Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rational Health Care

Republicans are still using tort reform as their answer to health care reform. As if, frivolous law suits are why health care is so expensive. We’ve had caps in Missouri and Texas for years and it’s only made matters worse.

By setting arbitrary time limits to file personal injury or medical malpractice claims, putting caps on non-economic and punitive damages, and limiting liability for manufacturers of defective products, tort reform is making it extremely difficult for people to seek compensation when they have truly suffered serious losses at the hands of another. In addition, tort reform weakens the deterrent effect that civil suits have on wrongdoers.

An 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient living in a Texas nursing home facility was raped by a nurse assistant who had a history of sexual assault at previous nursing home jobs. The patient’s daughter wanted to file a negligence lawsuit against the nursing home facility for hiring the man despite his past.

However, tort reform in Texas made the lawsuit almost impossible. Attorneys advised against filing a suit, which alone could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, because it wouldn’t be worth it due to the caps on non-economic and punitive damages, the higher standard of burden of proof that falls on the plaintiff, and other tort reform strategies implemented by the state.

The nursing home who hired a sexual predator would continue to run as if nothing had happened. This woman and other victims that were once helped by the civil justice system are now regularly barred from court.

A man who was undergoing open-heart surgery woke up during the middle of his procedure because of being under-anesthetized due to medical error. For three hours, this man drifted in and out of consciousness and suffered severe pain during the surgery, but was helpless to call out in anguish. The breathing tube down his throat prevented him from making a sound and paralytic drugs left him motionless during the procedure.

Approximately 20,000 to 40,000 of the 21 million patients who receive general anesthesia before surgery wake up during their procedure from being under-anesthetized by mistake. These patients undergo extreme physical pain and suffering and often develop post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious psychological problems as a result.

Patients who have tried to speak out about anesthesia awareness have been silenced by doctors and other medical professionals They were told their experiences were “all in their head.” When this open heart patient told the nurse he had been awake during surgery, she did not believe him. When he was able to recount the doctor and nurses'' conversations and where they were standing during surgery, the nurse got the doctor. He said, “Don’t worry the patient won’t remember any of this tomorrow.”

Due to tort reform’s caps on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish, this man and thousands of other medical malpractice victims would not be able to receive compensation for their enormous losses. Many would not even get a chance to bring their claim to court. Negligent medical professionals responsible for this nightmare would continue to threaten the well-being of patients unabated.

The really sad thing about all of this is, it doesn’t bring down the cost of healthcare! I have pointed out before that it would be cheaper for us to have single payer universal healthcare. Please refer to my Associated Content article from 2008, it still applies.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Who's Writing History?

I didn’t want to post about the shootings that took place in Tucson last week. The right and the left wasted no time blaming each other. It doesn’t matter what motivated the shooter, he was a self absorbed pathetic little man and neither side has to take credit for his actions.

What does bother me though, were the few on the right who pointed out he had a copy of the Communist Manifesto. There was no mention that he also had a copy of Mein Kampf. As if these two books went hand in hand.

I think it was Glenn Beck who first started calling the Nazis leftists because the word socialist in their title.

The National Socialist German Worker’s Party was simply called The German Worker’s Party until 1920. Adding the word socialist was purely a populist move.

Nazi ideology stressed the failures of laissez-faire capitalism, communism, economic liberalism, and democracy; supported the "racial purity of the German people" and that of other Northwestern Europeans; and claimed itself as the protector of Germany from Jewish influence and corruption. They began as a reaction to leftist unions.

They were allies of the Italian Fascists who were as extreme right wing as you can get; a system of government run by corporations and the military.

I can’t understand why talking heads try to influence people by rewriting history. The press has to start calling them out on it!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

One Chance To Make A First Impression

"Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act." That’s actually the name of HR2, House Republicans attempt to kill Obama’s health care package. It’s hard to tell whether this title reveals the childishness of Republicans who are pushing for it or the voters it’s aimed at.

The Congressional Budget Office has issued a statement that repeal of the health care law will add $230 billion to the deficits through the next ten years.

Republicans can’t seem to discuss any issue without adding misleading talking points; “Job Killing” Health Care Act, “Government Run” Health Care, etc.

They’ve convinced their constituents that:

  • Guns make you safe
  • The earth is 6000 years old
  • Gays are evil and dangerous
  • Iraq had something to do with 9/11
  • Obama is a Muslim
  • Obama is a communist
  • Obama is the Antichrist
  • Lowering taxes for the super rich would help the economy
  • Deregulating banks leads to prosperity
  • Jesus is coming back soon
  • Every word of the Bible is true – literally
  • We don't need trains that work, infrastructure that functions and new energy, just Jesus...

When they said they were going to read the entire constitution at the opening of the 112th Congress I wondered how they would include blacks equaling 3/5 a person and not being free in free states. It was easy, they omitted those parts entirely. So much for the intentions of the original framers.

Two Republican House members, including a leader on the Rules Committee, cast 6 votes on the US House floor despite missing Wednesday's swearing-in---- A violation of the Constitution they now have to struggling with correcting.

It’s impossible to overstate the incompetence of the Democrats, but Republicans should note that you only get one chance to make a first impression.