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Over the last couple of days I've received a torrent of emails all pointing me to the same news article. As I've mentioned in the past, I receive a substantial volume of correspondence. Some people describe in agonizing detail terrible medical atrocities, others refer me to an urgent healthcare related news story.

I suppose writing these healthcare diaires has taken a toll on me and my psyche because I saw the same story before anyone alerted me to its existence, and I shrugged.

It's about a doctor and his patient, and it's illustrative of how the collapse of our healthcare system is responsible for inflicting death, hardship and misery on millions of Americans.

It's also about life and death in America in 2007, the richest country on the planet. A country in the thrall of a murderous for-profit insurance industry. A country where affordable healthcare remains an unheard of luxury for 48 million of our fellow citizens.

Doc Survived, Uninsured Patient Didn't

Dr. Perry Klaassen lived to tell about his frightening ordeal with colon cancer. His patient did not. Same age, same state, same disease. Striking similarities, Klaassen thought when Shirley Searcy came to his clinic in Oklahoma City. It was July 2002, a year after his own diagnosis. But there was one huge difference: Klaassen had health insurance, Searcy did not.

Yes, I shrugged. And I'm not proud that I casually dismissed this terrible story. But I did. I think my reaction to such a grotesque tale of who lives and who dies, may be a small window into the psyche of the American people. Why do we permit this lethal system to slither on and on wreaking havoc and destroying families?

Perhaps we feel powerless to effectuate change. Maybe we feel our fate is fully sealed, controlled and manipulated by our for-profit health care system. Maybe as Americans we are simply overloaded with despair and bad news. Perhaps we have been systematically robbed of the ability to dream about better days and a just nation.

The story is  about a doctor diagnosed with colon cancer. The doctor had health insurance and received good treatment. He had an uninsured patient who was also diagnosed with colon cancer. His patient died soon after the diagnosis.

His treatment included surgery two days after diagnosis and costly new drugs. They have kept him alive six years later despite disease that has now spread to his lungs, liver and pelvis.

''I received the most efficient care possible. I was 61 years old and had good group health insurance through my workplace,'' he wrote in an essay in a medical journal essay that starkly contrasts his care with that of his uninsured patient.

The doctor didn't name Shirley Searcy in his March 14 article. After all he'd been through, he couldn't remember her name. But for days he dug through old medical files searching for her identity after he was interviewed by The Associated Press. He realized he could shine a more powerful light on the plight of the uninsured and an inequitable health care system if her story could be told more fully.

Frankly, I didn't see anything particularly newsworthy about this tragedy, this is status quo in America. Shame on me! I'm almost numb to our grotesque American reality. When I read stories like this, I think in George Bush's America, this is how we play the  game.

What follows probably describes my own reaction. Indeed, it is a story that is far from unique. I would say it's sadly very commonplace.

And it is a story that's far from unique. The widowed mother of eight grown children, Searcy had little money. When she began to sense she might be sick, she put off going to the doctor for a year because she knew she couldn't pay the medical bills. Deeply religious, she put her faith in God, according to her family.

By the time she saw Klaassen, her cancer had spread from her colon to her liver. She had surgery but rejected chemotherapy.

''She just really didn't feel like she wanted to endure what that would cost physically or financially,'' said her daughter-in-law, Karen Searcy.

Shirley Searcy died Dec. 22, 2003, about 18 months after her diagnosis.

Maybe we/I despair because I read stories like these day in and day out. We watch snake-oil salesmen politicians offer non-solutions. We have a healthcare system that tolerates financial ruin for millions of Americans. We are citizens of a country that permits these sorts of human rights violations to go unaddressed and unpunished.

Even insured family on brink of ruin

On a recent afternoon, Nathan Contreras zipped around the living room of his family's Southeast Side home with the energy and exuberance of a typical 2-year-old boy.
It was only the port in his stomach for a feeding tube, revealed when Mom lifted his T-shirt, that indicated all was not well.

. . .Nathan suffers from a rare and severe form of cystic fibrosis, a progressive, genetic disease that requires a lifetime of specialized medical care. He has been hospitalized 13 times since birth and gets 99 percent of his calories and nutrients through the gastrostomy tube.
Two years ago, I interviewed Nathan's parents, Patrick and Lesli Contreras, about the challenges they faced after learning their infant had an incurable illness. Early on, the medical bills were piling up. Today, the couple struggle to avoid financial ruin.

. . .The couple are reluctant to sell their house - a modest abode, modestly furnished - and move to a cheaper place because their credit is so wrecked they fear they'd never again qualify for a home loan.

They rarely buy new clothes for themselves and sometimes have to put off buying Nathan's medications.
Because Pat Contreras, a jeweler, makes $53,000 a year, the family doesn't qualify for government health programs or assistance.
"We couldn't get anything," Lesli Contreras said.
Local churches and The Salvation Army have assisted them with bills on several occasions.
The Contrerases have health insurance. But they pay 20 percent of each medical bill and about $4,000 each year in deductibles.

In a good month, one in which Nathan doesn't have any unexpected visits to the doctor or the hospital, the Contrerases shell out $600 in co-pays for his vitamins, medications and formula. The day I visited, Nathan was, as his mother put it, "full of beans," but the crashes come suddenly.
The 2005 Harvard study, looking at filings from 2001, attributed about 700,000 bankruptcies (out of 1.4 million ) to illness in the family.
More than three-quarters of the households had insurance at the start of the bankrupting illness, though many lost it by the time they filed for bankruptcy.
"Unless you're Bill Gates, you are just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," Dr. David Himmelstein, lead author, said in a news release at the time.
Health insurance offered little protection. Families faced "unaffordable co-payments, deductibles and bills for uncovered items," he said.

. . ."I make myself numb to it because I can't do anything about it," Pat Contreras said. "I try to pay the most important bills, to keep the house and pay the utilities."

Anyone happen to see 60 Minutes this past Sunday? It was a particularly chilling rehash of the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act which resulted in the rape of America's elderly and  the disasterous Medicare D giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry.

