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Joined: Mar 2008
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Dow Offline
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Originally Posted By: Stormy
I really was not picking on DOW - I actually have never paid attention to what he does for a living.


Hi Stormy:

My name is Dow McKeever (not all-caps DOW, BTW)

I grew up in one of the richest communities in the country (Greenwich, Connecticut) my father was a stockbroker, and thought the name was funny

Now we live in a modest house in NY State

my wife Marsha teaches at NYU, a private university, where she teaches film and television editing and sound

We work in the film and television community, on both entertainment shows (such as "30 Rock") and documentaries for low pay that we choose to work on because they are important to us

our most recent film was called "No Tomorrow" which takes a look at the topic of capital punishment, the costs of putting someone to death, and the moral and legal complications, so we examine subjects other than health care as well.

We turned down more lucrative TV work to do the sound for "Critical Condition" a show produced for public televison (PBS) which I've mentioned several times so far, to almost no response on this thread

the film follows four people who were caught in the dark place between their health care insurance, and our country's social services, or lack of them

"Critical Condition" trailer

"Critical Condition" Amazon link

I would expect that if you were to watch the film itself, you'd find ways to criticize it as coloring the debate

the way that we had music playing under the scene in which Joe, a doorman who was fired from his job, because he had diabetes, and could no longer perform his duties, in which we decided to play music in the scene when his family visit him in his hospital room, and he soon dies after that. There are also earlier sequences in the film which show how without health care benefits, he couldn't afford the diabetes medicine that his doctors wanted him to take

the film has been called the "real world" "Sicko" (Michael Moore's film). It has no narration, no commentary, but some statistics are occasionally shown. It simply gives a glimpse of four people through several years of their lives, with the filmakers following them through that time, as they struggle through the myriad complexities of dealing with their illnesses. All of them had jobs before they got ill. Two of the four have now passed away, so it's a very hard film to watch, unlike "Sicko" which has a lot more entertainment value, like the famous sequence in which several people smuggle their sick friend to Cuba, and treatment is given readily, without cost, which was unobtainable in the U.S.

So my question is who are you?

We know you work in a field related to health care, but you don't give the details, for whatever reason, and you live in a wealthy community. An accountant? A lobbyist? You say you are a "finance geek" and that's about all we know.

And somehow you expect us to trust your statistics and decidedly parsed facts, while telling us to be distrustful of Wiki, and other sources of information. Yes I checked your links regarding the "proof" that the majority of Americans don't want health care, trying to put aside the "You're kidding....right?" comment, which said volumes about your attitude. My impression was that they were cherry-picked, right-wing biased, and that you are quite good at what you do. I was tempted to go to the same pages that you cited, and demonstrate that I could pick a different poll result, different ones that you used, and make the opposite case, that Americans DO indeed want and are ready to make different choices.

But alas, that's the problem with statistics, 103% of them are misleading...


Dow
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Just thought I'd throw my two cents in as I've been following this debate. If we go back to the beginning of the conversation, and put aside the carefully parsed statistics and politics we can perhaps step back and look at the issue from both sides. That implies that this is a two-sided debate, perhaps it is more hexagonal in nature, but here goes.

It appears that people want healthcare reform, but are undecided about how to go about it. I'm reasonably happy with my health care insurance provided by my job but not a day goes by that I don't think about what would happen if I lost my job. My husband, with his pre-existing condition, would not be able to get health insurance on the open market. And if legislation goes through to force health care insurance companies to do away with pre-existing conditions, he could then buy insurance on the open market, but currently there is nothing to prevent an insurance company from selling him a policy, agreeing to cover him and then suddenly sending him a bill for a $3,000 a month premium.

It seems to me that there are valid concerns regarding both availability of health care and cost as well as who should pay for it.

I think you have to look at the public education paradigm. If you are fortunate enough to make enough money in America, you can choose to send your kid to private school. Great--hooray for Capitalism and all its choices. If you suddenly get laid off through no fault of your own, you have the PUBLIC OPTION of sending your kid to public school. Recently a friend of mine who lives in Greenwich CT, told me that the public schools there are suddenly seeing huge enrollments because of the layoffs in the financial sector and those people not having the money to send their kids to private school. Fortunately those people have this public option and their kids will not be deprived of an education.

