Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Net Neutrality-- three cheers for Julius

Hidden away on page A13 in this Sunday's Albany Times Useless-- I mean Times Union-- was a small article from Associated Press titled F.C.C. plans to propose 'Net neutrality' rules. Yesterday F.C.C.'s chair Julius Genachowski delivered a speech to the Brookings Institute which included some proposals that would help ensure that the internet remain an information highway without threat of slow down or shut out of content by I.S.P.s. The full content of this speech is available at the following u.r.l.:

The bad ol Internet Service Providers are upset and crying government interference.
(http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125354032776727741.html ). They want to be able to do things like select what legal content (especially if it is related to a service which their own company provides) is allowed to consumers or at least how fast such content can be accessed. Nothing in the proposal will prohibit providers from adopting tier plans or blocking high-end users from downloading stuff during peak flow times. Their objection that folks will merely move away from the I.S.P.s who block content they want is meaningless in the face of a certain reality that right now in any geographical area of the United States, very few of us have the option of moving from one I.S.P. to another. In a field where my choice is between two providers, that is hardly any choice at all.

radical sapphoq says: Bravo Julius!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Health Care Reform the Obama Way

By now everyone has heard about the thousand page packet of Health Care Reform being advocated by President Barack Obama. The dems for the most part are backing it and the repubs for the most part are crying foul. From the news coverage alone, I was unable to pick up exactly why there was a bunch of folks talking about killing off grannies. So I turned to my friend Jeremy Crow who wrote back to me this answer:

A quote by Obama that you should look up on the internet, is his statement
"we aren't going to give a 100 year old man a pacemaker, we are going to send
him home with morphine" .. This was in response to an article about how evil
"Anthem" gave a 92 year old man authorization for a pacemaker after his doctor
called them and told them personally that the guy had a high level of life enjoyment
and was willing to pay for it out of pocket (which he didn't have to in the end). The
topic was brought up because under Obamacare he would have voided his insurance
by paying for it himself because he was "interfering" with the Government-approved
method of action...

The law NOW is that all people that crawl into an emergency room have to be treated
regardless of ability to pay or money already owed (or in the case of all the illegals,
ability to prove legal address .. Thus completely FREE) but under Obamacare like all
Socialist plans, you can be denied and the Government backs it as THEY wrote the

The argument here is that it will finally start denying illegals access to healthcare BUT
as we know, the politicians are lying to us and will change that the second they get us
to believe they won't .. I use seat belt laws as the example for this .. They always say
"we won't pull you over for seat belts alone" and then within a year they ALWAYS
change it .. It is the same type of lie that scares us here ...

Oh as far as the killing granny thing .. It is written in the healthcare bill that they
will have life expectancy requirements for care, and in the event that it isn't
cost-effective to prolong life they will prescribe pain killers, life end therapy,
and on request life decision specialists {Dr Kevorkian in other words} .. Ask
[a mutual blogging buddy from Australia] about eye surgery and cancer
treatments in one of those wonderful socialized medical places :(

This issue is problematic and I continue to believe that there aren't any "easy answers" to the mess that healthcare in the United States has become. I remember the birth of the health maintenance organizations. I even remember what healthcare was like "before" in the days when
we basically paid for services and the insurance company would provide reimbursement by mail later on.

To the charge that what is being proposed is socialized medicine, I can only nod and say, "Yes of course it is." That in and of itself is not a reason to say no. What is bothersome to me is the government meddling in healthcare in the first place. I dislike what healthcare has become. I dislike the HIPPA Laws which supposedly are for our "protection" but have further made a mess
of things. (For example, supposedly because of the HIPPA Laws, our dentist's office no longer allows anyone but the patient to be in the examination room. The idea that any particular agency which supposedly has a good reason for wanting my medical files can get them without my permission is nauseating to me. And the idea that some folks have of encoding our records into a chip implanting into a shoulder or wherever makes me want to move to anywhere that this will not be done. Okay, that is three examples).

It is certainly admirable to want to ensure that basic healthcare is available to all citizens (NOT to illegal aliens). It is necessary that we continue to seek ways to make basic healthcare practical and affordable. The insurance companies have their own vested interest in this thing as does the medical profession. The insurance companies are basically interested in insuring the healthier people who are likely to stay healthy and not require expenditures. The doctors (who would have vastly preferred the pay-as-you-go system to remain in place) do not want to be forced to take less money and less money from the insurance companies (and here I am thinking of Medicaid rates especially).

For some time now, the health maintenance organizations have tried over and over again to dictate to doctors what tests they may order and when, what drugs they may or may not prescribe, when a sick patient can be referred to the more expensive specialist. And yes, we have "death squads" now, in the form of review committees within the insurance companies who can and do deny care to the most sickest by labeling expensive treatment as "experimental." It is not just granny being killed off these days. Having been forced to take on the sicker people, the insurance companies take measures to keep their own costs and risks down. Because the bottom line for any insurance company is that writing policy for any individual is a gamble. No one wants the sick or the disabled on their rolls.

I see nothing wrong with providing end-of-life counseling to those who wish it. Such counseling is available now through hospices. Although Jack Kervorkian is a whack job [ever read his interview in Playboy magazine some years ago?] who perhaps delighted in his helping people to kill themselves a bit too much, I think that there will continue to be terminally ill patients who wish assisted suicide for as long as there will be inadequate pain relief provided to them. I worked in a nursing home once where there was an elderly woman with end-stage leukemia who was refusing all pain meds. She was screaming in pain and the nurse was crying, begging her to allow some relief. The woman kept refusing and she died in mid-scream. That woman refused pain meds by her own choice. There are people in hospitals being denied pain relief because the nurses are afraid that they will become addicted. One of my close friends with a severe leg fracture (right above her knee prosthesis) was denied pain relief for that reason. I had to fight for her to get pain meds before an ambulance ride to another facility 90 miles away!).

And yes, more research is needed in the areas of pain management for all of us (here I am thinking of those of us who have fibromyalgia and are usually classified as "drug-seeking" because what is currently available does not address the pain adequately) and not just the terminally ill. If an insurance company refuses to pay for "experimental treatment," there is a process of appeal (and the patient is usually dead before getting through such a process). Perhaps alternate funding for experimental treatments can be developed.

radical sapphoq says: The name-calling by all sides of this issue can stop anytime now. People who oppose healthcare reform as it is currently written certainly have valid objections. Those who are in favor of it also have valid reasons for liking it.

Insurance companies base their profits on predicting the odds of having to pay out large sums of money for any individual policy. It is part of capitalism and a free market economy. We need competition between insurance providers in order to continue to have choices.

There are pros and cons to socialized medicine. I am not convinced that socialized medicine is the way to go. (And I also suspect that the health care reform bill in its' present state will not pass due to the powerful insurance and medical lobbies).

I dislike the idea of government meddling in healthcare. I don't trust the politicians to do what is correct for the average citizen nor for disabled folks.

I believe that every citizen (but not any illegal aliens) have a basic right to basic health care. I would support basic health care for all citizens (via the use of "clinics" perhaps) paid for by our taxes with the option to purchase more comprehensive coverage and choice of providers available to those who are willing and able to pay for such coverage.

My opinions may change as I get better informed. I do intend to read the entire thousand page document probably sometime next week.

Obama and the cardiologists and other docs:



anti-Obama health care reform:
http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/malden/2009/08/a_girl_from_malden_asked.html?p1=Well_MostPop_Emailed2 <---see letters especially

pro-Obama health care reform:

we already have death squads built in our current health insurance plans:

recommended for news that effects us oldsters and others: