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  1. raven says

    Oddly enough, many of those dead poor people will be white fundie death cult xians.

    Study finds declining life span for some women – USA Today
    www. usatoday .com/story/news/nation/2013/03/…life-span…/1963093/‎

    Mar 4, 2013 – … evidence that life expectancy for some U.S. women is actually falling, … nation’s counties — many of them rural and in the South and West.

    For the first time in a century US lifespans are falling. In the group of white, rural women in the south and west. These are likely to be fundies.

    No one knows why but access to health care is the leading theory.

  2. neonsequitur says

    Deal is just saying out loud what most of the GOP has been thinking for decades. It’s always entertaining when one of the yokels doesn’t get the memo that they aren’t really supposed to do that. Now someone in the GOP is gonna hafta pretend to be an adult and “denounce” his comments in a vain attempt to distance their party from such cruelty.

  3. raven says

    @3

    Audience at tea party debate cheers leaving uninsured to die | The …
    news. yahoo. com/…/audience-tea-party-debate-cheer…‎

    Sep 13, 2011
    If you’re uninsured and on the brink of death, that’s apparently a laughing matter to some audience members …

    That is true.

    At one of the Tea Party events, someone brought up a case of a seriously ill uninsured person. The consensus was that they should just let him die and the audience cheered.

    Add this to the ever growing list of fundie xian hates. Sick people without money.

  4. raven says

    “Let him die”: A debate question exposes the incoherence—and …
    www. slate. com/articles/news_and_politics/the…/let_him_die.html‎

    Sep 13, 2011 – Ron Paul at last night’s CNN/Tea Party Express Republican debate in Tampa, Fla. … At that point, the rabble erupted in cheers and whoops of “Yeah!” … lived with or the Blitzer option of letting the uninsured die in the streets.

    More.

    In the fundie xian paradise, poor sick people will be left to die. Same with poor hungry people when they abolish food stamps. After all, jesus never healed the sick or fed the poor. Why should his followers?

  5. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    Deal is just saying out loud what most of the GOP has been thinking for decades.

    And Alan Grayson got shit for pointing this out four years ago.

  6. roggg says

    Meh. I read what he said, and I think he’s being straw-manned here. I read his comments as saying much of the ER use is non-emergency, not that real emergencies should be ignored. It’s still a flawed argument, but it’s not the “let the poor die in the streets” that it’s being portrayed as.

  7. DaveL says

    I don’t know if it has ever occurred to Nathan Deal, but there are very practical and very self-serving reasons why non-poor people would want hospitals to provide emergency treatment regardless of ability to pay. First, emergency care involves time spans that don’t necessarily allow the time to navigate the bureaucratic muddles of insurance, proof of assets, or creditworthiness. Second, If you are ever the victim of a crime or an accident that leaves you unconscious/altered without money or identification – for instance if your wallet is stolen in a violent mugging – it means the hospital will treat you first and sort out payment later, rather than letting you bleed out in the gutter. In short, the “treat first” paradigm protects everybody, not just the poor.

    Personally, I still favor a single-payer system, but I think any civilized medical system gives emergency treatment regardless of ability to pay.

  8. raven says

    It’s still a flawed argument, but it’s not the “let the poor die in the streets” that it’s being portrayed as.

    You are completely wrong here. It is exactly that, let the poor die in the street.

    It’s true that much ER use is by the poor, nonemergency, and mandated by a Reagan era law. This is because that is about the only option they have!!!

    I’m not sure if that was the original intent of the law, but that is what it evolved into. And what it is today. Even George Bush, not that brightest bulb on the tree, knew that. He was once asked what the poor should do since he was against universal health care.

    George Bush:

    The immediate goal is to make sure there are more people on private insurance plans. I mean, people have access to health care in America,” he said. “After all, you just go to an emergency room.

  9. raven says

    Once again, the poor do not get “free” health care in the ER. There is no such thing as free health care. Somebody pays for it!!!

    It isn’t the poor people in the ER obviously. The cost is picked up by the state and insured paying patients.

    ER care isn’t cheap, comprehensive, preventative, or long term. All they do is stabilize you and get you out.

    The ACA has costs. It also has savings that more than offset that cost. By shifting health care from the ER to the rest of the health care system.

