Archive for Sunday, April 30, 2006

After surgery, it’s bus fare back to homeless shelter

April 30, 2006


Dreama Biggers, 47, knew she had tumor.

"I could feel it," she said, rubbing her right side.

"It kept getting bigger and bigger until it got to where I couldn't breathe," said Biggers, a regular member of Lawrence's homeless and near-homeless communities.

After trips to Haskell Indian Health Center and Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Biggers ended up at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., where she underwent major surgery on April 13.

"They took out this tumor that was massive, and took out my uterus and my ovaries and a small part of my rectum," Biggers said. "Now they say I have cancer."

Biggers said she spent 11 days at the KU hospital. On April 24, she returned to Lawrence.

"The people at the hospital gave me cab fare to the bus station and then a bus ticket to Lawrence," she said.

Being homeless and barely able to walk, she turned to the Lawrence Community Shelter, 214 W. 10th St., for help.

"As far as we know, there was no plan of care," said Loring Henderson, shelter executive director. "She just showed up back in Lawrence. We knew nothing."

Dreama Biggers recently underwent major surgery at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., to remove a large tumor. She was given bus fare back to Lawrence, where she has been recovering at homeless shelters.

Dreama Biggers recently underwent major surgery at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., to remove a large tumor. She was given bus fare back to Lawrence, where she has been recovering at homeless shelters.

Henderson fears Biggers' plight may be a sign of things to come.

"We're not set up to deal with people like this," he said. "We're not a medical facility."

'Not restful'

Because Biggers' torso-length incision has been slow to heal, her dressings should be changed at least twice a day.

"I'm still bleeding," Biggers said.

A nurse with Douglas County Visiting Nurses Assn. changes Biggers' dressings in the morning; Haskell Indian Health Center does it in the afternoon.

Still, Henderson said, Biggers does not belong at a homeless shelter.

"This is not a very restful place," Henderson said, "but there's nowhere else for her to go. And now they're saying she may have to have chemotherapy. I don't know what we'll do about that."

Last month, he said, a homeless man arrived at the shelter with a tube inserted in his skull, his head half-shaved.

"He said he'd had a brain tumor removed," Henderson said. "He's since died."

Henderson said he wasn't sure of the man's name and whether he came from KU Med.

Dennis McCulloch, a spokesman for the KU hospital and medical school, shared Henderson's frustration, though from a different angle.

"We spend hours and hours putting care plans together and working with all the different safety-net clinics to make sure the transition from hospital to community goes as smooth as possible," McCulloch said.

"But at some point, the patient has to take over," he said. "When those patients are homeless -that's the challenge."


The situation, he said, is often compounded by homeless patients also being mentally ill.

Biggers, for example, said she suffers from major depression and, in the past, has abused drugs. She is considered disabled.

The KU hospital, she said, did, in fact, develop a care plan that referred her to Haskell Indian Health Center. But it was hard to get there twice a day and, she said, the clinic is not set up to handle someone in her condition.

Haskell referred Biggers to Douglas County Visiting Nurses Assn., which, in turn, found Biggers at the shelter.

At the homeless shelter, Biggers spends most of the day lying on the floor.

"I think I'm going to see if I get a ride to the (LMH) emergency room," she said Friday. "I fell down and I think may have split myself. My (incision) feels like it's coming apart."

Biggers' troubles are not unique, said Terry Roberts, executive director at the Kansas State Nurses Assn.

"This is going on all over the state in varying degrees," Roberts said. "As nurses, this is very disconcerting. I mean, ask yourself: If this individual (Biggers) had insurance, do you really think she'd be put on a bus and sent to shelter and told she'd have to fend for herself?

"No, she wouldn't," Roberts said. "She's being treated differently."

But that's not the fault of the KU hospital, McCulloch said.

"We would be happy to sit down with the care providers in Lawrence to see what can be done to ensure a smoother transition," McCulloch said.

Whether such a meeting takes place remains to be seen.

