Is it time for universal, government-run health care yet?

Is it, is it, is it?

For employees at Clarian Health, feeling the burn of trying to lose weight will take on new meaning.

In late June, the Indianapolis-based hospital system announced that starting in 2009, it will fine employees $10 per paycheck if their body mass index [BMI, a ratio of height to weight that measures body fat] is over 30. If their cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels are too high, they’ll be charged $5 for each standard they don’t meet. Ditto if they smoke: Starting next year, they’ll be charged another $5 in each check.

Clarian has been making headlines for its aggressive and unusual approach to covering escalating health-care costs. Rather than taking the more common step of giving employees incentives for merely participating in its wellness programs, such as joining a smoking cessation group or using a health coach, Clarian is actually measuring outcomes. And unlike most employers, it is penalizing workers for poor health instead of rewarding them for taking healthy steps.

The most persuasive argument against letting the state run our country’s health care is that nobody enjoys having gubmint bureaucrats regulating our personal choices- i.e., telling us not to smoke, not to drink, to eat healthy, etc. But our employer-based is already heading in this direction to a far greater extent than the gubmint-run health care system in France ever will (the French, despite being skinnier than the average American, are still pretty unhealthy people who smoke all the time and eat a fair amount of fatty garbage).

So that does it, then. There is absolutely no damn reason to not let the government run our health care. Bring on socialized medicine, and faster please!

(Thanks to MCH for the tip.)


Comments: 103


The insurance industry is a nice idea, but more often than not it amounts to legal organized crime in practice. As MCH pointed out in the other thread, the whole point of group coverage is that everyone pays in—then people who need lots of care are subsidized by those who don’t. But the reality is twofold: a) insurance companies are just interested in getting people to pay as much in as possible and pay out as little as possible (e.g. captialism), therefore they do fascist sorts of things like demanding everyone be a perfect, ideal weight, and b) the medical industry has been amazingly successful at increasing demand for products that people don’t need. This increases demand for insurance to cover stuff like Viagra (which is the obvious example but there are many more, much more subtle examples of this), and this creates an excessive load (heh) on payouts and starts to ruin the ideal situation of group coverage.

There’s also the issue of the emphasis on ongoing treatment instead of prevention (which is the norm in socialized healthcare countries). Treatment is more profitable, no corporation is going to reduce demand for their products (prevention).

I think this entire situation was the inevitable result of the private healthcare system we have. They are for profit corporations, albeit ones that are playing with people’s lives. They are going to behave in the sociopathic manner that all profit-seeking corporations do—they are going to try to get as many people as possible to demand their products, making those products as expensive as they possibly can. When you have a finger on the levers of the marketplace like you do with healthcare, and people’s lives are at stake, things get wildly out of whack w.r.t to demand, and cost. The healthcare marketplace isn’t really capitalism anymore, it’s some kind of weird mercantilist system.


Damn that is extreme! My former employer had optional physicals – er, “wellness clinics” – each year. If you participated and followed up on suggestions, you got a break on your contribution. But this…

People wonder why fourteen years of working in corporations (mostly health insurance, mortgage, and 401k/retirement plans) turned me into a rabid socialist.


Be that as it may, France still checks in at #10 on the same life expectancy tables where the USA is at #45.


There’s no reason to slag the French.






Umm…are these benchmarks of theirs adjusted for age? Seeing as how they just offer a flat number for BMI, I’m guessing not. In which case, I’m guessing big ol’ lawsuit time from their elderly workforce, who will obviously have a much harder time meeting these benchmarks.


That’s some crazy right there.

Is that even legal? I know that an employer can fire someone outright for smoking or obesity in some states, but docking their pay seems criminal.


Is that even legal? I know that an employer can fire someone outright for smoking or obesity in some states, but docking their pay seems criminal.

You can be fired in most states just for being gay…


Brad. Let’s never ever leave Massachusetts, K?


Aint life grand.

I’m not feeling very optimistic at the moment, but this seems to me to be the shape of things to come.

Sprinkle a little ‘genetic pre-screening’ of employees, ala Gattaca, on top of this shit sundae, then slash social safety nets, and federalize the worst examples of state ‘right to work’ or ’employment at will’ legislation, and we’re looking at a very ugly picture.

I for one welcome our feudal overlords.


The most persuasive argument against letting the state run our country’s health care is that nobody enjoys having gubmint bureaucrats regulating our personal choice

Watch out for the whiplash when suddenly, miraculously this argument becomes inoperative when applied to business.


Yeah, I also wonder about the legality of not paying someone for work they’ve actually done-sounds a bit like theft to me. There might be ways around it, like requiring less healthy people to pay a larger portion of their insurance, but I can’t imagine that a flat fine taken from salary can pass muster.


that is crazy.

As I sit hear inhaling a large pile of noodles. I imagine an office Carb police patrolling around with scales and a sack of carrots.


“You can be fired in most states just for being gay…”

I will say this for my last corporate employer, they had an “equal rights amendment” in the HR policy, to wit, no one shall be harrassed based on sex, age, race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Corporations themselves tend to be ahead of the curve on social policy, offering domestic partner insurance and, in some companies – Sprint is one, according to someone I know who just atarted working there – insurance for parents/elder care. This isn’t because they are wonderful, liberal human beings, but for the simple reason that some of their best employees are gay or otherwise single people who are cohabiting, and these benefits make the company attractive as an employer. Of course, they’re having trouble finding enough qualified people right now. If they suddenly had the upper hand again, I suspect they might get a lot less “tolerant”. I guess my point is that any policy any damned corporation enacts will be for the company’s good, not the employees’. Also, if you’ve got insurance benefits you might not get elsewhere and are desperate to keep them, you’re more likely to respond to requests to work 80 hours a week with “Sir! Yes, sir!” than with “Take this job and shove it.”

I’ve been saying for years that we were all just corporate serfs, but most of my cow-orkers would just stare at me blankly, chewing their cud…



mdhåtter said,

August 6, 2007 at 22:33

Brad. Let’s never ever leave Massachusetts, K?

I work and am insured in Massachusetts. Don’t think the Great Liberal North is at all immune to this stuff, being that public-health authoritarianism has fans on both the left and the right– the left for “our own good” (tobacco, alcohol and junk food taxes, mandatory seatbelts and motorcycle helmets) and the right for the “good of the state” (Nazi Germany) or “the company” or “the economy” (modern day America) or your eternal soul.

Those are just top-of-mind examples; they’re not meant to imply any sort of equivalence between them.

Back to Mass. The land where they force people to buy private health insurance or start docking their public tax refunds. In Mass, my health insurer offers a “non-tobacco advantage” payment of $10 per month to abstinent employees. Of course, this could be looked at as an across-the-board price cut, with the institution of a $10 penalty for tobacco users. I’d guess that the obese will be the next target of such a program, as these things always start with the least esteemed group and then roll uphill (just as scarlet lettering er, sex offender notification laws started with, well, sex offenders, and why, out of all sex offenders of varying degrees of despicability, the focus of the hoopla around passing this dangerous sort of thing was pedophiles).

