American healthcare

it hasn’t even been a week since trump got in office and he’s already making orders to fuck with people’s reproductive rights, advance the construction of oil pipelines on native american land, and repeal healthcare from millions of people so literally fuck anyone who says “just give him a chance”!!, because chances aren’t given to assholes who won’t hesitate when it comes to putting people’s lives in jeopardy 

Guys! Check it out!

Speaker Paul Ryan’s office is conducting a phone poll, hoping to hear overwhelming opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
Here’s how you can participate:
- Call (202) 225-0600.
- Press 2 to weigh in on the issue.
- You’ll hear a recording about the bill to repeal it, then Press 1 to support continuing the ACA (or 2 if you oppose).
You can also leave a message at the end if you want.
It takes less than 2 minutes.
Resist.

This is especially great for people with anxiety about talking on the phone. You don’t have to interact with anyone.

Concept:

Mentally ill American citizens are given free psychiatric healthcare. People don’t have to worry about not getting treatment for their disease, BECAUSE their disease disables them from holding a job, or being able to afford health insurance. Suicide rates start to plummet. Sick Americans have hope. The world becomes a better and safer place for mentally ill people.

US vs UK healthcare

I am not the smartest person in the world, nor even close to the smartest person I know. Nor have I visited the vast majority of countries on this magnificent planet. But I did happen to move from the US to the U.K. two and a half years ago at the age of 37, i.e. after almost four decades of inhabiting an incredibly hairy human body. Thus I’ve had a good deal of experience as a patient, or as they call you in the US, a consumer of American healthcare before moving to the UK to experience the NHS for two-plus years as a father of three, a husband of a woman whose reproductive system is more glorious and has more complex needs than my own, and as a person whose own body is subject to the ravages of gravity, time, and secret Oreo milkshakes from Five Guys.
What I’m getting at is that I’m in a pretty good position to speak with some degree of clarity on the NHS as it compares to the American healthcare system. And here’s the verdict: the NHS is superior. That isn’t to say it’s perfect; no healthcare system is or can be. People (myself included) have and will continue to complain about their healthcare, wherever they receive it, because medicine is treating your body, or your loved one’s body. It is not performing the far less important and less fraught tasks of selling you a car or fixing your mobile’s broken screen or painting your house or making you a sandwich (though to be fair both the NHS or UCLA Santa Monica Hospital in Los Angeles will make you a reasonably good sandwich if you have to stay in hospital.) Medicine is treating your body! Your hearing, your intestines, your tits! Sometimes even your… nodes! The delicacy of this, and the emotions involved are going to leave you with a mixed bag of feelings, even if you achieve the optimal results of whatever it is you went in for.
​I should also make clear that I’m comparing the US healthcare system with the NHS of today. The NHS constantly in the headlines for being cash-strapped and worse than it was in the past. Is it? It sounds to me like it is, but I don’t personally know, and that’s not the purpose of this piece. The purpose of this piece is to tell you that the NHS of this exact moment in 2017 is better that the private healthcare systems in the US. (I have to pluralize “systems” because there is, sadly, no one unified “system” in the US, much to the detriment of so many millions of Americans. I must also make clear that most Americans receive their healthcare privately, unlike the U.K.)
​How is it better? I will say right away that just like in the U.K., my loved ones and I have received generally very good medical care in the US. The American doctors and nurses are mostly kind people, working hard, sincerely interested in helping others. Unfortunately these doctors and nurses are paid with money the hospital receives from health insurance companies. And health insurance companies are motivated by profit, not by successfully setting your broken shoulder or curing your daughter’s leukemia. Those results aren’t discussed in their shareholders’ calls. And insurance companies don’t pay for all your care either. My wife and I, who had what’s considered excellent insurance in the US, received bills for about $1,300 after each of our first two kids were born. When we were in the US on holiday recently, our youngest required an emergency ultrasound on his kidneys. As we’ve been in the UK for years now, we don’t have American health insurance anymore and I had to pay a $500 deposit before they would do the test. On my baby’s kidneys. In the richest country in the world, in which I still pay plenty of taxes as a citizen. Also it was my baby’s kidneys if I haven’t already said that.
​As an aside, that same baby was our first to be born in the UK, with the help of a young Scottish midwife in a hijab. A midwife who, I’ll add, did a better job than both the doctors who delivered our first two kids at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. If there are better people than British midwives on this planet, I have yet to meet them.
​I’ve digressed a bit, or perhaps not, but I suppose thefse anecdotes only bolster my case. The main point is this: if our bodies and minds are connected as modern medicine insists, the stress one feels as an American worrying about how you’ll pay for your healthcare – or whether you can even get it – shortens your life and reduces its quality much more than the wait for knee replacement surgery on the NHS does. I used knee replacement surgery as an example because if you need emergency surgery on your brain or your heart, you won’t wait on the NHS; you’ll have world-class doctors doing their best to fix you right away.
​Fifteen years ago, I had to max out two credit cards and borrow a third from mom to pay for surgery to put a pin in a broken wrist after a car accident. (My insurance company had dropped my coverage after the accident because I was generating too many bills for them. That was 100% legal before the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare” came into effect. The Obamacare which President-Elect Trump and the Republican Congress have pledged to repeal, mind you.

