Saturday’s Not-So-Funnies

CAPTION THIS…

Health Care… in the name of a Mother’s Love

Update on Betty Jean’s daughter, Louisa…

From the day that Louisa was shot, her mother, Betty Jean Kling, has maintained a daily vigil of hope, care and love at Louisa’s side.

For those that may not know the story, 14 months ago Louisa was shot in the face with a shotgun, by her sister’s (Denise, who was in the final stages of ovarian cancer) former husband.  The damages to Louisa’s face, skull and brain were so severe that she was not expected to live through the night.

Louisa is now in a convalescent center and receiving no ‘professional’ rehabilitation, therapy or progressive health care, due to the prognosis of her being so severely brain damaged that she would be incapable of improving any further. She is presumed to be completely “blind,” although she opens one eye and her head follows her mother’s every move through her room.

…But, for a Mother’s Love

Each afternoon, whether rain, sleet, snow, sickness or even knee surgery, Betty Jean visits her daughter. She talks to her, hugs her, kisses her face, reads to her and plays her favorite music. Betty Jean has continued to work  with Louisa because she knows,  she sees what Louisa’s caregivers apparently cannot – that Louisa not only understands everything that her mother is doing, but is responding; Louisa is still fighting to recover – and to communicate her feelings, wants and needs.

One finger, “No!” -  two fingers, “Yes!” – middle finger, “You’re not listening to me!”

So, mother and daughter figured out some basics: one finger for “No,” two fingers for “Yes,” and the middle finger for… uh… sort of like…  “You’re not listening to me” (also known as:  Screw you!)

Mother and daughter also play ball. That’s right!  Louisa can throw and catch a ball now!… that is, when Louisa feels like it…  if she doesn’t, and mother keeps pushing, even mother gets that blessed… “You’re not listening to me” middle-finger-signal.)

Most importantly,  it is apparent that Louisa has re-learned that her life matters, that her mother will never give up on her and that, to her mother, the quality of her daughter’s health care is more  important now, than ever – now that she is unable to fully fight for her own quality of health care.

Yesterday,  Louisa pulled out her Tracheostomy Tube – for the fourth or fifth time since she was injured. She was rushed from the convalescent center to the hospital emergency room. This time, Louisa was able to communicate to the doctor that she did not want the breathing tube reinserted. This time, the doctor listened – because Betty Jean, who had traveled through a snow storm, arriving just moments before they reinserted the tube, asked the doctor if she had asked her daughter if that is what she wanted. The doctor said: “No, she can’t communicate.”

This time… Betty Jean was able to say: “Oh yes she can!”

And, this time…

…Louisa was able to say “NO!”

This time, a doctor said, “I am listening and I hear you, Louisa.”  As of this morning, at 10 am, Louisa has been breathing comfortably, on her own, for 20 hours. Her oxygen level is normal. The doctor, a woman, also began ordering tests on her overall physical condition, as precautionary measures, in Louisa’s best interest. As a result of this doctor’s thoroughness, they discovered some other, unrelated medical issues that needed attention. That’s called: “Health Care” – especially for those caught in situational cracks that may not have a voice – other than the voices of others, fighting for their rights.

In the early hours of this morning, a male nurse, who had been on duty the very night Louisa had been shot, 14 months ago, rolled a regular hospital bed into Louisa’s room in emergency…

…Mother and Daughter slept, side-by-side.

I am certain that if I could have asked Louisa if it would be okay that I post a video in tribute to she and her  mother’s love, it would have been  “Two Fingers”…

To Mother and Daughter, Betty Jean Kling and Louisa…

__________________

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Obama’s Point of No Return

What is next for the president and his political base?  He made it perfectly clear that he has plan B waiting in the wings.  

Is the “Nuclear Option” also referred to as the 51 reconciliation process soon to follow?

Exactly, how many times have the American people and this country been threatened by Harry Reid and his ilks, of the 51 votes for the  reconciliation process? 

Yes Harry, I am sure that you have fully explained to your base that “throwing caution to the wind” is their duty to their “commander and chief”, regardless of political suicide!

Many of us are saying, stop talking about it and “do it” and suffer the consequence of being removed from “We the People’s” seat!

Great article in our local newspaper The Commercial Appeal in the editorials dated Wednesday, February 24, 2010 with regards to this topic.  Link to the article:  http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/feb/24/michael-gerson-obamas-point-of-no-return/

Michael Gerson: Obama’s point of no return

Using the reconciliation process to enact health care reform would raise deep questions about the president’s judgment.

  • By Michael Gerson, Washington Post Writers Group
  • Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:03 a.m.

WASHINGTON –

On health care reform, the strategy of President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders is psychologically understandable — as well as delusional.