At the shelter, Henderson said, "I'm not blaming anyone. I might if I knew what the answer was, but I don't have an answer. These people don't belong here, but we can't turn them away."


xenophonschild 12 years ago

Hillary and universal health care in '08. Why does every doctor in America have to make a millions dollars a year? Who pays for it? How long are we going to be lied to and suckered by the American Medical Association?

You conservatives can bloviate all you want . . . change is coming.

audvisartist 12 years ago

Why does every doctor have to make millions a year? My question is why does every celebrity, sports figure, musician, CEO, etc. have to make millions a year? Give the money to those that actually help the world rather than think they help the world with their entertainment and business savvy. And do you really think Hillary will make any difference from the same ol' same ol' we've had over the past few decades? Probably not. She'll still have to bow down to the "almighty" dollar and the interests that control it. And just FYI... no doctor I've ever known has made millions a year. The ones that do are the "Hi, I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV!" types...

sd123 12 years ago

Not all Drs. make a million dollars a year. Patients who do have insurance may get better coverage for services, however, the insurance companies only pay pennies on the dollar for the services Drs provide. Insurance companies set the pace for health care costs. Many Dr's provide pro bono services in their communities. If you want to lay blame.....lay it on the Insurance companies. Afterall, Dr's go through 6 or more years of college and work at least a 10 year residency before they become self sustaining.

xenophonschild 12 years ago

Good points, but the elephant is still crapping in the living room. The American Medical Association, the umbrella group for physicians, fights every glimmer, every suggestion of national health care insurance tooth and nail.

Why is that?

Does Hillary have the experience, the courage, to take on the insurance industry . . . and win? I think so. We should all hope so.

Lonestar1 12 years ago

If anyone checked, they would find that people who had similar surgery, would have been sent home with the same instructions. The problem is being homeless and having mental issues. The medical community cannot fix that. I am sure the care received by the patient was as good and anyone else would have gotten, insurance or not. The tax payers are the ones who pick up the bill. There does come a time when people have to take responsibility for their own care. If they cannot or will not take that responsibility, maybe we could ask the legislature to cut school funding some more, and use the money to reopen some of the places like Topeka State Hospital. No matter what happens, your tax dollars will be taking care of it.

Terry Bush 12 years ago

My sister manages an office for 2 doctors, and has for decades. With the cost of medical malpractice insurance and everything else, she takes home more salary then they do. I know the same is often true of other "envied" professionals. So before assuming that the "Rich" are all "greedy" please understand that (like althetes) while some doctors make huge salaries, many are still just paying off their staggering student loan bill.

I read "Atlas Shrugged" when I was 16 (not because it was assigned, I just was a library nerd). It really made an impression on me. For those who haven't read it, you might want to try. The basic plot is a time in the future of America when the lawmakers decide that those who are rich have too much money,and they take away a lot of their property and money to help out the rest of the country. So the rich people disappear (really). Atlas shrugs the weight off. And because no one knows how to do what they'd been doing, things fall apart badly.

Having been around lawmakers and government for at least 20+ years, I have come to realize one thing up close and personal. It is really hard to sucessfully legislate charity in human beings.

While I deplore any situation where fellow human beings are suffering, if I personally won't/can't help with the problem, making everyone else help out (instead or in addition) isn't going to work real well.

We are the problem. The majority. Those who think that too much money is made by entertainers, athletes, doctors, lawyers, and/or whomever you choose to target for class envy can simply stop using the services of those types of people. If enough people don't watch/use them, the income they make will drop dramatically. Salaries received reflect societal values, right or wrong.

If you haven't paid a dime to support the homeless shelter, what business do you have telling anyone else that they should pony up cash or give up money they lawfully earn? If you care about taking care of other people, then do it yourself! If enough people do that, there will be no problem!

Legislated charity is called socialism. Those who favor it can try moving to Canada or England = and have 50% of their income taken to pay for other people's bills!

Mari Aubuchon 12 years ago


Why would the Scandinavians and Canadians choose the system they have?

I suspect that not having to worry about how you are going to make it if you get divorced, sick, disabled, or even when you just get old has a lot to do with it.

