Posted by: shannynmoore | August 28, 2009

The Kennedy Option; A Matter of Life and Death

I can imagine awful things.  That’s why I’m a terrible flier.  This week, I sat across from something I couldn’t imagine.

I remember the story.  On December 1, 2007, a Palmer, Alaska man attacked his father and his father’s fiancé with a machete in the middle of the night.  Leaving them for dead, he drove to Anchorage and shot three people, killing one, injuring two.

Tuesday, I had lunch with Lennie.  She survived the machete attack that killed her fiancé.  The hospital stopped counting after fifty “chop wounds” from head to toe.  One of her two uninjured fingers still wears the ring of the man she loved.  She smiles a lot.  While we were talking, she liked something I said and offered a “high 2 and ¾” instead of a “high 5”.

She told me about that horrifying, long ago night.  She described the sound a machete makes when it hits your skull.  She didn’t feel her ear being severed, or her fingers.  Her funny bone is gone, but she joked about her sense of humor being intact.  She recently lost her dog, Bear, who defended her during the attack.

Her assailant screamed while he chopped her, “Why are you making me do this?” over and over.  Her voice hushed when she shared with me that an angel helped her reach the phone to dial 911. Unseen hands held her legs up to keep her from bleeding to death while help was on the way.

Lennie was released from the hospital with only five days worth of pain pills and the inability to feed, bathe, use the bathroom or dress herself.  She didn’t have insurance.

She told me she would rather be hit with a machete than go through the de-humanizing experience of not having health coverage.  Lennie supports a public option. She doesn’t want anyone to have to fight harder for health care than she did against a possessed man determined to kill her.

The man wielding the machete, Chris Rogers, is now serving time in prison.  He’s entitled to health care under the 8th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.  His victim doesn’t want the death penalty for him; she doesn’t even want his health coverage taken away.  She wants everyone to have the health care they need. The surgeries to repair her claw-like hand, like the leg brace that helps her walk, were pro-bono from doctors who were unable to watch the current system ignore her suffering.

“At least I’m not bitter,” she likes to say, usually after some nightmare story about pain management.  We chatted over chicken and grilled cheese about public option possibilities.  I shared with her my meeting Howard Dean a few weeks ago. I told her how the message between President Clinton, Senator Kennedy, Dr. Dean, Valerie Jarrett, AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka and others were rallying the grass roots across the nation for public health care. I assured her the public option was already a compromise from a single payer system…and we were going to win. We had to, it’s a life or death matter.

“I sure hope so,” she said.  “I have a pre-existing condition.  It’s called attempted murder.”

Lennie called me today.  She said she’d thought of me when she heard of Senator Kennedy’s death. I had thought of her, and her struggle to be healed; heart, mind and body.

Senator Kennedy, a man born into privilege, fought for the rights of others who were not. That made him a hero.  For his decades-long fight, and the daily struggle of people like Lennie, a woman who sees her struggle over health care as more horrific than a machete attack, we must pass a public option; a “Kennedy Option.”

“Some men see things as they are and say why; I dream things that never were and say why not?”


Responses

  1. YOU ROCK Shannyn..

  2. Great post Shannyn…I remember that attack and the shootings in Anchorage…including the murder of the UAA student. It is a tragedy that these teabaggers are trying so hard to derail the public option-Against their own best interests they are protecting insurance companies that profit on our misfortune of being sick, being in a car accident or having someone attempt to kill you with a machete. They are protectors of the corrupt and disgusting status quo.

  3. What an inspiring story. I would like to see single payer, but since that seems to be impossible for the time being, I hope with all my heart that a public option will pass. If it doesn’t those lawmakers should lose their very good health care. As Senator Kennedy said if its good enough for them it should be good enough for every American.

    Thanks for all you do Shannyn.

    Sue in Kansas

  4. Yes, definitely huff-worthy. Speaks to the huge holes in our supposed safety net and dispells the myth that everyone has health care. Also, Lennie is one incredible survivor and deserves better than what the system delivered.

  5. Shannyn,
    A very sobering story about a real and courageous woman.

    I was especially struck by the line:

    “The man wielding the machete, Chris Rogers, is now serving time in prison. He’s entitled to health care under the 8th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.”

