Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 11:41pm

 

Lip service doesn’t heal

It is very difficult for me to understand what possible relevance the article by Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Phil Roe ("TennCare Lessons for Health Care Reform," July 27) had to do with the pending national debate, except for “allowing them” to experience once again the joy of bashing TennCare?

There is not one positive or constructive suggestion in the entire article, and in fact the only subject that seems to interest them, pro or con, is the possibility of a government-run health care option.

Instead, the authors content themselves with a misleading and inaccurate summary of TennCare's sad history, on the apparent assumption that if TennCare was bad, then the new reform proposal (they do not say which one) must be worse, even though the two have nothing to do with each other.

Blackburn and Roe characterize TennCare as "universal single payer care" and President Obama's goal as "universal care," thus establishing (in their minds) that if two things sound alike they must be alike.

But TennCare was not "universal," even within the small "universe" of Tennessee, and it certainly was not intended to be "single payer." Rather it was intended to lower costs and expand coverage through managed care exercised by various qualified provider organizations in competition with each other. 

But many of the providers were not qualified, there was little or no management of the care provided and by the end, any real semblance of competition had been eliminated — while virtually all risk was assumed by the State. So of course TennCare didn't work because it was never properly implemented.

If it is true, as the authors charge, that patients with nothing more than a cold incurred high costs for doctor visits and medication when they should have just taken an over-the counter remedy, then true managed care was not occurring or these unnecessary expenditures would not have been authorized or reimbursed.

On the other hand, of course, if people are really ill, then it is more economical (and patients are better off) if they do see a doctor instead of treating themselves and eventually winding up in an emergency room, which is the most expensive option of all.

Of course, these stories — like the authors' repeated claim that private employers opportunistically dropped their coverage and "forced" workers on to the TennCare rolls — are virtually unverifiable and unquantifiable because of the inadequate data collection and analysis from which TennCare historically suffered.

The people cast out by [TennCare] are a large component of the the group which needs health care reform the most — whether through some sort of government-run plan or otherwise.

People with no health coverage probably will not mind if a "government bureaucrat" is involved in the process that provides them with necessary care and treatment. The bugaboo that the new health care system will put another person "in the exam room" with the patient and his or her doctor should not frighten anyone anyway, since all but the ‘most lavish’ current plans already place limits on costs and availability of certain procedures and require prior authorization for much if not all of the treatment provided.

Like most opponents of reform, Blackburn and Roe give lip service to "affordable basic health care for all Americans," but they say that "creating a plan like TennCare is not the right answer." It would be more correct to say that creating a plan like TennCare is not the right question. The question is how to meet the health care needs of all Americans, and on this subject Blackburn and Roe have nothing to offer.

Michael S. Lottman, 37082

Send comments via e-mail to letters@nashvillecitypaper.com

 

 

299 Comments on this post:

By: Captain Nemo on 8/27/09 at 11:44

Why did the Beatles cross Abby road?

By: slacker on 8/27/09 at 11:46

Loner, shades of ''Pickett's Charge.''

By: Captain Nemo on 8/27/09 at 11:48

I always thought that when someone said yee haw, that the family tree was showing.

By: slacker on 8/27/09 at 11:48

nemo, to see Abbe Lane?

By: Captain Nemo on 8/27/09 at 11:50

Close again slacker. It was to make good music of course.

By: house_of_pain on 8/27/09 at 11:50

Completely off topic:
What do Joan Rivers & Michael Jackson have in common?
They have the same plastic surgeon,
they both raised a monkey,
and they're both dead.

By: Captain Nemo on 8/27/09 at 11:53

Joan is dead? Maybe she has so much plastic done to her that she does not no it. lol

By: MamaG on 8/27/09 at 12:02

Gosh! Leave for a couple hours and already up to 4 pages of crap! LOL

I actually have neighbors who do have chickens. I live less than 2 blocks off Gallatin Rd. I don't think they're supposed to have them in the city limits but, who cares? I don't mind because I don't have to smell them. If I did, I might mind. Chicken pens STINK!

Loner, I've heard the same thing about the Yee and Haw only heard it as "Gee" and "Haw." Same rule applies to mules as to oxen, I think.

