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McCamy Taylor

McCamy Taylor's Journal
McCamy Taylor's Journal
October 29, 2012

You Voted for Romney/Ryan in 2012…Now Welcome to Your First Day of Voucher-care!

You voted for Romney/Ryan in 2012, because you had a vague sense that these two men had more in common with you than then President Obama. Nothing you could put your finger on. There was just something you liked about Romney’s face----

You were 55 when you voted for Romney. You lost your job in banking in 2008, when the economy went Boom under Bush, and it took you four years to find another, halfway decent job, one with benefits. In 2013, you were just starting to pull yourself out of a financial hole when Romney, the president of your choice was sworn in.

You noticed the change right away. The federal government under Romney stopped enforcing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Your 22 year old daughter was dropped from your health insurance----while pregnant with her first child. Then, in 2014, your employer stopped offering health insurance. You were given the option of paying out of your own pocket for continued coverage, but there was no way you could pay over a thousand dollars a month plus pay off your debts. Ironically, 2014 was the year you would have been able to purchase your own individual insurance at a reasonable rate, had the federal government not repealed Obama-care. Looking back, you wondered what you were thinking in 2012. Romney’s face did not look so agreeable when you saw him on television, now.

Since you couldn’t afford insurance, you went without. You were worried, but you reminded yourself that you had done it before, between 2008 and 2012 and nothing bad happened….

Three years without health care. In 2017, that pesky “indigestion” you were having for over a year turned out to be a heart attack. A major heart attack. By the time the doctors at the charity hospital released you to return to work, your job was gone. Your employer had hired someone younger. You consulted an attorney but were told that the Super Pac approved judges whom Romney had appointed overwhelming sided with employers in age discrimination lawsuits. So, you found a job at a convenience store and tried to stay afloat while you filed for Social Security disability---

Five years later, you still had not qualified. Social Security said that you were too highly educated. You could work from home, from bed if necessary. Too bad no employer was hiring a 60 something with a bad heart who had to work from bed. Too bad you could no longer retire early.

In 2022, you finally reached the age of 65. That was when you got the bad news. Your Social Security retirement savings---they were gone. Long gone, into some billionaire's Swiss bank account. Romney rewarded his hedge fund manager and banker donors by “privatizing” Social Security---and then, your retirement savings were invested in a bunch of worthless mortgages.

And your Medicare, the insurance that was supposed to take care of you in your retirement years? Gone. Long gone. Instead, the government issued you a voucher. If you could have cashed it in and used the money to pay for food or rent you would have. But the voucher could only be used to buy health insurance. So, you started asking around. And you discovered that because of your age and your heart condition, your voucher would only buy you a high deductible----$5000---policy that only covered your hospital expenses, no outpatient, medication or preventive service coverage at all. The hospital industry was happy. When you finally showed up in an emergency room dying, their bill would be covered. But your Voucher-care was not going to do anything to keep you healthy in the meantime.

Welcome to the first day of you Voucher-care!

October 29, 2012

Daisy at 50

Forty-eight years ago, 2 year old Monique Corzilius aka Daisy was featured in an ad reminding us that life is too precious to waste. Monique Corzilius is now 50 years old. If Romney/Ryan win this election, she will never get Medicare. Instead, when she reaches 65 she will be given a voucher and told to purchase insurance from an industry which refuses to insure the elderly and sick. "Daisy" is in just as much danger now as she was in 1964. Unless Americans read the small print, they may go to the polls convinced that Romney is the same as Obama---except white----not realizing that he, his VP and his party have vowed to eliminate the Medicare program that LBJ built to keep the nation's elderly from sinking into poverty due illness and aging.

If "Daisy" was worth saving in 1964, she is worth saving now.

Watch the original ad here:

"These are the stakes. We must either love each other, or we must die" LBJ
October 28, 2012

Once Medicare is Gone, We Will Never Get It Back

Romney/Ryan plan to eliminate Medicare. They promise to give old folks and the disabled “vouchers” that they can use to buy private insurance---the kind that individual Americans have to buy if their employer does not offer coverage. The kind of insurance that costs more and pays out less the older and sicker you are. The kind of insurance that has lifetime caps and huge copayments and deductibles and limited choices.

How will senior America do under Voucher-care? Since I am a family physician at a public health clinic that cares for lots of chronically ill middle aged folks who have lost their jobs---and insurance---I know exactly the way things will turn out for older Americans. I can tell you their stories in advance.