It is easy to imagine the internal dialogue: “Well, they voted for me, overwhelmingly. I didn’t hide my views on this issue; I highlighted them. If they actually knew what was in the plan, they’d support it. Sometimes you just have to lead.”

But there is a problem with this reasoning: After a year of debate, Democratic leaders — given every communications advantage and decisive control of every elected branch of government — have not only lost legislative momentum, they have lost a national argument. Americans have taken every opportunity — the town hall revolt, increasingly lopsided polling, a series of upset elections culminating in Massachusetts — to shout their second thoughts. At this point, for Democratic leaders to insist on their current approach to health reform is to insist that Americans are not only misinformed but also dimwitted.

And the proposed form of this insistence — enacting health reform through the quick, dirty shove of the reconciliation process — would add coercion to arrogance.

Majority Leader Harry Reid has declared that “everything is on the table” — as though Senate Republicans and Democratic moderates were the domestic equivalents of Iran. This is the political context that Democratic leaders have set for their historically “transparent” health summit — a threat as transparent as a horse’s head in a senator’s bed.

Obama now approaches the Rubicon. The Senate is in disarray. Its procedures frustrate his purposes. Before crossing the river with his army, Julius Caesar is reported to have said, “Let the dice fly high!” For what stakes does Obama gamble?

First, the imposition of a House-Senate health reform hybrid would confirm the worst modern image of the Democratic Party, that of intellectual arrogance. Parties hurt themselves most when they confirm an existing, destructive public judgment. In this case, Americans would see Democrats pushing a high-handed statism.

Second, this approach would almost certainly maintain conservative and Republican intensity through the November elections. In midterm elections, it is intensity that turns a trend into a rout. It is one thing to pour gasoline on a populist bonfire. It is another thing to pour gasoline on a populist bonfire while one is already being roasted.

Third, this action would undermine Obama’s own State of the Union strategy, which seemed like a shift toward the economy and away from health care reform. The White House finds it impossible to settle on a strategy and stick with it. Democrats keep being drawn back into debates — Reid is now proposing the return of the “public option” — they have lost decisively, as if one more spin of the roulette wheel will recover their losses.

Fourth, a reconciliation strategy would both insult House and Senate Republicans and motivate them for future fights. The minority would not only be defeated on health reform, their rights would be permanently diminished — a development that would certainly be turned against Democrats when they lose their majority. Each side would have an excuse for decades of bitterness.

Fifth, Obama would manage to betray many politically vulnerable members of his own party, proving himself a party leader of exceptional selfishness. Because the legacy of his presidency is at stake, or because of his pride, or because he is ideologically committed to an expanded public role in health care, Obama is pressuring Democratic members to join a suicide pact. When a president doesn’t care about his party, his party eventually ceases to care about him.

Democratic leaders respond: Since we have already taken the damage for proposing health reform, we might as well get the benefit for passing something. But there is always more damage to be taken on a self-destructive political path. And, in this case, there is a respectable alternative: Approve and take credit for incremental reforms while blaming Republicans for blocking broader changes.

Obama’s decision on the use of reconciliation will define his presidency. If he trusts in his charmed political fortunes and lets the dice fly, it will raise the deepest questions about his judgment.

Contact Michael Gerson at mgerson@globalengage.org.

Obama’s bi-partisan solution to Health Care Plan

By BettyJean Kling

Let me start off saying that I completely agree with something Obama said. While I wait for you to get up off the floor or catch your breath consider that I do not mean that I agree with what he meant – I simply agree with the words. You see I have figured out the method to his madness.

Obama Stated “But when asked about the individual components of the various reform packages, Americans polled by CNN favor requiring companies to provide insurance to their employees, end preexisting condition screening by insurance companies and ban cancelling health coverage for beneficiaries who become seriously ill. ”

What Obama, Reid, Peolsi and others did not say and what no one seems to ask as a follow up to that question is, At what cost? I have to wonder if those polled ever ask, What’s the catch? We have all heard there is no free lunch.

Most everyone I spoke to today, hated what they called the wasted 6 hours of the televised Health care Summit. This is watching the two wings of the vulture in action. After all isn’t it interesting to see and hear what we pay these guys (mostly all men) over 150K a year to do? What we will be paying them hefty pensions and heath care benefits for life to have done?

I found it enlightening and what I learned or re-learned is that these clowns will never speak about anything but the extreme partisan points of any issue. It sealed for me that neither side will ever do what is best for the people so let’s just vote em all out ! 435 are up for election on November 3rd. and about 33 Senators are also up for re-election.

When Obama started his closing remarks he challenged the Republicans to add 2 items to their plan. And mentioned he would have Sebelious look into two other items and have her report the possibilities of testing them.

