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Michael Moore is going after the health-care industry with his latest project, and he's looking for people to share their stories (and possibly appear in his film).  Some of you may have seen my posts regarding my father's battle over his health insurance - he lost his policy over a 2 cent descrepancy and lost access to his weekly shots to keep his Crohn's Disease in check.

My dad's story is just one of the countless posts I've seen on this blog so I thought I'd pass this along.  Moore's doing a good thing with this film and we can help him out.  Check it out - share your stories here - and then pass them along to Moore.  Together, we can make a difference.



How would you like to be in my next movie? I know you've probably heard I'm making a documentary about the health care industry (but the HMOs don't know this, so don't tell them -- they think I'm making a romantic comedy).

If you've followed my work over the years, you know that I keep a pretty low profile while I'm making my movies. I don't give interviews, I don't go on TV and I don't defrost my refrigerator. I do keep my website updated on a daily basis (there's been something like 4,000,000 visitors just this week alone) and the rest of the time I'm... well, I can't tell you what I'm doing, but you can pretty much guess. It gets harder and harder sneaking into corporate headquarters, but I've found that just dying my hair black and wearing a skort really helps.

Back to my invitation to be in my movie. Have you ever found yourself getting ready to file for bankruptcy because you can't pay your kid's hospital bill, and then you say to yourself, "Boy, I sure would like to be in Michael Moore's health care movie!"?

Or, after being turned down for the third time by your HMO for an operation they should be paying for, do you ever think to yourself, "Now THIS travesty should be in that 'Sicko' movie!"?

Or maybe you've just been told that your father is going to have to just, well, die because he can't afford the drugs he needs to get better -- and it's then that you say, "Damn, what did I do with Michael Moore's home number?!"

OK, here's your chance. As you can imagine, we've got the goods on these crooks. All we need now is to put a few of you in the movie and let the world see what the greatest country ever in the history of the universe does to its own people, simply because they have the misfortune of getting sick. Because getting sick, unless you are rich, is a crime -- a crime for which you must pay, sometimes with your own life.

About four hundred years from now, historians will look back at us like we were some sort of barbarians, but for now we're just the laughing stock of the Western world.

So, if you'd like me to know what you've been through with your insurance company, or what it's been like to have no insurance at all, or how the hospitals and doctors wouldn't treat you (or if they did, how they sent you into poverty trying to pay their crazy bills) ...if you have been abused in any way by this sick, greedy, grubby system and it has caused you or your loved ones great sorrow and pain, let me know.

Send me a short, factual account of what has happened to you -- and what IS happening to you right now if you have been unable to get the health care you need. Send it to I will read every single one of them (even if I can't respond to or help everyone, I will be able to bring to light a few of your stories).

Thank you in advance for sharing them with me and trusting me to try and do something about a very corrupt system that simply has to go.

Oh, and if you happen to work for an HMO or a pharmaceutical company or a profit-making hospital and you have simply seen too much abuse of your fellow human beings and can't take it any longer -- and you would like the truth to be told -- please write me at I will protect your privacy and I will tell the world what you are unable to tell. I am looking for a few heroes with a conscience. I know you are out there.

Thank you, all of you, for your help and your continued support through the years. I promise you that with "Sicko" we will do our best to give you not only a great movie, but a chance to bring down this evil empire, once and for all.

In the meantime, stay well. I hear fruits and vegetables help.

Michael Moore

Originally posted to Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 06:55 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please Help Spread the Word on This (4.00)
    Let your friends know about Moore's appeal.  And if you're so moved - recommend this so others get a chance to see it.  Peace.

    by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 06:56:16 AM PST

    •  A Little More About My Dad (4.00)
      When he missed his shots, he went to the ER for an infusion of medicine that cost $10,000 per treatment.  And since he had no insurance, the state of Florida picked up the tab.

      Dad had Crohn's Disease, emphysema, and congestive heart failure.  The insurance company was only too glad to get him off their rolls.  It took a partner at my old law firm seven months to get the policy reinstated.  But even then - he was on a CORBRA policy so that expired a few months later.

      Dad's heart finally gave out at the age of 61 about 3 years ago.  He died alone in his trailor in Key Largo.  In this society - stories like this are inexcuseable.  And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

      by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 06:59:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My sister... (4.00)
        if fighting for her life having been diagnosed with AML Leukemia...she has NO insurance because when she married the 'perfect internet man' a year ago (before her diagnoses which was 5 weeks ago), his insurance company wanted something like $750/month to insure guessing it is because of her obesity.

        So now the State of Wisconsin claims they will pick up her tab, but to what point?  

        6 rounds of chemo, a possible need for a bone marrow transplant?!

        The insurance companies are horrible.  I am an extremely healthy woman, who does not smoke, eats organic, ideal weight for my height, blah, blah and 'decent' insurance is $300/month...something with a huge deductible runs a tad I go uninsured right now and keep thinking HEALTHY thoughts.

        Alegre, I was saddened hearing about your dad.  My father was a pawn of the system...the VA for over 50 years...they killed him probably 15-20 years before his time.

        Amen to Michael Moore...

        •  I know I'll get siginificant snark from this (4.00)
          especially from Kos-ers who don't believe that anything natural could possibly work, but there was a recent study by the Mayo Clinic (Zounds! the Mayo Clinic!) on the benefits of green tea on leukemia patients. You can find it here
          Absolutely fascinating and, IMO, worth a try.
          The best to your sister, your family and you!
          •  Different disease (none)
            That study dealt with CCL, not AML, leukemia. I'm not a medical person, but I know that the different forms of what we think of as the same disease can require very different treatment. This may not work at all for the disease her sister has.

            Also, the problem with "natural" remedies is not that "natural" things don't work, but that most of the time they are not subjected to scientific testing. We all know the downsides of Big Pharma drugs, but at least they have to be tested for safety AND effectiveness (yes, current FDA standards are too lax, but they could be stricter). Manufacturers of "natural" remedies have a huge incentive to avoid testing which may discover that certain of their best-selling remedies are in fact ineffective.

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:11:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But we never test the stuff (none)
              I find it disconcerting that we say "it hasn't been tested" when empirical evidence sounds good enough that you would think they would test things. I mean, if there is promise, why debunk, why not test.
              As as for safety, it's not hard to find safe herbal remedies or vitamins. And it's just as easy to find bogus or dangerous "real" drugs everywhere. Just look at how much spam we all get for the most popular drugs.
              In any event, I realize, as you said, that the green tea was only tested on one type of leukemia. But it sure wouldn't hurt to try it on all. Beside, it's not like taking a "hard" drug. It's more gentle.
              I'm not trying to contradict you. But I still can't figur out why traditional medicine poo-poohs anything natural and then doesn't back that up with testing. Curious.
              •  It's actually pretty straightforward (4.00)
                I find it disconcerting that we say "it hasn't been tested" when empirical evidence sounds good enough that you would think they would test things. I mean, if there is promise, why debunk, why not test?

                First, a nitpick: what you mean is not 'empirical' evidence, which would be the evidence you would have after the testing.  You mean 'anecdotal' evidence.  And yes, the anecdotal evidence can certainly be good enough to warrant tests.  Anecdotal evidence isn't a proof of anything, but it is certainly an indication of where to look.

                This is really a question in three parts, and all three have fairly simple answers.  You're not gonna like 'em, however.

                The first question is, why don't the alternative remedy people test their remedies?  Surely some of them work, and surely a lot more people would take them if they were proven to work.

                Three answers: one, the majority of natural remedies don't work.  Ginko Balboa doesn't work.  If vitamin C has any effectiveness on colds, it is so small as to be undetectable, and it actually makes you more likely to get sick if you're healthy.  The majority of the ingredients of the popular flu medicaiton 'Airbourne' have been proven to have no effect.  If company A spent millions testing their remedies, and discovered that 2/3 of them didn't work, then 1/3 of their remedies would have to sell dramatically more than three times as well in order to make it all worth it including the cost of the tests.

                Which is impossible because of the second answer: it costs a lot to test green tea for its effects on leukemia, and you can't patent green tea.  Any company which did the tests would then have to be able to recoup its costs by selling enough green tea, at a high enough price, to not only recoup the testing costs but make obscene profits.  Now, since as soon as the tests are done, anyone can quote them, and since they don't have to sell for four times cost in order to make the price of the testing back up, they can undersell the poor luckless company who did the testing.  And it's all loss.

                And, finally, alternative medicine companies are not set up that way.  They don't have the staff, the expertise, or the money (in most cases) to do this sort of testing.  It's like asking why United doesn't dig for its own jet fuel.  These are companies which don't even have toxicology departments, and frequently don't even have adequate quality control testing.  You can outsource product testing, but it's hideously expensive and it's a lot more complicated even than doing it yourself, both legally and logistically.

                The second question is, why doesn't big pharma run the tests?

                First off, the second answer above fits quite well.  If they run the tests, then all the other big pharma groups, as well as all the pikers from the health supplement industry, can immediately undercut their prices and keep them from getting a profit off of it.

                Second, though, is worse: they don't want to compete with themselves.  One company currently has a flu medication that can cut three or four days off the length of time a person has the flu.  It is patented, and costs hundreds of dollars a day.  Why on earth would they want to find out that elderberry extract can significantly shorten the length of a flu?  They can't make nearly as much by selling elderberry extract.  And even if they don't have the flu medication, they might invent one soon, and it is worth a lot more if there isn't already a natural remedy out there that can do almost as well.  Anything that isn't patentable is not worth any investment at all to big pharma.

                The final question is, why don't third parties do any damned experimentation on this stuff?  Universities?  The National Cancer Institute?  Government run programs?

                The answer is, they do.  A little.  But there's almost no money... most of the money for research at universities tends to come from industry or the government, and we currently have a government which is very, very afraid (and has been for tens of years) of pissing off industry.  So there is very little money for that kind of research out there.  So we have, for example, a couple of unpatentable cancer drugs out there that are very, very promising, but because someone invented them and then released the information and declined to patent, big pharma doesn't want to see them developed... some of the cancer therapies are their biggest cash cows, and anything that could outdo them would seriously impact their bottom lines.

                And then, when some research is done at a university, it's normally preliminary stuff, and then they go on to the next project.  There's no incentive for a university to spend the millions of dollars necessary to take a drug to market... they're never going to recoup it.  So we know that a certain extract of black elderberry can do something to various flu strains, including at least one strain of bird flu.  But we certainly don't have any particularly good idea of how effective it would be, or whether there are any adverse effects, or anything like that.

                It's all perfectly logical when thought of from the point of view of people who need to make millions of dollars a day to validate their own existences.  It's just the people who are dying for lack of cures that it doesn't make a lot of sense to, and hey, what are they but a source of enormous amounts of cash for the important people.  Right?


