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I am not going to offer many words of my own.  The sole purpose of this diary is to call your attention to a story about an event that should shock and motivate us all.

The cover story in today's Washington Post Magazine is about an annual event in far SW Virginia, in Wise, home turf of our own "va dare.".  It is entitled Hidden Hurt, and is subtitled "Desperate for medical care, the uninsured flock by the hundreds to a remote corner of Virginia for the chance to see a doctor."  Let me offer the beginning:

Pain hides in these green mountains. Diseased hearts and clouded lungs, aching teeth and anxious minds.

But for three days a year, more than 800 volunteer doctors, dentists, nurses and other health-care workers come from all over Virginia and beyond to this isolated place in Appalachia to provide free medical care to those who cannot afford it. Sick and hurting people by the hundreds gather and wait for the gates of the Wise County Fairgrounds to swing open -- their presence a testament to the country's health-care crisis.

PLEASE KEEP READING

Some of you know that I am participating in a Political Leaders Program through the Sorensen Institute at the University of Virginia.  Our cohort comes from all over the Commonwealth, and we are a diverse group politically:  Dems, Independents, and Repubs.  This weekend we were in the Southwestern portion of the state, finishing up in Roanoke.  In this our penultimate get-together, we organized our class, election a class president and deciding about a class gift.  

But we did more.  Led by two of our members who participated in this event in Wise this summer, we committed as a class - all of us - to get together for a reunion volunteering for this event next summer.  

I am honored to be a part of a group of people willing to make such a commitment.  I am also chagrined that something like this is still necessary in this nation, a nation with untold riches so inequitably distributed that some can spend thousands on vanity cosmetic surgery while others lack access to even the basic medical services.  

Even those who have access to health care find how limited it can be.  We do not yet provide parity for mental health, and in our discussions about health care we usually totally ignore dental health. We shouldn't - remember  Deamonte Driver?  If you don't, take a few moments to read For Want of a Dentist - the Washington Post story which raised this issue to national attention.  It begins simply enough:

Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

If Medicaid dentists weren't so hard to find.

If his mother hadn't been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.

By the time Deamonte's own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George's County boy died.

As we were deciding to make our commitment yesterday, the class member who works on health care issues for the Kaine administration told us about a woman who flew across the country on her brother's frequent flier miles, hitchhiked from Bristol (the nearest airport) to Wise to get all her teeth extracted, but then had no way to get home.  Untreated dental disease can not only lead to infections like that which killed Deamonte Driver, it can also lead to fatal heart disease.  

The Post Magazine article will tell you about Stan Brock, the former star of Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom," who organized RAMVC.  This event, a day's drive from our nation's Capitol, provides a bright light shining on the unmet needs of so many of our people.

Let me quote about Brock, and about this event:

Now in his 70s, Brock gained fame four decades ago as the anaconda-wrestling co-star of the popular television series "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom." But he has spent the last 23 years flying to some of the poorest places on the planet, bringing free medical care to those who desperately need it. And people rely on that care in rural Virginia, just a day's drive from the U.S. Capitol, he says, just as much as they do in Africa or Latin America.

"The need is massive," Brock says. "We pick up everything from brain tumors to lung cancer to cervical cancer to breast cancer."

Brock takes great pride in the economy and efficiency of the Wise clinic, which costs just $26,000 this year because the doctors, dentists, optometrists, nurses and other workers donate their time. But even as the clinic saves lives and alleviates suffering, Brock knows it amounts to slapping a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. There are approximately 47 million Americans who lack health insurance and another 25 million who are underinsured, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based foundation that supports research on health-care issues. Hospitals on county fairgrounds, Brock says, are not the answer.

slapping a Band-Aid on a gaping wound

Think of the lives cut short or limited because of lack of basic health care.  Then please, explain to me how can place political ideology above the lives of these people, our fellow humans.  How can one argue that one is Christian or Jewish and ignore the words in Matthew 25 about the least of these or the commands in Torah about justice and leaving the corners of the field?  Hell, how can one be a sentient creature and not an unfeeling stone and not recognize that there are few needs more immediate than people in medical need, in crisis.

Obama did poorly in Appalachia, but this is not a partisan issues.  Consider this:

Because he lives in Tennessee, Brock has become increasingly focused on the plight of the poor in his own back yard -- Appalachia -- where many people in places such as Wise County go for years without seeing a doctor or dentist.

This is coal country, with an economy that has ridden a boom-and-bust cycle from the arrival of the railroads in the 1880s to the passage of the Clean Air Act almost a century later. The richest seams of coal have dwindled, and many of the remaining jobs have been replaced by mechanization. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, the poverty rate in Wise County is 19.2 percent -- more than twice that of the rest of Virginia. The per capita income is only about $14,000 a year.

And then consider the work of Sister Bernadette Kenny, a nun from the Medical Missionaries of St. Mary, a registered nurse whose mobile Health Wagon goes into the hollows and "treats more than 2,400 people a year with funding from private foundations and patient donations" -  

It was Kenny and a fellow Health Wagon nurse, Teresa Gardner, who persuaded Brock to bring his volunteer medical corps to Wise after helping him at a clinic in Tennessee in 2000. They told him how badly their patients needed access to specialists, dentists and eye doctors. From the early 1980s to 2000, the Harvard School of Public Health has found, life expectancies in Appalachia have dropped for both sexes.

In Wise County, "there are patients literally dying of diabetes," says Gardner. The specialists who can help them are a two-hour drive away in Kingsport, Tenn., she says, "if you have insurance."

a two-hour drive away

if you have insurance

I am not going to quote further.  I am going to urge you to take the time to read the Post article, to look at the video and pictures, and to pass this on as widely as possible.

We face many problems in this nation.  But no matter how great the problems before us, allowing so many people to wither and die young because they lack access to meet their basic medical needs is shameful and unacceptable.  It is why our entire approach to the funding and distribution of medical services needs to be rethought.

But we cannot wait for a total redesign or people will continue to suffer, there will be more Deamonte Drivers in our metropolitan areas, and far too many in the remote corners where their stories so often do not get told, where because they are out of sight their needs seem always to be ignored, as they are themselves marginalized except when some politician wants their votes or some movie maker want to portray them as backwards and somehow lesser than the rest of us, those of us who might be classified as "fortunate sons" and daughters.

There are many diaries here that are far better written than is this.  But I at least have never written about anything more important.  That is why I am sending out the link to this diary to as many people as I can.  I want the Post story as widely visible as possible.  If the best way I can help accomplish that is to promote this diary, so be it.

But it is not about this diary, and certainly it is not about me.  it is about our fellow Americans, and it is most assuredly about us.

Hubert Humphrey once laid down an important marker, which I often find relevant to repeat.  I believe it applicable here:  

It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.

It is moral test not only of a government, but in a democracy of the people and society whom that government purports to represent.

We are now in a celebratory mood about the election.  In no way do I seek to dampen our enthusiasm.  But our celebrations should not keep us blind from the abject conditions to which so many of our fellow Americans are subject.  

Please, do what you can to help bring attention - and more - to this issue, to the needs of the people in places like Wise and elsewhere.

And perhaps then, my final salutation will be appropriate.

Peace.

UPDATE  - it was suggested in the comments that I provide contact info, so here is the link for Remote Area Medical

And for those into Digg links

for this original Post story

for this diary  (thanks to BigVegan for putting links on DIGG(

and again,

Peace.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:12 AM PST.

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  •  Please help make this story known (580+ / 0-)
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    thanks in advance for whatever you may do

    peace

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:13:35 AM PST

  •  Teacherken your Diaries are ALWAYS important (28+ / 0-)

    Thank you for adding this. If I could repeatedly 'rec' this one I would!!!!!!!!!

    You are a blessing. All best.

    Shunpike's Theorem: "apparently, in Spanish, Cheney translates to `Pinochet'"; Puffmeister's Corollary: we - and our constitution - are the newly disappeared.

    by puffmeister on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:20:34 AM PST

  •  I saw a documentary on this maybe... 60 minutes (28+ / 0-)

    and what struck me was how many people show up for services that are preventative and some are in need of life saving care.

    I was so proud of Stan Brock and all the medical professionals who participate in the program.

    So sad but I am so hopeful that a health care policy may be enacted with the leadership of President-Elect Obama.

    As you indicate this outreach needs more publicity, money and supplies.

    What a story of charity, commitment and service.

    The Truth is nonpartisan!

    by fedupcitizen on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:27:18 AM PST

  •  Sent this to my entire email list (15+ / 0-)

    Get the word out, please, everyone.

  •  Thanks for this very important diary, Ken (13+ / 0-)

    Can you post links or e-mail addresses to help us hook up with Brock's group? I'm sure they're looking for people in the medical field, but is there a way for nonmedical people to volunteer with this group? And I'm sure they could use donations.

    Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.

    by MizC on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:29:47 AM PST

  •  Beyond the ethics it seems so (14+ / 0-)

    annoyingly inefficient: Lets save 80 $ for tooth extraction so we have to spend several thousand dollars for the severe case.

    •  Poor person's choice (21+ / 0-)

      I wrote a diary a while back about some financial difficulties of my own. A commentor pointed out that I had made a money saving choice (or so I thought) regarding car insurance and called it a "poor person's choice". The crux of the comment was something like "you could afford, with some difficulty, to get the extra insurance that would have paid off right now. You can't afford to be without a car. Your choice to save a little in the short term was a gamble you could not afford to lose."

      It was an eye-opening comment, surely.

      Preventive care is a major focus of the most successful single-payer systems throughout Europe and elsewhere, and would be utilized in the States if it were not subject to "poor person's thinking" (i.e. free).
      Given the examples teacherken has cited, that care would need to be in diet and exercise education and access as well as good medical and dental preventive care.

      On Liberation Day, 1/20/09, Americans will greet us with flowers and candy

      by kamarvt on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:42:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Diet is key (15+ / 0-)

        a good diet will help the kids start out healthy, and help to keep them that way.

        It's way more expensive to treat someone for diabetes and its complications than it is to provide them with decent food AND cooking lessons from the very beginning.

        We need to be offering free cooking lessons to people - start in prenatal care, where you have some chance of changing their habits and hopefully impacting what the kids get from the beginning. Provide incentives - coupons for free/cheap veggies and fruit, subsidized pots and pans, etc.

        Cooking and basic nutrition USED to be taught in school - one of those 'frills' that got thrown out in most places. It needs to be brought back, and not just for the kids.

        •  Change subsidy structure (14+ / 0-)

          We need to start subsidizing production of fruits and vegetables. We can get the money from the subsidies now being paid to promote growing of sugar and corn -- two products being used to fatten wallets ... and people.

          "We have trouble in the oil states because the President is viewed as favoring cheap energy." ~ George W. Bush in 1992.

          by chapel hill guy on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:59:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sugar & corn lobbies are well-funded; organic (12+ / 0-)

            veggie & fruit lobbies--not so much. Just another example of the evils of money influencing our legislative priorities, and how the end result harms the health of our nation, literally.

            Don't get me started on the Big Pharma lobby...My Day One priority? Ending prescription drug advertising. Just think of the good all that advertising and marketing money could do! Not to mention all the harm it does do--creating demand for the "latest & greatest" drugs, when often the older (and cheaper) meds perform BETTER.

            We are all droogie6655321 now.

            by earicicle on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:32:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Labor-intensive ag vs. capital-intensive ag (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              indres, earicicle, redtex, physic, kyeo

              I'm not an agricultural economist, but it seems to me we have two types of agriculture in this country: Labor-intensive agriculture and capital-intensive agriculture.

              Labor-intensive agriculture seems to be any crops in which people have figured out how to completely mechanize. So, you've got actual people out there pulling veggies and fruits off of plants ad trees.

              Capital-intensive agriculture is all the crops that can be farmed from atop big tractors, etc.

              Capital-intensive agriculture attracts money. Big Money seeks guaranteed returns. Big Money gets those guaranteed returns through legislation ... in the form of crop subsidies, import protections, export assistance, etc.

              Big Money rewards congresscritters with donations ... and the cycle continues.

              "We have trouble in the oil states because the President is viewed as favoring cheap energy." ~ George W. Bush in 1992.

              by chapel hill guy on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:41:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  edit: in second graf "... have NOT figured ..." (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                earicicle

                that's why the teach you in journalism to be careful with sentence constructions that use the word 'not.' Drop it and confusion reigns.

                "We have trouble in the oil states because the President is viewed as favoring cheap energy." ~ George W. Bush in 1992.

                by chapel hill guy on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:43:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  I read (9+ / 0-)

          I read an eye-opening expose on "nutrionnal racism", in that in the US in most poor/AA neighbourhoods it is very hard for them to find cheap vegetables nearby.

          Also read that in my province some social workers unjustly penalize some immigrant mothers who don't follow the Canadian Food Guide and give their kids nutrition from their countries (mostly Latin countries)...

        •  It would help (13+ / 0-)

          If good food was as cheap as, or even cheaper, than crap food. It is much cheaper for someone on food stamps to purchase pre-packaged crap than it is real food. Someone on food stamps here was stating that it was not even possible to buy fresh food with food stamps.