Someone like me who wants the government to provide a public option doesn't support that because I think I'll need to use it, but because I feel that like an educated society, a healthy society is more productive.

Dow and I do not have children, but we pay school taxes. A lot of school taxes. Do we feel that we shouldn't have to pay school taxes because we're not utilizing those schools? No. We feel that our school tax dollars work to make our economy more sound and our community stronger by ensuring a well-educated population.

Likewise I know that part of our tax dollars to the government are going to provide health care for a segment of the population (Medicare and Medicaid) to ensure that they are healthy and productive and can enjoy the same pursuit of happiness that we do. It would not make my life one iota better to have those tax dollars back in my pocket and see the elderly couple across the street not get their weekly shipment of oxygen that they need to help them be able to live our their remaining days in the comfort of their home.

So yes, I believe that a fellow citizen having adequate health care, a good education and a place to live makes my life immeasurably better.

I do find it tragic that an industrial country like America doesn't compete with other industrialized nations in this arena. And again, I'm referring to access and affordability of health care to all of our citizens, not quality of health care and not availability. These are separate issues and when they are deliberately mingled, it throws the debate into partisan politics.

America has great doctors and we have great hospitals and we have an amazing amount of choice. This is all obtainable if you are fortunate enough to have enough money and a certainty that you will never lose your job or your wealth. Realistically, that's probably a very small portion of our population.

So those of you who don't want government regulation in the health care sector, I respect your position as you've most likely had to deal with government red tape at some point of your life. However, my argument is that Capitalism only works if there are safeguards in place to prevent abuse. For example Glass Steagal was passed during the Great Depression to establish the FDIC which safeguards your banking deposits. Imagine going to your bank to take out money to pay your health care premium and finding it closed and your money gone. Gone. Poof--just like that. Glass Steagal was also responsible for preventing banks from owning other financial holding companies. Consequently this aspect was repealed by Gramm-Leach-Billey in 1999 and thus the financial services industry was born with huge mergers between banks and insurance companies.

And no, I'm not happy that my tax dollars were used to bail out an industry that should never have been allowed to become "too big to fail" had Glass Steagal remained intact.

I'm bringing Glass Steagal into the mix because it positions both the blessing and the curse of government reform. If we pass legislation that limits what the health insurance companies can do that might work for a while, but there's no guarantee that a future Congressional body won't repeal that legislation. A larger government reform like expanding medicare or creating a public option might be harder to dismantle at the whim of future political interests.

Honestly, I respect both (all) sides of this argument. I understand the reluctance to create bigger government and I understand the desire to do so as well. I believe that it simply comes down to preserving the American position of choice based on an individual's ability to choose. If you have the money and the means, then buy private health insurance, if you do not, then you should have a public option of being able to stay healthy and a productive member of society. Or if not productive than at least not a drain on other resources with expensive trips to the emergency room for basic care. And I really, truly do not believe that a person who has worked hard all their lives to buy and maintain a home and a reasonable standard of living, should lose that just to pay outrageous medical bills. Again, using the example of my elderly neighbors--if they lost the government benefits that enable them to receive their medical care free or at low cost, they would lose the home that they worked hard to buy and maintain when they were young and healthy. There is simply no reason that the inevitability of age and infirmity should take that away from them.

As for those who have expressed a desire to not see additional government involvement because of a fear that this will discourage a segment of the population to not get a job for health care benefits and this will encourage their laziness--if a person is determined to live off the government, they will find a way to do so no matter what happens. You will never eliminate totally the segment of the population that does that. I don't believe healthcare reform should come to a screeching halt simply because a few people might take advantage of it.

Lastly, a word about using polls to back up your arguments. I participate in polls often because I know that they are used for a variety of purpose, some good and some bad. When I'm asked whether I'm happy with my health insurance company or not, I answer yes. So someone could look at the results of the poll I just participated in and say, "see people are happy with their health insurance, why bother changing it?"

