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Texas’ Other Death Penalty

A Galveston medical student describes life and death in the so-called safety net.
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St. Vincent's Student-Run Free Clinic
Erica Fletcher
A patient at St. Vincent's in Galveston.

 

I have received permission to share my patients’ stories, and changed or omitted some names. This is a personal essay; the views are my own and do not reflect those of St. Vincent’s House or St. Vincent’s Student-Run Free Clinic.

 

The first patient who called me “doctor” died a few winters ago. I met him at the St. Vincent’s Student-Run Free Clinic on Galveston Island. I was a first-year medical student then, and the disease in his body baffled me. His belly was swollen, his eyes were yellow and his blood tests were all awry. It hurt when he swallowed and his urine stank.

I saw him every Thursday afternoon. I would do a physical exam, talk to him, and consult with the doctor. We ran blood counts and wrote a prescription for an antacid—not the best medication, but one you can get for $4 a month. His disease seemed serious, but we couldn’t diagnose him at the free clinic because the tests needed to do so—a CT scan, a biopsy of the liver, a test to look for cancer cells in the fluid in his belly—are beyond our financial reach.

He started calling me “Dr. Rachel.” When his pain got so bad that he couldn’t eat, we decided to send him to the emergency room. It was not an easy decision.

There’s a popular myth that the uninsured—in Texas, that’s 25 percent of us—can always get medical care through emergency rooms. Ted Cruz has argued that it is “much cheaper to provide emergency care than it is to expand Medicaid,” and Rick Perry has claimed that Texans prefer the ER system. The myth is based on a 1986 federal law called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which states that hospitals with emergency rooms have to accept and stabilize patients who are in labor or who have an acute medical condition that threatens life or limb. That word “stabilize” is key: Hospital ERs don’t have to treat you. They just have to patch you up to the point where you’re not actively dying. Also, hospitals charge for ER care, and usually send patients to collections when they cannot pay.

My patient went to the ER, but didn’t get treatment. Although he was obviously sick, it wasn’t an emergency that threatened life or limb. He came back to St. Vincent’s, where I went through my routine: conversation, vital signs, physical exam. We laughed a lot, even though we both knew it was a bad situation.

One night, a friend called to say that my patient was in the hospital. He’d finally gotten so anemic that he couldn’t catch his breath, and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), where I am a student, took him in. My friend emailed me the results of his CT scans: There was cancer in his kidney, his liver and his lungs. It must have been spreading over the weeks that he’d been coming into St. Vincent’s.

I went to visit him that night. “There’s my doctor!” he called out when he saw me. I sat next to him, and he explained that he was waiting to call his sister until they told him whether or not the cancer was “bad.”

“It might be one of those real treatable kinds of cancers,” he said. I nodded uncomfortably. We talked for a while, and when I left he said, “Well now you know where I am, so you can come visit me.”

I never came back. I was too ashamed, and too early in my training to even recognize why I felt that way. After all, I had done everything I could—what did I have to feel ashamed of?

UTMB sent him to hospice, and he died at home a few months later. I read his obituary in the Galveston County Daily News.

The shame has stuck with me through my medical training—not only from my first patient, but from many more. I am now a director of the free clinic. It’s a volunteer position. I love my patients, and I love being able to help many who need primary care: blood pressure control, pap smears, diabetes management. We even do some specialty care. But the free clinic is also where some people learn that there is no hope for the chemotherapy or surgery that they need but can’t afford. When UTMB refuses to treat them, it falls to us to tell them that they will die of diseases that are, in fact, treatable.

 

Part of the playground at  St. Vincent's House community center.
Erica Fletcher
Part of the playground at St. Vincent’s House community center.

St. Vincent’s is the primary care provider for more than 2,000 patients across Southeast Texas. Our catchment area is a strip of coastal plain strung with barrier islands. Drive inland and you start to see live oaks; go toward the coast and the oil refineries loom up over neighborhoods. The most polluting refinery in the nation is here, in Texas City. Our patients are factory workers, laborers, laid-off healthcare workers, the people behind the counters of seafood restaurants.