Here's what Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. said, "I've been in politics for 22 years, and it was the ugliest night I have ever seen in 22 years."

You can read a transcript here. Warning bring a vomit bag.

Originally posted to nyceve on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:01 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There are so many sad stories in today's health (25+ / 0-)

    care mess in this country.  The system is so badly broken.  Is there any hope of repair?

    Thanks, nyceve, for all your hard work.  You, among others, make a real difference.  Too bad we cannot make the changes happen today that need to be.

    Never In Our Names "all you have to do to qualify for human rights is to be human."

    by possum on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:05:30 PM PDT

  •  Absolutely depressing (35+ / 0-)

    I've very recently gone through dealing with outrageous prices for a family member to find the same $2,000 prescription drugs that family member needs to survive available somewhere else for $350 a month.  

    The pharmaceutical racket has got to be the biggest scam in existence today.  As bad as it is, it's even worst knowing that money is invested in seeking relief and high profits rather than cures that wipe out promising markets for them.

    I hope there is a hell.  Because I want to see all those motherfuckers in it.

    Pass the Employee Free Choice Act!

    by PaulVA on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:06:43 PM PDT

    •  You know Paul, and this is the God awful truth (32+ / 0-)

      I haven't written a diary in a few days because the volume of bad healthcare news is so enormous I quite literally don't know where to turn or what to write about.

      Then I see this story about this doctor and his patient and I shrug until I could no longer shrug because so many people were emailing me about it.

      It's a sad day when I shrug because all this is so fucking commonplace.

      What a fucking catastrophe.

      •  I know what you mean (10+ / 0-)

        I was writing a series of diaries on workplace issues and started dwelling into some horror stories about some things I had encountered before on union organizing campaigns and stopped writing for a couple of weeks until today because I got too engrossed in it and started reliving some experiences I didn't want to revisit.  Your diary touched on something I just found out this weekend and am dealing with which sparked a ton of pent up frustration and anger in me.  

        If I had seen that 60 Minutes piece this weekend I probably would have just broken down right there.  We see so much crap out there and then turn around and it happens to us or something even more preposterous happens that even what seemed outrageous at one time just seems commonplace today.  

        We're all either gonna turn into emotional zombies or just walk down the street and look at the guy eating puppies and look at him with puzzled amusement.

        Pass the Employee Free Choice Act!

        by PaulVA on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:27:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  nyceve- we all love ya for what you do, not (3+ / 0-)

        allowing this issue to go off of our radar. i certainly am grateful to you for it and just so you know, you have prompted me to get off my dead ass and write tons of e-mails, letters, and phone calls to my so called representatives. what you do is important, very much so, just want you to know that.
         my younger brothers wife had a very debilitating stroke last fall at 41.their daughter is severly autistic and she had stayed home all of her adult life to care for my niece. he may make $40,000 a year and they do recieve somewhere around $500 a month ssi for my niece.
         he has been unable to work quite a bit since her stroke, our parents are all entirely too old to deal with my niece or sister in law, he applied for ssi for his wife and whatnot but was turned down, as are all claims for ssi the first two times they are filed- i see this as an attempt by our government to allow you to die before you get a dime from them. due to the fact he makes "too much money", they don't qualify for any assistance whatsoever. their insurance was rapidly maxed out as far as rehab or home nursing care so much of the help he has had he had to pay out of pocket for both his wife and daughter. he's on the verge of bankruptcy and we are only talking a matter of 6 months.
         ohio has this great little caveat to their republican approved bankruptcy reform that allows hmos, hospitals, ect to put liens against a persons vehicle or house and allows foreclosure on same. so in another six months for all our government gives a damn, these people can be booted out of their own home onto the street over his inability to cover all of the co-pays and percentages his insurance demands. do they care that this woman is paralized and was the primary care giver of a severly autistic adult child? fuckin' hardly.
         i am scared for him, i mean of course he won't go homeless, they can all move in here if it comes to that level of insanity. no, it's not that that is the problem, it is the obvious toll all of this shit is taking on him and his own health and mental state. he doesn't want nor asks for a handout, merely what he feels he has paid his taxes for all of his life. i cannot help but wonder what detrimental affect this has had upon their daughter, as you know, autistic kids are creatures of habit to the inth degree, her entire world has been flipped upside down and the one person who knew her every nuance, her mom,  now cannot even speak. i fear for her as well.
          i had such high hopes that we would see some real changes once our party regained control of the legislative branches of government last fall, and i realize also that has only been three months now BUT these are the very same spineless, nutless, gutless cowards rehashed, all but a small handfull are as deep into the pockets of the insurance companies and big pharma as their repugnant counterparts- do i really think things will change? hell no. not unless we, us who put these fools in the offices they hold begin to vote them out in favor of true progressives who have the balls to go shake the dust off of the floors of the house and senate with new blood and new ideas- what we have is not working nor do i see it in its present state as even being POSSIBLE of working, period.
          i'm on a rant, sorry.
          keep it up eve, i for one am glad you are here doing what you do so well.

        impeach-it does the body good impeachment-it isn't just for blow jobs anymore impeachment-i can say no more i expect no less

        by playtonjr on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 05:29:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It is bleak (28+ / 0-)

    But we cannot become numb and accepting of the scale of human tragedy that our system of free market yo-yo care imposes on our citizens.

    The reality is "you're on your own" really doesn't work when it comes to health care.  Not for the sick, not for their families.  A lot of us feel relatively safe because we have health insurance, but any serious disease will eat financial reserves quickly.  

    We need a system of National Health care, and we need it now.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:08:44 PM PDT

  •  few recommends for this story "sigh" (23+ / 0-)

    I am so disappointed that people aren't paying attention to this story.

    My solution:  pass new federal law requiring health insurers to be non-profit.  Turn back the clock when my family had good Blue Cross insurance (when they were non-profit, no huge rewards for CEOs and investors!)  What is wrong with the people in America that they can't see what has been done to them by the Republicans since Nixon was elected and Cheney/Rumsfeld et al have been controlling this Country every time a Republican stooge has been elected for how many years now,  at least 40 years.