There is Hazel, 72, who has congestive heart failure. Her grown kids are struggling to get by, and so they live with her, and her daughter-in-law takes care of her. Heart failure is a very expensive condition to treat. Hazel is on and out of the hospital, takes twenty pills a day----and she has just met her lifetime cap. She is out of insurance. She has a choice now. Give up her home---which is paid for----in order to buy herself six more months of life. Or go on hospice and die, so that her family has a house after she is gone. Her mind is still sharp. She knows what it feels like to smother, the blind terror that grips her when she tries to breathe through fluid filled lungs. The hospice nurses promise that she will not suffer. They will give her plenty of morphine—which will hasten her death. As she is sitting at home one night, debating what she will do, she goes online and reads the comments written in the New York Times about another American who died because he lost his health insurance. One comment in particular catches her eye. The author says that if people had to pay out of their own pockets for end of life care, they would realize that it is better to just die. She wonders how old the author of that comment is and if he ever watched a parent die from a treatable condition and how he would feel if his lungs suddenly filled up with fluid and the only way he could breathe again was to go to a hospital he could not afford. She remembers how different it was for her mother, who had complications of diabetes. Medicare had no lifetime limits. Up until the day she died at 80 from a stroke, Hazel’s mother remained clear headed and bright. She volunteered at her Church. She told stories to her grandkids. Hazel always imagined that her old age would be the same. She never thought that when she gave up her Medicare, she was giving up her right to have an old age. If she could go back and undo the 2012 election, she would. But she can’t. There is no time machine. You have to get it right the first time. And she and lot of other Americans got it so terribly wrong.

Bill, 65 is newly retired---and, for the first time in his life, he is uninsured. He got his Voucher in the mail, but he was unable to find any insurer who would enroll him, because he has prostate cancer, and under Romney/Ryan insurers can reject those with pre-existing conditions. The company for which he worked declared “bankruptcy” and was able to get out from under its pension and health insurance obligations for retirees while still flush with cash. Bill never expected to have to fall back on his Medicare, but he counted upon it being there, just in case. He didn’t realize that Voucher-care covers only healthy seniors. He has some money saved and a big life insurance policy. That, combined with his Social Security makes Bill too “wealthy” for public healthcare. If he pays his own medical bills, he will run through his savings in about three years----and, with treatment, the cancer will take five or more years to kill him. Or, he can refuse treatment and die in just under a year and leave something for his wife and kids. Bill thinks a lot about that 2012 election, too. Back then, he considered himself one of the fortunate ones. He would never be dependent upon the government. He had lived an exemplary life, working hard, saving his money, planning for the future---but sometimes the future we get is not the one we expect. He realizes now that his vote in 2012 was a crap shoot---and he lost everything in one roll.

Wanda, 72 fell and broke her hip. Her Voucher-care covers her hospital costs, but it does not cover rehabilitation or home health care, things that Medicare used to cover. Her private insurance is designed for healthy young working people, not frail seniors. She is shipped home before she is able to take care of herself. She has no children and no nearby relatives. She is unable to cook food for herself or clean up after herself. She lives off cold, canned soup, growing progressively weaker. Since she can no longer drive, she misses doctors’ appointments. Her health deteriorates, but her mind is still sharp. She knows she cannot go on like this. She decides to do something she vowed never to do---go into a nursing home. But under Romney/Ryan, Medicaid has been cut back, and there is a long wait for nursing home beds in her state. So, she is forced to hire domestic help---a stranger who offers her services for a modest sum that even an old woman on a fixed income can afford. Wanda does not realize that her new companion preys off elderly people who are too weak to care for themselves at home but who have nowhere else to go. Her bank account is cleared out. Her possessions are stolen and sold. When she has nothing left worth stealing, she is abandoned----and there still is no nursing home bed for her. And the hospital where she ends up malnourished and dehydrated is being pressured by her Voucher-care to get her out of there or else they will stop paying her bills. As the woman from hospital collections asks her for the tenth time how she plans to pay for her portion of the hospital bill, Wanda looks back on the 2012 election. She clearly remembers being told by Romney not to worry---she would be taken care of. She wonders what the lady from the hospital collections department would say if she told her “Go ask Romney for the money. He’ll pay my bill.”