By: chiefpayne568 on 8/27/09 at 12:08

Loner,

"It's a three-way clusterbang...the lawyers, the doctors the insurance companies. Now, Uncle Sam wants a piece of the action. The masses are lubin' their @sses....so to speak"

Well we agree here. I'll grant you that the lawyers, doctors and insurance companies are shoving it to us...but once you add the federal government, it's gonna be a serious Charlie Foxtrot!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/27/09 at 12:12

Mama, my neighbors had around 80 chickens at one time. Every time I came home I had to chase chickens out of my yard and the smell was horrible! Plus, all the feed laying around caused a serious rat problem. No chickens in the city, folks! There will be those "good" owners who only have a couple, but that opens up a whole can of worms for those who will want a farm on their quarter acre lot.

By: slacker on 8/27/09 at 12:12

Mamma G, I think they all derive from the yippee-ki-yay family.

By: slacker on 8/27/09 at 12:14

nazi, exactly. Camels head under the tent thang.

By: gdiafante on 8/27/09 at 12:15

Nemo, the Beatles didn't cross Abbey Road...Paul was dead and it was an imposter, therefore there was no Beatles...

Paul was killed in 1966 when George's bong exploded and in his excited state, he threw acid in Paul's face completely melting all the soft tissue leaving only the skull. Paul, being quite alive through all of this, started to scream and then Ringo started beating him with his drumsticks while John plucked out his eyeballs and threw them at Brian Epstein, who was humping George Martin's leg at the time.

By: MamaG on 8/27/09 at 12:18

Oh blanket! I can so relate! We raised chickens (among other things) when I was growing up and I hated having to feed them. I was always afraid of chicken snakes. The stench was atrocious and I just hated it! I loved the eggs though and I learned that chickens will eat anything!
We had an old rooster with quite long spurs and he would try to "flog" anyone who came near the pens. One day, my mom just took the shotgun and blew his head off. I think we cooked him for the broth and let the dogs have the meat. He was one mean rooster!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/27/09 at 12:22

yeah, i had a rooster attack me as a toddler. i've never much cared for them since.

By: gdiafante on 8/27/09 at 12:32

I had a rooster. Named him Cogburn. Lost an eye in an unfortunate pecking incident, but that rooster had true grit.

By: MamaG on 8/27/09 at 12:37

LMAO, g!!!

By: Dragon on 8/27/09 at 12:38

Illegals and Healthcare - Looks like CNN is straying off the reservation.

Health care bill has curious coverage for illegal immigrants
• Bill bars illegal immigrants from receiving payments for health coverage
• But lack of citizenship verification system creates loophole, critics say
• Proposed amendment to add verification process gets voted down in committee
• Report: Bill may obligate undocumented immigrants to get health insurance
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/08/27/health.care.immigrants/index.html

By: chiefpayne568 on 8/27/09 at 12:48

Dragon,

But...but, I thought we were told it didn't cover illegals!

Gee...what a shock. NOT.

By: Dragon on 8/27/09 at 12:52

Chief, it does NOT cover illegals. It also doesn't NOT not cover illegals. Just like it doesn't Not not cover abortions.

By: brrrrk on 8/27/09 at 12:52

Ok all you free market people out there, let's suppose we put some sort of tort reform in place... how are the bad doctors then weeded out of the system? In a truly free market, if a doctor does you wrong, you get to take him to court and put him out of business... thereby protecting other potential victims of the doctor in the process. Either it's a free market that allows the consumer to defend themselves, or it isn't.

By: Loner on 8/27/09 at 12:52

You stirred up an old memory,for me, MamaG.

When I was a wee lad, my great uncle raised ducks and chickens on the old homestead. A banty rooster, named Napoleon, used to chase me and peck at my feet. One day a neighborhood kid threw an apple at Napoleon and it knocked him out cold. He came to and remained defiant.

I didn't like it when Uncle Jack sharpened the butcher knife on the treadle-type grinding wheel and slaughtered a protesting duck.... he bled them for Czarnina...duck's blood soup... but, I was relieved when Napoleon met his Waterloo.

