start your day off right…

a little despair and hypocrisy over coffee sets a good tone for the day, right?

The future of healthcare in America, according to Sarah Palin, might look something like this: A sick 17-year-old girl needs a liver transplant. Doctors find an available organ, and they’re ready to operate, but the bureaucracy — or as Palin would put it, the “death panel” — steps in and says it won’t pay for the surgery. Despite protests from the girl’s family and her doctors, the heartless hacks hold their ground for a critical 10 days. Eventually, under massive public pressure, they relent — but the patient dies before the operation can proceed.

It certainly sounds scary enough to make you want to go show up at a town hall meeting and yell about how misguided President Obama’s healthcare reform plans are. Except that’s not the future of healthcare — it’s the present. Long before anyone started talking about government “death panels” or warning that Obama would have the government ration care, 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan, a leukemia patient from Glendale, Calif., died in December 2007, after her parents battled their insurance company, Cigna, over the surgery. Cigna initially refused to pay for it because the company’s analysis showed Sarkisyan was already too sick from her leukemia; the liver transplant wouldn’t have saved her life.

and other such horror stories, via salon.

anyone who’s dealt with the government knows it isn’t exactly ideal. anyone who’s dealt with an insurance company–or, horror of horrors, can’t get coverage for some reason–knows a government option (seriously, why do people keep overlooking that?) has to be better than the current system. all this talk about free enterprise and competition and the market is such bullshit–if the insurance companies really thrived on competition, they wouldn’t be so damned worried about competition from the government, which would only drive them to be better. conclusion: they don’t want to be better, they want to continue profiting off the pain of the people.

  1. fauxpopuli said:

    It’s particularly aggravating watching people who don’t even understand the issues/programs/etc. argue this stuff so stridently. The whole yuk-yuk thing about blue-haired old ladies telling congressmen to “keep government out of my Medicare” aside, it’s funny when (ie) my mom forwards me emails saying how we’re all screwed if this passes, we’ll lose our choice, blah blah, when she knows damn well that I am ON FUCKING MEDICARE AND MEDICAID and ought to be able to speak to how it actually works as well as providing an example that government programs don’t put our goddamn precious HMOs that we all hated so much until the possibility of change came up. There are insurance companies and pharma companies in Europe. There are still old people who buy private policies here in the States. etc etc. I just don’t get how people who’re so frightened of the public *option* putting HMOs outt’ve business don’t get the obvious implication that in that scenario, THATD MEAN PEOPLE LIKED IT BETTER.

  2. fauxpopuli said:

    Er and yeah, short of a rich guy who pays cash for all his treatments I’m not aware of any system that doesn’t involve some form of rationing. Somehow hypothetical rationing in the name of cost savings is spooky and wrong but actual, honest-to-god rationing that’s already killing people in the name of billion-dollar CEO salaries is “the best health care in the world.”

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