    •  Obama was concerned about.... (14+ / 0-)

      what would happen to the folks who work at Blue Cross.......
      At a Miami rally I had asked him if he supports HR 676.

      I worry more about the 47 million americans who are uninsured!!!!!

      The human tragedy is immense and given these figures, our country would realize huge savings if we adopted a single payer healthcare system:

      The United States spends $2 trillion per year on health care, which is 16 percent of the gross national product.
      By contrast, Canada spends 9 percent of its GNP and Japan spends 8 percent.

      What happened to Shirley Searcy ( mother of 8 grown children) could happen to me.

      I am one of the 47 million uninsured.

      "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane." -Martin Luther King, Jr.,.... Support Conyer's bill HR 676!!

      by fayeforcure on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:52:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Our health care system is fundamentally broken... (18+ / 0-)

    incremental reforms will no longer work.  I really have little interest in supporting any prez candidate who does not offer a fundamental change of our health care system.

    The war is my #1 issue, and global warming is #2.  Health care is a close 3d at this point.  In terms of literal life and death issues, those 3 really are the most signficant.  Thank you, as always, nyceve, for reminding us of that fact.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:09:53 PM PDT

  •  I was against "socialized medicine" (9+ / 0-)

    when it was originally proposed by HRC.  However, what I have seen since then has convinced me that it is time for universal health care in this country.  The providers and insurance companies and pharma companies have had 15 years to improve, but the system has become much worse.  30% of the spending now goes for overhead and profit.

    It won't be easy, but it is time to throw out the existing system and start from scratch.  What we have now is too badly broken to just tweak!

    It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds - Samuel Adams

    by Red no more on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:11:36 PM PDT

  •  On the end, it is about life and death. (9+ / 0-)

    Thanks for reminding us why we are liberal Democrats. Such class discrepancies in medical treatment must stop.

  •  Elizabeth Edwards (17+ / 0-)

    This is the exact same contrast that I thought of when Elizabeth Edwards announced the return of her cancer.  That there is somewhere in this country a woman with the exact same medical history, and no health insurance.  Well, probably lots of women.

  •  People die every day... (10+ / 0-)

    People die every day because they do not have insurance.

    BlueSunbelt.Com Netroots for the Sunbelt states My personal blog

    by Rob on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:15:37 PM PDT

  •  The 60 Minutes story was a long-overdue (15+ / 0-)

    response to the saturation TV-ad campaign aired by PhRMA in support of the notion that Medicare Part D is "working" and shouldn't be changed.  The ads typically cite such consumer-friendly sources as the Wall Street Journal.

    When I Googled for cites to support this point, I found that nyceve is already on top of the issue:
    Take-No-Prisoners Battle With Big Pharma Brewing

    •  Have you see the Pharma adds yet? They are (14+ / 0-)

      running here in Pensacola.  We have Mediacom cable, and the adds are touting how bad it will be to let government bid for lower drug prices, and what an injustice it will be for the elderly who are buying those drugs with their Medicare insurance.  

      We saw it for the first time last night and were just struck numb with disgust.  Who the hell do they think they are kidding and is this ad campaign targeted to a thinking public?  Anyone who buys that load of shit needs to come to their senses, and fast.

      There is an article in the new AARP magazine regarding the rising cost of drugs since this new Medicare bill went into effect, and it is clear that the profits are enormous and definitely gouging to the taxpayers.  Something like 26.7 percent rise in 2006 against a rise of 5-6 percent in previous years.  Don't have the link handy, but the numbers were outrageous.

      Anyway, I feel better now that I got that off my chest.  :)

      Where the hell are we going and why am I in this damn handbasket?

      by panicbean on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:45:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They've been playing in MN (7+ / 0-)

        SE MN, on the Charter cable system.

        They're enough to make you vomit.

        "It's working, it's great, change it and you'll be torturing grandma!" kind of stuff.

        Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His Justice cannot sleep for ever. - Thomas Jefferson

        by Lashe on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 02:12:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The ads have been on a long time here (6+ / 0-)

        and played often.

        Makes me sick.

        Their profits are enormous and they justify it by research and development costs. Right.
        The last I read for every $100 they recieve through sales $15 goes for the research and development and $35 goes for marketing, advertising and administration. ($24 is net profit)
        I'm not sure which of those categories the cost of their 600 lobbyists goes into. Marketing? Other?

        If we changed the power of lobbyists or if Congress was less influenced by the money we wouldn't be facing this.
        But that leads to the cost of running for congress.
        Problems are to begin fixing them?

        •  Are you are saying (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          that Big Pharma spends a grand total of 16% of all premiums they collect on actual care?  If that number is accurate, then we need to get this information out en masse.

          "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

          by givmeliberty on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 04:26:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I had read those numbers (4+ / 0-)

            I posted from this page

            But similar numbers are reported from many sources. For instance here

            Among the nine pharmaceutical companies examined in the report - Merck, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmacia, Abbott Laboratories, American Home Products, Eli Lilly, Schering-Plough, and Allergan - all but one (Eli Lilly) spent more than twice as much on marketing, advertising, and administration than they did on research and development, and Lilly spent more than one and one-half times as much. Six out of the nine companies made more money in net profits than they spent on research and development last year.

            This chart shows the breakdown from many companies. The percent going to research and development ranges from Merck and Co., Inc with 6% going to R&D (17% profit and 15% marketing)to
            Eli Lilly and Co.spending 19% on R&D (28% profit and 30% marketing)

            PBS  has this information

            Uwe Reinhardt, an economist who studies the U.S. health system, says that R&D accounts for about 13 percent of pharmaceutical companies' revenue. Twenty-eight percent, he says, is spent on manufacturing, packaging and quality control, and 13 to 15 percent on administration and marketing.

            Since companies are not compelled to make public a breakdown of their marketing and advertising costs (almost all companies combine administration and marketing costs), it's hard to pinpoint a figure for marketing expenditures. Industry spokesperson Marjorie Powell estimates that drug companies spent twice as much on R&D as on ads and marketing -- roughly $15 billion in 2002 on advertising and marketing, and about $30 billion on R&D.

