Friday, September 25, 2009

What's The Hurry?

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
Blame the obstructionist Republicans for slow-walking health care reform to death.

Please indulge me if I've said this before; I have no health insurance. I can't buy it anywhere for any price. I once acquired the help of an insurance specialist whose job it was to find individual coverage for people who were self employed. After allowing her access to my medical records, she assured me that she would find something, only to call back in frustration after a week to refund my deposit. Every company has refused me coverage because of the "pre-existing condition." First, this catch-all phrase of doom was an invention of the insurance industry, and secondly, without Divine, metaphysical insight, how in hell would they know what my condition was before I existed? My personal theory was that my soul was in what theologian Jimi Hendrix referred to as "Spiritland," getting ready to go around that wheel one more time. I think the insurance companies would prefer to believe that if you are dead after life, then you are also dead before life. Therefore, if death is a pre-existing condition, they don't have to insure anybody.

It astounds me that so many people question the president's motives over reforming health care and accuse him of every nefarious scheme except wanting to help the American people and the human condition. The GOP has no plan other than to delay the debate and cry, "What's the hurry," which sounds very similar to Alfred E. Neuman's life's query. But tomorrow, forty million people will either have to pay retail for medical costs, if they can afford it, or use the emergency room as their primary physician, and let you pay for it. For a nation whose good was supposedly crowned with brotherhood, we sure have a heartless and ruthless system to care for the ill, the uninsured, the working poor, and the "least of these, my brethren." And what was my sin that forever disqualified me from health coverage? Several years ago I had an ulcer. It went undiagnosed and grew worse for a long time because my doctor was trying to spare me the expense of an MRI since I didn't have health insurance. The last time I had a chest X-Ray, I was billed for $650. How much was yours?

When I could take no more of mooching expensive prescription samples and pleading for doctor's to give me the "brother-in-law discount," I found that the local Church Health Center, although established to help the uninsured working poor, had an exception for musicians that would allow them to acquire decent health care at a nominal cost. I first had to attend an orientation meeting which was filled with mostly poor people coming straight from work, and fill out forms. God bless these folks for the work that they do, but the greeting meeting came with a healthy dose of Jesus and an emphasis on the importance of faith and building a relationship with God. A line in the registration form asked for "Church Congregation." Since Judaism does not have churches, I technically could have written "none," but instead I put "Temple Israel," to avoid any recruitment bulletins. It is, after all, the "Church" Health Center, and I accept their mission.

The young doctor leading our session seemed to have had a bad day and rather than having everyone take a seat, pass out the forms, and give instructions, He had us make a single-file line and he repeated the same instructions fifty times. He grew impatient with an Asian couple that spoke insufficient English and insisted they return at a later date with an interpreter. The young couple in front of me spoke only Spanish to each other, and I was prepared to say, "Yo hablo Espanol," to help these people muddle through on my bad Spanish, but they knew enough English to receive the forms. A brief lecture followed about 1040 tax returns and pay stubs necessary to verify sufficient work hours, and further instructions and calls necessary before being accepted as an "established patient." We concluded with a tour of the Hope and Healing Center on Union Ave., which is a wellness and exercise facility, with a chapel.

It is a tremendous relief to know that should I become ill that I have somewhere to go that will not financially break me. At the same time, while returning to my car after the meeting, I couldn't help but feel somewhat depressed about the whole thing. My wife assures me that the people who work at the Church Health Center Clinic are the most caring and thorough medical professionals she has ever dealt with and that I will appreciate the experience after my years of dealings with doctor's offices. I feel blessed that this alternative is here and is non-sectarian in the dispensing of medical care. But, as a former child of privilege sitting in a room with the likewise uninsured working poor and the truly destitute, I could not help but feel that I was occupying someone else's place whose life was far harder than mine. If I'm able to afford health insurance, then what am I doing accepting charity? The way the collusive medical/insurance complex is currently configured, desperation over health care knows no economic, ethnic, racial, or religious boundaries. Thankfully, neither does compassion.


Anonymous said...

Dammit Sputnik, It just makes ya sick!

Anonymous said...

