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Year End Summary Coming December 30, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Healthonymous.
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Dear Readers: Frequent Flyer has taken a few days off. Tomorrow and on New Year’s Day, I will summarize my health care expenses for the 4th Qtr; comment on my favorite parts of the Senate health care bill and muse about 2010 in health. Thanks for making the first 14 weeks of the blog so interesting! What are your predictions for 2010 in health care?

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=new+year%27s+celebration&iid=7412116″ src=”8/9/e/b/Auckland_Residents_Celebrate_d78e.jpg?adImageId=8728722&imageId=7412116″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

PS Maybe I can figure out which of my current expenses will go away when all the provisions of the new health care legislation become effective.

Senate Health Bill:Passing – Your 401(k) is Up: Why that is the case December 23, 2009

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous, huh?, Money.
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I read today that the health care/insurance stocks are at 52 year highs. And many companies are up double digits, since Senator Lieberman (Say it ain’t so, Joe!)  made his proclamation at the end of October. 

When he said he wouldn’t vote for the Senate bill if it contained a public option.

Who wrote that script?

What does that tell us? We have missed an opportunity, that’s what.  Senator Lieberman has done his job, and has probably made millions on the side. For those of us that have 401(k) plans, they will also have a great 4th quarter, no doubt. We will need the money because, according to another item I read today, we will all need at least $250,000 for health care costs for after we turn 65!

Well, it is not what we all thought about, misty eyed, last January, is it? As I heard one Senator say yesterday, we have changed the culture and the expectations around health care in this country. I hope they are correct!

But we need to do more than hope. Action is virtually free. This issue needs to stay on our minds and in our emails, op-ed’s and Facebook pages all through the 2010 elections.

Expect better! (FF)

Senator Ben Nelson Changes His Mind December 19, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous, Women.
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[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=senator+ben+nelson&iid=7379989″ src=”f/4/a/4/Senate_Democratic_Caucus_1eb9.jpg?adImageId=8476033&imageId=7379989″ width=”380″ height=”250″ /]

What epiphany did Senator Nelson have? On C-SPAN, moments ago, he thanked the administration, the leadership of Senator Reid and appeared to deny a “sweetheart deal”. What’s in it for me he was asked?

What’s in it for the people for Nebraska is what is important, he said. [Nelson]

He said he will vote for cloture and support the current Senate bill-but there is a catch. If there are more than minimal changes in the House and Senate conference report, he reserves the right to vote against cloture after that. That appeared to be a firm statement, not just a threat.

In his press conference, Nelson said that the details agreed to include:

  • the assurance that the states that currently do not include abortion services in either public or private insurance plans can continue to do so;
  • any plan that includes coverage for abortion must require that two transactions occur-one for the abortion coverage and one for other coverage
  • the conscience clause stays in
  • an increase in the adoption credit and making it refundable
  • that this is similar to the Stupak amendment in the House

Nelson said “it is easier to do nothing, than to do something, but that doesn’t make it better”.

Senator Franken Tells Senator Lieberman he’s Out of Time! December 19, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous, Humor.
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Finally, someone told Senator Lieberman he couldn’t talk anymore!

The Huffington Post reported that despite Senator McCain’s objections about a lack of comity (not comedy) in the Senate, Franken and Lieberman were speaking together amicably about an hour later.

Health Care Quote of the Week December 17, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Insurance, Health Quote of the Week.
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Hero of the week: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Here is part of his 36 minute speech on the floor of the Senate yesterday, given after he was forced to withdraw his single payer system amendment to the current health reform bill.

“The fact that 17 percent of our people are unemployed or underemployed, one out of four of our children are living on food stamps, we’ve got two wars, we’ve got global warming, we have a $12 trillion national debt, and the best the Republicans can do is try to bring the United States government to a halt by forcing a reading of a 700 page amendment.  That is an outrage.  People can have honest disagreements, but in this moment of crisis it is wrong to bring the United States government to a halt.” Source

If the amendment had been introduced, it would have been the first time in history such an amendment would have been discussed on the Senate floor. Senator Durbin, the Democratic Whip stated:

The decision by the Senate Republican leadership today to have the Sanders amendment read clearly tells us what their strategy is. It is to slow down or stop this bill at any cost.

Senator Sanders stopped the bill reading  and began speaking on the floor nearly 3 hours into the reading of the amendment-required by Senator Coburn.

Oops, I Did it Again! December 17, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous, huh?.
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Doing the Lieberman shuffle. Two steps forward, three steps back.

Or is it just three steps backwards?

I can’t decide if this post is about Senator Lieberman changing his mind as often as a toddler needs a new toy-or about why the Senate is trusting Senator Lieberman [again]. Paul Krugman says he is doing it out of spite.  The Senator now opposes something he was in favor of  a mere three months ago. What caused this change of heart? Update 12/18/09 In Froma Harrop’s  recent column one paper’s headline gives us a clue-

“Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Insurance Industry”

Remember that oft-quoted line from Presidential candidate Senator Kerry? Kerry said I voted for it, before I voted against it. What is Senator Lieberman doing-is it Copy a Candidate Week?

What will the Senate do? I am weary of the endless adjustments to please someone who clearly has no desire to agree with his Democratic colleagues.

How about a two year old just learning to say no? Senator Patty Murray, dust off those preschool teacher skills and put Joe in the “Time Out” corner until he can behave.

Again, what about the chairmanship?

