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The American healthcare system is barbaric. Period. End of story.

I’ve written often about this. I’ve spoken about this. We believe this to be true. The American healthcare system is barbaric. And that’s a fact.

But now it’s personal.

This fall Seth Rubenstein, my first cousin, the eldest child of my mother’s older brother, suffered a massive stroke, then died a few days later. He was only 60 years old.

Seth did not have health insurance. Mere days before the stroke, Seth complained about headaches, but what could he do? He didn’t have health insurance. He didn’t have the money to go see a doctor, nor had he engaged in any kind of routine health maintenance program.

I’m not sure if Seth was ever covered by any kind of health insurance policy. For most of his adult life, Seth did not work at a full-time, permanent job. Like many workers in this contemporary economy, Seth was a contractor, working for companies who preferred to “outsource” rather than take responsibility for the people they hire to do the work essential to their success.

Benefits? Getting paid. Vacation time? That’s the time between contracts. Healthcare? Don’t get sick, but if you do get sick, die quickly.

And besides, how could Seth work? For the past couple years, he was working full-time caring for his ailing father, Herb, who was slowly dying from respiratory ailments.

In fact, the day Seth died was the day Herb was supposed to be released from the nursing home where he was receiving intensive treatment. Seth had worked hard to allow Herb to return home. He had been trained on how to monitor the ventilator that allowed Herb to breathe. He assembled a team of home health workers and made sure they received the proper training. The team was ready to provide Herb with round-the-clock care so Herb could spend his last days at home.

Except Seth died the day Herb was supposed to leave the nursing home. Herb never was able to return home.

There was a great deal of urgency to bring Herb home because the Medicare coverage that paid for Herb’s stay in the nursing home had run out. Herb exhausted his Medicare coverage. How is that even possible?

Herb was forced to pay out-of-pocket to remain in the nursing home, and suddenly he had no choice but watch helplessly as his hard-earned savings dwindled.

Herb was the son of immigrants. Bubby and Zeyda didn’t have much, but somehow Herb managed to go to college, eventually earning a doctorate. He taught linguistics at Lehigh for quite a number of years. He didn’t make a ton of money, but saved and invested well—at least, well enough to retire comfortably and provide for his children after his death.

Until he got sick. Until he ran head first into the harsh realities of the American healthcare system.

This is what should have happened:

Herb should’ve received the care he needed until he was ready to go home. Sufficient home health care should’ve been available for him to use for as long as necessary. The burden of Herb’s healthcare should not have fallen so squarely on Seth’s shoulders. Herb should’ve died peacefully at home. Seth should’ve outlived his father, and Seth should’ve been able to live in health and comfort thanks to the modest inheritance he should’ve received.

Instead, Seth is dead before his time. That never should’ve happened. And that’s a fact.

Herb’s heart stopped last week. He was transferred to a hospital where he died a few days later. Herb was 90 years old. It was probably his time to go. By all accounts he died peacefully, at least from a physical point of view. Mentally is another story. Herb went to the grave knowing his son was dead. Herb went to the grave blaming himself for his son’s death.

That never should’ve happened. And that’s a fact.

I cannot say it enough. Our healthcare system is barbaric. And why? Why does our healthcare system have to be so barbaric? Why did Seth have to die in a way that leaves us all scratching our heads? Why did Herb have to die with a broken heart?

Thanks to the Occupy Wall Street movement, we have a new language. It’s the language of class warfare, but let’s be clear. It’s not the class warfare we are waging. It’s the class warfare that is being waged against us. We are the 99 percent ducking and covering from the attacks of the one percent who want to take more and more from us while we have less and less.

Seth was a member of the 99 percent, and now he’s dead. Herb was a member of the 99 percent, and now he’s dead, and he died with a heavy heart. All because the one percent has to maximize profits, maximize profits, maximize profits, maximize profits, maximize profits.

Maximize profits into infinity.

But the 99 percent is waking up to the reality of what the one percent is doing to us. It began in Madison, Wisconsin as tens of thousands of citizens hit the streets to fight the attack on human rights by Governor Scott Walker. This continues with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

A day of reckoning is coming. And that’s a fact.

