Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

As usual, Obama is a step ahead of us.

We haven’t gotten around to starting a discussion about health care, yet.  As usual, the rest of us are a step behind Obama –…

I’ve had a little too much exposure to the health care business. I’ve been a caregiver to two people who went through lengthy terminal illnesses. My mother passed away 22 months after being diagnosed with ALS. I ended up moving in with her for much of that time. I was it – 24/7, except for a few short breaks of a few hours duration. Luckily, she had good insurance as part of my father’s retirement benefits.

The second experience was just as, if not more, difficult.  

My fiancee was in the hospital for 10 months during one 12 month period. She went through multiple operations and finally died from a hospital acquired infection. The infection probably occured during a bowel resection. I was at the hospital for all but a handful of days during those 10 months. The other 2 months, I was with her 24/7. I called an ambulance for her 5 times. Each time was more traumatic than the one before. She had a $1,000,000 lifetime medical benefit from her employer. The medical bills exceeded that by more than $1,500,000. That’s right $1.5 million. She would have had to file for bankruptcy if she had survived the ordeal. In a way, it was lucky that she was single. Think of what that would have done to a family’s finances.

As I said above, Obama has started a discussion about health care. The Obama team is requesting our input. The question posed is – “What worries you most about the healthcare system in our country?”

Here’s what I answered:

1) Catastrophic health care costs driving families into bankruptcy.

2) Tens of millions of uninsured.

3) Lack of portability limits job change, thus limiting upward mobility.

4) Denial of service (could be number 1)

5) Cost of pharmaceuticals.

6) Excessive tests driven by profit motive.

What’s your answer to that question? Let’s all get involved. We need to discuss this issue here and give our input at

We’ve talked about sexism, unions, and same-sex marriage. Those are all kind of identity issues. Let’s try another kind of issue – health care.

I’m for a system modeled on the German and Swiss systems. I’d love to have one like the French or Italian systems, but don’t think we can afford it. I don’t want socialized medicine. I want one-payer health care. This would lift the insurance burden off of doctors and hospitals, eliminate denial of claims for pre-existing conditions, cover catastrophic cases, lower costs through leveraging the buying power of 300,000,000 people, reduce the burden of health care benefits that is currently killing our businesses, and remove 50,000,000 people from the uninsured list.

Give me more time and I can think of more benefits. This has got to be one of the four most important issues, in no particular order – WOT (includes Iraq/Afghanistan), Economy, Energy, Health Care.

Your thoughts? That’s what Obama wants, your thoughts.


  1. From your comment it seems that I need more edumacation with regards to healthcare.  You know my experience is with US and Canadian healthcare and they both bother me, your suggestion seems to be (if I understand) to simply replace the US health insurance industry with a single “company” and a single payer (the gov’t) and leave the rest as it is.  This is radically different than the Canadian system where pretty well everything is controlled by the gov’t, and I need to dwell on how it would work.  It seems to me that healthcare is not the problem in the US, it’s health insurance, so maybe there is a way to get rid of the bathwater and keep the baby…

  2. Jjc2008

    for me than this. But it overwhelms me.

    My heart breaks for all you have been through, John.

    I believe my sister’s early than should have been death was due to what our health care system has done…or what has been done to it.

    Unlike your experienes, there was no long, drawn out painful witnessing to the death of a loved one (although I did see that with my best friend who died from cancer in her forties. I kept telling myself how much luckier my sister was….but the shock of sudden death, no warning is a whole other issue with its own painful repercussions….)

    My sister was alive one day, dead the next.  Her aorta burst.  Two years earlier in 2001, my cousin, who was younger than my sister and I, but was like a sibling (we grew up three blocks apart, played together, schooled together, etc), also died from a burst aorta.  My mother had died from a burst aorta in 1971.

    And an aunt had an aorta dissect but was saved by surgery in 1985.

    Yet not once had any doctor, any medical person alerted our family that this could be genetic.  

    My sister arrived at the hospital ER at 6 AM. She was having nausea, lower back pain, overall misery and felt something was really wrong.  She was a nurse. She had seen a cardiologist and had already been told she had a small aneurysm on her ascending aorta.  

    She asked the EMTs to take her to a well known Cardiac hospital.  They said NO, their corporation only went to Hospital X (the closest to her home). Hospital X is in the poorest part of the area, the ER often used by people without insurance for their only place to get medical care.  Their ER was understaffed.

    My b-i-l gave the attending a card my sister had stating she had an aneurysm. We don’t know if he read it.  He had them give my sister an enema……and was getting ready to send her home.  By this time it was afternoon, and another crew replaced the already tired group that had been there for a long time.  A new ER doctor saw my sister, recommended a CT scan.  While waiting two hours for that scan, my sister’s aorta burst and she was dead.  

    My cousin had been seeing a doctor at a clinic for a week and was being treated for the flu.  Finally when after five days, his back pain, his nausea had not subsided he scheduled a CT scan for the next day.  While having dinner with his children that night he keeled over and was dead by the time they EMT’s arrived.  He left four children.

    I believe these things were related to the health care system because neither my cousin nor my sister were given tests that might have saved their lives; time was not taken to explore their familial history; and no one bothered to call my sister’s cardiologist.  

    In the end, it turned out it is genetic.  Three and a half years ago, I had open heart surgery to repair the aortic root aneurysm, one similar in size and location to the ones that killed my sister and my cousin.

    I entered my family into a genetic study at Cornell…..

    our family is large and according the medical geneticist I saw, all members of our family, siblings, children of, cousins of the victims need to be checked.

    Sadly some of the younger kids are afraid to do it.  They fear they will lose their jobs or be unable to gain employment if they are seen to have a genetic link to something that requires surgery.

    My bills for my surgery were higher than expected since I have good insurance…..well, actually I have better than most here, but it is still not good.  I paid over 2000 dollars out of pocket. Cheap compared to what you are talking about.  But still not an easy thing for anyone who is retired.

    I fear greatly now, as I am not old enough for medicare, anything catastrophic.  And I fear care if I do happen to live to be older and need help.  I don’t want to be a burden and yet the cost of these places for the elderly are unreal.

    I have always believed that the measure of a society is how they treat their children, and their elderly and their sick members.  Sadly, our society is more concerned about getting into Walmart to save a few bucks on a television they probably do not need, than they are about those three groups.  It is short sighted because at one time or another all of us will be a member of those groups.

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