Lonestar1 12 years ago

A lot of Canadians come here for health care. If your want your health care rationed it's not bad. If you need surgery, I hope your not too old, or not too far down the waiting list.

Mari Aubuchon 12 years ago


Just in case you haven't noticed: health care in the US is rationed. It is just that here folks with money, who are also the same ones with decent insurance, are always at the top of the list.

I am currently in the midst of my own medical drama. So far, my bills have come to more than $25K before insurance. I will be getting another MRI tomorrow and will be needing months of physical therapy if not another surgery. Double that $25K and you will be approaching my final tally. I will pay an estimated $5K once all is said and done, which I am fortunate enough to be able to afford.

If I didn't have insurance and money in the bank , I am fully aware that my care would have suffered considerably.

Without money/insurance for imaging and other pricey diagnostic tests, I would have been forced to put off surgery, just hope that the other tumors in my body were not cancer, and spend the rest of my life with a cane, at the very least. Given that I was in a wheelchair and on crutches for over a month and have been using a cane for nearly 4 months, I am sure that I would have faced a serious financial crisis simply due to lack of income druing this time.

Because I have money and insurance and all the other safety nets that go with them, I am confident that I am cancer-free and I am also pretty sure that, with further treatment and therapy, I will be hiking around Canada by next spring.

I am 37 years old.

xenophonschild 12 years ago

The free market approach to health care in our country is failing. It might be time to try a socialized approach.

Yes, socialism. Where health care is concerned, mixing strains of socialism into our capitalist system may be the best way to serve our people and keep health care viable. Do away with the ridiculous malpractice insurance fees physicians have to pay annually; do away with the trial lawyers and excessive fees for malpractice; do away with the price-gouging of drug companies, and focus on the needs of people.

Mixing strains of socialism into our capitalist system saved both capitalism and our country during the 1930s under FDR. Perhaps Hillary can do much the same from '08 - '16.

xenophonschild 12 years ago


You made an excellent point - health care is already rationed . . . to only those who can afford it.

I'm 56, and, although I'm in reasonably good shape, the slow downward spiral has begun. My company is locked into an arrangment with a health care provider that is both exorbitantly expensive and requires that you jump through hoops to actually get help. We're looking around for a replacement, but there aren't many attractive carriers out there.

We have 180 employes, only a third of whom use our carrier. At an average of $280 @ month each, it is simply too expensive for them.

doc1 12 years ago

I really feel a little sorry for her situation but then again, had she not been a lazy sap on sociaty and put forth a little effort by making something of herself she probably could have a decent job with medical insurance. Everyone makes some of these homeless to be so helpless and a victim of the system. That's cr*p..... Get off your lazy butts get a job and put forth some effort and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Yeah its bad that you have a tumor and cancer, but all the stuff you have stolen, checks you've forged and people you have victimized yourself don't add up to the helplessness you make yourself out to be. Yeah some people are a victim of the system, but some are lazy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years ago

Is that just the broad overgeneralization it appears to be, doc1, or do you know the subject of this article?

Rhoen 12 years ago

This discussion is still more useless talk, even more useless than KU Med's "transition care plan."

Some of the talkers (like me) are sympathetic and willing to be part of a society that shares its resources - even with the "lazy saps" whose needs turn out to be greater than their contributions to that society.

More typical are the talkers who align themselves with Herbert Spencer, the social Darwinist who believed that the "Great Tree of Life" becomes much hardier once it sheds itself of its dead and decaying branches - the old, the infirm, the lawyers, the insane, the immigrants, the short, the ugly, those whose personal hygiene is lacking, and (in some cases) the blond.

Unfortunately for the dead and dying branches like the gentleman with the tube in his head and Ms. Biggers, since they are not "worthy" of resources they require, they will soon find themselves pruned.

Unfortunately for the "beautiful Lawrence, City of the Arts" coterie, the dead bodies of useless, lazy saps such as these will continue to clutter the streets, alleyways, parks, and underpasses of their fair city.

And the behaviors and attitudes of those who don't want to share what they have with people they deem undeserving will also continue to generate bad national press for one of the "meanest" small-beautiful-livable communities in the land.