May I inject a little light of the truth here. Every Republican that I have heard speak in regard to the health care issue has agreed that the system is broken and that reform is needed. They all have said that health insurance needs to be portable and needs to disregard pre-existing conditions. The single biggest difference is the the Republicans want a free market solution to the problems rather than a government option. I would like for the Democrats to explain why they don't remove the legal strictures that require people to buy health insurance within their state of residence. Why not allow the people to select from the 1300 health insurance companies throughout the nation? Competition would drive prices down and allow for the shaping of the insurance policies in line with the demand. The simple answer to that is that the Democrats know that this will work. They don't want a free market solution, because the real issue is government control over the private sector. Randy, your pleas would have more power if you had been a disadvantaged ghetto kid. But, like you said you were a child of priveledge who CHOSE to do drugs and party your productive years away. Now you want someone else to pay for your bills. This is the stuff that socialists are made of. Having said all of that I do want you to have medical insurance, but not the government brand.

will reed said...


sometimes we get lucky.

you could have been at the mall buying shit or in fla playing golf with the guys, or subcontracting acts of charity through your trust or living life for real in front of the telly. or raging against the socialists, communists etc that will kill you sooner if health care reform (including effective public option)if enacted.

instead you get the real deal.

now the only questions are do you have the humility to accept your good fortune.


Anonymous said...

Here is a study in contrast. The Tea Party folks gather by the tens of thousands in Washington D.C. and there are no crimes and not even any litter. The far left is trashing Pittsbugh at the G-20 meeting. Of course when the police use force to stop them they will cry police brutality. The situation has always been thus. What's wrong with this picture?

ghg said...

Joe Lieberman, the poor misguided soul who actually stood on the platform with Sarah "the waitress in the local Irish Pub with the big brown eyes who just had us all laughing ourselves silly the other night" Palin.......Joe, who actually stood there with a smile on his face even though he was advocating that she be the VP of the USA.......

Joe, this poor misguided soul thinks that maybe he should be more generous with his colleagues and find "some compromise" rather than be generous with his constituents and find some surgeon who will save their life...Joe is not a Republican. He was elected by the people of the State of CT because they all thought he was a Democrat. Read in for "Democrat" the notion that he actually would think about the needs of those who voted for him and try like hell to do something about it.

We're going to need a special clinic here to care for that special illness that accrues to those who voted for him and unfortunately still retain souls that have been sickened by his disregard for morality. There's a rumor that Cheney bit him on the neck in the Senate cloakroom and that was the end of that.

Hill said...


Really enjoyed -- well, that's not accurate -- I could totally relate to your blog on health insurance. I am also self-employed, and self-insured. My insurance is expensive, and the coverage I have is such that my entire arm would have to fall off before my insurance kicked in.

I recently went to the doctor, came away with a diagnosis of a small spot of skin cancer, and got a bill yesterday -- my insurance company denied my claim. Probably because I was supposed to get permission from them to go see a doctor. So now there's going to be a huge hassle -- obviously I also have to have it cut out ................ anyway, I can so totally relate. When I hear about "death panels" and rationed health care -- what are these people thinking? We already have that. Anyway. I feel your pain, as they say.

Cheers, Hill

The Watcher said...

F.A. Hayek would say to America that you folks are well on your way down the road to serfdom. Socialists are playing into the hands of the super-capitalists. Socialism really isn't about re-distributing the wealth. That is just the sales pitch. It is really about controlling the wealth in the hands of a relatively small wealthy elite. All socialism does is to eliminate the middle class. This will produce a caste system consisting of a small ruling elite with the rest of us living as serfs on the government farm. Beyond that, the vice of ever increasing government control will squeeze every bit of freedom from the populace. Get ready to be sized for your black pajamas. Your socialistic utopia will prove to be a horror of absolute government control. And good luck on getting fair trials or fair treatment of any kind. At least in a free market system an average, but bright, black boy from sub-par parentage could avail himself of the opprtunities that a free society affords and rise to become president. You can say good-bye to that scenario after we are under the thumb of totalitarianism. And believe me, that is what it will come to. It will be gradual, but we will get to the government serf farm. It may take 100 more years, but we will get there. Then your great grandchildren will listen whistfully to stories of a time when this country was free. Of course, they will say, 'Mommy, what is freedom, I've never experinced it'? One more thing, the showdown between the socialists and the Islamofacists will be interesting to watch. I wouldn't bet the ranch on the socialists, though. Can you see these light-in-the-loafers, lily-livered leftists going up against the hard-core, murderous Islamofacists? They will be wringing their hands crying for the right-wing meanies, those who had the will to fight, to come forward to save them. Of course, by then there will be no real men to stop the slaughter. The Islamofacist will say to the weak socialists, 'You have two choices. Become a Muslim or become a slave, or we will remove your head. A free America will look awfully good when that day comes. And finally, I just heard Obama talking tough to Iran about the nuclear issue. I would like to be a fly on the wall to hear the Iranians rolling on the floor with laughter. A liberal talking tough...ha!ha!ha! Obama's biggest threat of getting whacked is from the Muslims. They will let him live as long as he continues to weaken America. The rest of us had better get a grip, because their will be plenty of terrorist attacks coming our way. You can thank a Democrat for that.