1-add d affordable health care for all

2-there must be an exchange

3- Dems will consider looking into interstate Insurance Protections

4- Dems will look into some form of frivolous law suit discussions

 

After spending hour after hour trying to appear conciliatory with a few exceptions when he couldn’t hide his rancor, his grand ending caught me like bolt from the blue. Obama then astoundingly ended by saying, no point in doing this again after uttering quips all day long such as “that’s an idea to consider” and “we are getting somewhere” , “I see we can agree on more than I thought we would” and “I’m glad we can agree on that” etc.etc. etc. Only to end by saying something like since we didn’t get mush accomplished– we will just go ahead and do what we gotta do. Astonishingly, he added something along the lines of it looks like we will go ahead and see how the country votes in November!

So – in effect the end result was that in the last 60 seconds – we found out this was all for naught! As usual Obama put on the great show! The Republicans and the Democrats wasted yet another day and got nothing done except tell us they do not deserve another term in office.

But then that’s just my opinion and I watched all 6.5 hours and I still don’t get why it is not as simple as signing up 300 million of us up for what hundreds of f government workers across 50 states now have. A non-government run health care . Cheap, no pre existing, – it’s what our representatives have. If it’s good enough for them and they can take it with them when they get fired.

Health Care Resolved: Give us the Congressional Plan

BettyJean Kling

Our President and the house and Senate convened in a special meeting this morning all telling us their employers that they have our best interests at heart and what they and we all have in common is this one thing; all Americans deserve and want and need affordable health care. I agree – how about you?

Here they sit fighting over three different plans all written exclusively by democrats and fought over  bitterly by Blue Dog Democrats and Republicans alike while Americans have increasingly done without while paying these fools to fight over the same while the answer is as plain as the nose on their faces.

According to Steny Hoyer, 5Th. Congressional District Maryland, he has a plan that is affordable and does not restrict pre-existing conditions. While reiterating his deep concern for Americans this morning he announced that he wants all Americans to have as good as he has.  I agree – how about you?

The President has said over and over that he has great heath care for he a his family and always will- need I remind you who pays for that health care? Mr. Obama  along with Nancy, Harry and Steny tell us they want us to all have Health Care as good as theirs.  I agree – how about you? As if rubbing salt in our wounds – We The People have been reminding all 535 of them and POTUS and Company of this very point all along.

Why don’t they understand and why can’t we all have what they have? It costs about $1200.00 a year for the Representative and his family for life it’s a Cadillac plan, has no restrictions, and it is not NOT Government Run! 

What a novel idea.

I think he single handedly pointed right to the solution!

I asked my Congressman last August and many Americans asked their Congresspersons as well but none are suggesting the perfect answer. So Mr. Obama, the dilemma is solved. Stop the summit and give us what you and the Congress has.

Demand the Insurance companies currently covering the hundreds of thousands of government employees to also cover the 300 million Employers with the same coverage. How’s that for a large pool?

Eureka! – Health Care coverage and cost s solved!

Obama Health Summit: Republicans Armed with Alternatives

Here is the Republicans proposal to also headline tomorrows Health Care Summit.

Posted on the National Journal Online / Health Care on Feb. 8, 2010, written by Marilyn Werber Serafini, National Journal.com

Link:  http://healthcare.nationaljournal.com/2010/02/obama-health-summit-republican.php

Obama Health Summit: Republicans Armed With Alternatives

Republicans are sure to come to President Obama’s newly announced health care summit later this month armed with proposals for how to change Democratic health care reform bills. House Republicans late last year proposed an alternative that is summarized below. Which proposals are good ideas that should be seriously considered, and which should be scrapped? 

1. Provide states with $25 billion to create high-risk pools or reinsurance programs. States would have to eliminate waiting lists for existing high-risk pools, and premiums would be capped at 150 percent of the state’s average premium (down from 200 percent). 

2. Protect those with pre-existing medical conditions by extending current provisions under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. 

3. Prohibit insurers from imposing annual or lifetime spending caps. 

4. Prohibit insurers from fraudulently canceling health insurance by creating an independent appeals panel. 

5. Provide $50 billion to states that adopt reforms reducing the cost of health insurance and expanding coverage (subsidizing health insurance or expanding Medicaid eligibility wouldn’t qualify). 

6. Allow small businesses to pool together through association health plans to buy insurance. 

7. Require health plan dependent coverage to go up to age 25. 

8. Allow Americans to purchase insurance in any state. 

9. Enhance health savings accounts by providing tax credits to low and moderate-income individuals for some contributions, and allowing taxpayers to use HSA funds to pay premiums. 

10. Establish a statute of limitations on bringing a medical malpractice case; cap noneconomic damage awards at $250,000; allow the court to restrict attorney fees; clarify and limit punitive damages; and protect states with existing “functional medical liability laws.” 