Originally posted to Vampire Cabbie on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 10:30 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Health care works like a legal protection racket (45+ / 0-)

    I have glaucoma in one eye and put one drop of a product called lumigan in that eye each day. A 5 ml bottle costs me $30. I thought that was an awful price for such a tiny amount of liquid until my pharmacist told me that if I didn't have insurance the same drops would cost $230. I don't think Blue Cross actually pays the drug company the difference between $30 and $230. They just tell them that $30 is all they're worth. I bet the drug company is making good money at the $30 price. After all, they use the same active ingredient in a cosmetic product for enhancing eyelash growth. That would have to be priced according to what the consuming public is willing to pay for a cosmetic effect. I have to have the drops to maintain my vision. What it comes down to is I'm paying one set of crooks to keep me from being robbed by another set of crooks.

    •  "Protection Money"... (5+ / 0-)

      #OccupyOMC - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

      by Evolutionary on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 06:54:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Blue cross actually does pay some part (6+ / 0-)

      of the difference, but I'll bet they've got a deal with the pharmacy that makes it a whole lot less than $200.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 07:09:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Chain Pharmacies and even Mom and Pop (0+ / 0-)

        charge what can only be called a huge fricking mark-up on drugs. On patented drugs they don't have a lot of leeway. But on generics? Think 10x-20x cost and more. Now we see that all these gray market companies have popped up out of nowhere offering the same drugs to hospitals and pharmacies claiming the drug manufacturers don't manufacture it much if at all. The result? A $30 prescription I got from Costco that only marks up 12% over landed , cost $166 in a 30 day time frame. Generic too.

        The healthcare industry on the provider side is just as ugly as on the insurance side;  with it's relentless double digit price increases based on nothing more than a shrinking customer base which is based on affordability, of all things. So the answer is: Charge more, knowing certain people will pay. This is  short term self-serving greed on the order of the banksters that is destined to fail, but not before 1000s die. It's also legal not that it matters. If it was illegal everyone would look the other way screaming "free markets".

        So I have no qualms at all at guessing who is behind this sudden pop-up of grey marketers that conveniently have the drugs that are no longer available; the drug companies. They got tired of seeing the huge mark-ups taken by the for profit chain pharmacies all conveniently located in locations that cost a mint so people with RX cards can just drive through. So suddenly they got tired of making them but somehow all of these gray marketers have them.

        It won't be investigated. They have the govt in it's pocket just like the Banks do. All I know is it will drive private insurance rates through the roof so at 55+, I'll have to either go naked or find a policy that has a 30K deductible. See how it works? It's great short term for the C-Suite of these companies as they cash in their stock awards and options and sell immediately as do the public pharmacy  company C-suites and of course the insurance c-suites.

        Hell , I got a college freind in the c-suite of one of the largest pharmaceutical company's who makes millions each year as an exec VP. I tried to talk to him, but we were too far away from each other to understand what the other one was saying.

        All this is done in perfect harmony as Americans will start dying off in earnest before the plan that subsidizes us middle class is never enacted in 2014 because of budget "worries". Mandates yes. Price caps no.

        44,000 of needless deaths a year first gets one more zero, then two and finally when it hits three, there will be another public policy debate as legislators have to explain to their kids why there are SO MANY dead old people  by the road for trash pick-up.

        Death Boards my ass. We are living it now

        •  It is not the local pharmacies (0+ / 0-)

          that are raising prices for profit. It is the tremendously wealthy pharmaceutical companies.

          If the pharma industry had its way we would not have a healthcare bill at all. They  have, and have expended tremendous amounts of money dedicated to stopping anything to reduce their anything goes pricing system.

          But people who need certain  drugs will not allow (almost)  the only effective way of stopping this which is by telling big pharma NO especially where the drugs are not shown effective.

          Look, there is one proposed cancer drug for a rare form of an untreatable cancer that proposes a cost of $30,000 a month. There is no evidence that it prolong life by even a day. It does show, in many, a shrinkage of visible tumors. There has been no disclosure of side effects of the medication; in other words does it improve the patient's quality of life? Does it at least not make it worse?

          So Medicare has to decide whether to cover it. They have been trying to negotiate a lower price. Pharma company, let's call them P, says no but we will give you a fourth month free after full pay for 3 months. Now that amounts to 25% off but they won't do it that way. See, most people don't survive on it for longer than 3 months.