Preventing illness and keeping yourself healthy are great ideas for many reasons. But remember that the backhand swipe of the “prevention” ethos is the idea that you are responsible for not getting sick. Illness takes on an implicit stigma, as if it’s just desserts for the afflicted. As instituted by institutions, it’s a great leap backward toward illness as character flaw, which conveniently ignores the fact that a lot of human disease is actually not preventable, and a good portion that is may not be so on an individual level. If your city is lousy with sewage and black smog, how are you going to prevent diarrhea and lung disease?


Good grief. My mom’s cholesterol was over 600 for many years, due to circumstances utterly beyond her control. So companies are going to start penalizing people for flaws in their DNA? Super.


I happened to catch a bit of the Republican debate. Rudy was saying that Democrats are going to try to move us to socialized medicine. He said that if we want a system like the UK, France or Canada then we should go that direction. Sign me up.


The British national health system rewards doctors who improve the health of their patients. This is going to be tried soon in British Columbia.

Unfortunately, the canadian medical association is pushing the feds to establish a two-tiered health care system, one that’s private and one that’s public (guess which one the doctors will work in?). They’re also urging the government to privatize health insurance despite what is going on in the US.

France is looking pretty good right now.


My question is: How are they determining people’s BMI? It seems a little sketchy that they could require employees to provide their height and weight.

I’ve worked in Employee Benefits but never saw that particular metric used. Smoking and excercise habits, yes, but asking for physical measurements? hmmm… It seems that they’d also be running into some potential ADA issues – diabetic employees, folks who might be wheelchair bound or folks with thyroid issues, for example. It’s definitely something to watch.

Slightly OT – the one guideline that always made people gasp was for Dependent Life Insurance: newborns were not covered for the first 14 days after birth. People were flabbergasted by that but it’s kind of a standard, from what I saw.


I visited France 2 years ago, and didn’t want to leave, ever. I pester my husband to go live there…a nice pass time is looking at real estate adds for homes in France. North, South, City or Country. I wish!


tigrismus said,

Yeah, I also wonder about the legality of not paying someone for work they’ve actually done-sounds a bit like theft to me. There might be ways around it, like requiring less healthy people to pay a larger portion of their insurance, but I can’t imagine that a flat fine taken from salary can pass muster.

I can, remember that your reasons don’t have to make sense. They just have to be profitable and you have to grease the palms of whatever GOP thug overlooks it. So I imagine arguing that “Your honor, by choosing to engage in unhealthy behaviors, including but not limited to being over weight, my employees are stealing money from me by over using their health care I have so graciously provided for them.”


One candidate who dares to bash the corporate overlords:


This article was buried deep in the paper. (Our corporate media has already crowned Hillary as the candidate.) nevermind that Edwards is way ahead in Iowa. Truthout picked up the article.


I have everything in place to work for myself. Clients. Projects. Sub contractors I know and trust. Funding. It would vastly improve my life. I’d essentially work on one project at a time, and keep a great deal more money. Why don’t I?

Got some health issues. Really hard, and really expensive to even get feeble coverage. If I could even buy the health insurance I have today, the price would be stupid. But I can’t.

Hey, my life ain’t all that bad. But this should not be the reason I can’t do what I want…


Marco(not that other Marco)

When I lived in Poland, I finally got my chronic gastritis treated. It turned out that(my bro-in-law being a MD and all) that any blood test done for any reason required a test for h. Pylori among other aiments. Two weeks eating antibiotics, and the sour stomachs that plagued my life for twenty years disappeared.

When I returned to God’s Most Perfect Land, I discovered “acid reflux disease”, and all the TV advertisements for palliatives the HMO pays for which are less than cures.

And going to a doctor was informed that bacteria could not survive in the human stomach. “Do you really believe that crap?”, he asked.

What the fuck has gone wrong with my nation?

I leave for twenty years and come back to find madness.


It’s disturbing that they are using BMI as the benchmark. Elderly people may actually get a pass on it because they tend to lose bone and muscle mass as they age which can mask unhealthy levels of fat.

BMI doesn’t distinguish between fat, muscle or bone. It’s a rough statistical guideline and should never ever be used as a predictor.

You’d think doctors would know better, but I’ve known a doctor so stupid that they took a BMI reading as proof that an athletic friend of mine was overweight to near obese when he only had 13% body fat.


Thank goodness they are using BMI. ‘Cause if they were using BSI (Body-Scotch Index), or even worse BSE, well, I’d have a problem….



BMI is the new phrenology. It doesn’t mean a damned thing about the state of your health. When I was a seriously addicted aerobics freak I had high blood pressure, constant anxiety issues, borderline anorexia, and drank enough caffeine everyday to put a sloth through a three minute mile… but I had extremely low body fat. Sure i was eating ibuprofen like candy because of the agony in my knees, but i sure wasn’t fat.

I’m pretty sure I’m healthier now.

Marco(not that other Marco)


On this note, the Poles are doing it right. Not regarding health care, but in terms of considering it a point of national pride that one of their countrymen had a blood alcohol index three times that which is considered fatal.

Why yes, I’d love another shot of spiritus.


That, mi amigo, calls for a rousing round of:




“Why yes, I’d love another shot of spiritus.”

Now I’m going to have to get out my Mark Lanegan CD and listen to “Whiskey for the Holy Ghost”. Definitely good for the soul.


If only Poland had stealthy armored brigades of freedom™ deployed to every continent to kill people who simply were too goddam brown, then we could say with certainty that Red and White is the new Red, White and Blue….



I hate to rain on everyone’s Poland parade, but Poland is actually quite conservative (as Europeans go) and I’ve heard them referred to as the “American South of Europe”.


Careful, mikey. Poland is probably the most wingnutty of EU nations. Really.

Quick bleg to anyone who may know: Isn’t Captain Ed on wingnut welfare? I know the Powertools get grants from Tacky-Trevino’s welfare organization, but doesn’t Sepcial Ed, as well? Hanx in advance.

Qetesh the Abyssinian

Yeah, I also wonder about the legality of not paying someone for work they’ve actually done-sounds a bit like theft to me. There might be ways around it, like requiring less healthy people to pay a larger portion of their insurance, but I can’t imagine that a flat fine taken from salary can pass muster.

Hey, if they can fine someone for being overweight (according to some ridiculous metric like BMI), then surely they can fine people for being STOOPID! Mighty fine idea, doncher think? And it would be so easy to test for: just one question would do it, “Do you trust George W Bush?”

As I sit hear inhaling a large pile of noodles. I imagine an office Carb police patrolling around with scales and a sack of carrots.