Most of our patients come from Galveston and Brazoria counties, but some drive two hours from Port Arthur or over from Orange, near the Texas-Louisiana border, to get to us. That’s how hard it is to see a doctor in Southeast Texas: People take a day off work to drive two hours to a student-run clinic that can only provide basic care.

The clinic is overseen by faculty physicians—UTMB docs—who see every patient along with us students and prescribe medications. These doctors are volunteers. We are not a UTMB clinic, but we depend on UTMB, which is twenty blocks from St. Vincent’s, for training our student volunteers, for liability insurance and for running our blood tests and other labs. UTMB has given us grants, including one that helped us get our electronic medical records system, and funds a nurse-managed day clinic for the uninsured at St. Vincent’s House.

But UTMB is no longer the state-subsidized charity hospital it used to be. The changes began before Hurricane Ike in 2008. But after the storm, UTMB administrators drastically cut charity care and moved clinics to the mainland, where there are more paying patients. The old motto “Here for the Health of Texas” was replaced by “Working together to work wonders.” Among those wonders are a new surgical tower and a plan to capitalize on Galveston’s semi-tropical charm by attracting wealthy healthcare tourists from abroad. Medical care for the poor is not, apparently, among the wonders. Whereas UTMB accepted 77 percent of charity referrals in 2005, it was only taking 9 percent in 2011.

UTMB ascribes these changes to financial strain from Hurricane Ike, the county’s inability to negotiate a suitable indigent-care contract and loss of state funding. The state blames budget shortfalls. The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, could have been a huge relief. However, Gov. Rick Perry rejected billions of dollars in federal funding to expand Medicaid, funding that should have brought access to more than a million Texans, including many St. Vincent’s patients.

Perry’s refusal is catastrophic health policy. For patients, it means that seeking medical care will still require risking bankruptcy, and may lead nowhere. For doctors, the message was not only that our patients’ lives don’t matter, but also that medicine—our old profession, so full of people who genuinely want to help others—will continue to be part of the economic machine that entrenches poverty. When the poor seek our help, they often wind up with crippling debt.

Because they can no longer count on UTMB to accept their patients, UTMB doctors now refer many to St. Vincent’s. They’ll treat someone for a heart attack (because that’s an emergency covered by EMTALA), then refer them to us for follow-up, even though we don’t have a cardiologist. They’ll stabilize a patient after her third stroke, put her on blood thinners and send her to us. They once sent us, from the ER, a man with a broken arm. They put the arm in a splint and referred him to us. What did they expect us to do—orthopedic surgery? Put on a cast? We don’t even have an x-ray machine.

 

I do not think that these referrals are an official policy. Rather, they are the work of doctors and nurses trying to do something for patients who have been refused care through the financial screening process at the hospital. Former St. Vincent’s leader Dr. Merle Lenihan has described the clinic as a “moral safety valve.” It protects UTMB from confronting the consequences of the state’s refusal to provide care.

Among those consequences are the deaths of the poor. As Howard Brody, director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities, has shown, 9,000 Texans per year will die needlessly as a result of our failure to expand Medicaid. However, because dying patients are often too sick, exhausted and wracked with pain to protest, UTMB and states like Texas aren’t forced to reckon with the consequences of their policy decisions.

Because the very sick and the dying may not be able to speak about these issues, health-care providers—particularly the providers of the so-called “safety net”—must do so. It is in our clinics, in the bodies of our patients, where the consequences get played out.

 

Much of the medication at St. Vincent's is donated by doctors whose patients have died.
Erica Fletcher
Much of the medication at St. Vincent’s is donated by doctors whose patients have died.