          Now with the cost of $30,000 each month patients will have to come up with at least a 20% copay, that would be $6,000 each month. This sweet company is offering to pay the copay to people who contact their website.

          People will be clamoring for this do nothing drug, especially if it is "free" to them. Basically they just want to suck over the government programs. The insurance companies may follow but they would have few problems since this is primarily a cancer that hits those over 65.

          The only way to stop these prices is to say no. So, how do you do it?

          You could try to elect enough Congress critters who will be tough enough to vote to allow Medicare to bargain overall. But there again, Pharma will try using blackmail relying on patients and their families to scream bloody murder if Medicare says no to some blatant overcharging.

          Until people are willing to fight for a better standard they will loose.

          I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

          by samddobermann on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 07:55:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Just heard a similar story from a friend (14+ / 0-)

      His wife got her appendix removed. The bill from the hospital asked for 42K. His insurance, Aetna only paid 2K and he had to pay 500 deductible.
      This difference in prices was almost 20 times.  It's an extortion racket against those who are defenseless.

    •  I have a friend who has already lost one eye (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leonard145b, james321, dot farmer

      to glaucoma.  Good luck.

    •  Blue Cross is paying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dot farmer

      some fraction of the difference between $30 and their "allowance" for the cost of the drug.The drug company is definitely making more than $30.

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

      by barbwires on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 12:27:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Words can't begin to express my sorrow (24+ / 0-)

    ...for both your cousin and uncle.

    The provision of healthcare services in this [alleged] FIRST WORLD COUNTRY failed them both.

    My condolences.

    We're resigned to our collective fate because we've been conditioned and brainwashed to believe that this is as good as it gets. It's not.

    by Richard Cranium on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 04:47:59 AM PST

  •  Even people with excellent health care (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Evolutionary, Cedwyn

    die of strokes. Strokes are very difficult to detect, even with the best tests. That is why they are often referred to as a "silent killer". You should not assume that his lack of health care necessarily killed him.

    •  Nor should you assume it didn't. nt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maf1029, MsGrin, marzook
    •  i bet with preventative care (10+ / 0-)

      He would have lived longer. Maybe he needed blood pressure meds, probably a change in diet and exercise. At the least with proper health care he would have been able to recieve these things. There are loads of preventative meds and practices that would have prolonged his life by preventing his health from getting to the point where he has a massive stroke.

      compassion for things i'll never know ~ david byrne

      by little lion on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 07:04:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Everybody dies. And many wealthy, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        well-insured people die of strokes. My point is that there is no basis on which we should assume that this case would have been any different.

      •  He could have done the diet and (0+ / 0-)

        exercises on his own.

        Why didn't he go to the local Community Health Centers. They take everyone even where they can't pay.

        They also provide medications at no or low cost.

        There are a lot of resources for people like this man. And he obviously knew about accessing resources for he was doing it to arrange for his father.

        The question comes down to how long are we going to prolong the lives of the very elderly by high tech super expensive medical apparatus and services to the detriment of the health of every one else. Herb had been in the skilled nursing home facility for 100 days; that's over 3 months. He was on a ventilator which means he couldn't converse and he had a feeding tube, probably surgically inserted. He was being kept alive by machines. Is that what Herb would have wanted?

        Weren't they just prolonging dying?

        You can not prolong the "life" of everyone past where nature is taking them. We can keep bodies hooked up to machines practically forever. Folks who expect the government to do this are not reality based.

        Wouldn't it have been better when at the time when the doctors could easily say there was no meaningful recovery expected, that he would have to be maintained on machines as long as he lived (and I really wanted to put lived in quotes), that Herb or his son been given a choice?

        So that he could have gone home for the last few days of his life?

        Did anyone ask Herb what he wanted? Who decided that he spend months hooked to machines?  Herb? Seth?

        I don't mean deprive anyone from reasonable care but do we really want wards of bodies on machines tended by low paid humans? Where would the money come from? But more important, where is the humanity in that? Those people can't talk, most can't even communicate to say let me go, already. How many systems must fail before we allow people the dignity of death?

        The medical establishment will milk the cash cow as long and as hard as they can. If people don't talk about the conditions of death and dying this will go on and most people DO NOT WANT this to be their end.

        I don't know what Seth was trying to prove.