Kathleen, just be glad it’s noodles: if it was chocolate, they wouldn’t be forcing you to eat the carrots…

We’ve got a pretty good health system down here, although not as fine as it was. Plus we’ve got sunshine, beaches, and reasonably clean air (once you’re away from the east coast). My house sits 5 minutes walk from a gorgeous beach, and one hour’s drive from no less than three major wine zones.

And the Poles have something in common with the Finns:
Two other unusual routes of alcohol ingestion have been reported in the media recently, snorting vodka among middle-class English club-goers (Mollard, 1998) and the use of vodka-soaked tampons by teenage girls in Eastern Finland (Anonymous, 1999).

Marco(not that other Marco)

Hey hey hey,

Fuckin’ chill dudes.

It’s true that Polonia has been going thru some tough times since its liberation, I mean, my dogs, but don’t sell ’em out. They are a people hi-jacked by the same whacked out 28% that we have been.

Poles ain’t no different from us. A bit of real farm smoked kielbasa, a few slices of sour dough rye bread, maybe a bowl of zurek, and all the freezer cold vodka a human can drink.

I lived there for four years, and yes there are some Catholic Nazis, but generally…it’s all about the “Nostrowia”.(pardon spelling errors, plz)

Marco(not that other Marco)

Mmmmmmm, vodka soaked tampons.




That kind of sucks.

I have this – I dunno – view of eastern europe. Kind of placid, with castles and cobblestones and tiny apartments and horses with haywagons.

I have much to learn about Eastern Europe. I must be off to buy some back issues of Foreign Affairs…



Marco(not that other Marco)


The Eastern Europeans are split between the mad capitalist reaction to Communism and the humanist desire to emulate the EU.

Much fireworks will ensue in the coming years.

But I’d kill for a bit carp in jelly right now.


Przestan, proczekaj! 🙂 I’m not slagging the ppl or the culture. I was once engaged to a Polish woman. I can’t help but love it. But it’s true that they are the rednecks of Europe — though, hey, the “of Europe” is an important qualifier! And besides, I’m up to my neck in redneck culture here: I’ve long been able to find things to admire in such things.

But there’s a lot to loathe, too.


with the HPPA laws, can an employer even get access to your medical records to know what your blood pressure is, and your BMI?

I’m a little bit confused by this. I know that many employers (mine included) require some employees to have a medical exam before they can be hired, but does anyone other than the doctor get access to the results of the exam, other than Pass/Fail?

Are personnel department officers allowed to see what your BMI or blood pressure or cholesterol levels are?

Or are you required to sign away those rights for the privilege of being employed?

Still – wouldn’t the employer have a heckuva time dealing with HPPA laws?


God, I’m craving some kluski szlonksi now, but with no way to get or make any. Thanks a lot, Marco.


I hit Wiki for carp in jelly. Got this:

In traditional recipes for gefilte fish, the fish is first deboned, often while still at the market. Next, the fish is ground into a paste along with eggs, onions and bread or matzoh meal and then stuffed back into the skin of the deboned fish, giving it the name gefilte (filled or stuffed, compare the German gefüllte). The whole stuffed fish is then poached with carrots and onions.

Y’know, I’m ok with almost all of this. But dude. You grind it into a paste and then you stuff it BACK IN THE SKIN?? What is wrong with you?

You know, you can kill animals for food without acting like some kind of serial killer.

Didn’t some dude in LA make lampshades out of his victim’s skin?

Yeah. Like that. EEWWWwew…


Marco(not that other Marco)


Shit, dude, you were only engaged and your Polish is better than mine. And I was married and lived there for four years and shit. But your’e right there is a strain of political thought primarily rural and primarily propounded by the church which is….well…kinda Republican.

So, why do you think the Poles should be different than Americans?


Euuuh. I’ve never had that, so I can’t comment. Ex and her little boy used to love the herring packed in sour cream, though, and it’s pretty good but almost too rich by my tastes. Small portions.

The staples are good stuff, though. Golopki, perogies, the real kielbasa he’s talking about will make you never want to touch the store-bought crap again. Oh, and there’s that sheep’s milk cheese, I forget what it’s called.

Anyway, Polish cuisine is like Southern and Midwestern American stuff but better — meat, lotsa dairy, taters, tomatoes more as an occasional ingredient than a building block of cuisine. But I’m not an expert or anything, and am far from a gourmand in general. Still, I was impressed and ate very well at that time in my life.

Marco(not that other Marco)


Oh Noes!

The carp must be bought at the market still alive from a big basin filled with water. When you arrive home the fish should still be kicking(It must be fresh!). You then proceed to head, gut and scale the beast. Next, hack it up and put it into a big pot of boiling water accomanied by an assotment of carrots, onions charred on the stove-top, garlic, and shit I don’t remember.

Then, dump the whole lot out and start again(saving the big chunks of fish). The cooking time takes all day. The first boiling removes all of the fishy dirty taste of the carp and the second boiling imparts the vegetable sweetness.

This ain’t no Jewish food, Mikey. This is the food that all Polish people eat on Christmas Day.

Jelly with big chunks of sweet sweet carp and maybe a dash of vinegar to offset the vodka.

NB: Dude! pierogi ruskie!


Dude, you’re Polish-Catholic!


They’re [the Canadian Medical Association] also urging the government to privatize health insurance despite what is going on in the US.

They want to drop the system Canada has and adopt the mess we’ve got?!?! They must be eatin’ crazy pills! Is there any possibility of this actually happening?

As for Poland, that poor country is currently ruled by the Evil Kaczynski Twins, who are sort of like George W. Bush in duplicate. Hopefully, some day things will be better.


This is the food that all Polish people eat on Christmas Day.

Jelly with big chunks of sweet sweet carp and maybe a dash of vinegar to offset the vodka.

I’d eat that. But that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, when you realize what I’ll eat.

Funny story. I had some chicken parts thawing out on the deck. Time came for cooking dinner, and I looked out and my chicken was gone (apologies to Crissy Hynde).

What fucking bastard took my chicken?



Oh, thanks, but I don’t have much of a vocabulary. Several swear words, of course. I speak what little I know to my cat to keep what I have of the language (I’ve always felt terribly guilty for not developing and pursuing the German my Granny could have taught me, so when I do learn something new as an adult I try to keep it). Anyway, it’s too bad — ex and I are still friends and the affection is deep, but circumstances and logistics suck. So that’s that. But for a while there I seriously considered moving the both of us to Pollockland and living on the cheap in the mountains. I envy you that you got to go/live there; I know it’s beautiful. As for the Poles, it’s the Catholicism and their ignorance of Rethugs like Reagan’s true nature that has made them so eager to emulate American wingnuttery. And, as you say, the reaction to communism. But there’s also this: they are a paranoid people. Which is understandable historically, their being stuck between Germany and Russia. But from that psychological soil many evil flowers grow and bloom. Shivering in anticipation and fear of phantom “existential threats” will make a neoconservative out of you. With all the sick ultra-nationalism and exceptionalism and hostility that entails.