However, that doesn't address my other worries--what would happen if I lost my job and we lost our health insurance. What if my copay became so big that I couldn't afford to pay my other bills? It's these concerns that are likely causing me to grind my teeth into oblivion while I sleep.

Unfortunately the mouth guard causes TMJ which requires physical therapy.

If only one of those things were covered by my health insurance.

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,233
Dow Offline
Imperial_AS_Kicker
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I'm glad that you can all see why I'm so proud of Marsha! hrtballon

In regards to being wary of where we get our information, some of you may remember that I came up with the phrase:

"Question the Source, and Source the Question"

and keep in mind that I also came up with:

"A hand in the bush is worth two birds at the bar"

Proof that we should definitely question all sources of information! yes


Dow
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Dow,
Hi. Like you said a rousing discussion.
I have watched the "critical condition- trailer", and some of the Film. My conclusion is that we all approach things with a predisposition. I can see the same interview and conclude things differently bercause of my belief system.
I appreciate your work and abilities, you are very obviously a gifted and talented artist. I am currently helping 4 people / families that do not have health care. Yet get care at the hosptial when they need it. I have paid rent, loaned cars, given cash and bought groceries. But I stop when they quit thier jobs or refuse to work when we ask them to.
But I will continue to think on these things.
Lon


I keep the New Covenant,
when I fail....I am pulled
back into place by HIM.
Joined: Oct 2001
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I have largely stayed out of this thread and will return to doing just that after this post, but as I was reading some of the recent posts to see how the thread was holding up, I did come across one quote that I just couldn't leave alone. This was in one of Stormy's posts:

Quote:
In almost any other country, our poor would be considered well off. At what point are you living in poverty?


Um, yes, "poor" people in the U.S. would be considered well-off in many other countries. To which I basically say, so what? I find that to be a totally irrelevant argument because, in this case, we are tolking solely about the quality of living in the United States and what is considered poverty in this country as a result of that standard of living. It really doesn't matter one whit if you try to compare poverty in a sub-Saharan nation with what we call poverty in the United States, because in this particular debate, we are talking about what it would take for people living below the poverty line in the U.S. to receive some kind of healthcare coverage through healthcare reform. In such context, what we consider as poverty in the U.S. is all-important because that is the baseline we must use when deciding who will qualify for what based on income. In that context, a family in a Third World country that is surviving on $50 a month (equivalent dollars) or less plays no part whatsoever in determining how we will provide better healthcare for those who live in poverty by current U.S. standards. To even try to inject this into the debate seems a bit misleading at best, a bit disingenuous at worst.

Brad


He who has a 'why' to live can bear with almost any 'how'.
--Friedrich Nietzsche

Sounds like everything takes time, discipline, and patience, and those are seven things I don't have.
--Jon Dore




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Quote:
There is little reason for the average adult in America to be uninsured.


I'm sorry, I don't understand this statement at all. Could you please explain why you think this is true? Because I don't know what state you live in, but here in Michigan, I know many, many people who are working one or more job that no longer provides healthcare coverage. These are jobs such as security guard, where a friend I know makes $10 an hour with no insurance; he's already been shot at in his first four months on the job, but his job doesn't pay enough, and isn't considered important enough for his company to bother providing medical insurance (because they know in this economy, they will be flooded with applicants without having to offer it). Then there are my friends who have been downsized from the publishing company I used to work for and have managed to keep the lights on and food on the table by turning to freelance editing work. Unfortunately, every company in the publishing industry has drastically cut the rates they pay for freelance work because--and this is really kind of horrifically funny--there is such a huge pool of qualified freelancers because every company has gone through some form of downsizing! My, doesn't that becaome a self-fulfilling prophecy (the one that says. "hey, we can lower labor costs if we downsize our staff and outsource work to freelancers; just think, we wouldn't have to pay for insurance and we'll be able to pay WAY less for the freelance work than we pay our in-house workers!")