            However, industry critic Marcia Angell reverses that ratio, estimating that the industry spends about twice as much on marketing as they do on research. She tells FRONTLINE, "by their own figures, over a third of their employees are in marketing. Not marketing administration, but marketing. So I think it's safe to conclude that somewhere on the order of 30 percent -- over twice the R&D costs -- are marketing."

            Or this

            Thus major pharmaceutical companies spend $2.80 on promotion and administration of their drugs for every $1 they spend on bringing new drugs to the market.

            While exact figures vary there's no doubt that the R&D that's so essential that they break the budget and backs of America is a small item in their budget.

            Perhaps Congress needs to be lobbied with thiose facts.

  •  gee. which is more disgusting? (20+ / 0-)

    former Congressman Billy Tauzin, R-La. and his consort

    Tauzin had a cancerous tumor removed from his intestines and was treated with a new medicine, called Avastin, that had never been used before on that form of cancer.

    The treatment was successful, and as a result Tauzin says he felt he owed his life to the drug industry. After serving out his congressional term, he accepted a $2 million-a-year job dollar as president of PhRMA — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

    "There was an extraordinary moment when my wife literally looked me in the eye and said, 'Look, you're gonna do well wherever you go, Billy ... You got a lot a great offers ... And maybe you oughta think about working for the people that struggle everyday to try to invent the medicines that save lives like yours.'

    or the unitary asshole?

    In January, one of the first things the new Democratic House of Representatives did was to make it mandatory for Medicare to negotiate lower prices with the drug companies.

    A similar measure faces stiff opposition in the Senate, where the drug lobby is spending millions of dollars to defeat it. The president has already announced that if the bill passes, he will veto it.

    or waiting til 2008? ITMA. life would be soooo much easier.

    Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

    by MarketTrustee on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:17:07 PM PDT

  •  Just curious (0+ / 0-)

    so, how did Rep. Walter Jones vote? Did he cave? Anyone know?

    It isn't shameful to vote your own self-interest instead of the interests of multi-national corporations--iceman

    by fumie on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:21:52 PM PDT

  •  A quote from Dick on his treatment (7+ / 0-)

    of his deep vein thrombosis;

    "I was fortunate to catch it early and I've got great medical care".


  •  Our health care insurance (13+ / 0-)

    is a vicious cycle.  It is ridiculous that ealth care should be for profit in the first place.  Get rich off of the sick.  It is a sad shame.  
    Thank you for this diary, I will be forwarding it to a friend.  We discussed this issue just last weekend.

    "Come, come, my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see the world is moving." Elizabeth Cady Stanton

    by txlosthorn on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:28:32 PM PDT

  •  Here's what's so telling to me: (18+ / 0-)

    Health insurance offered little protection.

    Even when I had health insurance, I still couldn't afford to go to the doctor because of the deductible.  Focusing simply on providing universal coverage isn't going to cut it.  But there is so little consciousness of the inhumanity and injustice of wealth gaps and social systems with enormous economic schisms in the US, that it becomes hard to find an emotional reaction to news stories such as this.  We in the US are so accustomed to thinking of poverty as simply an economic problem (and of thinking of economics as separate from politics, and something that should remain so) that there is not the analytic or emotional repetoire to see these conditions as a profound social issue.  

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:28:58 PM PDT

  •  I'm tired, eve. (29+ / 0-)

    So very weary hearing these kinds of stories.  

    We lost my MIL to pancreatic cancer in 1988.  She had no insurance.  She'd been a waitress her whole life, quitting school in the 8th grade to bring in some kind of income for her widowed mother who'd just lost her leg to diabetes, her 2 younger brothers and younger sister.  

    In December of '87, by the time she was able to see a doctor (the appointment was set up and paid for by her sister), the doctor informed her that her color was bad and that she needed exploratory surgery to know exactly what was going on.  The doctor opened her up and discovered cancer in her pancreas, too far gone to do anything but send her home to die.  After paying for the surgery, her sister couldn't afford to pay for her to continue treatment with this doctor, so her case was turned over to a doctor connected with the state hospital, 2 hours away.  This doctor showed little interest.

    We flew to see her in February and she was a shell of the person she was.  My husband's family had never faced serious illness and trusted that what the doctor was doing was enough.  My MIL clutched my hand like a vice grip from the agony she was in.  I took my husband and SIL aside and asked what she was being given for pain and my SIL responded, "800 mg. Ibuprofen."  I quietly suggested she call the doctor and tell him that she needed something stronger.  My husband and she made the 2 hour drive there and 2 hour drive back, returning with a prescription for Demerol tablets.  She died the next month (March), swollen from renal failure and barely conscious.  She died just after my SIL returned from her final 4 hour trek to convince the doctor that the Demerol wasn't enough.  After a half hour lecture about how the morphine pills he was sending her home with would alter my MIL forever, my SIL ventured home to try and relieve my MIL's agony.  (Interesting, he chose pills. considering my MIL could barely swallow at this point.)  My MIL never even had a chance to take a one of those morphine tablets.  She died just as my SIL was walking through the front door.

    This is how many of the uninsured are dying.

    On a personal note, I'm scheduled to have a scan done Monday to check my lymph nodes.  I can't wait for the inevitable fight with my insurance company over why yet another scan is necessary considering the cancer's in my blood.  And once again I'll have to explain how my hematologist/oncologist is watching in anticipation of the malignancy showing itself in the form of lymphoma.  

    It's all getting tedious and tiresome, eve.

    "Ancora Imparo." ("I am still learning.") - Michelangelo, Age 87

    by Dreaming of Better Days on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:35:54 PM PDT

  •  I don't understand why it is supposedly the (15+ / 0-)

    government's job to protect us from bad people, but it is not its job to protect us from bad diseases.