Anonymous said...

Israel has thrown the gauntlet down. An Israeli ambassador has just declared (9/25 9:40 a.m.) unequivocaly that if diplomacy doesn't work, if sanctions don't work (and work quickly) Israel will militarily strike Iran. Now, let's look at pro-Muslim, relatively anti-Israel Obama and his far left cronies. How would you like to be a Jew in a life-or-death struggle against the Muslim world and have to look to America, now dominated by the far left far, for support? They wouldn't defend their own families. Get ready for a hullaballoo. The Dr. Strangelove scenario may well materialize. The going is going to be rough for all of us from here on out. You can thank the pansie left for the coming state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

Randy, be careful what you ask for, because you may get it. You will be eligible for Medicare soon. If the Democrats win the day and institute government run health care, you may be rationed all the way to the grave. You are getting to be too old and too sick to be of much use to those who will be rationing health care. You will most likely be put on the hospice track.

Anonymous said...

Hello--- Isn't this blog about Health care? What's up with all this talk about Israel? Why can't you wanna be bloggers get your own space. Every time Sputnik writes about any subject people seem to think it's open house for everything. I'm all for healthy discussion but let's stick at least close to the subject. Whats all this about Violins in the streets??

Pat Rohrbacher said...

Hey Randy et al:

The Church Health Center, is an excellent option. I have worked in fund raising and awareness for this org. I believe that a faith based model may be an excellent platform, to bring in the necessay resources and man power, with the faith community acting as a funnell. (i.e the "Jewish Home" nursing home, offers the best care in the nursing home marketplace in Memphis, and of course they take gentiles as patients)
The problem of the uninsured using the Emergency room as primary care, can almost be answered with a Church Health model, or the idea of "clinics".
The larger question is; with forced premium participation, and/or right of refusal of the same; Will the able but premium-refusing patient still try to use the emergentcy room for care? I am guessing yes. Old habits die hard and the self absorbed may refuse the greater good, and choose to spend their money as they choose.
A case example: I know of a client who was making more than 75k per year, dropped out ot the company health plan at $40 per week, for his share of family coverage, and now has a serious condition that will not be treated because he has no insurance. AND he is now unable to work. He made the decision because he thought $160 per mo. was too much of his pay to give up, Vs. other expenses he was faced with.
Finally: My first wife Betty had breast cancer for 8 years before she passed on, we were locked in to our old health plan, because we could not change, as she was un-insurable. Premiums rose to $1890 per mo. with a 5,000 deductible!! Can you say mercy?
In a remission period Betty applied and got a goverment job with TSA at the airport. The goverment is a non-discriminatory employer, she was hired even though she was a active cancer patient. We were IMMEDIATELY enrolled in our choice of health plans. No PRE-Existing condition clause here! The plan we used was shared by the Postal Service, CIA, FBI and another group. We could choose between 20 different companies, and likeley 100 different plans to meet our budget and family situation. and if our choice sucked we could change once per year, and go to a different plan, as easy as filling out the application! The goverment had all of the companies pre bid and qualified, and the Insurance firms were drawing from such a large pool. And guess what? our premiums were just $218 per mo, with small deductibles.
The POINT is this. Risk spread over a large pool produces economy of scale, even in bad cases like Randy's or mine as described. The problem is getting folks to pay the monthly cost for such a program, or requiring them to. The Gov paln I just described is already a working model of the solution.

Sputnik57 said...

Quoting Dr. Gregg:

"Do you know what doctors hate? We hate having to hire 20 extra people to sit in an office to make sure that the private insurance companies don't defraud us. Everyone one of them do. But Medicare doesn't. Only the privates who need to make a bottom line do. It's how they stay in business. Are you paying for that? Do doctors want to leave practice because of that? Yes and yes. Your premise regarding why doctors want to leave practice is ignorant. We love practicing medicine. We hate insurance companies who rip us and our patients off.

It's only doctors and nurses who give a damn whether you live or die and we have nothing to do with who it is who you pay premiums to. We're not "Insurance" workers and we won't be "Government" workers. The insurance companies and the government are only bill payers. You send your money to them. They then take out money for themselves and send money to me. They are ONLY BILL PAYERS."

