It really doesn’t have to be this way

Might be a good follow-up question the next time CNN promotes the Tea Party under the guise of hosting a debate:

At CNN’s Tea Party-indulging debate on Monday, Ron Paul, a medical doctor, faced a pointed line of questioning from Wolf Blitzer regarding the case of an uninsured young man who suddenly found himself in dire need of intensive health care. Should the state pay his bills? Paul responded, “That’s what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everybody—
He never quite finished that point, letting the audience’s loud applause finish it for him. So Blitzer pressed on, asking if he meant that “society should just let him die,” which earned a chilling round of approving hoots from the crowd..

As it turns out, Paul was not speaking purely in hypotheticals. Back in 2008, Kent Snyder — Paul’s former campaign chairman — died of complications from pneumonia. Like the man in Blitzer’s example, the 49-year-old Snyder (pictured) was relatively young and seemingly healthy* when the illness struck. He was also uninsured. When he died on June 26, 2008, two weeks after Paul withdrew his first bid for the presidency, his hospital costs amounted to $400,000. The bill was handed to Snyder’s surviving mother (pictured, left), who was incapable of paying.

The Kansas City Star quoted his sister at the time as saying that a “a pre-existing condition made the premiums too expensive.”

Since Dr. Paul is apparently some kind of Dickensian miser who is too cheap to provide affordable health insurance to the people who slave away on his behalf, I turned to Obamacare to see how Mr. Snyder might have fared. The piece says he was born in Kansas, so I put him there, and just filled in the personal information that is available (age, pre-existing condition):

Here’s the Obamacare option for Kansans with a pre-existing condition, the PCIP:

To qualify for coverage:
• You must be a citizen or national of the United States or residing in the United States legally.
• You must have been uninsured for at least the last six months before you apply.
• You must have a pre-existing condition or have been denied coverage because of your health condition.
The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will cover a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs. All covered benefits are available for you, even if it’s to treat a pre-existing condition.
Premium: non smoker rates range from $349 to $385
Deductible: $2,500
Out of Pocket Limit: $5,950

h/t El Cid

136 replies
  1. 1
    Bill H. says:

    Premium: non smoker rates range from $349 to $385
    Deductible:$2,500

    Just for reference, the grocery workers union in Southern California is flatly rejecting full coverage with no deductible for a family premium of $92 per month, including vision and dental. Strike has been pending for the past month or so.

  2. 2
    kay says:

    @Bill H.:

    Is it a new contract?

  3. 3
    Luthe says:

    @Bill H.: Oh look, one completely disconnected piece of information with no reference to other factors in union negotiations like pensions, hours, overtime, wages, raises, etc. How helpful. /snark

  4. 4
    Samara Morgan says:

    Look Kay.
    It is so much simpler than that.
    The way the “freed” market works is that jobs follow the cheapest labor. The GOP/teabaggers are just trying to bring back the jobs that went overseas.
    That means no benefits, no unions, no healthcare.
    The objective of the GOP/teaggers is to reduce american worker wages to the level of a chinese or indian peasant so that we can compete and the overclass can still PROFIT!
    All the other stuff is radar chaff.

  5. 5
    cmorenc says:

    Of course, Dr. Paul can AFFORD to purchase full-featured health insurance for himself. Because he’s a Galtian winner, and his campaign manager Kent Snyder is a Galtian loser who should have freely chosen in the free market to allocate most of his freely earned income toward buying a health insurance policy the free health insurance market wouldn’t sell him at any price he could pay and still be able to support himself. Therefore…tough beans, survival of the fittest. Mr. Snyder may be “fit” enough to be Paul’s campaign manager, but not “fit” enough in the Glibertarian universe to get health insurance and be able to afford to live.

  6. 6
    greennotGreen says:

    Is the greatness of a society measured by how rich its richest citizens are? Or by the quality of life experience by the majority of its citizens? Because we are falling way behind by the second measure.

    And thank God for “Obamacare”! My nephew has a serious pre-existing condition but has so far been unable to find a job in this economy. Without insurance, an exacerbation would ruin my sister and her husband financially, and eventually me, too. Bot we can afford the premiums for him.

    Why is it that the same people who abhor abortion think it’s just fine and dandy for the families of the children who weren’t aborted to go bankrupt?

  7. 7
    El Cid says:

    saludos

    h/t digby

  8. 8
    kay says:

    @cmorenc:

    It’s sad. He’s been working on GOP campaigns forever. He created the donation machine that raised 35 million dollars for Ron Paul (and God knows what they did with that money) and his mother is left with trying to raise money to pay off his medical bills.

  9. 9
    schlemizel - was Alwhite says:

    I was repulsed by the way Wolfie phrased the question “chose not to buy insurance”

    As if that were always the case – how about the guy is working 2 part time jobs trying to squeak by in this economy & neither offers health benefits or the do but it would cost him more than he makes to?

    Those yahoos would still be cheering his death but Blitzer gave them a convenient out. Next time CNN should have Donder or Vixen ask the questions.

  10. 10
    El Cid says:

    In fairness, Snyder wasn’t just the one who ‘slaved away’ for Paul, but who brought in tens of millions of dollars for him. Apparently, though, not enough for bennies.

    [Also: Ron Paul ReLOVEution!]

  11. 11
    kay says:

    @schlemizel – was Alwhite:

    This is the first time in recorded history I’m defending Blitzer, but it was a good question.

    The reason he said “chose” was because of the mandate. Ron Paul knew that.

    Blitzer also got the number right. Under the ACA, a single healthy 30 year old who makes 40K ( “a good wage”) will pay around 200- 300 a month for health insurance.

    The question was posed within the context of the ACA. I was pleased it was both accurate and difficult to answer. Good job!

  12. 12
    RSA says:

    @schlemizel – was Alwhite:

    I was repulsed by the way Wolfie phrased the question “chose not to buy insurance”

    This is of a piece with the rightwing view of poverty in the U.S. For example, “If only poor people would choose to buy food instead of cell phones and TVs.”

  13. 13
    dr. bloor says:

    @schlemizel – was Alwhite:

    I don’t know that Blitzer was giving him an out, as much as he was trying to frame the question to press the limits of Paul’s glibertarian bullshit. Had he presented a hypothetical in which the patient couldn’t afford to buy insurance, Paul surely would have responded with some nonsense about how unaffordable insurance is a completely unpossible outcome in Randian America.

  14. 14
    JPL says:

    EMTALA mandates hospitals to treat patients no matter their income. I wish someone would ask the candidates whether or not they support the Reagan bill.

  15. 15

    @Samara Morgan:

    Or to quote the unions, “Race to the bottom.”

  16. 16
    jibeaux says:

    I don’t know Mr. Snyder’s mom, but if it were me I’d be making an absolutely unholy racket. You know, my freedom to live unsaddled with $400k in debt from my very adult son, etc. Until I got whacked by the Paultards, naturally.

  17. 17

    Can’t remember which story had this information, might have been the Gawker piece, but when Snyder died he left his family with $400,000 in medical debt. HIs family and friends put up a website to solicit donations to pay for his medical costs. They raised less than $40,000.

    So that’s another element to the story. Ron Paul was saying people should go to charity, churches, host fundraisers, etc. if they are in this situation … which is what they did and it STILL wasn’t enough. FAIL.

    I wonder why Ron Paul didn’t dip into his purse to pay off this debt.

  18. 18
    ppcli says:

    Paul’s answer to the follow-up question was that churches and charities would (or at least: they used to, because apparently now the government had made it illegal for churches to support care for the sick), and should, take care of the uninsured. Paul’s pretty rich, and he knows many very rich people. So I’m sure that he and his pals donated the money to cover the bill. Right?