          And that's not even the heart of the issue. Good nutrition would go a long way for a lot of things (education, for one). But health care is a right. It is unreal that, in this country, we have MILLIONS of people with as much access to health care as those in third world countries. We have an entire class of people that are forgotten in any disucssion of the "prosperity of America". It is on the backs of people like these that prosperity is possible, and yet they are treated like trash. No wonder they are bitter.

          I still root for the dreamer. I thank God for the dreamer ~ Mos Def, Lifetime

          by alkalinesky on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:32:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Problem is, is that the cost of fresh fruits and (9+ / 0-)

          vegetables can't compete with the cost of processed food like Hamburger Helper or Ramen Noodles sold at the Dollar Store, which go a long way for the dollar sadly.

          I agree whole-heartedly that healthful nutrition needs to be taught. But then, how do the healthfully educated pay for it?

          •  Helping folks set up community gardens all over (6+ / 0-)

            the place may help with that. And it would also help with getting further education and health care outreach.

            "After all, enough is enough." - Jiminy Cricket

            by Onomastic on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:38:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are so right, and the national infrastructure (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              laurak, mataliandy, kamarvt, redtex, miss SPED

              is already there, through the nation-wide Cooperative Extensions of USDA. Many of which, if not most, offer Master Gardening programs for a pittance.

              Your idea is small (as in localized),but the concept huge, Onomastic.

              Thank you for bringing it up in the thread.

              Your thinking is exactly what Obama has in mind. It's all about community organizing and zeroing in on the federal programs that can drill down (no pun intended) to get federal programs rolling that can make a difference.

              The Cooperative Extension program is one that can. Yet, the Bush years have pummeled their budgets and programs into nothingness.

              CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) speak to so many opportunities: community cohesiveness, supporting local business, healthful and affordable nutrition, energy conservation, and best of all, youth education for the opportunity for getting them involved in the soul process of it all.

              I've gone on way too long. But this dialogue is the kind of synergy that this election can take us to.

              A project to the Moon on Earth.

              •  You have NOTgone on too long. This is the kind (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kamarvt, redtex, miss SPED

                of information we all need. I didn't know much of what you just shared. As someone who loves gardening and who remembers a wonderful documentary on PBS about community gardening in large cities like New York, the idea just made sense.

                Another thought - couldn't other opportunities grow out of community gardens? Money making businesses such as crafts, foods, etc? Tie the community gardens in with growing specialty organic crops that could be sold to restaurants and grocery stores. Grow crops that could be used for organic dyes. Etc.  

                "After all, enough is enough." - Jiminy Cricket

                by Onomastic on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:57:20 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  There is a great organizition (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Onomastic

              in NYC that is working to do just that.

              http://www.justfood.org/

              I imagine that there model could relatively easily be used in urban areas all over the US.

        •  we need to teach (7+ / 0-)

          basic, functional cooking and purchasing skills to high school sophomores, before they drift away or drop out (again, I'm writing from Appalachia).

          One of the saddest poor taxes I see is people who have no idea how to cook, much less how to cook food that won't kill them in the long run.

          Beware all ventures which require new clothes, and not a new wearer of clothes. -- Henry David Thoreau

          by Shocko from Seattle on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:38:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Remember home-ec? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mmacdDE, kamarvt, redtex, miss SPED

            When I graduated from HS in '82, I had 3 years of home-ec under my belt.  Learned to sew, cook, clean, take care of a baby, balance a checkbook, grocery shop, do laundry, make a budget based on different salaries.  There were boys in my class.  I have 3 sons.  I'm teaching them all of these things at home.

            Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. -- Rachel Carson

            by Silent Spring on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:30:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Even us guys were forced to 1 term (0+ / 0-)

              Home ec was cool insofar as making burgers and cookies (if memory serves) but I sucked at sewing then and I suck at sewing now.
              Nice change of pace from woodworking in "industrial arts".

              On Liberation Day, 1/20/09, Americans will greet us with flowers and candy

              by kamarvt on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 01:48:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I took a cooking class in junior high school (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kamarvt, Silent Spring

                it was an elective called cooking for boys.

                And I had experience cooking in outdoors situations from camping and canoe trips

                and I was single for a number of years

                My wife went to what was then an elite girls prep school, and never really learned how to cook.  She can do a stir fry or two, and make spaghetti.  By contrast, one Christmas with a single oven I fed 18 people making both a ham and a goose.  Go figure.

                do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

                by teacherken on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 02:15:20 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The main reason I'm teaching my sons (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  teacherken, kamarvt

                  all the home-economics stuff is so that: 1) they can be an equal partner to their partner (he or she), and 2) they can survive if they don't find a partner.  My husband's mother did everything for him.  He couldn't even boil water when we married.  Or sort laundry.  It was always a big burden on me, but then he came around and started to learn and pitch in .. especially when the babies came along.  The one thing he has always done really well is cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. Yeah for that.  AND he's a killer yard / lawn care and landscaper.  

                  I like your diaries, teacherken, BTW.  

                  Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. -- Rachel Carson

                  by Silent Spring on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 02:25:13 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You teach HS, right? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kamarvt

                  Are you public or private?  My two sons are in the IB program at one of our local high schools.  When I lived abroad I worked in schools with the IB.  It's tough, yet it seems to be one way to get a more 'private' education in a public school environment.  The standards are tough, yet the curriculum tends to be more liberal.

                  Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. -- Rachel Carson

                  by Silent Spring on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 02:27:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  public high school in Maryland (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kamarvt

                    most of our kids are middle class, but we do have a few homeless kids, and more than a few whose financial situations are not comfortable.

                    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

                    by teacherken on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 02:30:22 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  With 5 kids I learned to stretch the food. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            paige, kamarvt

            My concept was get to the basics. The less processed and packaged the more I could work with it.

            My first step would be to kill Betty Crocker. "She" led the way to quickie/processed food.

            Cut out or cut back meat.

            You gave Obama a To Do List. What is your To DO List?

            by redtex on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 10:23:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  It got thrown out as sexist. (0+ / 0-)

          You need to bring it back for both sexes.

      •  Your health is the bank of last resort (0+ / 0-)

        and it charges loan shark rates.

        For a lot of people, scrimping and saving for "extra insurance" or even any insurance isn't an option.   And even if they could afford the insurance, the deductibles and copays could be out of reach. The choice is near certain bancruptcy today vs possible bankruptcy tomorrow.    People go without medical exams, treatments, let their teeth rot out, eat substandard food, etc.

        --
        -6.25, -6.36 Worst. President. Dictator. Ever.

        by whitis on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 12:10:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The first step to take is to make Health Care (24+ / 0-)

    a right.

    "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large. I contain multitudes!" Walt Whitman

    by Batensmack on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:31:48 AM PST

  •  That's just terrible (24+ / 0-)

    I needed a tooth extraction last month- I would have been happy to go private as I usually do for dental work but my dentist's waiting list was too long (there's a shortage of private practices round my way) and the pain was such that I wanted it sorted immediately.

    So I went to the NHS dental hospital that day, filled out one form (you have to tick a box saying whether you're registered with a private dentist - which is standard in the uk unless you're poor - dental care is not routinely covered by the NHS) and that you couldn't get an appointment. Also boxes for pain/bleeding/swelling to show that it's urgent.

    And then I had an operation 3 hours later completely for free, no fuss. Pulled it out, sent me home, no money changed hands :)

    I heart the NHS I really do.

    •  I compare my experience and this boys (16+ / 0-)

      and it IS heartbreaking

      it's like those adverts you see raising money for medical treatment in 3rd world countries, only it happened in the world's richest country :(

      Anyone who denies that america needs comprehensive health care reform is either not paying attention or doesn't care.

      •  And yet R's here try to push the ridiculous (12+ / 0-)

        idea that the nationalized health system doesn't work in Britain and Canada. They use scare tactics about care being rationed and long lines, etc, etc. It's a load of bull, and they know it. The only thing being eliminated under a nationalized system: billions in profits for their Medical-Industrial complex friends, and needless deaths from $80 toothaches.

        We are all droogie6655321 now.

        by earicicle on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:03:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yeah (7+ / 0-)

          I love my country's system, even though dental care is only free until 18 y.old. Here that child wouldn't have died.

        •  the long lines meme really bugs me (6+ / 0-)

          if you make healthcare affordable then of course the lines are going to get longer unless you put in more resources- more people able to join the queue = longer queue.

          The idea that somehow a shorter queue is somehow a good enough justification for denying poor people medical treatment is just obscene to me.  

          •  And gee...maybe lines will be long for awhile as (8+ / 0-)

            we catch up from all the years of neglect!

            Let's make med school affordable right away at the same time, so docs don't graduate a half million dollars in debt. Trade education for service, as commenters upthread have suggested, and attract more providers to the profession. Pay instructors better (we have no shortage of nursing students here in VT, but a huge shortage of nursing instructors). There are ways to do this, just a lack of will, because the moneyed interests are against it.

            We are all droogie6655321 now.

            by earicicle on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:57:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  We have to make it personal for repug voters. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean, earicicle, redtex

          I've been thinking about that as I have a sister who's has been slowly eaten alive by neuro muscular disease that has now left her unable to drive and will sooner than later leave her unable to walk. And she and her husband are Bush/McCain supporters.

          I think I may have a way of getting them to think outside the knee jerk repug box. A simple, sort of, question for them. If we had universal health care, would that mean that Lou (my brother in law) could retire if he wanted too? Would that mean that your home would not be at risk if he lost his job?

          We have to frame the issue in personal ways that get folks to think. Hopefully. So it's about them, not someone else.

          "After all, enough is enough." - Jiminy Cricket

          by Onomastic on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:46:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  As a heart disease patient (9+ / 0-)

          who has had to battle with Medicare, I have concluded that one of the biggest problems our health care system has is overprofiteering.  In America it has become an institution that doctors become rich (and about anyone else involved in delivering health care except maybe for the secretaries and "medical assistants").

          As an engineer I can also testify that anything medical costs at least 50 times the cost to bring to market than the exact same thing would cost to bring to the consumer market.  I am not talking about drugs -- I'm speaking about things like speech therapy synthesizers, audio amplifiers for hearing aids, etc.  You've probably seen ads on TV for "personal amplifiers" that help you hear the TV or the preacher at church.  These are no more than hearing aids.  But if these devices were marketed as hearing aids, or devices to improve your hearing, then they would have to pass rigorous testing, certification and FDA approval as a "medical device".  And the $19.95 + S/H cost would become $1995.00 + "fees".  Same thing goes for reading glasses.  As long as these glasses are sold as "personal magnifiers" and NOT as "reading glasses" no prescription or medical certification is required.  Overall this process for simple things like basic amplifiers and magnifying glasses run up the cost of health care trememdously.  The plastic tubing used for oxygen masks is the exact same thing as aquarium hose, but since it is packaged and sold for "medical use" the price is 50 times what the cost would be for the same amount of tubing purchased from your local pet shop.  And it is not the sterility or any other issue at hand - most of these items are packaged from the same source lot so the material marked "medical use" is from the same source as that which is not marked "medical use".

          I know about this persoally.  I built one of the first speech therapy synthesizers.  This small device was based on the CDP1806 processor and the SC-01 Phoneme synthesizer chip,  I built 6 of these units for my father, who was an engineer for the State of North Carolina back in the late 1970's and early 1980's and worked for the state Hospital system.  My father gave these devices to several of the patients at the hospital who were speech-impared but otherwise normal and the result was life-changing.  Until the State took them away from the patients stating that the devices were not "medically approved for theraputic use".  It cost (no joke here guys...) just shy of $500,000 to get approval and if it weren't for the fact that four of the patients who received one of these units were able to "speak" for the first time in over 10 years there would have been no way to raise that kind of cash.  The families of these patients insisted on having their loved ones keep these devices and therefore collectively were able to raise the cash to pay for the approval process.

          The units cost me less than $100.00 each to build, and I gave them away.  They were fun to build and well, what the heck-- use my gift of engineering for some real progressive good.  I was not interested in profit or patent.  I have met some of those patients before and they were good people who could use a "gadget" just for them.  So why not??

          After the "approval", the cost went up to $37,000.00 each.  I built only 3 more and scrapped the design.  I still have a prototype in my archive display case.

          But these are examples of the extreme and ridiculous costs of bringing simple, safe and innovative items to the people who need them.

          What cost you a dime at a hardware store cost $100 for a hospital.  SAME EXACT ITEM.

          And couple all of that with doctors who earn 7-figure salaries and you can see why our health care system is nothing but a money pit.

          Howlin' at the World from the Left Side of the Planet

          by WolfmanSpike on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:11:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  In what state do you live? (6+ / 0-)

      I'm in Illinois and have not had health insurance for 5 years.  I've got 2 broken teeth and 3 more with fillings that are partially or completely gone.  I tried to see if the only dental college in the area would treat me, but they said I had to be on Medicaid first, otherwise they would not treat me.  So I applied for Medicaid and spent NINE months waiting to find out that I'm not eligible because I'm not 65 nor am I disabled.  Thank god none of my teeth hurt yet, but I'm so paranoid that they may start.  My own dentist will not treat me because I still owe him money for a job which his colleague botched, which left me with discolored fillings that look as if I constantly have food on my teeth.  I do not know where to turn, but I feel I simply must have the 2 broken teeth fixed.  One completely broke in half and the pulp has been exposed for 11 months now.  Can ANYONE offer advice on what I can do?  