Government is not going to "take over" health care. They will pay doctor's fees without removing a chunk for a Board of Executives, a CEO, and their stockholders demanding maximum return on their investments. Even the free market should not profit on sickness.

Anonymous said...

This just in. The Tucson, Az school system has figured out a way to get around the fact that more minorities are suspended due to misbehavior than whites. They are proposing a two-tier disciplinary system. One for whites and one for minorities. They will be much more tolerant and lenient in regard to minority misbehavior in order 'to level the playing field'. Another example of how the liberals deal with fairness. How would you like to be a teacher in a Tucson school where the minorities know that they will receive a slap on the wrist for their hell-raising in class while the whites have to tow the line. A typical hare-brained liberal solution to a problem. Are you folks sure that you want to continue to be liberals in light of such foolishness?

Anonymous said...

A major problem in all of this is that most Americans don't trust the government at all. There is no basis for trusting the government. The government had proven itself to be at the very least both expensive and inept. There is a growing suspicion that the goverment's agenda is to completey take over the private sector a little at a time. Then we will have socialism which will rapidly morph into totalitarianism. You may say that this is paranoia, but goverments around the world and throughout time have proven ultimately untrustworthy in regard to personal freedom. The founding fathers were painfully aware of the dangers of centralized govermmental power and the danger of tyranny. They weren't just blowing smoke. Don't be naieve. Why not pursue a free market solution? Why are socialists so anti-freddom? Is being taken care of by someone else that important to you? I already know the answer to that question.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting that the dictators throughout the world sing Obama's praises? Isn't it interesting that Obama is interfering with the sovereign nation of Honduras in order to pressure their supreme court and congress to re-seat the socialist president that they ousted for constitutional violations? How audacious is that? Obama is really showing his Marxist colors by doing this. He isn't even trying to be subtle about it. The ridiculous thing is that he continues to say that he is not a socialist. Even the socialists know that this is bullshit. They just say keep on lying and making the world more socialistic, Obama. Like Chavez recently told Castro, 'By the time that Obama is through with America, we will be to the political right of him'. No truer words have been spoken.

Alan said...

What is the rush. The proposals on healthcare don't kick in until 2014. So if it were passed today you will not benefit for 5 years. Would it not be prudent to get it right and not rush when you are talking about 2014. The only reason for the rush is to deny the American People the full disclosure that Obama promised. Let us see if the entire bill is posted on the net 72 hours before the vote like he promised in the election!

Anonymous said...

you are like a small child rolling on the ground and screaming because he doesn't get his way. Anyone that disagrees with you is automatically an obstructionist because you can't conceive of anyone being capable of having a different opinion.
More proof of your one sided, closed mindI hate to tell you this, but half of America disagrees with you.

Sputnik57 said...

Anon 4:54
You continue to say that half the public disagrees with me. Today's newest poll from CBS/Washington Post says 65% approve of a government run, public option to the insurance companies, and 25% disapprove.

By the way, this blog IS one-sided. It is an opinion column, written by me, therefore the one side will always be mine. If you wish I were a little more "fair and balanced" like Fox News, learn the meaning of the word "editorial."

Juan said...

I read today's column with interest, as I always do, and I am also without insurance. That is one of the reasons I am in Mexico.

Medical care here is VERY inexpensive and
excellent. Dental work is also spectacular. As I age, now a healthy
76, I am getting shorter, and my jaws started to shrink...teeth going
I had every tooth in my entire mouth ground down, and covered with
porcelain crowns.....for 20% of what it would cost in Memphis.

For the rest of my aging bodyI do go every year or two to Memphis to
LIFESIGNS on Massey Road. They have the most thorough examinations I
have ever had.

Anonymous said...

Outsiders have to come to grip with the fact that this IS Randy's blog and he has a right to run his ideological monopoly any way he sees fit. We still have that much freedom left in our increasingly government-dominated private sector. AND, he has a right to be wrong and to pedal his wrong views to his choir. How much damage can he do to spew his socilaist agenda to a dozen of so of the Marxist lemmings who hang on his every word? Antagonists should chill a little in his regard. For a while at least, we still have freedom of speech. But, you can bet your bottom dollar that his Bolshevik heroes in Washington will come after our freedom of speech, our guns, what we have left of an income, and most of the rest of our freedoms just as soon as they have the numbers to enslave America. Then, they may make Randy Head of National Propaganda as a reward for being faithful to their Totlitarian vision for so many years. Bottom line...chill with your picking on him. Does it make him completely wrong just because he chose to fritter his productive years away and now wants the public to pay his bills? Cut him some slack and send him your spare change before Lord Obama takes it away from you.