Danielle has schizophrenia, and she’s young, and she struggles with the medications. When we talk, there are long gaps in the conversation where, I think, she hears other voices. In one of these gaps, I notice the sun slanting in where it’s beginning to set beyond the ship channel. There’s gospel music streaming out over the basketball court from the speakers mounted on the side of the community center. I am reminded of what the director of the community center, an Episcopal minister, believes: Every patient is a miracle. The St. Vincent’s House motto is “An oasis of hope, expecting miracles.”

Danielle looks up and stares right at me. “Here’s what I want to know,” she says. “Why are we so poor?”

St. Vincent’s House, which hosts the free clinic, is a historically African-American community center in the lowest-income neighborhood on our island, next to where the housing projects were before they were condemned. The federal government ordered Galveston to rebuild the public housing after Hurricane Ike, but the city refused. We elected a mayor who ran on an explicit anti-public housing platform. Just like the medical system, the city knows whose lives matter.

Now, dandelions grow in the empty lots left after Ike flooded the neighborhood. People sit on the ragged, cracking curbs, and run wheelchairs right down the middle of the street because the sidewalks tend to end in grassy fields or little precipices.

The community center employs a person to stand in the street and walk us to our cars after clinic if we want. Who is he protecting us from, I wonder. Our patients?

 

Equipment at St. Vincent's, like this refrigerator, has been donated by UTMB and various doctors or purchased with grant money.
Erica Fletcher
Equipment at St. Vincent’s, like this refrigerator, has been donated by UTMB and various doctors or purchased with grant money.

In my second year of medical school, I took a small-group course with a famously terrifying surgeon. He told us his moral motto: “A physician never takes away hope.”

I never figured out how that motto could guide doctors through a system where our patients are dying from treatable diseases. Part of my job, it seems, is precisely that: to sit down with patients and, as gently as possible, take away hope.

Consider Vanessa and Jimmy. They met in New Orleans when she was 18. She was working cleaning motels, and he took her on a tour of the tugboat he was captain of. Vanessa says they came to St. Vincent’s because the shipyard Jimmy worked for opted out of providing insurance even for full-time employees like him. They looked for insurance on the open market, but couldn’t afford it.

The Affordable Care Act is supposed to help families like Vanessa and Jimmy get insurance. Folks higher on the income scale should now be able to afford insurance thanks to government subsidies. The poorest of the (legally documented) poor should be covered by Medicaid. And for those people in between, the federal government offered to pay for almost all the costs of expanding Medicaid.

More than a million Texans—and most St. Vincent’s patients—are somewhere in between. They are the working poor, or they are adults without dependent children, who cannot qualify for Medicaid in Texas, no matter how poor they are.

When Jimmy’s labs showed a dangerously high white blood cell count, we sent him to the ER. It was pneumonia, and there was a huge tumor underneath. Current guidelines would recommend screening Jimmy for this kind of cancer every year, but we have neither the equipment nor the funds to offer screening. So it got caught late.

After Jimmy was diagnosed, I helped Vanessa fill out the paperwork to request financial assistance for cancer care. She wanted to know how likely UTMB was to offer her husband assistance he needed.

In addition to only accepting 9 percent of applicants, the charity care approval process is a dark art, and we never know who will be accepted. According to the UTMB Charity Care policy, the institution may consider not only a person’s income and diagnosis, but also such vague qualities as “the history of the problem.” They also consider whether the treatment will offer “educational benefit” to medical students and trainees. Physicians in training have to see a certain number of each type of case. If the programs are hitting quotas with funded patients, patients like Jimmy are less likely to be accepted.

The complexity and vagueness of these policies meant that it was impossible to tell Vanessa how likely UTMB was to take her husband. We can guess around a 10 percent chance, but we never really know.

For patients facing cancer, this is not a hopeful answer.

 

Vanessa called from a hospital in Houston in early November, distraught, asking me to help her decide whether or not to let the doctors turn Jimmy’s breathing machine off. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to live with herself, no matter which she chose. I gave her the advice I’d give a friend: that I trusted her love for her husband and her ability to decide from a place of love. Jimmy died late that night.

