Archive for Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Kansans weigh in on health care reform

Have your say, too

August 4, 2009


Congress’ efforts to overhaul the nation’s health care system have business owners, insurance providers, doctors and the average Joe sitting on pins and needles.

What lawmakers do — or don’t do — could profoundly affect Americans.

One point everyone seems to agree on is that the current system is greatly flawed. Health care costs are too high, and too many Americans have no insurance.

So it seems clear that some sort of action is needed.

Since 2000, average family premiums have increased by 105 percent in Kansas. The average cost of family premiums is $12,783 — the annual salary of a person who works full time, at minimum wage.

Meanwhile, 13 percent of Kansans are uninsured, and 71 percent of them are in families with at least one full-time worker.

The Journal-World contacted a variety of people, asking them to weigh in on health care reform. We posed these questions: What is the primary problem with our current system? What should be included in any legislative reform? What is their biggest fear when it comes to health care reform?

Follow the links below to see what the following Kansans have to say:

• Graham Bailey, vice president of public relations, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas

• Rod Bremby, Secretary, Kansas Department of Health and Environment

• Corrie Edwards, executive director, Kansas Health Consumer Coalition

• Jerry Kemberling, Unemployed, Lawrence

• Gene Meyer, CEO/president, Lawrence Memorial Hospital

• Marcia Nielsen, vice chancellor for public policy and planning, Kansas University Medical Center

• Sandy Praeger, Kansas insurance commissioner

• Jon Stewart, Director, LEO Center

• Judy Bellome, executive director of Douglas County Visiting Nurses, Rehabilitation and Hospice Care

• Dr. Alan Cowles, Social Security disability benefits advocate

• Marcia Epstein, director of Headquarters Counseling Center in Lawrence

• Dr. David Goering, medical director for Health Care Access

• Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care

• Dan Partridge, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department director

• Margie Wakefield, small business owner

What would your answers be? Please leave your comments in the section below.


theph 8 years, 8 months ago

One thing that needs to change is the workers comp Insurance. I am totally messed up from getting hurt at work and its been over a year and a half with nothing done.This is the dumbest thing I ever delt with. You can;t sui workers comp for pain and suffering so they don;t care if you ever get fixed. I don't want to sui I just want fixed so I can go back to working 2 full time jobs like I was. I had 2 part time jobs then too but these idiots think I don't want to work. You won't believe how messed up I am. More and more goes wrong because they are doing everything they can not to fix they problem. Have you ever had the back of your head touch your own butt? Thats some pain I won't even wish on them.

average 8 years, 8 months ago

There is very little that would help small businesses more than to get the whole non-core mess of health care/insurance out of their hair. Right now, it seriously disadvantages them against bigger employers with bigger pools. And, if you're a small employer with an employee whose child or spouse gets sick, your rates can go through the roof ("Mr. Invisible Hand" will lean on you to find a reason to fire the employee, actually).

Unfortunately, some "group" in necessary in health insurance. On an individual basis, someone with a chronic or serious condition is guaranteed to cost more than they could ever pay, and is thus, from an insurer's perspective, better off dead. (You'll know when you are, because that's exactly how they'll treat you). But, short of universal coverage and employer-based, no one has any idea how to make groups.

n0mjs 8 years, 8 months ago

The question nobody is asking is how we got to the point we have? Insurance says that it has to be expensive because healthcare is expensive. Healthcare says it's expensive because it's costs are so high. First off, insurance is feeding itself -- health insurance is high because the cost of healthcare is high partially because the insurance required for healthcare providers is high. No, insurance isn't the only problem, but they certainly aren't without their share of the blame.

Drug companies that use the US to recover their development costs (selling the medication cheaper in other countries) are part of the problem. Doctors claim their costs are are high because they pay huge insurance premiums, might be paying off education, etc... I've not met too many of them living in the cheaper parts of town though. And finally, our entire society is to blame because we are a society who must always find someone to blame -- and pay -- for anything we are not happy about.