    Maybe that could be the cudgel to use against the lunatic right. “Why do you want to deny to average Americans the basic minimum healthcare that we provide to prisoners?”

    We shouldn’t have to resort to such rhetorical theatrics, but damn it, the other side is spewing out nothing but fearmongering and sophistry.

  6. Beautiful Shanny.

    It touched my heart, and made my eyes do that watery thing that I hate so much.

  7. I’ve copied and sent this to Murkowski, Begich and Young.

    I attended Lisa’s Town Hall in Fairbanks. Her take on health care was that we all need to join gyms, eat right and ‘take personal responsibility’.

    Tell me Lisa, what good would that have done this woman? And how do you afford a gym membership and nutritious food when you can’t afford a doctor?

    It was beyond ridiculous.

    • And was Miss Murkowski “taking personal responsibility” when she broke her leg skiing? Or did the taxpayers fork out for the very best health care for her, and never mind “personal responsibility”?

      • I’d like to see our federal reps and senators drop their kingly health care packages. I’d like to see how quickly they pass the Kennedy Option if they had to deal with private insurance like most of us do. Only then would people like Lennie get coverage so that they do not get booted from the hospital after such a horrific attack.

    • I think if all the right winger gave up their social security & medicare
      payments (afterall it is socialism), we would have enough money to pay for a public option.

    • I also sent to Mark B. with a request that he assist in getting Lennie to a congressional hearing if she would go.

      It is important that this story be heard in Washington.

  8. I remember this one from the ADN artical- and from a call I recieved from her son seeking a Wheel chair & Hospital bed which we provided thhrough our Durable Medical Equipment Loan Closet. We recycle used DME that is in good shape and I spent some extra time on this one to make sure the chair was set up for extra easy rolling It was a brand new older model. The shame of it to me is that there is such an unmet need that those of us in the “do gooder ” non- Profit sector can not fill- it is our agency and others like it that stretch their capicities to the point of breaking to fill the voids in services while the Insurance companies take the $ and run!

  9. We need to get this woman to a congressional hearing. Does anyone have miles and would she go? Every senator and representative needs to hear this story. She did not have health care and her attacker had the right under the 8th Amendment. This is a human rights violation.

    • May I suggest that you contact both Senators from AK and suggest they bring her down to tell her story?

      • I have contacted Senator Begich via email and requested his assistance to get her there if she would go. I copied the text of this story into my message. I suggest others do the same.

  10. Very good, Shannyn. Thank you for this insight. I pray for Lennie.

  11. Thank you for posting this. It is from a perspective that few would have. God Bless Lennie! I pray we will become bolder and really press this issue. Single-payer will be introduced on the floor of the House this session. Let’s all get busy and let our representatives know that is what is best for this country.

    http://www.nyegateway.com/2009/08/hr-676-single-payer-to-be-debated-and-voted-on.html

    Health Insurance companies are spending millions to disinform and scare us. That alone should make people question their motives.

  12. Shannyn,
    As usual, wonderfully written and of course it is Huff worthy. The whole nation needs to hear this and the millions of other stories like this one.
    I moved to Alaska Nov 26, 2007 a few miles from where this event happened and heard about it before the assailant was caught, so it made quite an impression on me then, as does your sharing the victims details, almost two years later.
    Thank you for your caring.

  13. NO CO-OP’S! A Little History Lesson

    Young People. America needs your help.

    More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% of republicans). Basically everyone.

    According to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. And 79% of seniors support creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!! Senator Max Baucus, You better come out of committee with a strong government-run public option available on day one.

    The History:

    Our last great economic catastrophe was called the Great Depression. Then as now it was caused by a reckless, and corrupt Republican administration and republican congress. FDR a Democrat, was then elected to save the nation and the American people from the unbridled GREED and profiteering, of the unregulated predatory self-interest of the banking industry and Wallstreet. Just like now.

    FDR proposed a Government-run health insurance plan to go with Social Security. To assure all Americans high quality, easily accessible, affordable, National Healthcare security. Regardless of where you lived, worked, or your ability to pay. But the AMA riled against it. Using all manor of scare tactics, like Calling it SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!! :-0

    So FDR established thousands of co-op’s around the country in rural America. And all of them failed. The biggest of these co-op organizations would become the grandfather of the predatory monster that all of you know today as the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry. And the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry.

