I was pretty sure that after President Obama answered questions about health care reform from every nutjob in the audience at today’s town hall meeting in Colorado people, especially those in attendance at the event, would finally understand what The President is trying accomplish and get behind him in this pursuit.

Judging by the video below, I was most certainly wrong.

In this video Debbie Schum, a self-identified “small business owner” and active member of the local Libertarian party, claims “I don’t have insurance and I don’t want insurance.” And then almost immediately adds: “I’d like to have some Insurance if it were affordable”. She then goes on to blame insurance companies for the health care crisis and to claim that health care reform will lead to “a corporate welfare subsidy for insurance companies.”

You have to love Libertarians for their unapologetic contractions. And for their ability to believe that there is some big conspiracy between the entire U.S. Government and every insurance company in the country to accomplish an evil plan to take away freedom and liberty from the American people. And for their ability to just make shit up on the fly: like the fact that people in England have a 78% tax rate.

  • Debbie Schum

    you still there?

  • I’m not doubting that your friend is telling the truth, Eva. He probably did have had a screwed up billing incident with his doctor/hospital. Actually it seems pretty likely.

    But I don’t believe for a minute that federal, state or local legislative body passed a law making it illegal for you to pay for your own medical care just because you are enrolled in Medicare.

    Prove me wrong. Give me a link to the law.

    If some kind of clause like this did happen to make it into a bill that passed then I agree: it’s pretty ridiculous.

    But I’m not going to believe it until I read it for myself.

  • Debbie Schum

    geez, why is it that anything reasonable gets flat out ignored? Hmmm…I wonder…

    while we wait for Eva to find a link to the M/M rules (which will be flat out ignored once posted), we could talk about a lawyer I know who is very concerned as well. He pays $250 a month for M/M and supplemental (which still doesn’t cover much), and the President says we are going to have to cut some of the funding (he called it what it is: subsidies) to M/M because there isn’t money for it. So that means that people on fixed incomes that are NOT going up are going to have to pay more for their M/M. And the so-called public “option” isn’t going to add to the deficit or cost anything? Give me a break! Public “option” (why don’t we just call it public mandatory?) is going to cost money, PLUS it will have to be subsidized. So we’re right back in the same boat…people who can’t afford insurance will be required to purchase insurance (whether privately or from the government), and if they still can’t afford it (even though there’s a law saying they have to), they are going to be in trouble.

    My lawyer friend also says the same thing as Eva. He can pay for things that M/M doesn’t cover, but anything M/M does cover, he is not allowed to pay for himself.

    But here’s an issue that concerns me even more: I have a person very near and dear to me who has schizophrenia. He became schizophrenic right after graduating from college (Stanford; full scholarship, graduated with honors), and for the next 12 years, he was told repeatedly there is no cure, but that he would have to take psychiatric drugs that do some pretty horrific things, besides not actually working. This is why mental illness patients frequently stop taking those drugs…they don’t work well, and have horrid side effects. Anyway, after 12 years, he became fairly non-functional and lost many jobs and the insurance they provided. With no insurance, he couldn’t afford the medieval treatments available (shock treatment, drugs that make you itch and stick your toungue out, and eventually cause tardive diskenisia), and ended up asking me for help to research what to do. We found a clinic in Chicago that treats various mental illnesses with meg doses of vitamins. I didn’t think this would work, but it couldn’t hurt to try (it’s just vitamins, not toxic chemicals). Well, guess what? For the past 23 years, he has lead a totally normal life with no drugs and no side effects. He will have to take large doses of specific viatmins for the rest of his life, but so what? They are MUCH cheaper than drugs, and they actually work. Turns out non-injury related mental illnesses are bio-chemical disorders, and since our brains aren’t made out of drugs, this clinic uses the chemicals (nutrients) that the brain IS made out of to restore the imbalances. This person is now NORMAL; something he was told by mainstream medicine wasn’t possible and that there is no cure, only endless pills to keep him out of other peoples hair.

