Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tired of excuses

OK - there are 46,000,000 people without health care in the US. What exactly does that mean?

As a taxpayer it means that all these people only see a doctor when they are very sick. It also means they probably don't have a doctor at all. So according to several web sources here are some sobering statistics:

Chance of an American woman developing cancer in her lifetime: 1 in 3. Chance of getting prostate cancer: 1 in 6. Chance of getting breast cancer: 1 in 9

I am no statistician but let's play with some of these numbers....
#1 - Chance of getting prostate cancer: 1 in 6

OK so the first thing is only men get this and they represent 49% of the US population or roughly 22,540,000 of those uninsured. If the odds are 1 in 6 that means that roughly 17% of those will get prostrate cancer or about 3,831,800 men will get this form of cancer. untreated, prostrate cancer is fatal but if caught and treated early there is a very high survival rate.

So what you say? Well, when someone without insurance gets sick, one of the big complaints is that they go to the hospital "for every little thing." Most likely because these 3,831,800 men who have no insurance will also not have a doctor they see regularly for "the exam" they will likely end up in the ER too late do do anything simple about their cancer and so we as society now get faced with a simple prospect. Treat them or let them suffer and die.

Of course treating later stage prostrate (or any) cancer is way more expensive that the procedures if caught early so if we choose to treat them we can expect to shell out multiple tens of thousands of dollars possibly hundreds of thousands. I'll keep it simple and say just $30,000. Doing the math that means something on the order of $114,954,000,000 (yes that is billions) to treat these poor guys. Of course if we had helped them by providing even rudimentary annual physicals we could have treated them earlier but that would have meant the dreaded 'government health care' option.

So this argument comes once again back to only one thing really, money. Those people that do not want health care reform and health care for all do it because they are selfish and just want to keep all there own money and let the rest of the US be damned!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More On Health Care

Wow, I realize what is going on here. I had a conversation with someone who is opposed to health care reform. Here's what it boils down to.

"I don't want the government telling me what I should do about my health."


"I have a friend who is being harassed by her insurer to lose wait and adopt a healthier life style, can you imagine?"

followed with

"People who are unhealthy should pay more."

OK, pardon me but these two are diametrically opposed to each other? I mean if you are diagnosed with some health problem in this persons view point then you should pay more for you health insurance and leave my 'healthy" bill alone? But, if you are on health insurance you should not be reminded or encouraged to adopt a more healthy lifestyle.

I think this goes right back to my previous post about the potholes. It's my money and not yours until it affects me and then I want you to help me....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Health Care

OK - so this is so far off topic but then it aligns with the subtitle of this blog (hint - we already know what to do).

I cannot understand those who believe our present health care system is working (and I use the word system very loosely here). I've been reading some of their arguments about 'don't touch my existing policy' and 'no socialized medicine' etc. but just don't get the argument. I think it comes down to two simple issues.

1. I want to keep all my own money and decide where I spend it
2. I don't trust the government to run anything

On #1
OK, everyone I know agrees with this. We all want to keep all my own money. Presumably I worked hard for it and therefore I deserve to keep it an spend it as I see fit. This is one of those statements that always has the big 'BUT' attached to it. I want to keep all my own money but when I need something, I want to have that taken care of for me.

Let's say instead of health care it is roadcare. That takes out things like abortion, stem cells, sex changes, etc. . So lets say you drive down your road where your house is and there's a pothole right in front of it. I assume you have no neighbor across the street from you so there's no one to share any costs with you.

In the 'I want to keep my own money' scenario I get to decide if I am going to fix it or not. (we will forget that someone else paved it to begin with for now). The pothole is just east of my driveway and I always (or almost always) approach from the west. No big deal, I let it alone after all it is my money and I don't drive that way very often do I?