​Now before you send me flowers because you agree so vehemently with what I’ve written, or alternately, to tell me via Twitter to make love to myself because an NHS doctor once sewed your arm back on upside down, nobody asked me to write this and I have nothing to gain from it. I’m just a (nearly) forty-year-old comedian who does a graceful, elaborate jig every time my wife or kids or I visit a GP, an A and E, a birth centre, or an operating theatre and don’t have to worry if we’ll A) receive the care we need or B) be able to afford it, even if we have insurance.
​Americans forego care and medicine that their physicians prescribe, because of cost. They also commit suicide because of medical debt. It’s hard to hold in one’s mind the idea that those things can and do happen in a country as wealthy as the United States.

​I hesitate to end this piece with a call to action, though I know what I’d do if I were a U.K. citizen and something as remarkable as the NHS were under threat. I pay taxes here too, but I’m not British, so it’s up to you, if you care. I wouldn’t wish sickness on anyone, but you might consider imagining yourself or your child moving or traveling to the US and getting sick or being in an accident. Then imagine that already miserable experience magnified because you’re marinating in the fear that you won’t be able to pay for your care. Or maybe you can with a credit card, but then you can’t keep up with the payments so you begin to receive aggressive phone calls from the company the hospital sold your debt to. Maybe you get taken to court.
​If that’s not something you’d like to experience, and you think the NHS of today is closer to that scenario than the NHS of ten years ago, or if you think that there are those in government or on the boards of private healthcare corporations who might be okay with that sort of future unfolding, what might you do about it? Anything?

——–
note: I submitted this to a couple of papers to see if they’d publish before I posted it here. Right wing papers I tried first said no. Then a left wing paper wanted to make it more hopeful and have me tell people what to do at the end. Or maybe they all just thought it sucked. That’s also a possibility.

With Republicans’ efforts to destroy the ACA now underway, several commentators have expressed something akin to cautious optimism about the effect of a potential repeal. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler awarded Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) four Pinocchios for claiming that 36,000 people a year will die if the ACA is repealed; Brookings Institution fellow Henry Aaron, meanwhile, predicted that Republicans probably will salvage much of the ACA’s gains, and conservative writer Grover Norquist argued that the tax cuts associated with repeal would be a massive boon for the middle class.



Although Aaron has a rosy view of a likely Republican plan, much of what they — notably House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who is Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Heath and Human Services, which will be in charge of dismantling the ACA — have advocated in place of the ACA would hollow out the coverage of many who were unaffected by the law, harming them and probably raising their death rates. Abolishing minimum coverage standards for insurance policies would leave insurers and employers free to cut coverage for preventive and reproduction-related care. Allowing interstate insurance sales probably would cause a race to the bottom, with skimpy plans that emanate from lightly regulated states becoming the norm. Block granting Medicaid would leave poor patients at the mercy of state officials, many of whom have shown little concern for the health of the poor. A Medicare voucher program (with the value of the voucher tied to overall inflation rather than more rapid medical inflation) would worsen the coverage of millions of seniors, a problem that would be exacerbated by the proposed ban on full coverage under Medicare supplement policies. In other words, even if Republicans replace the ACA, the plans they’ve put on the table would have devastating consequences.

How long do you think Jupiter Jones sat in the waiting room at the fertility clinic before they called her for her appointment?

Do you think the Keepers were like
“Hmm, well we’ve killed all the medical staff and taken their place, everything is all set up, just waiting for the girl to arrive, but ok we’d better make her wait 45 minutes with some used up magazines or else she’ll know we’re not actually doctors…”

I feel like I’m in a state of shock… the executive orders Trump is signing feel like a vendetta. Trump is not only taking out his revenge on the people who protested him, but also the average American that just didn’t vote for him. These reckless decisions on healthcare, Muslim-Americans, immigration, environmental protection, freedom of speech, freedom of press, women’s rights to chose what to do with their bodies, suggesting sending in the feds to Chicago… are signs of a man that is trying to redefine what it is that keeps our common union as Americans. This is not just his “conservative agenda.” It’s an all out assault on our civil liberties, His intention is to divide us as Americans.
Maybe we don’t agree on all of these issues… but can’t we see eye to eye on some? I have conservative/republican friends and family… I understand their point of view even if I don’t agree with it. It’s their right. It’s their beliefs. However the progressive side is just as “American” as the other side. At what point do we all come together as “Americans”? Isn’t this about freedom and unity? I don’t think this president has a grasp on the concept of the American dream… the dream that we come from different backgrounds to come together.
Please respect each other. Please show compassion. Please don’t allow this madman to take out his revenge on us.
Respect, BJ.
—  Billie Joe Armstrong on Trump’s recent actions as President of the United States of America

Universal Healthcare Doesn’t Mean Waiting Longer to See a Doctor

Opponents of healthcare reform have, historically, argued that we should be wary of imitating foreign healthcare systems because people in other countries have to wait longer to see the doctor. Cheaper, more universal care, the argument seems to be, comes with the tradeoff of slower care.

This is not necessarily true, according to new numbers from the Commonwealth Fund, a nonpartisan organization that studies industrialized healthcare systems around the world.

The organization surveyed between 1,000 and 5,400 people in 11 industrialized nations. The first thing they found is fairly well-known: American healthcare is mind-bogglingly expensive, as compared to that of other Western democracies.

Read more. [Image: h.koppdelaney/flickr]

Reposted from a friend:

 I just called Paul Ryan. I’m vouching for the number and the survey.

IMPORTANT: If you call and the mailbox is full, hang up and call again. I got that message my first time also. When you call back, you’ll probably have about a minute and 30 seconds of total silence.

DO NOT HANG UP. You’ll finally hear a recording which will ask you which survey you’d like to participate in. More instructions are below, including the phone number.

If you are concerned about Americans’ access to healthcare insurance and the changes proposed by the Republican party, please call Paul Ryan. It took me only a few minutes and it literally is life and death for so many people. Paul Ryan is conducting a phone poll on the ACA (Obamacare), hoping to hear overwhelming popular opposition to it.

If you would like to express your support for the Affordable Care Act, call 202-225-3031. [Some have had better luck with the number 202-225-0600.]

Press 2 to weigh in on the issue. You’ll hear a brief recording about HR-3762, Paul Ryan’s proposal to gut the ACA, and President Obama’s use of his veto power to stop it.

Then you will have a chance to indicate your opinion with the press of a button. Press 1 if you support Obamacare, 2 if you oppose it.

Please boost!

My problem this year.

NY state, where (on Long Island and in NYC where rent for rooms and studios let alone real apartments are 99 times out of 100 over $1000) says I’m too rich for Medicaid since my approximately $16000 as a single woman is 150% over an arbitrary poverty line that should be much higher for places like Long Island with an extremely high cost of living. (Moving isn’t an option living paycheck to paycheck and with having to care for a parent with a “catastrophic” health classification whose income is half mine)

I don’t discount the good it did for people with preexisting conditions or those (in NY’s case) over $900 and under $1500 that now qualify for Medicaidunder the expansion, or people under 26 whose parents get employer insurance but otherwise..

We need universal health care. Making it illegal to not have health insurance is not universal health care.

