Obamacare and Agent Orange

There is no way to avoid seeing, hearing or reading news about the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as Obamacare these days, but understanding the content of this information is nearly impossible for those of us lacking law degrees and 20 years of political experience. Even some of those elected members of Congress just shook their heads and signed their approval, because of peer pressure, to a program they did not understand.

Remember Nancy Pelosi’s famous, “We have to sign it into law so that we can see what is in it” statement? Well, it is here now, and we still don’t know what’s in it.
One thing that has become clear now: If you do not have some kind of acceptable insurance coverage in the very near future, you will be charged a special tax by the IRS.

 So where does that leave the veterans and their families? I can give the official answer, thanks to Fred Daniels, one of our VSOs at Trinka Davis Clinic.

If you are enrolled in one of the following VA health care programs, you have coverage under the standards of the health care law: Veterans health care program, Civilian Health and Medical program (CHAMPVA), Spina Bifida Health Care Program. If you are enrolled in VA health care, you don’t need to take additional steps to meet the health care law coverage standard. The health care law does not change VA health benefits or veterans’ out-of-pocket costs. 
If you are not enrolled in VA health care, you can apply at any time.

Bottom line is: If you are enrolled in one of these programs, you are already covered under the requirements of the law. If you are not covered under these programs and need insurance to be covered, get in gear and apply for your veteran benefits before the taxes hit you for non-compliance.

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Obamacare’s Broken Promises

Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) said in his March 8th, 2011 piece, “Americans want the health care they need, from the doctor they want, at a price they can afford. The new law fails this test. It’s only taken a year to break almost every one of the president’s promises.” Then Senator Barrasso describes a broken promise for each month since March 2010.

    March ’10:

Promise: Obamacare would reduce the deficit.
Truth: The Democrats cut over $500 billion from Medicare to start a new entitlement, which produces an increase to the deficit by $260 billion.

    April ’10:

The cuts to Medicare could drive up to 15% of hospitals out of business.

    May ’10:

In order for over 200,000 Americans with preexisting conditions and expensive health insurance to be eligible to enroll in the new high risk pools (created in the health care law), they’d first have to drop their insurance and go without coverage for 6 months.

    June ’10:

The Associated Press blew the whistle on the administration about the “tax credits” to small businesses. The only businesses eligible for these credits employed fewer than 25 people. For companies who employ more than 10 people with salaries over $25,000, the tax credit “drops off sharply”.

    July ’10:

This administration’s Justice Department “confirmed the individual mandate penalty is a tax increase.” But, when ABC news’ George Stephanopoulos asked the President if the mandate penalty was a tax increase, the President ‘rejected that notion.’ Contradictions?

    August ’10:

The President assigned Dr. Donald Berwick to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, without a Congressional hearing. This is the guy who says he gets a ‘romantic feeling’ over the UK plan. Dr. Berwick believes in *government rationing* and at least honestly states, “the only issues is whether we ‘ration with our eyes open’.” President Obama promised not to ration care. Another broken promise.

    September ’10:

Remember when President Obama repeated over and over and over again that if you like the coverage you had today, you can keep it? He promised the same about keeping your doctor. The new rules estimated that 80 percent of small businesses would be forced to change the coverage they offer their employees.

    October ’10:

Obama’s cronies from unions and big corporations began complaining about the expensive mandates. So, for those “politically connected to this administration”, “waivers” were handed out. What about all the fairness this President and the liberal Democrats preach about? Let’s see—the American families still will be expected to take on the law’s expensive burdens – just not the President’s “favorites”. That’s reassuring.

    November ’10:

The majority of the American people made it very clear they did not want this law. They were totally and wholly ignored and even ridiculed by the President and Democratic party. As a result, the Republicans were handed their biggest majorities in the House of Representatives since President Eisenhower.

    December ’10:

President Obama and the Democrats said the country needed this law. The same law that one of the biggest unions in the country, the SEIU (Service Employees’ International Union), admitted that fulfilling the requirements of ObamaCare would be “financially impossible.” A federal judge in Virginia ruled that it was unconstitutional to force Americans to buy a product.

    January ’11:

“… the Medicare actuary called the administration’s claim that the health care law would bring down costs “false, more so than true.” Also, a federal judge in Florida struck down the entire law as unconstitutional.”

    February ’11:

“In February, we learned that the IRS’ 2012 budget specifically mentions the health care law 250 times as a source of authority and funding for new powers. They called the health care law “the largest set of tax law changes in more than 20 years.” To begin implementing these changes will require thousands of new Washington bureaucrats.”

Nancy Pelosi stated, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” Now we know….it should be repealed and replaced.