Now your neighbor to the west of you (the one with the nasty barking dogs and the bagpipes) also is an 'Option #1' kind of guy. He has a big pothole just east of his driveway and he always approaches from the west (mostly to avoid your pothole) so he is letting his fester a bit too. But your neighbor decides one night after two of his dogs disappear into his pothole that he doesn't want that to happen so he patches the pothole with 1/4" plywood. Just enough to support his dogs and just to make it look nice he paints the plywood black.

Now you are driving home one night and are cautiosly approaching your pothole invested street but no longer see your neightbors pothole (since it is now dog-proofed) so you blindly drive right over the dog-proof but not car proof pothole covered pothole and proceed to tear out the right front axle and transmission of your brand new Chevy Malibu.

What can you do? You cannot complain, you cannot get mad at your neighbor since there are not even any rules about pothole repair quality because it is your money and you decide how to deal with it. In fact your neighbor is probably more likely to be mad at you for screwing up his dog-proofing pothole cover.

So no rules is no rules. Now you have a broken car, an angry neighbor, a pothole in front of your house still have you money and it is a lot easier to avoid a pothole when you are walking than driving.

Having trouble drawing the parallel? Well either head over to the Republican National Party website or continue reading..

Option # 2 - I don't trust the government to run anything
I love this one, especially for conservatives. Let's start with a series of qualifying questions.

Do you support the military? (how's that for a left leaning question?)
Do you support your local police department? (careful on this one)

Ok- trick question now.....
Pick from the list below who runs the military and who runs the police? (hint, it is not the Postmaster and this is not Detroit in RoboCop)
1. the government
2. the government
3. all the above

So do you think the military is run well? Would you rather privatize it too? (Remember the BlackWaterthugs?) How about the police? How much would you pay to a private company so they can pay their shareholders a dividend?

OK one more angle on Question #2 - this one is really about health care (I promise!)
So again I am going to ask a series of questions......
1. Who certifies doctor's to practice Medicine?
2. Who funds research on life saving drugs?
3. Who provides scholarships, grants, and loans to educate health care professionals?

If you answered 'the big bad government that I don't trust at all' to 1, 2,& 3 you are right!

In reality we do want some level of public support for the greater good (see potholes) and we do in fact rely upon the government to run many things and for the most part we actually think they are doing a fair job (unless you really don't support our troops and our police in which case you probably live in the woods alone with the chipmunks and your bazooka).

So it comes down to how best to control and manage the costs and delivery mechanisms associated with healthcare doesn't it. It also comes down to what is our societal obligation to one another as well. We can continue to have the healthcare "unsystem" we now have where non-care providers (read insurance companies) make more money than care providers or we can elect to change it somehow. We can continue to have people not receive healthcare and then suffer from poor health (which also costs all of us money) or we can invest in something that helps everyone. I guess that would be another blog for another day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A new venture from shore

This isn't about anything really all that technical, but it is about boats. I have owned only a handful (as in one hand) of boats, all of them small, none of them powered. To date this includes an aluminum canoe (which I traded my rototiller for and subsequently lost in a divorce), one sailboard (yes, that is a boat), one O'day Widgeon 12' sailboat, and three kayaks.

I traded the O'Day for one of the kayaks (a really nice two-person) but recently have come up wanting to get under sail again. So now I am building or rather completing a Bolger Brick. It is a very simple craft, a box that is 4' x 8' with a square front and stern and the sail offset to the side. A really quirky little boat.

The boat hull was mostly completed by someone else who I found on Craig's list. Now I am in the process of fiberglassing the hull and then have to build the rudder and box along with the side board. The fiberglassing has brought back nasty memories of helping my dad lay supporting beams inder the front deck of a 14' overpowered runnabout. Nasty because al lthis took place outside in our carport in Scottsdale Arizona... hot and nasty. He ran a vacuum cleaner to blow some air under the front deck while I laid the glass and applied the resin/epoxy.

Anyway, I'll post my progress on this little venture here.

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Belchertown, Massachusetts, United States
Experiences in life: marriage, kids, computers, flying, remodeling, learning