Every now and then, we find ourselves at a crossroads, faced with a decision that will change the world and our lives irrevocably. We are at such a crossroads now. If we vote for Romney/Ryan, we vote to end Medicare. We vote for a world in which only healthy, wealthy or working seniors will have value, and everyone else will be “expendable”. Does that sound like the kind of America you want to grow old in? Does that sound like the kind of America you want your parents and kids to grow old in? You have to decide now. Because once Medicare is gone, we will never get it back.

The private insurance industry hates Medicare. Insurance CEOs, with their corporate jets and seven figure salaries know how easy it would be to expand Medicare to cover all Americans. And so, they are willing to sacrifice our most vulnerable citizens in order to ensure their own profits. That is why you can trust Romney/Ryan to keep their promise to end Medicare. Not because they hate seniors. No, they will end Medicare, because their Super Pac donors have bribed them to do it.

October 28, 2012

John Sununu’s White Trash Moment

First, I want to clarify something. There is no such thing as White Trash (noun)---poor or otherwise---just as there is no such thing as Evil Incarnate, the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. Folks are folks. They can be nice one moment and shitty the next. They love some people and hate some others. They have positive qualities and negative qualities----and, depending upon their circumstances, their negative qualities can become virtues and their positive ones can become liabilities.

However, there is such a thing as white trash (verb), as in to blame one’s loss on someone else’s race or ethnicity. Recently, we witnessed former New Hampshire governor and current Romney pit bull, John Sununu demonstrate how white trashing is done.

When John H. Sununu suggested Thursday night that former secretary of state Colin Powell endorsed President Barack Obama because both are African American, it was not the first time the former governor of New Hampshire and top surrogate for Mitt Romney had stoked controversy during this election cycle.

"Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama," Sununu said in an interview on CNN. When pressed on what those reasons might be, he replied, "Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him."


Poor John Sununu. When he uttered those infamous words, he probably didn’t even realize that he was white trashing. In his mind, he was thinking “Colin Powell is a Republican. Romney deserves the support of all Republicans. If Powell endorses Obama, then Romney has been robbed! How did this happen? It was all the Black man’s fault! Those Black folks hate us white folks! They can never resist an opportunity to do us harm!”

White trashing is not as rare in this country as some would like to believe. Every time a New Yorker complains about how many Asian kids are getting into the city’s prestigious specialty high schools, he or she is committing white trash. Every time a worker complains that he cannot get a job, because some “Mexican” will work harder, longer and for a lower salary, he is contributing to the white trashification of our society. When you hear a woman complain that her Social Security check is too low, because all the _____s are getting too much welfare, you have just witnessed white trashing at its worst---

Or best, depending upon your point of view. Because all things are relative. If you are a business owner looking for cheap labor, your best investment is divide and conquer. And the slickest move rich folks in the United States have ever pulled is to convince so many working class whites that they are poor, homeless, uninsured because of some equally poor, homeless, uninsured Black, Brown, Yellow or Red person conspired to make them that way.

John Sununu---and the candidate he supports, Mitt Romney---want you, their fellow white Americans to believe that you lost your house because some Black couple got a mortgage they did not deserve---not because you voted for Bush, the village idiot from Texas, who seemed like someone you could sit down and have a beer with, and then he turned around and let the banks commit grand larceny. No, no, it isn’t any white man’s fault that Bush did what he did. It isn’t even Bush’s fault that he did what he did. As John McCain just said, in a white trash moment of his own, it was Colin Powell’s fault we are up to our eyeballs in debt.

"Colin Powell, interestingly enough, said that Obama got us out of Iraq. But it was Colin Powell, with his testimony before the U.N. Security Council, that got us into Iraq."


That’s right John! You tell them. Meanwhile, I will go check your Senate record to confirm that you voted against the war----

Oops! Sen. John McCain voted for the war. But that can’t be right! A Black man got us into that war! McCain told us so!

We all make mistakes. We all miss opportunities or flunk entrance exams or make foolish investments. If we are Mitt Romney, we repeatedly do and say stupid things that get us into political hot water---like calling a press conference in the middle of a national security crisis in a pathetic attempt to score political points that ends up costing us the endorsement of a former Secretary of State. None of us---not even millionaire Mormons---measures up to our dream.

Fortunately, most of us are grown ups. We own up to our mistakes. We learn from our failures and try to do better next time.