        Was it guilt for past neglect?

        You say that Herb had money saved:

        He didn’t make a ton of money, but saved and invested well—at least, well enough to retire comfortably and provide for his children after his death.

        To provide for his children after his death? Why the hell didn't he provide for his son to see a doctor? To get the healthcare he needed? What the fuck is wrong with these people?

        He could have died at home. If you can see death as an inevitable part of life you can allow it to come when it has to. He didn't have to be tethered to all the machines.

        And Seth could have sought medicare care. He could have gone to the ER room — picking a time when it wasn't busy. He could have gotten a diagnosis and a prescription if appropriate.

        He choose to do it his way.


        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 08:50:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  So. What? Nothing to see here, move on? (3+ / 0-)
      Benefits? Getting paid. Vacation time? That’s the time between contracts. Healthcare? Don’t get sick, but if you do get sick, die quickly.
    •  I thought there were new drugs that if you got (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Throw The Bums Out, FloridaSNMOM

      to the hospital within hours of a stroke could reverse it?  I'm just saying there are many new treatments.  

      •  Strokes are a leading killer. And many (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        more are permanently damaged by strokes. There really is little we can do when a person has an oncoming stroke. That is what is so lethal about them - they are generally surprises.

        •  Strokes and treatment (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kareylou, Throw The Bums Out, marzook

          Yes there are meds if given within I believe 45 minutes can reduce the effects and severity of a stroke. Some however are too massive for them to be effective.

          Doc2, you however need to do more research on strokes I think. Yes, they can be surprises but there are MANY warning signs that can and do reduce risk and severity. Usually a stroke is preceded by hypertension, and if Seth was having headaches for days ahead, there's a good chance chronic hypertension played a role here. TIA's or mini strokes are another sign and can manifest in many ways, including interfering in reasoning and self-assessment of symptoms.

           Regular preventative medical care can both diagnose these and treat them to make a sudden catastrophic stroke less likely. The point is that Seth was denied this because he was a contractor without health care. The point is that lack of preventative health care  for a 60 year old working adult is completely barbaric and inhumane treatment of people in this country.

          Health care can also GREATLY reduce the permanent disability caused by strokes in MANY cases. Proper occupational and physical therapy, medical equipment, and medications and monitoring to prevent further strokes and complications can increase independence and personal function.

          Essentially Doc2, your information is outdated. Maybe start with some research. This is a good place to start:

          A stroke of Insight

          •  I think you meant to write "physical therapy"... (0+ / 0-)

            The word "health care" in and of itself can do nothing.

            I'm a woman of color, who grew up in the north (Detroit, Michigan)

            by Boris Badenov on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 11:19:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Physical Therapy (0+ / 0-)

              Health care is the system that includes PT and OT as well as traditional medical treatment, so I said exactly what I meant. The point of the diary is that Seth did not receive health care that was needed prior to his stroke.  So no, the 'word' health care can do nothing, but PT and OT and traditional medicine are all included in the health care that is needed for everyone.

              Without health care, the consequences of stroke are much higher than with health care. So yes, I said exactly what I meant.

          •  He could have gotten care. (0+ / 0-)

            And his father had money saved for his retirement and to leave to his kids. He should sprung some of that money for health care for his kid in real time.

            And Floridasnmom you need to do some research. As a person at high risk for strokes there really isn't all that much that ordinary health care can do. You are talking about a group of interventions for AFTER a stroke.

            Even with super insurance, good doctors, and such people will have strokes. Some are massive and deadly.

            And arrogant people like you diagnosing and prescribing courses of therapies for strokes that don't kill are what lead to  many to have too much faith in the medical/health care system. It won't prevent death.

            Besides, Seth could have gotten diagnosis and prescription at the ER or gone to a community Health Center.

            I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

            by samddobermann on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 09:07:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I'm very surprised to learn that the incidence of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          strokes is the same among people with no preventative care of any kind and people with otherwise high blood pressure well-controlled by medication and frequent monitoring.

          Very surprised.

          The community of fools might be small were it not such an accomplished proselytizer.

          by ZedMont on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 10:15:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think the argument was cogent and well put (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Throw The Bums Out

      and that you are being deliberately contradictory and obtuse.