  •  recommended (9+ / 0-)

    Thank You for writing this diary.

    Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

    by BMarshall on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:37:02 AM PST

  •  I put "Hidden Hurt" on DIGG and Reddit. (10+ / 0-)

    Folks might want to go by and DIGG it. I've been working to build up a friend base on DIGG...just so I could share articles like that.We need to keep the awareness up.  

    We won the election, but we all have to work on the issues.

    Thanks Teacherken. I've been hungry for issue-driven diaries.

    You gave Obama a To Do List. What is your To DO List?

    by redtex on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:38:16 AM PST

  •  RAM video: (17+ / 0-)

    Anthropologists for human diversity; opposing racism, sexism,homophobism,ageism and ethnocentrism.

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:44:52 AM PST

  •  thanks Ken it is a shame that people are dying (14+ / 0-)

    from a lack of healthcare in the  "richest" nation on earth and where more money is spent per capita on healthcare  just in the wrong places and for the wrong things  insurance company profits and claims filings  one doctor and 4 admin people to file insurance papers  there is something very wrong with this

  •  Here is some video from Remote Area Medical (10+ / 0-)

    RAM In The Media
    Remote Area Medical has been featured in the national media a number of times in recent years. Below are some embedded media and some links to media documentation of the work our volunteers provide to patients whose health needs are greater than they can afford.

    CBS's 60 Minutes, March 2008

    I cannot embed but here is some video from their org from the 60 minutes show..

    The Truth is nonpartisan!

    by fedupcitizen on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:50:57 AM PST

  •  I hope they demand "socialized" medicine (12+ / 0-)

    Single payer is the only way out of this rut and the only way to get it is to publickly and loudly demand it.
    I wish this clinic can be held at a place near a large city so it can get coverage on the so called MSM - and force debate about it.
    Some folks are more concerned about leaving Iraq "with victory and honor" yet the poverty levels here are amazing.

  •  I regularly do battle with people (34+ / 0-)

    who mischaracterize the socialized, universal health care (such as I receive here in France) while ignoring the kinds of horrific consequences that the alternative has produced in America.

    Friday I called my doctor because I was feeling pressure and pain in my chest. She sent an ambulance for me. I was admitted immediately and had an echocardiogram and some bloodwork done. I did end up spending a long time waiting for the cardiologist to show up (I'm in a rural part of France, so there aren't as many specialists available to do rounds), but the bottom line is --

    I was afraid I was having a heart attack. (I go in for more tests in a couple of weeks, but I'm okay for now.) But for everything else --

    I wasn't afraid to call for help because I knew my treatment would be covered. I wasn't afraid that my claim would be denied. I wasn't afraid that my out of pocket costs would be too much for me to afford. (My only expense was paying my neighbor 10 euros for gas when she came to pick me up that evening.) I wasn't afraid that I'd lose my home for failure to pay my medical bills. I wasn't afraid that I would have to choose between buying medicine and feeding myself and my daughter.

    My parents ask me when we're going to move back to the USA. My reply is when I can do so without being afraid.

    Book excerpts: nonlynnear; other writings: mofembot.

    by mofembot on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:53:48 AM PST

    •  And that right there is the point that needs to (15+ / 0-)

      made again and again until it sinks in.

      I wasn't afraid to call for help because I knew my treatment would be covered. I wasn't afraid that my claim would be denied. I wasn't afraid that my out of pocket costs would be too much for me to afford. (My only expense was paying my neighbor 10 euros for gas when she came to pick me up that evening.) I wasn't afraid that I'd lose my home for failure to pay my medical bills. I wasn't afraid that I would have to choose between buying medicine and feeding myself and my daughter.

      Universal Health Care gives people safety and freedom. I hope this isn't diary pimping but it seems appropriate. If you have issues dealing with insurance companies, questions, or just want to learn more than your heart can stand about how many folks are hurting - check out nyceve's diaries on health care. She does a regular Thursday night series.

      "After all, enough is enough." - Jiminy Cricket

      by Onomastic on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:15:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  forwarded to my students (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mofembot

      who consistently call me a commie for my views.

      "When Obama speaks, Angels orgasm" Jon Stewart, 2008

      by fernan47 on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:33:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dental care as a barometer of health services (13+ / 0-)

    My local NPR station did a big series on the lack of dental care for the poor. I'm stunned to see that was now three years ago, but here's the link in any case:

    http://wunc.org/...

    Their summary:

    April 18, 2005

    At the start of the 20th century most Americans could expect to be toothless by the time they turned 45. Today, you can keep your teeth ... if you have the money and the means to get dental care. But millions of Americans don't. And many of them are losing their teeth and living with pain from untreated dental problems that may have links to other serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and low birth weight babies. Sheila Kingsberry-Burt lost all of her teeth by the time she was 46. She says she never went to the dentist because "the priority is making sure the kids have something to eat ... Your teeth only become a priority when you get a toothache." But if you're poor and you get a toothache, you may have a very hard time finding a dentist who will treat you.

    It was fascinating, and I'm sure the WaPo series must echo much of WUNC's reporting.

    "We have trouble in the oil states because the President is viewed as favoring cheap energy." ~ George W. Bush in 1992.

    by chapel hill guy on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:55:53 AM PST

    •  I trek aways (6+ / 0-)

      from home to go to a dental group that provides a lot of free care to the poor--I figure I'm helping to subsidize.  BTW most dental insurance is a joke; better than nothing but expensive, high percent co-pays and very low annual coverage limits.

      Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

      by barbwires on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:20:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dental "insurance" (8+ / 0-)

        What people commonly consider as being dental "insurance" isn't insurance at all. It's best described as a dental payment plan.

        The waiting periods, exclusions, co-pays, limits, etc. are all designed so that you end up getting in benefits about the same as you pay for "coverage."

        Look carefully at the documentation that describes your dental plan. In most cases, I suspect you won't find the word "insurance."

        "We have trouble in the oil states because the President is viewed as favoring cheap energy." ~ George W. Bush in 1992.

        by chapel hill guy on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:43:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  say amen (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          barbwires, MizC, redtex, Onomastic

          my dental insurance?
          Oh sure, the xrays and exam were a $10 copay.  The co-pay on a cleaning - 'deep cleaning' - was a copay of $700.
          Let's squirt foamy tetracycline during a cleaning and charge $700 to the patient.

          No, thanks. My teeth can just stay as they are. At least I still have them.

        •  That's the point of insurance (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          miss SPED

          You pay in regularly, then when you need it, it pays back what you paid in.  If you have the money upfront it's better not to get insurance for cost you could afford to pay, because the insurance company skims some to make money too.

          Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

          by Futuristic Dreamer on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 12:27:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  so many dentists like it the way it is... (0+ / 0-)

        they have a very powerful association and do not work for better insurance - they don't want to see all the unwashed they would see with increased medicaid.

        So I learned when I was doing a needs assessment for a health care proposal and from talking with my friend who's a dentist working for a local county health department.

    •  Cancer mortality is another barometer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      redtex, miss SPED

      Low income, uninsured communities tend to have cancer mortality rates 3 to 4X that of insured populations. The disparity exists even in cities with world class cancer hospitals.

  •  "America's pharmaceutical companies... (14+ / 0-)

    ... want to help."  That commercial continues to grate on me.  If they really wanted to help, they'd be selling drugs for a reasonable price - to everyone.  Instead, those in need have to beg for their charity and hope that they can get the medications they need.

    There is also one from the AMA but I haven't done any research on it so I won't complain about it, yet.

    I have insurance but can't afford to use it.  I'm having some cardiac arrythmias  (PVCs) but I haven't finished paying for last year's copays so I'm just crossing my fingers.  This whole health care mess is just criminal.  That people in this country have to wait in line to see a doctor once a year (if they're lucky) is nuts!

    -7.62, -7.28 "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

    by luckylizard on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:56:32 AM PST

    •  I want to scream every time I see (7+ / 0-)

      an ad for some drug...that ad money needs to be spent giving free meds to those in need!

      •  Do more than scream. This is a Day One priority. (11+ / 0-)

        Let's pressure Obama, Congress and the FDA to ban advertising of prescription drugs. It is a huge waste of resources. It inflates the cost of meds. It creates demand for new drugs that are vastly more expensive, whose side effects are not as well known and that often, in the end, don't work as well as older, cheaper drugs.

        Not to mention, we now have a whole generation of children familiar with the phrase "erections lasting longer than four hours..." TOTALLY unnecessary.

        We are all droogie6655321 now.

        by earicicle on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:02:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Drug companies and Soda pop companies (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          laurak, luckylizard, earicicle, redtex

          have something in common. They both spend billions of dollars in advertising, indeed they spend much MORE money on advertising yearly than on research.

          Most of their products have drawbacks, limitations, but very profitable items is what they share and is the most important part of their business.

          Research investment by drug companies is partially offset by taking the results of taxpayers grants, funding for basic research and clinical trials and commercializing it.

          The socialized part of the health care research is converted into private gain. And this is permitted, there is no recapture of it. We pay more for what we invested in finding, we pay even more since the 1970's to cover the costs of advertising the fruits of what our own government discovered. That's new.

          We ALREADY have socialized medicine. All the expensive parts, the costs are borne by us. The fruits or benefits are in the hands of the wealthy investors and some of the population that has better comprehensive insured care plans. The rest of us are one disease away, one crisis away from losing all, even our lives in this game.

          cast away illusions, prepare for struggle

          by Pete Rock on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:31:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  it's illegal to advertise prescription drugs in (8+ / 0-)

        the uk to the general public. Over the counter drugs are advertised, but for prescription drugs it's the doctor that decides what you need, not the drug company marketing board.

        •  That is the worst thing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          brizzlefoshizzle

          that ever happened to patient care.  There is a case to be made for informing the public about new meds but what I've noticed is that the drugs that are introduced are targeted to maximize profit, not health.  In fact, I'd argue that advertising steroid nasal spray (Nasonex) as a first-line treatment for "nasal allergies" is malpractice.  It's one genie I'd really like to get back in the bottle!

          -7.62, -7.28 "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

          by luckylizard on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 10:27:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  here's the flip side (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      luckylizard, redtex

      my meds are $4 a month at the local wallyworld.
      I can afford that (though I despise wallyworld).

      I can't afford the coupla hundred bucks for the visit and tests, not subject to the $1k deductible - until I budget for it. So I am off meds for a coupla months til I can get there.

      That isn't the drug companies' doing. That is the doctors and the health care system.

      •  I used to go (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        redtex, miss SPED

        every year or six months.  Now they want to see me every three or four months.  With my insurance, that isn't a huge deal but add in the gas to get there and it becomes difficult to manage.  Every dime is spoken for before my checks ever hit the credit union.  There is no leeway for car repairs or getting sick.  

        BTW  I haven't been to get my BP checked so I've been off my Prinzide since August.  I saved three so that when I do make the appointment my pressure isn't through the roof.  This is not good health management but...

        I hope you can get through until you can afford it.  This shouldn't happen to anyone!

        -7.62, -7.28 "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

        by luckylizard on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 10:21:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thyroid meds are cheap. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        miss SPED

        But, can't afford the doctor and blood tests every six months.

        You gave Obama a To Do List. What is your To DO List?

        by redtex on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 10:34:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a (7+ / 0-)

    national disgrace and our greatest shame as a nation. The richest nation on the planet, and we cannot provide healthcare to our citzenry. Shame on all the guilty.

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

    by lyvwyr101 on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 06:57:01 AM PST

  •  Obama didn't just do badly in Appalachia (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4, roxtar, Blackmamba1973

    he did horribly. the rest of the country shifted democratic since 04, but appalachia, for some reason (called racism) voted McCain more than they voted Bush in 04. All of Arkansas, much of TN, KY, WV, and parts of VA, southern OH and eastern PA.

    Most here would say that Obama should redouble his efforts here, to show the Appalachian region that black people can indeed be good presidents, good people, etc. My view is that these people are insufferable to still be as vilely racist as they are (as a whole). Let them choose for themselves to emerge from their antiquated lifestyles and beliefs and join the rest of society; do not kiss their ass.

  •  this heartbreaking story keeps popping up (3+ / 0-)

    on DailyKos periodically.

    The last time was in March:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    ---
    Tired of violent language from right-wing pundits? Buy my book: Outright Barbarous

    by Jeffrey Feldman on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:07:31 AM PST

  •  NYT article on dental needs in KY & Action idea (15+ / 0-)

    Wonderful diary!  So, how could you help if you're not a doctor or a dentist?  We live in KY, and my 12 yo and I canvassed for Obama in Hamilton County, Ohio (which we turned blue for the first time since 1964!).  We want to keep helping.