11. Repeal the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. 

12. Prohibit federal money from being used to pay for abortions, and create a conscience protection clause to allow health care providers to refuse to perform abortions based on moral or religious objections. 

The full summary provided by the Republican staff at the House Ways and Means Committee in November can be found here

– Marilyn Werber Serafini, NationalJournal.com

The Obama Proposal

The Obama Proposal headlines tomorrow’s Health Care Summit. 

Posted online by the Dallas Morning News online website Dallas News dot com an article titled “Obama takes health care bill into his own hands” dated Feb. 23, 2010, Washington, Associated Press. 

You can read the article in it’s entirety here:  http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/022310dnnathealthcare.3e09de9.html?ocp=2#slcgm_comments_anchor 

AT A GLANCE: THE OBAMA PROPOSAL

HOW MANY ARE COVERED

Like the Senate bill, Obama’s proposal would cover 31 million uninsured Americans.

INSURANCE MANDATE

Like the bills approved last year by the House and Senate, the proposal would require most everyone to be insured or pay a fine. There is an exemption for low-income people. The Senate bill exempted people with incomes under the federal poverty level ($21,200 for a family of four) whereas Obama’s plan, like the House version, would exempt people under the tax-filing threshold ($45,295 for a family of four). But the fines levied under the insurance mandate would be higher than the Senate proposed. Obama also keeps a “hardship exemption” that excuses anyone from buying insurance if it would cost more than 8 percent of their income.

INSURANCE MARKET CHANGES

Like the House and Senate bills, Obama’s proposal would stop unpopular insurance industry practices such as denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charging women more. In response to a recent 39 percent rate hike announcement by Anthem Blue Cross in California, Obama would give the federal government the authority to block rate hikes, roll back premium prices and force insurance companies to give rebates to consumers.

MEDICAID

Like the Senate bill, Obama’s proposal would expand the federal-state Medicaid insurance program for the poor to cover people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $29,327 a year for a family of four. The federal government would pick up more of the tab, paying 100 percent of the cost for newly eligible individuals through 2017. Obama eliminated a special deal that would have given Nebraska 100 percent federal funding for newly eligible Medicaid recipients in perpetuity. A one-time deal negotiated by Sen. Mary Landrieu for her state, Louisiana, worth as much as $300 million, stayed in.

TAXES

Obama scaled back a tax on high-cost insurance plans that was opposed by House Democrats and labor unions. The tax would be delayed from 2013 until 2018 and the thresholds at which it is imposed would be moved up from policies worth $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for families to $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. Those changes mean $120 billion in lost revenue over 10 years that Obama would replace mostly by applying an increased Medicare payroll tax to investment income as well as wages for individuals making more than $200,000 or married couples above $250,000. The Senate bill had applied the tax only to wage income.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Obama would close the “doughnut hole” coverage gap in the Medicare prescription drug benefit that kicks in once seniors have spent $2,830. The Senate bill would have provided a 50 percent discount on the cost of brand-name drugs in the doughnut hole, but Obama would close the gap entirely by 2020. The added cost, which the White House did not disclose, would be paid for in part by an additional $10 billion in fees on the drug industry.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITY

Obama keeps the approach in the Senate bill, which doesn’t require businesses to offer coverage but charges fees to companies with more than 50 employees if the government subsidizes employees’ coverage. Obama increases the fees to $2,000 per worker instead of $750, but grants companies an allowance that was not part of the original Senate plan.

SUBSIDIES

Obama provides more generous subsidies overall for purchasing insurance than the Senate bill did. The aid is available for households making up to four times the federal poverty level, or $88,000 for a family of four.

CHOOSING HEALTH INSURANCE

Small businesses, the self-employed and the uninsured could pick a plan offered through new state-based purchasing pools called exchanges. Liberals hoped Obama would go with a national exchange like the House bill did, but he stuck with the Senate’s state-based approach. People working for big companies would not see major changes.

GOVERNMENT-RUN PLAN

Obama did not include the government-run insurance plan sought by some Democrats. He kept the Senate approach, which gives Americans purchasing coverage through new insurance exchanges the option of signing up for national plans overseen by the federal office that manages the government health plan available to members of Congress. Those plans would be private, but one would have to be nonprofit.

ABORTION

Obama did not change the abortion language in the Senate bill, which is opposed by anti-abortion groups that say it allows federal funding of abortion. The bill tries to maintain a strict separation between taxpayer funds and private premiums that would pay for abortion coverage. No health plan would be required to offer coverage for the procedure. In plans that do cover abortion, beneficiaries would have to pay for it separately, and those funds would have to be kept in a separate account from taxpayer money. States could ban abortion coverage in plans offered through the exchange. Exceptions would be made for cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother.

The Associated Press

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