A couple of my friends who quit voluntarily a couple years before the first wave of downsizing because they could see the writing on the wall (pun fully intended) are doing better than most at freelancing because they were the first ones into the pool. As a result, yep, they've been able to purchase private insurance--kind of. All they can afford for their family of four is, essentially, catastrophic healthcare coverage. They pay for all basic appointments and services, but at least they know they are covered if something goes horribly wrong. And gee, who knows, maybe they'll get lucky in just such a case and end up receiving some tidy life insurance benefits too. (Yes, that was morbid, but it about sums up the lunacy going on in many parts of this country.) Luckily, this family looks like somethingo out of a Greed god and goddess catalog, and their two beautiful, healthy daughters seem to have inherited their wonderful genes. All four of them are insanely healthy, and thus they have not been hugely burdened by rolling the dice on catastrophic-only care. Yet.

Those are just a couple examples. Seeing as the unemployment rate in Detroit and other cities here that relied on the auto industry is 29 percent, there are many, many more I could relate. Michigan used to be an amazing state for workers to live in, as wages were good and very good insurance was always part of the job package. Now, even those who have managed to keep their jobs in the auto industry and pretty much every other industry have had to face the same things almost every other American worker has faced--decreasing wages (at the very minimum, when compared to the cost of living index) and rapidly increasing health insurance costs. To so many others, I've heard just how spoiled Michigan workers were, and how we had it too good anyhow. That always strikes me as a real curiosity. Spoiled? Because we were able to negotiate good wages? Isn't that the American way? Aren't we supposed to bust our butts, work hard, and get rewarded for that work? Aren't we all supposed to strive to make as much money as possible, and aren't higher wages a good thing? Not anymore. Apparently, making a high wage for something as "menial" as assembly line work is, basically, a sin. Instead, anyone who makes a higher wage should be ashamed of themselves--don't they know that if they would just agree to take a 40 percent wage cut, they could keep X number of their coworkers employed? Well, ok, that's the reality now. But when did we become so complacent that we just ACCEPT the idea that we are all earning too much and that we must cut wages if we are to survive in this global market. Instead of lowering wages here in the U.S. so that we can be competitive with factories in Mexico and China (to cite just a couple) that pay $2 an hour, wouldn't it be good for everyone across the globe if we instead tried to raise the wages for workers in those countries so that they could actually receive something above slave wages for doing a dirty, mind-numbing job? Call me crazy, but that seems like a pretty da** worthy goal to me, but like sheep, we just accept the idea that U.S. workers are horribly spoiled and should just shut up and take less money to work longer hours. After all, you should feel da** lucky you have a job these days!

Even one that no longer offers health insurance.

Call me Pollyanna, I guess, as I know the idea of actually raising the working wage around the world will never, ever happen. Pity.

So, really, to get back to my original question, why is it you believe that the there is little justification for the average American to live without insurance these days? I can't tell you how curious I am to hear your answer, mainly because I thought just the opposite was true--to me, it sure seems as if having insurance is getting harder and harder these days.

Brad


He who has a 'why' to live can bear with almost any 'how'.
--Friedrich Nietzsche

Sounds like everything takes time, discipline, and patience, and those are seven things I don't have.
--Jon Dore




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Very_Addicted_to_AS_Kickin
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i've known about the term "working poor" for quite some time now and the book "nickel and dimed" just reaffirmed much of what i already knew. the book didn't just cover health care / health insurance and the lack there of, of the "working poor" but it came up in every example that was illustrated. dow also mentioned a documentary that he worked on that covered similar stories.

a personal example of a young couple who i assumed with their professions would surely be covered, i find out are not. my nephew is a chef with training from a culinary school. he is the head chef at a good restaurant at the shore (think high traffic from lots of tourists in the summer months) that employs him 35 hours a week, so they don't have to give him benefits. i know this is fairly common practice, other family and friends are similarly employed. my nephew's wife is a teacher, but i didn't realize til the other day that finding a teaching job where they live is difficult and thus she is a substitute teacher. the demand for that is high enough that she essentially works full time, but she has very minimal health care coverage. it will be enough to help pay the hospital bills when the new baby comes, but it does not cover my nephew. fortunately for them, they are both healthy. let's just hope my new great niece or nephew is as well.