    Action Idea:     MyBarackObama.com is going to remain up and running.  It would allow us to organize local service efforts.  How about?

    Tooth Fairies for Obama! --  We could create shoeboxes with the following:

    2 toothbrushes
    2 tubes toothpaste
    dental floss
    Flouride rinse
    soap
    shampoo                        (Total = about $10)

    Wrap the box in brown paper and have your kids (if any) draw smiles on the outside.  Label it Tooth Fairies for Obama!

    The boxes could be given to local food banks which give out food, but don't usually get personal hygiene supplies like this.  What do you guys think?

    The need is real and great.  Here is the article from the Times.

    Dental Needs in KY

    "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him. Mark 12:17

    by bkamr on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:10:01 AM PST

    •  Good idea. Many churches also collect (5+ / 0-)

      "dignity kits" with supplies like this for the homeless (travel sizes are more convenient for them). Check with some local churches to see who is doing this in your area. I have volunteered at a local food shelf, and health and beauty aids were always popular, because (of course) they are very expensive.

      Kid-friendly toothbrushes & pastes would be a fun idea for these kits.

      We are all droogie6655321 now.

      by earicicle on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:41:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need to find a way to get medical providers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, MizC, Onomastic

    to go to these regions more regularly than this. It will require medical school loan forgiveness for service, which will be a worthwhile effort.

    It's a humanitarian issue.
    It's a policy issue.

    More to the point, it's a clear issue of right and wrong.

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:16:59 AM PST

    •  well, apparently only if they're white docs... (0+ / 0-)

      down thread - someone who lived there said people would rather go without care than see a South Asian or Latino doctor who were working off their school loans.

      It appears that there's a lot more going on than just lack of medical care.

  •  voting against their own best interests (4+ / 0-)

    racial bias says it all.
    and they have nothing.

  •  Ironically, the Lexington KY Herald-Leader (5+ / 0-)

    has an article in today's paper regarding the lack of dental care, particularly for young children, in Kentucky.  I'm a native Kentuckian and this is absolutely heartbreaking.  

    KY Dental crisis

  •  We've done much here with ActBlue thermometers (6+ / 0-)

    Once the latest post-election goal is reached, I recommend we put up an ActRemoteAreaMedical one and raise the bejezzuz for it.

    Our wallets may be slim after bringing it home for ActBlue, but we can -- and must -- find a way to dig a little deeper.

    Act. As millions of us have shown, $5 a piece across many, can move mountains. Like those in Appalachia.

    teacherken, thank you so much for a powerfully moving and motivating diary. I'm passing it along.

  •  Obama should use the story.... (8+ / 0-)

    ...of the young victim who died of neglected dental care to drive home his message that universal health care is necessary and just.

    We need to HUMANIZE the issue.

    The American people will respond.  Use the bully pulpit, Obama.

    •  Even if you can't tug at peoples' heartstrings- (5+ / 0-)

      because from what I've seen, Republican's don't respond well to sick POOR people - they do respond well to hits to their pocketbooks. Explain to them that an $80 tooth extraction could have not only spared this child's life (and they claim to care so much about life...but not so much when it's a poor child), but the cost of the surgeries and six weeks in the hospital was likely paid with taxpayer money, which is not likely to be recouped any time soon. Yes, I know that's a repulsive way to look at it, but look at Katrina. Republicans don't give a shit about poor people suffering and dying, even children. They do care about their pocketbooks. Show them how they can SAVE money, and oh by the way, some kids will not suffer and die, and they might actually respond.

      When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two. ~nisargadatta maharaj

      by qotsa73 on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:35:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I pray my uninsured mom doesn't get cancer. (10+ / 0-)

    For obvious reasons, I don't want my dear mom to get cancer. That goes without saying. But she's lost two siblings to it already, and a third is battling lung cancer right now. She smokes about two packs a day. So I feel it's almost inevitable. I just hope it doesn't happen before she turns 65 and gets Medicare. Moreso, I pray Barack can put his health care plan into place, not just for my mom, but for the millions of others who are not insured (such as other friends and family members of mine).

    A friend of mine had some dental issues, and got so skinny because she couldn't eat well and did not have insurance, and couldn't find a job. Finally, with the help of a friend and her dad, she flew to California and drove to Mexico and had all her dental work done. She said it was actually a very clean place and the cost was a fraction of what it would cost here (even with the plane ticket and rental car). What a fucking shame though that a U.S. citizen, who's never asked for a dime from the state, can't get decent care. And the unemployment rate is so high that an intelligent young woman can't find a job.

    Republicans seem to only care about lining their own pockets. What they don't stop to think is that if everyone is healthy and educated, they can produce a much stronger economy - and everyone gets wealthier! Take poor little Deamonte for example. If that little angel had gotten an $80 tooth extraction - paid for by taxpayers - that would not only have saved his precious life, but look at the cost to do the surgeries and keep him in the hospital for six weeks. His family will never be able to repay that (and I hope they are not abused for it, but they probably will be). If all you care about is money, you should at least make wise choices in how you spend it.

    When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two. ~nisargadatta maharaj

    by qotsa73 on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:31:13 AM PST

  •  Prosecutors indict parents of kids w/rotten teeth (11+ / 0-)

    There's been at least two cases locally of parents, without insurance, who took their kids to dentists for emergency care.  The dentists called the police and the parents were arrested and then indicted for child abuse/neglect.

    Extractions aren't $80 here.  They're more like $150, plus the cost of x-rays that most dentists demand before they'll do any work.

    We are all droogie6655321

    by Buckeye BattleCry on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:31:27 AM PST

    •  Horrifying. Yes, $80 is more like the Medicaid (8+ / 0-)

      reimbursment for an extraction. And this is another huge issue: if you do get Medicaid, good luck finding a dentist who will take it. Not really the dentist's fault, b/c the reimbursements don't remotely cover costs. So they take Medicaid patients at a huge loss, and have to limit the number they take. Bush keeps squeezing the program and cutting reimbursements--in fact, I think I just read an article yesterday that said he's trying to ram through more cuts before he leaves office.

      We are all droogie6655321 now.

      by earicicle on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:45:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There aren't many left that will take Medicaid (0+ / 0-)

        I can count only 3 in my county and they are embarrassing experiences.  I had Medicaid when my oldest son was about 8 years old. The dentist made sure to let me know my son got a temporary filling to manage pain 'as a courtesy' because we were poor and Medicaid didn't cover it.  

        When you start extracting kids' teeth there are all sorts of issues.  They usually have to have spacers inserted where extracted baby teeth were, so that the permanent teeth will grow in properly.  It's an expensive ordeal, and Medicaid almost never covers orthodontics.

        We are all droogie6655321

        by Buckeye BattleCry on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 01:36:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why is this not a surprise? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW

        Bush keeps squeezing the program and cutting reimbursements--in fact, I think I just read an article yesterday that said he's trying to ram through more cuts before he leaves office.

        He seems to have the attitude, "What more can I fuck up?"

        Renewable energy brings national security.

        by Calamity Jean on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:40:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  $1000 (10+ / 0-)

      for an extraction that I myself now need to have done.  This is on a tooth I've already spent a ton of money on some years ago for a crown that I should never have agreed to.  He was a better salesman than dentist.  The tooth had some fillings, but I bet it would have been fine if left alone.  Now it's a major problem, and yes, with an absess too.

      Anyway, I have to wait for awhile before I can get this work done now.  Switching to COBRA benefits is such a treat. Plus, I think the dental coverage is now gone.

      Parents arrested for neglect abuse for this?  That is f--king unbelievable.  Dentists calling police?  The world of social services and family court is an incredibly screwed up world.  

      Really, why not just bring back a form debtors prison?  Just arrest everyone who can't afford housing, healthcare, food, car insurance, etc.  It can be the new welfare.  Better yet, just stone them in the town square.

      Obviously, snark.  But sometimes that's what it seems like things are coming to.  

      Think you're above all this?  Think it will never happen to you?  Think you are so intelligent, prudent and self-sufficient that you'd never allow yourself to fall to such a low station?

      Think again.

      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

      by joanneleon on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:31:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  $1000 dollars! (4+ / 0-)

        £500 ish, five hundred quid (give or take a few bob) for a tooth extraction!

        Bloooody hell..

        I told a story above in the comments about getting an extraction free on the NHS but I got a quote from my private dentist;

        for 3 fillings plus one extraction -forty seven quid

        that's about $97 dollars I believe (i'm not sure what the exchange rate is atm)

        You're being ripped off big time :(

        •  Oh, we're being ripped off left and right (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Buckeye BattleCry, Calamity Jean

          when it comes to healthcare, dentistry, and our wonderful prescriptions, my friend.  I was quoted $450 for my son's medication (30 days worth).  

          As for the dental work, I could probably have the work done on a trip we've been planning to England as a graduation gift for my son, sometime next year, and spend less than what it will cost me here.

          I'm now looking at the School of Medicine and Dentistry in the next town over, rather than the oral surgeon the dentist referred me to.  This isn't a simple extraction, but it's not rocket science either.

          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

          by joanneleon on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:58:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I guess Les Miserables was such (3+ / 0-)

      a great musical the professional caste decided they wanted to see what it would look like in modern dress?

  •  I remember this story (4+ / 0-)

    of Deamonte Driver and how enraged I was this happened in this country.

    Health care is a basic human RIGHT!

    The Republicans are now like a wounded, cornered animal - and that makes them very dangerous.

    by DupageBlue on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:32:54 AM PST

  •  Economic crisis = opportunity Medicare for All (11+ / 0-)

    The economic crisis with people losing jobs and their health care coverage offers an opportunity for Obama administration to push for Medicare for All, the national health care solution that gets US up to European/Japan standards of health care.

    The last window of opportunity was in 1992 at the beginning of the Clinton administration during an economic downturn which was less severe than the current one.

    It's a shame Obama did not run on Medicare for All but he did run on health care for all and Medicare for All is a way for Obama to deliver on his promise and to help industry.

    Taking the $2000 per vehicle health care costs off of GM and Ford will go a long way to helping them stay in business.

    Medicare for all can be sold as part of the bailout as auto workers are switched to Medicare for All.

    •  I've been thinking of diary-ing just that... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, miss SPED, Onomastic

      ... reframe Universal Coverage as a way to boost the survival chances of big businesses in trouble, at the same time it levels the playing field for all businesses and innovators.  I'm sure there are many who have great ideas for businesses, who've abandoned them when they came to the sad realization that to make their business plans at all viable they would need to find workers willing to forego any health benefits.

      We need a level playing field.

      •  Write the diary please. I'm planing on (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        writing one calling for a Stand Down Day for Universal Health Care. Want it to be a way of highlighting the need obviously, but also a major educational outreach to get folks behind UHC.

        We also need to set up an information clearinghouse of some kind on health care. A one stop shopping place for info and links to info for folks like the commentor up thread that needs help with dental issues.

        "After all, enough is enough." - Jiminy Cricket

        by Onomastic on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:57:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Two Fridays ago (20+ / 0-)

    I got a call from a 22 your old woman who believed she was misscarrying.  At first she REFUSED to go to the hosptial because she had no insurance.  

    I had to talk to her for several minutes to convince her that she had to go to the hospital, he life was endanger - that we would worry about medical bills later.

    My 22 year old son, who is built like a mack truck went to go get her and take her to the ER(we felt she might refuse an a,bulance because that would mean another bill) plus he could lift her, which I could not.

    I was on the Stephanie Miller Show Live Blog when all this went down .. and I let loose on the blog, venting about the situation.. I am so proud of the SMSLB, all of them said they would help pay the bill, that she NEEDED to get to the hospital.

    Then this woman (to me a girl because she is the same age as my son) asked a quesiton that I felt said that 8 years of selfishness had brought us too: "Why are they going to do this for someone they've never met?"

    There are so many answers I could have given, I just said "Because they care for others."

    We got her to hte hospital, she did loose the baby and she had a raging UTI on top of it.

    I can say no more because I get angry just thinking about it.

    Power concedes nothing- F.D. * Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you'll know the exact measure of injustice which willbe imposed upon them.

    by Clytemnestra on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:41:10 AM PST

  •  This young boy did not die of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueocean, Taya Lawrence

    tooth decay.  He died from mind decay of his parents  listening to sean haniety and rush limbaugh of the country.  I would rather stand in a line for how ever it took to get 80$ for my child. but wingnuts talk have told these people that that's bad and liberal. Socialism, liberal, welfare and FREE STUFF is liberal and bad. the same people would stand in line for a free medical Van.

    Hosea 4:6. lack of knowledge they perish.

    •  as a teacher in an urban district... (6+ / 0-)

      I can tell you that poor dental health is a MAJOR problem for children in low-income families, and I'm quite sure that talk radio has little or nothing to do with it.

      I've had kindergarten students with mouthfuls of "bling" - most of their baby teeth capped silver because of decay, and those were the lucky ones. Kids with chronic toothaches often have behavior problems and learning problems - who can possibly be their best (or even pay minimal attention) with nagging pain that never lets up?