  19. 19
    El Cid says:

    @RSA: I like the assumption that if a poor family had none of those luxuries (in part to aid the mind numbingness of poverty and the pain in the ass time it requires to do anything) they would be more empathetic. They wouldn’t be.

  20. 20
    PurpleGirl says:

    Since Kent was living on his own and was not dependent on his mother, she is not legally obligated to pay the bill. However, many people do not know this (I would hope she has advisers who do) and they do try to pay these types of bills.

    In one story I read, it said the hospital did not try to get her to pay. So maybe she thought she had to, or other relatives and friends thought he’d try to pay if he were alive and therefore tried to raise the money through a web site. As they only raised something like $50,000, so much for charity and neighbors/friends/relatives picking up the slack. So how many spaghetti dinners does it take to raise $400,000?

  21. 21
    PeakVT says:

    A somewhat tangential question: why was the bill passed to the guy’s mom?

    ETA: Others have weighed in. My understanding was that any debts that couldn’t be covered by the assets of the estate (and not co-signed by anyone) were void.

  22. 22
    ppcli says:

    @Southern Beale:
    @ppcli:

    Dang. I shouldn’t have taken 3 minutes to pour that coffee before finishing and posting my comment.

  23. 23
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Maybe Dr. Paul ought to be referred to as Dr. Death. There’s nothing like hearing a doctor say “Let them die” when talking about a patient without insurance coverage.

    A line like that would only warm the heart of someone like Cheney. Ok, “heart” isn’t appropriate when talking about Cheney.

    “Electric Pump” would be better.

  24. 24
    Mino says:

    @JPL: Hospitals weasel a lot. If they can get away with it, they will stabilize a person and send them home, hoping they don’t make it back.

  25. 25
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @PeakVT:

    Because someone has to pay and his Mom brought him into this world. Those are two very good reasons…

    if you are a heartless asshole.

  26. 26
    PurpleGirl says:

    @JPL: EMTALA mandates that Emergency Rooms treat patients without regard to insurance/payment status. He wasn’t in an ER; he was in the hospital for two months (roughly 60 days or so) and he was probably in Intensive Care. When he went in, he probably didn’t think he’d be there that long or that he’d die there.

  27. 27
    soonergrunt says:

    @Bill H.: What they choose to work for or not work for is their business, not the government’s, so what the fuck does the grocery workers union in Southern California have to do with uninsured persons in Kansas?
    Are you’re suggesting that people shouldn’t be able to set the value of their own work, which sounds very much like a teabagger glibertarian.
    One career vet to another: when you give up TRICARE for life, VA disability and healthcare, your defined benefit pension plan, and Commissary privileges, then you can talk with some authority. Until then, it’s just another uninformed opinion by an insulated jerk-off who doesn’t know shit about life in the real world.

    I am so fucking sick and tired of military retirees, (people who are the biggest beneficiaries of a socialized medicine and entitlements program in the western world) belly-aching about what others do to scrape by, that I could puke.

  28. 28

    What a bunch of fucking, heartless fools. These teabaggers are such soulless dickheads it’s just hard to fathom. Well, it isn’t, I guess. They’re kind of predictable, and what they do almost kind of makes sense if you know what they believe.

    I’ve been thinking about this for a while, why these clowns are willing to go out and march in the streets on behalf of the Koch brothers, who would gladly beat teabaggers to death with a tire iron to steal a nickel if they could. I read What’s the Matter With Kansas?, and some other stuff, but it never really made sense to me.

    But I was talking about it to my wife a few days ago, and I kind of had it dawn on me. We were talking about that, and Lee Atwater came up, that big interview he gave a long time ago about how Republicans use race. I guess most of you know this interview. He says how in the 50’s, all they had to do to win office in the south was scream, “Nigger, nigger, nigger!”, but by the 60’s and 70’s they couldn’t do it anymore, so they began talking about “bussing” and “states’ rights”. And then by the 80’s it was welfare and tax policy. And he said that it got pretty theoretical by then, but that the upshot was that “…it hurts blacks more than it does whites.”

    And that’s really it. It’s spite. That’s what drives the teabaggers, spite. You can almost Teabaggers by spite. It seems like they do everything for spite. They cheered Perry killing 234 people for spite, since they knew that most of those 234 were the “wrong” kind of people, however they might define “wrong”, and “wrong” for a teabagger has a pretty wide definition. They cheered for letting some guy without insurance die, since they knew that even though they would be fairly likely to fall into the group of people who might end up dying that way, it’s far likelier to happen to the “wrong” people.

    These are people who are willing to live shitty lives with no hope of ever getting ahead, as long as black people still have shittier lives and less hope of getting ahead. They’re people who, if they were sitting in a lifeboat with a black guy, they’d gladly throw the last of their food overboard, knowing that they’d starve, as long as they could be sure the black guy was going to die first.

  29. 29
    kay says:

    @PeakVT:

    I thought the same thing, but have you run into the “obligor” conundrum? If the mother signed as the obligor when he was admitted she’s on the hook.

    It happens here when the person who is admitted is very ill. I’ve now seen it twice.

  30. 30
    soonergrunt says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: When my uncle died, my cousins got calls from credit card companies wanting them to pay off his outstanding bills. “Don’t you think you should help your dad out?” and “Well, if it were me, I’d want my father’s good name to keep its standing and value” and so on.

  31. 31
    harlana says:

    Something I have wondered about but have been unable to confirm, are meds factored into the deductible? I’m thinking no, all the material I got when I was checking into this seems to indicate that is the case. If anyone has any information otherwise, I would be interested to know.

  32. 32
    jeffreyw says:

    The real fucking question is what the fuck the hospital did to earn 400K? There can only be patches and pain until those entitled goddamn bastards selling water to the thirsty in a desert – “Will that be one sip, or two?” – Get some competition from an entity that cares more about the health of the population than money. I wonder, wonder, who will write that book?

  33. 33
    harlana says:

    And, yes, the Kent Snyder story is a perfect example of the cruel and arbitrary nature of libertarian “rationality.” And Paul is a doctor, no less!

    Do we really want to live like this, as Americans, are we not way better than this?

    Case closed.

  34. 34
    soonergrunt says:

    @Too Many Jimpersons (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.): I think it was John Rogers who pointed out that a significant part of teabagger motivation is that it’s OK with them if they end up in a cardboard box under a bridge roasting a sparrow on a coat-hanger spit, just so long as the black guy doesn’t have a coat-hanger or a sparrow.

  35. 35
    PurpleGirl says:

    I’m not defending Ron Paul or any other asshole. But what is it about EMERGENCY don’t people understand. Yes, they stablize you and send you or they transfer you into a regular hospital bed, depending on the problem and the treatment.

    A few weeks ago a friend was feeling funny so she went to an emergent care office; they began testing for a heart attack and called her doctor’s hospital. The EMTs got there, took the test results and took my friend to the ER. A second round of tests were done to confirm the first and then she was transferred to the Cardiac Care Unit and was in the hospital for 5 five days.

    Last year I ran out of certain medications. I called the clinic at my local City hospital and they couldn’t give me an appointment (because I don’t have insurance) and they told me to go to the ER. Which I did. They could give me the day’s doses of the medications and prescriptions to hold me over until I could go to the Clinic. The best thing they could do (and did) was to get me that all-important Clinic appointment for continuing treatment.

    No, ERs do not solve the problem. They can’t, they aren’t designed to do continuing treatment routines. They are for EMERGENCIES.