        •  Best of Luck To Your Sister (none)
          I hope she pulls through ok.

          by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:28:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Crohn's Disease (none)
        I noticed that someone else posted something about a co-worker and I thought this link might help folks understand what my dad was up against...

        It's an immune deficiency disease.  Others in my family have been hit with it and it's hereditary.  I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be spared, and get regular check-ups.

        by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:30:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And, oddly enough... (none)
          GHWB and "Mama" are afflicted with it.

          "If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom. "-Eisenhower

          by Bulldawg on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 12:32:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's usually degenerative... (none)
          ...but my sister has been living with it since age 7.  My parents have always suspected that overmedication and the multiple incorrect diagnoses she went through early on have contributed to the severity of the disease.

          She had her entire colon removed at the age of 20, if I recall correctly.

          She changed jobs about a year ago, and was terrified of losing her insurance coverage, because no insurer would cover her with a "pre-existing condition" like Crohn's--or if they did, her premiums would have consumed nearly all of her income.

          This story is going straight to Michael Moore for certain...

          "Deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles." --Luke 1:52

          by Scarpia on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 01:11:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm So Sorry About Your Sister (none)
            So no sign of it in you eh?

            One relative was diagnosed with it in her early 20s.  My dad was (I think) in his mid- or late-40s when it hit him.  From what I hear - this hits folks young - or in middle age.

            I'm now in my early 40s and am very wary of any signs that it might hit me.  Bit of a ticking time-bomb since this is genetic.  Can't worry about it too much though or it'll screw with my overall outlook on life.


            by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 01:59:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Anyone with Crohn's disease (none)
          should be tested for gluten intolerance, which is extremely common and very under-diagnosed. There's a strong link, described here. Genetic, and common in people of northwestern European ancestry. Implicated in a number of immune-system malfunctions. Google has a lot of good info on gluten intolerance and celiac disease, including here and here.

          Doctors know about it, in theory, but often don't think to test for it because some other named disease (e.g., Crohn's or other) fits the symptomatic bill. It requires dietary change forever, but with that adjustment it is "curable."

          The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

          by Mnemosyne on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 02:21:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I work with a lady... (none)
        ...who's had some odd medical problems lately.  Kidney infection, indometriosis, and a mysterious pain in the pelvic region that no doctor has yet been able to determine the cause.  But one doctor wanted to give her a shot of something that was going to cost $2000 that may or may not have helped the pain because they had no idea what was CAUSING the pain.  But of course insurance didn't cover it and thank goodness she had the presence of mind to ask becaus they were ready to just stick her with the needle and then stick her with the bill.

        But I think even beyond the financial aspect of health care, there just aren't enough GOOD doctors out there anymore.  She has gone from doctor to doctor and has had over a half dozen ultrasounds that don't show anything but she has to pay a certain % of each time they do one and she eventually had to put her foot down and tell them to start thinking of something else.  There aren't enough good diagnosticians in medicine anymore.

        I can't wait til they start making us wear armbands.

        by DawnG on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:35:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Health care horror - CNN poll (none)
      I'm pimping this diary because it links to a CNN poll that needs to be freeped and it is about a health care horror story of sorts.

      The Christian Right is neither Witness Every Day

      by TXsharon on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:55:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm really sorry about your dad... (none)
      It's a shame that this country won't take care of its own like your father. As for me and my medical situation, I was badly injured in a car wreck and because of my insurance I had to consult with my primary care physician before I could be sent to any specialist. In the accident I had both of my miscus discs knocked out of my jaw joints. My face was swollen and the headpains and nausea were intolerable. Since my PCP didn't have a clue about anything she just gave my allergy meds because my face was swollen, then she gave me special migraine pills that were 23.00 a pill. I knew that I had been injured because of my swollen face but she didn't believe me. I started crying in her office because she told me that the pain was all in my head which was incredibly aggravating. She then prescribed me antidepressants which I had never taken in my life. I had an allergic reaction to the meds and spent the night in the hospital. I wondered why she would just prescribe, prescribe rather then send me to get an MRI. I figured out that she was prescribing pills to get vacations from the pharmaceutical companies. No wonder she was always on vacation in Tihiti. Do the pharm co. still give kickbacks to the doctors who prescribe their pills?
      •  How Frustrating! (none)
        And to think you got that shit from a woman doctor.

        I've always insisted on a female doctor as my primary care physician to avoid that kind of attitude (it's all in your head) but it looks like even they aren't immune from being jerks.

        by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 02:01:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hmf (none)
          I've always insisted on a female doctor as my primary care physician to avoid that kind of attitude...

          Goodness.  Y'know, if I said anything about how all women doctors are 'x' so I always avoid them, I would be tarred, feathered, and shipped out the door.

          Fact is, I've had three female doctors.  One was a primary care physician who was the only one covered by my insurance who was within spitting distance.  She never spent more than five minutes in the room with me.  She refused to prescribe anything with codeine in it, telling me that my broken arm wasn't that painful and that I could just tough it out (never mind cough medicine).  And once when I pointed out that she had prescribed me an antibiotic I was allergic to, she told me that I hadn't told her about my allergy, and then wouldn't show me my chart, even though I know damn well I wrote down the allergy for her.  Oh, and when I asked her about an STD test, she gave me a lecture about my lifestyle.  Which she didn't know anything about, she was just assuming that if I wanted an STD test I must be promiscuous.

          One was a specialist who wanted to operate on my feet, to the tune of several thousand dollars which wouldn't be covered by insurance.  My primary care physician at the time looked at the x-rays and told me there was nothing wrong with them, and that I should wear arch supports.  Immediately everything was fine.

          And the last was someone I went to when I fell down and broke two ribs.  She had me take off my shirt, and then told me, 'You need to lose thirty pounds.'  I said, 'Well, what about my ribs?'  (My chest looked like a sunset after the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's.)  She said, 'They'll get better.  You're fine.  Just don't move around a lot.  Thank you.'  And that was the end of the appointment.

          So be careful about the generalizations.   Personally, I have had much worse luck with female doctors than with males.  But I would never draw any conclusions from that sort of anecdotal evidence.


  •  This Is Important (none)
    We could ignore this and help the right continue to marginalize the talented resource we have in Moore. This movie could be quite effective in creating the climate for improved health care in this country. The right will not have as easy a job in trying to discredit a movie like this. They might have to bring back Harry and Louise to trash him.

    Our family contributed to the dire financial straits of government in California. Our 26 year old daughter battled Graves Disease in her late teens and early 20's. This is about the time that children are not covered by their parents insurance policies. Of course, with her condition already diagnosed, it was difficult for her to get insurance. Ultimately the taxpayers of California had to pay for her radioactive iodine treatment.

    One of the arguments for HSA's is that insured Americans overuse Health Care. This is bullshit. The true story is that even with Health Insurance, high deductibles still cause people to neglect treatment.  

  •  A good place to start.. (4.00)
    This medicare/perscription drug bill, how freshmen representatives were forced to vote for the bill or face the rath of the Republican in high places, how the vote was kept open for hours on end, how lobbyists wrote the bill, and how the only people reaping any benefits are the insurance companies, drug companies, HMO's and some select Republicans who now have high paid jobs as lobbyists, while at the same time, the seniors suffer and fret about how they will get the drugs they need. I don't dare tell you how to make a film, but if you attack the high costs of medical care and coverage, they are only going to come back at you with litigation reform. Tread ever so gently, and don't give them an out. Also take a trip to Nashville Tenn, and see the houses that Bill Frist and his brother live in, both houses were built by HMO money. When you are interviewing people whose procedures, be it surgery or testing, are not approved by the HMO, because it is not cost effective, a shot of the homes the profit driven HMO's have helped to build might be effective.
    •  just like (none)
      F 9/11 he'll start the story with the C-SPAN file footage you mentioned. I hope he makes another powerful and persuasive film.
    •  As they say, (none)
      "follow the money".  I'm sure Michael has seen this morning's WSJ story on Big Pharma's windfall from the merging of Medicaid into Medicare in the new drug "benefit".  A highlight is Mark McClellan's good news that the cost of part D is going to come in at 700 Billion plus instead of 900 Billion plus!  Mr. McClellan, Medicare's Administrator and Scotty's brother, evidently got his training at Enron.  You see, the program congress approved was to cost 400 Billion over ten years.  Heck of a job, Markie.

      "He that sees but does not bear witness, be accursed" Book of Jubilees

      by Lying eyes on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:56:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I remember... (none)
    ...over a year ago (maybe even 2) hearing that michael moore was doing a movie on the pharmecutical industry and such companies issued memos to their employees advising them not to talk to Moore.

    But that was a while ago.  It'll be interesting to see what he does with the film.

    I can't wait til they start making us wear armbands.

    by DawnG on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 07:33:30 AM PST

    •  Yes (none)
      I belong to a yahoo group that is non-political, and occasional the posters go O.T. and discuss politics. One of the posters there said she worked for a drug company in Texas, and when they heard Moore was talking about an HMO film, a memo was distributed to every executive in the company stating that anybody who had any contact with Moore, whether it be phone, written, or in person, would be immediately terminated.

      So, yeah, they're scared.

      •  Given the Interest in This Diary / Subject (none)
        they should be scared.  The health care insurance industry has been fucking us over for too long - it's time to set things right.

        Moore's film will help us achieve that goal.

        by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 09:49:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  i gave mike my story (4.00)
    which is nothing compared to what he will hear from so many.  i felt like a fool even writing him.  but i thought, what the hell.

    i'm a healthy 29 year old female who is "uninsurable" b/c i suffer from migraines.  i mean i'm an unacceptable risk at 29.  the only way i can get an insurance company to cover me is through a group policy.

    my cobra ran out in september.  my monthly preventatives cost me about $183/month.  my as needed medication varies but can run $25-$200 per headache.

    when properly controlled i have maybe 1-3 migraines per month of varying severity.

    that's nothing compared to some people's medical bills, i know.  the reason i think it's noteworthy (not on the scale of movie noteworthy, but worth commenting here) is b/c the insurance companies refuse to take me as a client.

    i don't have cancer or diabetes or hiv.  i have migraines and that makes me not worth the risk.

    perhaps breathing could be the next disqualifying condition.

    •  no kidding (none)
      my neighbor got dinged because she'd been on allegra for allergies.  what if she'd just been on claritin over-the-counter?  would that have made a difference.

      I'm a doctor, I need a diagnostic (not screening) colonoscopy, but my insurance is crappy (no pun intended) and I've been putting it off b/c I don't want to get stuck with a $2K bill that, as a primary care doc, would be at least a bit financially burdensome.  At least in MN, if you get dogged by insurance companies, there's MN Comprehensive Care, but no guarantee that our Rethug governor won't dump the rolls if he gets another chance.  He's already tried once.