Vanessa’s request for UTMB funding wasn’t approved. She has received a $17,000 bill from UTMB for the visit when Jimmy went through the ER, and a $327,000 preliminary bill from the Houston hospital.

If the Affordable Care Act had been in effect last year, they would have been able to afford insurance, get treatment early and avoid bankruptcy. I use stories like theirs—cancer stories—when I am encouraging my patients to check out the insurance exchanges.

But with Jimmy gone and Vanessa unemployed, she now falls into the Medicaid coverage gap. I don’t know how she will get care, if she ever needs more than St. Vincent’s can give.

My first patient, the one who died in hospice, might have lived if his cancer had been treated before it had spread from the kidney. But without the Medicaid expansion, the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t help him: As an adult with no dependent children, he wouldn’t qualify for Medicaid now.

In a better medical system, he’d have had a chance at a more dignified experience of illness. He wouldn’t have had to wait for hours in a crowded free clinic, and assume the posture of gratefulness that charity seems to require. He wouldn’t have had to be treated in part by an earnest, but unskilled, first-year medical student. He, like so many Texans, deserved better.

When one of our St. Vincent’s patients gets a bad diagnosis, we start sending faxes: to UTMB, to MD Anderson, to anywhere that might have funds to help them. Sometimes it works out, but often it doesn’t. Sometimes I think of it as “sending faxes into the abyss.” And sometimes I think of it as the slow, diligent, technical way that I have of insisting that these lives matter.

  • Petra

    On behalf of our patients at St. Vincent’s, thanks for sharing their stories, Rachel. Fantastic and powerful piece.

  • charlie_rose

    This is so beautiful and heartbreaking. I am entering medical school this fall and it means so much to have powerful models from the students before me. I hope one day healthcare will be treated like the human right it is for people here in TX – regardless of income or immigration status. We can do so much better than this.

    • Elizabeth Dawson

      You will be a wonderful physician. I will be proud to work with you!

      • 1mikejanz1

        Idiot!

    • Rachel Pearson

      Thanks for your comment, Charlie, and welcome to the profession. I hope one day we can both work in a system that helps us treat all our patients with the dignity–and the comprehensive care–they deserve.

      • Kenny Powers

        how much charity care do you preform at your practice?

      • 1mikejanz1

        DUH! We already have one, If you clowns are stupid enough to believe that the medical profession in this country is so cold hearted and uncaring as to turn dying people away from hospitals so they can’t be treated your all a bunch of idiots who need to find another profession.
        Why would you ever want to enter a profession that you have little or no respect for?

        • juniper97

          God, you’re stupid. Can you read? She’s saying that of course doctors aren’t heartless bastards — it’s that they can’t make medicine and facilities appear out of thin air. It costs money to treat people. If legislatures don’t vote the money, the indigent care doesn’t happen. And your hideous state government has decided it’s more economical to let poor people suffer and die.

      • Nono_Yobiz

        I want to plant this thought in your head. What would happen if your working poor clients who are below the poverty line gave very optimistic estimates of their income for the coming year. As in, just above the poverty line? They would then qualify for subsidies amounting to 97% of their total health care costs (premiums + out of pocket). They would then get treated. Some would not die. Possibly a few of those could be prosecuted later, if their income estimates didn’t pan out, but I know I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6. A good legal services person might be able to mount a necessity defense.

        Think about it. Discuss the idea.

    • Kenny Powers

      ill be looking you up and coming to collect my humans right and social justice.

    • 1mikejanz1

      hope you decide to become a veterinarian, I don’t think you have enough brains to treat people!

  • Melissa

    This is a very moving piece. Thank you for writing this — and thank you so much for your service to those who need it most.

    • http://about.me/sekonda Sekonda H

      About time someone said this to a healthcare professional than a fucking soldier in this bizarre worship the trained killers who made the decision to join the army.