Pretty is as pretty does.

gr 12 years ago

"and put forth a little effort by making something of herself she probably could have a decent job with medical insurance. "

Some people put forth a little effort, get a job, and still don't have medical insurance.

Would they still be considered a lazy sap for not having a different job?

xenophonschild 12 years ago


Made me chuckle. A woman I once loved told me that the reign of Thomas Hobbes, whose philosophy underlies much of what our society and government do, is over and he will be replaced by Spencer. All we can do it fight it as best we can.

I only hope the local troglodytes (billyflay, conservativeman, rightthinker, 75x55, Arminius, will read your post. You managed to catch the essence of the challenge politicians will face when they bring this fight into the ring.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years ago

"Pretty is as pretty does."

Remove the "r's" and it might even be more accurate--

Petty is as petty does.

breeze 12 years ago

I feel sorry for Dreama. She is a poet and songwriter who is hurting. Anyone who has met her even casually would realize that it would be very hard for her to find a job with insurance benefits. My prayers are with her.

raine 12 years ago

i cannot believe that (well i can) the comments on this all have to do with the ills of society then what can be done for this poor woman.. good grief you are all so full of yourself.. and doc1 i doubt seriously if you are a dr or you would know that major depression isn't something that you decide to just pull up your bootstraps and get on with life.. what can be done for this woman now? where are the liberal hearts offering her a home through this critical time, where are the christian hearts? is there none in lawrence who can open the door as Jesus did.. come on people, this is ridiculous... i live in a small town 4 hours away with not sufficient medical care for her needs or i'd open my door in a minute. what are you afraid of?

Jamesaust 12 years ago

And where are all the churches in this process?

No doubt, obsessed with sanctifying zygotes, crucifying gays, repressing our naughty parts, and being all-in-all monkeys-uncles.

Perhaps a little less emphasis on political action, satellite ministries, flying giant American flags, gospels of wealth, and imminent rapture and a bit more focus on the Galilean carpenter himself would be helpful. Perhaps the judgment of nations in the 25th chapter of St. Matthew's gospel?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years ago

raine-- very few people are capable of taking this woman into their home and providing adequate care. The homeless issue isn't one will ever be resolved by the actions of individuals. It'll take the actions of the entire society, and government will eventually have to take the lead in that, no matter how much the JohnWaynes on this board hate to admit it.

xenophonschild 12 years ago


Good point. It has to be a comprehensive social effort; accordingly, it should be shepherded by Democrats, as we truly are the party of the people.

To bring universal health care to America will be no small undertaking, but how much longer can we afford to let the status quo prevail? A friend married a man who became wealthy and successful; he later ran off with another woman, leaving her with three middle-school children . . . and no health care. Getting alimony payments and child support have proved a trial, so she's worrying about what to do when one of her kids gets sick. She never thought about universal health care before, but she thinks about it a lot now.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years ago

Don't they prune trees (and shoot horses,) Pilgrim? Are you going to carry that analogy to its full conclusion for us?

Moderateguy 12 years ago

Here are some thoughts.

Tax Freedom Day this year was last week, April 26. That means everything the average person made prior to April 26 will go to taxes this year.

This nice lady received a free operation, free transportation, and is now back to receiving free food and a free roof over her head. I know it's not the nicest place. I'm sure she would prefer round the clock medical care at the Holidome.

My infant daughter was in the emergency room at LMH for 1-1/2 hours a couple of months ago with pneumonia and my bill after insurance was $510. The reason it cost me $510 was not the "millionaire" doctors. It was largely to make up for of all the free medical care provided to the uninsured.

These are not really complaints, just observations. My only complaint is that some people want to call me uncaring or selfish because I have a comfortable life. I work my tail off even when I would rather be doing something else. (Insert image of the homeless guys playing chess on Mass. all day.) Don't tell me I don't contribute enough. I fully support giving somebody a hand up when they get knocked down, but the handouts have got to end. Responsibility for your actions must replace the culture of the victim.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years ago

"The reason it cost me $510 was not the "millionaire" doctors. It was largely to make up for of all the free medical care provided to the uninsured."