      "Never separate the words you speak from the life you live" - Paul Wellstone

      by vome minnesota on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 07:51:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i know (none)
        that's a sad status of affairs.

        and i hope everyone understands i'm not saying  screw ppl with cancer, you know.  although, one would hope that's what catastrophic care is for and you naively hope that our system of medicaid steps in for those people with major illness (but, alas, i don't naively hope anything about our govt anymore).

        but my point is just that insurance companies are refusing to cover ANY illness. and how is that insurance?

        •  Fellow migrainer here (none)
          I stopped trying to get insurance on my own, thank God my husband now has insurance! He was out of work for a year from 03-04, and we are still trying to dig ourselves out from the cost of my migraine meds and my daughters allergy meds during that time.

          Are you limited as to the number of migraines that you are 'allowed to have' each month? "Sorry you can only have 6 pills a month, after that you have to stay in seclusion & throw up until the end of your 30 days." Is that not complete bullshit?! Are diabetics allowed to only have high/low blood sugar 6 days of the month? Do people with high cholesterol only have cholesterol problems 6 days a month....  

          Have you tried a chiropractor? I have been going to one for two months and I am now down to 1 migraine a week from 3-5 migraines a week before. Of course I am paying out of pocket for the chiro but it seems to be working for me and NO side effects.

          •  yes, don't make me guess your insurance provider (none)
            thanks to my preventative i don't have that worry so much anymore.  but yeah, there was a time when i had to ration my migraine medication and pray that i could make it until the end of the month w/o the "big one".

            i don't know if you're on a preventative, but if you  haven't tried topamax, i highly recommend it.  i've been on it a little less than a year and i went on my first vacation (in ages) this summer where i didn't have a horrible attack.

            also, try different types of migraine medication.  i.e. my insurance provider had to fill my prescription for immitrex if i got a different dosage, so i would have my doctor do rotating prescriptions for 50 mg and 100 mg.  also they have to fill prescriptions for the same medicine in different forms.  so i would rotate maxalt melts and tablets.

            that would get me through the month and then some most of the time.

            doctors and insurance companies ARE NOT friends, so you should find your doctor willing to work w/you on those prescriptions.

            good luck!

            •  Good Advice (none)
              I suffer from cluster headaches and have had some of the same problems with insurance. Imitrex works well for me when a headache starts but the insurance company limits me to 48 nasal inhalers every 3 months. When you get 2-3 headaches per day, those 48 inhalers just don't last too long. Breathing oxygen for about 10-15 minutes often helps if I can get to the tank when I get the first twing of a headache. Of course, waking up with a headache or getting one when I'm not at home sorta ruins that option so I'm stuck with the Imitrex.

              Obviously, the best option is to find a way to prevent the headaches from occurring in the first place and, like you, I've had good success with topamax. It took me several months of trial and error (try a dosage for a few weeks to see if it worked. if not, up the dosage. repeat.) before I finally found the correct dosage for me but I've been headache free now for about 4 months and it's great. I've tried a lot of other preventative meds and this is the one that's worked the best for me so I'm a big fan. Only problem is - everything tastes a little different than it did before.

              •  definitely (none)
                try keeping the maxalt melts and the imitrex shots on hand as a substitution for the inhalers (as it sounds like your migraines hit hard and fast and those are the quickest relievers). the insurance company will have to fill those variations in the meds if your doctor prescribes them.

                i'm glad the topamax has worked for you. i couldn't believe it when i got through my first beach trip headache free.  it really has been good for me.

                to be honest though, i was off of it for a couple months b/c of finances and what a mistake that was.  it is definitely cheaper in the long run to just find the money somewhere in your budget.

                i've been back on it for about a month now and things are back to bearable.

                •  I tried topomax but it did nothing for me (none)
                  other than made me so stupid I couldn't even remember a 7 digit phone #. Oh, and that weight loss...didn't happen either. My migraines are triggered by hormones and changes in air pressure.

                  Ever look at the imitrex package to see where it is made? Not in the old US of A....

                  •  topamax does make you loopy (none)
                    esp higher doses.  i'm still on a low dosage so i'm too loopy yet (relatively speaking) but yeah, my memory suffers.  

                    i can't help where imitrex is made.  i don't have the luxury of being progressive when it comes to a migraine.  i'd take a drug made by slave labor in indonesia if it took the pain of a migraine away.

                    i'm sorry to say that but i believe if i had to live w/no relief from migraines i'd off myself. there is no way i could tolerate that kindof pain consistently knowing there was nothing that could be done.

                    couldn't do it.  not me.  not strong enough.

                    •  I take imitrex, I wasn't implying (none)
                      that you shouldn't! Nothing works like Imitrex for my migraines!

                      My complaint is the cost. We supposedly pay so much for it because we have to pay the US drug companies for the research $$. It was researched & developed in the UK. I think the only thing they had to do in the US was phase II and III drug trials. It is still made in the UK.

                      Glaxo has made so much money off of Imitrex in the USA that they have bought out 2 different drug companies since introducing Imitrex.

                      •  oh! i'm glad (none)
                        i didn't know that about glaxo.  i knew they weren't hurting by any stretch.  i think imitrex' patent runs out in the next 15 mos, so that a generic can be introduced into the market.  hallelujah to that.

                        i can't imagine what ppl w/migraines did before the triptan drugs.  i think about that sometimes.  my dr. treats a woman whose left side of her face droops like she had a stroke b/c she had a migraine.

                        can you imagine?

    •  Forget western medicine (none)
      for migraines.

      Acupuncture and meditation may do more for you.

      •  Western meds YES for migraine (none)
        Midrin and Naprosyn.
        Saved my life.
        Alternative treatments did nothing.
        •  it's different for everyone (none)
          That's the screwy thing about migraines - what triggers one for one person won't trigger one for someone else, what relieves the pain for one person might not for the person across the street, and any preventatives you might be taking are really a crapshoot, too.  

          And then there are cluster headaches, too...not quite as bad, but it's a near thing sometimes.

          "...but the people aren't looking for a handout/they're America's working core, can this be what they voted for?" - Bad Religion - Let Them Eat War

          by Fraction Jackson on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:40:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  so very true (none)
            and those cluster headaches--well some of them are migraine clusters and i don't even want to think about people who have those.

            it's really not fair to say that you can effectively treat migraines with any one method.  everyone is different.  and they still know so little about them, although i'm grateful for what they've learned!

            they vary in severity, cause, frequency, side effects...   you just can't categorize them.  it's good to share possible remedies and very important not to marginalize or insult other techniques in the process.

            great point.

            •  I used to have sinus/allergy headaches that would (none)
              knock me out compeltely.  Nausea, couldn't handle light, evne smelling food was disgusting.  I was treated for years for chronic sinusitis until they got so bad that I agreed to sinus surgery. Drained both sinuses--a 9 minute op that took over 4 horus in my case--and I have been fine sicne. I still get them occasionally (esp. down here in Pollen Captial of the WOrld GA) but they cioem more seldom.

              But I live on anithsitamines and a prescritption nasal spray.

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 03:35:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Feverfew (none)
        Clinical double-blind studies have proven that the herb feverfew prevents migraines if taken daily. I suggested this to a friend of mine, and she no longer has migraines.

        I don't like Bizarro World... I want to go home to America.

        by willers on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 01:03:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Have you tried Massage Therapy? (none)
      Or is that what you mean by monthly preventives?

      Allow me a quick plug for massage therapy if you are not already using it:

      I used to have very bad headaches as well.  They were diagnosed as migraines because of my extreme sensitivity to light during them, because they were completely debilitating, and because they induced vomiting.  Later I learned that they are muscular.  (One of the telling differences for the doctor that re-diagnosed me was that the pain did not throb in time to my heart beat.)

      They still hurt, but learning the cause enabled me to better prevent them.  Massage therapy helped to bring the muscles out of the tighten and strain cycle; mild muscle relaxants taken early were significantly more effective that harsh migraine medicines.  (I do not mean "spa massage" -- floaty relaxing massage.  I mean therapy -- it's often uncomfortable or even painful at the time, but it truly relaxes the muscles and breaks up the scar tissue.)

      My mother has actual migraines as well, and has found that massage therapy helps her avoid triggering some of them.  

      Of course, it is unlikely you can get the insurance to cover massage therapy.  But I know how bad those headaches can be, and how disruptive of your life they are.  I wish you luck on treating them.

      •  mine are hormonal (none)
        and can be traced directly to my menstrual cycle.  the good news is, they're predictable.  the bad news is, well...they're predictable.  they're coming unless you can stop my hormone fluctuations.

        i'm pretty happy w/the topamax.  it usually eliminates all but the migraines on the first day of my period and mb ovulation.  and most of the time, it keeps those mild or moderate.  what it can't stop is usually controlled w/imitrex and pain medication.

        the downside to topamax is it's sedating (i take it at night) and it messes w/my equalibrium.  but i guess, neither of those things are extreme, so i'm grateful.

        it's a bit expensive but it's worth it to me. it'll be worth it even more when i get hired full time and it's only a $15 copay!

        i appreciate all the recommendations regarding alternative medicine.  i am not adverse to trying whatever it takes.  i hope i don't give anyone the impression that i suffer uncontrollable migraines.  

        under proper medical care (if you can afford it) i can live quite normally.  without it, i'd be in the emergency room 3-5 times a month.

        i know different things work for different people and i work very closely ($$ cha-ching $$) with a neurologist who has helped my situation immensely.

        that said, when i can afford it and have the time (about once a year!) i try to get a massage.  i used to do it more often, but--well.  the democratic party gets my time and money these days. ;)

        •  I use (none)
          the minipill. It has been the only working cure for my hormonal migraines. Normal pill worsened my condition and being without any hormonal pill guarantees one three-day migraine a month. After starting with the pill I now take 3 years ago, I've had exactly two migraines. The brand name is Cerazette; I don't know if it is available in the US.
          •  i've been using the nuva-ring since last summer (none)
            and i like it.  i've never heard of the minipill.  but i'll ask my neurologist (i have an appt next week) about it.

            we're looking for alternatives b/c the topamax makes the nuvaring less effective.

            women's health.  <rolling eyes>  it sucks.

            •  There is a pill (none)
              that causes you to have only one period every three or four months (I forget which).  I wonder if that might be something you could look in to.
              •  that's what we do (none)
                w/the ring.  when we change it, we just immediately replace it instead of leaving it out a week.  and only have that week of "down time" so to speak every third month.

                it was recommended b/c 1. it's a low dose hormone.  2.  it's a constant dosage always being put into your system  and 3.  i don't have to take the pill everyday (which has now become a stupid point b/c i take my preventative every night)

              •  Only treatment I know of like that... (none)
                is Depo-Provera, definitely not a pill.  It's a shot that's supposed to last three months.  My SO considered it, but she hates hates HATES needles.