Lack of Water Causes Patients to Drink from Vases

What a sad and alarming situation in this UK Hospital. According to this LINK, “Donald Berwick, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has claimed a love affair with Britain‘s NHS and it’s government-run program. His critics say his “love” and approach will eventually lead to the cost-cutting dilemma patients such as Baily’s mother have experienced first-hand.” – – Well, after you read the article below…you’ll know what happened to Bailey’s mother. When I see something like this in the NHS system, I can’t help but recall that diarist on this site who dedicated an entry to dogging me and those of us in the U.S. who favor a private health care system. God help us if our health care system continues down the path of being handled by our government. When you have overworked and disenchanted workers in a tax-funded system, this is what it always turns into…

Bella Bailey (left) died at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital after being admitted with an enlarged hiatus hernia

Grieving: Julie Bailey, pictured with others who have lost relatives at Stafford Hospital, told the inquiry patients were left without water at night and were left 'screaming' out in pain on chaotic and under-staffed wards

Patients at scandal-hit hospital ‘forced to drink from vases after being left on ward without water’
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 6:34 PM on 23rd November 2010

Thirsty patients were forced to drink from vases of flowers after they were left on a ward without water, an inquiry heard today.

Campaigner Julie Bailey, whose mother Bella died at the scandal-hit Stafford Hospital, said patients were left ‘screaming’ out in pain on chaotic and under-staffed wards.

She said that when she raised the issue of lack of water on the wards with the nurses, she was told they could not leave drinks out for patients during the night because of ‘health and safety’.

Grieving: Julie Bailey, pictured with others who have lost relatives at Stafford Hospital, told the inquiry patients were left without water at night and were left ‘screaming’ out in pain on chaotic and under-staffed wards Miss Bailey, who slept at her mother’s bedside in the hospital for eight weeks, told the inquiry: ‘They couldn’t find anything else to drink so they were drinking from flower vases.

‘I saw that myself on several occasions, it wasn’t just one occasion.

‘There were just no fluids available for patients.’
Miss Bailey also told how her 86-year-old mother once collapsed on a ward after being left without her oxygen supply.

The grieving daughter set up the campaign group Cure The NHS after the death of her mother at Stafford Hospital, which has been heavily criticised for putting targets and cost-cutting ahead of patient welfare.
It has been claimed that hundreds of patients died at the hospital, run by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, as a result of sub-standard treatment.

Following the death of her mother in 2007, Miss Bailey lobbied for an open investigation into how appalling standards of care were allowed to persist.

A public inquiry into the care provided by the trust between 2005 and 2009 was launched earlier this month.

Bella Bailey (left) died at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital after being admitted with an enlarged hiatus hernia
Today Miss Bailey told inquiry chairman Robert Francis QC that her mother collapsed on Ward 11 of the hospital after being left in a chair with no oxygen supply because there were no nurses available to reconnect the canister.

Miss Bailey said the pensioner, who had a hiatus hernia and suffered from breathing difficulties, had left the ward to undergo an endoscopy and was placed in a chair upon her return by a hospital porter.

She said her niece, who had been visiting, was told repeatedly that a nurse would reconnect the oxygen supply, but after 45 minutes no nurse had arrived and her mother collapsed.

Miss Bailey said: ‘The healthcare assistant kept saying, “the nurse will be with you in a minute, the nurse will be with you in a minute” but she never came.
‘So mum collapsed and my niece telephoned me.’
She added: ‘I believe that if my niece hadn’t gone in to see my mum at that particular time when she collapsed then she would have died there that day. I am convinced of it.

‘After that I decided that mum would never be in that hospital alone and that is what we did.’

Describing the ward, Miss Bailey said: ‘It was absolute chaos. There were people screaming out, shouting “nurse, nurse”. It was just bedlam.

‘There were just relatives waiting all the way down the corridor which I later learned was people, relatives, coming in for visitor hours and then waiting to talk to staff.

‘It was just like clutter all the way down and people shouting out.

‘It was just, it appeared to be, utter chaos on the ward.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1332070/Stafford-Hospital-inquiry-Patients-left-water-forced-drink-vases.html#ixzz16AGmlll1

NOTE: It’s always interesting to check the site & view readers’ comments. Just sayin’….

Let the Death Panels Commence

A few weeks back I’d read about the drug Avastin, something about its approval maybe being pulled back. It’s a very expensive drug prescribed as a last-ditch effort for breast cancer patients. It’s not a cure, but it provides an extension of life and quality of life in the hope (that America has no shortage of), that a cure might be obtained.