    AND (you guessed it), this treatment is NOT covered by insurance, and especially not by M/M. This clinic (www.hriptc.org) is very concerned about what is going to happen to them in the health care reform. My friend pays $560 per year (and vitamins) for follow up tests and updates to his treatment. A BARGAIN, especially compared to non-working Haldol.

    Now maybe you will scoff at this story, and probably someone will call me a liar or something (or a conspiracy theorist), but that, of course is only to be diversionary. The point is, we should be able to choose what kind of treatments we want to persue. Mandatory insurance severely limits those options.

    The FDA has been pushing for a long time to adopt codex alimentarius–something dreamed up by World Health Organization (I may have spelled the 2nd word wrong). It’s part of world wide health care reform. One of the things C.A. seeks to do is severely restrict vitamin sales world wide, easing into the rule that vitamins must be prescribed by a licensed doctor, and specifically spells out that “mega-dose” vitamins shouldn’t be allowed.

    Is it any surprise that the FDA, made up of pharmaceutical comapny CEO’s want to see this incorporated (no pun intended) here as well? What about all the people HRI-PTC has helped? Too bad?

  • Debbie Schum

    Doesn’t anybody else on here think it’s weird that Joseph ONLY responds to things he calls lies, and taunts/emotional vitriol? Any politeness or reason is utterly ignored?

    Oh, I forgot; the rant at the very top of this page is his idea of “polite”.

    Go team go! Who cares where!

  • http://www.cms.hhs.gov/manuals/Downloads/bp102c15.pdf – 2009-07-01

    is the manual for providers
    (Rev. 106, 04-24-09)

    Medicare Benefit Policy Manual
    Chapter 15 ? Covered Medical and Other Health Services
    40.35 is the pertinent one but the language is as usual, annoyingly unclear. The upshot is: The provider needs to charge ONLY what Medicare would give them and consider it as payment in full, or opt out. If they want back in, they have to reimburse the patient for anything they paid over and above what Medicare would pay.

    And we wonder why doctors won’t accept Medicare.

  • Debbie Schum

    Wow. fabulous work, Eva. At least someone will read it (I will send it around), since we know Joseph won’t.

    Time to ignore this Joseph! (he only reads white house talking points)Next attack?

  • Actually I did look at the document and it’s a policy document developed by Medicare – it’s not a piece of legislation.

    Also it specifically relates to physicians who have opted out of medicare. Which, according to story, doesn’t relate to your friend’s doctor.

    Again, I’m not saying your friend isn’t telling the truth. I’m just saying none of this is against the law.

    More than likely, your friend’s doctor either misrepresented or misunderstood the Medicare rules.

  • There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    If you look at the House legislation, it’s also the case that rules get promulgated AFTER the legislation passes. It’s an easy out for the legislators. They don’t have to include anything folks would disagree with, and there’s always a fall guy (in this case the administrator from HHS or whichever “czar” gets assigned, should things not work out well. Their re-election hopes are still secure.

    I know this isn’t the reality you would prefer, but you should open your mind on this one a bit. Frankly, I see no great evidence that you’re thinking on this at all – just dumping on anyone (including a lawyer you don’t know with far more credentials than you have) who doesn’t agree with you. It’s more comfortable, but it’s not reality.

  • I’m not exactly sure what it is you want me to open my mind up to. Are you trying to convince me that government is evil and wants to take away my rights?

    We seem to agree that there is no law forbidding Medicare patients from paying for their own medical treatments. And THAT was my point. There isn’t a law as you claimed.

    Yes, maybe the policy is unclear or, hell, maybe there is even some policy somewhere that says that. I haven’t seen it but it certainly may exist. I’ll keep my mind open to that possibility.

    But I think the fundamental difference here is that you think there is some big government conspiracy to screw you over and give all of your money to big, evil, faceless corporations.

    I, on the other hand, believe that government doesn’t work like that. It isn’t some big “them” that’s out to get you.