                "Deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles." --Luke 1:52

                by Scarpia on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 01:16:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  not depo (none)
                  that has been around for a long time.  This pill is new.
                  •  Seasonale. (none)
                    They sell it in packs of 84, not 28, and only the last 7 are placebo. All the rest contain hormones. The idea is that if you have severe menstrual or pre-menstrual symptoms, it's healthier to only have a period every three months.

                    The concept is not new, though. My gynecologist prescribed that I take 21 days of 28-day pill packs, throw out the placebo, and immediately start a new pack, to control premenstrual headaches. I only did the therapy for two months because I got my headache on schedule and then it never went away, but the concept is sound if it's actually the estrogen deficiency part of the cycle that's causing your problem. (In my case I presume it was more complex than that, since I did get the headache on schedule and then didn't get the period; it looks like my period was resetting me rather than causing the problem.)

                    Some have trouble with this concept, feeling that it's unnatural to not have periods. However, my gynecologist believed that it was unnatural to have many periods, pointing out that in the ancestral environment we were usually either pregnant or nursing and therefore had a lot fewer periods in our lives.

                    Seasonale is totally unnecessary if you are paying for your own birth control -- you can take whatever BC pill you're on (except the cyclic ones like Ortho-Tri-Cyclen -- you need one with a steady dose) and do this by throwing out the placebos and starting a new pack. If you rely on insurance to pay, however, they probably won't pay fast enough that you can get a new pack every 21 days, so Seasonale is a better choice if getting rid of periods is what you need to do.

    •  See my comment (none)
      above on gluten intolerance. Google for that plus migraines. There is often a link.

      The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

      by Mnemosyne on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 02:25:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's interesting (none)
        b/c my migraines got worse when i was diagnosed w/polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is either caused by or causes insulin resistance.

        how odd.

        i'll keep reading on that.

        •  Hope it helps (none)
          I find that when I have a migraine,* it's almost always because I've been eating stuff I shouldn't, and generally my gall bladder is very unhappy. A session of acupuncture usually puts it right.

          You might want to look into acupunture, as well, and learn a bit about Chinese medicine. I use it preventatively, on the theory that it's maintenance of plant and equipment.

          Gluten intolerance/Celiac disease is something I've been getting to know over the last six months of reading about it. Doctors pay it no mind because there's no magic pill to "cure" it, and Big Pharma won't make any money from it.

          Given how badly broken the U.S. medical system is, it's imperative that we all practice as much preventive health care as possible and learn to question authority.

          *Another cause of migraines is dehydration. If you travel a lot by plane or work/live in an overheated place, drink lots of water.

          The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

          by Mnemosyne on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 03:54:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Take a look at .. (none)
    Social Security Disability Insurance and the systems of Disability Deterimination Services and endless medical reviews.  There is a scam going on there too.
  •  No story of my own (none)
    but I'm still reeling from this report on NPR about emergency room care in NOLA.

    It's the Constitution, stupid.

    by mikidee on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 07:39:45 AM PST

  •  I have been passing Moore's request along (4.00)
    to friends and co-workers. I also have friends in the health care industry who I will send it to.
    My story is not quite alarming as most, but I did have to be extra vigilent when my dad's health was deteriorating. Because of prostate trouble, he eventually needed an implanted catheter. That occassionally caused bladder spasms, for which he was prescribed an anti-spasmodic. That, of course, led to his bowels becoming impacted on occassion due to the lack of peristalsis (the muscle contractions that move food through your body). Upon which the doctor would prescribe a spasmodic. "Hold on, doc," I said, "you already have him on an anti-spasmodic." I shouldn't have to tell a doctor how to do his job.
    Sure, this story seems mild by comparison to some, and is only one of many stories I have, but what I saw through the years-long ordeal was a distinct inability, or lack of interest, in caring for the "whole patient." Drug after drug was ordered, and don't you dare second guess the all-mighty doctor. (How about when dad went to rehab after a stay at the hospital for impaction, only to be given, as his first meal, a grilled cheese sandwish and a glass of milk? How about the severe bedsores he was sent home with one time?). And don't get me started about cleanliness. Staph infections in hospitals are epedemic and that just shouldn't be.
    And how about cutbacks on staff? Sure, there are plenty of nursing jobs out there, but that is not just because of the explosion in patients, it is because nurses are burning out. Hospitals cut nursing staff to save money and let people who are untrained perform some of the tasks nurses should be doing (in our local hospital, housekeeping staff is allowed to take temps and bp).
    The most unfortunate thing about our health care system is it is nothing more than a series of drugs and surgery. Doctors no longer work to treat their patients as human beings, as feeling people.
    And it is the attitude I resent the most. You see, my dad was a doctor, as was his dad before him. He grew up respecting his profession, but also his patients. I can't tell you how much people loved him for his bedside manner. Ican't tell you how many people called him at home and how many times he talked to them and reassured them, never being snarky for being interrupted. His father before him was often paid in chickens. The whole feeling about medicine was different. It was more about healing that simply treating symptoms. And funny thing is, they let it get out of hand because of their own greed. Before my dad retired, he saw the new wave coming. Let the HMOP's take care of the paperwork. They figured they could get more $$ if they let the HMO's run things. Dad saw it coming and he was right.
    Look, I'll be the first one to tell you that I think as far as surgery and many technical aspects of medicine are concerned, the US is tops. But we rely far too much on drugs and surgical intervention than prevention and overall health. So many things (including nutrition) are looked down upon. So many maladies today are caused by poor diet, lack of exercise and foods that,even fresh from the grocer, contain a fraction of the nutrients that our grandparents got from their food.
    And we have a money-making machine that is our health care system that is interested only in maximizing profit. HMO's have horrible record keeping and waste millions (hello? US Healthcare? Solved the fraud case yet?). Fraud is rampant.
    We can fix it. But, like the rest of the problems in this country, we must first recognize the failings. If we want to be on the cutting edge of health care, we should be researching other methodologies (Chinese, Ayervedic), nutrition (probiotics is hot - and a necessary part of nnutrition that might serve to cure or prevent many common maladies), etc.
    Then, of course, there is the drug problem - and I don't mean marijuana. Every person I have ever known that has worked in a doctor's office has freeley dispensed prescription drugs to family and friends. Antibiotic? No problem. I was under the assumption that only doctors could prescribe. Why is a medical technician allowed access to cabinets of controlled substances and allowed to dispense them without a license?
    Well, sorry for going on about this ad being a little disjointed (I'm at work). But I have seen the problem from both sides, been yelled at by doctors for simply questioning somthing. The system is broken. Our  system has been developed through war (drugs and surgery) but not yet learned how to prevent or heal.
    •  free drugs (none)
      don't include controlled substances.  Only abx, blood pressure meds, thyroid, heart failure, free OTC meds.  We're not legally allowed to have, and drug reps can't give us narcs.  But yes, in other clinics where I've worked, nurses etc., have snagged free samples of meds they've needed.  I've been able to in the past as well.  Now, I work in a clinic where there are no free samples.  And no drug reps.  I love it.

      "Never separate the words you speak from the life you live" - Paul Wellstone

      by vome minnesota on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 07:53:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Antibiotics aren't controlled? (none)
        My friend can get just about any drug you can name. And it's been that way no matter what office she's worked in. She's not "dealing", in other words selling. But she will dispense anti depressives, antibiotics, etc. to just about anyone she knows who thinks they need them.
        •  caution... (none)
 needs to be careful with that last statement... antibiotics shouldn't be taken just because someone "thinks they need them."  Infections need to be diagnosed and the patient needs to be given the right antibiotic, if they even need it in the first place.

          Too many people take antibiotics because they think it will help them get over a cold or fever.  Antibiotics do not kill virii, however... and overuse and misuse of antibiotics have a great deal to do with why we're always discovering more strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

          Although the masters make the rules / For the wise men and the fools / I got nothing, Ma, to live up to. (Dylan)

          by teedz on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:41:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm absolutely aware of that (none)
            It's one of the reasons I am appalled at the casual distribution of drugs by people who work in doctors offices. And it is not just my friend who has done it. I have heard about it from everyone I know who has ever worked in one. It's no wonder antibiotics are becoming resistant to bacteria? And on top of that, how many docs prescribe antibiotics for viruses? It boggles the mind.
        •  controlled: (none)
          DEA scheduled drug.  Not the more general term of "controlled", but drugs that the DEA monitors more closely and that are psychoactive in a "street-value" kind of way:  percocet, vicodin, codeine, morphine, demerol, etc.

          "Never separate the words you speak from the life you live" - Paul Wellstone

          by vome minnesota on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 03:05:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  DMW (none)
    Send this out DetriotMechWorks' way.


    by PanzerMensch on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:01:31 AM PST

  •  Crohn's (none)
    My former business partner (little pizza joint in Minneapolis) has Crohn's.  And no insurance.  The hoops he had to jump through to get the Remicade treatments were unbelievable.  And he's not in great shape today.  I'm going to see that he hears about this.

    If you vote Republican, you vote for corruption.

    by MN camera on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:11:10 AM PST

    •  Again, I'll probably get some snark for this (4.00)
      but your friend should look into probiotics. There is  great evidence that Crohn's, which is a digesttive disorder, can be helped by super food nutrition. There's a story of one guy on the web who helped create a product that cured him of the disease. The company is Garden of Life (I just Googled because I coulnd't remember the name. You can get it from other web sites dealing in natural products too).
      Now, I know lots of folks think it's so much hooey, but there is much evidence that so many of today's maladies are caused by lack of nutrients - essential, good bacteria is one. Between the pesticides in our soils, the long shelf life of even fresh food, the corporate farming practives, our food just doesn't have the nutrition it once did.
      Besides, why suffer when it might help?
      I have a friend whose mom was elderly, on many drugs, as most elderly are, and had osteoporosis and crohn's. He got a friend who was a holistic practitioner and she took the woman off some drugs and boosted her nutrition. Even though she died about three years later (she was 90 after all), her last years were free of crohn's and were more comfortable and happier than they had been for many years.
      •  alternative medicine can work (none)
        I had vertigo for a couple of years. I went to all kinds of western doctors and specialists, and they did nothing for me.

        In a fit of desperation I tried seeing an ayurvedic doctor (ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India), I didn't know what else to do.

        The ayurvedic doctor reviewed my diet. He told me I was eating a diet that went against my body type. I changed my diet and the vertigo went away; I guess he was right.

        Tracking energy and transportation news.

        by joel3000 on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 11:10:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes, there are so many things that can work (none)
          Not to mention the body which,, in conjuction with the mind, can do wonderous things. Ayurveda is fascinating, as is chinese medicine which strives to always keep the body in balance.
          Western medicine needs to open their minds and study more methodologies. They're great for surgery and drugs, but not much when it comes to root problems.
  •  I Hope That Michael... (none)
    ...includes a segment that explores and exposes the Tauzin and Scully aspects of Medicare Part D.

