Response to comments on Jill Stanek’s blog

Posting here because I had too much to say to post in the blog comments — responding to post at http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2010/03/bluffing_they_do_not_have_the.html

It sounds like most of you who have replied to me have no idea what’s actually in the bill, and are just repeating the scare tactic lines and rhetoric that has no relationship to what’s in the bill.

(I apologize for the length, I am trying to respond to all of the questions and comments in one go.)

This bill does not create a public option or single payer option that would be under government control. The control over health care services will still be in the hands of the insurance companies — the government is only involved because they are forcing insurance companies to accept people like me who were previously denied, places restrictions on how they can raise premiums (for example, prohibiting them from raising premiums due to health history), and creates a health care exchange that people like me can buy into that will result in lower rates because it spreads the risk across a large pool of people, and provides subsidies to insurance companies covering more sick people than the median rate, which will also encourage them to keep premiums lower.

The bill also expands Medicaid to cover more people and provides states with assistance to pay for those additional people. It strengthens Medicare. It promotes preventative care, which reduces health care costs. It will help put primary care doctors into communities without them. It improves access to experimental and new treatments.

But all of these reforms end up with the control for day-to-day health care still in the hands of the insurance companies. The government involvement is limited to reforming the insurance companies and changing the way they do business in ways that will insure that more Americans get coverage and that people won’t lose coverage because they get sick.

Have you heard the story of Natoma Canfield, who was forced to drop her individual health insurance that she had struggled to pay as they hiked her premiums year after year, and when they raised her rates again by 40% she was unable to pay it? She was diagnosed with leukemia just a week or so ago and is now in a hospital not only stressed and worried about staying alive and fighting the disease, but trying desperately to figure out how she is going to pay for the 28 days of chemotherapy and all of the tests and treatments that she needs to survive. Without insurance, her only real hope is that the center where she is being treated will write off the cost of her care. Otherwise, she is likely to lose her house — the house her parents built — in order to pay for care that she quite literally can’t live without.

This is the status quo that you are supporting by fighting against this bill.

Mary — I have looked at all of the options available. Only one of my prescriptions is on those $4/$10 prescription program lists; the rest cost up to $80 a month. They would be much more, except that a locally owned pharmacy has agreed out of the kindness of their hearts to discount my prescriptions. Still, I spend up to $300 a month for the drugs I need to be able to function and work. I am currently on the waiting list for California’s high risk pool, which costs up to $800 a month for one person. Last I heard it will be at least 3-4 more months before I get coverage.

Lori — I’m not sure I follow your logic. Because Pelosi and Planned Parenthood support health reform, abortion must be in the bill? Do you realize that 97.3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are NOT abortion-related, and they provide basic health care for many people who are uninsured? They see people every day in desperate need of health care and health insurance. The bill expands grants to community health centers so that those people, even if they aren’t insured after this bill passes, will have much better access to health care than they do now. That is why they support it. THERE IS NO ABORTION FUNDING IN THE BILL.

And as far as Pelosi — she supports many bills. Because she supports a budget bill or a military funding bill, do you assume that abortion is in those bills too? Is it so unimaginable that someone who is pro-choice has other concerns, like the tens of millions of people who are uninsured, like the thousands of people like Natoma Canfield who are taking on extreme debt so they can live, or dying because they can’t afford the care they need? Your reasoning makes no sense. I suggest that you actually read the bill and see for yourself what is in it. (http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3590/show has the full text; http://dpc.senate.gov/dpcdoc-sen_health_care_bill.cfm has several summaries and documents describing the bill highlights.)

You also say that you would rather go your whole life without health insurance than “let innocent babies die in the womb for your health.” There is NO ABORTION FUNDING IN THE BILL. Do you realize that you are sacrificing the lives of probably tens of thousands of Americans each year in order to prevent imaginary abortions that ARE NOT GOING TO BE FUNDED BY THIS BILL? Do you know that universal healthcare REDUCES the abortion rate? In fact, by not supporting this bill, you are actually supporting more abortions, because more women are going to terminate pregnancies because they can’t afford the health care costs of pregnancy, labor, and raising a child?