The core problem: Greed. We are greedy. The doctor makes a mistake, so we file suit for damages. Everyone in the provider chain wants to make money - drug companies (they prefer "treatments" to "cures" by the way), the equipment companies... no matter who we point the finger at, there are PEOPLE at the core. And they aren't just the people who work directly in the field, they are also the shareholders of the companies who expect to make money. The problem belongs to all of us. Until our entire society is willing to make sacrifices, even ones that might affect us, this problem will not go away.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 8 months ago

I want a copy of the bill how does one go about getting one? I mean heck some one should read it the peopole in D.C have not.

average 8 years, 8 months ago

There are, unfortunately, more than one bill going through right now. HR 3200 is what the House has dealt with the most.

There are many other competing bills, Senate bills, and amendments. None of them are some state secret, but all are damned long.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 8 months ago

thanks average. I know they are not a state secret but I never have a clue how to look stuff up the get frustrated with the search results and then give up so it is a big help if some one else already knows. Yes comp. idiot I am.

VTHawk 8 years, 8 months ago

Congress seem to be painting the insurance industry as the "bad guys", but they don't really even make money on premiums. The entire sector only makes 5% profit, which is fairly small. One of the major problems is that lawyers like John Edwards can take $130,000,000 in judgments despite little/no actual evidence of wrongdoing by doctors. Tort reform is badly needed.

If people think that increased competition is needed (hence the "public plan"), why just not open up insurance so that you can buy it across state lines?

Kim Murphree 8 years, 8 months ago

The price Americans pay for medicine is up the free market on pharmaceuticals and don't tell me the money is needed for R&D unless you are wiling to let the public view your company's budget in toto to see just how much you are spending on R&D. Maybe we should completely eliminate insurance companies?? For those of you who really believe in the power of a free market to regulate prices---this is the only solution. Insurance artificially inflates the costs of everything. I can hear the gasps...but think about it. If no one can afford the price of health care or medicine, the prices will have to come down, or the companies will go out of business. So, maybe the drug companies stop flying to Florida for staff retreats. I can live with that....if the trade-off is more affordable medicine. Any physician or consumer/patient that commits fraud should have to pay it all back to the system. Tort reform shouldn't even be part of the discussion. The kind of reform that some tout is only useful to medical product companies or service providers to protect them from being responsible to consumers. For every milliion that is spent on civil awards from lawsuits, another billion in profits are made on those who purchase goods at vastly inflated prices. Is the government the answer? I don't know, but something MUST be done....and if the government can offer something better or offer some competition to what is out there right now, I say let's do it. Those who say "there is no health care crisis," have never had to watch a loved one choose between food and medicine OR lost a loved one because the surgery or treatment needed wasn't listed on the insurance company's acceptable costs list. Those who say "there is no health care crises" either have their heads in the sand, are extremely wealthy, or are people who speak for the very powerful medical community/lobbyists. Finally, preventative treatments---if we continue with the insurance company health care style of delivery, then insurance should pay for exercise programs, medicines, or surgeries that can help people lose weight or get into better shape. An incentive would go a long way to helping folks find a way to take better care of themselves. Better preventative care could cut down on costs...then, we would just have to make sure those savings are passed on to US. Oh yeah, and who was it that linked health care to jobs? Why should employers be held accountable for health care...that seems to be part of the insurance plan...but in reality...even health insurance costs should be subject to the market, and having employers be required to pay partial premiums dilutes the power of the market to regulate the price of insurance. If we all had to pay out of pocket...the prices would come down for insurance, too, don't you think? I know these are radical ideas...but maybe a passionate discussion will reveal a better solution. Go for it.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

Why on earth would anyone want to continue with expensive insurance.

“In front of me I have a document from my employer that shows their cost for insurance.

Medical, Dental and Vision for the year 2010 my employer will pay $15,450. I will pay another $2,860 out of my pay check. $18,310 a year for insurance is ludicrous, and we wonder why so many companies are having massive layoffs. It is a real travesty that nothing is going to happen in the near future on health care.”

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

Business people and individuals and government could all save thousands upon thousands upon thousands yet still have excellent health insurance which is what this matter is all about.

The problem is we DO NOT have the best insurance coverage in the world.

According to the CBO HR 676 is the only proposal that DOES save dollars. Yes in fact $350,000,000,000(billion). HR 676 is the only proposal with 86 co-sponsors. Yet the media pretends this bill does not exist.