    There are a plethora of stories of problems with dual eligibles (Medicare/Medicaid) who are the most vulnerable.

    Also, the discrepancy between how the Feds said states would be positively impacted -- and how they are actually negatively impacted financially.

    Can't wait to see this one!

    "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." --LJ Peter

    by Hells Bells on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:13:05 AM PST

  •  Remembering a story I heard ages ago (4.00)
    The poor woman in the Southwest, Arizona I believe, who had skull surgery, but the insurance company wouldn't pay to put her skull back together!! So she had to go around for months wearing a freakin' hockey helmet to keep her brains from touching the air.

    Eventually the insurance company was embarassed into coughing up the dough to finish the job...but it still blew my mind. If the story isn't too old, that's what I'd recommend to Mr. Moore.

    "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton

    by jbeach on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:15:24 AM PST

    •  I remember there was a kid... (4.00)
      whose mother was selling bumper stickers on eBay to pay for this kid's brain tumor operation.


      It was horrifying to see.  It was covered on CNN as kind of a "feel good" story, too....arrrgghhh.....

  •  AWESOME (none)
    Where's NYCeve - she's all over this.

    I'm lucky nothing ever happened to me in all my time without insurance.  I'm really lucky I don't have a horror story to tell.

    I can't WAIT to go see SICKO!

    Want a handle? You should see my hips.

    by annaconda1 on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:20:03 AM PST

  •  barhah! (none)
    The health care industry is very, very aware of Moore's current project- my stepdad, a GP, got a memo warning him to keep an eye out for Moore or anyone who might possibly be associated with him.
  •  thank God! I have been praying for this!!! (4.00)
    I have been hoping and praying that Michael Moore would do a health care expose because he can capture the pathos and the humor and the utter insanity of the current system like no one else.

    I have a bunch of stuff to tell him and so do a lot of other people I know.  I'm going to get on this RIGHT AWAY.

    I wish I hadn't thrown out those two trashbags full of unpaid ambulance bills.  Pouring those out on a table, Miracle on 34th Street style, would have made good video.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

    by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:28:24 AM PST

  •  Love Michael Moore and hope I'm alive (4.00)
    when his documentary/movie comes out. I was just diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure after many years of being on disability for scleroderma. Renal failure is usually the main cause of death for scleroderma. I did not qualify for Medicare D- had 9k too much in assetts, but I am terrified at the coming costs of new meds and dialysis etc., that I know are in the near future.

    My husband and I have decided that if the medical bills get too much we are just going to say F--- it to the bill collectors. It would cost the government more to incacerate us than to give America universal health care. Maybe if enough of us 'sickos' are dragged off to debtor prisons the government will wake up. As it is we go without a lot just to pay for meds now.


    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones"

    by roseeriter on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:28:53 AM PST

    •  please find out about (none)
      EPO at cost that you can inject at will save a bundle over what they'll charge, and you'll need less. Contact me for more info:

      I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

      by condoleaser on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:40:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  roseeriter (none)
       First, hang in there kid, and you're right, Fuck'em on the bills. No one should ever have to face choices like you are facing.
       Second, I read recently about remarkable results with stem cell therapy in Lupus cases. Lupus, like Scleroderma is an auto-immune disease. I wonder if there are any trials that you could sign up for. It would be worth checking. I hope so. Take care.
      •  I heard about that from cspan (none)
        some republican congressman I think. I know some scleroderma patients have had it and got a 10% improvement which isn't much. I doubt that medicare will cover it, but I will ask my nephrologist about it.


        "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones"

        by roseeriter on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 02:42:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That pisses me off (none)
      I am wishing you the best.  There is this one address that over 12,000 companies are using in the Cayman Islands. Maybe, if you were a big corporation, you could move all your assets there.

      My Grandmother who lives on under 800 dollars a month, was considered to have too much money to qualify for any subsidy.  

      It's a sham.  

  •  Dear Michael Moore: (4.00)
    I've been having paranoid delusions since January 20, 2001.

    They've come and gone over the years. In my first paranoid delusion, I had a vision that the country was being run by a functionally retarded man.

    From there it got worse. I would just see and hear crazy stuff that I knew had to be outright fantasy. I saw my country start to torture people. In another of my dreams, we spread a bunch of lies in order to launch a war against a country that had done nothing to us and posed no threat. I've seen male prostitutes running around the White House. I've seen CIA agents have their cover blown as political payback.

    But last year was the worst. In one of my dreams, I walked to the television and turned it on. And there was a major American city drowning before my eyes. Just unreal. You can imagine my immediate horror -- followed by incredible relief after I woke up and realized that it was all just a terrible nightmare.

    My doctor, who is one of these crazy crackpots who believes in something called "evolution", said these delusions should last another three years or so. Do they make a drug to make these visions go away? At this point, I'm ready to try about anything -- even if the side effects keep me off the dating circuit.

    I'll be curious to know if anyone else has suffered from the same affliction.

    I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn -- Ron Burgundy

    by IndyScott on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:36:56 AM PST

    •  I have the same disease (none)
      On the really bad days, I stick needles in my flesh to try to awaken myself from the dream.

      "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

      by The Termite on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:31:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think this movie is gonna be huge (none)
    Health Care themed movie should appeal to just about everyone and with Michael Moore at the helm, I'm definitely gonna go watch it.

    Thank you John Kerry

    by diplomatic on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 08:38:38 AM PST

  •  i don't have a great story but (none)
    that letter is just really, really funny. skort, lol.
  •  I, also hope Michael uses Flint, Michigan (none)
     his hometown, again as part of the sequel.  I have several cousins losing their jobs without their years in for retirement from GM and suppliers.  No health insurance! Other jobs in that area are scarce and the ones available are not the kind that you can pay your monthly bills on or raise a family.
    •  At least ... (none)
      ... with all the plants closed, the air is a lot cleaner in Flint.

      Just a small blessing.

      •  Dear Megisi, (none)
          I have one of my cousins, that actually works in East Lansing, and he is nearly one year from retirement. His choice is to tranfer to Reno, Nevada and he is caring for his 84 year old father in Owosso.  This is so bad!
        •   My other cousin and several school friends (none)
           are shit out of luck!  Can't pay your bills making Bushcos minimum wage, which are the only ones available in that area. Our president can't even speak basic 5th grade English and he wants to send everyone else back to school?  People can't go back to school because he has just reduced student loans! He needs to be impeached for his corruption in taking us to Iraq and lying about his motives. Period!  Abusing suspects, lying about his illegal wiretaps and his corrupt media and republican footmen should be secondary! Where is our American outrage?
    •  Next Week (none)
      Once the Super Bowl's over in Detroit, watch for announcements by the auto industry re new lay-offs & plant closings.

      They announced a new round right after the auto show, and once the world's attention is off Michigan, they'll announce more.

      I hate what Bush is doing to my home-state.  Bastids!

      by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 09:21:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And if you live in TENNESSEE... (none)
    One of the local DFA groups, Democracy for Cumberland County, is collecting healthcare horror stories too.

    They're holding a big statewide healthcare Town Hall Meeting (and inviting all the U.S. Senate candidates) on March 18 and they're collecting stories to be read at the event and posted on their site, but they only want stories from current residents of Tennessee.

    So if you have something to share, email your story and include your name, city, and phone number to organizer Carol Kemp.

    And feel free to send a buck or two to the state organization, Democracy for Tennessee (look for the bat).  They are one of the most organized DFA coalitions in the country and are kicking ass across their state.  If you don't believe me, leaf through their site.

    Thanks, all!

  •  I'm not sure if she'll see this diary (none)
    so check out this comment by dKos user alwaysquestion.

    It was a reply to a joke I posted in C&J, but it is no joke!  What a chilling tale!  Yeesh.

    The most un-American thing you can say is, "You can't say that." -G. Keillor

    by Eddie Haskell on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 09:04:00 AM PST

  •  I'm 99-percent certain ... (none)
    ... that Mr. Moore will take a class-divide approach to this movie, focusing mainly on the disparities in access and quality of care between rich and poor. Perhaps you could filter your stories through that lens.
    •  So You're Saying (none)
      It's Moore's fault that the "lower class" in our society are the ones hardest hit by the ruling class' efforts to prevent a decent health policy for this nation?

      Give me a break.

      He'll report the stories of ordinary Americans - it's not his responsibility to do it in a tone you approve of.  Personally - I dig the guy and all he's done so far.

      by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 09:25:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My Apologies if I Mis-read your post (none)

      by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 09:27:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Megisi, (none)
       Excuse me if I am misinterpreting your comments. I lived on the outskirts of Flint and always considered it no more polluted than most major cities.  The people that I am talking about are solidly middle-class, hard-working GM employees, near retirement.  Flint, sure has problems with the poor, but Michael will be, also, addressing the middle class with job loss and lack of insurance.
      •  Whoa ... whoa there (none)
        My comment about Flint was a joke only a Flint native can make. I am one so I made it. And I would have to think, in all seriosity and without a shred of air quality evidence to back me up, that the air has to be cleaner with Buick City and the old Dupont plant alone gone. The Dupont factory alone made the air along Industrial and Hamilton virtually unbreathable.

        Frankly, I don't live there anymore and rarely visit so the skies could be chartreuse and infested with dust mites for all I know.

        My comment about Michael Moore's movie was an educated guess and not a criticism. If it was my movie, I'd take precisely the same approach. Access and delivery are the core issues and financial disparity the proximate cause of our national distress. it's also a populist message, which is his metier.

  •  Suggestion (4.00)
    for Mike: include a segment that traces the path of one dollar through the HMO system.

    In the old days, you got sick, you saw your doctor, and you paid him yourself. Or not. Today, we have health insurance(or not). You pay thousands of dollars to giant insurance companies, who distribute that money in the following order:1) CEO and executive salaries, 2)stockholders,3) an army of clerks whose job is to find ways not to pay on your claim, and finally, if those cleks fail, 4) your doctor.

    Another scene I'd like to see is, yes, the mansions that the CEOs dwell in, with  a listing of their cost. Every penny paid to healthcare CEOs is money that could have been used to treat sick people.

    The same applies to Big Pharma as well, of course.

    Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

    by drewfromct on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 09:10:55 AM PST

  •  Workers Comp medical care (4.00)
    Horror stories.
    Patients dying before getting their cases approved.
    Injured workers going from temporary to permanent disability while waiting for authorization for treatment.

    I'll be contact Moore.

    •  workers' comp is unbelievably bad (none)
      it's a racket.

      An election does not make a democracy.

      by seesdifferent on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 11:15:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Another reason for Universal Health Care (4.00)
        Workers Comp and other health problems would all be handled the same, so you wouldn't have to go through jaded employers who think that all claims are fake and adjusters who deny first, pay later.