    This former co-op would grow so powerful that it would corrupt every aspect of healthcare delivery in America. Even corrupting the Government of the United States.

    This former co-op’s name is BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD.

    Do you see now why even the suggestion of co-op’s is ridiculous. It makes me so ANGRY! Co-op’s are not a substitute for a government-run public option.

    They are trying to pull the wool over our eye’s again. Senators, if you don’t have the votes now, GET THEM! Or turn them over to us. WE WILL! DEAL WITH THEM. Why do you think we gave your party Control of the House, Control of the Senate, Control of the Whitehouse. The only option on the table that has any chance of fixing our healthcare crisis is a STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION.

    An insurance mandate and subsidies without a strong government-run public option choice available on day one, would be worse than the healthcare catastrophe we have now. The insurance, and healthcare industry have been very successful at exploiting the good hearts of the American people. But Congress and the president must not let that happen this time. House Progressives and members of the Tri-caucus must continue to hold firm on their demand for a strong Government-run public option.

    A healthcare reform bill with mandates and subsidies but without a STRONG government-run public option choice on day one, would be much worse than NO healthcare reform at all. So you must be strong and KILL IT! if you have too. And let the chips fall where they may. You can do insurance reform without mandates, subsidies, or taxpayer expense.

    Actually, no tax payer funds should be use to subsidize any private for profit insurance plans. So, NO TAX PAYER SUBSIDIES TO PRIVATE FOR PROFIT PLANS. Tax payer funds should only be used to subsidize the public plans. Healthcare reform should be 100% for the American people. Not another taxpayer bailout of the private for profit insurance industry, disguised as healthcare reform for the people.

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith — Working Class

    Twitter search #welovetheNHS #NHS Check it out

    (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)

    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

  14. More people like you need to tell the stories of the millions of people who are trapped by the pre-existing conditions that deny them coverage.

    Good job.

  15. I was flipping the channels today and stopped on A&E which was running a rerun of The Sopranos and Tony’s sister is yelling at Tony about setting an end of life DNR for their very sick mother. They weren’t yelling about Death Panels.

    Would a mafia guy be for or against Death Panels? if it was for his mother, who tried to have him whacked, would that make a difference?

  16. “Some men see things as they are and say why; I dream things that never were and say why not?”

    One of my favorite quotes of all times. Haunting when framed into the medley “What the World Needs Now” that told the story of Robert, John, and Martin>

  17. Lennie needs healthcare! We should all be ashamed of ourselves if we don’t get a public option passed. We cannot allow these right wing kooks to out shout us. Out shout us over their own best interests. Or the “I got mine crowd!” or the other excuse weak ass local right wingers concern themselves with; “The illegal brown people will get coverage!!!” These are all pathetic excuses to NOT do the right thing.

  18. America is getting milked…

    I had a very disturbing wake up call this weekend when on Friday we received a bill from the fertility specialist we had seen four months prior.

    My wife and I have been trying for a baby for five years, and when we moved to Lubbock for a new job, and to finally have health insurance again, we decided to try to find out why we had gone through three very saddening and unexplainable miscarriages.

    Now I am quite a bit older than my wife, but I also have an eleven year old daughter from a previous marriage. On the advise of a colleague, who also had a difficult time conceiving a child with his wife, (they finally after the second in-vitro fertilization, had twins) we went to a specialist at Texas Tech University (TTU), for an initial consultation (after a referral from my wife’s gynecologist who helped us through our last miscarriage). So my wife got an appointment to see this specialist in January of this year.

    A month later my wife got the results from lab tests determining that she had a chromosomal translocation, in other words it explained the miscarriages, and also suggested a very low chance for pregnancy and a pretty high risk for bearing a child with a birth defect. What was interesting about that was that when she initially saw the physician who diagnosed the chromosomal issue, the nurse told her that a fee of $90 (saying we had a 40% discount) would cover the visit (remember we have insurance right?)

    We were then referred to a reproductive medicine specialist at TTU.

    We made an appointment and saw him in sometime in April. He was a very affable gentleman, chit chatted about his degrees and accomplishments a lot, was a very direct and knowledgeable man with a clear empathy for the situations that most of his patients present with. I liked him, and in all honesty would have stayed with my wife longer, but being a health care professional myself, I had joined my wife more for moral support, and was in a situation where I had to leave early to get to back to work.

