velvetpage: (Default)
This short essay describes the negative and unlooked-for (but easy to predict) effects of attempting to marry measurement of results with paying people for achieving them. Someone needs to forward it to the U.S. Department of Education, and to a variety of state departments of education. It's a clear, concise explanation of why merit pay is an absolutely abysmal idea, guaranteed to result in poorer outcomes for the students most in need of better ones. It's in the context of the British health care system.
velvetpage: (bob)
I finally understand why support is falling for the health care reform as proposed. It's because you guys managed to elect the most cowardly bunch of idiots in the history of politics to do it for you. And it's not your fault - because the party that should have been doing it, not only didn't do it, but probably messed it up so badly that no one else will ever get the chance to do it right.

They should have gone for single-payer from the outset and then SETTLED for a robust public option. Now? Totally, completely fucked.

So tired.

Aug. 26th, 2009 07:29 am
velvetpage: (cat in teacup)
Naturally, I was too worked up to sleep well last night. Figures.

I'm so very tired of the "socialized medicine will force you to see doctors you don't want to see, have procedures you don't choose, and force you to die when the government says you should" rhetoric. (That's almost a direct quote from a friend of a friend, but I've seen it in a dozen other places.) It looks to me like people who are primed to dislike the plans for reform that are being floated are also primed to see options in the plan(s) as requirements. So, elderly people being given access to counselors to plan living wills = health care workers deciding when Granny will die, and circumcision being encouraged (which I haven't seen anywhere, actually - I'm wondering if it's a mishmash of two separate items recently in the news) = babies being taken away from their parents to be circ'ed without parental consent. Oh, the inability to renew plans that don't meet the new minimum standards is in there, too - "We'll all be forced onto the government plan because they won't let us renew the old plans!" It's all misinformation and scare tactics, combined with a healthy dose of, "I'm a conservative and NOTHING that is generally labeled Socialist is going to happen on my watch!"

Time to get this day underway if I'm going to be ready for the meeting by 9:30.
velvetpage: (exterminate)
In the testimonial from the Mayo Clinic she went to in Arizona, her
condition is not a life-threatening cancerous brain tumour; it's a
vision-threatening benign cyst on her pituitary gland. She was not
going to be dead to wait six months, if in fact she'd even had to wait
six months - she didn't wait to find out.

Furthermore, she's not suing the government to get her money back;
she's suing the government to dismantle the health care system we
have, and she's funded by a registered charity called the Canadian
Constitution Foundation. Registered charity - that means our tax
dollars are paying for it via tax deductible contributions.

Holmes is misrepresenting herself, and our system, to Americans.
She's a fraud. I wonder if her circuit of talk shows and that
commercial have paid off the new mortgage yet?
velvetpage: (outraged)
http://www.acreativerevolution.ca/node/1944

http://bouquetsofgray.blogspot.com/2009/07/more-on-shona-holmes.html

Thanks [livejournal.com profile] siobhan63 for the links.

The woman in that commercial who is trashing Ontario's health care, saying she would have been dead in six months if she'd had to wait that long, so she mortgaged her house and went to the States?

She's lying about that. She didn't have a tumour. She had a cyst. Her vision may have been threatened, though there's only her word on a previous testimonial for that. Her life was not in significant danger from this cyst.

Furthermore, she's not suing the Ontario government to get her money back. She's suing with the backing of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, a registered charity (i.e. donations are tax deductible, so taxpayers are funding this) dedicated to challenging all aspects of Canada's socialist system, in particular single-tier health care.

That is, she's trying to take away other Ontarians' access to single-payer health care, and she's using tax money to do it.

I think it's time for another letter to the editor to point this out. Not only is she lying to Americans about what happened, not only is she trashing a system without having actually gone through it, she's using a taxpayer-funded charity to try to destroy the system for everyone else.

I'm incensed.

Edit: Please, go ahead and link, either to me or to the articles I listed. Spread this far and wide. She's going to slander our system, she's going to be exposed as the fraud she is.

EDIT #2: A link to the cached page from the Mayo Clinic. They took down the original version a few days ago when Daily Kos linked to it, but it was cached first.
velvetpage: (outraged)
I don't think I do, so I'll give you the links and the brief version of the rebuttal.
My mother knows this woman through a business connection. Her story is true. It is not the whole story.

It is true that many Canadians wait for care. Some of those waits are fine, as mine were. Some are not. That's unfortunate, and the government is working at reducing it.

However, the fact is, this happens extremely rarely. I'd like to see the stats on how often patients with brain cancer die without ever getting the opportunity for aggressive treatment in the U.S. I can guarantee it would be more often than here, and here's why.

In the U.S., if you lose your health insurance after having cancer, you're uninsurable. That means if your cancer comes back, you're dead. What this woman isn't saying is that her follow-up care, and her care if her cancer comes back, will still happen for free. She was diagnosed here. She had no medical debt before this happened, no co-pays. She runs her own small business and has not had any supplemental insurance for a long time because of that (or if she did, she bought it separately) but the cost was likely about fifty dollars a month for her dental, drug plan, and whatever other supplemental health services she chose to get on it. Her babies were born in a Canadian hospital and she never paid a cent to a doctor or other practitioner for that to happen.