I don't believe that the costs of providing medical care to the uninsured makes up anywhere near the majority of that $510 charge? Got any data to back that up?

Godot 12 years ago

"You made an excellent point - health care is already rationed . . . to only those who can afford it."

The point is that she did receive very expensive treatment, for free. What she lacks is a support from family and friends to help her with her recovery.

Universal health care would not have made any difference here unless UHC were also to include providing free room and board and a personal assistant and nurse for the rest of her life.

In this particular situation, it sounds to me as though the social workers (state employees) could have done more to help her.

Last year a family member had surgery for cancer at KU Med. When he had recovered from his surgery enough that he no longer required treatment in the ICU, we were given a few days advance notice that he would be released. A social worker worked with us to find a nursing home for him, and helped us with the paperwork to apply for Medicaid. He was incapable of doing any of this for himself. If it hadn't been for his family, he would have been put out on the street, too

The situation this woman is in - abject poverty, medical disability and the inability to care for her basic needs - is precisely what medicaid funded nursing homes are for.

Mari Aubuchon 12 years ago


You can still believe this after Katrina?!

It isn't fear of personal responsibility that motivates my desire for more government safety nets but fear of that which is beyond our control.

Consider, if you will:

If you were to be severely disabled today, how long would you be able to live without the help of others or, heaven forbid, the government? day, one week, one month, one year, ten years, the rest of your life?

What if you were to have a very ill child or mate? How long could you live without an income while caring for your kid?

Personal responsibility means doing what you CAN to take care of you and yours. This does not mean that everyone has the same capacity. Physical, mental, financial, geographical, and a host of other factors DO make a whole lot of difference in just how much you can do when the going gets tough.

I've got another word for you:


Godot 12 years ago

""The reason it cost me $510 was not the "millionaire" doctors. It was largely to make up for of all the free medical care provided to the uninsured."

I don't believe that the costs of providing medical care to the uninsured makes up anywhere near the majority of that $510 charge? Got any data to back that up?"

Let's do the math on that. His cost was $510. If this was his first medical expense this year, I'm guessing his deductible was $500, and he had 20% co-insurance. So the tab might have been $550. But if he had already met his deductible and was just charged his 20% co-insurance, then that means the tab was over $2,500.

Bozo, how much do you think Dreama's surgery at KU Med cost? $10,000, $20,000, maybe even $50,000? How about $100,000 for major surgery and the diagnostics?

How many cases where that kind of service was provided for free would it take to start impacting the budget enough that the hospital has to raise rates for the people who do pay?

Rhoen 12 years ago

Really - You poor people should get a clue.

If you can't afford to pony up for the medical treatment you need, please just do the rest of us a favor and drop dead.

But while you're in your dying process, please don't call the papers to whine about your pain and suffering and fear (because you know the media are suckers for these liberal-oriented sob-stories, especially in a place where little of substance occurs, and those kinds of stories upset the more sensitive souls in our town).

And do it quickly, so we won't have to be disturbed by watching you wander around with tumors and tubes and stuff - That's not pretty and we like our town to be pretty.

And please do your dying someplace relatively unobtrusive, preferably at a land-fill, being considerate enough that dealing with your dead bodies won't add to the cost of public refuse-removal and bring our taxes up further.

Godot 12 years ago

JPT, if you are in the "middle class" you most likely have health insurance coverage through your employer. The "middle class" are the employed masses of the US citizens who are employed by corporate and government America.

The illegal immigrant workers and their children, unemployed and their children, the minimum wage workers and their children, the young workers who choose not to spend their dollars on health insurance because they think they are invincible, some self-employed non-wealthy, and the very wealthy living on investment income who believe they can do better investing their money than they can buying insurance, are the ones who are without health insurance.

xenophonschild 12 years ago

Next November, vote for Democratic candidates who advocate health care reform. Question candidates inre their positions on health care, malpractice insurance/tort reform, and drug company profits.

In '08, vote for Hillary Clinton - give her a mandate to reform health care in this country.