    Before leaving he suggested that I have blood drawn to rule out any sort on genetic incompatibility I might have (again- I am a proven father). I was fine with it- did the blood draw, and went off to work.

    We kind of slowed down on the whole “reproductive medicine” process because we knew it would cost around $10,000 for just one attempt at in-vitro- with no guarantees, and as well we had passed the first hurdle and at least we knew we had a problem. We decided our second step would be to see how well my genetic emissaries measured up in terms of motility and general health. In other words, a sperm test.

    Meanwhile we got some sort of lab result that said that as far as the genetics go- I was fine.

    So let’s fast forward to August and some three to four months later.

    It wasn’t until this Friday that my wife found out that the balance of the bill with specialist number 1 (remember the original $90 with a 40% discount) was NOW an additional $1400.

    As well. We got a bill for $400 or so for the visit with Specialist number 2 for the 2 hours or so we spent with him. I can live with that. Attorneys charge on the average of $200 per hour, so a potential avenue to have our own children was certainly worth at least that level of compensation.

    The Kicker was the next bill in the queue, a certain Dr. “W” whom neither my wife or I ever saw, had just billed us for $8,600 rounding out the days total of newly acquired economic burden to $9,000 plus the $1,400. Basically the full bill for doing an in-vitro fertilization.

    Well it was too late to call anybody the day we got this – so we had to wait until Monday to clear up whatever this mess was- it had to be a mistake.

    Well with initial stabs at it, my wife was told we had had a baby in January. So that is where the charges must have come from- and happy days (how ironic- we were actually glad it was a mistake- but remember that the whole reason we were in this mess was because we were trying to have a baby). There is something wrong with the dimension of fear a financial glitch can have on a family.

    After 5 years of being uninsured, I had finally gotten health insurance again, and then 6 months after getting it, not needing it, I had to start paying for it out of pocket again because my company decided that it was either that or fire somebody. Dr. “J” assured me that whatever route we took, would be one covered by my insurance policy that by this time I had paid $4000 to in premiums, but hadn’t gotten past my $1500 deductible for “catastrophic coverage”.

    So back to the $10,000 question. My wife has spent hours this past week talking to nurses, billing supervisors, secretaries, and god knows who else, constantly getting reassurances ranging from- “Oh we keep admonishing Dr. “J” to let patients know how much the tests cost”, to “this is what the test costs”, to “there is something wrong with your insurance (United Health Care) this week- they always accept these charges, but this week you are the second person to be declined” and don’t forget, the “you had a baby in January- which explains the charges” story.

    Now the real kicker here is that Dr “J” actually took the time to call our house and he got me on the phone. It was hard to get a word in edge wise, but it seemed he was very irritated with his nursing staff for dispensing incorrect information, kept telling me that he had not ordered this expensive ($7,600) “Fish” blood test (”Fish be an acronym for whatever genetic anomaly fact finding blood testing that was engaged), and that some doctor whom he refers his patients to automatically orders these tests as long as it is understood that they are covered by insurance, and “by the way- what is wrong with your insurance?”, and he went back to how upset he was with this doctor, and that he should have let him know, and how he could have sent me to an agency that only charges $500 for the same test- that if he finds out insurance doesn’t cover- that is the route he takes, and “what was wrong with your insurance?”.

    Now the funny thing about the insurance rejection and the “this is the second time this has happened this week” story- is the fact that the doctor appointments were 4 and 8 months ago respectively. I am pretty sure the claims were filed quite awhile before this week.

    Now according to Dr. “J”- he corrects a wrong within 5 minutes of knowing about it, and to be perfectly honest? I believe him. He was on the phone talking to me- actually- talking AT me, in a very demonstrative effort to clear whatever wrong idea had been manifested. He assured me that it might take a few weeks, but that it could be fixed and that I would probably have to pay less. $500 sounded like the dollar amount he was getting to.

    He was upset and nervous. Reproductive specialist’s don’t just call their patients in a panic.

    So now it was a $500 dollar test (none of which anybody had advised me of), and who knows where the $1400 dollar charge (that nobody had advised my wife of) was going to go?