      The money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed. ~ Abraham Lincoln

      by ozsea1 on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 03:09:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Important diary. Thank you. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou, divineorder, SuWho

    And I'm sorry for your  loss.

    The US must raise the political competency and will to implement Medicare for All. If your human story doesn't seem to be a necessary reasons, it should be done for the sake of the national economy which is similarly desperate for a lifeline..

    Still, if that unlikely best case scenario happened, life would include the "barbaric", bereft of answers to your questions:  

    Why does our healthcare system have to be so barbaric? Why did Seth have to die in a way that leaves us all scratching our heads? Why did Herb have to die with a broken heart?
    All the more reason why we should change the things we do have answers to, do have the power, ability and resources to fix.  Thank you.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 06:55:50 AM PST

    •  but Herb was on Medicare. (0+ / 0-)

      And he had savings to pay for Seth to have medical care.

      This diary illustrates what is wrong with our health care system alright.  When we expend mega-resources to prolong dying other people will go without basic care.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 09:10:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Death by spreadsheet is mass murder. (17+ / 0-)

    We need Health Care instead of Health Insurance.

    Health Insurance Corporations are in the business of denying claims.  They have nearly no incentive to not deny claims.  They provide absolutely nothing of value to America.  They are parasites on the American People.

    We need to start treating them as parasites.

    #OccupyOMC - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

    by Evolutionary on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 06:57:53 AM PST

    •  That, by the way, is my beef with ACA (9+ / 0-)

      It's all about insurance with a few nuggets on care.

      A rational care system -- even one we had to pay for -- would go a long way to resolving our health care problems.

      If costs were rational, catastrophic insurance would make a ton more sense -- ordinary care would be more affordable, and catastrophic insurance would be cheaper.

      More to the point --

      If health care costs were rational, extending care to those who can't afford it would be much less of a problem. There would be fewer of those people, and the cost per person would be lower.  Hell, the payback in recovered productivity would probably dwarf the costs.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 07:13:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  dino - that is what most of (0+ / 0-)

        the ACA is about. Reducing the costs of health care in a sane way.

        And that has nothing to do with the payment source. It has everything to do with voracious doctors and hospital systems and those of a few other providers thrown in.

        And stupid people who believe everything is possible.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 09:14:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  insurance wasn't involved. (0+ / 0-)

      Herb was on Medicare.

      Seth could have gotten healthcare. Herb had money saved to "leave to his children."

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 09:11:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for sharing this personal story. I have (4+ / 0-)

    several relatives in the same situation, 'contractors' on their own for health care and not doing very well with it.

    ACA holds hope for some, but is already under attack through watering  down of what is covered.

  •  So sorry you had to (5+ / 0-)

    tell this story at all.  I live in fear watching my own
    brother struggle with diabetes and high blood pressure
    with no health insurance.  It's nothing but cold-blooded
    murder.  We're getting treated like zoo animals in a
    run-down zoo.  

  •  Here's what I'm looking into now: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, crankypatriot, antimony

    It's called the Freelancer's Union. It's not helpful to those without resources, but for the self-employed, or contractors, it can be a godsend. And the more we get the word out the larger our pool will be:

    I'm sorry it is too late to help Seth.

    To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate, that is strength undefeatable--Helen Keller

    by kareylou on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 07:10:17 AM PST

  •  For profit healthcare is just wrong. (9+ / 0-)

    The sooner we end it the better off we'll all be.

    Frankly, I feel that way about a lot of industries this day.

    Prisons, of course. How sick is it to have businesses lobbying for more prisoners with longer terms?

    Energy and weapons development, because either and both of these industries will have us fighting wars forever for the stuff when we should be focused on alternatives and conservation. Even with the wars, energy companies are constantly manipulating markets and jacking up prices for stuff individuals and businesses need to survive. They can't be trusted with it anymore.

    Mercenary companies like Blackwater and Dyncorp not only lobby for war like the rest of the military industrial complex, but they cost a lot more and operate entirely in gray areas of military and employee law and general conduct.

    I'm beginning to think the same about financial services. People need simple ways to save, borrow and invest. We need public banks, a more robust, modernized social security system and markets to fund real businesses and products and not vapor, scams, swindles and derivatives gambling casinos, which is what we get from for profit services. I would throw insurance into that mix as well. People need life, auto and home insurance; why should we be paying ridiculous executive compensation or doing without?