    I am convinced that conservatives are interested in having their taxes only go to beat, restrain, control, imprison, spy on, interrogate, punish, torture, invade, kill, and overthrow other people than themselves, and all their arguments on the role of government are just rationalizations for that.

  •  Only through stories like these (11+ / 0-)

    Will we convince each other - the necessary first step - that single-payer is the only answer. We MUST get rid of the insurance paradigm. For-profit insurers, as this article points out, are no guarantee you will be healthy and given the medical care you need.

    That, I guess, is what I find so depressing about discussing health care. Every time we do it, there are Kossacks who refuse to look at the facts, the evidence, and the reality, and cling desperately to the fantasy that insurance still has a positive role to play in health care, that we can solve this problem without a universal single-payer system.

    But there is NO OTHER CHOICE. Single-payer is the best solution, and it also happens to be the only solution. I say we start here on dKos - convince those remaining reticent voices and then get them to help us convince our families, our friends, and our Democratic representatives that the time for bullshit half-measures has long since passed - we need single-payer. Now.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:40:43 PM PDT

    •  Absolutely. The election is an obstacle. (0+ / 0-)

      The election and dkos favorite candidates are already defusing the support for national single-payer. These need to be decoupled. There is no candidate that is positioned to support national single-payer and win the GE. The insurance backlash which will align with the GOP will be too real a threat to take on while campaigning for any Dem.

      This is the time to poll, measure,  educate and advocate, and poll again. The majority of dkos  members are healthy, employed, and covered by the large group insurance, based on DrSteveB's demogs. They need to see the  risk built into the system that shifts to them as they age and/or utilize.  "I've got  mine" mentality needs a strong dose of reality. The risk to their families, which they think is managed, must be demonstrated by the rest of us.

      This is the time to be strong , demand, deny the impulse to negotiate. Be activists for what would be Americans' number 1 priotity but for Bush's warmongering. Now.

      And let's push on John Conyers to resubmit HR676.

  •  This story almost induced vomiting and all I had (7+ / 0-)

    for lunch was a salad. These pigs make me sick...pure & simple.

    "We're right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And someone's giving booze to these goddamn things"-Hunter S. Thompson

    by rogerdaddy on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:45:28 PM PDT

  •  I appreciate how you can insert some humor (5+ / 0-)

    into these otherwise rather depressing accounts - speaking of course of

    It's also about life and death in America in 2007, the richest country on the planet.

    •  The same country that spends $.50 (7+ / 0-)

      of every dollar on military.
      Makes me want to scream.

      I have recently had the business that I have worked for for 25 yrs change hands. I am married to the former vice pres/manager &  due to family disputes and a very ugly transfer of ownership I am now on the state based health plan.
      Just me. Not my daughter or husband. I will pay 40%, the new "Boss" will kick in 60% with me paying almost $80 a week. Daughter will be an additional $420 per month. When I deduct that from my pay it makes for a very 'light' payday.
      Guess I should be grateful but through all this bullshit I am not. It has been an eye opener to say the least...
      I am now painfully aware how devastating the lack of health insurance is for so many. Even with the coverage I am being given it will be a struggle to cover the bill.
      nyceve, I thank you for all your hard work tracking this insanity. The numbers of people on the edge of financial ruin - just one illness away - are incomprehensible for a country such as ours. Or at least, as it once was.

      "Teach...your children well" CSN

      by tallmom on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 03:02:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Attention John Edwards (13+ / 0-)

    Please keep up the talk about universal health care - but PLEASE quit using as your most important talking point the "46 million uninsured." Our broken health care insurance system is a problem for ALL of us - insured and uninsured - poor and rich.

    Insurance is NO insurance against bankruptcy for medical reasons when "more than three-quarters of the households had insurance at the start of the bankrupting illness."

    Even people who are insured live in dire fear:

    Employed, insured breadwinners fear getting sick, losing their jobs and losing coverage for themselves AND their spouses and young children.

    Small business owners and their employees live in dire fear of ANYONE in their tiny little pool getting sick lest their policy be dropped at the end of the term and their health history that puts their premiums beyond affordable.

    Employed, insured breadwinners fear losing their job b/c they can't afford non-group coverage for themselves and their families while they look for a job.

    We ALL live in dire fear of acquiring an illness that will tag us with the dreaded label "uninsurable."  Even the rich can't afford to be uninsurable.

    We ALL live in dire fear of being diagnosed with an illness that will saddle our children with the dreaded label "uninsurable" or "high risk" and that they will never be able to obtain insurance as adults.

    If you want something other than the obvious to happen - you've got to do something other than the obvious...Douglas Adams

    by trillian on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:51:44 PM PDT

  •  My cynical comment .... (18+ / 0-)
    Having survived cancer myself but losing my corporate job in the process of "being out of work too much in the process of treatment, surgery, recovery and unfortunately, depression," I would like to say this:

    I was impressed with the fact that there are those of us who simply aren't of high enough value (me) to society to be considered worthy of survival, even if we survive the first hit.  Others, who are considered worthy, do survive.  

    Some would say: if you aren't insured and get sick it merely means you are not a high value person, and so you must fend for yourself and face the consequences.

    I totally hate this line of reasoning, but its how America seems to operate.   I repeat, I detest this kind of thinking.

    My heart goes out to anyone who lacks the basics, which includes health care.  I've not had it for over 10 years.  I do remember what it was like when I did have it.  

    •  Social Darwinism (7+ / 0-)

      at it's best.

      Very sad for America:

      Why doesn’t the US have single payer universal health care when single payer universal health care is the most efficient, most democratic and most equitable means to deliver health care?

      Why does the United States remain wedded to an inefficient, autocratic and immoral system that makes health care accessible to the wealthy and not the poor when a vast majority of citizens want it to be a right of citizenship?

      The American Medical Student Association gets it:

      "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane." -Martin Luther King, Jr.,.... Support Conyer's bill HR 676!!

      by fayeforcure on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 02:58:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What have we come to? (10+ / 0-)

    Pretty simple really. The "haves" and the "have nots". Disgusting.