But there will always be some Americans who try to soothe their bruised egos by declaring “It’s not my fault! It’s all the fault of that god damned____!” And for a moment, those Americans will feel a whole lot better about themselves---until they realize that projecting all that anger on someone else is about as useful as a roller skates for a fish. It doesn't get them jobs. It doesn't get them a house or health insurance. It just keeps them distracted, so the banksters can do what they do best---rob them blind and then declare "It wasn't us! It was the _____s!"
October 27, 2012

I Refuse to Believe that the Majority of Americans Want to Do Away With Medicare

However, the press keeps telling me that Romney is way ahead on the popular vote and closing the gap on the electoral vote.

Since I do not know a single person who wants to abolish Medicare, I must assume either

1) the pollsters are full of it, or

2) people do not know that Romney/Ryan plan to eliminate Medicare.

Now, if the pollsters are lying, this means that Team Romney plans to use its connections within the E-voting industry to hack the vote. Because the only way that lying helps Romney is if it makes a steal seem more plausible. In which case, we need to insist upon paper ballots in all battleground states.

If the second possibility is true, then what the hell are our nation’s reporters doing? The number one issue that defines the two candidates is Medicare. Not rape. Not race. Not which celebrities support which candidate. Every voter who has ever heard the name Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan should know that these two plan to dismantle the healthcare program on which our seniors and disabled depend for their lives. Every American who plans to vote for this pair should know that he or she is casting a vote to strip Grandma of her healthcare. The only people willing to vote for them should be the type who believe in ice floes for those who cannot pull their own weight.

So, which is it America? Do you begrudge your father his blood pressure medication? Are you looking forward to dying young and making a good looking corpse? Do you even know the policies of the men for whom you are voting?

And members of the press, when you shove that microphone in Mitt Romney's face, why is it only to ask his opinion of rape? Of course he is against rape. Why don't you ask him what he thinks about the Paul Ryan plan for Medicare? Do the nation's reporters plan to never grow old? Are they willing to kiss their parents and grandparents good bye?

Those who care about the health of our most vulnerable citizens have an obligation to speak out. Let the rest of the country know what is being planned. Make sure that no one goes to the polls early or on election day without understanding the stakes. Because once they abolish Medicare it will be too late. We will never get it---or Grandma-- back.

October 25, 2012

Romney/Ryan Are Tearing a Hole in the Safety Net That Keeps Infants, Mothers and the Elderly Alive

If you believe the lies that Romney has told, he will make sure that everyone has health insurance for their pre-existing conditions without having to pay for it. He has assured us that the nation’s emergency rooms can keep us all alive and healthy----never talking about the cost. His surrogates promise that no woman, no matter how bad her health, will die while pregnant under their watch, even if she cannot get a medical necessity abortion. He tells us that too much is being spent to pay for health care for the poor, for seniors, for mothers and their children. These vulnerable groups can get by on a lot less---and they will have to, if Romney/Ryan get elected.

I. Mothers

The safety net for the nation’s poor mothers is Medicaid. Romney/Ryan want to change Medicaid into a block grant program. Meaning that if the governor and legislature of your state is in the pocket of the nursing home industry and nursing homes want to collect more money from Medicaid, you may find that prenatal care is now under-covered---or, not covered at all. This will be especially hard on young, unwed mothers living in states which choose not to spend Medicaid for birth control, too. The number of high risk pregnancies will rise, while access to obstetric care will drop.

Imagine that Terry, your 16 year old daughter is pregnant with her first child. Unable to afford on obstetrician, she stays at home, takes prenatal vitamins and keeps her fingers crossed. Your great grandmother delivered all her babies at home. What’s the worst that can happen? Since Terry cannot afford a doctor, she does not know that her blood pressure is rising. Her first clue that she has eclampsia is when she has a seizure. She bleeds into her brain and dies on the operating room table as they try to save the life of her premature baby. The infant’s Neonatal ICU stay will cost half a million dollars, but Medicaid will cover that, because hospitals have powerful lobbies, too. That’s half a million dollars that could have paid for prenatal care for several hundred young women like your daughter, Terry.

If Medicaid is turned into a block grant program, it will be very easy for state officials to ignore actual medical need and use the funds the way they already use highway funds---to reimburse their donors. And since Romney/Ryan plan to reduce the amount of money the federal government gives to states for Medicaid, the fight for those dollars will intensify over time, and those without the money to hire lobbyists---like young mothers---will be left out in the cold.