    Instead it’s a bunch of hard working civil servants who show up to work every day and do their best to provide much-needed services to the citizens they support.

    Yes, any big organization – private or public – is going to have problems. Inefficiencies, unclear policies, resistance to change, etc. And yes, sometimes bad choices are made, though usually not with any malicious intent.

    But should that stop us from trying to solve the big problems facing our country?

  • Debbie Schum

    Ahhh, now you ARE getting the point, Joseph.

    You’re the one talking about evil, evil, evil. Not me, not Eva. You. Those are words you are putting in our mouths.

    “The point”, in my opinion, is WE need to deal with the problems facing our nation. Instead of just dumping it in “somebody elses” lap. Like those hard working civil servants, who suddenly become beyond reproach when wrapped in the mantle of government.

    Wouldn’t you at least agree that “government” needs to be held to a higher standard, not a lesser one? Since they have at their fingertips the resources of millions of other people, many of them people who are NOT wealthy?

    It seems at times on this thread that you are covering up a blind trust in government behind your “YOU guys think the government is evil and out to get us, because you are conspiracy theory whacko’s” rhetoric. And if you don’t believe what you are pretending I or Eva is saying, then the exact opposite must be true!

    You think everything is all peachy keen? When we have governors selling senate seats, senators with tens of thousands of dollars in their freezers, legislators galore who use tax money to fund their extramarital affairs, presidents who by pass the rules of government with executive orders to get around the inconvenience of the law, presidents who blow the crap out of countries because they have weapons of mass destruction like us…no wait, so we can spread democracy in the middle east, no wait, because we, well because we want to, presidents who turn corporate welfare bailouts into “EMERGENCIES” that have to happen IMMEDIATELY!!!, a government that incarcerates over 700,000 people nationwide ANNUALLY for simple pot possession, a government that won’t allow you to vote on what wars we will engage in, or what federal laws we’ll have (because we’re not a democracy) but will let you vote on who is allowed to get married or not (because we are a democracy), etc, etc, etc. obviously i am much to stupid to figure out health care for myself, but I’m not too stupid to decide who should be “allowed” to get married or not!

    The constitution of the United States is not about you or me. It’s about the rules of our government. The government that gets its power from the governed. And if WE don’t like the rules of the federal government, then we change them with amendments to the constitution. We don’t just allow those “hard working civil servants” to ignore the rules and make up whatever they want. Do you see an amendment to the US Constitution saying drugs are illegal? I sure don’t. I saw one about alcohol prohibition, that was subsequently repealed. But not about drugs. Ot health care, or any other host of things. Don’t you understand the dangers of allowing a government unlimited powers, to just make up things as they go along, as they see fit, and make sure that rules only apply to the governed and not themselves? You don’t understand what kind of “hard working civil servants” that type of system attracts?

    Today in the mail, I got a flyer from Colorado Senator Mark Udall saying I should call him and ask him to keep fighting for health care reform. The flyer says right on it “paid for by Pharmaceutical Research and manufacturers of America and Families USA”. But if I notice that, I guess I’m a right wing conspiracy theorist nutjob. Now if udall was a Republican, though, it would be A-OK for me to notice that, wouldn’t it? Then I could storm around screaming about the right wing protectionism of the wealthy corporations who exploit the working class. Which would pretty much be true (take for example, George W on TV talking about how we are all going to die of bird flu, except the government is here to save us by buying MILLIONS of doses of the next to useless vaccine Tamiflu, at $100 per dose–when you could get a dose yourself online for $10–and planning on buying lots and lots more. Fabulous. Except the Pharmaceutical Research and Development company that came up with Tamiflu–which specifically denies claims it will prevent ANYTHING, but instead “hopes” that it will shorten duration of symptoms–is cahired by this guy named Donald Rumsfeld. You remember him, don’t you? And that Tamiflu must be incredible stuff–even though they DO NOT claim it will prevent ANYTHING–because just before president Bush announced his heart felt concern on TV, the FDA declared that ONLY Tamiflu would be officially approved for bird flu specifically. And now, it is ALSO specifically and officially approved for swine flu, a completely different strain of virus (which according to federal officials will infect HALF the population of the US by this winter, even though they ALSO say they don’t find this to be a likely scenario, so then why the hell are they saying it?)