By: brrrrk on 8/27/09 at 12:56

Dragon said

"Chief, it does NOT cover illegals. It also doesn't NOT not cover illegals. Just like it doesn't Not not cover abortions."

Got news for you "Drag", a lot private insurance policies will pay for abortions under certain conditions as it is now. You might want to check your insurer, you might be supporting the "killing of babies".

By: MamaG on 8/27/09 at 12:59

chief, do you think TNCare isn't covering illegals? Who do you think pays for that now? Get a grip dude!

By: brrrrk on 8/27/09 at 1:00

gdiafante said,

"I had a rooster. Named him Cogburn. Lost an eye in an unfortunate pecking incident, but that rooster had true grit."

BOOOO!! LOL

By: gdiafante on 8/27/09 at 1:02

"when it comes to qualifying for government subsidies for coverage for people who aren't already covered by employers or federal programs, eligibility would be based on immigration status, the report says, barring illegal immigrants from aid"

Hmmm...

Of course, If Congress was doing their job in the first place we'd already have immigration reform and the vague language of the bill wouldn't matter.

Oh...did I say reform...sorry you right nuts, didn't mean to scare you...

By: Captain Nemo on 8/27/09 at 1:02

What goes beck beck beck boom?

By: Dragon on 8/27/09 at 1:02

brrrrk,

Weeding the bad doctors out of the system is the pervue of the AMA, not the ABA.

The only thing tort reform does is to cap the non-economic awards, taking away the jackpot, get-rich incentives of crooked lawyers and patients. The patients are still made whole, but they don't get rich (capped at a quarter million non-economic damages).

By: slacker on 8/27/09 at 1:04

nemo, Glen Beck playing drums?

By: Dragon on 8/27/09 at 1:04

brrrrk,

"Got news for you "Drag", a lot private insurance policies will pay for abortions under certain conditions as it is now. You might want to check your insurer, you might be supporting the "killing of babies".

The federal government is prohibited from funding abortions with taxpayer money. Right now, no one is forcing me to fund them, it is my choice.

By: gdiafante on 8/27/09 at 1:05

I didn't realize Dragon chose to fund abortions. Man, that's hardcore...

By: shenanigan on 8/27/09 at 1:06

Our health is so great then why are we not in the top of the class in longevity of life?

Ok then we are in the top 3 no doubt. NO that not correct either.

then we are in the top 10 NO!
we are not,
then that not what we expect from the geatest country in the world we should be better or do we need to change to those other countries health care plan ,
then those protecter of life from the republican party of life want to see everybody die after you are born .
where do we rank,how many countries live longer than USA.
hunt it up you self you might get a shock to be told we are not in the top 15 countries around the world.

By: slacker on 8/27/09 at 1:07

I'd give up a leg for 1/2 mil., hopping ain't that bad.

By: MamaG on 8/27/09 at 1:07

Loner, I'm sure the reason my mom shot our rooster was because she was afraid he might hurt one of us kids. It was so funny, the way she did it. She was actually on the phone with someone and said, "Hold on just a minute." Quietly got the gun and ka-bam, the end of the rooster. Then she went back to her phone conversation and said she had to go. Then she started the kettle to boil...

We also raised quail and I liked them much better than the chickens. To deal with, that is, not necessarily to eat. We raised rabbits, beagle hounds, and who knows what else. I guess we raised cats and other dogs because we seemed to have an abundance of everything! Oh for the simpler days...

By: gdiafante on 8/27/09 at 1:08

I'll let blanket blow Dragon up about his way too obvious hypocrisy on the choice matter. Have it at!!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/27/09 at 1:08

Mama, your mama was hard core - lol! Sure she's not related to Clint Eastwood?

By: brrrrk on 8/27/09 at 1:08

gdiafante

Here's the dirty little secret regarding the GOP and illegal aliens. They scream and yell about them coming across the border so as to stir up the idiots that support them, then they turn around and hire the illegals because they want the cheap labor, thereby stabbing their idiots supporters in the back. Once again another fine example of GOP hypocrisy.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/27/09 at 1:09

g, that's just too easy. LOL! but I can try to find the link to that pic if you want....

