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Leave them on the Ice Floe to Die: Post Hospitalization Health Care in the United States

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World

Thank you all for your expressions of support, kind thoughts, positive waves, and prayers over the past few weeks. My wife Judy is doing well, her wound is no longer draining, the sutures are healing and it looks like her staples will come out Monday. She is pretty much able to take care of herself and it looks like she will have a good number of visitors while I am in Gettysburg.

Now this has been an interesting experience. You see when someone leaves the hospital after major surgery insurance companies, even good ones are loath to pay for any in-home care, so everything falls on the family of the person, in our case since we don’t have 19 kids to saddle with the work, that person is me. In fact for most people the work falls on their spouse or their significant other, or possibly a teenage kid.

Now I am lucky, I am a fairly senior military officer and I work in an academic setting where I do not have to deploy and have a command that is very supportive of whatever time I need to care for Judy. I don’t have to worry about my paycheck getting docked ort losing my job. Sadly, a majority of Americans have to worry about that if their family member is sick, or needs post surgery care. I think that is a terrible situation if you ask me; condemn Europeans as socialists who pay too much in taxes, but at least they get something for what they pay, most European countries have effective health care and social service systems that do not let people fall through the crack.

For a nation that considers itself the pinnacle of humanitarianism and which is supposedly “pro-life” the situation is shameful, and frankly I think we should be ashamed. We are not pro-life at all, even the people that call themselves that tend to be pro-birth and the hell with you after that, unless you are rich.

Interestingly enough the Commonwealth Fund, hardly a liberal institution, ranked the United States 11th of 11 developed western countries in terms of health care, including accessibility and outcomes, of course all of those countries are willing to have universal health care, and sorry even Obamacare is not socialized medicine, it is simply a modified version of the Heritage Foundation’s plan that they touted over a decade ago and similar to Romneycare. It still keeps the insurance companies in control of most healthcare decisions. If you want to see where the United States ranks here is the listing:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. Switzerland
  3. Sweden
  4. Australia
  5. Germany & Netherlands (tied)
  6. New Zealand & Norway (tied)
  7. France
  8. Canada
  9. United States

The link to the Forbes Magazine article where you can find the report is here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2014/06/16/u-s-healthcare-ranked-dead-last-compared-to-10-other-countries/

But anyway, I digress. When a person leaves the hospital the family, with very few exceptions is lead to fend for themselves. Post hospital prescriptions may be covered by insurance, ours are, but nothing else is. If you need surgical pads, gauze, bandages, antiseptic wipes or a host of other potential needs, they come out of your pocket, thankfully mine are deep enough to handle these expenses, but think of the person who lives paycheck to paycheck and because they have to take unpaid leave are not getting a paycheck during their loved one’s illness.

When your loved one is recovering you become all the things that the hospital provides while they are an inpatient. You are nursing services, you get to check, clean and dress their wounds, make sure they get their medicines and monitor them for anything that might be going wrong. Now for me this is not a problem, I have a significant amount of medical background as a Medical Service Corps officer in the Army as well as a hospital chaplain working trauma, critical-care and ICUs. Blood, guts, bodily fluids, I can handle them; spot infection, got it; change dressings, and do other things that gross people out, can do. Again, I am lucky; I have training and experience but sadly when most people leave the hospital their untrained and inexperienced relatives get to do this. The family also is the nursing aid, the dietary service, rehab service, housekeeping and laundry service. It is a full time job, which most families are not, trained to deal with and many do not have the resources to do. Let’s say that because they have to pay rent the caregiver has to leave the recovering patient alone, they are hosed unless perhaps a friend or neighbor volunteers to do this, once again at no cost to the insurance company of the health care system.

For those that do not think that nurses earn their money they are sadly mistaken, nursing is hard, it is physical and emotional. I know why nurses only work 3-4 days before they get a break, it is demanding. Judy often tells me from previous experiences with me as her nurse that I graduated from the Leave Them on the Ice Floe to Die School of Nursing. Now with global warming and the ice flows all melting I had no place to put her so I really had to work hard. Actually, I didn’t mind it, I wanted to make sure that there were no complications and that nothing happened to her I really worked hard to care for her, and I wanted to do it. However, that being said that is what our health care system does to people when it puts them out of hospital, it leaves them and their families out on the ice flow and sadly the ice floes are disappearing. We need to really change how we do health care in this country before they are gone.

PearlsBeforeSwine-28Oct2013

 

So anyway, I am now on the way to Gettysburg to lead 20 students as well as some faculty and family members on my third staff ride of the year. Tomorrow and Sunday I will be out and about the battlefield teaching. I’ll post something short tomorrow night.