  36. 36
    kay says:

    @PeakVT:

    Even if they wrote it as as uncompensated care (the provider) all that means is they have to spread the cost to others. Which I know you know. Ron Paul and his army are going to pay for this one way or another.

    Do libertarians ever follow a thought beyond the first sentence? It’s as if the question “what happens next?” is just not in their arsenal or vocabulary.

  37. 37
    sherifffruitfly says:

    Note that “true progressive” killbillies would have let him die, just like teabaggers.

    Only difference is, they would have blamed Obama.

    Oh wait – that’s not a difference.

  38. 38
    John X. says:

    I feel bad for the mom, but the dude earned his fate. He carried a banner for the cause of denying the poor and unemployed the type of social safety net that is available in the rest of the civilized world, and he died impoverished because of the same lack of the safety net.

    That’s just karma.

  39. 39
    soonergrunt says:

    @kay:

    Do libertarians ever follow a thought beyond the first sentence?

    no.

  40. 40
    PurpleGirl says:

    @jeffreyw: Very exotic antibiotics; monitors, lots of advanced medicine to try to get the lungs working and get them healthy. But especially the exotic antibiotics. I don’t know the name of it, but I heard of one that costs $20,000 a dose. And he was in Intensive Care for 60-odd days. If he was that sick, he wasn’t in a regular bed, he was in the ICU.

  41. 41
    bisquits says:

    I’m truly sorry for this man and his family. But the bill will ultimately absorbed by the hospital and the expense will be passed on to those of us who do have coverage. It is one of the reasons my business’ premiums increase on average 13 to 28 percent per year. We are now down to one employee but our premiums are the same as when we had three two years ago. You can’t win at this game. If I increased my rates like that, I’d have no customers.

  42. 42
    Mino says:

    @soonergrunt: Well, the Republicans are coming for the military, too. They might not make it this time, but the intent is there and we all know how fu*king relentless they be.

  43. 43
    Timmy Mac says:

    Honest question: what sorts of health plans do other campaigns offer? Is Paul a particularly stingy candidate, or do most campaigns not offer health coverage?

  44. 44
    catclub says:

    @PurpleGirl: Of course, has anyone noticed that if the bill from the hospital is $400k,
    then either medicare or Blue cross will only pay between a tenth and a third of that.

    If the hospital gets $40k on the bill
    they will be pretty satisfied.

  45. 45
    Zifnab says:

    @jeffreyw: Hospitals aren’t cheap. Getting a room in a hospital ward can make a five star hotel look cheap by comparison. And hospitals take a lot of losses as well. I mean, take the Synder case. We’ve got a guy who picked up a $400k bill and could only cover 1/10th of that. If the real cost of his treatment was, say, $80k rather than $40k, who picks up the other end of the bill? Answer: Some other poor bastard stuck with another $400k bill.

  46. 46
    PeakVT says:

    @kay: I’ve never heard anything about “obligers” before. I’ll look into it.

    Also, too: no, libertarians don’t do complexity or nuance. They remind me of these guys.

  47. 47
    harlana says:

    re meds factored into the deductible? I’m thinking no,

    woops, I meant, I’m thinking yes – meaning you have to pay for $2500 worth of meds before deductible kicks in – for me it would have been about half the premium of my state’s HIP plan (which has a 1500 deductible that included cost of meds also)

    The reason I say I think cost of meds are included in the deductible is that there is no information from the PCIP regarding Rx copays

  48. 48

    This might be a good time for me to revisit my post from March, “Top Signs Your Healthcare System Is Broken”:

    5- SPAM e-mail for cheap pharmaceuticals from Canada. Don’t suppose people in Canada get those, do ya? Long ago I wrote about buying a $6 prescription in Norway. With drugs that cheap, it kinda makes spamming people for cheap drugs pointless.
    __
    4- Tip jars and fundraisers to pay medical bills. Note to Americans: they don’t have to go begging from friends and neighbors in countries with a functioning healthcare delivery system.
    __
    3- This. Note that virtually all of the buyers are connected to healthcare in some way, either as doctors or executives. And we wonder why our healthcare costs keep rising!
    __
    2- Medical Tourism. The very existence of an “industry” which exploits the low healthcare costs overseas (and which basically outsources our healthcare) tells you the system is broken. If our system functioned we wouldn’t need to go to Indonesia or Thailand, would we?
    __
    (Note the irony that Arthur Laffer, inventor of the infamous “Laffer Curve,” is on the board of one such company.)
    __
    1- The Revolving Door. Healthcare executives becoming politicians who then enact public policies that benefit their healthcare companies. Nothing to see here, folks, move along …. it’s true that this fish rots from the head down, which is why there’s such push back on even modest reforms.

  49. 49
    kay says:

    @Timmy Mac:

    NPR did a piece on that in 2008. All of the Democrats offered health insurance, with the exception of…Dennis Kuchinich.
    McCain (who apparently didn’t understand the reason they were asking) went on and on about his many and varied government plans, but he was talking about himself. He’s “most proud” of the coverage he gets as a veteran. Not a good answer. He missed the point completely.

  50. 50
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I’ve had friends have the same thing happen to them. What makes me angry (and laugh at the same time) is that we all know that the last thing the payment collectors are concerned about is keeping the name of a dead person in good standing.

    Leeches.

  51. 51
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    And the salaries of the doctors and nurses-not insignificant either.

  52. 52
    Tom65 says:

    The extent to which the Teabaggers are willing participants in their own marginalization simply amazes me.

  53. 53
    Hoodie says:

    @soonergrunt: I get exposed to that with my father-in-law (retired Army) and his son (DoD contractor for life). It’s not like you begrudge them their benies; I have lots of relatives with military service, and I’m glad they get what they get, because they earned it and often put up with a degree of hardship. It’s the insufferable, pigheaded self-righteousness that grates. What I don’t understand is why some retirees react this way and others don’t. I do wonder if it does has some correlation with whether they saw significant combat or not. My uncle was career AF, but flew 35 B-29 missions over Japan and saw a lot of his friends die. He was a mensch, never would act like this. My father-in-law was in Viet Nam, but he was mostly rear area logistics. I have another cousin, retired Navy nurse, who pretty much has the same teabagger mentality. The closest he got to any death was in an OR on a troop carrier ship in the first Gulf War. Most of his career he was in Rota, SD and Charleston.

  54. 54
    kay says:

    @PeakVT:

    “Obligor” is the word I’m using, because it’s the term I’m familiar with, and it seems to work the same way. I’ve been reviewing medical bills totaling more than 2 million dollars, for someone I know. It’s an issue for her. It isn’t my area, but if I go further into it I’ll get help from someone who knows more. “Obligor” is my working word, at this point. I just needed a word :)

    I’m trying to figure out when she assumed this obligation.

  55. 55
    harlana says:

    I’m not defending Ron Paul or any other asshole. But what is it about EMERGENCY don’t people understand

    But, see, that’s why we do NOT have a health care problem in this country, b/c people without insurance can wait until their condition becomes critical (b/c they cannot afford to go the the doctor) and then go the ER when they are near death and get treated for free! And perhaps they might actually survive to file bankruptcy. See how that works out, as in the above example? Just tough luck for Snyder’s mom. She doesn’t deserve any sympathy b/c she didn’t have $400,000 in the bank – what a loser.

  56. 56
    SpotWeld says:

    You must have been uninsured for at least the last six months before you apply.

    For someone with a pre-existing condition (like diabetes, say) six months without insurance can be deadly.