      • TheGrimJester

        When the enemy is at your door, are you going to want a healthcare professional or a soldier? Each have their place. Each do a job that most people cannot/would not. Both are needed in the world which we live.
        Grow up.

        • texasaggie

          The last time an enemy was at our door was when Pancho Villa crossed the Rio Bravo.

          • TheGrimJester

            1) There is this place called Hawaii and a thing called Pearl Harbor. You should read about it.
            2) Who would you thank for keeping the enemy off our doorstep, a doctor or a soldier? Take your time. Consult a friend. Or two.

          • texasaggie

            Which is more likely to happen to any of us? We’re invaded by a bunch of magic carpet flying Middle Easterners or we get sick?

            And by the way, according to the RWNJ contingent, Hawaii isn’t part of the US. It’s a state in Kenya. And even if you don’t buy into their foolishness, TX is a long way from Hawaii. The last person to invade TX was Pancho Villa unless you count the Comanches. But they were here first.

          • texasaggie

            Someone explain to me why the RWNJ are so afraid. They worry about violent crime so they carry guns that end up committing violent crime. They worry about invasions so they invade other countries which ends up with our soldiers dying. They worry about all sorts of boogeymen that are so unlikely to happen, but they don’t pay attention to the things that are real, like poor eating habits (the homeland of the RWNJ is far and away the most obese section of the US.) They aren’t concerned at all with pollution that has killed and is killing hundreds of people living next to refineries (Houston), who are dying because of oil spills (the Gulf Coast), who are dying because of mountain top removal for coal (WV, KY, PA). How do their brains work?

          • Kenny Powers
          • wilywascal

            Your point? Judging from nearly all the comments to this story about a new phenomenon involving sociopathic adolescent behavior, you have a bunch of right wingers trying to justify their racism.

          • Kenny Powers

            young black americans are randomly murdering people for the fun of it. My point is that this is one of thousands of reasons to carry a fire arm. I posted this in response to a authoritarian racialist screen name texasaggie.

          • wilywascal

            Kenny, you apparently didn’t even read the story for the link you posted! Either that, or you are deceitfully engaging in hyperbole. They aren’t murdering people, they are committing unprovoked A&B. In case you haven’t realized it, your response posting that link just reinforces texasaggie’s point about stressing over unlikely bogeymen.
            And how is “texasaggie” “a (sic) authoritarian racialist screen name?” Isn’t falsely accusing others of racism just a disingenuous form of projection or transference?

          • Kenny Powers

            the name is fine the content of the comments fit my description.

            have you seen how many people are killed my one single punch? this video shows 5 teens engarged in the murder of another person. The assault and battery was one punch, that punch killed the man. THAT IS NOT HYPERBOLE.

          • wilywascal

            And if that happens, they would be charged with murder, not B&A. Fact is, very few of these attacks result in death. It’s stupid, senseless violence that’s part of what is sure to be a short-lived passing adolescent fad, but as the video makes clear, the intent isn’t to go around murdering people. You are still guilty of engaging in hyperbole.
            And even if your poor grammar was to blame for the misunderstanding, in any event texasaggie’s comment was still not authoritarian, nor was it in any way racist.

          • margieR

            and it is not just teenagers of color. Three guys killed an australian athlete, because they were BORED. One was white, one was bi-racial and the third was black. I’ve been following this “trend” and race is not the issue. The Issue is violence against another person, who has done nothing to “provoke” it. It also has a lot to do with parents not teaching their children right from wrong and the over-crowding of juvenile treatment facilities. (I volunteer at one and the kids, for the most part are truly the victims of a society in decline.)