    One of the reasons the Georgia governor is complaining is because he refused to extend Medicaid. So they are stuck with the old kludgy system of people without money showing up in the ER for care that really isn’t ER care. It’s a problem of his own creation but accepting responsibility isn’t a Tea Party characteristic.

  10. eric says

    Ah yes, the pro-life position of the GOP.

    So….what do they say if some poor insuranceless about-to-die woman shows up and she’s pregnant? OMG, the paradox, the paradox!!!

  11. says

    One attitude I see behind this is a myopic, “illness is something that happens to those people, not me.” I also think it’s an extension of the anti-moral Just World Hypothesis. “If you get deathly ill and can’t pay for proper treatment, it’s because you’re a leech unworthy of life who deserved it, therefore inaction, apathy, and condemnation are the correct responses to suffering. I’ll never get sick because I’m a better person than you.”

  12. caseloweraz says

    @DaveL:

    And in addition, if the poor person happens to be suffering from a contagious disease, the emergency room treatment might just nip an epidemic in the bud.

  13. caseloweraz says

    Having now viewed Rachel Maddow’s coverage, I think the Georgia governor is right that his measure would cut costs. And if the uninsured people of his state become angry enough at the contracting health-care coverage, they might burn down the remaining rural hospitals. That would cut hospital costs even more.

  14. says

    Meh. I read what he said, and I think he’s being straw-manned here. I read his comments as saying much of the ER use is non-emergency, not that real emergencies should be ignored.

    Do you have access to his full comments that would validate this? This is all I can find:

    “If they really want to get serious about lowering the cost of health care in this country, they would revisit another federal statute that has been there for a long time,” […] “It came as a result of bad facts, and we have a saying that bad facts make bad law.” […] “I think we should be able in this passage of time to figure out ways to deal with those situations but not have the excessive costs associated with unnecessary visits to the emergency room.”

    There’s not much to go on. But I take this in the same vein as conservatives’ claims about “frivolous” lawsuits — it’s not the truly frivolous ones they want to curtail, which wouldn’t change anything, it’s the valid ones. They rationalize this by pretending that they’re all unnecessary.

    I couldn’t say how many ER visits by rural Georgians are truly unnecessary, but I’m pretty sure that what’s driving the hospitals under are real emergencies like heart attacks and car accidents, which cost a shit-ton to address, not people with a cold who sit in the waiting room for eight hours and then get seen by a nurse for three minutes.

    The wider conservative “plan” for dealing with health care costs is to have less health care. Not to have decisions made about which health care to pay for, because that would be Death Panels, but rather to simply deny access so that the government pays for none of your care equally.

  15. says

    Well, thank goodness Georgia, like all the GOP-controlled states, accepted the Medicaid expansion, so that the poor and working poor don’t have to lean unnecessarily on the ER.

  16. roggg says

    @18 and others

    I have the same quotes you have. I went looking for a source to see how exactly he called for letting the poor die, but came up with nothing concrete. So I posted. I read from “deal with those situations but not have excessive costs” to mean emergency health care still has to be provided. I could be reading too much into it, but even if I am, I think his comments fall way short of “let the poor die”. There’s enough to criticize without building straw men.

    @raven:

    I agree the reason people go to ER for non-emergency is because the right have made it pretty much the only option. Or at least that’s what I understand as it’s different where I am, so I can only go by what I read. That’s exactly why I say it’s still a flawed argument. I’m about as far left on health care as you can get – I’m Canadian, and think our system is not sufficiently socialized. But let’s criticize what he said rather than an extreme and unsupported caricature of his statements.

  17. says

    I could be reading too much into it, but even if I am, I think his comments fall way short of “let the poor die”.

    Yes, he didn’t say that directly, but it’s a logical outcome of curtailing ER access.

    I assume he was just blabbering the common right-wing talking point that ER access means we have “free” health care in this country, which is socialism, and that’s why things cost too much. I consider the stupidity of that belief to be far worse than the evil. I doubt he managed to reason his way far enough to “let the poor die”.

  18. Synfandel says

    If somehow, some administration could miraculously ram through a national single-payer health insurance system (such as is enjoyed by the rest of the civilized world), it would be entertaining to watch the frothing Republicans suddenly have an epiphany, saying “Oh, hey, this is actually rather nice. I’m covered and I can stop worrying. And it’s cheaper too. Whooda thunk?”