      It sounds horrible that parents let their children's health go, and it is. But what's perhaps more awful is that even in cities brimming with dentists, dental health is often pushed to the end of the list of needs. We're talking about kids whose parents may be working two or more jobs, may be homeless, may have substance abuse problems, may be in jail, may be dead - many of these children are essentially raising themselves on the fringes of their extended families.

      I think it's very difficult to imagine the circumstances that allow a child's teeth to literally rot out of their heads, but it's happening all over the place, without regard to politics.

  •  Non-profit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quadmom, muckrakers

    anyone who makes a profit from treating the sick should be arrested.

  •  If (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MizC

    I am not mistaken, the story of this group was told on televisin. Not sure when. It seems to me that the filming took place in Tennessee.

    Jobs seems to be the issue. It also appears to be the opportunity. There is much discussion of Green Jobs.Wise County and LA's South Central would, in my estimation, be obvious places to do the most good. By most good, I mean keeping people alive and giving them the chance to improve their lives.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:56:37 AM PST

  •  two things strike me (0+ / 0-)

    the urgency of the need for medical and dental care available and affordable (meaning free for the poor) to ALL,

    and,

    her other child had 6 rotted teeth? This tragedy was at some point the fault of a bad medical/dental care system that does not provide. But it was also child abuse, pure and simple. Rich and poor alike can do wrong by their children, and this parent did wrong.

  •  I still have family in Wise County, thank you for (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MizC, blueocean, miss SPED, Onomastic

    writing this and I want to thank va dare for her efforts also.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand." Frederick Douglass 1857

    by AntKat on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:10:15 AM PST

  •  Government health care can go a long way to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snafubar, MizC, indres

    saving Detroit and the auto industry.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:13:25 AM PST

    •  Well over $1000 of the cost of every GM car (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lysias, indres

      goes for health care of the GM employees.

      Go figure why they're broke.

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:20:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Key (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MizC, blueocean, miss SPED, Onomastic

    As we turn from "election" mode to "governing" mode, we need to be hearing these stories.

    Did I enjoy it, no.  Do I need to be upset by it, "You Betcha".

    "Barack, put Helen back in the front row"

    by egarratt on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:14:41 AM PST

  •  When Katrina hit, people were appalled to (10+ / 0-)

    see Third World conditions in our country. But we have always had the Third World in our country, we just hide it very well. It is not a surprise that they exist in Appalachia, but it is shameful. This story needs to be put in front of every American, and especially in front of every politician who says we cannot afford to reform health care.

  •  Take responsibility for yourself, America! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    This time it's personal.

    by apostrophe on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:34:18 AM PST

  •  I lived in Wise (6+ / 0-)

    County (Norton, to be precise) for two years in the mid-70's.  It is a heartbreaking place.  The holler one over from mine had just gotten electricity.  The shortage of doctors was exacerbated by the fact that most of the doctors who did come to the hills were foreign, working off student loans and such, and the residents largely xenophobic.  Most of my neighbors flat refused to go see the Indian doctor in Big Stone Gap or the Spanish one in Norton.

    Strip mining was the thing when I lived there.  Now they have bigger problems with mining (as if stripping wasn't bad enough), like mountain top removal which clogs and pollutes the pristine streams and rivers and brings into the airstream pollution which normally stays underground.  

    Thanks, Teacher Ken.  I still have hope that the Appalachian economy will get better.  There's a lot of raw material there.

  •  Enact veto-ed S Chip legislation by January 31st (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED, FarWestGirl

    It passed once before in 2007 and was vetoed twice by Dubya. Pass it again the same day the new Congress is sworn in and urge President Obama to sign it.

    Fence post turtles don't get up there by themselves, some moron had to put 'em there.

    by Bill White on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:38:03 AM PST

  •  Rural electrification (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, miss SPED

    The program(s) that delivered power to poor rural areas might set an example here.

    I'm not a Democrat, I'm a liberal. Democrats go to meetings.

    by willie horton on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:41:17 AM PST

  •  I know physicians who donate their own (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, miss SPED, kyeo

    services to patients (in urban areas) who cannot afford to pay...but when it comes to referring to another specialist or ordering expensive tests, medications and follow-up care, their hands are tied.   So they get very discouraged about the outcomes.

    It's heartbreaking to see that there are good people who want to help, but are stymied at every turn.

    --It's a feverish world, Inman said, for lack of better comment. (Charles Frazier)

    by Taya Lawrence on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:41:18 AM PST

  •  thanks for calling attention (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, indres, miss SPED

    I know friends who are mistreated at their workplace but can't quit because of healthcare.

    I know a friend in an abusive relationships who wants to get a divorce but cannot imagine losing healthcare.

    With all the other pressing issues, I hope President-Elect Obama does not forget healthcare. Thanks for posting this.

  •  Hillary Clinton for Secretary of Health and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Always Thinkin

    Human Services.

  •  The real reason Lieberman wants to keep his Chair (3+ / 0-)

    Basically, so he can use his Chairmanship of Homeland Security to threaten and undermine Obama, with delusions of Waxman-like grandeur:

    From Washington Monthly:

    This seems to be routinely overlooked, but take a moment to consider what the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs actually does: it's the committee principally responsible for oversight of the executive branch. It's an accountability committee, charged with investigating the conduct of the White House and the president's administration.

    As chairman of this committee for the last two years, Lieberman decided not to pursue any accusations of wrongdoing against the Bush administration. Lieberman's House counterpart -- Rep. Henry Waxman's Oversight Committee -- was a vigilant watchdog, holding hearings, issuing subpoenas, and launching multiple investigations. Lieberman preferred to let his committee do no real work at all. It was arguably the most pathetic display of this Congress.

    And yet, now Lieberman acts as if keeping this chairmanship is the single most important part of his public life. Why would he be so desperate to keep the gavel of a committee he hasn't used? I'll let you in on a secret: he wants to start using the power of this committee against Obama.

    Lieberman didn't want to hold Bush accountable, but he seems exceedingly anxious to keep the committee that would go after Obama with a vengeance, effectively becoming a Waxman-like figure -- holding hearings, issuing subpoenas, and launching investigations against the Democratic president.

    Lieberman wants to harass, attack and undermine Obama at every turn.

    Interfere with and derail important Obama appointments.  

    Give right-wing media talking points to build a narrative against Obama.

    Continue to suck up GOP lobbyist money because of his influential position.

    Lieberman stood behind Palin and listened to her evil lies and hate speech that caused an increase in death threats against Obama.

    Liberman campaigned not just against Obama, but against his own colleagues in the Senate and against a 60-Dem majority.

    Lieberman was incompetent in his Chairmanship under Bush by failing to undertake even one investigation.

    10 strikes and you're out, Lieberman

    THE AUDACITY OF HOPE 44

    by JLFinch on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:52:13 AM PST

  •  May i suggest we do this in Obama's name? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED, Onomastic

    We need to bring these people in. These are the sort of people who are buying guns at a wild rate right now because they think Obama's election meant the end of the world. Maybe they think that because they're backed in a corner and it's easy to blame minorities. It's a reason a lot of west PA people i came across wouldn't vote for Obama when i was canvassing.

    Obama's "bitter" "cling" comments were a Kinsley gaffe, but as you know it's true, they really are clinging to their guns and religion.

    If you happen to contact the people, do this in Obama's name. Say Obama sent you. It will help spread obama's message "i'm here to help", because god knows this economic crisis wont be solved in 1 term. If anyone read the Washington Posts' editorial by Joe Stiglitz today, Nobel Prize winning economist, he said "even if Obama is perfect" the crisis will not be solved. Those are pretty chilling words.

  •  what amazes me most (4+ / 0-)

    is that people in our own country are not too different from those in another poverty stricken mountainous region: Tibet.

    The Upaya Institute, a Zen Buddhist temple and training center in Santa Fe, helped to establish a free medical clinic in the Kham region of Tibet.

    Watching the video of their journey made me realize how little differentiates the human needs of these "exotic" people from the human needs of "familiar" people in our country.

    It is the same set of stories, just the names are different and the language different.

    Isn't it unbelievable that Appalachia has been reduced to Tibet-like poverty and isolation? Is this the legacy of Bush and his party's immolation of the Great Society?

    Virtues are lost in self-interest just as rivers are lost in the sea. -- François de la Rochefoucauld

    by rilkas on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:52:46 AM PST

  •  Cancer, heart disease go untreated (6+ / 0-)

    Its difficult for the US public to accept the fact that people are dying for lack of care from these catastrophic illnesses. They don't realize how many uninsured people have very critical illnesses for which they can't afford diagnosis or treatment.  People are dying in this country every day from these treatable diseases simply because they're uninsured and the treatments are too expensive for health care providers to donate.  

    If the public did accept these truths, they would be screaming bloody murder.  But it hasn't gotten through yet.  If it happens in a foreign country, we write stories and televise documentaries.

    Mortality rates for these people are 40% higher than insured people with the same conditions. Women today get free mammograms, but are refused appointments to diagnose and treat their condition at their local hospitals. It happens every day.

    We talk of children's vaccines, dental care, vision and hearing, etc.  Those are serious problems, but why does the American public refuse to accept there are many dying here every day from untreated catastrophic illnesses like cancer and heart disease?

  •  Thanks for putting this up (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, indres, Taya Lawrence

    I believe nyceve (or maybe you did) did a piece last year about it. I was as shocked then as I am now. If this doesn't cry out to our nation and say "Universal health Care" NOW, I don't know what does. It's an incredible tragedy that over 100,000 people die needlessly every year from treatable conditions. How many jumbo jets would have to crash to make that number? 700? it's like the "official" number of Iraqis killed in W's war over 4 years, every...single...year.
    We can achieve a one-payer system. Other countries do it quite successfully. If we're supposed to be so great, so creative, we should be able to do it as well as they do, if not better. Right now we're way down the list in infant mortality and health of Americans, even though we spend more per capita than any nation on earth.
    Something's gotta change.
    Yes. We. Can.

    Electing conservatives is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

    by MA Liberal on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:01:53 AM PST

  •   Rework the executive reporting lines. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurak, 2laneIA
    heartbreaks can be fixed. An immediate, not waiting on turf wars and lobbying intrigues in Congress fix is to give the point man for health care which affects ALL of us and is 19% of GDP  $trillion and a half dollar industry real clout, is to give the President's designate ALL the reporting authority to him of the scattered health related agencies.

    Creating and upgrading the Cabinent position of Surgeon General of the United States is vital.

    Howard Dean for  Surgeon General! He could have  health related agencies report to him, indeed it would be critical to handling properly 19% of the economy by itself. Those reporting lines should be redrawn.

    We have maldistribution, oversupply/undersupply of doctor issues, clinics  mainly because of the financing hodgepodge.

    Dean as Surgeon General with command of the health insurance commissioners and Federal regulators (reporting to him) AND HHS, NIH, and FDA. Plus the VA medical service (transferred from VA) There is too much duplication in these services and isolation, rivalry  and cross purposes, not effectiveness, rivalries.  They must work better together. Why combine into the super health agency the Veterans Administration  medical? Just one example:

      Because a Surgeon general with administrative power over combined agencies could extend the pricing negotiations over drug prices successfully done at VA to ALL states formularies. At one stroke, hundreds of billions of dollars of savings, allowing state Medicare/Medicaid dollars to reach more people.

      To force the single payer full coverage of ALL Americans is a challenge for us to light the fire under the feet of the Congress and Obama's team.

      Quite frankly the only way to get this done is a grass roots mass movement from below. We can't compete with the lobbyists or the fixers in Washington. We need a a command and control strategy and a straight answer to all the basic financing schemes and pipelines to various vendors and service suppliers. We have to flesh it out, expose it and hammer the obstructionists who are playing for billions of $$$ for themselves  and continued misery for us.

      If this comes from above  a la Hilary's Health Study Group, it will be stalled and killed much like her proposals were. The best plan is useless without a solid army of warriors determined to implement it, not just a few activists and their friends in Congress. It is too big for us to have a small group trying to influence Congress. We have to drive this by the millions, not a few thousand  supplicators begging and begging.

    Stay on a winning message folks, we are in for exciting ride in 2009!

    cast away illusions, prepare for struggle

    by Pete Rock on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:06:27 AM PST

  •  You get what you vote for. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snafubar, muckrakers

    Tonight I'm going to party like it's 1929.

    by Bensdad on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:07:26 AM PST

  •  Have you seen that 'free pharma' bus comml on TV? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jagger, Amor Y Risa

    It's voiced by Montel Williams.

    The commercial is about a pharma bus that allegedly travels America, dispensing pro bono drugs to Americans who cannot afford their prescriptions.  

    The commercial features supposedly 'actual citizens' who come on screen to announce where they live and that the bus has come their way.

    At the end of the commercial, we see pharma execs from Astra Zenica and other companies touting the idea of using this bus to 'help Americans,' and then Montel comes on with a similarly friendly greeting with kudos for how the pharma industry is helping Americans.

    So, America is reduced to having poor citizens waiting for a bus to show up, having to give the pharma reps their personal information to qualify for free scripts?

    This is ok?  While pharma executives rake in the massive cash?

    Watch for this commercial---I've seen it on MSNBC during Countdown.