    So, what’s the point of that requirement.
    Is it to make sure a goverment program isn’t in competeition with a private program? (Presumibly in that six months the protential client is hunting for private options?)

  57. 57
    flukebucket says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I am so fucking sick and tired of military retirees, (people who are the biggest beneficiaries of a socialized medicine and entitlements program in the western world) belly-aching about what others do to scrape by, that I could puke.

    Man that was beautiful.

  58. 58
    Tone in DC says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I cannot believe it, in a way, and yet I can.
    Contempt is too kind a word for what I think of these companies and their bought politicians.

  59. 59
    kay says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    And the salaries of the doctors and nurses-not insignificant either.

    Hospitals are huge employers, and there’s a LOT of middle class wages baked in there. The hospital here is now the biggest single employer in the county.

    “Health care” is going to be really hard to fix, or make manageable, or reasonable. It ripples.

  60. 60
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @PurpleGirl: My friend who nearly died at age 58 from pneumonia (with no pre-existing condition) had one of those exotic antibiotics at $20-25K per dose, qid for maybe 10 days. He was in ICU for 33 days total, and in a regular room for another 30 odd days once they could move him.

    This was an otherwise healthy guy who got pneumonia – I talked to him on the phone when calling his wife, about 4 days before the crash and asked her if he had pneumonia and she thought so, but his doc wasn’t sure. By the time doc decided he did, it went downhill very fast, hence the hospitalization. Not that it’s at all clear that an earlier diagnosis (by maybe 2 days) would have fixed it, but this was not someone who failed to seek medical treatment. And they had top of the line insurance, but the actual bill was mind-numbing.

  61. 61
    jon says:

    It’s a death tax when the Federal Government takes some portion of the estate before it goes to the heirs.

    It’s not a death tax when the hospital takes all of it.

  62. 62
    The Spy Who Loved Me says:

    If Paul’s presidential campaign was no longer operational, then this guy was his “former” campaign manager, so even if Paul had offered health insurance during the campaign, once the campaign was over, so was the ability to provide insurance.

    Campaign operatives are self-employed contract workers of a temporary nature. They go from campaign to campaign, so it’s not like they don’t know how the system works. Does Obama for America offer health insurance coverage? I’d be very surprised if they did.

    It’s a shame that this man couldn’t afford to pay the health care premiums because of a pre-existing condition, but we can at least take heart that he was treated, and if the amount of the bill is any indication, was treated with the best that medicine had to offer.

  63. 63
    soonergrunt says:

    @PeakVT: You see an entry for ‘Obligor’ on every insurance form you fill out in doctors’ offices here in OK.
    They want to know who to sue when you can’t pay.

  64. 64

    @The Spy Who Loved Me:

    It’s a shame that this man couldn’t afford to pay the health care premiums because of a pre-existing condition, but we can at least take heart that he was treated, and if the amount of the bill is any indication, was treated with the best that medicine had to offer.

    Guffaw.

    The guy died and left $400,000 in medical debt and his asshole “former employer” just went on national television and told the country this is his vision for America’s healthcare.

    Not too many silver linings in that scenario.

  65. 65
    Earl Butz says:

    EMTALA mandates hospitals to treat patients no matter their income.

    @JPL: No, it doesn’t. It mandates that a hospital stabilze you, and not allow you to die, but that’s pretty much it. If you’re suffering from a deadly infection, wait until you collapse from it and sustain heart failure, and then come on in and they’ll do just enough to shove you out the door again.

    I saw a lot of these “walking dead” on the streets of SF when I lived there. There were five folks with this sort of infection disease combined with substance abuse issues, and between the five of them they ended up costing the city almost 10 million dollars a year in ER visits, ambulance costs, and police time.

    They die early anyway. Not a one of them makes it into their fifties.

    There’s got to be a better way than this.

  66. 66
    Bill H. says:

    @soonergrunt:
    Probably should have been more expansive in my comment. My thought was that the premium struck me as expensive, but a fairly decent deal for someone with a preexisting condition. Health care costs are a beast, and until we can do soemthing about them, it is a relief to see that people without insurance are gaining access.

    I am normally on the side of the worker, but there is a disconnect for me between the whole topic of people without health care, with health care that costs them huge amounts because of causes beyond their control, the relatively poor efforts of government to alleviate that condition, and these grocery workers attitude in the face of a national issue.

    Here are people happy to get coverage at $350/month with a pretty high deductible, while in 49 other states we see people with no coverage at all, and these workers are willing to shut down their employer and lose wages over $92/mth for a health care benefit. It just seems like they need to look around at what other people are experiencing.

  67. 67
    kay says:

    @SpotWeld:

    So, what’s the point of that requirement.

    The point of the 6 months is people would wait until they were really sick and then buy the insurance, which would then cost all the people who purchased it prior to actual serious illness (but with a pre-existing condition), more.

    An ability to buy it with the onset of serious illness would make it unaffordable for everyone. It’s federally-subsidized out the wazoo as it is. It stops being “insurance” when people purchase it to cover a current crisis.

  68. 68

    @harlana:

    Also, under our current system to be eligible for Medicaid and other public insurance you pretty much have to deplete all of your resources and bankrupt your family.

    That way, Republicans can whine about how irresponsible you are. Neat how that works, eh?

  69. 69
    harlana says:

    @SpotWeld: this is the cruel part of the plan, there’s just no way around that. altho, i think some drug companies do provide free drugs for those who do not have insurance (i would have been able to get free antidepressants (a newer drug that is $300 a month right now–and crucial to my ability to function like a normal human being and do interviews and stuff), from Lilly’s program), however, it doesn’t cover ALL drugs (but, not surprisingly, it covers Cialis!) i think there are some ways to get around this but it requires some research. not sure about diabetic supplies tho. perhaps PCIP folks can offer suggestions as to how to get free meds, or reduced-cost meds, during the uninsured period (sure hope so anyway)– regardless, you have to dig, they are not exactly broadcasting this information to the public – so lots of people don’t even know help is available yet, they think they have to wait until 2014, which is sad.

  70. 70
    The Moar You Know says:

    And the salaries of the doctors and nurses-not insignificant either.

    @Amanda in the South Bay: This is one area I don’t think we should be looking to for cost controls. There are certain people, such as doctors, airline pilots, teachers, lawyers, nuclear reactor technicians – where the bar for competence is set pretty high for good reasons. I don’t mind those people getting paid very well, it beats having the wrong limb removed.

  71. 71
    NonyNony says:

    @Bill H.:

    Here are people happy to get coverage at $350/month with a pretty high deductible, while in 49 other states we see people with no coverage at all, and these workers are willing to shut down their employer and lose wages over $92/mth for a health care benefit. It just seems like they need to look around at what other people are experiencing.

    You do realize that there’s a substantial difference between “part of my wages are the health care that my employer has been paying for” and “I have to pay out the ass for healthcare insurance right now”, right?

    Health care is part of the compensation for those workers. That’s why they’re mad – their employer is asking them to take a wage cut in the form of cutting their health care benefit. The folks who can’t get health care at all due to pre-existing conditions and not having jobs that have healthcare as part of a compensation package are in a different boat.

    I suspect that what the supermarket chains are NOT doing is saying “we’re going to cut your health care, but we’re going to give you a raise to cover the difference”. They’re cutting wages. And that pisses people off.

  72. 72
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I dunno, maybe, but there are always going to be trade offs when you offer certain professions high salaries-you can’t pretend that costs aren’t going to go up because of it.