I just don’t understand where you are coming from.

Vannah — As far as I know, I am cancer free, though I had to have a precancerous lesion removed in November (at great expense). However, my last scans and tests were done about a year and a half ago, and I have no way of knowing whether there are metastatic lesions somewhere in my body. I still have a 20% chance (1 in 5) that the cancer will recur. Not being able to afford the tests that would be able to determine that is a potentially deadly bet I am forced to make with my life. By the time I have symptoms from metastases, it would be too late to have any real chance to survive it. Early detection is critical, and right now it is also impossible for me. I also suffer from severe chronic pain caused by Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which started when I was hit by a car while crossing a street (at a crosswalk) and a woman ran the red light and hit me. It has spread from my right wrist/arm/hand into my left wrist/arm/hand as well as my right hip, left lower abdomen, and now my neck and part of my head and face. This is where the majority of my health expenses come from, as I have to see a doctor every month and take 6 different medications to get the pain to a level I can live with — but I live with pain 24/7. If I had insurance, I would be able to have procedures like trigger point injections, and would be able to go forward with the treatment my doctors have long believed would end my pain: an implantable device similar to a pacemaker that stimulates nerves in the spinal cord to short-circuit the pain signals from the CRPS. This involves two surgeries and a very expensive set of equipment and is completely out of the question until I have insurance coverage. Until then I live with a regular level of pain that most people would find intolerable.

And finally, Jill — I haven’t forgotten it, and I try to reach @nextthurs every day. But that doesn’t mean I am going to stop fighting for the causes that are important to me, and right now health care reform is at the very top of that list. I am tired of seeing people like you who say they are pro-life spreading lies and misinformation about the abortion funding you believe is in the bill but IS NOT. You obviously have a large readership and a large following, and instead of using that to save the lives of uninsured Americans, you are fighting to keep a status quo that kills people every day — because of reasons that you made up. You should be ashamed of yourself, but I don’t expect you to ever come down from your high horse long enough to see the damage you’ve done.

2 Comments »

  1. Carolyn Said:

    You’ll be denied coverage Violet, primarily because we won’t be able to afford it. We’ll all be going broke so ill people like yourself will be treated the way both of my parents were in Canada when they were diagnosed 10 years apart with Cancer. They were getting on in age and why spend millions to treat them? Let’s just make them as comfortable as possible. My dad died within 6 weeks and my mom within 7 months of being diagnosed. No treatment whatsoever was given to them. It is simply too costly. If your cancer reoccurs, make sure you have a last will and testament. Obama and company are elite and don’t care a bit about your or anyone else’s healthcare except for them and their precious, special families, which we pay for btw.

    I feel sorry for you and all the other kool*aid drinkers.

    • iamsteel Said:

      Carolyn: Once the health care bill passes, as I believe it will, I’ll be able to get coverage through the high-risk pool that will be established. Starting in 2014, I will have my choice of insurance because they won’t be able to deny me for pre-existing coverage (and insurance companies will not be able to deny children with pre-existing conditions as soon as the bill goes into effect). And it will still be just as it is now, with the insurance companies — NOT the government — making the decisions about what gets paid and what doesn’t. In Canada, the government makes those decisions. I’m sorry to hear about what happened to your parents, but this bill will not establish socialized medicine in the U.S. — it simply expands the private-insurance-based system we have today to cover most of the people who are currently uninsured.

      You can feel sorry for me if you want, but I feel sorry for you and all the people who are fighting against this bill because you are believing the lies being spewed by much of the right-wing media and across the blogosphere. There is no coverage for abortions, and this bill does not create socialized medicine. Once again, the Republicans have succeeded in convincing people to fight against their best interests. You have my pity.


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