    People living in pain, waiting for the pharma bus to arrive, standing in line, hoping to get their scripts, while pharma execs lay back with their multimillion dollar salaries and bonuses.  

    I say: outrageous.  

    Can we possibly respect our citizens a little?

    Good Luck

  •  We shouldn't need this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, SteelMaggie13

    but it's great to know that so many people volunteer.

    The nearest medical school is in Johnson City, TN and many students volunteer their time and energy to the cause. One of my college classmates has volunteered every year.

    It's a tragedy and all Americans DESERVE better. We can and we will make this better

    Politically incorrect = politically correct for asshole.

    by JRE100 on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:09:10 AM PST

    •  It's not just affordability (3+ / 0-)

      it's also supply -- having to travel two hours to see a doctor (even if you can afford it) should be unacceptable. Imagine if you were working in your yard and had a broken leg -- or a heart attack.

      Part of Obama's plan to make college affordable should include full student loan forgiveness for doctors and teachers who make a commitment to go to underserved areas (both rural areas and inner-city) and work there for 10 years. Chances are if you stay that long in a community you're not as likely to leave; you'll meet someone there, settle down, get married and become a part of that community. And the reduction in earning power would be balanced out by not having student loans hanging over your head.

      "Once you choose hope, anything's possible." ~Christopher Reeve

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:40:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •   SPREADING the HEALTH (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snafubar, SteelMaggie13

    along with the wealth...  Some people will call it "Socialism."   We'll call it "opportunity."

    --It's a feverish world, Inman said, for lack of better comment. (Charles Frazier)

    by Taya Lawrence on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:10:12 AM PST

  •  USSR had a half-way decent policy to prevent this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whitis, Dauphin, Chacounne, SteelMaggie13

    All residencies had to be served in rural or poor areas. So they got fresh and inexperienced doctors, but at least they got doctors. Fresh medicals moaned and bitched, but they stuck out their two years helping rural areas, and then transfered out as fast as their legs could carry them, but fresh medicals took their place. Pretty sure this system was in place before 1917 even.

    Crescat scientia; vita excolatur

    by AxmxZ on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:12:42 AM PST

    •  If in Place before 1917? (5+ / 0-)

      If that is so, that means Tsarist Russia was more socially advanced than 21st century America. This is quite possible, sfter all, America is still behind the "liberal" Bismarckian government of the 2nd German Reich which offered healthcare, social insurance and free education- in the 19th century.

      When you put things in these historical contexts it makes it even more amazing how vicious and backwards the American system truly is. It has no foundation in morality or even what's just common sense societal investment. It means America mollycoddles a hugely wealthy uber class that owes a good part of its riches to denying their fellow citizens the fundamental rights of life and liberty.

      This is the dirty secret of the insurance business- the 30% rake they take on every healthcare dollar goes straight into the pockets of this economic ruling class. In America, their incessant accumulation of OUR wealth takes precedence over even the life of a 12 year old boy with a toothache.

      I can't really think of anything more shameful. I am sad to be an American.

      "Much law, but little justice": Proverb

      by Dave925 on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:23:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mihail Bulgakov wrote about this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave925

        He was a doctor by training, and he did residence in some totally rural locale where villagers came from miles and miles around to see him. Had to do everything, from teeth to emergency surgery to obstetrics. Wrote some seriously hard-core memoirs about it. Then he had some bad experiences with medicine during the Revolution and the Civil War in the 1920s and quit medicine for writing.

        Crescat scientia; vita excolatur

        by AxmxZ on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:42:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed. Health care and energy/climate are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SteelMaggie13, Taya Lawrence

    priorities 1 and 1A on the agenda. We on the left must stay focused, just as we did in getting Obama elected.

    "It's no wonder more people call themselves Democrats; it's easy to identify with a party that identifies with you." --srmjjg

    by Dragon5616 on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:14:13 AM PST

  •  This is not an unusual story (14+ / 0-)

    My son, someone who has lived as a functional quadriplegic since birth, was denied health coverage by my family insurance program since he was born. I have exhausted my own earnings taking care of him. He lives on his own, in order to get a share of his father's social security, and has received decent but dwindling amounts of care from medicare and medicaid. In order to get the care he needs, he has to be impoverished-- though it is unlikely he could ever hold a job, it does limit the amount others can contribute to supplement his needs.

    Worse still, his devoted home health aids keep getting their wages reduced as do other health care workers who utilize medicaid funds. This is outrageous-- these are not unskilled laborers who should focus on getting out of their profession-- the good ones, and most are, are loving and concerned people doing difficult work with courage and patience. To see them falling into poverty, working multiple jobs, and unable to provide for their own childrens' needs also breaks my heart.

    This people are heroes. It breaks my heart that our fiscal problems are too often ameliorated on the backs of the ill, the disabled, and those who care for them.

  •  Washington Post finally catches up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, SteelMaggie13

    The Washington Times (yes, the Moonie paper) broke this story in print October 14.

    Why did it take the Post so long?

    Why did the Post run it after the election instead of before?

    A discussion of the policy implications of each candidate's position-- from the Washington Times story.

    ..."Lack of access to [affordable] medical care is not a problem confined to poor, inner-city neighborhoods. It's an American problem," said Diane Rowland, the commission's executive director. "It's a problem that makes people drive three hours and wait for days for free dental care. It's a problem that makes America look like a Third World country."

    ...

    In the most recent presidential debate a week ago, the term "health care" was uttered 28 times. Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain agreed that the cost of health care needed to be lowered.

    Mr. McCain proposes a $5,000 tax credit for families to choose plans from private insurance companies, while Mr. Obama promises to expand health coverage with a mixture of public and private efforts and to cut costs for families by an average of $2,500 annually.

    Each candidate says his plan would help provide insurance to high-risk patients, such as those with existing health problems, and would lower drug costs by increasing competition.

    Mr. McCain has said his plan is budget-neutral, meaning it would neither raise nor lower the federal budget deficit. Although he has not offered specifics, his campaign said cutbacks in Medicaid and Medicare will help offset the extra costs. Mr. Obama said he will pay for his proposal by rolling back tax cuts for Americans earning more than $250,000 a year and by retaining the estate tax at its 2009 level rather than allowing it to end, as it's now scheduled to do.
    ...

    ** Rosa sat down so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Barack could run. Barack is running so our children can fly. **

    by skywriter on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:49:24 AM PST

  •  Thank you for beginning this most important (5+ / 0-)

    dialog. A bit over a year ago, we watched a 60 Minutes segment featuring the intervention of a foreign-based group who came to a similar area - it was difficult to watch - wrenching would be the word, I think. I'd like to call attention to a Medical Teams International which provides ways for us to be involved and to assist. I hope this link works:http://www.medicalteams.org/site/PageServer?pagename=inv_vol_oregon   If not, search Medical Teams International.

    In Oregon we currently have 63 School Based Health programs that serve all school children in a district whether they are insured or not. The programs include after-school and evening health care which is sometimes extended to community members as well.  It also supports a dental van that comes to each school. In our rural remote town we have a physician member of Medical Teams International who travels six months of the year to other areas and other countries but, while she is home, will staff our school based program that we are working on. But funding is lessening by the month.

    The bottom line is that we should not have to do any of this - we shouldn't have to worry about it. We pay taxes and get little for them except war and destruction and bail-outs of corporations. Why not health care for our people?

  •  One bright spot in childrens dental care... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mijita, redtex, SteelMaggie13, miss SPED

    here in Portland,OR a gem of a clinic exists.

    Creston Dental Clinic

    uninsured children from all Portland Public Schools can be refered to the clinic for dental care at no cost for most, or a nominal donation.
    These dentists are paid through a local club-
    The Assistance League. I call them angels.

    Unfortunately there are not enough open slots to treat every eligible student-but they are a godsend to every child they do treat.

    Hope for the day when these clinics are not needed.

    YES WE DID! November 4th, 2008

    by Esjaydee on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 09:54:58 AM PST

  •  I am heartbroken and horrified (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redtex, SteelMaggie13, miss SPED

    by this situation but must thank you so very much, teacherken, for bringing it to our attention.  I've signed up for their newsletter and will shortly be asking Mr. 3goldens if we can send a contribution.  As President-elect Obama has said (and I love this as one of his core values):  We ARE our brothers' and sisters' keepers.  Yes, indeed, we are.  And speaking for Mr. 3g and me, we don't be turning our backs on these people.  

  •  and yet George Stephanopoulos (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redtex, SteelMaggie13

    asks George Will how the republican party can regain their mandate.  Funny how the nation SCREAMS they want specific change and we have to listen to the same tired beltway pundits spew their narrow views on how our new president should run the country.

    No mention of Hidden Hurt on the Sunday talk shows.

    If only Americans had agonized over every detail of the candidate's history when deciding to vote for GWB as they did with Barack Obama.

    by lisastar on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 10:13:21 AM PST

  •  Not being known or cared about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SteelMaggie13, miss SPED

    never stopped the truth from having one peculiar property-- and that is that it's true.

  •  Hate to fart in the elevator, but (8+ / 0-)

    Wise county went for McCain 65% to 35% for Obama.  

    I grew up in Appalachia (east Tennessee), so this is not some sort of regional prejudice, but I'm frankly tired of the stories of the poor people in the south who vote against the common good, and in the process their own self interest, and then take all form of government handouts and charity while railing about socialism.

    These are the very people that LBJ instituted the Great Society to serve, to try to pull them out of poverty and ignorance, who then flocked to Reagan in supporting his efforts to dismantle all that FDR and LBJ had done for them. This story doesn't break my heart, nor does it harden it, but I'm not moved by the personal plight of those who would repeatedly condemn their children to a life of pain and misery (though I am moved by the fate of their children) and who perpetuate ignorance by wrapping themselves in the cloak of "tradition," who want government to stay out of their lives as they blame government for not helping them enough.  

    There should be no, and thank god there is no political test for compassion, for assistance, but there is a common sense test for the common good. The voters of Appalachia consistently fail this test, either from ignorance or willfulness, but it's time for them to study the issues that affect us all, and in the end affect them most of all.

    I'm glad that some folks see fit to go and help them out, but I know in the end it undermines the self-dignity of these folks whose notions of self-sufficiency are tangled up in the propaganda (yes, propaganda) spewed by their local politicians, who are more often than not little more than puppets of coal companies, or paper companies, or large conglomerates that are more than happy to have generations of virtually-enslaved workers trapped by ignorance and poverty.  

    Call me mean-spirited, un-Obama-like, but change has to come as well to those corners of America that have tied their pride to staying exactly the same.

    •  You need to understand (0+ / 0-)

      The only information these folks receive is from the right.  The remote areas of this country only get the Limbaughs and the Hannitys and the O'Rileys.  If the can afford a paper it is a right wing message.  Palin and McCain talking about coal and that Obama would do away with coal lost their vote.  This is all they know.

      Not only did we beat the British now we have to beat the Bushes.

      by libbie on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:14:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Check my comment above. I'm in agreement with you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mijita, i like bbq

      and also note that the ideological brainwashing that causes people to vote against their own self interest is not a southern thing, it's not a racial thing, it's a PRIDE thing.

      They have been brought up to believe that accepting "handouts" is to be a bad person, and even if they wind up needing that handout they can say that it's not their fault because they voted for the party that would have not made the handout available for them.

      Medidate on that for a while and see how much religion is in there.

      Just one man's thoughts. I'm sick about it. (mentally anguished, not physically sick)

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:17:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i'm pretty crabby this week (0+ / 0-)

      to even though i shouldn't be.  Waiting for the Obama glow to catch up to some people around me.

      "When Obama speaks, Angels orgasm" Jon Stewart, 2008

      by fernan47 on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:35:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ending Poverty as We Know It... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redtex

    ...Hasn't been earnestly tried since Johnson. This diary and referenced article point out the biggest tragedy of the wealthiest country in the world.

    Barack Obama's recent victory is remarkably encouraging, but we need to remind ourselves and him, that our work is just beginning. If other countries can provide healthcare for all, why can't we?

    -7.5 -7.28, What's a guy gotta do to get impeached around here?

    by Blueslide on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 10:38:24 AM PST

  •  it's not just remote or poor areas (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chacounne, Calamity Jean, ksull

    My dental hygienist was telling me about right here in CT one of the richer states that every time they do a free clinic thousands come each day. They line up hours before they open. It's mostly seniors for whom Medicare doesn't cover a lot of their dental and they can no longer afford it.
    Sad commentary on our country.
    Great diary.

    Blue is blue and must be that. But yellow is none the worse for it - Edith Sidebottom

    by kenwards on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 10:46:09 AM PST

  •  How to be more effective: no name-calling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

    Those with money and power will only resist even more strongly if we call them names. We might feel better emoting, but it is counter-productive.

    Better to appeal to men's higher angels.

    Teacherken, thanks for this story......my heart was already broken by the story that funding has run out for 9/11 rescue workers' healthcare.

    My periodontist told me there is a shortage of dentists and periodontists not only in rural areas, but in smaller towns and cities all over America.  