We have to put up with mediocrities who routinely sell out our hopes and ideals; let's try, just once, to do something right for ourselves and our fellow Americans. Universal health care. We can do it.

xenophonschild 12 years ago


No doubt the man with the tube protruding from his head would rush to agree with you; unfortunately, he died on his way to the Homeless Hotel with room and maid service.

Dost thou consider thyself to be cruel and insensitive? For verily, thou art.

Godot 12 years ago

OTR, unfortunately, is does come from you. It isn't a line item on your doctor bill, but the cost is there.

xenophonschild 12 years ago

off to the right - and others of your ilk:

Medical catastrophe can happen to anyone, at any time, even if you are "just hard working people who take care of their families and can't afford to support the ones who could care less about themselves."

One problem is that health care is too ridiculously expensive. People - no matter who you are or what you do - cannot afford to get sick or hurt.

This is a problem affecting all of us, and requires an answer that fits all of us. Pointing fingers and calling names plays into the hands of those who want to keep the status quo so they can continue to feed off our misery.

And think of this while you burn with indignation: with the appropriate changes, universal health care might cost less than what we're paying now, and be more efficient for everybody!

Godot 12 years ago

Xeno wrote: "We have to put up with mediocrities who routinely sell out our hopes and ideals; let's try, just once, to do something right for ourselves and our fellow Americans. "

Well, Hillary cannot and will not deliver the answer to your hopes and dreams. She is the embodiment of the politician who is entrenched in corporate America, and whose ear and influence can be bought with a generous contribution. Hillary is not only not the answer, the is the anti-answer.

We need a new face, a new direction. Hillary is old, old, old news.

Rhoen 12 years ago

Enforcer notes (correctly) that the average American is no more than three paychecks away from experiencing life as Dreama experiences it ...

The "me-mine-now" statements of some of the posters here will certainly turn on a dime if / when they find themselves in a situation where they need to have a helping hand.

Lotsa luck, guys.

Rhoen 12 years ago

And I agree with some ... We need to change our mindset, but I cannot bring myself to accept that Hillary is the person to make this happen.

Godot 12 years ago

Did I say "old?" Think back to the seventies, and the fact that Hillary is promulgating the same, tired, unworkable, socialist concepts she advocated way back then. She and McCain and Kennedy and Kerry all need to give up their endless quest for power and make way for the next generation.

New Blood!!! Where is it? Who are you? Please step forward!!

Godot 12 years ago

So, JPT, what is the moral of your story?

xenophonschild 12 years ago

You are all wrong! Hillary is the one! She is the only one with the courage to address the problem seriously (by that, I mean to have the insurance and drug companies in a perpetual froth over stopping her) and fight for working people who need universal health coverage.

Hillary is practiced enough at the "art of the possible" to know what to do and how to do it. And, note this, she remembers what the Republicans and the AMA did to her in the early '90s. Vengeance will be hers, you better believe it . . . and we will help her take it.

raine 12 years ago

Not getting into the hillary debate, good grief does not history speak for itself.. she stayed with her philandering husband for her own advantage.. but back to the issue at hand... offtotheright i hope that you never have to encounter mental illness in your family or home.. mentally ill people may choose to live on the river but that doesn't mean it is a rational choice.. if you call yourself a Christian then on the day of judgement you will be answering to God for these very hateful remarks.. He was a God of compassion and still is ... over and over again Jesus preached to take care of the poor, the sick, the old...
what is wrong with you? Christians are dropping the ball when it comes to this but i also hear that in Lawrence now there is a Christian clinic ..i do hope it is accessible to those who need it. doesn't matter if this woman has been living like this for 20 years or not.. i know many people with chronic illnesses of one sort or another that have gone way beyond.. is there a limit to how many years you can be mentally ill?

xenophonschild 12 years ago

Have no use for Christians, or any religious twits, but this is a question of our mutual self interest.

We need universal health care. We need to make the blood-sucking drug companies stop robbing us blind - if that causes their stockholders pain, tough! We need to end the bizarre reality that is malpractice - insurance, lawyers, fees, judgments.