    Our current president isn’t above this nonsense. Look here, for example: http://money.cnn.com/2009/06/13/news/economy/Obama_health_Care.reut/index.htm
    here’s the president saying we have to cut M/M by at least $313 billion in order to afford health care reform (something he also said in Grand Junction). But here he is at an AARP meeting July 27 saying “no one on Capitol Hill is talking about M/M funding cuts”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0EAP47SdcY&feature=related
    And here he is saying that the current health care system is what is threatening Medicare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11g1C77poCc&feature=fvw

    Joseph, the question remains: If people can’t afford health insurance, how is making up a law that requires them to purchase insurance going to suddenly make them be able to afford insurance?
    If people who are on fixed incomes are paying $250 per month plus co-pay for Medicare, and we cut billions of dollars of funding for Medicare, then who is going to pay the difference? uh, the people ON it?

    There’s nothing wrong with talking about dealing with the problems facing our nation. But there IS a problem with pretending that one political party is evil and the other is virtuous. While you also make fun of others, and pretend they are the ones saying government is evil.

    Crushing poor people with mandates they cannot afford is NOT reform, Joseph. No matter how you twist it and turn it and spin it.

    Neither of these bills calls for premium limits. But do call for mandatory purchase by consumers. that doesn’t seem like corporate welfare to you?

  • Joseph,
    The big bad government, or the big bad corporations. Either side of that is just hype, designed to get folks to accept something that isn’t well thought out. There are some things government can do well. Medical care is not one of them.

    I’m willing to believe I might not have all the info; you are not. I’ve just this week sought out other people who have had to deal with medicare to see what bills they might have had to pay, and yes, they are out there, so I will be discussing this with my friend Jim. I believe his issue came about because his provider had just decided not to accept medicare anymore, but he was grandfathered in as a previous patient.

    I’ve also talked to several folks struggling mightily with the bureaucracy for medicare and disability issues, who definitely don’t see government as an answer, because they can’t get through the paperwork nightmare, and no, they aren’t dim. The paperwork jungle of medical care has been driving doctors out. It has given rise to whole new industries (and the costs that go with them that get passed on to patients) that just process medical claims or companies that just call patients to see if their medical costs were due to someone else so the insurance companies can get around HIPAA legislation, and legislation is what allowed companies to cut medical services to their employees whenever their bottom line got thin.

    If you look at the number of times Congress has tried (and clearly, from the mess we’re in now, failed) to “fix” health care, you should at least be vaguely dubious.

    I don’t think every Congressperson is in someone’s pocket (but my 84 year old Mom, a lifelong Democrat, does). I do think they are constantly lobbied by folks who have more access to them than the citizens do. I do think they are lobbied (and even presented with the threat their next election bid won’t get money) by their own party. Most of the efforts over the past 20 years have been well intentioned, but we know which road those good intentions pave.

    The things we most hated in the Bush administration, the will to have everyone get an identity card (where are your papers?), the big Poindexter plot to create a huge database of every citizen and track what they do, and the expansion of the executive branch with few or any checks and balances, which we swore would never happen in a free country, are all in the House bill, but suddenly, this is a good thing. No wonder George Washington thought political parties were destructive.

  • Debbie Schum

    Joseph, I’ve already said it before…stop hiding behind your anti-right wing rhetoric and stick to the issue.

    Maybe the Libertarian party doesn’t have lots of elected state and national legislators, but many of us do know how to write a bill, and there are quite a few elected legislators who will readily accept and sponsor a bill someone else wrote. Unfortunately, some of them are on the look out for bills they think will pass so they can attach pork junk to it. But we are learning who we can approach, and when. So let’s talk–seriously–about what a realistic, fair bill would/should say. Let’s talk torte reform, and other issues that can bring health care prices down, so that people aren’t desperately dependant on insurance, and thusly insurance companies feel comfortable to gouge.
    In short, let’s talk about how to bring down health care prices…NOT how to force everyone, rich or poor, into mandatory insurance.