I feel compelled to point out as a random thing that some of us actually do have acid reflux disease, and I’m particularly sick of having to be tested for H. pylori every six fucking months despite the fact that it’s never, ever been positive. Believe me, if it were just that, I’d be delighted. But it’s not, and it’s never been, and I can’t imagine it ever will be, so can we just… fucking… move… on?

I hate my new insurance company. Seriously. I loved my last one. This one sucks ass. They actually had someone call me and ask if I was really sure my migraines couldn’t be treated with something cheaper or OTC or lower dose or less frequent or preventative or, you know, have I considered seeing a quack for “alternative therapy”, not that they would cover any of that themselves. Then they called my *doctor* and asked the same thing. Then they called my *neurologist*.

And they still flip out at me every goddamned time I try to refill the imitrex. You’d think they could spend all that time and money harassing me to harass Glaxo about their lobbying efforts to increase prescription drug patents instead.

Rather, they spend all their time asking me if I’ve tried aspirin for assorted things. I swear they’re trying to shame me into believing I’m hopelessly untreatable so I’ll just kill myself out of despair.


As for Poland, that poor country is currently ruled by the Evil Kaczynski Twins

That floored me when I first heard about it. How cute! A country run by twins!

Patty Duke would have been a far better leader.


Most states abide by some form of the employment at-will doctrine which means that employers can pretty much fire anyone for pretty much any reason they like, absent some reason that would require the employee to engage in unlawful behavior or otherwise ignore the unlawful behavior of the company (whistleblower stuff, or some variation thereof). On the other hand, the company may not hurt its number one constituency, i.e. itself and its shareholders. Firing otherwise quality employees might rise to the level of a breach of the company’s duty of care if it can be demonstrated that the firings somehow materially injure the company. That’s pretty tough to show because such acts generally fall within the business judgment of the directors – even if the company suffers financial loss. Directors’ decisions don’t have to be profitable, successful, or even wise; generally they must just be loyal, and careful as fiduciaries.

Of course, it is also possible that firing unhealthy employees could somehow save the company money on its insurance premiums.

Oooh, Bonds his up.


RB: They were “identical cousins,” not actually twins.

Marco(not that other Marco)

D. Sidhe,

I’m sorry that H. pylori or its sister bacteria proved not to be your problem, but I was laughed at for the very suggestion for years. My father is also negative and has to take acid reducing drugs. Unfortunately, cures are never 100%, but I’m fucking ecstatic(ten years later) that I don’t got the acid(though some acid would be nice:).

I guess we can agree about one thing. American doctors(and insurance and HMO’s) suck donkey balls.


I can’t argue with that. I met an unhealthy amount of Poles who argued that Raygun’s mighty voice brought down the wall with a huff and a puff…

What the fuck is wrong with people anyway?


RB: They were “identical cousins,” not actually twins.

What a crazy pair!


D. Sidhe.

Have you tried a tea brewed from the clipped tails of embryonic goats?


Kind of suspected you were deeply unserious, and probably faking.




Marco: Oh, I know. I actually was pretty excited when they started testing for it, because it had been presented in the science news as This Is Why People Have Ulcers and I really expected to be able to solve the damned problem. So they screw you coming and going.

And I suppose it’s good that the insurance company wants to make sure my doctors know they’re prescribing the sorts of doses of imitrex for me that would put a rhino into the ground, but I’ve got a ten-to-fifteen-year record of migraine treatment and you would think they might have asked for the records and read them before asking if I’ve tried… everything that it’s listed I’ve tried.

Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that doctors fixate on the correct diagnosis they first made for any given set of symptoms and your only hope is to keep going from doctor to doctor until you find the one that happens to match your problem.

Of course, every time you start seeing a new doctor, you have to do all the obvious idiocy all over again. Hey, you’re new, with headaches. Have you tried Tylenol? Advil? Excedrin? Hey, maybe the screaming’s the problem…


mikey, I love you. Unfortunately, my slut days are behind me now, so I won’t proposition you, but would you be interested in some sort of home cooked meal with Spam?

You don’t want to know what I have tried, actually. It freaks even the neurologists out. But no, not that, and clearly I’m not interested in finding a solution. (Hell, I’ve been hallucinating zombies round the clock for the past few months because the medication that causes it gives me three to five fewer migraines a month. How much more desperation do I need to display?)


‘Sokay, darlin. I’ve been over at your dogpatch sharing my deeply serious wisdom. It is, mathematically speaking, the least I can do.




RB: They were “identical cousins,” not actually twins.

I know of a pair of identical cousins. Pair of fraternal twins married another pair of fraternal twins, and both of ’em had boychildren born within a week of each other. Friend of mine that grew up with ’em say they look almost alike, much more alike than my brother and I. My friend says they’re nice kids but creepy as hell. This all is in rural South Georgia and there’s some serious Erskin Caldwell shit that’s also in the story but I’m not gonna tell that, partly because it’s none of y’all’s business and partly because it’s disturbing as hell to think about.

I have seen a picture of these kids and I have met one of ’em. It’s goddamn weird how much they look alike. Never met a talking horse, though.

Marco(not that other Marco)

Oh D. Sidhe,

You have got that shit right. When I returned to the States some years ago the specialists I went to see at Buffalo General looked at my severe psoriasis(covering 25% of my body and cracking and bleeding all over) and chuckled and suggested Hydrocortisone. A condition I had since I was a teenager and had since been treated with some of the most intense cortico-steroids known to mankind–was dismissed. Here’s a prescription for Cortisone, that should help and come back everyday for UV treatments. “Have you ever tried UV treatments?” Uh, no doctor, I lived in SEAsia and was out in the sun all the fucking time, sir. “Great, so you’ll come every other day for your treatment.”

I was lucky to find a doctor on the west side of Buffalo(many months later) who had the heart and soul to prescribe Enbrel. Two sub-Q injections a week and the shit totally went into remission.

And here I am in a Biblical thunderstorm in Florida two years later and my skin is clear!

But, I are the gnu Englishe teacher.
Bob Allen says fear of a black man made him offer blowjob.

State rep. blames fear of ”stocky black guy” for sex arrest

Titusville, Florida – An audiotape reveals new details about the arrest of a state lawmaker in the men’s room of a public park. Investigators say State Representative Bob Allen offered an undercover officer 20 dollars, if he could perform oral sex on him. The Merritt Island Republican says its all a big misunderstanding.

In an audiotaped interview with Titusville Police, Allen says he was intimidated after a man offered a sex act for money. He says he went along with the conversation, because he was afraid of becoming another crime statistic.

On the audiotape, Allen said, “Listen. A public park. I got my name on the damn building. I’m not gonna do that. You know, maybe I said it in the wrong order, but this was a pretty stocky black guy, and there were a lot of other black guys around in the park, and, you know…”

Titusville Assistant Chief John Lau said, “If you were nervous, then how come you went back into the stall? Not in the stall, the bathroom?”