Trump’s supporters keep saying give Donald Trump a chance. He had his chance. It’s called a campaign (or audition if you’re more of the reality-star-turned-president-elect type). If you take him at his word, as I assume both his supporters and his doubters should (unless you’re Kellyanne Conway who recently said that we should judge Trump, not by what comes out of his mouth, but by what’s in his heart), here is his audition:

Mocking a reporter with disabilities

Mocking a Gold Star family

Mocking John McCain, war hero

Bragging about sexual assaults of women

Expressing admiration for foreign dictators

Expressing more outrage at the New York Times than Neo-Nazis

Vilifying our press and our intelligence community

Attacking John Lewis, American hero

Questioning the birth place of President Obama and legitimacy of his presidency even though he knew better, or worse, didn’t know better

The list of those he offended and/or threatened goes on: Muslims, immigrants, undocumented workers, refugees, the LGBTQ community, African Americans, women needing reproductive healthcare, our allies around the world…

So, give Trump a chance? What were the months-long campaign and the weeks following the election if not his chance to sell himself to the country? He had his chance and I’m not buying.

For those who keep saying give him a chance to show us who he truly is, the implication is that you expect that he is now going to change into something better? If that is your reasoning, and you liked what he was saying, why would you now expect or want him to change? 

(I won’t even get into the chance that was given Obama by Congressmen and Senators who publicly vowed to block him at every turn before he had even taken office.)

I’ll leave it to Maya Angelou:

Context:

My GI doctor wants me to get a small bowel x-ray because my blood work showed signs of inflammation and she wants to do a closer check for signs of Crohns or Colitis.

My insurance covers precisely 0% of this until I reach my $3,000 deductible. The x-ray costs approximately $2,300. That’s $2,300 out of pocket for one procedure. For someone who fucking works a full time job and has health benefits and is doing everything “right” in life except being unlucky enough to be sick in “the greatest country in the world.”

So, yeah. Fuck me. Guess I’m not getting this x-ray. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Oh, and fuck the American healthcare system. Fuck it SO HARD.

Why I have no sympathy for Trump voters:

My grandfather was a white, working-class man born to a poor farming family in rural Oklahoma who held avowedly racist views. His family lost their farm to the dustbowl and debt when he was a young child, so they went to California as refugees where he spent his childhood in grinding poverty, some of it homeless. His mother had to turn to sex work to keep the family fed due to the absence of any support network. Despite being an avowed pacifist, he joined the military because literally the only way he could get a secondary education was if the army covered it in return for service. He went bankrupt, lost his home and died penniless because the American healthcare system would not cover medication for a horrific genetic condition he suffered from throughout his life. He lost the love of his life to the gun violence epidemic and America’s failure to keep its people safe. He was less than a block away from the World Trade Centre on 9/11, witnessed multiple suicides past his office window and suffered from PTSD.

And you know what? He worked undercover for the NAACP investigating racist police brutality in 1960’s Alabama for more than a decade until death threats from the KKK forced him to move relocate his family. He did vital research on mass incarceration, effects of the war on drugs on black communities, and the impact of the Vietnam War on black veterans. He was consulted on the investigation into the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He participated in protest for every kind of cause throughout his life and he lined up to vote for Obama even though advanced Parkinson’s disease meant he could barely hold a pen and he died just months later, proud to have witnessed Obama’s inauguration.

Obviously not everyone needs to make a career of activism or put their lives on the line, but my point is this: my grandfather was a white, working-class man who the American Dream failed at literally every stage of his life. He had every reason to fall into anger and resentment, but he fought for civil rights and other causes until the day he died. He never gave into hateful ideology and he never stopped fighting for those who had less than he did. Economic frustration and the failures of the American dream are no excuse for hate, no excuse for endangering every person on this planet, because that’s what voting for Trump did. They are no excuse.

Getting a good grade on a test because you didn’t go to any of the fun parties during the weekend

Disability insurance is wasted on people with anxiety and back pain. If you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting a disability check.
— 

Rand Paul (R-KY) pushing the GOP lie that disabled people, including those with invisible disabilities, do not deserve Social Security Disability benefits 

Two weeks into taking control of congress, and Republicans are already planning draconian cuts to the social safety net, including 19 percent of disability payouts, or taking about $200 per month away from the average SSDI beneficiary

The Republican war on poverty is a war on the poor and the disabled

Full Huffington Post article here