  • Debbie Schum

    speaking of conspircay theorists, who think the government is evil…I know on this blog we’re supposed to pretend that’s a “right wing” thing. But yesterday I got a call from a progressive lady (she wants to sign some petitions I have), who spent over an hour telling me that GEORGE W BUSH himself took out the world trade center. I’m not sure how no one recognized him, since he was the president at the time, but maybe he had those glasses with a mustache attached on while he went about his dastardly deeds.

    I guess conspiracy theorists only warrant ridicule when the “wrong” party is in charge.

  • @113 (can’t believe i’m typing a 3 digit @): Those people would be the Truthers, or 9/11 Truthers. Nobody on the left or right give them much validity. Nobody ever said there weren’t crazies on both sides of the political spectrum.

    If you would have read this blog in particular – and Ohio left leaning blogs in general – you’d know that we ridiculed them plenty.

  • Debbie Schum

    Which is exactly why I like my Libertarian centrist position, rather than either left or right wing.
    Wings don’t work so well without a head with a brain somewhere in the middle.

  • Debbie Schum

    Someone from Tennessee who has been following along on here (but not commenting) just sent me an email to point out that while Joseph is making fun of me for saying I don’t want insurance and then saying I’d like some if I could afford it, etc., he isn’t above it himself, in that he is claiming now that he didn’t call me a nutjob–just the people in the audience who were fighting and screaming at each other. And then he posts the CNN link, which opens with the “interviewer” saying this was one of the more fascinating town halls because of the intellegent questions and lack of tempers and shouting that mark the other town hall meetings. So who were you calling a nutjob again, Joseph?

  • Again, not sure what you’re looking for here Debbie.

    I stand behind my original decision to post the video. And the number of comments on this post seems to support that decision.

    Yes, I do think your 15 minutes (seconds?) of fame on CNN were quite entertaining. And that’s the main reason I posted it.

    It sucks they cut you off so soon but I think you made a good point and raised an issue that I hadn’t really thought too much about before. And your follow-up commentary and the discussion it provoked has definitely given me a new perspective on the health care reform debate.

    I’m not going to go as far as to admit you are right, but you do make some good points and I do think you have a story with which a lot of people identify.

    Again I will make this suggestion: start your own blog. It only takes a few minutes to set up and it will you give you a much better platform for discussing your Libertarian beliefs than the comment section of Plunderbund.

    I promise I will be the first one to comment and the first one to link to you.

  • Debbie Schum

    I am delighted to read what you just said. The whole point is for all of us to think these things through. It’s easy for all of us to make up our minds and then block out any other arguments. But we don’t learn much that way, do we? Debate is an incredibly valuable tool with which we learn the flaws in our own thinking and how to expand our own thinking beyond our self imposed boundaries.

    I am too busy with work and the fire department right now to start a
    blog. But I will certainly consider it and I’ll be in touch with you when I do. It’s been interesting and fun even. I had hoped you guys would bring up more legitimate points to consider, instead of just defensiveness. But it’s still been fun and interesting. I hope you’ll keep an eye on the comments on the YouTube video (several from UK!) and see what other people think of that snippet from CNN. I purposefully have not commented on it, nor have I asked anyone else to. I just want to see what happens. What other people think. Most of all, I want to hear legitimate arguments about health care reform, and I welcome anyone who wants to contact me directly (smudgesticks@juno.com) so we can do so. I meant what I said…thanks for posting the video, as I would not have had a clue how to even have found it, let alone post it. I was then able to send it to family members (I asked them to please not post comments) and they were more delighted than me that I was on national TV.

    Send me links from time to time, if you would, about things you’re bashing around. I’d like to throw in my 4 cents (2cents plus inflation).

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