    I guess I’ve been around doctors, nurses, hospitals and clinics a fair amount over the past several years, and to be honest its the first thing that comes to mind when I come across nurses and doctors with shitty bedside manners-that they were just looking for their meal ticket. There are just so many people who don’t belong around patients.

  73. 73
    Gex says:

    @Too Many Jimpersons (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.): Yup. A Democratic presidential candidate has not won the white vote since the Civil Rights Act. But you ask white working class voters why they vote Republican and they are shocked and offended if you suggest racism is a component. It’s just that poor whites all of a sudden changed their political inclinations for no apparent reason.

  74. 74
    harlana says:

    @Southern Beale: YUP! You nailed it.

  75. 75
    Gex says:

    @harlana: When I was in college, one of the most depressing things I observed was that all the pre-med students I knew wanted to get rich. They didn’t particularly express any interest in helping people. Paul is of that mode. Hell, our entire healthcare system is of that mode overall, individuals’ motives notwithstanding.

  76. 76
    Ohio Mom says:

    The irony of this story is that Synder was living his values: working for a (maybe THE all-time) Libertarian candidate, and making his own “free” choice not to buy health insurance. Then he ends up, as defined by that value system, as a “parasite” on the rest of us, because that two months in the hospital was paid by all of us who do pay for health insurance.

    I don’t have a problem with Paul not providing health insurance or Synder accepting a job without health insurance, because that’s the value system they hold/held.

    And I feel perfectly fine with assuming Synder made a deliberate choice not to buy his own policy because he certainly must have made enough money to afford some kind of plan and he certainly was capable of navigating the private health insurance market. I put the responsibility all on him, because he had to know better, by my sights and by his own value system.

    In my mind, that’s the story that everyone is missing, the story with the moral, Libertarian FAIL.

  77. 77

    My husband works for local government, and one of his commissioners, who is in her 80s and is a Teanut Republican who openly uses the “N” word, pushed to have all commissioners get a lifetime health insurance policy. So now the city has to pay for some of the most expensive health insurance for their commissioners because they’re all 80 gazillion years old and in and out of the hospital all the time.

    But ask her if she wants the rest of us to get that same deal and OH NO S0C1AL1SM!

  78. 78
    soonergrunt says:

    @Bill H.:

    Here are people happy to get coverage at $350/month with a pretty high deductible, while in 49 other states we see people with no coverage at all, and these workers are willing to shut down their employer and lose wages over $92/mth for a health care benefit. It just seems like they need to look around at what other people are experiencing

    Maybe they do, and are making damn sure it doesn’t happen to them too.

  79. 79

    @Hoodie:

    #55

    You are saying that exposure to death humbles a person?

    I’ve known a lot of doctors in my time [working in the medical field] and have found that the cancer docs tend to be the most down-to-earth and patient souls. They have their victories but lose often enough to remind them that they are merely human.

    There might be other specialties associated with the same thing.

    I worked with an otolaryngologist once who mainly treated people with throat cancer and we could always tell when he lost a patient because he would “find” the time to mingle with the underlings and really care about their families, etc.

  80. 80
    harlana says:

    @SpotWeld: this is the cruel part of the plan, there’s just no way around that. altho, i think some drug companies do provide free drugs for those who do not have insurance (i would have been able to get free antidepressants (a newer drug that is $300 a month right now—and crucial to my ability to function like a normal human being and do interviews and stuff), from Lilly’s program), however, it doesn’t cover ALL drugs (but, not surprisingly, it covers SEE-al-lis!) i think there are some ways to get around this but it requires some research. not sure about diabetic supplies tho. perhaps PCIP folks can offer suggestions as to how to get free meds, or reduced-cost meds, during the uninsured period (sure hope so anyway)—regardless, you have to dig, they are not exactly broadcasting this information to the public – so lots of people don’t even know help is available yet, they think they have to wait until 2014, which is sad.

  81. 81
    MAJeff says:

    @Bill H.:

    Here are people happy to get coverage at $350/month with a pretty high deductible, while in 49 other states we see people with no coverage at all, and these workers are willing to shut down their employer and lose wages over $92/mth for a health care benefit. It just seems like they need to look around at what other people are experiencing.

    So, in other words, they should accede and become part of the race to the bottom?

    The problem isn’t that this group might receive good health care with relatively small out of pocket costs while others don’t have it, it’s that those other people don’t have it. They won’t get it if everyone decides to accept less and less and less because someone else has worse coverage. That only serves to impoverish all of us.

  82. 82
    rikyrah says:

    I’ll say it again…FUCK Blitzer and his fucking hypothetical.

    we had the REAL LIFE CASE.

    24 year old UNEMPLOYED FATHER DIED FROM A GODDAMN TOOTH PROBLEM BECAUSE HE COULDN’T AFFORD THE MEDICATION TO SAVE HIS LIFE.

    I like this REALITY even better than Paul’s worker, because this is the reality for so many in this country.

    though, the REALITY of Paul’s worker would have done well enough for me than Blitzer’s bullshyt hypothetical.

  83. 83
    Chris says:

    @Southern Beale:

    “Top 5 Signs Your Healthcare System is Broken.”

    They missed the biggest one: the fact that we’re having this discussion at all. Is access to health care a huge political issue in the EU, or in Canada? Nope, because it works. The very fact that we’re still having an argument that the rest of the free world stopped having over fifty years ago should be indication enough of where our health care system is.

  84. 84

    @harlana:

    Free or nearly free meds:

    For folks in Ohio, Giant Eagle grocery chain and perhaps some other stores offer very cheap generic drugs, and I think free antibiotics and nearly free diabetic stuff. I don’t have all the info but check it out.

  85. 85
    Gex says:

    @Bill H.: So if the union is being presented with completely odious terms except for the health care benefits, those benefits should be the benchmark for everyone else? I gather that part of soonergrunt’s point is that without context as to the rest of the contract, you can’t really reference those health care benefit terms in relation to other deals. It seems to me, terms like that might be an attempt to present a deal “they can’t say no to” to get some other really nasty terms in place.

  86. 86

    One of our local newspapers runs a “top sales” real estate feature every week. It’s a listing of the priciest homes in the area that have recently closed and info on who the buyers are and who the sellers are. What I noticed is that almost all of the buyers are involved in the healthcare field — hospital executives, insurance executives, pharmaceutical people, occasionally doctors. I linked to one in my “Top Signs Your Healthcare System Is Broken” post I linked to at 9:52.

    It takes a lot of money and debt to make it through medical school and I don’t want to begrudge someone their salary, but I do think the increasing specialization of the medical field has resulted in higher salaries and higher costs. But really the big money is in the corporate field. Hospital executives, HMO execs, etc. I think that’s worse than the doctors.

  87. 87
    Chris says:

    @Hoodie:

    It’s not like you begrudge them their benies; I have lots of relatives with military service, and I’m glad they get what they get, because they earned it and often put up with a degree of hardship. It’s the insufferable, pigheaded self-righteousness that grates.

    There seems to be a conceit among some in the military not unlike that in the upper rungs of the business community, that they’re doing the really important, hard work, and that the great unwashed mass of civilians/peons out there have it easy and just aren’t grateful enough to them. Not saying all or even most soldiers are like this, but it’s a message the GOP echo chamber magnifies and pushes for all it’s worth. (See the “It is the soldier, not the…” poems and all the slogans and messages like it).

    The implication being that they deserve this, but the rest of America, all those lazy civvies, didn’t earn it.

  88. 88
    MomSense says:

    @sherrifffruitfly #39

    Thank you!!! Yes, exactly this!