Senator Reid, we are waiting…

Health Care Quote of the Week December 15, 2009

Posted by Admin in Diary, Health Quote of the Week, huh?.
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[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=senator+gregg&iid=1778679″ src=”4/4/d/c/Senate_Holds_Vote_3809.jpg?adImageId=8315003&imageId=1778679″ width=”380″ height=”264″ /]

Check out the implied halo in the photo!

Scott Simon said this past weekend that his interview with Senator Judd Gregg got a lot of attention in their letters. No kidding. I just read the transcript and I have to say that Scott did not really challenge Senator Gregg at all. some of the comments said it felt like listening to the Fox Network ( I took a pledge not to call it a n__s show).

Listen for yourself here.

Gregg trotted out the same canards:

  • won’t cut the deficit
  • it’s a shell game

Here is the best line of all:

  • it will lead us to hell, I mean single payer.
  • “A public health care system absolutely leads to a deterioration of health care generally for the American public if everybody’s forced into it.”

    Senator Gregg: What do your constituents on Medicare think about that statement? That sounds like something that might have said in the 1960’s, say just prior to Medicare being adopted. Oh, I bet it is part of the playbook!

    No one can say the R’s don’t recycle-arguments that is!

    At the very least, didn’t Senator Gregg listen to the people who demonstrated and cried out “Don’t take away my Medicare”, this August? I think this quote gets the Frequent Flyer Expect Better award for this week (really for last Thursday-it took a while to get the transcript).

    People of New Hampshire-rise up and expect better!

    Health Care “Providers” and the $30 Co-Pay December 13, 2009

    Posted by Admin in Cancer, Diary, Healthonymous, Money.
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    In my life, I have had many more health care “providers” than I ever dreamed that I would. In addition to the two excellent surgeons that I had for my cancer surgeries, I have seen people with titles such as dosimetrist, audiologist,  and a gynecological oncologist. I even see phlebotomists regularly (oops, just recalled I need to redo my latest CA 125 blood test-the number was slightly elevated last time).

    But the health care job title of the person I enjoy visiting most is that of licensed massage therapist! Regular readers know that I have a prescription for massage to treat my lymphedema. My arm always feels better after and it is usually easier to put my compression sleeve back on too. Yes, after ten years, I still wear mine.

    This week’s only expense was my $30 co-pay for my every other week massage. It is very helpful to have someone knowledgeable about manual lymphatic drainage look after me, plus they have two hands to minister with and I feel like a on-armed paper hanger sometimes trying to address my own needs. Ever try to kiss your elbow? Sometimes doing your own lymph massage is just that frustrating.

    Tantalizing close, but definitely out of reach!

    Expenses out of pocket for week ending December 12th: $30.00


    Why is Senator Lieberman Still Opposed to the Public Option? December 12, 2009

    Posted by Admin in Healthonymous, Humor.
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    [picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=senator+lieberman&iid=6924413″ src=”8/1/7/4/Democratic_and_Republican_c076.jpg?adImageId=8255244&imageId=6924413″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

    Senator Lieberman says he won’t support any health care reform bill that includes a “public option”.

    As the cartoon by Joel Pett says here, there are several retorts to the statement:

    A “Public Option” would be bad.

    The way public libraries have ruined bookstores?

    The way public transportation has…

    I found the cartoon on the Kaiser Health News website.

    Why hasn’t Senator Reid offered to strip Senator Lieberman of his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee?

    Give em’ hell Harry!


    Senate Health Bill Debate-Bad, Good, Not So Bad December 9, 2009

    Posted by Admin in Healthonymous.
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    [picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=health+care+reform+women&iid=7316445″ src=”e/9/5/f/Abortion_supporters_gather_bd04.JPG?adImageId=8165686&imageId=7316445″ width=”380″ height=”257″ /]

    The Senate has been debating other amendments this week, including one on the popular Medicare Advantage plans and also the Nelson amendment on abortion services.

    NOT SO BAD: Despite the Hyde Amendment, which is now over 30 years old, that prevents federal funds from being used to pay for abortion services, a minority (so far)  of various Senate members want to include even more restrictive language. As Senator Boxer characterized it, the Nelson amendment would have prevented women from using their private funds to pay for an abortion, asked them to purchase an insurance rider in advance to cover the possibility of needing an abortion, and as the Senator stated on the floor:

    The men who have brought us this don’t single out a procedure that’s used by a man, or a drug that is used by a man, that involves his reproductive health care and say they have to get a special rider. There’s nothing in this amendment that says if a man some days wants to buy Viagra, for example, that his pharmaceutical coverage cannot cover it, that he has to buy a rider. I wouldn’t support that. And they shouldn’t support going after a woman using her own private funds for her reproductive health care. Is it fair to say to a man you’re going to have to buy a rider to buy Viagra and this will be public information that could be accessed? No, I don’t support that. I support a man’s privacy, just as I support a woman’s privacy.”

    The Nelson amendment failed last night (Tuesday) 54-45 on a motion to table.

    Another question I had was–who didn’t vote? So I went to Senate.gov to find out  it was Senator Byrd-who has a reasonable excuse at least. He is ill and very frail. Senator Byrd became the longest serving Senator ever on November 18th, 2009.

    GOOD: News on the Mikulski Amendment-it passed by a 61-39 vote. this will guarantee that women, especially those under age 50, will have access to preventative screenings without co-pays.

    BAD: Wednesday  morning, I woke up to the rumor that the public option again, might be deemed optional. This time it is the Gang of Ten in the Senate (Liberals plus moderates) Note to self-could the R’s even find 5 moderates?

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