Mothers with preexisting medical conditions will be in an even worse bind. With Roe v. Wade overturned, there will be nothing to stop your state from outlawing abortion, even to save the life of the mother. If they want, they can pass a law making it illegal to go to another state to abort that “unborn citizen.” So, if your uninsured, married sister Kelly, who has been managing her own diabetes with over the counter insulin has a broken condom and gets pregnant, she will have few choices. Unable to afford high risk obstetric care, she will almost certainly run into severe complications during her pregnancy that could kill her and her unborn child. While she would love to have a second child, she knows that it is impossible for her in her present financial situation. So, she decides to have an abortion. Since abortion is illegal in her state, she gets what used to be called a back alley abortion. If she dies, her other child will be orphaned. If she survives but has complications and has to go to the hospital for treatment, she will face jail time for murder.

2. Children

Over the past decade, this country has made tremendous strides in providing health care for our most vulnerable citizens---children, who through no fault of their own, are uninsured. Republicans had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table when programs like SCHIP were created, but now it is hard to imagine a world in which any politician would say of a child “He does not deserve health care.”

Unfortunately, Romney/Ryan do not give people what they deserve. They do what is politically advantageous for them. And Romney/Ryan see an advantage in eliminating SCHIP, the most democratic health care program in the country, designed to give all children an equal start in life. Why? Presumably because they and their elite backers like having their own kids start off with the advantage of good health while other children suffer the lifelong effects of preventable childhood illness. Romney/Ryan want to eliminate food stamps, too. Why? Presumably because they and their elite backers like having their own kids start off life well fed while other children go hungry.

Imagine a world in which you cannot afford to see a doctor to get your eight year old son, Tommy a prescription for an asthma inhaler. Every two months or so, you have to take him to the emergency room for rescue treatment. Once or twice a year, he is admitted for up to a week. Each time, you are given a prescription for one inhaler and told to see a doctor. But the doctor demands cash up front that you do not have. Meanwhile, debt collectors are all over you trying to recoup the thousands of dollars that you owe the local hospital. And Tommy is going to fail third grade, because he has missed so much school due to all those asthma attacks---attacks that could have been prevented if there was some place you could take him for regular care. After ten years of this, one of two things can happen. Your son, Tommy can die on the way to the emergency room. Or he can survive to become an adult and outgrow his asthma---and suddenly, he finds that he has no skills, no education, and he is stuck in a low wage, dead end job for the rest of his life, which is a real shame, because he was a bright kid. Some employer—a Romney donor, no doubt, is going to be lucky to get a bright, hard-working young man like your Tommy to slave for him for minimum wage.

Terry’s daughter Emily, the baby who was born two months premature because her mother could not afford prenatal care has made it out of the Neonatal ICU. Emily’s grandparents take her home. Having learned their lesson watching their daughter die, they vow to do everything possible to keep their granddaughter healthy. However, with their states Medicaid program increasingly strapped for cash, it has created a form of Voucher-care for children. There are plenty of private insurers lining up to accept vouchers for healthy babies, but none of them want to cover a special needs child like Emily, with her heart, lung and eye disease. Emily’s grandparents ask the state for help. They are told that they make too much money. But, if they cancel their plans to adopt the baby and instead give her up for foster care, the state will cover Emily’s medical bills. No state is callous enough to let an orphan die from lack of health care.

3. Elderly

The nation’s seniors are going to be hit hard when Romney/Ryan tear a hole in the safety net, because with age comes sickness. Right now, if you can make it to 65 without dying of a treatable disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, you have a fighting chance. That means folks whose jobs have been outsourced to China and who no longer have insurance still have hope. Romney and Ryan are determined to crush that hope. They will do this in the sneakiest way possible, by underinsuring the nation’s elderly.

Young folks know all about being underinsured. Most elderly folks don’t. But they will learn. For William, it will mean that the private insurance plan which he purchases with his voucher has a “no preexisting conditions” clause. Shortly after turning 65, he will go to the hospital with chest pain. It will turn out to be a minor heart attack. Unfortunately, last year, he saw a doctor for something unrelated and mentioned that he occasionally has chest pain. When his private insurer discovers this, they will refuse to pay for his hospitalization. He will find himself owing tens of thousands of dollars to the hospital. Worse, he will have no way to pay for the medication which was prescribed. When the chest pain comes back, he will have a choice. Go back to the hospital and get stuck with another bill he cannot pay---or stay at home to tough it out. This is a choice that Americans under the age of 65 make every day. Under Romney/Ryan our seniors will have make those kinds of tough decisions, too.