Again thank you and blessings

Peace

Padre Steve+

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The Pain of Bain Will Always be the Same

I don’t know why but I have been amazed to see the Romney campaign turn into a total train wreck this week.  I really didn’t expect it but to me it looks like the wheels seem to be coming off with the continuing and expanding revelations of Romney’s involvement with Bain Capital. Documents from Bain signed by Romney point to a real possibility that Romney is not telling the whole story about his activity as owner, CEO and sole stockholder of Bain. These include filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission interviews, statements and even the paperwork for his residency for his 2002 campaign for the office of Governor of Massachusetts all of which point to him being less than honest in how he represents that time. Likewise there are the issues of Swiss and Cayman Islands bank accounts and unwillingness to disclose more than last year’s tax records.

Thus it was hard not to shake my head in amazement when Romney went of five different networks to say that that he “left any responsibility whatsoever, any effort, any involvement whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after February of 1999.”  What got me was not just the words, but his facial expressions and body language, it was not believable.

One can think what they want of President Obama. One can call him an Anti-American Atheist, Communist, Socialist, Liberation Theology loving, pork eating, beer drinking Moslem. One can oppose every one of his policies.  One can even believe that he is the son of a Vulcan explorer and an earth mother that was beamed from Kenya to Hawaii so he be President and through the UN bring about a treaty that would cause the earth to cede its independence to a United Federation of Planets in a future alternate universe and one can vote against him for a multitude of reasons but one cannot ignore that Romney has serious character issues that are red flags that his supporters should pay attention to before they come back to haunt them.  Simply put I think anyone who fought against the Romney nomination and now backs him simply because he is not Obama is in for trouble.

Now nobody should be surprised by how the script is playing out. In fact almost every opponent of Romney’s in the GOP primaries warned us of this. They ran the anti-Bain commercials, they talked about Romneycare they pointed out every chink in the armor of a Romney campaign and got carpet bombed by Romney for doing so. In fact some even called Romney a “liar.” The problem was that none of them had the money or organization or the support of Wall Street and the Multi-National corporations that Romney had and his PACS destroyed them. He took no prisoners.

Rick Perry was blasted out by Romney early but he made these comments:

“I happen to think that companies like Bain Capital could have come in and helped these companies if they truly were venture capitalists, but they’re not — they’re vulture capitalists.”

“While you were the governor of Massachusetts in that period of time, you were 47th in the nation in job creation. … You failed as the governor of Massachusetts.”

“If you are a victim of Bain Capital’s downsizing, it’s the ultimate insult for Mitt Romney to come to South Carolina to tell you he feels your pain. Because he caused it.”

“I have no doubt that Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips — whether he’d have enough of them to hand out.”

Rick Santorum, arguably the most populist of the Republican candidates and the only one that mounted a real challenge to Romney said that Romney was “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” 

Santorum also said:

“If Mitt Romney’s an economic heavyweight, we’re in trouble, because he was 47th out of 50 in job creation in the state of Massachusetts when he was governor. He may have had some success at making money for himself and his partners at Bain Capital, and I give him a lot of credit for doing so, but that’s a very different thing than going out and creating an atmosphere for people to create — that create jobs.”

Newt Gingrich got off the Romneyvation early and got blasted but he tore some holes in Romney’s campaign:

“I just think he ought to be honest with the American people and try to win as the real Mitt Romney, not try to invent a poll-driven, consultant-guided version that goes around with talking points, and I think he ought to be candid. I don’t think he’s being candid and that will be a major issue. From here on out from the rest of this campaign, the country has to decide: Do you really want a Massachusetts moderate who won’t level with you to run against Barack Obama who, frankly, will just tear him apart? He will not survive against the Obama machine.”

“We are not going to beat Barack Obama with some guy who has Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Island accounts, owns shares of Goldman Sachs while it forecloses on Florida and is himself a stockholder in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while he tries to think the rest of us are too stupid to put the dots together and understand what this is all about.”

Michelle Bachmann said:

“He can’t beat Obama because his policy is the basis of Obamacare. The signature issue of Obama is Obamacare. You can’t have a candidate who has given the blueprint for Obamacare. It’s too identical. It’s not going to happen.” 

“He’s been very inconsistent on his positions. He’s been on both sides of the abortion issue, on both sides of the issue with same-sex marriage … he was for the TARP bill, the $700 billion bailout and the global warming initiatives.”

Former Utah Governor, Ambassador to China and fellow Mormon said of Romney:

“I think Romney will show leadership on the economy, but on the trust deficit, I don’t see a whole lot of leadership.”

And the only GOP candidate still in the hunt, Ron Paul ran this ad:

“Mitt Romney can’t fight against Obamacare because he supported the same mandates and government takeovers as governor of Massachusetts.  Romney can’t stand up against more bailouts because he supported them. He can’t lead the charge to shrink the government because he has grown it. Romney’s record is liberal and putting him up against Obama is a recipe for defeat.”

By the way did you notice that none of these people are Democrats? That should speak volumes.

One of two things are going to happen and please do not say that you were not warned. Either the wheels will continue to come off and Romney’s campaign will blow up leading to a defeat in November. That may also impact Congressional races because people may be so disgusted by their candidate that they don’t show up. They may not vote for Obama but they will not support Romney.