    Frodo failed....Bush has got the ring!

    by Alohaleezy on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 01:59:16 PM PDT

  •  Luck (8+ / 0-)

    The access to affordable health care is always on my mind, because I primarily work with the poor, but my job provides me with excellent medical benefits.

    When I was 11 years old, I was aggressively carrying out my duties as left forward on my pewee hockey team when I took a massive slapshot to the face – the thing snuck right in under my face shield and chipped off half of my front tooth, even through the mouth guard (the dentist I saw hours later said from the looks of my lip, I’d have lost the front 4 without that guard, so I counted my blessings). After submitting their insurance, my parents got me right in and had the thing fixed before dinner time with some really nice – if slightly off-color – filling work (dinner itself was another story: I was told by my mother I wasn’t allowed to play hockey anymore – I was pissed, but she did me a favor, I was really too small - I was playing well then, but the next years would have been brutal as the other kids got huge).

    That doctor always told me the minute I turned 18 I’d have to get a proper crown put on, because I’d be lucky if it lasted even that long. Well, being stubborn as hell, I just left it alone, and woke up all these years later to find the thing missing Monday morning. Still, I rested easily knowing that I’d have it fixed in no time with my dental coverage. As it turns out, my dentist is undergoing some intense cosmetic dentistry certification process, and decided he was going to fix the whole thing for free if I let him go overboard by having a few visits to photograph and take care of perfect shaping and shading (more than I needed, anyway). I took it up just because I didn’t want to deal with the co-pay, but can’t help but feel a little guilty thinking off all the kids I’ve seen who live throughout this region who needed that free dental work when I didn’t.

    That’s the problem – right now, good health care is nothing more than a matter of luck for too many Americans – whether it’s the luck of where you were born, or circumstances that present themselves.

    Melissa Hart is gone - thank you Chris Bowers

    by surfbird007 on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 02:02:08 PM PDT

  •  I'll be sure to stay healthy right up until the (7+ / 0-)

    day I die.

    Having made that commitment, I can give up my "gold plated" health plan.

    Sarcastic cynicism: the only way I know to deal with one horrible story after another.  sigh.  

    You snooze you lose, well I have snost and lost, I'm pushing thru, I'll disregard the cost...

    by Sean in Motion on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 02:08:22 PM PDT

  •  Will come back later to read this (5+ / 0-)

    Great diary, nyceve and commenters. I'm furious over this and can't read any more for a while.

  •  More and more Americans become uninsured (13+ / 0-)

    every day. At the moment, I am worried about my middle son. He will graduate from college in May, and my health insurance will drop him at that point. He can't afford to pay for the COBRA, and (having just put two kids through college) I am not sure that I can afford the COBRA either. He is a healthy yound man, but I live in fear of something happening to him.

  •  Flame me, but (5+ / 0-)

    fear of the costs is not the only reason people do not seek medical treatment.  A dear friend and colleague died of cancer a couple of years ago.  She'd suspected that "something" was wrong for more than 6 months.  She didn't want to trouble family, friends and employer.  Or whatever.  She was limping and dragging one foot before she went to a doctor.  I'm not sure if it was bone cancer or some other cancer which had gotten into her bones.  

    This is in Norway.  Treatment is almost free whether you put it off or not.  The national health system paid for a special chair which lifted her up to a standing position, an extra high toilet seat and other equipment she needed in the time she had left.  She had a very lovely funeral.

    The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

    by DSPS owl on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 02:37:49 PM PDT

    •  I agree, it isnt as simple as insured=lives, (5+ / 0-)


      My mother is a public school teacher and has excellent insurance through her district.  It is now quite clear that while she was having her annual exam and every cancer screening test recommended, she had already developed advanced-stage lung cancer.  It wasn't detected until an ER visit and a case of pnuemonia because she had never smoked and there is no screening test for lung cancer.  After she was diagnosed, she had exploratory surgery (deeming her cancer inoperable), chemo and radiation scheduled within two weeks.  Up to this point, everything has been pretty ineffective because her cancer appears to be chemo-resistant.  

      I have become acquainted with a women who had no insurance at the time of her lung cancer diagnosis.  She was diagnosed at a much earlier stage, because she was lucky enough to go to an ER with a very proactive doctor that insisted (due to her smoking history) that she have a CT scan (she thought she had a bad case of the flu).  I have no idea how her medical coverage has been cobbled together (I assume she is getting some kind of public/medical assistance, but I figure it is none of my business), but I do know she has had regular oncologist vists and essentially the same schedule of chemo/radiation that my mother did.  As her cancer was caught at an earlier stage, and is much more receptive to chemo, she is current in much better shape than my mother.

      I do agree that our heathcare system is broken and we have to do something, but I think that assuming insurance is the only determining factor in cancer survival is insane, as "cancer" is not a static disease that acts the same in every body that it invades.

    •  Norway. I had a friend working there (5+ / 0-)

      He's a US citizen but that didn't matter. When he became disabled and couldn't do his job he not only got health care but disability pay.
      The care included doctors, physical therapy, medicine, special equipment and many MRIs and more.

      But the cost of the MRI sticks out in my mind. Well under $200 for sull spine scans.
      It struck me because I knew of 3 people with suspected MS and no insurance. Calling around the cost of MRI was always the same, about $2,000. No test.

      One died of a brain tumor. I guess the autopsy was free.

      •  Norway. Citizenship doesn't matter. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If you pay your taxes, medical is covered.  I've had a couple of MRIs and not paid anywhere near $200!  Either he ordered it himself, not going through a doctor, or maybe you were told 200 kr ~ $25-30.  Most specialists and tests cost about that much until you've paid your limit for the year, about $250.  Prescriptions for chronic conditions are covered in the same limit.  Also transportation to specialists etc.  If the condition and/or the medication isn't on the approved list, you have to pay for it.  Likewise something not chronic, like a round of penicillin.  Physical therapy is only covered if required for a chronic condition or post surgery.

        Optical and dental are not covered :-( except for kids.