Sarah, who just turned 65 and who has used her voucher to buy the cheapest insurance she could find, will face tough choices, too. Because she has high blood pressure, she is “high risk”, so she could only afford a plan that had a sky high deductible. She will have to pay $2000 out of her own pocket for health care, before her insurer will kick in anything. She notices a lump in her breast. There is a Women’s Health Fair, and she is able to get a free mammogram. The mammogram comes back normal, but the tech tells her that a lump still needs to be checked---cancer sometimes does not show up on a mammogram. Sarah calls around. It will cost several hundred dollars up front to see a surgeon and several thousand more just to get a biopsy. Unfortunately, she is living on a fixed income---her Social Security----and she cannot come up with the cash. So, she does what many Americans in their 30’s-50’s do---she crosses her fingers and hopes that the lump will go away. It doesn’t. It grows. It eats through the skin. By the time he family convinces her to see a doctor, her cancer has spread to her bones.

Brad, 72, suffered kidney failure shortly after he signed up for his “Voucher-care.” Since it was not a preexisting condition, they had to cover it. He went on dialysis. His insurance plan only covers a dialysis center forty-five miles away from his home, so his wife had to quit work to take him back and forth for his treatments which he gets three times a week. The deductibles and copayments for his medications, tests and doctor visits have used up their savings, and they had to mortgage their home to pay for his continued care. When they defaulted on the mortgage, they had to give up their house. Luckily, his grown son lives nearby, so they were able to move in with him. Brad hoped to get a transplant, but no matching donor could be found. So, he continues his dialysis. Except for his kidneys, he is in good shape. He enjoys playing with his grandchildren, and he loves his wife, who has given up so much to take care of him. When he imagined his golden years, he did not expect to be on dialysis, but life could be worse---

And then, Brad gets a call. He is about to use up the lifetime limit on his Voucher-care. His insurer will no longer pay for his dialysis. When he signed up for Voucher-care, he was told that Medicare would be there for him if he ever needed it. But Medicare has gone bankrupt, because too little money was going in and too much was being paid out for the handful of extremely old, frail and sick seniors who continued to rely upon it for their care while everyone else was steered towards private plans. Brad is out of time and out of options.

Brad dies when he can no longer afford his dialysis treatments. His wife, June is devastated. She suffers a stroke and can no longer talk, walk or feed herself. Doctors say that she will never get better. Reluctantly, her kids decide to put her in a nursing home. But, her Voucher-care does not cover nursing home care. Since she is now destitute after years of paying Brad’s medical bills, her family hopes that Medicaid can help. Medicaid in their state used to cover nursing homes pretty well. However, that was before the federal government slashed their contribution, and people got progressively older and sicker. June’s family discovers that there is now a waiting list for Medicaid nursing home beds. So, they take her home. She develops a bedsore, because the family does not really know how to take care of someone as sick as her. Adult protective services steps in and declares that she must be put in a nursing home. Since there are no Medicaid nursing home beds available, and since her insurance does not cover such care, her adult children will have to pay $75,000 a year out of their own pockets. The kids are devastated. They don’t have that kind of money. Surely, the state can’t force them to provide custodial care to an adult parent! They consult an attorney and discover that their state is one of many that requires adult children to pay the bills of their parents. As long as the elderly had Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to help them out, no one tried to enforce that law. But now, faced with the prospect of watching seniors die in the streets, the state has no other option. June’s kids have to cut back on nonessentials---including their health care premiums. And so the cycle of sickness and poverty continues….




October 21, 2012

“By God, You Can’t Treat Grandma This Way.”

"My inclination would be [...] that it ought to be retroactive as far back as you can get it [...] because none of them ever get enough. That they are entitled to it. That that's an obligation of ours. It's just like your mother writing you and saying she wants $20, and I'd always sent mine a $100 when she did. I never did it because I thought it was going to be good for the economy of Austin. I always did it because I thought she was entitled to it. And I think that's a much better reason and a much better cause and I think it can be defended on a hell of a lot better basis [...] We do know that it affects the economy [...] But that's not the basis to go to the Hill, or the justification. We've just got to say that by God you can't treat grandma this way. She's entitled to it and we promised it to her."

