortions would be. Cleverly, it doesn't say what the old guy's condition is (which may not be treatable, or may not be effectively treatable at his age) and fails to mention that this scenario is already true with any health insurance policy... and any doctor or health care worker is going to make decisions based on age and expected outcome.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Dick, you are correct that is it already going on. I allude to that that in the later post about Professor Singer and rationing.

8:22 PM  
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10:39 AM  

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