  89. 89
    kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    This is naive, but I kept expecting some regular people to enter the health care debate. It could have been done so well, and I think it would have been “good television” (or news) in terms of marketing or sales for media.

    There are just so many real stories, and none of them were told. Everyone has a health care story. That was just completely absent from the coverage. The whole “death panel” debate would have changed if they had actually spoken to people who sought out and signed an advanced directive (living will). They’re really articulate on it. They have well-formed theories and thoughts on how they want this to go.

    It was just so fucking stupid, that debate. It really demeaned the whole issue. No wonder people tuned it out.

  90. 90

    @rikyrah:

    I’ll say it again…FUCK Blitzer and his fucking hypothetical.

    YES. Damn, but this is another element of the story being overlooked. Wolf Blitzer framed a simple-minded and utterly fictitious scenario so Ron Paul can present his smug “personal responsibility” line.

    Hey, Blitzer and CNN: please go find us a 30 year old healthy young man with a good job, plenty of money, and no health insurance for the simple reason that he thinks he’s bullet proof. I dare you.

    I maintain those people are few and far between. At around $500-$700 a month for a health insurance policy, of course someone who is healthy is going to opt to play the odds — that’s an ECONOMIC decision. If insurance were $500 a year not $500 a month I bet you’d have fewer uninsured that meet Blitzer’s hypothetical criteria.

  91. 91

    @kay:

    OMG they did! THEY DID! Remember how the right-wingers went after that family that came out and supported healthcare reform? Like Michelle Malkin went through the trash of that kid who supported expanding SCHIP? Remember that?

    Right wing bully tactics designed to intimidate … and people still came out and said, hey I have a preexisting condition and can’t get insurance and hey my kid can’t get insurance, TONS of people came out.

    But a couple of teanuts with tea bags hanging off their hats and the words S0C1AL1SM and DEATH PANELS and it’s all over.

  92. 92
    kay says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I don’t think you’re really southern, with this refreshing bluntness you have :)

    My entire time in the south I was puzzled. I never knew what the hell was going on. “What do you MEAN by that?”

    It was really amusing. For them.

  93. 93
    Hoodie says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Funny you should mention those examples, because my mom was an OR nurse for 40 years, started out scrubbing for a doc that did radical neck procedures on ENT cancers. You can imagine what the success rate was on those in the 1960’s. What you describe pretty much fits what she would tell me. The biggest assholes I encounter tend to be people who have imaginary fears or minor fears that they inflate beyond all perspective and lead them to a lot of assholish behavior. In contrast, people who have had more direct experience with real things that remind them of their own mortality tend to be more balanced. It seems that a lot of libertarians in the US seem to believe that we’re locked in a life and death struggle for the survival of the species, that the US is on the edge of an abyss and therefore simply cannot afford an increase of 4% in the marginal tax rate because of a miniscule chance that those ever so precious job creators – who seem to be on strike notwithstanding 10 years of tax cuts — might be disincentivized and bring the place to ruin. It’s fucking silly when you look at the travails of most of the rest of the world. And, of course, it becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as these folks seem intent upon driving us faster toward banana republic status even as they claim to be doing the opposite.

  94. 94

    @jon: Jon, I’m so stealing that.

  95. 95
    Elie says:

    @kay:

    kay:

    Thank you for this post…as usual you are performing real service in keeping the community here informed.

    Sadly, now that someone has actually lost his/her life basically following this theoretical policy, Paul has to go all in and jut out that lower jaw to insist that this is the only way and that the value has to be on “his right” to what, die without treatment, pass on huge debt to his mother, what? It is beyond pathetic. Frankly, it also undermines the business reality… there have been lucrative business (insurance) set up just to prevent such needless death and suffering. (we won’t go into the issue of the horrid insurance companies for now. my point is just that there is no justification for Paul’s stance even within the “free” market)

    These folks are just malicious children: morally, spiritually and intellectually unable to own their ideas and the consequences of those ideas in an honest way. Alls he can do is say that he WANTED it that way — for a significant person in his campaign, and presumably certainly his life, to die, for want of paying some monthly fee that would allow him treatment. That fee would also sustain incomes for not only the doc and the hospital, but hundreds of workers in that hospital… fees like that help make up our economy, allowing thousands of hospital and provider employees to buy things.

    Oh nevermind. I was trying to use arguments related to other values these free marketers say they believe in. I couldnt fully pull it off but you get my drift: its all about lies and bluffing… little people without honor and a soul who want to lead us. Sca-ree.

  96. 96
    ppcli says:

    @Chris: Very true. One of the culture shocks for me arriving in the US from Canada in the mid-eighties was the onslaught of op-ed pieces and scare stories (even-the-liberal-NYT/Wapo/New Republic/etc. included)about how the system was going to fall apart, and doctors were leaving Canada in droves, and you needed to wait 15 years for an emergency appendix removal, and doctors were being paid in Canadian Tire money and…. 25 years later, I’m reading almost word for word exactly the same stories. I expect if I listened to Reagan’s famous anti-medicare LP I would hear them too.

    The culture shock part arose of course from the fact that you hardly ever heard things like this in Canada, and when you did (for example, long waits in really isolated areas – like, say, the part of the Yukon Territory that Sarah Palin went to when she needed medical attention) it was treated as a limited glitch that could be corrected with minor tinkering. No threat to the system itself.

    Perhaps we should sell T-shirts: “Canadian Health Care – On the Verge of Collapse since 1946”.

  97. 97
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @soonergrunt:

    My parents died of cancer within months of each other. They weren’t even cold before I began to be dunned by various collection agencies for their tens of thousands in medical bills. The bills were despite them both having name brand medical insurance. This was back in the Eighties and so the bill collectors had far fewer restraints on how much they could fuck with you – at home, at work, everywhere. I was a young machinist at the time and I wasn’t making much money so the barrage of threats to hail me into court, ruin my credit for life, etc. took a real toll. I contacted an attorney to find out what my obligations actually were and after looking into it I was told that I owed nothing. The attorney also told me that, practically speaking, there was little or nothing I could do to stop the harassment other than to tell the credit agencies that I had spoken with an attorney and they had no valid claim on me. It took over a year for the last of them to give up.

  98. 98
    The Moar You Know says:

    There seems to be a conceit among some in the military not unlike that in the upper rungs of the business community, that they’re doing the really important, hard work, and that the great unwashed mass of civilians/peons out there have it easy and just aren’t grateful enough to them.

    @Chris: I’ve been working with the military for the last decade and I can tell you in all honesty that in that time I’ve met exactly two people who felt this way – both stateside, never deployed officers, no shock there – out of a sample population of several thousand.

    The overwhelming majority of current and retired military know that as far as retirement benefits are concerned, they’ve got it very, very good compared to the rest of America, and are pretty grateful to have it.

  99. 99
    kay says:

    @Elie:

    I don’t take Ron Paul seriously as a conservative. He’s the procurer of tons of federal funds for his district, and his state has horrendous health care.

    There’s nothing stopping Ron Paul from doing something directly to align with his principles there. He’s a goddamned doctor. Maybe he should open a cash-only clinic in his state, the state that has more who go w/out health care than all but one other, and live the libertarian dream. He can employ his arrogant, dismissive know-nothing son while he’s at it.

    Live the dream, Dr. Paul. I’m not stopping you.

  100. 100
    JPL says:

    @Bill H.: EMTALA is the most expensive way to treat the sick. What I want to see is the republicans criticize the mandate part of the law.

  101. 101
    Elie says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Wow, Dennis. Sorry for your loss of both of your folks. How horrible and painful that must have been for you….