LBJ on Medicare

Change is coming. Not the good kind of change. Republicans in Congress are Hell bent upon dismantling Medicare---a program almost fifty years old---and replacing it with vouchers that seniors and the disabled can use to purchase private health insurance. Why? According to the plan’s architect, Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, we cannot afford to honor our contract with the nation’s elderly. Not if we are going to cut taxes for the rich.

Age 65 may seem far away, but sooner or later we all get old. Here’s what we can look forward to under Voucher-care:

Tammy, 70 has never been sick a day in her life, but now she has gallstones. She can hardly keep down a bite of food. She is losing weight and growing progressively weaker. Her doctor would love to do surgery. Once that gallbladder is out, she will be as good as new. But the hospital wants cash up front to cover Tammy’s $2000 annual deduction, plus her $1000 hospital co-payment plus the 20% that her private plan won’t pay. Tammy is living on a fixed income---Social Security. She does not have that kind of money. She calls her adult son. He does not have $5000 lying around either. So Tammy waits---until her diseased gallbladder ruptures. Now a simple cholecystectomy becomes major abdominal surgery and an extended ICU stay. Even when she is off the ventilator, Tammy is left weakened, with bad lungs and kidneys. If she was forty, maybe her body could repair itself, slowly. But she is seventy. She will never be her old self again.

Billy, 72 survived lymphoma. He is getting his life back together. His first grandchild will be born soon. When he gets chest pain, he rushes to the hospital. There he gets some bad news and some good news and then some more bad news. The bad news is that he has heart disease. The good news is the doctors can fix it. The bad news is his lymphoma treatment brought him near the lifetime spending limit on his private insurance. There is not enough left for the coronary artery bypass graft his doctors say that he needs. And with his “pre-exiting condition” he can’t get any other insurance. So, he is given prescriptions for ten different medicines, half of which he cannot afford, and sent home to die without ever seeing his grandson.

Belinda, 69 has not seen a doctor in years. Her Voucher-Care has a high deductible, and it does not cover routine screens like mammograms. Her Social Security check barely covers her food and rent. So, by the time she notices the lump in her breast, it has already metastasized. The oncologist is willing to waive her deductible and her copayments. So is the hospital. But that does not change the fact that Belinda is going to die from a disease that she could have beaten if it had been discovered two years earlier.

John, 66 had a stroke. A little stroke, one that left his right arm and leg weak but not completely paralyzed. With rehab, his doctors say he can live a normal life. But his private insurance does not cover in-patient rehabilitation. It does not cover visiting nurses, either. He has no children---his only son died fighting in Iraq. After five days in the hospital, his private insurance company pronounces him "well enough" to go home. He has no one to drive him, so he takes a cab. Once he reaches his house, he realizes that he can not climb the four front steps.

High deductibles, high copayments, lifetime spending caps, lack of preventive and rehab care, exclusion of pre-existing conditions---these are hard enough to deal with when you are young and employed. To the nation’s elderly, they are a death sentence. It is enough to make you wonder if the advocates of Vouchers-----Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and the House Republicans---care at all about senior citizens.
October 17, 2012

59 Cents: The Value of a Woman

Back before women had effective birth control and a right to abortion, back in the days when women were excluded from many high paying jobs because of their biological “differences” and help wanted ads were segregated by gender, we did not make 79 cents on the dollar that a man in the same job made. We were lucky to get paid half of what our fathers, brothers, sons and husbands made.

Then, in 1963, “Fair Pay” became the law of the land. Laws limiting our reproductive freedom were struck down. Equal educational opportunities were offered. And slowly---oh, so slowly----we climbed out of the pink collar ghetto.

Now, Mitt Romney stands ready to plant his foot in our collective faces and kick us back into the hole. This is his not so secret plan to bring jobs back to America. No single, childless man would accept the kind of wages and work conditions that they tolerate in China. But, if American women can be saddled with a couple of kids while in high school---because abortion has been outlawed and birth control is beyond their reach---and if those young mothers can be thrown into the work force as low skill workers whose children are absolutely dependent upon their mom’s pittance wage for survival, then companies stand to make a killing. Wages can be slashed by a half or more. The possibility of pregnancy can be used as an excuse to keep women out of managerial or skilled jobs---they are too unreliable. They have to leave early to “fix dinner.” Single mothers living in poverty will become the whipping boy---sorry, the whipping girl of society, responsible for every ill from violent crime to drug addiction. “Men only need apply” will become legal again, as businesses declare “We can’t be responsible for the safety of our female employee’s unborn children.” Educational progams can discriminate by saying "It is silly to invest so much in training a woman to be a ____when pregnancy will force her out of the workforce. We need to invest our money in reliable workers. We need more professional men."