Allen responded, “I went back the second time around because >>unintelligible

You just can’t make this shit up. You really can’t.


Dammit. You think that woulda worked with the NVA?



Why hasn’t he offered to blow Osama yet?


Why hasn’t he offered to blow Osama yet?

Prolly ’cause Osama Hussein is too friendly lookin’?

Herr Doktor Bimler

Allen […] was afraid of becoming another crime statistic.
He decided it was better to be a standard deviation.


Here is the rest of it. For some reason the preview script froze Firefox.

Allen responded, “I went back the second time around because -unintelligible- I says, ‘I gotta use the bathroom.’ But, I said, ‘The building is safer than standing out here,’ so I went back in, and sat down, and that’s when he came back the second time, and that made me very nervous.”

Allen says he will not resign, and may still run for the state senate.

BTW, it was Ed Gein who made lampshades out of human skin and he was from Wisconsin, 90 miles from where I grew up. When he was arrested he had a human liver frying in a pan and had a “woman suit” made from one of his victims in the barn. He is the inspiration (if that is the word) for “Psycho” and “Halloween” and all their derivatives.


Allen says he will not resign, and may still run for the state senate.

When you’re out to give the forbidden blowjob, you need to work to make it just that much more forbidden.

Hysterical Woman

Was this before or after the stocky black man took his car and killed his children?


with the HPPA laws, can an employer even get access to your medical records to know what your blood pressure is, and your BMI?

Technically, No. Unless you sign a waiver to allow access, which I’d imagine would be written to 100% in the employer’s favor, i.e., access to any records which ‘might have relevance’ to your employment, if not ALL records. Theoretically, if not in practice, your employer shouldn’t have any knowledge of your health status beyond what you disclose or anything that might be a pre-employment qualification.

However, HIPPA allows a new carrier access to previous medical records, as they pertain to current/future treatment. So, every time you change employers you run the risk of hitting the ‘pre-existing condition’ wall with a new health benefits provider. Legally, they’re required to cover you, within six months of the last job, but it’s a source of numerous lawsuits.

The other thing to remember, esp. in cases of terminal or severe chronic illnesses (and dental, btw) is that many plans have a Lifetime Limit for coverage. In today’s economy, ask yourself how long it might take to reach a million dollars in healthcare costs (not including deductibles) – cancer, severe burns, neo-natal care, extended ICU stays…


D. Sidhe, I am horrified every time I hear about how insurance companies are practicing medicine, offering diagnoses. I realize they employ doctors and pay the doctors extra if they can cut patients off at the pass but aaaaargh. I can’t fathom what it must be like to live with such a system. I will fight tooth and nail to prevent private insurance taking over the public system here.

I pay $35.00 a month for health insurance. My employer pays the other $35.00 and for that I get all the basics – unlimited doctors visits, a semi-private room in a hospital, lab tests, surgery if I need it, emergency care, etc. etc. – plus 80% of (all) prescriptions covered, massage, chiro, physio, and a bunch of other stuff. If I was diagnosed with cancer tomorrow I’d receive red carpet treatment, I wouldn’t pay a cent more for it, and no insurance company would call me because the government runs the insurance program.

When my mother was dying with cancer, she was offered – free- a private apartment with a fireplace and round the clock nursing care fronting a lake. She didn’t go for that because she wanted to stay home. At home she received free home care – 3 palliative nurses and a doctor’s team specializing in pain management. When she got too sick to stay at home, I moved her into a palliative care centre. My mom was assigned five nurses and four doctors, the family was provided for – we were able to sleep over in beautifully laid out lounges with beds, tvs, cable, and they fed us! Plus they assigned our family a social worker, a pastor, and a psychologist. The few times I went out for an hour or so, mom’s doctors would call me to check to see how I was doing or to report any change in mom’s condition. It was unbelievable. The cost? Nothing. Mom’s health insurance (through the gov’t) covered it. What did she pay? $30 a month.

The people in that palliative care ward saved my sanity and took such great care of my mother I will be forever indebted to them. Yes, 40% of my income is taxed. Is it worth it? YES! YES! YES!


Anyone remember the phrase “trafficker in human misery,” applied to those who sold “controlled substances?” (When they were usually relievers of human misery.) Well, it certainly applies to the insurance cos. Why anyone shoud make a profit on people’s health care is beyond me.
A living, for those who provide health care, of course, but a profit to stockholders? I think not.


The BMI index is bullshit. I know people who are categorized as “obese” on it. Hell, I think it said I’m on the high end of “over weight”. 6’1″, 200 with change (I usually say 215, because I don’t check and I don’t care, and that’s around where I was last physical. Those pants still fit fine) Now I’ll be the first to say I could stand to loose 10 or 15 pounds, but I would be hard pressed to say I’m “overweight”.

Now, there is no simple solution to any health care system, government or private. There’s going to be loopholes and red tape crap, no matter who you choose. But, gee, employers deducting from paychecks each week for personal medical information that is really none of their damn business? How could THAT possibly be abused?


Its different cuz someone is trying to make a profit.

See, If the motive isn’t a stack of cash then can you really trust it?


I understand that any system has warts, and that government health care isn’t all roses, either. But I think the mistreatment and fatal mistakes are built right in to a system where people start making profits. An insurance company makes money by denying you care. That’s all there is to it. They may be properly denying you care, hell, they may even be protecting you from a doctor who makes money by performing unnecessary treatments. But that’s not why they’re doing it. They’re doing it to make a profit, and to them it doesn’t matter if they are safely or unsafely denying you care. Once you start making claims, it’s in their interest to see you off their plan, frustrated into ignoring your health issue, or dead. That’s all there is to it.

At the very least, single payer administered by a government will kill you out of incompetence or corruption, but not because it is their moral obligation to their stockholders to deny you care. The worst case scenarios aren’t built into the bottom line.


with the HPPA laws, can an employer even get access to your medical records to know what your blood pressure is, and your BMI?

This is some of the BOILERPLATE language commonly used in such agreements:

“Protected Health Information [PHI] generally identifies the Employee, the Employee’s diagnosis, treatment, and supplies used in the course of treatment.

Your Medical Plan may disclose PHI to your Employer only for limited purposes as described in the Plan documents. The Employer agrees to use the information in accordance with the Plan documents or as required by HIPPA . PHI May be used or disclosed for Plan Administration functions that the Employer performs on behalf of the Plan. Such functions include:

*Enrollment of eligible employees and dependents,
*Elibigility determinations,
*Payment for coverage,
*Claim payment activities,
*Coordination of benefits, and
*Claim appeals.

In order to perform these functions, the Plan will disclose PHI only to the following individuals:
*Plan Administrator,
*HIPPA Privacy Official,
*Other Personnel specifically designated by the Plan’s Privacy Official.”