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:00:42 AM PST

  •  death by abcess is true (4+ / 0-)

    My husband's daughter is middle aged and has been through a lot in her life.  She has tried drugs and is an alcoholic.  You may blame her but her father and I love her anyway.  She is a cook in a tavern and gets no benefits.  She has to buy her own supplies and makes what she makes off the purchase of her food that she prepares.  We sent for her to come and stay for awhile with her disabled father while I took a short vacation.

    She arrived with a horrible absess.  This had to be taken care of immediately.  I took her to a neighboring town's emergency dental facility and they drained her tooth and gave her antibiotics.  three days later they removed two of her teeth and told her that if she had not had this done she would have died.  The poison in her system would have reached her brain and she would have been gone.

    The cost over all was about $700 dollars and well spent to save this only child's life.  My husband is and was so happy to still have her around even with all her problems as would any loving parent.
    What a shame that this country kills people because of insurance.

    Not only did we beat the British now we have to beat the Bushes.

    by libbie on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:08:22 AM PST

  •  I'm sorry Ken - this diary won't change a thing (10+ / 0-)

    before anyone takes a swing at me, and rightfully so, I want to tell you why I'm slapping an open wound.

    Many of you who follow me know about my neighbor. This guy is being treated for bladder cancer and is back and forth in therapy. He owns a vending machine business started by his family and run by him and his brother. He works harder than anyone I know. ANd he votes strictly Republican.

    Last week I didn't see any cars for a few days and went to see if his 80 year old mother-in-law was OK, as she has been forced to live with them in the last six months. His 80 year old father has been in ill health for the last two years.

    The elders were OK, although the mom is now headed for a nursing home because she's losing her mind and requires more care than they can give her. I have no idea who's able to afford that.

    But I was shocked - horrified - ashamed that I even asked that in the span of six hours on that Friday,
    3 of his other relatives, none older than age 42, died of heart attack, stroke, and heart attack.

    No surprise they were all lifelong smokers, so here we all are wondering why we don't live longer healthier lives and ranting about terrorism but we can't be bothered with changing our habits. He won't wear a seat belt either.

    That's point number one.

    Point number 2 is that he votes strictly Republican. He says that government regulations are crippling his business, and that we all know Democrats are all for more regulation. And the only time I have ever seen him lose his temper with me is when he talked about giving money to deadbeats who won't work while he works his ass off.

    That's what Palin's "socialist" flamethrower has done.

    Why do Democrats work to destroy this country in his mind?

    Because he believes that Democrats, and only Democrats, actually make money by passing oppressive government regulation.

    Got that? Democrats pass burdensome government regulations so they can make more money and deliberately, purposely, bankrupt the country.

    I've left out the terrorist arguments. Between him and my other neighbor, Obama is either a muslim manchurian candidate who intends to pass sharia law and make this an islamic theocracy, or he's the antichrist, or - even though he's going to allow Israel to be destroyed and inspire Armageddon, it's because he's a closet Jew.

    Now - my point about Health care is that this guy continues to vote Republican because he's afraid (in addditon to all that) that if Hillary Clinton's "socialized medicine" had been passed, he never could have gotten even the Chemo he has had so far (he's not 60 yet) and he believes that would have killed him.

    He refused any argument that Obama's plan was anything but Hillary's '92 plan with shiny new paint because he knows Democrats always lie.

    So to vote Democrat is to commit suicide.

    Now TeacherKen - I've been trying to talk sense to this man for four years, and you can see I haven't made a dent.

    Our problem is not the government, it's people like this who are so ideologically blinded that although he says he's a Catholic, he thinks that to help their fellow man is to cut his own throat. It's people so ignorant that they are feeding the hand that holds the knife that slits their own throat - and you can't talk them out of it.

    Sure, we triumphed over the 28% base this time. But I'm tired of lugging around this incredible anchor that has held this country back for eight years. They still are obsessed with believing in a dream that Ronald Reagan had all the answers and if we just find another candidate who could only be true to what Reagan wanted we'd all be in utopia.

    You see things did not go wrong because Bush 41 or 43 were like Reagan, it's because they weren't ENOUGH like Reagan.

    It's time to call these people out with hard facts even they cannot deny, rub their noses in it in the public square so the humilitaiton of being so dumb will finally be a motivation to accept the truth.

    I have no health insurance. I have hydrocephalus, my shunt is acting wierd. I'm afraid to even apply for insurance I could pay for because it would cause me to have an exam, and I'm certain the Hydrocephalus would be the one thing they won't cover.

    So I'm just 41, and I'm planning to commit suicide through apathy. I can't fight a world this blind and dumb. I can't tolerate how stupid some people strive to remain.

    Sorry for the wet blanket.

    It's been a long six months.

    Eight years.

    We won the election, but have you seen how the reaction now is to deliberately fuck up as much as they can to prove Obama can't do it?

    We have to bring the deluded out of their stupor or they will drown us all with their dead weight.

    George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

    by snafubar on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:09:52 AM PST

    •  I have ignorant relatives too! (0+ / 0-)

      Not only did we beat the British now we have to beat the Bushes.

      by libbie on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:17:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  oh i am crying (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, miss SPED

      and I have been wondering how I could barely cry all week, wondering why Obama's victory hadn't reduced me into a puddle of tears.  Please snafubar do not do this, and I think I understand by not getting to a doctor right away you are killing yourself.  

      I too was at the end of my rope a few years ago and thought I would not make it.  I had health insurance, but it didn't matter.  The system didn't work for people like me with overlapping medical problems that our establishment just doesn't know how to address.

      Things turned around and I am here, doing much, much better.  

      My email is in my profile.  Please use it.  People came out of the woodwork to save me.  Let us help you.

      "When Obama speaks, Angels orgasm" Jon Stewart, 2008

      by fernan47 on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 11:43:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  directly, no the diary won't, but people who read (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, snafubar

      it or the underlying story might.  I have already had responses back from one Member of the House and one high ranking person in the Obama campaign, so who knows?

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 02:19:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't mean for it to be a forecast, I was just (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        churchylafemme, i like bbq

        venting.

        I had such an emotional release from Barack's win, I cried for hours of relief and joy.

        Then when I went out in my hometown the next day and saw the faces and heard the comments of those in the town, it really made me wonder just what this country reall thinks it's future is.

        It's like a tragic game of tug of war where each side waits angrily to win an election so they can make the place in their own image and tell everyone to live with it or get out, now after eight years of that the crowd who just lost seem to be saying that if they can't have it their way they will trash the place just to spite us.

        I know it may have been worse before, but I have a big hangup about religion; and one of the neccessary rituals in religion is that you start with a perfect story and then make all the evidence match the ideal no matter what other causes or explanations may be.

        And the idea that Reagan was the only politician in our lifetime who did anything right, and that we are not living in a perfect utopia because dastardly Democrats stood in his way to keep lazy deadbeats fat and happy and on their asses while hard working people go out and break themselves to give all their money in taxes and succumb to oppressive regulation....

        If I hear that story one more time from a person who really is sincere when they say it, I don't know how to hold back any more.

        I really don't want to leave the house any more.

        Trust me TK - I'm counting on people like you to be right and to pull this thing out of the fire. I just don't have the strength to do it. I go straight from impotent dispair to burning down the place, and I can't find a productive middle ground.

        Sorry. Didin't mean it to be a literal forecast.

        Carry on, Teacher. I think of the Jethro Tull version of that song when I read your name here.

        :)

        I really wish I could be a writer, but you have to have confidence for that, and of that I have a deficit.

        George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

        by snafubar on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 02:56:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And yet these ppl keep voting (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans??

  •  If they let us buy into Congress's plan it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Futuristic Dreamer, Amber6541

    will happen by the thousands. Within a few years tens of thousands.
    One reason, because people who can't get health insurance through employment and must buy it on the "open market" can't be sure that the insurance they pay for isn't fraudulent.

    •  I'd love the opportunity to buy in... (6+ / 0-)

      We must buy our own insurance and we were "lucky" (hmm...) enough to have two children born with problems that are now considered to be pre-existing conditions.  My insurance covers them in general, but does not pay for the care they need for their problems.  

      For example, my youngest daughter was born with a leg a couple inches shorter than the other, so she needs a lift added on to her shoe to walk.  They won't pay for that lift to be added even though it is obviously a medical necessity for preventing damage to her partly-deformed foot and her spine (from severe limping), because she isn't "sick" enough .  If she had diabetes, they would cover it.  My appeals have been denied.

      So, I am stuck paying lots out of pocket in addition to the monthly premium.  How much, you might wonder?  I got the notice last week that our new premium is increasing by $300 to a grand total of $1400 a month.  That is before deductibles, copays, and significant out-of-pocket expenses.  

      So what had been costing us close to $20,000 a year will now be closer to $25,000.  We were scraping by before (our income is very close to the national average but we were making strict budgeting choices to afford our healthcare), but this is almost out of reach.  I found McCain's $5000 credit laughable, to say the least!

      Until the "pre-existing" condition law (it might as well be a law...) is eliminated, no other company will touch us.  All I hear is "sorry but...".

      So, while my situation is a tremendous strain on an average middle class family, my heart aches to think about the uninsured mentioned in this diary.

      As far as I can see, this is a breaking point (not just a turning point) for this country.  Obama's healthcare platform cannot be delayed.  

  •  Thanks to the Post for this fine article (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oslo, whitis, Amber6541

    It seems only logical:  a nation of sick and injured people cannot hope to reach its full promise or even to maintain its position in a world where our primary competitors offer universal healthcare.   Universal healthcare is therefore as necessary to a modern economy as education, clean water, power and roadways. Yet, many Americans remain under the spell of radical right propaganda that for years threatened a dire outcome if legislators released the stranglehold that profit makers have on U.S. healthcare.  It is heartening to read that the medical grassroots have taken matters into their own hands by establishing the Wise clinic.  Hopefully, more Americans will become active participants in a long-awaited healthcare revolution.

  •  Something Else Really Sad (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, sockpuppet, Amber6541
    Let's say Obama manages to implement his plans to give everyone insurance. As you rightly point out, there are not enough doctors--particularly specialists--available in rural and other underserved areas.

    So, let's say he implements his plan to give $4k per year to anyone who goes to college provided they agree to serve in one of these areas...

    it may not matter that much.

    (1) There is a shortage of medical schools. There are more US students trying to get into medical school than there are openings. Erroneously predicting a glut of doctors in the 1990s, medical schools decided to freeze enrollment. Big mistake. Although they realized a few years ago that there was actually going to be a shortage, the time it takes to train a doctor--particularly a heart specialist--means that it will be a decade or more to improve the doctor/patient ratio.

    (2) There are currently more would-be-doctors trying to get into Medical Resident programs in the US than there are openings. Many US students who can't get into Med School in the US go abroad to India or other countries to attend medical school and compete for limited residency openings with other foreign-educated doctors. This has placed a limit on how many new doctors are trained each year.

    (3) Many new doctors are avoiding becoming general practitioners or general surgeons. Most are specializing--including a large number in plastic surgery, which is more lucrative. Hospitals are increasingly extending more responsibility for patient management to nurses and hospitalists.

    (4) Many hospitals are closing, for various reasons; even if everyone has health care, people in urban or rural areas are having trouble getting access to emergency medical care.

    (5) The number of doctors retiring out of the system over the next ten years far exceeds the number coming in.

    This is one reason why the US is poaching medical students and doctors from abroad, including nurses, to the detriment of those countries' health systems.

    There is no legislation that will offer a quick fix for this problem. The government should, in my opinion, consider changing the procedure for how people being doctors so that the can receive intensive training that takes less time.
     

    •  If anything medical school is too strenuous (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sockpuppet

      as it is, so we can't speed up the process.  The thing about residency requirements is that the person is an acting doctor during the residency, so if we needed more doctors, it would solve the problem of lack of residency openings.

      Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

      by Futuristic Dreamer on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 12:39:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  a lot of care does not require MDs (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brooke In Seattle, andreacs

        Nurse practitioners and Physicians Assistants can leverage what doctors we have.  My sister-in-law just finished her training and passed her tests as a PA, which is why I am aware of it.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 02:21:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  By speeding up (0+ / 0-)
        I don't mean making them cram more into it; I mean weeding out the classes on the undergraduate level to get that initial degree that are not essential to becoming a doctor. Cut out the chaff...so people can become excellent doctors without taking classes that aren't going to be used.

        Residents still need a lot of supervision, so unless you have regular doctors to supervise them you can't really up the number. But as it is, there aren't enough people graduating med school in the US (which is why we import residents), so even if we had more resident openings we wouldn't have enough people to fill them without stealing them from other countries. That is why I think we need more medical schools and a shorter time to become a doctor.

    •  Too many specialists, not enough primary care (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sockpuppet

      docs.  Not blaming the docs for the most part, its a question of incentives, economics, and its influenced by the way physicians are trained.

      We need more primary care docs willing to practice in medically underserved areas...and yes, non-physicians like PAs and NPs can help provide care but you still need a certain amount of oversight by physicians.