        If it all was paid out of the same place, it would eliminate the people the industry says are just filing claims to get revenge on the employer, which they use to justify draconian laws.

        The sad thing is, these days it's easier to get Workers'Comp to pay your bills than it is to get your HMO to pay them. If there's fakery going on, that's why.

        "I am Joe's raging bile duct."

        by Floja Roja on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 11:30:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  which kossack (none)
    what happened to the guy who posted notes about the horror of trying to deal with the new plan--until he got himself fired for posting notes?

    Now HE should be contacting Moore immediately.

  •  Gleevec from Novartis (4.00)
    My family dodged a huge bullet on this one, but I know there are others out there who don't have the same experience.

    In the fall of 2004, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) It's a blood disease and a killer. However, Novartis came up with a "miracle pill" and they call it Gleevec. No kidding she takes a pill everyday and she's totally cancer free. She never had chemo or radiation or anything, just one pill a day everyday for the rest of her life and she's otherwise very healthy and active.

    Only Gleevec costs $225.00 per pill, one a day ends up being $82,125 per year. Under the new Medicare Part D program the costs would even be as high as $10,000 a year. My mother is a widow on a fixed income and wouldn't be able to afford this drug. Luckily her husband worked at IBM for 30+ years and the company has always provided her with Cadillac survivor benfits and this is no exception. Once she was diagnosed the company got her an additional catastrophic policy and she pays only about $40 a month for full coverage. But that's IBM, they chose to do this. Medicare Part D makes it illegal to sue the insurance provider for age discrimination if they toss you off their plan and your a senior/retiree.

    So we're lucky, very lucky, how many others aren't?

    PS - Gleevec costs about $20 a pill in Canada. Since my mother gets her drugs in the mail through the IBM plan I pray they buy the drugs in Canada. That will mean they're more likely not to boot her off the plan in the future.

    •  Prescription drugs and Canada (none)
      Americans are inadvertently straining Canada's subsidized prescription health care system by artificially creating demand.  Canadian taxpayers are essentially financing American prescription drug use.  Why don't Americans pressure their legislators not to make access to cheap Canadian drugs easier, but rather to introduce legislation and regulation similar to Canada's?

      It is only a matter of time before the feds (in Canada) turn off the tap.

      "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

      by fishhead on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 01:08:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  there's already (none)
        some pushback from Canada. Now a pharmacy customer in Canada must have a prescription from a Canadian doctor and a legal address in Canada to get anything filled. A company like IBM might be exempt from this requirement for it's retirees because it does business in Canada.

        Why don't we pressure our leadership? We do, don't we? They just don't listen. The democrats have been harping on this since day one. Public research groups like Kaiser Family Foundation are constantly pointing out this fact. Even if the senior, at the end of the day, doesn't fork over the extra American mark-up on the drug, the taxpayer does, right? I think the Bush administration, author of the law, delayed implementing the plan by more than 2 years to minimize the outrage. It's a famous story now but the bill was passed in the middle of the night in the House and some lawmakers were threatened and extorted ON THE FLOOR to change their votes. They held the vote open for 4 hours, the normal "extended" period of time for a vote is 20 minutes.

        The analogy goes both ways though. If Canada forces the company to drop the price to Canadian consumers the company justs marks up the drug in the US to make up the difference. We're all in this together.

        Are you from Canada? Is there outrage or concern about Americans crossing the border to buy cheaper drugs?

        •  Yeah, I'm Canuck (none)
          And I wouldn't say there's outrage exactly, but there is some concern.  Health care consumes a huge part of government revenue, and the system's long term viability is a matter of concern.  I lived two years in the States and heard constantly about what a huge deal health care, access to medicine and treatment, and insurance costs were - yet it seems to not get translated into voting for candidates who vow to push such concerns in Washington.  It often seemed that the only thing a legislator had to do to get elected was to have already been elected (i.e., be an incumbent).  Curious to an outsider.

          "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

          by fishhead on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 05:02:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let me enlighten you (none)
            Incumbents have a 98% re-election rate because of money. Much of the ads and campaign spending are financed by corporate donors. Corporations with business before the government are paying for the same lawmakers re-election campaigns. So that's a big part of it. This was the reason that threatening and extorting lawmakers during the vote was so successful. Money talks and these guys were scared that if they didn't tow the line and screw over their constituents, they'd be out in the next election. So they decided to take their chances, the Republican party ran on the "Global War on Terror" (GWOT) in 2004 and they mostly all got re-elected.

            See in America it's almost every man/woman for themselves. Party affiliation doesn't dictate the candidate's position on issues. It's usually a good indication but not always. If a lawmaker is from a big state, there's no way the candidate can do enough campaigning in their districts or states to be viable. They have to buy ads on TV. That costs big money especially if your district is near a large city where ads cost a lot more money than in rural districts. And they have to raise their own money for their campaigns. The state or national parties do help but not much. It's the candidate's own responsibility to go out and raise the money. State and national party people help with fundraisers, but they don't do everything. That's why we have so many multi-millionaire candidates, they have deep pockets and can fork over millions of their own money to get the ball rolling in their campaigns.

            Overall, in America the single payer systems in the tradition of UK/Canada are often criticized for lack of resources and long waiting periods for services. We start running for the doors screaming when we hear "socialized medicine" and "healthcare rationing". But the country is now considering single-payer as a viable alternative. The situation is so bad now that "rationing" is starting to sound like a good idea to most Americans. I mean at least you get something, right?

            In America, the answer to 99 questions out of a 100 is money. - Tom Cruise as David Aames in Open Your Eyes

            See ya round.

  •  I thought this was going to be (none)
    "Michael Moore Wants Your Health Care" horror stories by the Right.

    Finem respice et principiis obsta—Consider the end, and thwart the beginning

    by Del C on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 09:59:11 AM PST

  •  Two stories that reflect on Workers comp (4.00)
    My late partner had a congenital neck condition, which was exacerbated by repetitive stress, then she fell at work. She was starting to feel the effects of spinal cord compression, which occasionaly discombobulated some of her systems.

    By the time the insurance co. approved surgery her spinal cord was over 50% compressed. A state of the art surgery by a famous surgeon was still to late, a year after the fall. She was in horrid chronic pain and soon semi-suicided.

    As for me I at the end of a year of back injury, which has ended my career as a carpenter. I am still waiting for the Insurance co to settle. Their first offer was $18,000 flat. I can no longer do a job that I worked at for 25 years, have to move to a cheaper place to live, and my future is relatively uncertain.

    I have worked since I was 15 and have paid into CA workmens comp for thirty two years and am now out on the streets in effect. I am fortunate that I have options and my son was grown.

    The lawyers I have talked to aren't even taking cases from after Arnold and the insurance co wrote the law. One told me to represent myself, cause there was nothing they could do to fight it and would be paying them for nothing.


    "The pen is mightier than the sword, but only at a range of greater than five feet" Malaclypse the Younger

    by buhdydharma on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:04:53 AM PST

    •  Workman's Comp (none)
      My husband used to work for a masonry company and was learning to install stones when he crushed his finger on the job.  The surgeon wanted to fuse the joint together to reduce the pain, but hubby rejected that idea.  He only has about half the mobility in the finger now and can't hold a trowel any more - so his career as a stone mason was cut short.

      After a few months, the insurance company was forcing him to get a new job - any job would do.  They thought a toll-booth operator job might be a comparable position, ignoring that it's a dead-end job which paid way less than his old job.  They also didn't bother to take a look at my husband's skills, and tried to get him to go for a job in an office of a towing company.  If they'd asked, they would have found out that hubby's dyslexic.

      He's always worked in construction-related jobs and was good at what he did.  At the end of the day, hubby went to work for a landscaping company, making about 8 or 9 bucks an hour.  After a year and a half, we got about 6-7,000 bucks from the insurance company.  That didn't last long.

      Honestly - for the grief and hassle we got I wish he'd never put in a claim when he got hurt.  It was more trouble than it was worth and he was left feeling about 2 inches tall by those people.

      by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:15:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah, degradation is part of their tactics (none)
        "We are a big Insurance Co, you are dirt! Obviouly you are trying to rip us off for .000000005 percent of our profits."

        I actually went through a phase of thinking that if I just explained to them....hahaha

        The system is so rigged now on all levels that an uprising of some sort is inevitable. They are killing and screwing old people disabled people injured people sick people soldiers vets hurricane victims people of color immigrants GLBT, who's left?

        "The pen is mightier than the sword, but only at a range of greater than five feet" Malaclypse the Younger

        by buhdydharma on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:41:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My late brother in law (4.00)
           Was on work/comp for a back injury. He fought for years and finally got a life-time monthly payment. He also got SSI. He had a reasonable monthly income and my sister worked. They were fine. Stan went in to have a knee replacement and suffered a series of strokes following surgery that eventually killed him in two years. My sister lost her job because she had to take so much time to care for him. When Stan died, so did the work/comp. My sister was left with a monthly income of $720, out of that they take $80 for Medicare. She is 65 and just got a job, thankfully. But, here's the rub, how long can she work, what will she do when she can't?
          •  You'd THINK (4.00)
            his benefits from his injury would have survived him to help his wife survive after his passing.  But then that would mean a big-ass insurance company would have to do the right thing.

            The deck's stacked against us folks - let's hope Moore can shed add a few aces to our hand.


            by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 11:19:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes we were sold a lie all along (none)
            IMHO there is no safety net, or at least its in need of a major mending.

            Reagan, Bush and Bush have signifigantly changed the Social Contract and  most Americans have not realized that we really are just 'units' now.

            The scene from the Matrix where the fields of humans are being harvested for energy. Substitute condos for pods and credit cards and lifework that they are harvesting.

            OK I'm depressed now!

            Time to go back to the Onion Thread!  ;)

            "The pen is mightier than the sword, but only at a range of greater than five feet" Malaclypse the Younger

            by buhdydharma on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 11:30:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Budhy (none)
      Were you self-employed?

      Go to the WCAB Information and Assistance people. They will walk you through what you need to do if you don't have an attorney. And since most WC judges used to be claimant attorneys, if you get a good one he/she should have some sympathy for you. My experience in CA is that the unrepresented people often end up getting more than the ones who were represented, simply because the judge assumes the company is taking advantage of the employee's lack of counsel.

      "I am Joe's raging bile duct."

      by Floja Roja on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 11:36:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There was a person here... (none)
    ...a little while ago who was diarying on Kos about the medicare part D fiasco as it was happening and lost their jobs because they were reporting here.

    That person (I didn't catch if it was a man or woman) should get in on this.  They have a really good story that could stand to be told.