    What I can’t believe is Dr. “W” charging that kind of money for a blood test. And even further, that anybody in ANY field (not just medicine) could send someone out to get that sort of test before informing them of the fact that they are about to incur a $10,000 debt.

    Being fleeced is what this was. An opportunity to milk someone with insurance, and a decent paying job, a quick way to throw down a “bill for services”, and should that not be paid in a timely fashion, totally destroy a family’s credit.

    Please remember, this test was ordered on a whim. I wasn’t the patient. I had accompanied my wife to support her on a very sensitive fertility issue- I am a proven father, and under what basis could that sort of test be ordered? How can you not inform a client that the test you just ordered for him- costs almost $8,000? I wasn’t vetted. There was no credit check. Just a bill for $10,000 when it was finally done.

    Clearly Dr. “J” was aware of the fee- regardless of who the payer was. It was definitely a fee they are used assessing to people that have insurance, meager means- or in some instances, are well prepared to pay. Either way, if you can’t have kids, there are options. You will pay and bleed for you inability to reproduce.

    It hurts to not be able to have children. But that isn’t a problem that we wanted to or need to share. But what becomes excruciatingly painful here is to find yourself becoming a milked cow at the expense of your genetics.

    This was wrong on a lot of levels, and it needs to stop…

    • I’d like to see every single member of congress AND their family members lose their “government health care” for six months and let them experience what you and me and millions of other Americans have had to go through, being ripped off and mistreated, misdiagnosed and held hostage by the for-profit health care industry.

      Lennie’s story and your story are two sides of the coin. The very narrow edge of the coin, unfortunately, is the one presented as the public face of our for-profit system.

    • Your story is very familiar, I am a licensed massage therapist, doing mostly medical work, rehab, injury, etc….I see people with good insurance or any insurance being told the same things you were told, this happens on a daily basis, minute by minute, they try to squeeze everything out of your insurance. I had one client who had a fatty lipoma on her back(quite big), I told her about it, she went to her doctor, who said, “don’t know what it is, you’ll have to see a specialist(it was a fatty lipoma), she went to this specialist who “didn’t know what it was”, they said you’ll need to see a surgeon(thy removed a fatty lipoma)… OMG, many thousands of dollars later, I hear these stories day in and day out..

      Also infertility, I am an herbalist(20Years) and LMT (11 years)as i said before, one of my main interests is fertility massage, I have helped women conceive through simple massage therapy, you could even massage your wife’s abdomen…you can search massage therapy and infertility on the internet…the human body is a relatively simple mechanism but big medicine makes it seem so complex…have fun and have a great day

      So many of people’s ailments can be handled by some self care techniques which many go way back to before organized medicine…I remember having a woman in my neighborhood as a child who would prepare various concoctions to help us when we were sick, maybe we all need to forgo western medicine and seek out naturopathic doctors, herbalists, massage therapists…

  19. Wonderful post Shannyn, and I to did that watery eye thing. I wish I knew how to get some equipment to Lennie that I have in my shed. Sadly Social Security doesn’t measure up to costs of shipping a cart to Alaska. I hope when we get the Kennedy bill passed there is an option for low cost Medicfill.

  20. Yes, it should be too.

  21. Lennie’s story makes me cry because of the horror of the situation, both before and after the attack. That she would be released so soon and with so little after such a horrific incident is criminal!

    And Tuetonics story is horrific for different reasons, but criminal also.

    We really need to change our current system of taking care of our people. How do we get others to care when they truly are selfishly involved only with themselves and their immediate family and friends.

    I commit to working for the public options at the least, single payer at the best if there should be any chance at all of that happening.

  22. Isn’t some aide to victims of violent crime or did Sarah screw that up too.

    Yes to Huffington.

    Agree with Gryphen.

    Shake my head at Teutonic13’s situation – wow

    Resurrect Kennedy Health Care Bill that McCain, Hatch, and ? said NO to and Call it Teddy care and shove it down the ReTHUGlicans throat!

  23. Shannyn,
    One of your most stirring posts ever. God Bless Lennie. This story belongs on Huffington and elsewhere. I’d like to see the contrast between the murderer’s health care plan and the victim’s lack thereof highlighted a bit stronger. Its the stark insane contrast that resonates.