So what would the new Medicare For ALL Insurance offer to americans 365 days a year,24/7,employed or not,moving on to a new job or not,single mom or not,struck down with cancer or not?

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs. About $225 per month. Today the below insurance coverage actually costs about $1,100 per month.

New Medicare Insurance for All (HR 676) long term care such that cancer would require prescription drugs hospital surgical outpatient services primary and preventive care emergency services dental mental health home health physical therapy rehabilitation (including for substance abuse) vision care hearing services including hearing aids chiropractic durable medical equipment * palliative care

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs. About $225 per month. Today the above insurance coverage actually costs about $1,100 per month.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. If a deductible and/or co-pay policy is in effect this usually indicates under-insured.

HR 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead of the private health insurance industry and HMOs. The privatized medical insurance industry is anything but efficient.

Changing nothing certainly will save nothing ever!

Alia Ahmed 8 years, 8 months ago

Yes, those poor insurance companies. United Healthcare's profited only doubled from the 2nd quarter last year to this year while they overcharged millions of customers.

And those of you who are afraid that healthcare reform or a national health insurance program will lead to rationing, guess what, it is already here.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

Fear: Health reform means a government takeover of medicine as in England and Canada.

Fact: The system we support would look nothing like those in England and Canada. Both of those countries finance health care out of general tax revenues. England goes even further. The government owns and operates most of the hospitals. We support a specifically American reform that would build on the current employer-based insurance while ensuring affordable comprehensive coverage for those who lack it.

Fear: Health reform will be too costly; it will raise your taxes and could even bankrupt the country. Fact: The real threat to your finances is the health system the U.S. has now. A recent study concluded that today's $2.4 trillion annual health-care tab would jump to $4.4 trillion by 2018 if nothing is done to rein in expenses. Consumers Union thinks reform is the best hope for getting costs under control. It would cut down on waste, overhead, and price gouging, and reduce inappropriate care and preventable errors. We fully understand why some people are apprehensive about reform: Any change is scary. But we also see the shameful damage caused by the current system. Americans deserve better than this, and can have it.

Read about our latest reform efforts and our analysis of legislation as its being debated in Washington, D.C. in our Guide to Health-Care Reform.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

Government elected officials get free health insurance which is why ALL OF US should have OUR health insurance covered by OUR tax dollars just like 60% of those who are insured which comes to $1.2 trillion.

Just think how much more efficient $1.2 trilion health insurance tax dollars can be spent by covering all USA people instead of only 60% of those with insurance. Now we are talking like efficient, fiscally responsible, dollars and sense conservatives.

The U.S. health insurance system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health insurance bill is paid through taxes which comes to $1.2 trillion. $1.2 trillion is a sweet gravy train for the insurance industry.

That same $1.2 trillion can cover all americans. Now this is the real surprise..... the government is not using our tax dollars effiiciently which is to say WE need OUR tax dollars applied in a true fiscally responsible manner. Privatized insurance has been ripping off americans for decades. Let us welcome HR 676 health insurance with open arms and smarter wallets.

overthemoon 8 years, 8 months ago

For anyone who thinks that private insurance acts in the best interest of individuals or the country as a whole, this interview is a must see. Actually, anyone who wants to contribute to discussions on this issue should see this first.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

The White House has thoughtfully created a mechanism for reporting dissenters. "There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to" (I'm doing some recycling today)

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

The industry is spending $1.4 million health care dollars a day submitting misinformation and on capitol hill.

How can HR 676 Save 350,000,000(billion)? By eliminating: insurance spending on what 1,500 health insurers add to the actual cost of providing care: • its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders are the primary clients of for-profit insurance companies, not patients • Special interest campaign dollars Golden parachutes Politicians as shareholders:

Bruce Bertsch 8 years, 8 months ago

Step 1...De-couple employers from medical care. Step 2...Repeal the McCarran Act that forces 51 different standards on insurors, allow for one set of Federal Rules. Step 3...Make coverage mandatory for all regardless of health. Step 4...Eliminate all direct to consumer advertising by Pharma. Their marketing budgets are larger than R&D. Step 5...Allow insurance companies to sell gap coverage only. This assumes that a public option is in place. Every industrial nation in the world has this except for one.

madameX 8 years, 8 months ago


You're absolutely right. How dare the white house make an effort to stay abreast of whatever rumors are floating around, evaluate them for their accuracy and correct misinformation if it exists. I'm sure there are citizens who will abuse the "hotline" and just report any information that they don't like regardless if it's true or not, but if there is stuff that's just flat out not true circulating they should be trying to keep up with it, rather than just assuming people won't believe it.