    These are the places I would start, as soon as we get single payer healthcare.

  •  Private insurance vs medicare (7+ / 0-)

    Last year I was in 2 serious auto accidents.  I was stopped both times.  The first time I was hit broadside by a Jeep Grand Cherokee doing 80 and the second a rear end by a Maxima doing 50.  Using BCBS, I was given a standard CAT scan and just the normal things were seen.  
    My very first day on medicare, I got kicked by my horse.  I know it is a diferent type of accident, but I had a CAT scan with contrast.  This test identified a previous injury, most likely resultant of a seat belt injury from a previous auto accident.
    I added the results to both my auto claims and both companies are starting legal procedures to exclude this information from my claim.

    Not only was  the Medicare procedure more sophisticated, it was also free.  

    By the way, liver damage from seat belts is very common in auto accidents and more common in men.

  •  I like to characterize it as miserable, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene, ozsea1

    but I'll add barbaric to my lexicon.

  •  I SO wish we could create an "Occupy" that puts a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou, Pescadero Bill, ozsea1

    national focus on these health care problems like we have for the wealth inequality in this country.

    Don't get me wrong, I know many different groups that are doing a yeoman's job on this front like nyceve and the California nursing association.

    It just makes me so angry to read example after example of horrors like V Cabbie has explained here today, knowing that whatever is happening out there is still too little to help all of the people in such dire need.

    I've got my spine, I've got my (DKos) orange crush, we are agents of the free.....R.E.M.

    by FlamingoGrrl on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 08:49:44 AM PST

  •  amend your title? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tiggers thotful spot

    just give us healthcare, actually.

    To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate, that is strength undefeatable--Helen Keller

    by kareylou on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 09:09:03 AM PST

  •  Great diary. And that's a fact. (0+ / 0-)

    So sorry for you and your family. So many of us are in that same situation, or like us have health insurance but can't afford to use it. Healthy 59 and 60 year old couple pay $1125 per month. Wait until I turn 60 also, it'll be even worse.

    Eat organic food, or as your grandparents called it, food.

    by madame damnable on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 09:51:58 AM PST

  •  VC, do you know what kind of stroke your (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    cousin had? Was it Hemorrhagic or Ischemic in nature?

    I'm a woman of color, who grew up in the north (Detroit, Michigan)

    by Boris Badenov on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 11:20:44 AM PST

  •  One of the biggest problems raised in this diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, james321, marzook

    is lng term care (LTC) costs.  Medicare pays for a very limited number of days in a nursing home.  After that a patient has to "spend down" his or her assets until they qualify for Medicaid.  The ACA had a voluntary provision to help address this with a LTC insurance provision but this was just abolished recently as being too expensive.

    All of us except the very rich are very vulnerable to this.  What makes it more awful is that many state programs to hel;p seniors age in place ie, live in their homes with assistance for activities of daily living, are being cut by states due to reseource constraints.

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

    by barbwires on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 12:34:42 PM PST

    •  my dad had medicare + insurance (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwires, Throw The Bums Out

      but after he had a stroke they would pay for only >six weeks< of rehab. kicked his ass out and sent him home when he had to be cathetarized every 3 hours. i was an only child/only caregiver. no siblings, mom dead two decades earlier. it was pure fucking hell. fighting the doctors, (who had >caused< him to loose his bladder function by over-cathetarizing him at the rehab center, considered #1 in the country by the way, because they had cut back on orderlies and didn't have the staff to put patients on and off the toilets. fortunately , we listened to one of the remaining orderlies on how to get his bladder function back (which docs said would never happen). but fighting with medicare, the doctors, the health care case workers who were afraid to take on medicare for more desperately needed care for my dad, just piled on the stress on both of us - he was dead after a year -- but not before we had both said terrible, terrible things to each other that i still have to live with because we were basically thrown into the street on our own by the medicare/medical insurance industry with very few resources. it was terrifying. people in this country have no idea what "caregivers" and the long-term ill and disabled go through until they get stuck going thru it themselves. i am surprised it doesn't kill more of us. it's fucking shameful. no one in france has to face this crap.

      Change is inevitable. Change for the better is a full-time job. -- Adlai E. Stevenson

      by marzook on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 06:02:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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