Last edited by Sue22; 12/23/09 11:22 AM. Reason: more info


sue

Spondyloarthropathy, HLAB27 negative
Humira (still methylprednisone for flares, just not as often. Aleve if needed, rarely.)
LDN/zanaflex/flector patches over SI/ice
vits C, D. probiotics. hyaluronic acid. CoQ, Mg, Ca, K.
chiro
walk, bike
no dairy (casein sensitivity), limited eggs, limited yeast (bread)
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Dow Offline
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Originally Posted By: wolverinefan
Then there are my friends who have been downsized from the publishing company I used to work for and have managed to keep the lights on and food on the table by turning to freelance editing work. Unfortunately, every company in the publishing industry has drastically cut the rates they pay for freelance work because--and this is really kind of horrifically funny--there is such a huge pool of qualified freelancers because every company has gone through some form of downsizing!


That pretty much describes exactly what has happened to us this year. We're freelance, but thought we had a regular gig, because one of the shows we worked on since the first season has just been doing great with many awards. But we didn't get the call. Then we heard that another person who worked on it too, full time with HC benefits, got the boot. Then a little later, guess what, he got hired back part time (no benefits.)

I don't blame the employer, there is less work out there, so they simply can't justify paying full time wages and benefits, if people aren't busy and productive for a full 40 hour work week. Something had to be done to protect the company, and the cost savings that made the most sense was to find a way to stop paying for those health care packages sad


Dow
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Quote:
my nephew's wife is a teacher, but i didn't realize til the other day that finding a teaching job where they live is difficult and thus she is a substitute teacher.


Did she (they) ever think about relocating? My sister subbed for quite some time, and also worked at daycare and other jobs so that she could pay bills, until they decided to move. She then found a job, no problem. Sounds like more an issue of supply/demand to me than an issue of health care. Oh, that was somewhere around 15 years ago by the way.


Kind Regards,
Jay

Almost all of us long for peace and freedom; but very few of us have much enthusiasm for the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make for peace and freedom. - Aldous Huxley

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. - Thomas Jefferson
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Silver_AS_Kicker
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I just watched that "Critical Condition" trailer. Based on the numbers (that support their cause) stating that we spend 50% more on health care than any other country, yet we rank 15th in preventable deaths and 24th in life expectancy, is it possible that our methods of caring for people are inadequate? Is it possible that we provide too much care (heck we spend all that money and the results appear to be extremely poor)? Apparently it's time to rethink how we care for our infirmed.

Also, there is a doctor I listen to on the radio that cites that the U.S. is approximately 5% of the world's population (which seems about right at approximately 305 million of six billion people on the planet), yet we consume nearly 70% of the supply of pharmaceutical medications (this I cannot verify). True or not, this is very thought provoking.

Another thing that leaped out at me while listening to the radio recently. The individual mentioned that obesity (the overwhelming majority of which is due to overeating and lack of activity) costs this country $140 billion annually. Well, these numbers show that that number won't be reached until 2013, when we still won't be receiving our government sponsored health care, but the number from year 2008 are approximately $80 billion. These costs are projected to reach $344 billion by 2018. These are only direct health costs. It doesn't factor in the cost of any lost productivity, ancillary problems, etc. that will be experienced. The majority of this problem is due to people not having any self control, nor exerting any initiative to do anything to help themselves. Therefore, government legislation must be enacted. Keep the Big Mac, supersize fries, and ultra-large liquid corn syrup cola beverage coming day after day. Funny how people are so willing to pay to destroy their bodies, but want someone else to pay to try and resolve the problems that they help create.

Direct Health Care Costs - Obesity


Kind Regards,
Jay

Almost all of us long for peace and freedom; but very few of us have much enthusiasm for the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make for peace and freedom. - Aldous Huxley

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. - Thomas Jefferson
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