Friday, September 04, 2009


The other day I woke up, reached over and started petting our little rescue dog Sasha, on her smooth belly. She sleeps on her back, and usually ends up in the middle of my husband and me, like a child under the covers. (When we first got her, I woke up and she had her head on the pillow; she was staring into my eyes, with her head was sticking out from the covers like a little child.

Anyway, on this particular morning, just before dawn, it was hazy but I could see her longish tan torso/tummy and I felt the back of her skinny little legs which were extended. I kept rubbing her smooth belly and then I panicked. She wasn't moving or breathing.

I said, "Paul - wake up! Sasha isn't moving. I think you're smothering her! I kept pulling her torso out from under my husband. It seemed as if her head was under his armpit and all I could feel was her belly. I kept pulling, trying to pull her out from under him, when I heard a bark from the end of the bed. It was Sasha barking at me. Who was I petting then? Suddenly it became clear that I had been "petting" my husband's inner arm the whole time! The inner arm was smooth and the outer sides had hair, so I just assumed it was the dog -- and in the haze his arm was just her size.

What I thought were her hind legs, were actually my husband's fingers. YOU HAD TO BE THERE! I still can't stop laughing about this!



I Just received this from Obama's office. It thoroughly lists the TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH about Obama's public health care option. Please read it.

8 Ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without Coverage

1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.

2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.

3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.

4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.

5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.

6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.

7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.

8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.

Learn more and get details:

8 Common Myths about Health Insurance Reform

1. Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.

2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.

3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.

4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.

5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.

6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.

7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.

8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Learn more and get details:

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more:

2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more:

3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more:

4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more:

5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more:

6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more:

7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more:

8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more:



Remember, the purpose of physical life is to learn how to love everyone unconditionally, including yourself. And to serve all other people with loving kindness.


  1. I'm sorry, Lydia, but NEITHER party has put forth a meaningful healthcare plan that fosters change. The public option is nothing but an add-on to what is clearly an archaic system. It does nothing to get rid of the fragmented, fee for service delivery system that totally hampers quality healthcare. Neither will it do anything in terms of meaningful cost control (cutting back on fees only makes doctors see more patients for a shorter period of time and jacks up lobbying). The low administrative costs, which seemingly sound good on paper, allow for what is essentially ballsy fraud and abuse to grow exponentially. And, finally, you've got the whole politicization (lobbying, bureaucratic rigidity) of medical decision-making. It all adds up to very little change at all. What we need to do is totally revamp the system and stop with all of these band-ald approaches.

  2. Yes, all we need is Universal medicare for all. That is so easy.

    I have two single mother friends who lost their homes to pay cancer treatments.

    It's the evil and corruption of United Health who coerced their employees to shout at Townhall meetings, who spied on employees and made them fear losing their jobs, controlling them.

    And the CEO of UNITED HEALTH got 1.5 billion in salary and bonuses in 2008. He used to be a biggie at ENRON!!!

    What disturbs me more than anything Will is that they are trying to scare people just like they did with WMD and Iraq. How did that work out?

    So war is patriotic but health care isn't?

    And Obama speaking to school kids, inspiring gang members who don't have much guidance at home - to stay in school and care about your fellow man - -the right wing is sending horrifying emails all around saying Obama is trying to indoctrinate our kids into "Hitler Youth."

    Why aren't there any sane, legitimate voices on the right? Why aren't any legitimate church leaders speaking out at how wrong this is?

  3. Yes, Lydia, there's definitely a lot of fear-mongering out there. I condemn it completely. And I don't necessarily trust the insurance companies, either. But instead of scape-goating the insurance companies (like the left does) or the government (like the right does), we try to come up with something that utilizes the power of private enterprise AND the necessary regulatory powers of the federal government. I'll be dropping by tomorrow with a quote that you actually might find interesting. Until then, good night (it's 1 AM in CT).

  4. P.S. I have absolutely NO problem with the President speaking to school children. At least from what I've been hearing, his speech is going to be Bill Cosby personal responsibility/stay in school/work very hard type of speech. Not a political speech.

  5. Big Insurance has one agenda: profit. It will take a large public pool of citizens to make them compete. Medicare pays 2% of drug prices and hospital costs. (Bush gutted Medicare last year, and privatized this "Medicare Advantage" which ended up being bad and hurtful to seniors.

    Health care should never be for profit. It is immoral. .

    How many chances have they had? they, the insurance companies have robbed us blind for decades. They won't suddenly drop their premiums without a low cost option to force them to compete.

    They've had too many chances to do the right thing

  6. "The issue here is not that drug and insurance companies, hospitals, physicians, lawyers, and government officials are all evil, or that a single part of the system is a bit out of joint or in need of straigtening. On the contrary, even if all the players were honest and reasonable, and we could shore up some of the shaky foundation, American healthcare WOULD STILL BE A MESS (my emphasis). It is the structure that is dysfunctional - not the individuals or the organizations involved. Everything is out of whack...." Lydia, we've created a system where it is unprofitable for insurance companies to be able to insure sick people. Under Dr. Emanuel's Guaranteed Healthcare Access Plan, this would be eliminated.