  19. says

    Let me try that again.

    eric @13

    Ah yes, the pro-life position of the GOP.

    So….what do they say if some poor insuranceless about-to-die woman shows up and she’s pregnant? OMG, the paradox, the paradox!!!

    Is she unmarried? Or Black? Or a heathen infidel? Dump her ass because it’s her own fault for opening her legs. If she’s a poor, married white Christian woman, just pray and God will make sure everything will turn out just as He wants.

  20. leonardschneider says

    I’m pretty sure that what’s driving the hospitals under are real emergencies like heart attacks and car accidents, which cost a shit-ton to address, not people with a cold who sit in the waiting room for eight hours and then get seen by a nurse for three minutes.

    The people being seen for three minutes may not be driving the hospitals under, but the hospitals are driving them to bankruptcy. Just occupying space on a gurney will cost you hundreds of dollars, having an actual MD examine you for those three minutes is hundreds more, plus the three Tylenol you were fed? Twenty bucks each.

    And if you actually are sick, like seriously ill, the numbers just keep going up. I had what I think is called “infective bronchitis” — IIRC, it was an infection in my trachea that was merrily making its way towards my lungs — and, after passing out on my landlady’s living room floor, went to the ER at Doctor’s Hospital in San Pablo.

    Fuck that place. I’m lying on a gurney with a fever of 102.5F… And I’ve got some goddamn cunt bugging me for my fucking credit cards. Sorry, but I’d shoved two twenties in my pocket for cab fare — when I decide I’m too out of it to drive, I know I’m in trouble — and that was it. You know what? This bitch had the gall to get loud with me: “Well without insurance, how are you expecting to pay for your services here today?”
    “I’m assuming you’ll bill me, like every other hospital would do.”

    And bill me they did. Ninety minutes on a gurney in a hallway, six generic Tylenol, a four minute appearance by an MD — well, he said he was an MD, he could have been the HazMat waste guy for all I knew — four cups of ice water, and a written scrip for antibiotics: $2600. And yes, there really was a fucking line item for the water, no shit. And, that stupid useless cunt from their billing department had one last go at me as I was staggering out the door: “Are you sure you don’t have a method of payment today?”
    “I said NO already. Get out of my way, lady.”

    (And I’m sorry if I’m cussing too much but I’m getting pissed off just remembering this shit. And if the C-bombs bug you, well, I consider it a fair descriptive of her: what the fuck sort of human being are you if you do that to people all day, and it doesn’t make you want give a blowjob to a shotgun? Yeah, it’s a brutally sexist word, I’m sorry. If it had been a guy I’d be calling him a dickbag asshole dog-fucker.)

    An ace up my sleeve, though. A friend worked Billing and Records for… (*ahem*) a large Oakland-based chain of hospitals, and was able to find out how much different insurance companies would pay for the same services, by me giving her the ER codes. Turned out they were trying to gank me: charging me double to two-thirds what they’d ask of the insurance companies; Medi-Cal/Medicare were the cheapest, around $850. So, I contacted the main billing office for Doctor’s Hospital and told them how much I’d pay them: $850. They told me they didn’t negotiate, which I said was fine: I wasn’t negotiating either, I’d already told them how much I would pay. They said they’d take me to court, I asked where and when. And when we got there, I’d be able to prove to the judge that Doctor’s Hospital was trying to rip me off, and could show exactly how, and for how much, on paper. The best part was when I began reading the ER codes and corresponding charges over the phone to the dickbag.
    “How did you get those numbers!?”
    “A little bird told me.”
    “We don’t let those numbers out!”
    “Who said I got ‘em from you?”

    The upshot was they got their $850, paid over twelve months. In a way, their options were limited: if they sent a collection agency after me, I’d either ignore them (all this was when I was young and reckless enough to where “We’ll ruin your credit rating!” had all the threat of “We’ll drive past your house and fart!”) or annoy them by sending them five bucks a month. (Do that, and they can’t touch you. You’re making a valid attempt to pay off the debt.) As I already explained, taking me to court would be a very unwise decision. Or… They receive the same amount of money they normally would if I was a Medicare account.

    People complain about the inefficiencies of the British and Canadian health care systems, but shit, at least in those places you don’t have some irritating sluthole (or dogfucker) harassing you for your plastic when you’re too loopy from fever to walk straight.