    Lord, it just sickens me that this is what these folks model in their minds as the right thing… unbelievable.

    On a slightly different tack, going back to the main story, I hope that the mother of Paul’s campaign employee also sought legal advice. Even if she co-signed his care, she might have legal recourse up to and including bankruptcy. BTW bankruptcy for medical reasons is in the top 2-3 reasons for personal bankruptcy.

  102. 102
    Chris says:

    @ppcli:

    I know what you mean – “Europe,” which I’m partly from (French dual citizenship) and have lived in and gone to the hospital in gets the same treatment as Canada. The way they portray Europe and Canada in right-wing media is more or less the way Cuban state-run media portrays the United States. It’s not exaggeration or sleight of hand or anything, they’re just making shit up as they go along to conform to the official ideology.

    What always strikes me is the determination of conservatives, when you bring that up with them, to not believe you and somehow start trying to tell you how things actually work in, y’know, your country. Yeah, yeah, you’ve lived there and been to the hospital there and all, but I watch Fox News! I read PJMedia! I even read a book about the EU once! I’ve gotta know more than you!

  103. 103
    Elie says:

    @kay:

    Yes, there is that: Charity.

    My God, what century are these people in!

  104. 104
    Mary Jane says:

    @Bill H.: Jesus, Bill. Many of the grocery workers make minimum wage, about $1200/mo. full-time. And they have good reason to believe their portion of the premium won’t be capped at $92. Rounding off, that’s like an 8% pay cut for folks already at the poverty level.

  105. 105
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Elie:

    Thank you. Believe it or not those kind words still help.
    It was the worst time in my life. Powerlessness, guilt, sorrow, rage… if there was a bad emotion then I was living it 24/7. Like anyone else would, I tried to be cheerful and optimistic while nursing my parents. That was as painful as any of the rest of it.

  106. 106
    soonergrunt says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: My cousin replied to these people that unless HSBC could bring her dad back to life that there wasn’t much “help” for him from that front, and that since his ability to obtain credit had been permanently degraded, it didn’t really matter what happened to his credit score.

  107. 107
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    There are certain people, such as doctors, airline pilots, teachers, lawyers, nuclear reactor technicians – where the bar for competence is set pretty high for good reasons. I don’t mind those people getting paid very well

    As a teacher, I wouldn’t mind either. Does it actually happen somewhere?

  108. 108
    soonergrunt says:

    @Hoodie: I met a LOT of Air Force types like that working as a contractor, especially the guys who never served anywhere but an improved base, working a 9/5-type job.
    My father in law, an Annapolis graduate who retired as a one-star Admiral after 30 years in the Submarine service (boomers) and never voted until after he retired, became a pretty staunch Democrat after about 10 years working in the private sector. “Civilian life fucking sucks” was all he would ever say about that period before he went to work for the Department of Energy.

  109. 109
    Bill H. says:

    @NonyNony:

    You do realize that there’s a substantial difference between “part of my wages are the health care that my employer has been paying for” and “I have to pay out the ass for healthcare insurance right now”, right?

    Well, that might be true if the cost of health care were the same and the employer was saying “I want to pay less and have you pay more.”

    Such is not the case. The contract has been in place for some six years or so, and the cost of health care has risen dramatically. The employer is absorbing a large portion of that increase, and is asking the worker to absorn a small portion of it, and the worker is saying “No.”

    My health insurance premium increased 18% last year, and 25% this year, making a 47.5% increase in a two year period while wages increases 4% in the same two years, and the grocery workers an saying that they will accept no increase whatever for health care while getting 3.5% per year in wages.

    So, with health care costs increasing at a fearsome rate and the employer eating the bulk of that increase, giving the workers a wage increase and asking the worker to absorb a small percentage of the increase in health care cost, while the employer is wallowing around in the huge 1.5% profit margin that it is making, that employer is a real asshole, isn’t it?

  110. 110
    soonergrunt says:

    @Dennis SGMM: I’m terribly sorry for the rough time that was for you. And creditors never make it easier.
    As my cousin said to one of them on the phone “you were a human being once, before you became a bill collector.”

  111. 111
    Chris says:

    @Hoodie:

    I do wonder if it does has some correlation with whether they saw significant combat or not. My uncle was career AF, but flew 35 B-29 missions over Japan and saw a lot of his friends die. He was a mensch, never would act like this. My father-in-law was in Viet Nam, but he was mostly rear area logistics. I have another cousin, retired Navy nurse, who pretty much has the same teabagger mentality.

    Didn’t mention this back up there, but…

    I’ve wondered the same thing before, because I have two cousins and two uncles who’ve served in the military: The two cousins and one of the uncles are all good Republicans, all officers, but as far as I know, none of them have ever seen combat (though one’s been to Afghanistan, but in the logistics chain of command, not a combat unit).

    The other uncle was enlisted (not an officer) in the Marines, and he did see combat, in Korea. Unlike the other three… definitely NOT a Gooper. Heck, he sounds more radical than me sometimes.

    I’ve also got a grandfather who served in combat in Vietnam, who died long before I was born. One of many reasons I’m sorry I never met him is because I’d really like to know what he’d say if he were alive today. The guy is on record saying that Vietnam was a stupid war, however, which is something unthinkable out of the mouth of any of the Goopers.

    So… yeah. Maybe having been in combat does have an effect on people. Don’t know, though, this is all anecdotal.

  112. 112
    kc says:

    When he died on June 26, 2008, two weeks after Paul withdrew his first bid for the presidency, his hospital costs amounted to $400,000. The bill was handed to Snyder’s surviving mother (pictured, left), who was incapable of paying.

    What, the church didn’t pay it?

  113. 113
    kay says:

    @Bill H.:

    and the grocery workers an saying that they will accept no increase whatever for health care while getting 3.5% per year in wages.

    Bill, I think you’d have to know where they are in the negotiation process to understand whether we’re at the threats and drama portion or the (later) reality-based portion.

    Unions exist to push on behalf of members. To take every publicly-released statement at face value is to misunderstand what advocates do. Both sides know what’s going on here, this dance, and both sides are going to push as hard as they can.

    They’re not setting public policy. They’re negotiating on behalf of specific people, and there are two sides. I am fully confident in management’s ability to handle themselves in this dispute.

  114. 114

    @kay:

    I don’t think you’re really southern, with this refreshing bluntness you have :)

    Technically, Tennessee is the “mid-South.”

    :-)

    I’m originally from California, so you’re correct. 26 years in Tennessee hasn’t wrested the DFH out of me.

  115. 115

    @Smiling Mortician:

    As a teacher, I wouldn’t mind either. Does it actually happen somewhere?

    Ditto nuclear reactor technicians. I met some of those dufuses when I worked for TVA. They’re not all rocket scientists.

  116. 116
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Chris:

    My dad was aboard the USS Utah when Pearl Harbor was hit. He fought all of the way through the Pacific campaign until he was nearly fatally wounded by a kamikaze. He stayed in the Navy and went on to fight in Korea and in the very early days of Vietnam. He was old fashioned in the best sense of the word and definitely not conservative.

    I fought in Vietnam and I’m a DFH. Speaking strictly for myself, the experience of combat left me acutely aware of how fragile life is and how easily a life can be snuffed out through no fault of your own.