It's likely that a person in her position in the U.S. wouldn't have had much health insurance, because nobody in her family had the kind of job that would have provided it, and the insurance available for those who aren't getting it through their work is, I understand, nowhere near as good. She wasn't rich - just comfortably middle-class. So there's a decent chance that, had she lived in the U.S. with other details much the same, she wouldn't have been able to get the loans she took out to go to Arizona and get that treatment. And she wouldn't be able to sue anyone to get that money back later, as she's doing now. (She's suing the government to get her money back, and she's probably going to win.) And of course, she'd be waiting for the next bout of cancer, knowing that it would not only kill her, it would finish bankrupting her family.

Very few treatments are denied outright. A few new or experimental treatments for certain types of cancer are not yet covered by OHIP, usually because the drugs are extremely expensive and not yet proven. Her treatment was not denied - it was delayed. It's a gross exaggeration to imply that it happens often.

The last problem with the ad is that Obama isn't proposing Canadian style health care. He's proposing a model that will make a public option available alongside the private option that will remain available. So people who believe their insurance company is doing just fine for them have the option to stay. If you're happy with your health care? Don't change anything. If you're not? You may just survive if you get brain cancer, and you may not have to bankrupt yourself to do it.
velvetpage: (stabbity)
You know that thing about how 45 million Americans have no health insurance? Well, the McCain campaign has come up with a way of making the problem disappear.

I'd like to direct your attention to the following quote:

Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain's health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

"So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

"So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved."


I don't even know where to begin categorizing the monumental stupidity of that statement. Does this guy really not understand that going to an emergency room for the care offered there - and being billed into bankruptcy for it - is very, very different from getting routine care on a regular basis before the problems get out of hand? Has he never heard the term, "preventative medicine"?

I just don't get it. How can this possibly be anything positive? It's just another way to sidestep a problem and pretend it doesn't exist, when millions of people can attest that, yes, it DOES. I would have more respect for a campaign that said, "You know, this is a problem, but it's something that should be solved on state level." That's passing the buck, true, but it's politically defensible and it at least recognizes that there is a problem. But this? It's assinine and dishonest and uncaring.

Link courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] wyldraven.
velvetpage: (Default)
A petition for American health care that you take with you regardless of your employment status, subsidized as needed, and high-quality. I haven't taken the time to investigate it fully, but for those of you who would like to, there's your link. Have fun.
velvetpage: (Default)
An interesting look at one charity that offers weekend clinics, staffed entirely by volunteers, for people in the U.S. and around the world. It's sad that it's come to this in the U.S. As one woman said, "I find it sad that we're the richest country in the world, but we don't take care of our own."

It's thirteen minutes long, and the last two are the most worthwhile. Thanks [livejournal.com profile] wyldraven for the link.

http://www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/archives/2008/04/7939_medical_nonprof.html
velvetpage: (studious)
I get really tired of the standard capitalist jargon that a business can be held accountable for its product by its customers, and therefore an informed health care consumer can hold their medical providers accountable by demanding good service, whereas a socialized system has no way of demanding good service except at the ballot box.

That's bull. There's just no other way to say it.

Obviously, the only motivation anyone ever has for doing a good job is greed, right? And therefore, voting with your wallet always works, because if you deny them your business, you're taking away the only thing that matters to them.

In my experience, most people don't go into health care - any aspect of it - for the money. The fact that the money is good is one motivating factor among many, but equally important are the desire to help people, the desire to do good in the world, the desire to solve puzzles and improve people's lives in the process. I'm sure there are doctors whose main motivation is the cash. I'm not denying that. But the vast majority are in medicine because they want to help people. The problems with doctors come up when the doctor has a different opinion about what's best for the patient than the patient has for themselves. But the issue is not one of demanding good service for the consumer of that service - it's in making everyone see eye to eye on what good service entails.

Then we get to the other side of the equation, and that is: in a private insurance-driven health care system, the people trying to decide what's best for the patients are different from the people who end up paying for the treatments. The people doing the paying are at several removes from the actual provision of services. The insurance companies often have people over a barrel. If you're in need of the services, that means you have some kind of condition that is being treated, and that in turn means many other insurance companies would either turn you down outright, or put you in a waiting period before you were covered. So they know very well that most people aren't in a position to take their business elsewhere. It's cheaper for them to risk the loss of a customer by refusing to pay services, than it would be to serve those customers well.

In a socialized system, you CAN go to other doctors if you're not happy with the one you're with. I've done that several times. The restriction is on doctor availability, not on who will pay for it. I wasn't happy with my first OB - I went to a midwife. I needed to see an OB later, and saw three different ones before I found one that would provide the service in the way I wanted it provided. And I didn't have to fight with my insurance company about certain doctors not being covered in their plans, either. I could have gone to any doctor in Southern Ontario who had room for me in their caseload.

The ONLY time when you need to hold the entire system responsible is when there isn't enough of a service to go around. At which point, instead of one person or a few people fighting with a company in the courts, you get public debate and public accountability, because everyone has a stake in seeing that things improve. It's a lot harder to write something off as someone else's business.

The capitalist model doesn't work for health care.

This rant brought to you from someone else's journal, where I politely refrained from directly engaging the person who posited the capitalist model, because the owner of the journal has asked me not to engage her or her me. Fortunately, this is what my journal is for.
velvetpage: (studious)
My MIL went for her regular checkup recently, with the doctor she's been going to for several decades now. He told her that her blood sugar was slightly elevated, just at the edge of normal range, and that because of this and a few other factors, he was going to send her to the diabetes prevention clinic. Today was her clinic appointment. I asked her permission to blog a bit about her experience there, because I found it to be an excellent example of our healthcare system operating at its best.

An example of our system working in the best interests of everyone involved, including the taxpayer. )

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