    Something just struck me. Maybe the problem with the rural Georgia hospitals is how they bill. Doctor’s tried to fuck me because I was uninsured, how do we know that’s not what the Georgia hospitals are doing? They’re jacking up the rates on the uninsured — and they probably have plenty of those — to such inflated numbers that the patients throw up their hands and say, “To hell with this, I just can’t do it,” get used to hanging up on bill collectors from the hospitals, accept that their credit rating will go down the crapper… And the end result is the hospitals never see a nickel. I was lucky; like I said, I had an ace up my sleeve in the form of information that the general public doesn’t have easy access to. I was also self-employed, and could make time to spend on the phone — lots of time on the phone — with the jackoffs who were trying to gank me. And I can be one just plain stubborn son of a bitch.

    So now my curiosity is up. Anyone here familiar with these Georgia hospitals? Is there a possibility that they’re playing themselves like how I just described?

    Pffft. Yeah, “free” health care from the ERs, my ass. Nathan Deal, you’re a total knob. Somebody ought to strip you of your cell phone and other gadgets, your cash, and your wallet (containing your ID and plastic), put you in Starvation Army clothes, and drop you in downtown Oakland or the San Francisco Tenderloin…. Then fracture one of your legs with a wood maul. You’ll just love Highland Hospital or SF General. And after they cast you up, what then? No money in any form, and neither hospital is close to downtown in either city. If you’re lucky, the hospital will give you a bus pass. Let’s see what sort of survival instincts you have, ya cracker.

  21. says

    “So now my curiosity is up. Anyone here familiar with these Georgia hospitals? Is there a possibility that they’re playing themselves like how I just described?”

    I’m not a pencil neck but I think it’s safe to say that ER billing has fuckall to do with care received. I have sat in ER’s for hours and had my vitals taken by one person, been examined by another person and sent home after about 45 seconds with a resident. I then received bills that indicated (to me) that I must have had a major surgery of some sort.

    Otoh, I went to the VA in Syracuse for a surgical procedure on my right hand, to remove a mass of something. The surgery involved two surgeons, two anaestheseolgists, two nurses and a gofer of some sort in the OR in addition to eight or twelve other people in the process of check-in, recovery, etc. The bill? ZERO. The VAHeathcare system has a limited budget (it’s not the entire VA budget, by any means) and is responsible for providing some sort of healthcare to a maximum patient base of around 26 million people. Things aren’t always perfect but they get it right at about the same rate as any other system I’ve been in.

    Oh, that Dean guy? Fuck him with a fire hydrant.

  22. says

    “At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, … it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”
    “Are there no prisons?”
    “Plenty of prisons…”
    “And the Union workhouses.” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
    “Both very busy, sir…”
    “Those who are badly off must go there.”
    “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
    “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

    *sigh* Scrooge was supposed to be a satire, an exaggeration of the hard-nosed business man of his age. Sadly, he’s a reality.

  23. says

    democommie “I’m not a pencil neck but I think it’s safe to say that ER billing has fuckall to do with care received. I have sat in ER’s for hours and had my vitals taken by one person, been examined by another person and sent home after about 45 seconds with a resident.”
    No wonder healthcare is so expensive, if they’re sending people home with residents.

  24. says

    I know the Danish health system is very far from perfect. There are many horror stories floating about – but still.

    My aunt has aggressive arthritis, shes about 70 now, but she has had it for at least 40 years. Most of the bones in her feet have been replaced, the same with her hands. On top of it she has had breast cancer and throat cancer. The chemo they give you for arthritis is bad shit.

    This had been hard on her, but you know one thing that hasn’t been hard? Paying for the operations, doctors visits, specialists, training, and medicine, You will pay out of pocket for you medicine until a certain limit, about $700. For other services you never see a bill!

    She has been declared about 80% handicapped (less in the early years, more now), and has been receiving benefits for most of her life, interest free loan to buy a tax free car, supplied the needed medical equipment etc. Since she hasn’t been able to hold a full time job, and her husband is blue collar, she wouldn’t even be bankrupt if she had to pay for her medical care, she would be dead a couple of times over.

    The value of the peace of mind you have when you know that if you get sick, your biggest concern will not be the cost, but you getting better is difficult to asses. Especially since I have never felt the fear of medical costs

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