Carol Bowen 8 years, 8 months ago

n0mjs : "The core problem: Greed. We are greedy. "

i don't think the key word is greed, it's enterprise. We have allowed health care to become a free enterprise system. Now, we know fhis doesn't work. Some think making a profit off of health care is immoral. It's ironic that we waited with baited breath for the outcome from the Energy and Commerce committee. What a strange place to discuss health care. And, remember, health care is not just for the healthy, it's for the sick.

There are a lot of interesting thoughts here. Barrypenders, could we keep this conversation focused on identifying and solving the health care problem?

fan4kufootball 8 years, 8 months ago

Why does group health insurance need to be tied to employers. Why can't "groups" be created with clubs and organizations? Also - health insurance should be a requirement for all - just like auto insurance. No more 20-year olds saying "I'm young and dont need it" until something happens - like cancer and then we as taxpayers have to pay for the treatments. No more illegals using the hospital emergency rooms as doctors offices and then are not able to pay. Insurance should NOT be run by the government - the government is not an efficient administrator of our tax dollars! And who wants the government to say when or what treatment you can have?

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

"Some think making a profit off of health care is immoral." Some think property is theft.

Alia Ahmed 8 years, 8 months ago

fan says.....And who wants the government to say when or what treatment you can have?

I'd trust the government more than a private insurance company whose profit margin is best served by denying me coverage that I an entitled to and have paid for through premiums. I worked for an insurance company who was supposedly not-for-profit for four years. The CEO spent ~ $5000 a month for booze and entertainment, drew a handsome salary and drove nice company cars while insurance case managers were pressured into denying coverage for children with mental heath problems.

overthemoon 8 years, 8 months ago


There are groups outside of employment...professional organizations, AARP, etc off membership in their 'groups'. often, it is still too expensive for individuals or small businesses to join the group.

overthemoon 8 years, 8 months ago


I don't know any one who thinks profit is immoral. The immorality comes to play when businesses like the health insurance industry put profit ahead of providing the services they provide in a fair and equitable manner. the advertise with all kinds of feel good illusions, but will drop you, your group or anyone at their 'convenience' and when called upon to explain, you get the 'it was a business decision' answer. Like the credit card companies.

ksdivakat 8 years, 8 months ago

Why do we need to rush into this? This document is a 2000 page document that Senators have commented and said that they need a few days and a lawyer to read through it all. This doesnt make me feel content that congress knows what they are doing. The Government cant even run the cash for clunkers program, and we want them to rush this bill through? Im just saying, lets take our time and let congress read it thoroughly and then make a decision or make consessions about it, go back to the drawing board, hash it out, whatever...but why rush?? I just dont think that rushing anything would benefit any of us.

georgeofwesternkansas 8 years, 8 months ago

A one payor system would solve the two biggest money drains on the country.

  1. Lower age expectency by 3-5 years and Medicare is no longer insolvent.

  2. Lower age expectency by 3-5 years and Social Security is no longer insolvent.

georgeofwesternkansas 8 years, 8 months ago

Can we have health care reform without tort reform??

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 8 months ago

I see lots and lots of DUMB Americans who are misusing the medical care in this country. Going to the doctor/hospital for a slight cough, scrape on finger or knee, drinking too much, getting into fights, headache, and generally not taking care of yourself is the reason costs are out of control.

As usual, Americans do NOT want to take responsibility but want everybody else to clean up their sorry messes.

ksdivakat 8 years, 8 months ago

That statement is so stupid I cant even comment on it!