And we need to meld the best intentions of the medical and social science communities into a living reality for all Americans.

It won't be all that rigorous, either. We need leaders - politicians - with the vision and resolve to see it through. Which is why we need Hillary Clinton, with William the Great as her chief advisor. Together, they can bring practical, affordable health care to all of us.

Godot 12 years ago

Our society needs to come to grips with the fact that there are some people who are so ill, mentally, that they need to be in custodial care. It would be much more humane, and more cost-effective, to house the mentally ill in a government funded institution.

Godot 12 years ago

Xeno, just what is "universal health care," as you envision it? How would it be accomplished?

tell_it_like_it_is 12 years ago

OTTR.."It won't come from me"? So what are you trying to say. You quit paying taxes or what? If there is a merciful God some day you and those like you will reap just what you sow.

dflygrl 12 years ago

Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The current health care system in America is antithetical to all three of these ideals:

1) Life: Poor health (obviously?) reduces quality of life, and hastens death. 2) Liberty: How can one take full advantage of one's liberties when one is ill, and/or crippled by debt? 3) Pursuit of Happiness: The "happiness" Thomas Jefferson was referring to was not, you know, HAPPINESS, although it's clearly more difficult to do what makes you happy if you're sick or in debt. "Happiness" here refers to the ability to earn a living. If you are saddled with a good deal of medical debt, how will you make ends meet? After the bills for health care and medicine start coming in, how will you afford food and rent? If you can barely make it to work full time, taking on a second job to cover the extra expenses isn't an option . . .

Therefore, the current (private, capitalist) American healthcare system is a FAILURE when judged against one of the most important founding documents of the United States of America, the Declaration of Independence.

stbaker 12 years ago

Whoa, folks....National (Socialist) health care is a very bad idea. Those who live in Canada do in fact have to pay for their health care, an annual premium which is nominal compared to our typically seen premiums in the US. However, the traffic jams they have for services is unbelievable. Unless it is a true emergency, you wait for your MRI, you wait for your colonoscopy, you wait for your pacemaker....for months and sometimes longer. Same thing is going on in the UK. It is a system that is proving to be a failure. That is why free enterprise, aka Private clinics are popping up all over Canada,providing people the option of having their MRI tomorrow vs. 4 months from now. My sister-in-law went to the ER at on facility and was in ER for several hours before she was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and pancreatitis and they determined that she needed an appendectomy. She then had to be transferred to another hospital that had room, and a surgeon available for surgery. In all it was more than 12 hours from arrival to ER until she went into the OR. That would never happen here. Her 85 y.o. neighbor waited over 4 months for his pacemaker implant...he nearly died of heart failure prior to surgery (and he was a veteran of WWII). His wife, who is a breast cancer survivor needs a colonoscopy and only has 9 more months of's been 2 already. Let's rethink "socialized" healthcare.

xenophonschild 12 years ago

Not in 'Merca. We're better than that. Canadians? The limeys? Oh, please.

Godot: Had to take the better half to dinner; she complains I spend too much time on the box talking to you conservative Republicans.

I'm just dipping my toe in the UHC pond; it looks as if a four-part scenario - 1). employer mandate; 2). expansion of public insurance programs; 3). creation of new programs for the uninsured; and 4.) single-payer system.

From what I've read so far, UHC won't be a bank-breaker or the end of capitalism as we know it. In fact, a case can be made that it costs more NOT to have UHC than it does to actually have it - loss of global competition, high rates of medical bankruptcy, lost productivity, strain on businesses. I'm on it, because the owner of my company assigned me to find another carrier for our company. Lucky me.

Godot 12 years ago

Xeno, it is amazing to me that you can be such a cheerleaer for an idea about which you know so little.

Rhoen 12 years ago

New blood? How about Gen. Colin Powell?

concerned_citizen 12 years ago

This woman got tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of surgery with no out-of-pocket expenses to her. The rest of us paid for it. Sounds like she at least has socialized medicine, Xeno. What we don't have is socialized housing.

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