        The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

        by DSPS owl on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:52:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He didn't pay anything for the MRIs (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DSPS owl

          He was saying that was the total cost. But now that you mention it he corrected me the same way you did when I remarked that $200 was so low. He said no, 200 krones.

          It was several years ago but still it must be that my mind rebels at such a price difference. I couldn't keep that in my mind until you reminded me.

          •  I almost learned the hard way (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            about ordering something without going by way of a doctor, btw.  My climbing partner and I hadn't been here long and didn't know the ropes (no pun intended) when I broke my ankle and needed an ambulance-helicopter.  He hurried down the mountain and made some phone calls.  He was told that it'd be very expensive if he ordered it himself, but free if a doctor ordered it!  

            What luxury.  I sat on a hot sunny day with my foot in a cold river until the 'copter came.  Just me and the various insects.  Had to hurry up and put some clothes on when I heard them approaching.  (The guys in the 'copter, not the insects.)  And since I couldn't walk, my friend had to make the trip back up to fetch the tent.

            The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

            by DSPS owl on Thu Apr 05, 2007 at 02:31:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  nyceve, thank you for everything you do. (12+ / 0-)

    I'm currently one of the uninsured, because I let COBRA lapse in October, in anticipation of a hire that didn't happen. Stupid, yes, god how I realize that.

    It's April, and Blue Cross has told me that I am going to be denied insurance because 1) my height/weight ratio is unacceptable (even though I'm healthy as a horse, with excellent cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure and other scores), and 2) I had an abnormal PAP smear result last year around this time (monitored and cleared up without treatment.)

    But they're sending me information about 'guaranteed health coverage' that there's a waiting list with a certain number of slots per month, and I might get on in July or August.

    I was in a (relatively minor, thank god) car accident two weeks ago, and my neck hurts (and had a nasty dizzy spell on Saturday night, driving home), but no medical on my car insurance. today I'm getting the occasional mini-twinge from the cervical area. but we're going to pretend, now, that everything is okay.

    For the final joke, I'm single, make 72K yearly as a contractor. I can afford perfectly good health insurance. I'm just not allowed to buy it. and god help those folks who can't afford it in the first place...

  •  Why Use This Term? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RickWn, nyceve

    Anyone happen to see 60 Minutes this past Sunday? It was a particularly chilling rehash of the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act which resulted in the rape of America's elderly and  the disasterous Medicare D giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry.

    I have always seen your diaries as some of the most tolerant and sensitive here at DKos.  That is why I am so surprised to see such a figure of speech.  Increasingly, the use of the expression "rape of" is seen as inappropriate.  Although older meanings included "desecration", today the term "rape" has such powerful sexual and gendered meanings as to render the older usage obsolete.  In addition, it has the capacity to marginalize those who are themselves survivors of rape - in exchange for a bit of hyperbole.  I urge you to reconsider such usage in the future.

    Here is how writer Chris Clarke views the expression "rape of the earth":

    To call environmental destruction "rape" is to achieve the startling and counterintuitive accomplishment of trivializing both sins. In using the metaphor, the writer both inflates the importance of a single individual to that of a huge complex of millions of individuals and reduces the anguish of a bonafide rape victim to some pallid parallel, a gouge in a hillside. The metaphor relies on the equation of women to passive, non-sentient resources, and it masks the true nature and depth of the damage to the landscape. It equates rape with the taking of something of monetary value that rightfully belongs to a third party. It assigns women the status of scenery, and we the environmentally concerned—who would husband that violated landscape—are cast as the true victims.

    One could make similar arguments for "rape of the elderly".

    •  Rape of Nanking (0+ / 0-)

      discuss amongst yourselves...

      •  Violation. Assault upon. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        davidincleveland, CarterDulka, marykk

        Shocking and intolerable assault upon.  It's an extreme image because it refers to an extremely violent and harmful act, but I don't think it's always unjustified.  Some extreme things are happening, including to the elderly.

        "Rape of the Earth" is way overwrought, though. It  frames everything as malicious attack, which is way too simple.  People do ecological damage out of ignorance, or with good intention, or because they're Brazilian peasants and will go hungry if they don't cut down a bit of rainforest to plant food, etc.  It's not a simple situation, and it always riles me to hear that phrase.

  •  This is tragic (7+ / 0-)

    I know firsthand how the lack of insurance can be a death sentence for some families. That being said your point that health insurance is no guarantee of a positive outcome is indeed on point. As it is today I had a medical procedure covered by insurance, but I still had to shell out $225 to cover the deductible and the coinsurance. For DC related travel advice, please visit that link.

    by jiacinto on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 03:52:30 PM PDT

  •  Another home run, nyceve, (7+ / 0-)

    I really admire your determination in the face of the unrelenting assault of bad, worse and terrible news.

    Don't beat yourself up over the occasional episode of battle fatigue.  
    Winning is getting knocked down X times and getting back up X+1 times.

    You keep getting back up.
    We are going to win.
    I know it.
    You know it.
    Soon all the world will know it.

    It is far better to be thought a fool than to invade Iraq and remove all doubt.

    by clio on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 04:14:47 PM PDT

    •  Amen to that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Do I correctly understand that it was the doc himself who broke this story?  How unusual - and goo - of him.  An awful lot would not have thought twice about this.

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 05:30:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the most important (4+ / 0-)

    domestic issue for me.  Our health care system makes no sense for any one except the shareholders of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.  I think single-payer may be the only solution.  People have enough to worry about when they are sick, financial ruin and fights with insurance companies should not be among those things.  Thank you for all the work you do.

  •  This is why (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nyceve, davidincleveland

    I'm all fired up about Obama who might sort of hope to get everyone "Insured" by the end of his eight year term as long as no-one important disagrees.


    Our health-care system is one of many national disgraces.

    Republicans: Proudly placing yellow smiley-face stickers on the face of doom since 1969 -8.88 -5.08

    by SecondComing on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 05:07:47 PM PDT

  •  Keep bringing the stories, Eve. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nyceve, Boppy, fayeforcure

    They need to be told.

