Tuesday, September 01, 2009

USA Today: 1000s of Americans move to Mexico for health care

by Eclectablog Tue Sep 01, 2009
USA Today is reporting that "thousands" of Americans are moving to Mexico to receive inexpensive health care:
As the United States debates an overhaul of its health care system, thousands of American retirees in Mexico have quietly found a solution of their own, signing up for the health care plan run by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).
One of the biggest arguments against changing our system in the USA is that our system is SOOOOOOOOOOO good that foreigners come here to get treatment.
Seems that's only part of the story. In Mexico, they run a program that costs between $90 and $250 a year for "legal foreigners". They have 1,507 clinics and 264 hospitals across Mexico and thousands of Americans are moving there to take advantage of it.
The program has helped people such as Ron and Jemmy Miller of Shawano, Wis. They decided to retire early, but knew affording health care was going to be a problem.
Ron was a self-employed contractor, and Jemmy was a loan officer at a bank. At ages 61 and 52, respectively, they were too young to qualify for Medicare, but too old to risk not having health insurance.
"We knew that we couldn't retire without Medicare," Jemmy Miller said. "We're pretty much in Mexico now because we can't afford health care in the States."
It's a pretty no-frills system. Pre-existing conditions aren't covered for the first two years and the hospitals aren't anything fancy. But at $250 per year, it's a very enticing situation.
Perhaps health care reform advocates can use this bit of news next time they hear the tired excuse that foreigners come to America for treatment because what we have here is so damn awesome.
Bob Story, 75, of St. Louis, had prostate-reduction surgery at an IMSS hospital in Mazatlán and discovered that patients were expected to bring their own pillows. It was a small price to pay, he said, for a surgery that would have cost thousands of dollars back home.
"I would say it's better than any health plan I've had in the States," he said.
My, my... Maybe that puts their other front-page article, For Florida, 'the end of an era' of growth into perspective.
I'm just sayin'...
UPDATE: First of all, the intent of this diary isn't to show that we should all go to Mexico for our treatment or even that it's right that some Americans do. Only that there are other options to our system and these can WORK.
Also, I don't think anyone is claiming they ran to Mexico for high-end or emergency treatment. Only for the routine care that is out of the price range even for so many Americans.
Again, I think this just highlights that there are other options and that our so-called "best system in the world" maybe isn't the only answer.
What pisses me off so much about the anti-reformers' arguments is that there is a blindness to two things. First, that there are other ways of doing health care that give better outcomes than ours and, second, that if we do anything remotely similar to single-payer, we'll have a system exactly like Canada/Sweden/England/fill-in-the-blank.
Why can't we have a system that incorporates the best parts of all these other systems, avoids the well-documented pitfalls and problems with them, and truly is "American"? That's a little thing called leadership and we should be able to learn from other countries and come up with a new-and-improved approach.

Life On The Streets Of Tampa: Let's Meet Anna

Anna is one of those people who has been living on the streets for the past 5 months. This is not her first time in the great outdoors.
Anna is somewhere around the age of 54, 5 feet 7 inches, and she probably weighs in at about 110 pounds. Anna is a pretty womean for her age. She's been lucky that the beer that she drinks every day really hasn't aged her all that much. Yet. Anna has been a heavy beer drinker for at least the last 20 years and she loves the " Natural Ice " brand of the stuff.
So how did I come across Anna? I had arrived in Tampa back in June, and, with nothing better to do I went looking for some of my old friends. It took about a week before I ran into an old friend named Waymon. I've known Waymon for over 10 years, so he was the logical first choice in seeking out the past. My, how Waymon has changed! H'es been a heavy drinker since his late teens and he hasn't slowed down over the years. In Fact, he's gotten worse! Anyway, I stumbled onto he and Anna sitting in a breeze-way next door to a grocery store. Waymon was sauced on his wine and Anna was looking pretty well-lit on her beer.
Anna is one of those people who should be drinking nothing harder than Kool-Aid, or maybe a diet Pepsi. She can handle one beer, and even two without going into the "stupid zone", but after three or more, all hell will break loose! I'm not talking about the usual drunken rants and raves. Hers is a little different than most. She likes to mumble on an almost non-stop basis. This can get pretty annoying to most people, especially non-drinkers. She knows very few of those, by the way. Three beers or more also makes her hear things. I'm not speaking of alien voices or the usual shit inside someones head. I'm talking about not hearing what someone has actually said to her. Sort of like selective-hearing. What one says, and what one hears is not the same thing, no matter how clearly the comment is. Anna has this down to a tee.
I should note that when not partaking in her beer habit to the extreme, Anna is a very sweet, and intelligent woman. When she gets going though, it doesn't take her to long to get what I call " stuck on stupid." I'll explain that one in my next post.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Time To Lose The Republicans?