I’m not in favor of America’s “Obamacare”, though I am in agreement improvement in our existing system is…was needed. I’m not in favor of bureaucracies making decisions about treatments and drugs based on financial records and cost-benefit analyses. That is appalling to me. Anyway, this article shows just how things will work with Obamacare…and this is just the beginning. However, rather than appear all doom & gloom, I have faith in this great country that we’ll either repeal Obamacare and then make incremental improvements that are in the best interest of the patient, the doctor, the hospital, the system, the cost, the debt OR we’ll just remove about 1,990 pages of the 2000 page bill (those #’s are not accurate, but you get my drift…) – and keep the good part.

Perhaps I should have written an entry on the Avastin when I first read about it, as my first thoughts was ‘here we go already’. But this columnist wrote a much better article on the topic than I ever could.

Let the death panels commence
Peter Heck – Guest Columnist – 8/30/2010 10:00:00 AM

On Friday, August 7, 2009, Sarah Palin wrote on her Facebook page: “The Democrats promise that a government healthcare system will reduce the cost of healthcare, but [it] will not…it will simply refuse to pay the cost. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide…whether they are worthy of healthcare. Such a system is downright evil.”

The response of Democrats and the media to Palin’s assertion can only be described as outrage. Howard Dean went on ABC and called it “totally erroneous,” concluding, “She just made that up.” Even David Brooks, the closest thing to a conservative the New York Times can bring themselves to hire, proclaimed on Meet the Press, “That’s crazy…the crazies are attacking the plan because it’ll cut off granny, and that – that’s simply not true. That simply is not going to happen.”

And even last week, Newsweek magazine ranked the idea that there would be bureaucratic boards making life-and-death decisions for people as one of the “Dumb Things Americans Believe.”

The only problem for Dean, Brooks, Newsweek and the whole lot is that it now appears that under ObamaCare there are bureaucratic boards making life-and-death decisions for people.

Take the anti-cancer drug Avastin, which was fast-tracked by the FDA years ago. It is primarily used to treat colon cancer, but is also prescribed now to treat nearly 18,000 women a year who are fighting the late stages of breast cancer. While Avastin doesn’t cure the disease, it can and does significantly lengthen and improve the quality of a victim’s last months. Perhaps to be expected, Avastin is also very expensive, costing up to $100,000 a year.

But now suddenly, despite the stringent objections being made by both the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance on behalf of patients, the FDA is considering removing Avastin from its approved drug list for breast cancer. Such a move would mean ending its coverage by both Medicare and the government program for low-income women.

ObamaCare proponents say this FDA action has nothing to do with the expensive nature of the drug, but rather about questions over its effectiveness. That’s possible…but there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest otherwise.

Consider that if the FDA continues to approve Avastin, it puts the ObamaCare system in a very difficult and awkward position: it could either subsidize the expensive drug for low-income women, or refuse to subsidize it.

If it does the former, the government will be shelling out billions of taxpayer dollars a year for a drug that is increasingly popular, but doesn’t cure the disease. That destroys the promise of ObamaCare to lower costs. But if it does the latter, thereby denying treatment to patients that they could have received prior to ObamaCare, they prove Sarah Palin and conservative critics of the plan totally correct on the issue of rationing.

So to avoid this uncomfortable dilemma, Obama’s FDA simply pulls its recommendation of the drug altogether. This may allow ObamaCare’s supporters the chance to temporarily dodge the political fallout of what they’ve foisted on the American people, but it also devastates the families of nearly 18,000 women who will suffer the deadly consequences.

Is this the vaunted “compassion” our president and his allies promised they were delivering to our healthcare system?

ObamaCare has already devolved into the nightmare we should have seen coming from the moment the president told Jane Strum in a town hall meeting that perhaps her 100-year-old mother should have gotten a pain pill instead of a life-saving pacemaker.

The frightening reality is that this controversy over Avastin is only the beginning. This is what our healthcare system is on the verge of becoming under ObamaCare: battles with faceless bureaucracies who make decisions about treatments and drugs looking at financial records and cost-benefit analyses, not people.

Covering the Avastin story in the Washington Post, reporter Rob Stein begins, “Federal regulators are considering taking the highly unusual step of rescinding approval of a drug that patients with advanced breast cancer turn to as a last-ditch hope.” Highly unusual…until now.

Welcome to Obama’s brave new world where “perhaps you’re better off with a pain pill.” I dare say that for those of us with family members or friends who have battled breast cancer, Sarah’s not looking quite so crazy anymore.

Link to Article above: http://www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=1141010

Pain in the Gas

Gas is the biggest pain in the —gut. When my spinal cord first started atrophying, I began building up gas. I just knew I had a tumor in my abdomen. It turned out to be – gas. That was over two years ago. I even went to the emergency room one time. But this was before I knew what was going on. What a strange time that was for me.