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/27/09 at 1:10

that's true, brrrk. as long as they stay in their place, right? don't give them a fair wage and don't let them have access to healthcare, just give them a hard labor job for $2/hr. and tell them how thankful they should be.

By: chiefpayne568 on 8/27/09 at 1:11

Brrrrk,

"Ok all you free market people out there, let's suppose we put some sort of tort reform in place... how are the bad doctors then weeded out of the system? In a truly free market, if a doctor does you wrong, you get to take him to court and put him out of business... thereby protecting other potential victims of the doctor in the process. Either it's a free market that allows the consumer to defend themselves, or it isn't."

WAY too easy an answer. The good doctors are "weeded out" by their lousy reputation. When someone has enough people taking him to court, then his reputation suffers and no one wants to go to him. The way it is now, much is settled out of court and no one knows how bad a doctor they are.

By: Captain Nemo on 8/27/09 at 1:17

slacker you was not even in the ball park.

What goes beck beck beck boom, is chief in a mine field.

By: brrrrk on 8/27/09 at 1:25

Dragon

"The federal government is prohibited from funding abortions with taxpayer money. Right now, no one is forcing me to fund them, it is my choice."

So Drag, are you saying that your insurance is funded by the federal government? Are you on Medicare or Medicaid? I thought you didn't want anything to do with any of those "socialized" programs? Don't tell me you're sucking off the public "teet"!

What I'm talking about is any PRIVATE insurance providers. Since it's (and I'll say it again) PRIVATE insurance, they can do what they damned well please as far as what they will and won't pay for.

By: MamaG on 8/27/09 at 1:28

blanket, she still is hard-core! She would shoot rabbits in the back yard then we would help her skin them and she would fry them up with biscuits and gravy. It was good except for the buckshot we had to spit out! LOL Yes, hard-core indeed! I guess because she grew up with 11 bros/sis, you made do with what you knew and that has carried over in life. She's beaten cancer twice now (we hope!) and is as tough as shoe leather!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/27/09 at 1:29

wow, i bet i'd like your mom! what a woman. 8~)

By: chiefpayne568 on 8/27/09 at 1:29

Nemo,

Only if I throw you onto the mine, nemo.

By: MamaG on 8/27/09 at 1:30

Should also add, she's been a great mother and a great role model in my life. I don't know what I'd do without her. We just lost her mother on the 1st. She was 99!

By: brrrrk on 8/27/09 at 1:30

chief said

"WAY too easy an answer. The good doctors are "weeded out" by their lousy reputation. When someone has enough people taking him to court, then his reputation suffers and no one wants to go to him."

And how many people suffer or die along the way? 10? 100? 1000? Is a million enough for you? And what if someone you cared about was one of that 10, 100, or 1000? Again it's all about Chief and screw everybody else....

By: Dragon on 8/27/09 at 1:31

brrrrk

We're talking past each other. Private insurance providers do fund abortions, probably more than 90% of them. I am free to buy from them or not. That is my freedom.

The (proposed) government-funded/subsidized health insurance is what is in dispute. Currently, the Hyde Amendment makes it illegal to use taxpayer money to fund abortions. The proposed ObamaCare legislation has no such prohibition. Since the Hyde Amendment must be reauthorized yearly, it can be stopped at any time.

Bottom line, I am free to choose whether to support abortions or not. The proposed legislation could take away that freedom.

By: MamaG on 8/27/09 at 1:32

Blanket, I bet you would like her too and vice-versa! You and I seem to have a lot of similar interests and of course, my mom loves beer too!

By: chiefpayne568 on 8/27/09 at 1:33

brrrrk,

"Here's the dirty little secret regarding the GOP and illegal aliens. They scream and yell about them coming across the border so as to stir up the idiots that support them, then they turn around and hire the illegals because they want the cheap labor, thereby stabbing their idiots supporters in the back. Once again another fine example of GOP hypocrisy"

For the businessmen, perhaps...and the same could be said for the Democrat businessmen too.

BUT the majority of ordinary conservatives don't want illegals here...can you say the same for the liberals?