The following article comes from

by icebergslim Sun Aug 30, 2009
I am from Illinois, a blue state with the City of Chicago within it, a large populous state. Yet, while the White House WAITS on the Senate Finance Committee; large populous states have no representation of the committee. There are six individuals who are trying to pound out an agreement, yet all come from extremely small states and represents none of the majority of Americans. Note, we have had other bills come out of committee with the public option attached, but the bipartisanship of the White House has been a wait and see, as what comes out of the Baucus Committee.
Now the same sort of damaging retreat may be happening in the Senate Finance Committee. Three committees in the House and one in the Senate have used their Democratic majorities to approve liberal health reform bills. The only bipartisan negotiations are between a rump group of three Democrats and three Republicans on the Finance Committee who hail from largely rural states with small populations, namely Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming. Somehow this small, unrepresentative group has emerged as the focal point for bipartisan health care reform.
Bipartisan health care. No one is asleep here; do we actually believe that the Republicans will vote ANYTHING for Obama? When you have the likes of Grassley and Enzi, who are on this committee continuing to destroy any hope of bipartisanship, yet the White House forges along, but why? Is it for Independent votes? If that is the case, they are bleeding this group, since the Democratic Party has been all over the map in the messaging of health care and this message has clearly been yanked from the Democrats. The reality now in the Obama White House is that none of these Republicans were EVER going to be an honest broker, not for any of Barack Obama's agenda. At this time the Republicans only care about political points with hopes of recapturing the congress and hopefully the White House, so helping out President Obama is very LOW on their totem pole.
In recent weeks, it has become inescapably clear that Republicans are unlikely to vote for substantial reform this year. Many seem bent on scuttling President Obama’s signature domestic issue no matter the cost. As Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, so infamously put it: “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
As we are still trying for the "bipartisanship lovey-dovey bill", the Republicans are staying on course to kill ANY health care reform bill, in the process making outrageous demands for their support EVEN THOUGH we have majorities in the House and Senate. The way things are going, you would think it is the Republicans in charge and not the Democrats.
In Salt Lake City today, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) held a fundraiser with former Bush adviser Karl Rove, where Rove declared that “Republicans will be defined this year by their effort to block Democrats’ efforts for health care reform.” “This year is going to be defined by Republicans and conservatives by what we oppose,” said Rove. After Rove praised Bennett’s health care plan, Bennett said that he agreed with Rove’s goal of killing health care reform:
Rove said that he supports Bennett’s work on the Healthy Americans Act - the health care bill Bennett is co-sponsoring with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon - although he said it’s “not exactly the bill that you or I would like each and every section.” Bennett said his bill is not a negotiating tool on health care, but it will be there as an alternative after Democratic reforms are blocked. “The No. 1 assignment in 2009 is to kill Obamacare,” Bennett said.
With lovey-dovey friends like these, no wonder health care is in disarray.
No one can rule out that the health care debacle or debate has hurt Obama and Democrats across the board, but I firmly believe once a health care package (with a public option) is passed by Democrats (let's be real the Republicans are not voting for ANYTHING) then we can rebound in the polling numbers. I also believe that once President Obama explains in clear lay-man speak, not that Washington, D.C. mumbo jumbo, but relay to the American Public why health care reform is not only important but what it means for THEM, we can win this battle. But, if we continue to deal with the Republican Party, which is fruitless, worthless and a waste of time, in my opinion, the public option could be a compromise if the Obama White House is hell bent on a bipartisan bill. Even though, a government run public option is what the public wants and demands, it could easily be dealt away:
The six have been working hard to reach agreement, but the concessions demanded by Republicans will most likely make the reform effort weaker and smaller. They could, for example, reduce the scale of the program and the subsidies for low-income people; drop the idea of a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers; and eliminate a requirement that employers offer coverage to their workers or pay a penalty.
Even if the group reaches an agreement, which is by no means certain, its compromise is unlikely to win support from a Republican Party that seems bent on delay. Leading Senate Republicans have seen little in the emerging compromise that they are willing to support.
Two of the Republicans working on the compromise — Charles Grassley of Iowa and Michael Enzi of Wyoming — have said they would not vote for a bill that could not win broad support, which Mr. Enzi defined as 75 to 80 senators, implying that roughly half of the Senate’s Republicans must sign on. That is unlikely — no matter how good or bipartisan or middle-of-the-road any bill may be.
After all this, does anyone believe these Republicans? And get this one, even if the Democrats and we got some very weak ones, give them everything, these Republicans will still NOT VOTE FOR ANY REFORM.
I hope President Obama and his family had a very restful vacation, even though the death of our great leader of the senate, Ted Kennedy, hurts, I am hoping that it is our former Lion of the Senate, while in his death will give some backbone or steel spine to the Democrats to forge this ahead and get on with it.
We need health care reform, desperately, but we don't need what the Republicans are trying to dish up. The Democratic Party is the leaders, majority of the congress and White House, it is time to show this leadership and get on with it.
NY Times
Think Progress
This Week With Barack Obama

Swine Flu Update

Okay, so i'm a little late with this update. Better late than never, in this case.
As of August 27,2009, there have been 8,843 people who have been hospitalized with the H1Ni influenza. There have been 556 deaths brought on by this flu.

Since I am down in the state of Florida, I will give you the latest on the flu here in the Tampa Bay area.

I would note that the schools in Hillborough County just started classes last week and that health officials expect the swine flu outbreak to go into hyper-gear as many students will be catching this flu.

In Hillsborough County/Tampa, six people have died from the H1N1 flu at this point in time. There has also been one death each in Pinellas and Polk Counties as of the 26th of August.

At Tampa Catholic High School, it is reported that 20 percent of the 700 student body are absent from classes due to the swine flu. Many parents have been told to keep their children home if they have any sort of illness at all, and it appears to be working.

The increase in cases was not unexpected. Young people are especially susceptible to swine flu and on school campuses, the highly contagious virus can spread quickly. Hillsborough County Health Department Director Doug Holt predicted it would take two weeks for influenza to invade a campus once classes started; that's how long Tampa Catholic students have been back at school.Holt said he eventually expects absences of at least 30 percent in public schools, where classes began this week.

With all of this nice,hot and humid weather, this flu will spread quicker than health officials think that it will, I predict. These kids will still be getting together away from school to socialize and play, spreading this flu at an even faster rate. Wait till mid-September which is when I predict that all hell will break loose here in the Tampa area.