    It's one reason I like John Edwards.  He is serious about universal health care.  He does not need a conversation or listening tour.  He has a plan and a revenue stream.  Together, we will change this travesty they call health care in America.  

    "We've got to save America from this President." John Edwards 4/3/07

    by TomP on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 05:17:08 PM PDT

  •  The rethug line of everybody for him/her self and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boppy, davidincleveland

    God for all has made this country's citizens detached from the effects of folks suffering right here from disease, poverty, corporate shafting and what have you.

  •  It is getting worser and worser (3+ / 0-)

    A 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need about $215,000 to cover medical costs according to  Fidelity Investments. That is if the man lives to be 82 (17 years) and the woman lives to be 85 (20 years).

    Fidelity say 32 percent of the $215,000 estimate would be for Medicare coverage premiums for expenses from doctors' visits, outpatient hospital care and prescription drugs.

    Another 35 percent would come from other cost-sharing provisions of Medicare, including copayments and deductibles.

    Out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions would account for another 33 percent.

    Fidelity's estimate doesn't include over-the-counter medications and long-term care. More

    I looked Medicare and I couldn't tell that all the extra insurance helps that much.  It sounds reasonable as far as the cost of the old Medicare a and b.  Then the cost for medipak and d aren't all that high but I couldn't see where it is going to help those who are retired. Most will have to pay $2400 on prescriptions before they get help from the prescription d insurance.

    Buying the best medipak offered they said to plan on $3400 for copays with all that insurance.  

    Many people will draw less than $20,000 on Social Security as a couple and many will draw less than that.  The gov could end up having to pay for most medical for those who have retired.  Even those couples who get maximum Social Security will have problems paying  $11,000 each year.  That will eat up their savings.

    They were talking on hardball about cutting Medicare and Social Security.  That is so odd, since the elderly aren't the ones who are draining the money away with high medical charges, they can't control what they are charged as patients. The elderly aren't the ones who haven't passed a bill for competitive bidding in Medicare.

    We are all putting money in Social Security with every pay check and it is the only government program that isn't in the red. There are 3 paying in now for every two that are retired and we still have this surplus. We have over two trillion in government bonds to be used to take the load off the younger generation when all the boomers retire.  

    If they would pass a law that the health field couldn't charge the uninsured more than they charge Medicare, that would solve a lot of the problem, but only if they would get better pricing for Medicare.

    In a way it is theft the way they are grabbing our money through obscene medical charges.  They are deliberately trying to destroy Medicare.

  •  A lot of the deaths insurance causes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will never be known.  It is done quietly by refusal to do the more expensive testing that could find things in time.

    My sister in law was given a clear bill of health in December, then she died of colon cancer in July the next year.  They had done the usual colonostomy, but there is another they have to do to totally check your colon.  A friend of my sister died 5 years before that of the same reason and the doctor even said that he should have done the extra testing.

    The Insurance may not even tell them they can't but they are under a lot of pressure not to test.  I have read that one insurance company is paying the doctors who do less testing a bonus.  That is sad.

    Some are making big bucks off of health stocks in the market, but most of the average investors will never make enough profit off of their medical stocks in their funds to pay the costs they are out for insurance and extra health care costs.  

    Most people pay anywhere from $4,800 to $10,000 for health insurance.  Add a lot of co-pays and it wears away the security of families.  It keeps them from investing and keeps them from being able to do other things.  It isn't like saving where you will use the money later. One medical money is spent it is gone forever.

  •  Hello, FMLA... goodbye medical benefits (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Nyceve, it is getting late for me to be posting, but you have to learn the latest "corporate" trick being foisted upon those who think they have great medical benefits.

    Nutshell version: My employer, a public transit agency, has recently instituted a new policy that supercedes the signed Teamster's contract agreeing to contribute $500.00 toward the monthly premium paid by each employee for the their medical insurance.

    My "employer" is now citing the FMLA act that requires an employer to provide continued medical coverage for at least ninety days to an inactive employee (that is, one not showing up to work each day) as reason for suspension of agreed contribution of medical premium payment irregardless of union contract to pay such contribution to an employee.

    Essentially, if "off the working clock" you get hit through no fault of your own, by a drunk driver and are hopitalized for six months, you're screwed after three months. You can expect that even though you are still an employee in good standing... you are considered not showing up to work each day and are, therefore, not entitled to the monthly kick-in toward your monthly premium.

    More about this later, but if a public transit agency is beginning to employ this "abandonment" tactic of the loyal employee... you can certainly count on this becoming regular treatment of others who think they have solid, union or otherwise negotiated, medical premium sharing agreements with their employers.

    This new policy does not extend to that employee hurt on the job... only those hurt outside the job context - those moving onto the State disability program as opposed to the Workman's comp program.

    More on this later when I can give you links and specific quotes from the FMLA Act of 2003.


  •  Thank you, Eve. I was one of those emailers. (0+ / 0-)

    I knew up front that writing about this would cause you pain. I don't apologize for asking, though I acknowledge having used you; I felt sure that you would feel compelled to diarize it, if asked.

    I knew that the story needed the kind of personal anguish you always bring to this subject, to bring out the personal experiences which I am reading in this thread. Without this kind of personal testimonial, the story itself might not have a sufficient impact on many of its readers, even here at Daily Kos.

    And as I first read the story, I knew that it needed the coverage possible from a recommended diary by you. So while I'm unrepentant with my chutzpah, I hope you'll overlook it.

    davidsnest "No person should be a judge in his own case." -Sir Edward Coke [in 1610]

    by davidincleveland on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:40:38 PM PDT

  •  Thank you, nyceve. Please, don't despair. (0+ / 0-)

    You know how bad this is and it will not get better for the next few years. We can succeed as long as we stay on our message - a single battle cry - National Single Payer, it's the only sustainable, comprehensive plan that can pay for itself.  

    There is no longer room in our economy for profit to be made from denying Americans health care. Thank God the economy is suffering because the human suffering is tolerated fine by those spread sheets. But the numbers are shifting in our favor...Let's put light on it.

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