Alia Ahmed 8 years, 8 months ago

Despite what politicians from other states are saying, healthcare reform in Massachusetts has been a huge success and 69% of the population agree.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

"Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) is worried that the White House will use a new media outreach program to collect the personal data of its political opponents. Yesterday, the White House asked supporters to forward "fishy" claims or rumors about the President's healthcare plan to a White House email address as a way to respond to "disinformation." Cornyn says this practice would let the White House collect personal information about people who oppose the President. "By requesting citizens send 'fishy' emails to the White House, it is inevitable that the names, email, addresses, IP addresses and private speech of U.S. citizens will be reported to the White House," Cornyn wrote in a letter to Obama. "You should not be surprised that these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program." Cornyn asked Obama to cease the program immediately, or at the very least explain what the White House would do with the information it collects. "I am not aware of any precedent for a President asking American citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure speech that is deemed 'fishy' or otherwise inimical to the White House's political interests," Cornyn said." The full letter is linked at:

madameX 8 years, 8 months ago

And you refuse to accept even the possibility that they don't really care about the source of misinformation as much as they care about correcting it?

average 8 years, 8 months ago

I'm in favor of tort reform, mostly so it stops being used as a strawman argument. Several states have implemented strict damage caps and other tort reforms. Have medical/insurance costs gone down in those states? No, they haven't.

There is something to be said for the diminishing returns we get on health expenditures. Americans live an average of 78 years. Libyans, Ecuadorians, Albanians, and Poles live an average of 77, spending a whole lot less. Oh, yeah, and the median American dedicates 6 or 7 working years to pay for his health care (15% of our GDP).

Mixolydian 8 years, 8 months ago

You selfish Bastids...where will the Canadians go for life saving surgeries when America goes to single payer health care?

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

Democrats in Congress want your grandmother to die so they can spend more money on airplanes for themselves. "Last year, lawmakers excoriated the CEOs of the Big Three automakers for traveling to Washington, D.C., by private jet to attend a hearing about a possible bailout of their companies. But apparently Congress is not philosophically averse to private air travel: At the end of July, the House approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy three elite Gulfstream jets for ferrying top government officials and Members of Congress. The Air Force had asked for one Gulfstream 550 jet (price tag: about $65 million) as part of an ongoing upgrade of its passenger air service. But the House Appropriations Committee, at its own initiative, added to the 2010 Defense appropriations bill another $132 million for two more airplanes and specified that they be assigned to the D.C.-area units that carry Members of Congress, military brass and top government officials."

exhawktown 8 years, 8 months ago

Current problems? Doctors have to employ CYA methods. These methods help drive costs up. Fixes? Tort reform. Fears? Single-payer system and more government control.

Final thought: I am not willing to give up my liberty for someone else's misconception of security.

Alia Ahmed 8 years, 8 months ago

snap_pop_no_crackle (Anonymous) says… Democrats in Congress want your grandmother to die so they can spend more money on airplanes for themselves.

snap, that is outrageously false and you know it. Pitiful to resort to lies to support your position.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

logan, hyperbole is not unknown on these pages....... BTW, the Democrats did add $132 million dollars of private jets for themselves to the Air Force budget. That is a fact.

average 8 years, 8 months ago

@Mixolydian -

Canadians have the right to come to terms with a doctor and pay him any price they want to for any service (that is legal). There was a challenge to that in Quebec, but the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that it's an intrinsic right.

Same thing is true in Japan, France, Sweden, and pretty much anywhere short of North Korea or Cuba. You want to pay a doctor a million dollars for hangnail treatments? You certainly may.

I certainly haven't seen the slightest thing in any health care bill in the US that would ban such care. So, don't worry about the Canadians.

Bud Stagg 8 years, 8 months ago

Merrill, $15450 for insurance? is that just for you? I own a small business with 6 employees and I pay a little over $22k to cover all of us for the entire year. That is with a $2k out of pocket deductable paid by the employee. Your employer is paying way to much or you are mistaken.

That being said, I used to pay about $15k to cover all us about 5 years ago. I have also had to raise the out of pocket for the employee, it used to be $500. So it has gone throught the roof in 5 years, but it is not unreasonable, yet!

james bush 8 years, 8 months ago

Did I miss the discussion of trial lawyer needing to stop being rewarded on % basis and the legislature setting caps on their pay/bonuses/salary.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

average, the people coming here from Canada aren't all looking for million dollar hangnail treatments. A couple of times recently mothers with high-risk pregnancies were sent from Canada to the US for treatment because there were no available NICU beds in the entire nation of Canada.