For more information, review your Plan’s Summary Plan Description or Certificate.

Link to HIPPA info:


There is a lot of nonsense about HIPAA. Most of it is an urban legend. For correct information see my blog. Also we should have universals health insurance. My blog has a detailed plan, plus discussions of other aspects. See

Science blog

Political blog


I would be willing to bet that any of my old employers would have considered getting my BMI and fining me for my weight to be “coordinating benefits” and would simply have designated some random Personnel staffer by whatever title seemed required.

On the other hand, my old employers often threatened to have green card employees deported for trying to get workman’s comp benefits or for reporting on the job injuries at all, so it’s probably not much of a stretch to say any of them probably would have just rifled through the breakroom fridge and fined anyone who wasn’t bringing in celery sticks every day. Admittedly it’s a moot point because we were all classified as part time so they didn’t have to offer overtime or health benefits to begin with.

Nonetheless, the world is full of exploitative employers who hire people to find loopholes.


Y’know, I see this from a different perspective, being a pharmacy tech.

We’re the ones on the front line, pretty much; we’re the ones who gets to tell you your meds are denied due to lack of prior authorzation, we’re the ones who try to contact the overworked doctor’s office ’cause his/her assistant forgot to write something pertinent on the scrip and there’s no frickin’ way the insurance will fill it otherwise, and we’re the lucky ones who get to try to puzzle out how to enter the new insurance information into the computer in spite of the fact that there’s NOTHING as far as a BIN number or member ID on the letter that they swore was all we’d need to get you set up. (That last one happened the other day)

I’m all for universal single-payer health care. At the very least, it’d simplify billing, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing at all from my point of view.


Pere Ubu, I feel for you. My doctor is absentminded on many occasions and somewhat halfwitted on a few. And my insurance company sucks. In fact, I’m between prescriptions on my imitrex as a combination of these factors with a liberal dose of my own inability to do math thrown in.

Basically, as soon as the pharmacy gets my refill call, they enter it into the computer, which sends it to the insurance company, then they try to contact my doctor who can take as long as two weeks to authorize a refill with both me and the pharmacy calling to remind her nurse’s voicemail daily.

We had a little interaction recently where I’m allowed to fill this every thirty one days, and the doctor was going to be on vacation during that time frame. If I call two weeks earlier than I need something, I stand a chance of my doctor actually getting around to it, though sometimes the pharmacy, after trying to contact her for a couple weeks, gives up. But I couldn’t call this one in early, because every time the insurance company gets this request so much as a day early, they freak out and me and the pharmacy and the doctor all end up resubmitting the paperwork–rather than just telling the pharmacy I can’t have it for another three days or whatever–which means it could be a month or so before they’ll cover it. (Mind you, the reason I run out of this stuff early is because the insurance company will only pay for a certain amount anyway.)

Said prescription is about two hundred bucks for me to fill, so I make do. (No shit, it’s actually cheaper for me to go to the ER once it gets to the point where I’m concussing myself from the damned things. My drug coverage insurance and my health insurance are different companies and they suck in different ways.)

So I ended up waiting till the day before the doctor left, which I thought was thirty one days, except it turns out it’s not because June has only thirty days rather than thirty one. Oops. The insurance company predictably freaked out, and now I have to wait for the doctor to get back from vacation so we can all start the paperwork over again, and meantime the pharmacist has had to return my prescription, which has been in limbo on the pickup shelf, to the box or whatever.

I think the pharmacy hates me, really. I have a hard time blaming them for that.

Oh yeah, what was it Dubya was saying about how socialized medicine mean waits and rationing?

The really lame part is, I’m not actually a sick person. I get headaches and I have a sinus infection and acid reflux and a very common thyroid function issue. These things are relatively treatable or ignorable, and for the most part I’m largely content to fill the prescriptions I’m given and keep breakthrough pain to myself. I can’t imagine trying to deal with any of this if I had cancer or anything else.

Simplifying the red tape that people with actual serious health issues have to deal with when they’re sick, exhausted, drugged, worried about their jobs or who’s going to watch the kids during treatments or worse worrying about dying from some disease isn’t a minor consideration in any way. It’s the, pardon the phrase, compassionate thing to do, the humane way to respond to people.

Those who say things like “People need to learn to shop around for the best health care prices” are sadists, nothing more or less.


I’d like to know how you go about “shopping around” for health care.

No, really. How do you go about it?

You can’t go visit 4 or 5 doctors’ offices and kick a few tires, take one for a test drive, and decide whether you like them or not – not unless you pay for the office visit.

You can read all the insurance policies you want – and more power to you if you can figure it out – but in the end you pick one, and then you are stuck with that one until open enrollment a year or so later. It’s not until you’re with a carrier that you find out how they do on approving procedures or whatever.

In the case of my own insurance – it looks great on paper. And it’s been great for years. It’s not until you have a condition that needs a specialist that you find out, well, yeah, the coverage is great and your visit to the specialist is covered, but the hitch is there are only 3 specialists on the plan and one works part time and the other is out on maternity leave. So your appointment is four months from now for that acute and painful condition you have. Good luck with it.


You’d think doctors would know better, but I’ve known a doctor so stupid that they took a BMI reading as proof that an athletic friend of mine was overweight to near obese when he only had 13% body fat.

I’m in the same boat as your friend. I’m overweight or obese depending on whether or not I’m rounding off for metric (29.9) or using imperial (30.2). I also have a freakishly low body fat, and if my company started docking me money, even though I’m in the gym four days out of seven, they’d soon have a tall, built, angry person down at HR.


I’d like to know how you go about “shopping around” for health care.

No, really. How do you go about it?

The latest insurance “innovation” is to rate doctors, hospitals etc. (“providers”) by plan-determined measures of cost-effectiveness. In one plan, for instance, a member who goes to a “Value Plus” provider gets lower copayments than one who goes to a “Value Check” provider (more expensive copays but a $5 reimbursement per copay), a “Value” provider (same as above w/o reimbursement), or one of those durned regular doctors (full copays). Naturally they want you to go to the doctors who crank em out the fastest, put people on the cheapest drugs, and pay their short-staffed staff the least— it’s cost-effective! Quality of care is supposed to be guaranteed by the credentialing process, ie when the insurance co. vets the doctor prior to allowing him or her into the network— but we all know how well that works out.

Of course, cost-effectiveness as a guiding principle of health care is why they shoot horses.


Even my MBA, free-marketeer father thinks that health care shouldn’t be for profit.


What fucking bastard took my chicken?

Did someone say ‘fucking bastard’?

Snicker. *scarfs down chicken, growls at sister* Snicker.

Ahem. *licks paws*

Teh Handmaiden is uninsurable, because she has MS. In order to get on one of the interferon treatments, you need a diagnosis of MS, but once you get the diagnosis, no one will insure you except Medicare. Or Medicaid, I think, but we make ‘too much money’ for that. Also, the Handmaiden can’t buy life insurance, even though life expectancy for people with Relapsing/Remitting MS is pretty much the same as for people without it.