  24. I won’t be satisfied until we have a single payer option.

  25. What a wonderful story Shannyn. I certainly hope that you share that with the world. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Thank you for all that you do for everyone and not just Alaskans. You touch us down here in the lower 48 too!

  26. Heartbreaking…

    Who will step up to continue Teddy’s work?

    Heavy sigh…

  27. I think we ought to focus on the Kennedy Option instead of trying for the whole kabang with the single-payer system. We need to take down this very big monster one step at a time. Otherwise, we are just spinning our wheels while insurance execs keep padding their pockets on our premium dollars.

  28. This is just so sad..My heart goes out to Lennie…
    Hopefully we can get this bill passed…
    Thank you Shannyn…

  29. Wonderful post Shannyn if only it would make the opposition have second thoughts,I wish on a falling star that this could happen.I sen my republican congressperson a link and asked him to please read it and maybe show it to others who opposed the public option that they might have second thoughts. Did not get an answer from the last one I sent asking him to stand up and denounce the natzi name calling.narry a word.
    teutonic13 you story is what happens all too often. I know one time my company changed insurance carrier and I had an emergency before our insurance cards or drug cards came in, Pneumonia, I had a terrible time getting things paid for and I had to pay cash for the drugs which was over a hundred dollars.Eventually they did reimburse me but only because our HR person got on them about it.

  30. I’ve taken a while to listen and form my own opinions about the Health Care Reform bill. I am for it. And I demand a public single-payer option.

    I also lived for 10+ years in Japan and have to say this — taxes are higher than ours for the rich there beginning at about the equivalent of $250k/year income, significantly lower for the poor, and the Japanese Health Care System works a damn sight better than the mess we have here.

    There are two major government-backed single-payer options, one that places a heavier burden on large employers and has slightly better service levels for things such as preventative care, fitness & rehabilitation training, and meds, and the other with lighter burden on small employers & local governments that is slightly cheaper on the individual’s premiums but offers the same standard services. The trade-off is you must first seek local services for discretionary care in the lower-rate plan. However, emergency/crisis services, major medical, and maternity care are offered equally. And they cover mental health needs without much stigma.

    The premium service has a 10% co-pay, the standard 20% and both require a monthly premium that is pro-rated according to your income tax statements. There are maximum and minimum premiums so if you are rich you don’t end up paying an ever-progressive tax/fee, and the minimums get waived in the case of proven inability to pay. The system is set up fairly, and the healthcare is good in most areas of Japan although rural areas have trouble getting doctors to locate in villages where the population is declining as youth flees to the cities. Remind you of someplace? With their train system they certainly don’t have Alaska’s transport problems so even rural patients can get to the city

    Unemployed? Homeless? Pre-existing conditions? Terminal illness? Catastrophic illness or accident? You still get coverage with any one or any combination of these problems. Without going bankrupt.

    The premiums are reasonable, much less than we pay here as a % of income, even for the moderately rich who pay the highest % burden. Why? Its not run for profit, but as a social maintenance program. Cost of R&D at Health Sciences Universities and other government medical research facilities are factored in and budgeted for in advance.

    If you make $200k a year, your monthly payment is about $500 to $600 depending on the number of dependents you have. If you make $20k a year, you pay about $40 a month.

    You can still buy private insurance if you want. There are some “elite” service providers who work only with private care-givers and these are for multi-millionaires who can pay thousands a month in premiums. They also outsource/in-source by hiring foreign doctors or even flying you to other countries. And there are short-term coverage plans usually purchased by foreign nationals on short-stays or travel plans. No, private insurers have not been able to compete in the mainstream, and its not an issue for the Japanese.

    The Japanese get the best preventitive medicine in the world. Excellent, affordable meds. In-patient care that you would not believe. Among the best specialists in the world.

    Both my kids were born there and my wife and babies were cared for so well. They offer pre/post natal care & nutritional training to the mothers, a battery of tests for mother and child, and a 3-day to 7-day in-patient observation & rest period.

    My children went through 3 life-threatening illnesses. The Japanese Health System had the best solutions possible, close to home and best of all, paid for by my social insurance.

    The pro-active elder care is second to none. The technology is superb. Its affordable. My father-in-law was given excellent care and rehab opportunities after a series of massive strokes. He died well cared for and my family did not have to sell the family home to provide for him.

    Socialism.