The Koch Brothers do not love your unborn fetus any more than they love you, my sisters. What they love is the prospect of hiring you at less than minimum wage to slave for the rest of your days in one of their Dixie Cup factories.

And Mitt Romney---a bishop within his church---does not value you as a person. Your only path to Mormon heaven is as a wife or servant of a Mormon man. So, whatever you do, don’t interrupt him or try to correct him. One day, he is going to be a God with his own world, his own Creation, and your salvation or damnation will depend upon how low to you bowed to him in this life.

October 15, 2012

A Bit of Real World for Mitt Romney: Emergency Rooms are Where the Uninsured Go to DIE

It took me a while to get over my initial disbelief and outrage.

“Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance,” (Romney) said. “If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care.”

After thirty years in the medical profession, I have seen every horror story you can imagine. A 50 year old woman without insurance who knew that the tumor in her breast was most likely cancer, but, uninsured, working in a service sector job with a family to support, she had no way to get a biopsy or treatment. She finally came to the emergency room by ambulance after her tumor had spread to her heart, causing it to fail. She was dying.

A young diabetic, in his 20s, who had managed his condition as best he could with insulin (which you can buy over the counter) but without medical care. By the time he suspected that something was wrong, his kidneys had shut down completely and he had a bacterial infection in his blood. He never made it to dialysis. The trip by ambulance to the emergency room his final journey.

Sometimes they don’t make it as far as the hospital. An ambulance ride costs over $1000, and the ambulance company will collect from you, no matter what it takes. Sometimes, the man—the father, the breadwinner--- sits at home on the couch and tells himself that the chest pain is indigestion---until his heart stops and his school aged child calls 911, and he is pronounced dead in his own apartment.

Emergency rooms are required to treat all comers, whether they are insured or not. This is NOT because our nation wants to provide them with health care. Those who live in Ivory Towers, like Romney do not want to see those without insurance die on the street, where the sight of man in his death agony might disturb their kids or take away their enjoyment in their double latte.

If you want to teach your kids compassion, have them volunteer in an emergency room. It will open their eyes and probably their hearts, so that they don't grow up to be like Romney, a man who might as well be from another planet for all the understanding he has of life in middle class America.

October 11, 2012

Something to keep in mind about fishy sounding polls...

Republican candidates rely upon election fraud. That is because their base, though loyal, is small. So they have to "help out" the vote, by throwing in extra votes for their candidate and erasing votes for the Democrat. This is not a new thing. I remember a life long politically active Republican telling me her polling place vote stealing strategies back in 1976 (she thought I was a Republican). Back then, it was insert a finger under the lever in the back if a known Democrat was casting a ballot. That kept the Dem's vote from being tabulated. Now it is e-voting machine "sleep overs" and phony death lists and polling place challenges. Many of these tactics are illegal.

If Romney is way behind in the polls, GOP election operatives on the ground will hesitate to steal votes, for fear of being caught and prosecuted by the Obama administration. If they think Romney could win, they will go all out, secure in the knowledge that Romney's attorney general will turn a blind eye to their criminal activity the way that Ashcroft and Gonzo did.

So, Team Romney has a very strong incentive to encourage lots of sloppy polling that puts him ahead. That way, they know that their election workers will work extra hard for him. And if he loses and they all end up going to jail for nothing? He won't care. He'll still be a millionaire.

The reason I wonder about the credibility of some of these polls is that they just don't make sense. One predicts that Latino turnout will be down---even though it has been rising steadily for two decades. Another has Jewish voters favoring Romney two to one. While the polling firms would never knowingly lie, there is nothing to stop casino mogul Sheldon Adelson from bribing a number cruncher. And of course, if just one poll out of many shows Romney up because of normal statistical variation, the right wing press will seize upon and and tell the country "He's ahead!" without combining the results of all the polls, which is what is usually done.

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About McCamy Taylor

Here is my fiction website: http://home.earthlink.net/~mccamytaylor/ My political cartoon site: http://www.grandtheftelectionohio.com/
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