When I was first diagnosed with Myeloma, I was too busy worrying about my finances that I had very little time to worry about the cancer. By the time I got my financial situation pretty much squared away, I have been so fixated on the pain and discomfort this spinal cord damage causes that I rarely think about my Myeloma.

I’ve yet to figure out whether that is a good thing or not.

Bottomline, I must be doing good because at my six month teeth cleaning, my dental hygenist said that she thought I was getting around & looked better than ever. If you’d ask me, I’d say I was in more discomfort and pain and was having a little more difficulty getting around. My spirits seem to be Okay, though. God, wonderful children, family, and Sisters-in-Christ do wonders.

I’ve not changed my sleeping, eating, or activity patterns, so I don’t understand why I seem to have more pressure down there, but I do. I’m fairly sure it’s gas. I know, I know, you’d think I would know whether it’s gas or not. But I don’t. This “gas build-up” doesn’t really escape all that obviously. The obvious, you’d think, would be that I would “pass gas”, but I don’t…really…at least to my knowledge. Put it this way, the pressure doesn’t match what output, if any. (That’s about as delicate as I can put it.) How humbling it is to come down to this….oh well…such is life.

But why I keep changing my sensations and symptoms when I’ve not changed anything else is mind-boggling. But as I write this I do recall mentioning that thought to my physical therapist. While I do not remember his explanation, I remember that he was not surprised that with a spinal cord injury sensations change.

When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, that ugly “cancer” word, I imagined such an evilness inside of me. I was so eager to put more evil (medicine) inside of me to kill off the evil cancer. For a long time – and even still – I did’t recognize my body any longer. It’s no longer “mine”. Cancer does funny things to both our bodies and our minds, I guess.

Probably since I have spinal cord damage, along with the painful sensations, I’m especially prone to feeling like a stranger in this body. When anyone who’s had cancer feels any new sensation in his or her body, I think it’s normal for that person to immediately suspect it’s the “cancer” causing the symptom. So, when I feel more gas or pressure, I think I’m dying. It’s so silly, but I know quite normal.

For around $25 Wal-mart has this little thing with pedals. I’ve used it about four or five times. For about five days in a row I pedaled for 5 minutes and then did some upper body exercises with light weights. The last few days I’ve felt a little yucky, so backed off. It’s that darned GAS!! I know movement produces gas, but this pressure almost prevents me from moving! Persistence….ugh! It was so much better when I could jog. I miss those days so much.

One day I enjoyed my patio for a couple of hours in the morning with a cup of coffee and Scripture & devotional reading. It sure made a difference in my outlook.

I dread the upcoming changes in our Healthcare system. What a time to get sick. This is such an irritation, but I know I’m best to not let it overtake me. Politicians after power and trying to “fundatmentally change” this country irritate me to no end. I must remember that they will someday answer to their evil deeds. Why we couldn’t just fix the problems rather than do a complete overhaul is beyond me. It’s never as it seems. No, if it was for such noble causes, then those designing the changes for us “serfs” would apply the changes to their own healtcare – but no, their care will remain better. They had the chance to receive the same care pushed off on the rest of us peons – but they’d have none of that.

The young and those with no experience with an illness and decent insurance coverage don’t understand; they hear “free” and “for all” and they are sold. While improvements are definitely in order, anyone who’s had private health insurance and experienced a major illness will know they’ve been robbed. For all the propoganda out there about private health insurance, I’ve experienced illnesses that total cost was well over $80,000 and my total cost was well under $300, if that much. Now that I’m forced on Medicare, it is horrible. It pays for less procedures or treatments and for what it does cover, it covers less. Thank God my private insurance (from my employer) is still my secondary insurance and picks up what Medicare doesn’t. Still, since Medicare must be my primary, then I have worse coverage. When I worked, benefits were important to me. I intentionally worked hard for a company where I received decent benefits. Anyone has that choice. And for those who don’t or can’t do that, then there are options and things to do to assist the smaller percentage of people needing help. But to overhaul the entire system rather than fix simply the “broken” piece is ridiculous.

I think Private insurance – competition – makes for better service. What these people are thinking to turn our lives over to a beauracracy – is beyond me. I’ve come across a few people who immigrated here from the U.K., and one said, nearly true to quote, “Whatever you do, DON’T do this Obamacare!” Then she proceeded to tell me about her sister’s care in the U.K. compared to hers here in the U.S. If someone from the U.K. reads this, I’m sorry and I don’t mean to be offensive. I am stating “my” experience, and that’s all I can do.

But I’ve come to the conclusion, I’ve reminded myself anyway, that God is in control. All I can do is vote and share what I know and think with others. Other than that, it’s best to go with the flow of things as best as one can do.