As long as she lives longer than I do, and stays well enough to be my minion, I don’t care, though. The Handmaiden says I have the temperament to ‘work’ for an insurance company. I don’t know what she means by this ‘work,’ but I don’t really care enough to find out.

Mmm. Chicken.


This is bullhockey.

Someone will sue the hospital under the Americans With Disabilities Act, and win.

Penalizing people for poor health is discrimination.against people with disabilities. It doesn’t matter whether the disability is addiction, obesity, some inherited condition, a condition due to injury, or what.

And it has even more invidious implications. Will black employees face deductions for being more likely to have or carry sickle cell anemia? Will Jewish employees get nailed for having or carrying Tay-Sachs? What about diseases unique to each sex? It’s not just disability discrimination; it’s also effectively race, religion, and sex discrimination, too.

Any way they approach it, it’s discrimination under the ADA and actionable. We need to get fair, equal, NON-PROFIT SINGLE-PAYER health insurance, and the best way to do that is open Medicare to all (or to all employers, at the very least!) and stop the blood-sucking, benefit-chiseling behavior we see from for-profit entities like this hospital’s insurance scheme.


with the HPPA laws, can an employer even get access to your medical records to know what your blood pressure is, and your BMI?

Apparently Clarian Health is an insurance provider, so I’m guessing they have access to the records as the insurer. Pretty gross.


You guys have pretty much no idea how fucked-up the insurance industry actually is. My father is a doctor and he rants and raves about it all the time. I’d like to make a counterpart to Sicko that explores why the hell America is so fucked – where Moore goes bottom-up, I’d be looking top-down.

For one thing? Never ever ever ever blame doctors for it. Doctors in the aggregate – represented by assholes like the AMA – possibly, but the people running those freakshows are typically rich jerks anyway.

Every dollar that gets spent on healthcare? Two cents of it go to physicians. Eighty go to hospital administration – of which about three pay for actual administrative costs.

In other words? A physician makes between 150,000 and 500,000 a year. (This is, for what it’s worth, what I’d like to see the maximum salary in America be; it represents over a decade of concerted training and experience to do something completely vital in which the better you are the better off people are and in many cases the doctors are just barely able to pay off their student loans with it anyway.) They spend 8 years getting an MD for it, spend between 3 and 10 (!!) years in residencies before they get to use it, take a barrage of incredibly difficult exams to even get hired by the hospital, and maybe by the end of their lives get paid a million, tops.

Medical administrators, whose MBA apparently makes them better-qualified, are paid between $5 and $20 million a year. Yes – APIECE.

How in the hell does the hospital pay for that absurd capitalist graft, you ask? Well – simple! Because the insurance agencies essentially dictate the prices for procedures as an invincible cartel, and because hospital administration and medical insurance are basically friendly to one another, some procedures cost slightly more than the market value would seem to dictate. Take, for example, changing a bandage.

The hospital might break this down into five procedures: examining the dressing, removing the old bandage, examining the wound, cleaning the wound, dressing the wound. Typical costs for that start – as in, they might be an order of magnitude more in some places – at respectively about $100, $250, $250, $400, and $500. This costs the hospital between $5 and $10 for supplies, and the physician isn’t even paid a cent for it – it’s a routine part of her or his follow-up. If you break down her time in terms of opportunity costs, you’re dealing with a maximum of $50, maybe $100 for a particularly egregrious industry (which could, again, cost an order of magnitude more.) So the hospital has just pocketed $1400 or so for what amounts to a high-end band-aid.

The hospital has a lot of money to throw around that way, which it might spend on equipment or it might spend on generous pay for its administrative staff (guess which they usually prioritize – go on!). The insurance company only has to pay a bit of those prices – but they get to pass the entire cost onto the patient, pretending they’ve shelled out more than they have and charging accordingly.

American medicine is intensely bureaucratic. Government bureaucracies are the best of both worlds: they get the humanizing touch of the bureaucracy in executing government policy and the public oversight that comes along with a democratic government. Private bureaucracies have no official oversight and usually turn into corruption mills that prey off of human misery. There’s more human misery to pray on in the hospital injury than in any other.

In short, the system is more fucked than you can imagine, and almost certainly for reasons you’ve never even heard of. (The Powers that Be have a certain interest in people having the wrong answer.) And don’t even get me started on pharmaceutical companies.


egregrious INJURY. It’s too hot today.


Basically, if America completely socialized its healthcare system, there would be a couple of thousand unemployed managers who are suddenly unable to make payments on their private islands in the Bahamas, but we would actually probably see public costs go DOWN in the long run. Just like Wal-Mart, the worst abuses of private medicine largely fall on those whose marginal existence is subsidized by the government.

Of course, between the millions of people who have to dig into their tax returns to pay for basic care and the thousands of poor, afflicted MBA-men cruelly deprived of a fifth Lamborighini, well, we all know which the political media – and the lobbyist-saturated major parties – care more about.


I’d like to know how you go about “shopping around” for health care.

One of the current GOP candidates for Prez has said pretty much this, with refinements about how people need to be more responsible for their care rather than, you know, just running off to the doctor because you think you’re sick, or going to the first ER you can get to without regard for price.

I’m an extreme case, but I will note that I tend to assume everything will go away on its own eventually, or I’ll get used to it. So when I finally go in to see the doctor and she says, “How long have you been ignoring this this time”, I get to say, Oh, just a few months… And I get a lecture with lurid photos of what this could have turned into because I ignored it. But it’s given with a sense of resignation, and I get the impression that an awful lot of people do the same thing.

In fact, the reason so many people end up in our ERs is that they *don’t* go dashing off to a doctor whenever they think they might be sick, mostly because they can’t afford to or are uninsured altogether or can’t get time off work or have no transportation or childcare.

I do know that it’s often presented as a common sense measure that you should call around to pharmacies to find the best price on meds. I will take generics whenever they are available, but they aren’t always, and that’s a matter of industry lobbying as well. But you really should get your prescriptions all filled at the same pharmacy, especially if they’re from different doctors, and it is pretty much routine for each pharmacy to charge a lower-then-average price for some things and a higher-than-average price for others, so comparison shopping doesn’t help as much as you might hope.

I know my insurance tries to encourage me to get my doctor to sample me by various measures, but I tend to agree with my doctor that samples should be saved for people without insurance, who can’t afford the meds any other way, and I will not ask for them unless the insurance company is outright denying me something I need right away, and even then I still feel guilty and something of a sucker because I have a feeling that’s what they were hoping for all along.

In general the free market health care boosters suggest things like asking a number of doctors for their rates on elective and non-emergency surgeries and procedures, but most of the time you’re still on the hook for the consultation, and your insurance company won’t pay more than one of those for any given procedure.