    I can't wait til they start making us wear armbands.

    by DawnG on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:14:38 AM PST

  •  As I strap on my... (none)
    ...asbestos suit, let me speak straight to Michael Moore and say first and foremost that I loved "Roger and Me" and really, really loved "Farenheit 9/11."  I mean it.  Wonderful work.

    But a few months ago, the right started spinning a bunch of tales about how you owned Halliburton stock.  I didn't believe it for a second.  I still don't believe it.  For someone of your stature to make a film that exposes one of history's most insidious war profiteering operations and then knowingly provide capital to that war profiteering operation would be at the very least the height of cynicism and hypocrisy.  You just don't seem like that kind of guy to me.

    But I've been to your website, and I've Googled my heart out, and I still can't find anything out there resembling a response, denial, or explanation from you.

    Perhaps you feel that you shouldn't dignify these allegations with a response.  This is a poor strategy.  Witness how it served Kerry when the Swiftboat crowd came after him.  The presumption will be that you did indeed invest in Halliburton.

    Perhaps you owned some mutual funds that counted Halliburton in their stock profiles.  This is totally excusable.  I have mutual funds and I couldn't tell you one single stock in any of them.

    Michael, the left needs voices and the left needs heroes who adhere to the principles they preach.  Reassure us.  Reaffirm the trust that so many of us have placed in you.

    "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

    by The Termite on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:29:33 AM PST

    •  It's not Michael Moore's responsibility to deny it (4.00)'s the wingnut smear artists' responsibility to substantiate it.  Innocent until proven guilty, buddy.

      The truth doesn't hurt unless it should. -Church marquee

      by Karen Wehrstein on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:41:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I could not agree more (none)
        Unfortunately, Peter Schweizer's book Do As I Say (Not As I Do) includes a 990PF that Moore allegedly filed with the IRS for a tax shelter he and his wife set up and control.  The form (which I have not seen) allegedly shows that Moore bought and sold shares in Halliburton.

        Is it a forgery?  I have no idea.  But I do know that if I'm Michael Moore and someone pulled that shit on me, I'd file a fraud and defamation suit so fast it'd make Schweizer's tiny little head spin.  And I would take pains to make sure the truth came out.

        These allegations, if untrue, are easily disproved.  That's all I'm saying.

        "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

        by The Termite on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:55:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Many Michael Moore's (none)
          Many people with the same name.  How do you know the records are for the movie making Michael Moore?  

          Arlington, Virginia

          by ScienceMom on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 12:05:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  uh (none)
            I don't, but presumably the trust is in his wife's name as well, which would certainly narrow the chances that the document was a case of mistaken identity.

            Please understand.  I am not suggesting this is true.  I am not trying to undermine MM's credibility.  I am merely trying to get at the truth of the matter -- either someone is doing a very effective smear job that must be stopped, or Michael Moore is not who he says he is.  Both possibilities are consequential -- at least to me.

            "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

            by The Termite on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 12:11:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  He did deny it (none)
      He was giving a speech at his hometown JC- I think- and he said it right there.  

      You can find the speech on the web.

  •  Correction (none)
    This from Wikipedia:

    In the Peter Schweizer book Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, Schweizer includes a tax return of Moore's showing that Moore and his wife are in control of a variety of stocks, among them such companies as Halliburton. Moore stated on C-SPAN, "Michael Moore own Halliburton stock? See, that's like a great comedy line. I know it's not true - I mean, I've never owned a share of stock in my life. Anybody who knows me knows that, you know - who's gonna believe that? Just crazy people are going to believe it - crazy people who tune-in to the Fox News Channel." [17] [18]

    I was wrong above to state that there has been no denial.  Apparently this denial was delivered in response to a question Moore received at the most recent Paul Wellstone Memorial Dinner.  I apologize.

    Mr. Moore, can I humbly suggest you publish a more comprehensive denial or explanation on your well-trafficked website?

    "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

    by The Termite on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:39:49 AM PST

  •  Dear Mike.... (1.00)

    Can I call you Mike?


    Please fix this problem.

    Listen to "The Tzimisce Show" only on "The Growl" (Closed for Winter break) ( Radio with byte!

    by Koldun on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:50:14 AM PST

  •  NPR had a story on yesterday (4.00)
    about dental therapists in extremely remote areas like reservations and the alaskan wilderness.  The American Dental Association is all up in arms because they don't want pseudo-dentists doing their work.

    The story pointed out that state officials in some areas have been offering salaries in the area of $200,000 for over a year to try and get a certified dentist to come out but no one will, even for temporary visits.

    So all these people are trying to do is get people trained enough so that they can do cleanings and basic care for these people.  But ohhhhh no, you're not going to give REAL dentists a bad name by doing the work that we refuse to.

    What a joke.

    (if by "criminalization of politics" you mean politics being taken over by criminals, you are absolutely correct)

    by Drezden on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 10:52:20 AM PST

    •  Sort of like what doctors did to mid-wives (none)
      once upon a time. They were threatened by those women who were cutting in on their action - so they branded them as witches and burned them at the stake.

      At least that's what I heard was (in part) behind a lot of the salem witch trials.

      But I digress...

      by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 11:11:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Do not even get me started (4.00)
    My mother died a year ago.  Cancer.  

    We can start with the three-month gap between preliminary diagnosis and surgery (they thought it was just a plain old uterine tumor, and they were so sorry when it turned out to be a big invasive sarcoma).  We can go on to the doctor who never said the words death or cancer ("unfavorable outcome" and "your condition").  

    Then there were the nurses who blew her veins, the lung they punctured trying to do a liver biopsy (I understand this is pretty common - seems to me it shouldn't be), the other lung punctured trying to put a port in.  The nurses who insisted on giving her whopping slugs of Ativan when she cried because they were hurting her.  

    The nurses who left her sitting in a bed for 11 hours in the emergency room at the hospital without changing her Depends once.  And who told her 'You daughter has some anger issues, doesn't she?'.  Yeah, let it be your mother, bitch, you'll have some too.

    There are two lists for cancer patients, I think.  The A list, where interesting or curable or pretty patients are put, and the care is better than the poor elderly people dying of plain old mundane cancers on the B list get.

    I have a lifetime's worth of rage over what they did to my mom.  But it was all covered by insurance, so I guess I should thank God for that.  

    "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

    by escapee on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 11:32:21 AM PST

    •  My Grandmother (4.00)
      fell and broke her femar when she was in her mid-80s.  She went from the hospital to the nursing home, where she stayed in bed, on her back in a depends.  The meds they gave her gave her the runs, but it took a social worker right out of school to figure out what was causing it.  Just her and her copy of the PDR (Physicians Desk Reference) - she looked up my grandmother's meds and found that was one of the side-effects.  To think the doctor at the home didn't bother to check that.

      Grandma had emphysema, and spending two months on her back didn't help.  Her lungs filled with water and they sent her back to the hospital - too late as it turned out.  She died a few days later.

      To say they took away what little dignity this proud woman had left at the end of her life is an understatement.

      by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 11:49:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nursing homes (none)
         Usually have no doctor in house. The is a doctor that works for the home and others, either in company or owned by other companies. Your grandma's story is horrible and so very common. I could go on forever about nursing homes because of my brother in law and my mother. They drug the elderly up, leave them for as long as possible and really hate it when the family demands anything. It is for those reasons that I care for my mom at home. She has had both hips replaced twice and broke her leg. She also has numerous compression fractures in her back and emphysema. I really do not believe that she would be alive if she were still in the nursing home.

         When mom was about to have her second broken hip replaced, (bad doctor), she had another severe compression fracture. She had to have a spinal fusion and then spend time in the nursing home to recover. She was in the home on and off, because of hospital visits, for 99 days. She has excellent ins. and between it and medicare she was covered in full for 30 days. After that medicare covers a portion and you are liable for $109 and day for the next 70 days. After that you pay full price and that is where people lose their autonomy.

         No one, unless they are Spielberg rich can afford the cost. You must pay down all your assets, and sign on to medicade. They take your home, life ins. policies, even your burial ins. Every state is different, I'm talking about my state, Utah. As I said, mom was in for 99 days and we paid around $8000. Also, FYI, medicare requires you to be out of a nursing home or hosp. for 60days IIRC in order for medicare to pay for any stay afterwards. Mom broke her leg after we got her home on the 61st day. We were lucky.

    •  While there are bad nurses-- (none)
      My Mom ran into one bitch out to get her MRS. degree who preferred to spend more of the flirting with doctors than caring for patients--many of them are chronically overworked and exhausted from 12 hour days due to the nursing shortage. Overworked and underpaid nurses are the NORM

      But this broad chose not get off her dead ass when Mom reported she'd found my grandmother (stroke patient paralyzed on one side) had fallen out of the wheelchair they and bothered to strap her into.  The nurse said she'd send someone into help her back onto the bed once they got back form break.  Um, a patient who has fallen is normally considered a n emergency but she didnt' want to bother the Cans Ont heir break (SOP: she SHOULD have called a doctor stat and gone immediately to the room).  Mom reported the incident tot he family doctor and the neurologist and to the director of nursing.  Miss Nurse lost her job. She had violated hospital policy and endangered a patient's life.  

      Also, nurses don't change diapers--CNA's do.  Nurses don't have TIME to do that.   My husband worked at a nursing home as  CNA, while getting into school for his nursing degree, and he could tell you horror stories. CNAs are GED or high school graduates, have minimal training to get their certificates, and are not the best and the brightest. And if they didn't like a patient, they'd ignore them. SO, yes, the tales of people left to sit in their diapers  for hours isn't unusual. It's not correct and it is against most homes' policy but people get away with it--hard to find people willing to do the dirty work for $7 an hour.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 01:20:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Insurance Co Gambles and Wins (4.00)
    I do not have a horror story, but I think I have an important piece of the truth.

    Coupling health insurance with work has allowed the insurance company to adopt policies that discourage preventive care because it is very likely that this particular insurance company will not have to deal with consequences.  There is a decent chance that it will either be dealt with by the "new" insurance company that your current employer contracts with next year; or by the insurance company of your next employer; or by some other insurance source in its entirety if your problem doesn't erupt into full blown medical crisis before retirement.  There is no incentive for the insurance company to spend a small amount now in preventive medicine to avoid larger health costs later.  In fact since your pain and suffering only impacts them when they have to pay for treatment, the incentive structure is for them to avoid all bills they can in the hopes that someone else will have to deal with the problem this creates later.  And there are no government regulations that counteract this perverse incentive structure.

    You run into this policy in a variety of circumstances.  My general Doc tells me that she can only address one "problem" at a time per office visit, or the insurance company will not pay for it.  In speaking with my friend who works on billing in a doctor's office, I've learned that the insurance companies do not generally have a book of guidelines that state this; rather they just refuse payment on certain bills and the office staff figures out the "rules" on their own.  My friend verified that this one problem per visit rule sounded very plausible to her, and matched her experiences.  