  7. Lydia, the last time there was a report on Medicare fraud was 1996. During that time, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that Medicare made about 23 billion worth of improper payments (over 10% of Medicare costs for that year). Clearly, CLEARLY, something is missing from the equation. As for now, though, Medicare (Medicaid, too) is absolutely paying claims that it shouldn't be (something, ironically, that makes it administrative cost ratio look even better!!).

  8. Lydia, as one of my first posts, I intended to break down the whole health care debate, but I think I'll pass now. What you have done exceeds my best expectation for what I planned. I agree that what we really need is a single payer system, but the insurance industry has the public so full of propaganda that it wouldn't fly today. The public option would be a good start. I believe that over many years, it would either force big insurance to reform or squeeze them out.

    The Repuglicans hate it, because it interferes with No Billionaire Left Behind. Too many Dems won't fight for it, because they never met a campaign contribution they didn't like.

    A bill without the public option is not change I can believe in.

  9. "Medicare for all" would be a total disaster. It would do nothing to eliminate the fee for service system that leads to the prescribing of too many interventions. It does nothing to mediate disputes (sanely) between providers and harmed parties. It's protocal for lowering costs (reducing fees) does literally nothing. Doctors will just end up seeing more patients for a shorter period of time. Add to that the blatant politicizing that would take place (medical organizations lobbying to RAISE FEES!!). You might even have some providers opting out of the system. As it stand now, almost 50% of doctors don't even accept Medicaid patients. You folks are right. We do need healthcare reform. But we need some reform that actually changes things.

  10. It's like, what do people think? Do they actually think that the insurance companies go Harvard Business School (for example) and ask them, "Please, give us your most ruthless students. We want to make them insurance executives." It's the SYSTEM, I'm telling you, not the individuals involved.

  11. It's the SYSTEM, I'm telling you, not the individuals involved.

    The "system" as you frame it, is simply the individuals involved following the standard operating procedures of the corporations and laws of the government.

    Major corporations like UNITED HEALTH push the employees they have to maximize profit over the people they are supposed to care for.

    Which is why they have been fined in the millions ...

    Health insurer accused of overcharging millions in California – United Health Care/Oxford Insurance 50 Million Fine.

    United Health Care Insurance Co. and United Health Care of North Carolina Inc. have agreed to pay the state nearly $800000

    The Missouri Department of Insurance says two subsidiaries of United Healthcare, based in St. Louis, will pay $536000 in fines.

    It was actions by individuals working for united health care who made the decisions which resulted in those fines, not some nefarious faceless, nameless system, whoch you posit to try to deflect the real culprits in the debate, the same people push their employees to cheat patients also push their employees to go to town halls and verbally attack citizens and deny them their first amendment rights with their congresscritters.

    They system consists of people, some who run the corporations and make sure congresscritters who do their bidding get large donations, are the most culpable however they have concern trolls like you to try and dishonestly frame the debate as a system NOT people who run it problem.

    Nice fail at your slimy attempt at concern trolling son.

  12. You're looking for scapegoats, as usual, Clif. There are bad actors ALL OVER THE PLACE. And they're not just in private enterprise. That lady in Oergon (where they have, hello, single-payer) was denied anti-cancer cancer drugs that could have saved her life. Yes, she got the drugs, finally. And you know who gave them to her? Yeah, that's right, the big bad pharma companies. But like Dr. Emanuel says, Clif, EVEN IF ALL OF THE ACTORS (public and private) BEHAVED, the system would still be a mess. We have a disjointed, uncoordinated system that gives shitty care and wastes inordinate sums of money. Clif, take your blinders off and try to learn something, for Christ! And, plese read more carefully, too. Dr. Emanuel's quote says that not ALL of these entities are evil. Obviously, there are bad actors. But that's why we need an ENTIRELY new system, one that gets away from employer-based models and the even more essier to screw government models. Think, Clif, outside the box, FOR ONCE!!

  13. Human beings can be dishonest, Clif? Gee, what a revelation. That must explain, not just the corporate malfeasence but the 10% fraud in the Medicare system, too.

  14. During his 7/22 press-conference, President Obama said that the insurance companies were making record profits right now. Well, guess what, according to fact, the President was either misinformed or lying. Humana, Health Net, CIGNA, and even the dreaded United Health have ALL reported higher profits in previous quarters and years. Now this isn't to say that these companies don't need to be regulated better (Yes, slimy partisan stooge, Clif, that's a part of what I mean by changing the SYSTEM). But to try and say that THIS is the only problem, that is absolutely imbecilic.

  15. You're looking for scapegoats, as usual, Clif.

    No numbnuts, just looking for the people who are responsible for making the system as bad as you say it is.

  16. The rest of your word salad diatribes, ...... well nuff said.

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  18. Those government officials in Oregon who were willing to pay for that woman's suicide drugs BUT NOT HER CANCER DRUGS - they must be included in that "bad actor" category, too, Clif. As for my words, Clif, I'll take them over your paranoid, barely intelligible ones any day.

  19. They're NOT "bad actors" Will.

    That's called "End of Life consultation"...

    (but don't call it a "death panel")