As far as I can tell, the whole thing is designed to make you feel like ignoring your problem is easier unless you’re actually going to die. It seems to work pretty well, too.


“I’d like to know how you go about “shopping around” for health care.”

One of the current GOP candidates for Prez has said pretty much this, with refinements about how people need to be more responsible for their care rather than, you know, just running off to the doctor because you think you’re sick, or going to the first ER you can get to without regard for price.

What planet do these politicians live on? Do they ever read the statistics generated by those reports they appropriate funding for?

The average uninsured family spends less than a thousand dollars per year on medical care–of all types.

Those who are fortunate enough to have insurance are told which doctors we can see, and which pharmacies we must purchase from, for our treatment and prescription meds to be covered under the plan.

Under most insurance plans, you don’t get to see a specialist or have a test performed until you have consulted a “gatekeeper” physician.

Most people under age 65 who have insurance are covered by plans provided through their employers. If you lose this coverage, and you have been covered under the plan for fewer than 18 months, you have to exhaust COBRA/Continuation coverage (usually 18 mos.) in order to receive reasonably priced conversion/individual health insurance that covers any pre-existing conditions. And oh, if your employer changes plans, and the new plan is not as comprehensive, you’re pretty much screwed, as your coverage under COBRA/Continuation is tied to the employer’s plan. In my experience, the cost for this coverage with dental can go as high as $1,200 per month. (Keep in mind that I’m relatively healthy.)

Assuming they are not eligible for federal or state aid, uninsured people pay more for medical care. The heart bypass operation that Medicare pays a hospital $85,000 for will cost most health plans $100,000-$125,000. Uninsured patients are billed the “normal or customary fee” –which may be close to $200,000. Similar economies of scale apply to doctor visits.

Pain is one of the most common patient complaints. Most plans encourage patients to seek the generic “magic bullets” of Rx drugs or surgery, rather than non-pharmaceutical or non traditional intervention, e.g.: appliances, massage or accupuncture. The latter are often equally effective and less expensive. (Not to mention a hell of a lot less addictive than Vicodin!)

And thanks to Hatch-f*cking-Waxman, many patents on prescription drugs can be extended long past the statutory 20 year period when generics would be available to ease costs for many of us.

And then there’s the nightmare of the recently amended Medicare plans that is too involved to broach at 1:00 a.m. …..

So to the men and women in Congress who are Clueless Inside the Beltway: Thanks for allowing Big Pharma to hose me and others in similar straits for thousands every year, while telling us to save money by shopping around for ERs


My old insurance company had a fairly liberal gatekeeping policy. If you needed to, you could see a specialist or go to an ER and then start the approval process within seventy five hours *afterwards*. Also, they would send you a letter saying how many visits you were allowed within what time frame with any given specialist.

The new one says you can see a specialist without pre-approval as long as it’s “medically necessary”. Sounds like an improvement, right? No gatekeepers?

It’s had the effect of keeping us from seeing specialists at all. Because we don’t know until after what they’ll pay for, and it turns out to be not much on a regular basis. If you complain, they point out that they explicitly told you there was no guarantee they’d cover it, and they simply don’t agree with your doctor that it was medically necessary, so you’re screwed.

Again, I *have* insurance and I avoid doctors, and have spent close to three thousand in out of pocket this year alone. Not including premiums. We have a five hundred dollar deductible per person per year… but that only applies when they have actually agreed to cover something in the first place.

I have a feeling Congressional health care is not only really comprehensive, but also requires a minimum of paperwork and pre-approval. Why on earth should *they* worry about the rubble-built maze the rest of us have to try to navigate to get treated?

My old insurance, I would like to note, was Aetna. If you’ve got it, hold on to it. They seem to have a copayment and paperwork hurdle they use to decide if you’re really sick, but once you’re over that, they stop fucking with you and pay up, and will actually be helpful. They may get more obnoxious again when you start costing them a lot of money, but I loved them. (Of course, I was abused by bureaucracy at a young age and have a certain Stockholm Syndrome relationship with this sort of thing.)

Qetesh the Abyssinian

Wow, you lot are really being shafted, in a very major and serious way. Let me tell you what it’s like down here in Oz…

First, we’ve got Medicare: paid for by a 1% levy on taxable income (with conditions, so it’s not like it sounds), this covers GP consults, most surgery stuff, hospital stays, and some specialist stuff. It’s for everyone. There is a small ‘gap’ payment on most things, but it’s affordable: say, $15 for a GP visit, and so on.

Then we can, if we choose, add private health insurance, which can cover private rooms in hospital, specialist and alternative treatment like massage (with a licensed practitioner), dental, gym membership (a contribution thereto), nutritionist, acupuncture, physio, etc.

Before I lost my job, I had pretty much the top of the range coverage. It cost me about $65 a month. And that’s Australian dollars, mind, not greenbacks. Folks with this sort of coverage would complain bitterly and at length if asked to pay a contribution to surgery of some hundreds, not hundreds of thousands.

This stuff was set up by a previous government, not Howard the Weasel. And since Howard has his tongue high up Bush’s rectum, he’s trying to whittle it away, but for the moment we’ve got it and it works. And the emphasis is very much on prevention rather than cure.

Oh, and did I mention that the private health insurers are non-profits?


Qetesh, your kind of “everybody gets health care at a reasonable price” system is obviously pure socialist evil, because it requires a tax and because the insurers can’t make bazillions of dollars (even Australian ones) from their core business of denying coverage.

Of course, that’s because Australia is a communist dictatorship populated by criminal rabbits.

Qetesh the Abyssinian

Dan Someone, thanks for the compliment. Our criminal rabbits are currently spending the winter at their tropical retreat up north, but they’ll be back once it warms up a tad.

But I thought we were an anarcho-syndicalist commune?

Qetesh the Abyssinian

Oh, and Dan, we also have black people, who were here first. So we’ve got both our lots of dscriminatees rolled together into one. Makes life easier for Prime Minister Weasel and his Hosts Of Bigotry.


By the way, y’all ought to watch this video from last night’s Dem debate. (I’m waiting for Right Blogistan to start an investigation into whether “Steve Skvara” really exists and if so, just how disabled he really is. Wankers.)


[…] for fewer than 18 months, you have to exhaust COBRA/Continuation … article continues at Ruthie brought to you by insurance and […]


The last thing is having government managing our health care syste. Just look at how our government manages Medicare, VA Hospitals, Medical. Is is horid . Medicare is extremely confusing and very expensive for seniors. VA Hospitals inside look like third word country. Government system will be more expensive and ineficient. Having Government managing our healthcare system is not the answer. The answer is educating kids on eating healthy. We have over sixty percent of our population overweight. Half will die from heart desease. Third will die from Cancer. F**ING discussing.


F**ING discussing.



at last u have found some uninteresting suck idea


at last u have found some uninteresting suck idea
so its bullshit


(comments are closed)