  117. 117
    grandpajohn says:

    @jeffreyw: Yeah, good question
    couple of years ago I was sent to the hospital for observation and some testing. I was there for one night at a cost of over 6000 dollars. According to the bill the room was charged at 900 dollars a day.
    something that most people probably don’t knowif you are admitted for observation, medicare does not pay for medications that you normally take. It took me two years of refusing to pay a bill of 166 dollars ,to find this out, the two years was for the hospital to continually and arrogantly ignore my request for an itemized statement of charges while continuing to send me bills and turn it over to a collection agency even ignoring the agencies request that they send me the itemized statement that I asked for.
    Finally after writing them a scathing letter about their arrogant treatment,I got the statement but have not payed it. I figured that if it took two years for them to respond, I can take two years to pay them

  118. 118
    Elie says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    cheerful and optimistic — been there (nursing him) with my Dad but thankfully Mom is still going pretty well

    What is it in some humans that wants to consign us to being fearful animals living by the skin of our teeth without mercy and support for each other? What life experience, what spiritual path leads you to such sadness for oneself and others? Who would wrest this model and hold it up as the exalted gold standard of being, except someone really really sad and diminished….Even animals respond to kindness and nurturance — My cat brings me the dead mouse he caught as offering…what do these people bring?

  119. 119
    ruemara says:

    I had a massive blood pressure episode that I at least found amusing, afterwards, but I had to go to the ER. I walked out after 5 hours with an appointment to come back the next day. 2 days, less than 7 hours, nearly $15k bill. I had insurance and was told my co-pay would be $200. I got a bill for $300+, nearly 4 months later. I paid it. Then I got another bill for $3k. And calls, many calls. I asked for a itemized bill. Just the use of the ER room cost me nearly $750 per hour. The nose tampons cost me about $100 for 2. And my insurance company went above the amount they were supposed to pay, but even they had to cut off the hospital. It’s been almost 7 years and now they’re back to hounding me for the last $3k. Hospitals are predators. It’s a money grubbing racket around services you desperately need. I don’t even fault the bill collectors, but there’s something wrong when literally the same stupid packed cotton a woman can buy 8 to a box for $3 costs nearly $100 for 2.

  120. 120
    kay says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Technically, Tennessee is the “mid-South.”

    Oh, sure. I would have said “mountain state” but what the hell do I know.

    I know they’re not all the same. When I went to North Carolina from Georgia the North Carolinians were careful to tell me they were different than Georgia. The coastal Carolinians are less rugged and manly than the mountain Carolinians, too. I love all those inter-intra-state/regional rivalries. It seems like everyone, everywhere does it.

    “We’re not them!” No. Of course you’re not. You’re way better.

  121. 121
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Elie:

    What is it in some humans that wants to consign us to being fearful animals living by the skin of our teeth without mercy and support for each other?

    I wish I knew. The people whom you describe seem to be unable to understand that we’re in this together. FWIW, I think that many of them confuse good fortune, being born white and middle or upper class for instance, with skill, ability and intelligence. This enables them to credit themselves with any progress that they make in the world and so they are automatically right about anything that catches their attention.

  122. 122
    harlana says:

    fearful animals living by the skin of our teeth without mercy and support for each other

    welcome to “the new normal”

  123. 123
    wrb says:

    DeFazio is my rep.

    He needs to be slapped, hard.

    Is he ignorent or being a whore, playing the ignorant for his benefit, is the question.

  124. 124
    harlana says:

    @kay: Interestingly, a lotta NC mountain people are hippies (well, i should qualify that, western NC)

  125. 125
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @harlana:

    welcome to “the new normal”

    That is one of the most depressing comments that I’ve ever read. I know that the halcyon days of barn-raising, corn shucking, and a Grange Hall in every rural community are largely sepia-toned representations of an America that existed for far fewer years than people think. Did we have to fall this far?

  126. 126

    @kay:

    “We’re not them!” No. Of course you’re not. You’re way better.

    We’re not Kentucky! We have our teeth!

    :-)

    But honestly, the unofficial motto of virtually every Southern state is “thank God for Mississippi.” Everyone hates Mississippi.

    Kinda wish Haley Barbour had decided to run for president. It would have been hil-fucking-larious.

  127. 127
    Bmaccnm says:

    @jeffreyw: :ate to the party, but the guy probably died intubated in the ICU, on $200/dose antibiotics. That costs big bucks.

  128. 128
    Lojasmo says:

    @Bill H.:

    The rate at which the groceries are submitting money to the health care fund is inadequate to sustain it past September.

    If the workers settle, they may be without insurance after that.

  129. 129
    cckids says:

    @PurpleGirl: Also, visits every 4 hours (at least) by respiratory therapists, plus a charge for the treatment/meds they’d be giving him via an inhaler/nebulizer, oxygen (last time my son was in hospital they charged $600 per day for oxygen), he’d be seen by a separate specialist for everything possible–a pulmonologist for the lungs, an infectious disease doc for the pneumonia, a”hospitalist” overseeing the care. You are charged for everything, everything that comes into your room, use it or not.

  130. 130
    kay says:

    @harlana:

    Interestingly, a lotta NC mountain people are hippies (well, i should qualify that, western NC)

    I met one! He had a “compound”, which is what I label anything vaguely communal and in the “wilderness”. I thought the coastal people were great, too. More like surfers than hippies. I like that they wear flip flops when it’s 40 degrees. They’re committed.

  131. 131
    cckids says:

    @Bill H.:

    Here are people happy to get coverage at $350/month with a pretty high deductible, while in 49 other states we see people with no coverage at all, and these workers are willing to shut down their employer and lose wages over $92/mth for a health care benefit. It just seems like they need to look around at what other people are experiencing.

    I agree. At my last employer, (one of the large casinos here in Vegas), I was dumbstruck that many of the other employees were up in arms about a change in their health insurance–they were now required to pay toward their family’s premium. I believe it was something like $25 per month. This was for very good coverage, too. Their own insurance was free. Plus, any family member you had with a pre-existing condition was covered as well. Admittedly, this was 12 years ago, but even then, to someone like me, working part-time, with no benefits, (and with an otherwise non-insurable family member) it seemed like the deal of a lifetime. I kept telling them they had no idea how good they had it, but many, especially the older employees, were quite pissed.

    Plus, what brought on the moderation for my #131 comment? Excessive hospitalese?

  132. 132
    JenJen says:

    @The Spy Who Loved Me:

    Does Obama for America offer health insurance coverage? I’d be very surprised if they did.

    Prepare for a real shock, then. At the time of Kent Snyder’s death, numerous stories noted that while Ron Paul’s campaign did not provide health insurance for even its top staffers, the campaigns of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and John McCain did.

  133. 133
    grandpajohn says:

    @Southern Beale: The key is this; which stories did the MSM cover extensively and which ones did they not cover?
    When we finally reach the third world status that we are striving towards, our corrupt media will bear as much or more of the credit than the repubs.

    w

  134. 134
    b-psycho says:

    @cckids: Fill in the blank: spe_______t.

    Whatever spam filter is installed here reads what was in that blank as if it were a separate word. Because the filter is dumb. That’s why everyone spells soshulism wrong.

  135. 135
    Ruckus says:

    @Gex:
    A friend works at the local food/commercial workers union. Since the current depression recession started most of the local supermarkets have cut hours so that most people work part time, to avoid having to pay for health care. So many of the people have had to take second jobs at another market to make ends come close to meeting. The markets have the same number of workers, working the same number of hours but their costs have dropped and more people are now without health care. The southern calif supermarkets are owned by the same chains as here so I’ll bet the same thing is happening there. So the worker’s wages and being cut and benefits are going away. Have you noticed food costs going down? Me neither.

  136. 136
    gelfling545 says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Here in western NY (and now other places on the east coast, I hear) the Wegmans chain offers similar. It has literally saved the lives of a couple people I know.

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