Alia Ahmed 8 years, 8 months ago


How about actually discussing the pros and cons of healthcare reform instead of saying the democrats want to "kill granny" so they can buy more planes? Why aren't you outraged that a crook like Richard Scott, fomer CEO of HCA, is funding this so-called "grassroots" movement to disrupt dialogue about healthcare reform? Why are they so afraid to have the public listen to a real discussion on the topic? Perhaps it's the old "an enemy of my enemy is a friend of mine", Do you hate Obama and anything he stands for so much that you'd support someone like Richard Scott who stole millions if not billions from Medicare? As a taxpayer, when he steals from Medicare, he is stealing from me and you.

At least we have something to show for the money spent on jets. I don't suppose those democrats will get to keep those jets when they leave office and I assume they are used for official business. I know that Republicans complained about Nancy Pelosi using a Air Force jet when her Republican predecessor did the same thing. I don't really know what you're referring to in terms of the jets. Can you provide a link? I'd like to read more about that.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

A former Democratic Congressman convicted on corruption charges:

"A federal jury convicted a former U.S. congressman Wednesday of taking bribes on 11 of 16 counts in a case in which agents found $90,000 in his freezer.

Former Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat who had represented parts of New Orleans, was accused of accepting more than $400,000 in bribes and seeking millions more in exchange for brokering business deals in Africa.

It took jurors five days to reach a decision after an eight-week trial. Most of the trial was government testimony. The defense wrapped up its case in a matter of hours."

Do you want the Democratic Culture of Corruption having more control over your life?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

Why in the hell is the health care industry buying and why are legislators selling out?

Health Care Industry and Congress -- We're on to You, and We're not Going to Take It Anymore

Former Lawmakers and Congressional Staffers Hired to Lobby on ...The hirings are part of a record-breaking influence campaign by the health-care industry, which is spending more than $1.4 million a day on lobbying in the

Health Care Industry and Congress -- We're on to You, and We're not Going to Take It Anymore /health_care_continues_its_inte.html

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

merrill, be sure to wear cheerful bright clothing while you are waiting for HR676 to pass. Get a comfortable chair, too.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

A link? logan, I put a link in my 3:05 post about the jet story. BTW, the Democrats in Congress may not actually want your grandmother to die. They just don't want to have to spend any money on what they feel would be unnecessary care for her. If she could get elected to the Senate, tho, she would be in the best of hands.

Alia Ahmed 8 years, 8 months ago

snap, sorry I didn't read the link you posted at 3:05 pm until now. It is interesting that you only mentioned the Democrats as ordering those jets. In the link you provided, there were several Republican politicians named.

The "kill granny" fear mongering is evidently based on a proposal to pay a doctor for one office visit every five years to discuss advanced directives and a living will with patients. Since the 1991 OBRA legislation, hospitals and other health care providers have had to offer this service to anyone, regardless of their age, under their care. It makes sense ethically and financially to not prolong a person's life if they have a terminal illness or any hope of recovery and that is their wish. My father had a living will and when he died at age 81 of emphysema and Alzheimers, there was no confusion or disagreement about what his wishes were. He died peacefully in his sleep and his life was not artificially prolonged when there was no hope of recovery.

It's sad that the concept of advanced directives and living wills is being exploited to scare the elderly. I have a friend who seems to believe this propaganda and believes her elderly mother will be denied appropriate health care if healthcare reform is passed. On the other hand, there are certainly cases where private insurance companies have denied treatment that is considered experimental to children and adults with cancer, who have died.

jackthejayhawk 8 years, 8 months ago


I read your front page article in today's LJW, Perspectives on Health Care, with great interest. I feel you probably approached this assignment with an open mind, but with all due respect, all of the folks you interviewed had a "dog in the fight".

I think your time would have been better spent reading the HB that is being proposed, focusing on the items that are very controversial, and asking questions of "the people". Just a very few of these items are:

Should the government run our health care system? The government should not be in the business of taking over private enterprise like health care , the banks, the car companies, the insurance companies, and especially the health care system. Bureaucrats have no experience running businesses. Remember the House of Representatives bank/post office, the House cafeteria, Fannie and Freddie Mae, Social Security, Medicare, etc., etc.?

