Co-Pays, Deductibles, Out of Pocket Expenses, and Me

As a self employed person who had private insurance and dropped it a few years back, let me simply share this with you. As I kept getting older and my premiums kept increasing, I couldn't afford what it cost me to keep my health care insurance. Before I took the final step of dropping that insurance, I progressively watered down my own coverage; opting for ever higher deductibles, dropping prescription drug benefits etc. all in an effort to contain the rising costs that I just couldn't afford.

It reached the point where I realized that the odds favored me being better off using all of that money that I was giving my insurance company each month to pay for my out of pocket medical expenses as they came up, instead of not being able to pay for them at all after spending huge sums on my insurance. In short I could no longer afford to pay for ANY medical care because of the amount of money it was costing me to retain medical insurance. There was nothing left in my pockets to pay for out of pocket expenses. My health insurance had drained me of my ability to seek and obtain medical care.

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Just pushing for private health care insurance reforms would have been preferable to this

That is what makes this current compromise surrender to special interests so doubly tragic. Like any exercise in legislative sausage making, near infinite deals and trade offs went into crafting the piece of Health Care Reform legislation that lies in front of us today. From day one Liberals went along with many of them only as a way to preserve a viable public option within the overall Health Care Reform package, since you have to give up something to get something blah blah. For one thing, sundry formulas that directly impact private industry's bottom line were negotiated and agreed upon early in the process on terms Liberals might not have ordinarily agreed upon, with the understanding that there would be a real public alternative preserved as a result of those concessions, one that would offer real competition to private industry, forcing it to think long and hard about continuing to price gouge their policy holders.

What resulted was a classic shell game. All of the liberal concessions went right to the bank and got cashed, while liberals held onto their legislative I.O.U. Now the shuffling has stopped and the shells have been lifted and there is no Public Option under any of them, let alone a robust one. There is no medicare buy in either. Instead we find restrictive language on abortions.

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Reid was right to reject "the trigger". This is war.

Even if Harry Reid knew he didn't have 60 votes locked up, Reid made the right choice. Even if the White House worried that he didn't have 60 votes, he made the right call. The corporate centrists in our Party have too long grown accustomed to winning through refusal. Their refusal to even allow serious discussion of a Single Payer plan was just one recent example.

We are essentially in a state of war regarding health care. About as many Americans die annually as a consequence of poor or non existent health care insurance as died during the entire Viet Nam war. Our adversary, many would say enemy, is the private health care insurance cartel. They run the system that is responsible for those deaths. Not only do they run it, they profit off it, which makes them war profiteers in my book.

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Earth to G.O.P. regarding Medicare's "failure".

This isn't the first time I've seen them try to slam Medicare as a failed program because it's "going bankrupt". From "The Hill", October 20th:

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The Problem with Profits; Katie Meacham's story

A small story appeared in the New York Times recently that few nationally are likely to have noted. It was published on page MB1 of the New York edition, not exactly high profile placement for a national newspaper, but what it covers should be central to the national debate going on today about health care in America:

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"Keep your powder dry.",

Pick your fight, give it your best shot, wait for the moment to be right; all battle related cliches with more or less the same meaning: be strategic in your timing to increase your chance of victory. We hear them often whenever caution is urged, and even when inaction is urged. But common to them all is an implicit call TO action, when the moment is right.

For the Democratic Party, and for health care reform, that moment is right now. Tens of thousands of us, each working at our own levels, have worked for years to restore the Democratic Party to strong majority control of both houses of Congress, and to return a Democrat to the White House. Doing so required acts of compromise too numerous to be tallied, some from the left, some from the right. But working together we greatly increased our forces. For what?

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You can't reason with a Paranoid

A paranoid lives in an alternate universe where facts hold different meanings. There is nothing intrinsic to paranoia that dictates paranoids can't be intelligent. Some paranoids can be compelling in their alternate universe assertions. Some deftly conjure up whole cloth fabricated reality as cohesive and compelling as Tolkein's history of Middle Earth. The human mind truly is amazing with its power to interpret reality according to its will. There is a strong element of paranoia on the political right in America today, and it is not subject to a reasoned debate.

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We do Drama well.

Remember back when it was "The Drudge Report" people in the main stream media cited when they wanted an excuse to make non news into news? Now more often it's us, "the leftist blogosphere", writing at places like DU and KOS and MyDD that gets picked up on and used to keep controversies alive. We have a mutually co-dependent relationship with 24 hour cable news that's going strong with no sign of a let up.  We are now the Media's "Echo Chamber", and we do Drama well.
 

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Whose War Is It? Hitting "the Switch" enabled "the Surge".

Despite the best efforts of George W. Bush and John McCain to sabotage it; yes the Surge worked.  It worked because most people inside Iraq now really believe that the United States will be leaving Iraq soon.  No thanks to President Bush on that score; since the President still refuses to rule out a permanent U.S. presence in Iraq.  And no thanks to Senator McCain either who publicly muses that the U.S. military may stay in Iraq for a hundred years if necessary.  The Surge, a decision to send 30,000 more American soldiers into Iraq, could easily have been viewed by Iraqi citizens as evidence of American re-entrenchment .in their homeland.  .And who could have blamed them?

Most Republican leaders remain loath to give Iraq's citizens any concrete assurances that the American military occupation will be short lived.  Instead the Bush Administration acts like the Green Zone in Baghdad is the Panama Canal Zone resurrected or perhaps our new Guantanomo Bay.  Where does the Bush Administration get the authority to argue with Iraq's government over how soon it can ask the U.S. to withdraw our forces? Why on Earth is the largest U.S. Embassy on Earth being constructed in Iraq today, if America's role in Iraq tomorrow was destined to be minimal?  Whose war is it, anyway?

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Counting On the "Popular Will"

Few Buzz terms get thrown about so often or so wildly during this primary season than that noble sounding very democratic phrase; "the popular will". Mostly its use is coupled with demands that it be honored, and dire warnings about the ruin that lies in store for the Democratic Party if "the Popular Will" is "overturned" by Super Delegates at the 2008 Democratic Convention.

When rhetoric is removed from substance however, what remains is a simple assertion, namely a claim that whichever Democratic candidate enters the 2008 Democratic Convention holding a lead in pledged delegates embodies "the popular will", and with that an inherent implicit democratic right to become the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee. Flowing from that assumption come dark warnings voiced by some about efforts to "steal" the nomination from its otherwise rightful heir through some sort of Super Delegate engineered "coup".  

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