    This is what Ronald Reagan supplied arms to the Contras to destroy.

    Socialism.

    This is what the Hawkish US Wingnut Right have led us into war against time and time again.

    Socialism.

    This is what the Rebel Yell of the Right is now ranting about.

    Socialism.

    I could go back there. I have had spittle-spraying Tea Baggers rant at me that I “should go back there if I like it so much” and these were my own family members. I’d rather fix the system here, wipe the spittle off my face, and see my friends and family get better health care. Here. In the USA.

    Socialism.

    This is what the Tea Baggers, the “actors” hired to disrupt Town Hall meetings, and Sarah Palin are all foaming at the mouth about, secretly (or not so secretly) fomenting secessionist ideology and calling in some cases for outright civil war.

    Socialism. Socialism. Socialism.

    Just the act of forming a society, any society, including a CAPITALIST society is, in its essence, a socialist act. So to what degree do we allow socialism is the real question.

    A successful CAPITALIST society that creates and accumulates WEALTH can incrementally afford a bit more socialism if it means WE ALL get the services we need to stay healthy at affordable rates.

    Those who call for secession and civil war are the real threats to the USA. REAL Patriots will call these TRAITORS on their bullsh*t whether the patriot or the traitor be liberal or conservative or moderate.

    STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PROPER HEALTHCARE. NOW.

    It’s not perfect, but it saved my family 3 times without bankrupting me, and gave my father-in-law dignified long-term care after his strokes.

    Socialism in Japan works side-by-side with Capitalism. We can adapt our own form for the USA and improve on the current system that is allowing corporate leeches to bleed us all dry.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Japan

  31. Bravo! Seconded!

    -Laz

    • Bravo, Shannyn and seconded!😉

  32. This is a story that needs to be told and there are a lot of other Lennies, some are even homeless. I do feel compelled to point out however that the inmates getting health care because of the 8th amendment is a myth. Yes, they are entitled to it, but they generally do not get it. Also,if an inmate is allowed to see a health care provider they are charged $20 which is a lot of money considering pay in the prison starts at .30/hr. The supreme court also ruled that if the legislature does not provide the funding for the health care the prison is not responsible, therefore the legislature does not provide the funding.

  33. Shannyn, your telling of Lennie’s story (I read the article at Huffington Post) has touched my heart. I have done all the social media stuff I could
    possibly do this past hour to get this out to the public, and to my friends and family. Will try other venues later today.
    Am saying a prayer for Lennie, a prayer for you, and a prayer that God may somehow touch the Spirit of people to look outside themselves, see the suffering of others, and help pass a public option.

  34. I have the same experience as Big Slick. I have lived in France for 22 years and have enjoyed the Universl Healthcare System here. Everyone is covered, the cost shared between employee, employer and the state, the system one of regulation, price control and prevention. We can choose our own doctors, there are no waits for care, no questions about pre-existing conditions or caps on payouts. Apart from medical care, the system also covers home aides (nurses, physical therapists, etc) and home help when needed (my mother-in-law received checks to pay for someone to come and help her with laundry, cleaning and cooking when it became impossible and unsafe for her to do so).

    I visited a doctor at the Breast Clinic at Columbia-Presbyterian hospital in 1984 for a lump. He diagnosed it as life threatening and said it had to be removed right away. He then added that since I had no insurance and, after paying my rent, had only $500 a month to live on there was no way I would be admitted into the hospital for the procedure. Luckily he offered to do it in his office as an outpatient for – $500. Happy ending. But not so for the woman I found standing waiting for the elevator as I left the Breast Clinic. She was in tears, hysterical. She grabbed my arm and told me her story: she had the same condition I had but much farther advanced. Yet without insurance and without a job, she was doomed to die. No one would operate.

    My father who valiantly served in the Pacific in WWII, my father who worked his entire adult life for the government at NASA, my father who designed the Life Support System for the Manned Space Flight Program that allowed humans to survive in space, my father who had Medicare and Veteran’s Benefits, was refused coverage for the cost of care, both medical and hospice, when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. My mom was told that either she had to give proof that his Alzheimer’s was directly caused by something that happened while he was serving during the war or she could sell her house and all her belongings, quit her job and declare herself destitute, basically throw herself on the mercy of the state if she wanted her costs to care for my dad covered. What kind of country does this?