Should we have only one health care insurer (especially the government?) If you don't think that will happen either initially or 10-20 years from now, read the plan, use your head and pay attention to what President Obama has stated in past speeches. In one speech he said it may take 10-20 years for us to get there.

How can you insure 50,000,000 more people with the same number of doctors? Medicare will go away, old people like me or your mother or father will suffer because of limited or eventually, rationed care.

I am a retired person and believe we have, by far, the best health care system in the world. Can it be improved? Of course! One of the major ways is to bring about reduced cost with tort reform. However, we don't need to scrap the whole system just because there are a few items that can be improved. I think the majority of "the people" agree with me as measured by the polls I have seen.

I learned many years ago in business that if you want to improve a "system", you have to ask the users of that system for ways in which it can be improved and how. Don't leave it up to folks in high places and bureaucrats and in the case of health care, politicians! Elected politicians should ask "the people" instead of telling us what is good for us and what we have to do. Otherwise, we lose our freedom. Heaven forbid.


LiberalDude 8 years, 8 months ago

Health care reform now!!!

We the people need to stand up against the GOP and their lobbyist friends. They spew nothing but lies.

Health care reform now!!!

Flap Doodle 8 years, 8 months ago

liberaldude, the Democrats in Congress are the ones standing in the way of the free candy and unicorns. If they are willing to join arms and all march off the cliff together, they won't need a single Republican vote.

exhawktown 8 years, 8 months ago

Discussion is not fear mongering. Yes, there is hyperbole, but it's on both sides. BOTH sides. A huge part of the problem is that we don't necessarily know exactly what is on the table at this point. HR 676? HR 3200? With the House in recess, the Senate is probably creating something else entirely. What's in it? My guess: thousands of pages of crap. And you can't trust anyone to interpret these bills for you; everyone has a certain bias. It's unfortunate that an issue so important is being reduced to "he said she said" mentality. That's why it's important to glean information from as many sources you can as possible, no matter where you are on the issue, if you care about truth.

exhawktown 8 years, 8 months ago

P.S. "News Person" Andrea Mitchell's comment, something like "They don't know what's good for them" when discussing health care and the reluctance of so many Americans to support health care legislation on the table as of last week, well, that's quite telling.

cowboy 8 years, 8 months ago

This is a very telling debate when we see the entirety of congress up for sale to the highest bidder. The plethora of straw man arguments is dizzying. I am in favor of a large public offering . It can be paid for in full by dissolving the House of Representatives. This body is the single most dangerous group in America IMHO. It has become nothing more than a gov subsidized lobbying group whose integrity has long ago been lost. An interesting exchange in one of the town halls found a group of folks raging against socialized medicine and when asked how many were on medicare , "socialized medicine" , the majority raised their hands. Ignorant arguments by ignorant people.

exhawktown 8 years, 8 months ago

Cowboy, that could be a little misleading though. Many folks who have medicare also have supplemental insurance coverage.

Just a thought. My folks do.

Alia Ahmed 8 years, 8 months ago

exhawktown (Anonymous) says…

Discussion is not fear mongering. Yes, there is hyperbole, but it's on both sides. BOTH sides.

exhawktown-that may be true, but disrupting town hall meetings and shutting down discussions, how does that promote a dialogue about this issue? Protests are one thing that we all have a right to do, but to totally disrupt any discussion seems counterproductive. The "kill granny" myth is fear-mongering and to imply there will be any more rationing or limits under healthcare reform when that already occurs in our current system seems misleading at best.

Alia Ahmed 8 years, 8 months ago

Rick Sanchez called Richard Scott to task for his role in fighting healthcare reform when the company he was CEO of, HCA, defrauded Medicare of millions of dollars and paid over a billion dollars in fines. Richard Scott's defense is that other insurance companies were doing the same thing.

Richard Scott is leading the "so-called" grassroots movement against healthcare reform or even a civil debate about it. Glenn Beck is stirring the pot of hatred and extemism as well. A meeting in Tampa turned violent tonight and a Missouri Republican "joke" about a Democratic politican being "lynched" drew cheers and applause from a crowd in Missouri. These folks are being manipulated by Richard Scott because he stands to lose a lot if healthcare reform passes and Glen Beck ups his ratings by spewing hatred.

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