Urk said...

Randy, best and good luck. I found your blog a few weeks ago after Jim Dickinson passed and I went looking for memorials. Thanks for holding such an interesting and passionate online space.

I sure wish that some folks would get some clues about the "free market" that they say they hold so dear. We haven't had a "free market" in this country since the bad old days when most of the working class was putting in 12-15 hour days for Carnegie and the other robber barons. An unregulated free market is a race to the bottom in terms of quality of life for most people. Of course, any "free market" would also likely lack the kind of corporate welfare that today's robber barons extract from politicians of both parties. for all their rhetoric, modern conservatives aren't really in favor of a free market at all, they're just pro-business, which is sad for the many of them who aren't rich themselves. People, the rich people who own the insurance companies, who make their money betting on who gets sick and who doesn't...they're laughing at you, out in the streets, all across the internet, doing their dirty work for them and claiming it's about "freedom."

Look people, the government isn't the only thing that can limit your freedom. government isn't the only source of power and control to be suspicious of, it's just the only one that you have a vote in if you weren't born rich. I'm happy to see such skepticism of authority flourish, I just wish it weren't accompanied by such blind faith in the machinations of ruthless profiteers.

Look folks, you will retain the freedom to pay too much for health care. No one is proposing anything that will make those of you with private plans give them up.

Just one more questions: if the government is incapable of doing anything efficiently or competently, then what does the insurance industry have to fear from competition with a public plan? If private enterprise always does everything better and more cheaply, then surely the government plan won't be able to compete, right?

alright, I have to hang it up. Best, Eric

Anonymous said...

I'm still not sure why Anon. has such a burr up his ass about Randy, but it sounds to me like he knows him. If this is true then you either hate him and are jealous of him for some reason, or your just a dick that may know of him and are just trying to "be in the loop". Whatever, I find it very weird that you feel the need to cut him down, why so personal? Is your life so empty that you can't have a civil disscussion without name calling? Just wondering, but you might ease up a bit remember it's his opinion. This can be fun and full of sparks without being so nasty. Really.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the government option is that it will be so cheap that lots of employers will dump their employess into it rather than to provide their own. Competing with the government isn't a level playing field seeing as how the gov. has the taxpayers of America to back it up. They can drop prices forever and then make up the deficiency by raising taxes. The gov. doesn't have to compete, because the only way that the gov. can lose is if everyone in the country quits working, which isn't a bad idea. See what the blood-sucking assholes will do when there is no one left to bleed. It has been said that over time so many employers will dump their employees into the gov. plan that it will eventually drive private insurors out of business. Obama himself said in an interview before he became president that it may take 10, 15, or 20 years to eliminate private insurors, but that this is his ultimate goal. These are his words. And, I do not really have bad feelings toward Randy. I just has a perverse love for needling liberals. Call it a hangup. I knew Randy from his music when I lived in the Memphis area in the 70's and 80's. I didn't even know that he was politicaaly inclined till someone told me about this blog. There are no liberals where I live so I have to haunt liberal blogs to have the fun of rattling their cages. It's just sport. I'm really quite harmless and affable if I do say so myself.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:00am, your "you were a child of priveledge who CHOSE to do drugs and party your productive years away" is one of the nastiest mischaracterizations I have ever seen. You could at least have spelled priviledge correctly.

Randy, you got trolls built up, looks like. Kill Anonymous commenting, go to Registered Users only; and if that doesn't make the dumb ugliness go away, go to moderation of comments.

SIREEN said...


Yul Brynner (as Ramesses the Great) said...

No, let him rant on, so that men may know him to be mad...

So let it be written, so let it be done!

Sireen said...

Yeah! But Ramesses the Bald was talking about Moses wasn't he? You don't screw with Moses! Moses may have had a speech impediment but he had the Judaic mojo. Anon is no Moses & Anon's mojo ain't working around here! There! I said it! Thank you Jesus! Hmmmmmmm! Neither liberalism or conservatism is a virtue but LONGSUFFERING is... much to our chagrin! Humph!

Yul Brynner (as Ramesses the Great) said...

Sireen, I knew Moses, Moses was a friend of mine. In fact, he was my one-time brother. Actually, it was just a movie, and he was just Charleton Heston. Anyway, you're no Moses, Anon...

Alan said...

Wintermute got it right about making a change. Of course it is your blog. You know I have a lot of differences with your views, but that goes for the right also. I think the comments would stay more on point and those of us that go back 60 years can give you the true shit you deserve!