      And, we need the system to realize that insurance coverage is needed for prevention, mental health, dental care, and ancillary services like rehab and pharmaceuticals too.  The lack of access to quality care in anyone of these jeopardizes the whole, leads to unnecessary death and suffering and large healthcare costs.

      The problem is complicated but certainly not immune to common sense solutions.  I believe its a matter of political will and moral grounding.

      Lisa in CT, RIP Silver, Midnight, Jinx, Bailey, Princess, and Sparkey. Our pets who died Oct. 11th in our devastating house fire. We will miss you always.

      by JellyBearDemMom on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 03:39:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And there are still people -- on THIS site even (0+ / 0-)

    who do not think that health care for everyone in this country should be among the very top priorities and among the first things done.

    I really could not care less about voter's rights or civil rights for gay people in California or the 50 state strategy or anything else other than our safety UNTIL everyone in this country, especially all children, has adequate health care.

  •  I've been to poor villiages in Nicaragua... (4+ / 0-)

    ...that had better services than are described here.

    I never spent any time in Tennessee to speak of, but I have seen the same in my own home state. Many of the villages in Alaska still use honey-buckets and sewage lagoons. Safe fresh water, believe it or not, is at a premium in the Bush. Many kids drink pop from the time they are weaned and often have rotting teeth by puberty. Fresh milk is $8 a gallon or more. Fresh food (other than subsistence foods) is way beyond the means of most of the Native communities, so they eat "junk" foods. Poor diet, and lack of access to real services all combine to make rural Alaska unhealthier than many third-world countries.

    Yes, the Natives get subsidies, permanent fund checks, dividends from their Native Corporations, and have access to most State and Federal programs such as food stamps and Medicaid.  But it none of it goes very far in a place where the lack of infrastructure and the climate itself make everything so expensive to just survive.

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 01:42:17 PM PST

  •  Just wanted to add my thanks for this Diary nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JellyBearDemMom

    "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." -Thomas Jefferson

    by Klick2con10ue on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 01:49:05 PM PST

  •  60 Minutes Video of RAM in Virginia (4+ / 0-)

    60 Minutes did this story in July 2008:

    Stan Brock, who runs RAM is an interesting, amazing man.

    From 60 Minutes:

    Brock is British by birth, and an adventurer at heart. He was a cowboy in the Amazon and then, incredibly, he was discovered by TV's "Wild Kingdom." Brock was a star - sort of a naturalist daredevil - for the program in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    Today Brock is devoted to RAM - completely devoted. He has no family, takes no salary, and has no home. Brock lives in an abandoned school that the city of Knoxville leases to RAM for $1. Until recently, he took showers in the courtyard with a hose.

    How does he pay for all the care and supplies?

    "In the first place we really know how to stretch the dollar. We operate entirely on the generosity of the American people. I'd like to say that we had big corporate support in America but we don’t. So it’s the little checks from those people who send in the $5 and $10," Brock explained.

    RAM operates on a shoestring budget of about $250,000 a year. Yet, last year, it treated 17,000 patients. On the Saturday 60 Minutes stopped by, there was no sign of a let up.

  •  Thank you for this post... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JellyBearDemMom

    I agree we must do something for these folks and other poor folks in dire need of medical care.  I am more than willing to donate money and if I had medical background, time to help.  I think the fact that corn syrup sweetened drinks and foods have to be the main culprits for tooth decay.  I am 52 yrs old, we were poor, never had any dental care until 19yrs old. Milk, water, soda and cereals were sweetened with sugar when I was growning up in the late 50's, 60's and 70's.  an Obese child was rare back then combared to the last two decades.  I rarely when to the doctor except for urgent care which is so different than today.  The emergency rooms were vacant, no waiting, and affordable.  I am thankful that I am generally in good health and have healthcare.  I hope that our new president will be able to get some type of national healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured.

  •  children dying in Florida too (7+ / 0-)

    I teach at a rural school in North Florida and we just lost a student to an untreated infected wound from an accident. He left our school in terrible pain on Thursday and did not see a doctor until Sunday night and by that time it was too late.

     I constantly see untreated sicknesses in my students.  we are lucky to have a nurse (most schools do not) and she can help in some cases, but often children come to school day after day with the same ailment. Not only is medical care not available to many kids after the cuts in Schip but parents with minimum wage jobs do not dare take off to get children to doctors and our isolated families, who live 20 or more miles from town, do not have gas to get to school or a doctor.

    Leave No Child Behind?

  •  I'm an amateur dentist (7+ / 0-)

    Well, not really.  I am a primary doctor who takes care of a variety of folks at a VA facility.  Lots of guard/reserve soldiers and veterans use our clinic.  I have many homeless vets I take care of, lot of college students, a few fellow physicians, as well as some attorneys, professors, accountants and other professionals.  Many of the poorer ones have aching teeth and can't afford dental care.  This is an outrage because they have a great dental program at the VA, but eligibility expires after they have been out of the service for 6 months.  All they have to do is make an appointment within 6 months of their discharge and they will get a one hour appointment for a comprehensive exam, and then the dentist will write up a list of their problems.  THey will get a voucher that they can take to any dentist in the community to get the work done, and the VA will pay the bill.  The payment must be decent because my personal dentist told me that she loves getting those patients.  But somehow, many of them do not avail themselves of the program and then show up with aching teeth.  

    I have become good at 2 things - manipulating the system so they can get their care and keeping them comfortable in the mean time.  I load them up on big doses of antibiotics, pain pills and even steroids.  If I were putting together a wish list for our new President, I would add expanded access to dental care for VA patients.

  •  God help us... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gongee

    as a Country we need to do SOMETHING!!  And God bless the individuals who are stepping up.

    Lisa in CT, RIP Silver, Midnight, Jinx, Bailey, Princess, and Sparkey. Our pets who died Oct. 11th in our devastating house fire. We will miss you always.

    by JellyBearDemMom on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 03:25:55 PM PST

  •  I live in SWVA and I applaud your diary (4+ / 0-)

    Thank you for wtiting such a touching diary. The depth of this read was awesome.

    I've been on missions trips overseas and have been face to face with this level of need in foreign lands. We tend to forget that the mission field is right here at home. Thanks again, this situation will be in my prayers.

  •  I lost my job (4+ / 0-)

    and I am foregoing my 6 month dental check up and annual gyno check until I get a job with benefits. It has been 4 months since I lost my job and being over 55, it is difficult to find something that pays benefits and comes close to my last salary of 36K.

    www.honk4peace.org

    by Jean on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 04:20:38 PM PST

  •  and we are spending how much in Iraq? and putting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JellyBearDemMom
    up an ill-advised missile defense in Poland to destabilize Europe. What a shame! Take care of our people first. Bomb the world later.
  •  Its time (0+ / 0-)

    For Single Payer.  They keep saying that single payer will ration care.  When a family member had a fatal disease he had to go to "in network" doctors.  I dont remember Hillary talking about in network doctors.

  •  Growing up without health care SUCKS!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sully18

    And the worst thing for me, as a kid, was watching my parents get sick or break bones, and knowing no one was going to do anything about it. They paid for a doctor once or twice when I was seriously ill, but they never got any treatment themselves (my parents are still uninsured, btw, and I worry even more now they're getting older...)

  •  There absolutely has to be universal ... (0+ / 0-)

    single payer health care.That would eliminate a ton of health problems.If you want to call it socialized medicine,so be it.Socialism is not as bad as no health care.That is emotional torture,pure and simple.

    Democracy is not dead;it merely smells funny

    by sully18 on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 07:22:58 PM PST

  •  Bless you, teacherken (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    My normally stiff-upper-lipped Yankee Mom was literally shaking with rage after reading that story this morning, and cried several times about it tonight.  I cannot even begin to think about it.  Bless you for disseminating it so widely.

    May we make this our first priority after January 20th.

    Thank you so very much for this diary.

    I hear America singing!

    by noweasels on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:16:54 PM PST

    •  I do what I can (0+ / 0-)

      I had not known of the previous storeis/broadcasts on this, to which readers on this thread have referred and linked.  And if I had not, neither had many others who would be concerned, hence the justification for a diary like this.

      peace

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 05:00:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Now I feel guilty (0+ / 0-)

    I go for dental cleanings and check-ups every three months.   I don't have any dental insurance.  The spouse has dental coverage, so goes every 6 months.

    I have to pay cash for my dental care.  We're out of work now (self-employed residential remodeling contractor)-- me and hundreds of other contractors out of work in my area.  So after my next checkup in December, I don't know when I'll have the money for another one.

    How long in this economy before there are millions more of us without adequate care?  Yes, I'm worried.

    Blessings upon your houses, all of you angels who participate in this program in VA.  And thanks teacherken for writing about this here.  We need to know.

    "A bad government is elected by good people who do not vote in elections." -- Unknown, pg 342, "The Shell Game" by Steve Alten

    by sockpuppet on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 08:45:46 PM PST

  •  My heart remains unbrken (0+ / 0-)

    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happy Hour

    by PerryX on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 10:08:56 PM PST

  •  Why do these people continue to vote (0+ / 0-)

    Republican?

    Look at West Virgina. It's one of the most economic downtrodden states in the country yet it goes to McCain this year and Republicans in general most years. These people vote for more tax cuts for the rich almost every single election cycle.

    Not only do doctors need to help them out but maybe some educators could also do some free work with them. I'm not making fun of them, I'm stating a fact.

    "Load up on guns, bring your friends, it's fun to lose and to pretend" Kurt Cobain-1991

    by Jeff Y on Sun Nov 09, 2008 at 10:48:20 PM PST

    •  they're not doing it for the rich (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      Jeff Y

      they're doing it for themselves. These people are poor. If they vote Democrat, they know their taxes will go up. For poor ppl like them, taxes would hurt em greatly. They don't like the fact that their hard work will be taxed and given to other ppl. These are folks who work hard and dont make much. Taxes will hurt em. I think this is why they vote GOP which is pretty rationale. I dont think UHC would spare them in income taxes. It's soo expensive, taxes woudl have to be raised on them.

      •  No, you're wrong and you know it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, JustDee

        The Repubs have been playing trickledown mind games and blowing racist dog whistles at these people for years and if you bothered to listen to Obama you and them would know that middle-class and poor people will be getting tax cuts.

        You sound like you're spouting already debunked Rethug talking points.

        "Load up on guns, bring your friends, it's fun to lose and to pretend" Kurt Cobain-1991

        by Jeff Y on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 12:24:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  DO you think they'll listen to OBama, a democrat (0+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          Hidden by:
          Jeff Y

          and trust he'll lower their atxes compared to Republicans?? The republicans have been lowering taxes for them longer than Democrats. Remember when clinton promise dtax cuts? He raised em.

          Put yourself in their shoes and iamgine what kind of policies you woudl want.

          Sure it's easy to blame it on racism and culture wars, and im sure theres plenty of what, but the majority of ppl wil lvote their pocket books.

      •  nope (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, Jeff Y

        Taxation isn't the issue at all.  The culture wars still play in WV, even as they have thankfully lost steam in much of the country, and secondly a lot of people fear the coal industry will suffer under a stronger push to fight global warming.

        This doesn't even affect West Virginia's vote apart from the presidential race.  WV just expanded the Democratic majority in the State Senate to 26-8 in the State Senate and 71-19 in the House of Delegates, and re-elected Democrats at the statewide level by lopsided margins of almost 70% (Jay Rockefeller, Joe Manchin, both state supreme court seats, all the other state seats - pretty much everything except Shelly Moore Capito in CD-2.)

        And this argument: "These people are poor. If they vote Democrat, they know their taxes will go up. For poor ppl like them, taxes would hurt em greatly." is straight out of McCain's Joe the Plumber line.  You should know better - Obama's platform is to cut taxes for working people.  And except at the presidential level, these people do vote Democrat.

        Same goes for southwestern Virginia, which keeps re-electing Rick Boucher to Congress by such lopsided margins the Republicans didn't even bother to run anyone this year.

        •  but the working poor BELIEVE their taxes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jeff Y

          ...will go up. That's the problem. The GOP has been effective at repeating that lie until they believe it, and Appalachian poor, in particular, tend not to trust the government. It's the tradition.

          The Democrats need to concentrate on informing these folks, not writing them off as ignorant, hateful hillbillies who are getting what they deserve.

          Taxation is indeed an issue to them. They're just misinformed and need to be given correct information--repeatedly. I hope that education and outreach is part of the 50 State Strategy. Otherwise, we might as well not have one.

        •  taxation isnt an issue? (0+ / 0-)

          why such a blanket statement? It's not just culture wars. I admit it does come into play, but economics is a huge driving force in elections.

          Don't you know poor people are generally selfish?? You think they want to work hard and share their wealth with others?? Now again, not everyone is liek this. Im sure theres generous poor folks out there (god bless their hearts). But there is a big population of poor people who don't have enough for big gov't programs.

  •  In Toledo (0+ / 0-)

    we had a the first black mayor a few years ago who implemented a program to help those without insurance , you pay a minimum fee for health services

    at least people can get primary health care

    "But obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me" President Obama

    by maylingblu on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 03:30:32 AM PST

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