    For all of France’s faults, for as much as I miss home, I thank every day for our excellent universal healthcare in Europe. During each of my pregnancies and the births, during each free yearly (preventive) dental check-up my boys got, for each emergency room visit where no questions were asked as to coverage and no fee was required, for all the care my father-in-law received, his chemo and hospice care, his surgeries and home help, we thank heavens for universal healthcare.

    Cost control, cost sharing, prevention, choice. An excellent system is within reach and is a right for all.

  35. God bless her.

    All of us know people that are not insured. My 2 sons, despite working F/T are not offered health insurance.
    Why do we consider ourselves the best nation in the world, when we do not take care of those that need it the most?
    Is it because we can kill the most people and have the best weapons?
    What a sad commentary on those that oppose health care reform. They do not care for those that need to be cared for and care more about our need to kill, maim or control others.

  36. We have the capability, the potential, to do even better than the French and Japanese programs.

    Today, Healthcare accounts for less than 10% of the Japanese economy (8.5 % at last survey).

    In the USA we spend almost twice that amount at 16%.

    Single-payer does NOT cost more…it costs LESS.

  37. Thanks, everyone for sharing. It’s like talking to walls here with our Repug Representation. I wish us all good luck and thank you all who work hard on this and other much needed reform in our nation.

  38. Wow.

    The story you told, and the stories that many posters have shared, are all heart breaking. I cried for Lennie (again). I am APPALLED that our system has mistreated her while treating her assailant so well. Disgusted, really. I would like to say I am shocked, but I too have health care stories to tell. I am going to send a link to my republican reps and my blue dog senators in hopes that they will rethink their positions. Thank you Shannyn!

  39. Sahnnyn, Lennie’s story brought tears to my eyes and shame for the suffering and humiliation due to lack of health care. My heart goes out to her and all who are suffering due to the greed and ignorance of so many.

    Thank you for all you do. You are terrific!

  40. Thanks for sharing Lennies story Shannyn.

  41. predators vs. victims

    If an election between the Preds and the vics be held immediately, we all know the victims would win our support.

    Victims First Shannon!!!!
    I’d support my taxes going into healthcare for victims, youbetcha. Now wouldn’t that be a huge benefit to women and children in America?

  42. The impact of crime on the health needs of this country is one of the most underreported aspects of this health care debate. I was a victim of an assault in which I was shot at point blank range with a .357 Magnum, hollow point bullet. My saving grace? I was shot at work and therefore covered by Work Comp. I got everything I needed to make the best possible recovery, and there were no questions from the insurance about whether or not I was a malingerer. (It was pretty obvious that I was actually injured.) I cannot begin to think about how things would have turned out had I not had insurance or had I been required to do battle with my private insurer. I was very lucky. Many others, not so much.

  43. Thanks for your powerful post!

  44. Senator Kennedy said, “This is the cause of my life – new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American – north, south, east, west, young, old – will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.”

    Kennedy was one of our greatest champions of health care reform. He carried the torch for a long time…and now it is up to us to continue to carry it for him!

    We cannot let the scare tactics dissuade us from reaching our goal!

    While many of us are struggling to afford medical insurance/medical bills.
    While Congress people try to stop healthcare reform.
    While Congress people accept large contributions from lobbyists to prevent health care reform.

    Our elected officials in Congress receive health care mostly paid for by us tax payers, yet many are trying to make it impossible for us to purchase an affordable plan of our own.

    Please sign these petitions – and by all means, spread the word! Thank you!

    http://www.petitiononline.com/PubOp676/petition.html

  45. I too am a massage therapist and hear horror stories, and clean up alot of messes made by that damn system, if you can call it that. Yes, yes, yes, Baracuda, we need to get people to get alot busier learning about all the things they can do to take better care of themselves by doing their homework, and then getting excellent massage therapists, naturopaths, etc. on their team to keep them healthy…
    If I were near lennie, I’d offer her a lifetime gratis client status. And I’d encourage her to share her successes through my work, to encourage others to see skilled bodywork not as a luxury but a necessity in staying healthy.
    And bless you, bless you, Shannyn Moore!!!

  46. Pressure your representatives to support the Kennedy Option and keep using the term until it’s too dear to take away from us. http://kennedyoption.com #kennedyoption


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