    What does this mean?  I go in for my yearly physical, and I've got a long list of the things that I think we should be keeping an eye on.  I'm having heartburn (I assume, let's hope its not heart problems); I'm over weight; I'm working with a personal trainer and want any guidance/limitations clarified; I have PCOS; I may be "pre-diabetic"; I am having knee problems; I need my standard yearly check-up and pap smear; I have a family history of breast cancer, heart disease, lupus, diabetes, and high blood pressure.  None of these problems is serious enough to warrant immediate attention, but all of it should be addressed.  Instead of dealing with it all in one visit and scheduling follow-ups as needed, I'm told we need to schedule separate visits for several of these problems.  I must have my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome dealt with in a separate visit.  My knee problems need to be yet another separate visit.  My heart burn/ possible ulcer/ possible acid reflux is yet another visit.  She'll offer me some standard advice in re my weight and my personal trainer, coupled with my standard yearly check-up.  This of course will include the standard suggestion that I go on some completely unrealistic time consuming taste free diet.  Did I mention that for some reason the Pap smear is yet another separate visit?  So because of the pressure placed on the doctor's office by the insurance company, I need 5 separate visits to START to address these issues.  (I expect that the knee issues and heart burn would require follow-up visits with tests, maybe an MRI, etc.)  Of course at every visit, I pay the co-pay.  Also, as you might expect, the harder you make it to get medical care, the more likely I am to forego it for certain problems.  I tried scheduling 5 visits back to back, but of course we cannot do that.  We need "some time" between each visit.  I could not even schedule 2 visits in the same day.  

    I'm a busy woman, so how do I deal with this?  I prioritize the check up, Pap smear, and PCOS, going in for 3 visits.  I intend to go in for the others, but never seem to make it in.  Instead I eat more Tums, try to strengthen my knee on my own, and buy a heating pad and more Aleve.  

    A system of health care that was focused on prevention would do this:

    1.    Give me some more help with losing weight - a visit with a dietician to develop a diet or eating plan that was realistic; some sessions with a physical therapist or personal trainer to get on an exercise plan; a discounted health club membership.  If the insurance company thought that they would be stuck paying for my care through a stroke or a heart attack 20 years down the line, they might do some of these things.  As it is, they are likely correct that someone else will be on the hook for the costs.  And I'll be on the hook for the health problems and increased pain and suffering.
    2.    Take a look at the knee and make sure that it's not already damaged.  Work with me on preventing future damage via strengthening exercises or braces, or whatever.  Hell, I do not know.  That's the reason I wanted a doctor to look at it.  
    3.    Allow me to address as many issues as necessary during the yearly check-up.  Why waste everyone's time?  The heart burn/ulcer/acid reflux really should be looked at early rather than later.  Why wait until it's a bleeding ulcer.

    The problem does not end at the doctor's office.  Virginia pharmacies have the same policies.  I cannot get more than one month's prescription out of them at a time, even in the doctor writes the prescription for 3 months at a time with 4 refills.  I take birth control pills for the PCOS.  PCOS is a hormone imbalance, and the pills supply some of the missing hormone.  The pharmacy allows refills starting 25 days out from your last filling of the prescription.  Of course birth control pills are on a 28 day cycle, not a 30 or 31 day cycle, so I have to refill my prescription between day 25 and 28, or mess up the cycle.  Also, if I misplace my pill pack, or leave it somewhere, I have no back up sitting in my medicine chest, and either have to go make a special request at the pharmacy for an off time refill, or screw up the cycle.  If I go on vacation and need pills out of time, I have to go in and file yet another special request.  Note that regardless of how many pills I took home at once I'd still have to pay a co-pay for each one, so this isn't about money.  This is just the insurance company trying to raise the transaction cost of getting prescriptions in the hopes that they will have to pay for less each year.  

    The insurance company raises the transaction costs of getting care, in the hopes that they will decrease the care you end up taking each year.  The only monetary reason to avoid this would be that preventive medicine is cheaper than responding to emergencies.  But the insurance company is willing to gamble that your emergency is just as likely to fall on someone else's watch.

  •  no horror stories per se (none)
    but not having any insurance is damn scary.

    weather forecast

    The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. - Paine

    by Cedwyn on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 11:46:12 AM PST

  •  The saddest part (none)
    The absolutely worst health care story I could share affects a family very close to mine, but the husband and wife are unshakeable Bush voters.

    A QUESTION: Is this an aspect of the pharmaceutical movie we heard, back a couple of years ago, he was making?

    ANOTHER QUESTION: I read a while back that the WHO rated the "envy of the world" American health care system something like 35th among all nations, just ahead, behind or tied with Cuba. Anyone out there with the research to verify that?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will watch the watchers?)

    by The Crusty Bunker on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 11:52:56 AM PST

    •  Cuba (4.00)
      At least in Cuba, medical care is available to everyone. Can't say that about the U.S.

      Fidel also farms his docs out to other countries.  He offered dozens of doctors for Katrina victims, each of whom would be trained in trauma medicine, infectious disease, etc., specific areas of concern after such a natural disaster. He also made it clear that each doc would carry their own backpacks of gear, and Castro said they would have their own food  with them, so that the docs would not be a burden on the local system.

      •  I never doubted the US would snub Cuba (none)
        Republicans only love Castro during national elections when they can count on that Cuban exile vote in Miama-Dade. You know what? Those guys are aging out, their clout is diminishing and the second, third and fourth gen U.S.-born Cubans are hardly the one-isseue voters their dads and granddads might have been. That doesn't make Fidel Castro a great guy, but it should put things in proper perspective.

        Cuban doctors--yes. Soviet ICBMs--ancient history.

        Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will watch the watchers?)

        by The Crusty Bunker on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 12:47:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've lived on both sides of the divide. (none)
    Spent most of my life with great insurance, and look forward to getting it back within a year or two.  But have spent the past two years on very bad, very expensive insurance.  Doesn't actually cover anything, as far as I can tell, short of hospitalization.  

    I have a couple of auto-immune disorders that make it advisable I should get a flu shot.  But I don't have a doctor to get one from.  So I call the public health department in the town where I go to school and explain the situation.  "Oh, no," they say.  "We can only give flu shots to senior citizens, because they're the most at risk."  I again explain that I actually am also at risk and that if they read the CDC priority sheets for flu shots, I should be up there with senior citizens.  "No, we can only give the shots to seniors.  We turned down a man who was recovering from a quadruple bypass the other week."  In other words, "it's all about where our money is coming from - we don't actually give a damn about who's at risk."

    The happy ending was that my hometown was giving shots to anyone who wanted, and had a flu clinic during the few days I visited my parents (in fact, even if they hadn't been having the flu clinic I think they would've given me the shot, but it made it easier).  

  •  Unfortunately (none)
    I'm sure there won't be any shortage of material.

    Take Back the House in 2006!

    by Rona on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 12:15:28 PM PST

  •  I sent him a story (4.00)
    It's mine.  It's not extreme, but it's an indication of the gap in care and cost.  

    I'm epileptic.  Before I was diagnosed and put on meds, I saw a doctor here in the Emergency room for a cost of 360 bucks- to an uninsured student in 1991, that was a lot of money.  However, there was no diagnosis, and I didn't see any doctors after that.  

    In Germany, I had a seizure.  I saw a neurologist, not an ER doctor.  I saw him within the day.  I was given some meds, and had an EEG.  It cost 20 dollars.  

    In Holland, I had my ear drum ruptured by an angry pizza maker.  My friend's family doctor came to his apartment within 2 hours.  Free.  

    It's a fucking crime what happens in this country.  

    If I were the Democratic party, I would just start pushing healthcare now.  Now.  

  •  A good friend of mine and her husband learned (none)
    about a year after they married that he had MS.  He struggled with it for years.  She was the sole support once he could no longer hold his job as a lab tech at Yale.  Finally, he needed full time care, so he went to live with parents,.  She stayed married and faithful.  After a couple of years his parents decided they couldn't continue to do this, and that he had to go into a nursing home. My friend couldn't afford the costs of the home, and her insurance didn't begin to cover it--she'd have spent more than her monthly income just for his care. She was forced to divorce him so he could receive disability/SSI and thus be able to get the 24/7 nursing care he needed.  She never told him they were divorced.  Bu this time seizures had destroyed short term memory.  He died never knowing.

    When you have to get a divorce in order to get your spouse the care they need--there is something terribly wrong. In fact, I'd call it evil.  The Family Values Crowd should really hate this because it violates the sanctity of marriage and Jesus' teaching to care for the sick.  I keep wondering if we could use this as a wedge issue--even if it means playing to the Religious Reich--or at least the sane and moderate percentage of the Values Voters.  Certainly forcing people to divorce to get healthcare is NOT a Christian value.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 01:10:55 PM PST

    •  So Much For (none)
      family values.

      Evil fucks.

      by Alegre on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 02:06:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  and parents giving up their kids to the state (none)
      There have been several newspaper articles in the past year or so of parents forced to legally relinquish their kids to the state so they can get necessary mental health care for their children.  And then of course, since they are no longer the legal parents of their child, they hear no more about them.   This is utterly immoral.
      •  And yet the FV Crowd don't seem to see the problem (none)
        I suspect some of them (I am being really snarkyhere) think that a good exorcism would cure those kids.

        NO ONE should have to get a divorce or give up their children to get mental health care or nursing care.

        But that is a choice an increasing number of families will have to face unless something changes drastically in how we pay for health care.

        My surgery for cataracts will cost between 7 and 8 K computing follow-up visits and tests.  I couldn't have the surgery without he insurance.  I'd be forced to wear heavier and heavier glasses until finally they no longer worked and I ended up blind. Lovely choice.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Fri Feb 03, 2006 at 03:25:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I went to the dr's once w/o insurance once. (none)
    I paid 300 dollars to have a Dr. at a clinic tell me that my bronchitis was nothing more than allergies. Hmmm, can't breathe, hacking up green and brown, spent an hour in close quarters with someone who had confirmed bronchitis(thanks work!), and it must be allergies! Good thing I needed the Dr's note to explain my absences and almost lost my job cause of that asshole!
  •  the uninsurable (none)
    A couple of years ago I did some 'what if' research to see what it would cost to cover me, my husband, and 3 daughters if we had to buy our own coverage.   The girls are healthy as oxen, never ever sick.  To my horror, I discovered that even tho they are totally healthy, they are uninsurable on the open market because all three were adopted internationally.  No family histories!  

    Since then I have found that even families that adopt domestically thru state programs can have awful trouble with insuring their kids as well.

    Think I should drop this nugget in Michael Moore's email?

  •  Sicko (none)
    Will be posting this on my blog.

    I've written Michael Moore before on this, and I've never even gotten an auto-reply, though.

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