The other possibility is that hatred for Obama will cause people that cannot stand Romney to vote for him anyway and that he will win the election. Obama haters will rejoice until they realize that they voted in a man who still remembers what they said about him and only sees them as a means to the become President. They are simply votes to be bought and the bottom line is all that matters.  That is his history as a businessman and governor. He may not be a good politician but underneath that perfect head of hair he is a ruthless businessman, just asked those that ran against him in the GOP primaries this year.

When that happens those that opposed and denigrated Romney during the primaries should not expect for Romney to treat them well.  This is especially true for the Evangelicals who just a couple months ago were calling Romney a member of a religious cult.  Romney will govern based on what he wants, not what they want. Instead of four years of a lame duck Obama administration they will have either have Romney for eight years or end up with a different Democrat in the White House in 2016 and it will destroy the Republican Party.

Alan Keyes, who I never agree with made a comment that while I may not completely agree with probably needs to be heeded by religious conservatives whose hatred of Obama has driven them into Romney’s camp. If they believe like Keyes that Obama is evil then they need to look at what the results of their hatred of him may bring about:

 “As I tried to point out in 2008, the lesser of evils is still evil. No matter how such an election turns out, people content to choose between Satan and Beelzebub have made clear their willingness to let things go to hell. Moreover, the nature of their choice is so clear to them that they practically boast of the passionate hatred that impels them to it. With this practical boast they become the willing, proud accomplices of the very evil they profess to hate.”

People need to be careful what they ask for because they just might get it.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under leadership, News and current events, Political Commentary

Flip-Flops in Florida: Who was Before it Before they were Against it Before they said that They Weren’t? I Sure the Hell Don’t Know

We are done with debates for a month and not a moment too soon especially for Newt Gingrich who got his ass handed to him tonight. Unlike in South Carolina where Gingrich was the clear winner Newt seemed to be flat footed in his answers to questions posed by Wolf Blitzer and audience members and in his responses to Romney. Romney seemed much more comfortable attacking Newt tonight. However I think that he was hurt by Rick Santorum who I think won the debate.

Despite beating Gingrich Romney certainly did not help himself for the general election should he be the nominee. Newt’s campaign as well as all of his huge Mitt-stakes over the past month have taken their toll. Even Rupert Murdoch thinks that Romney’s tax issue alone could keep him from winning in November.  Romney is certainly a shrewd businessman and as he calls himself a “winner.”  However he comes across as both arrogant and unprincipled, a flip-flopper of the worst kind as does Gingrich.

These debates and the campaign since Iowa have been a bloodbath in which Romney and Gingrich have done everything that they can do the ensure that neither of them becomes President. These guys are doing the best that they can to destroy each other every hour of the day and then claim ignorance. I am amazed with the alacrity with which they misrepresented each other and themselves.

I know that people wear flip-flops on Florida’s beaches but these guys put the flip in flop.    Both were for it before they were against it before someone pointed out that they were for it and they had to defend being for what they are now against or really are for but can’t admit it and get the nomination.

I am really getting confused and I know it’s not just my Mad Cow causing this. I don’t think that either man actually believes a word that they that they say even before they denied that they believed it.  Both Gingrich and Romney came across as absolutely disingenuous and consumed with destroying each other on the way to getting the nomination.

In my opinion it was Rick Santorum that was the most effective debater tonight and was very impressive. He was much more impressive than either Romnich or Gingney and I think Santorum cleaned Romney’s clock. Unfortunately for him it is probably too little too late regarding the getting the nomination but anything is possible now. Ron Paul made some points but did not have the impact tonight as did Santorum. Santorum hurt Romney on “Romneycare” and taxation aligning himself with none other than Ronald Reagan on the upper bracket tax rates.  He was also the only candidate that spoke directly about the industrial base and the workers that were the Reagan Democrats and recognized that President Obama had made that point in the State of the Union.

While anything is possible in this race I think that it is pretty certain that Romney will now win Florida. I thought that Gingrich might steal it but he didn’t help himself at all tonight. He was way off his game and he needed to reprise what he did in South Carolina in order to win Florida.  He now has to work doubly hard to try to win this or run a close second.

However this race has show that nothing is what it was even four years ago. I think that it will drag on and that anti-Romney forces will ensure that it does. I think that all things being equal that Romney probably wins the nomination but like I have been saying since Iowa that he will be so damaged that he will not be able to win in November.  He may have the support of the GOP elites but he certainly is not winning the hearts of people that he will need to support him in November.

A recent poll said that 33% of Republicans wished that there was another candidate in the race. Likewise President Obama’s positive numbers which were dismal are going up even as Romney’s favorable ratings collapse. I say this only to show just how volatile the electorate is this year and how dissatisfied most Americans seem to be with the status quo and the people running for the nation’s highest office.

This is not like anything that I have ever seen. So many things can happen between now and next week when Florida votes and the the General Election on November 6th that could influence the election it boggles the mind. I know that my mind is boggled. I feel like I am watching the two Republican front-runners do their best to ensure that their party cannot win in November. What do you think?

Peace

Padre Steve+

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