          • wilywascal

            Exactly. I was sickened that many of the comments first posted to this story contained an overwhelmingly racist tone. But Kenny Powers, apparently only because of pointing out the idiocy of the NRA mentality, decided to brand texasaggie’s remarks racist, to which I objected. As you can see, no reply, rebuttal or proof has since been given to substantiate his slander. He claims below to be “a black American,” yet strangely doesn’t call out any of the obviously racist posters, instead falsely applying that label to someone who gives no indication of being so. He also amazingly later applies that label to another who points out the racism inherent in our justice system. I have to question whether Powers is merely posing, trying to pass himself off as a minority, since his comments seem more redneck than anything else.

          • Richard Brewer

            MargieR, you are quite right!

            As much as the tea baggers want it to be, Race is NOT the issue! And the violence is generally taught to the children by the parents. Race is not an issue. Instead ignorance, poverty (income inequality is a key element) and discrimination are the causes.

          • DannyE

            Race is the issue, most yell that they are getting back for trayvon….if it was white kids doing this liberals would cream all over themselves to blame the kids. But since they are black they get a pass…..good liberal…sit….

          • Will

            Please read the response that I made to MargieR above. It will help.

          • Will

            They ARE primarily black youths. As in, two of the kids that were with the black kid who killed the Australian, were not black. Every single other case that I have heard of, were there was a security recording, were. One of them who sucker punched a woman from behind looked to be in his late thirties or early forties. Again, a very black man, an adult. The knock-out game was started by, and is in nearly every case perpetrated by young black men. It’s fine to point out that it isn’t universally a black kid problem, but don’t try to disprove the rule with a tiny exception. Unless you can come up with one third of the sixty nationally reported cases, (20 non-black perpetrators) you are doing just that.

          • Will

            Out of the 60 or so knock-out attacks i’ve seen in the news, ONLY the one you mentioned above had anyone Not black involved. Incidently, did you read which one of the young criminals actually killed the Australian boy? This issue IS violence against another person who has done nothing to provoke it. I agree, and the problem does have plenty to do with young boys entering their testosterone flushed years without a father who will puff up and make them straighten out, which would also address the overcrowding at juvenile facilities. The fact remains though that the knock-out games are almost exclusively perpetrated by black high school and college aged boys. That is the reason why people are saying so.

          • Will

            Very few of the criminals are ever arrested and charged. Even when there is a security camera with a good view of the criminals.

          • wilywascal

            Sure, Will, I suppose in your dreams your fanciful theory explains why we have more people incarcerated than any other nation, even those with much greater populations. One thing about criminals is that they’re generally not that intelligent. Of course, if they were smart, they wouldn’t be committing crimes in the first place. While they may not always get apprehended for every crime they commit, they usually eventually end up getting apprehended by the authorities for some crime(s) they have committed. And criminals stupid enough to allow themselves to be videotaped in the commission of a crime typically end up getting caught even sooner. Keep in mind that what was being discussed here wasn’t white-collar crime, rather it was dumb acts of random senseless violence by a few misguided youth.

            As already stated, the criminal act ignorantly being engaged in, while serious, is doubtless just a passing fad among a very tiny minority of disturbed individuals in the current generation. It is also extremely rare–so much so that it would be silly and paranoid to unduly worry every time we see a teen or group of teens that one of them might attempt to sucker punch us. Not to condone or lessen the depravity of such behavior, or to imply it is harmless, but to further keep this in proper perspective, it is doubtless even more rare that such a brief attack upon another person with a fist results in critical injury or a fatality. In short, while there is some cause for concern and people should be aware of the threat in those few places where this unprovoked act of violence has occurred, the slim risk shouldn’t be blown out of proportion.

          • Will

            As for your argument that most of the low-ball violent criminals are eventually a arrested and charged, I’d have to agree. We incarcerate too many Americans, for much too long. Penitentiary’s should be rough, inhospitable places (largely they are) that that would make any sensible man want to do whatever it takes to never return. Right up to the point of a life of washing dishes to eat without stealing. What we have are overly long sentences in dumps where criminal gangs are allowed to keep order. That can’t possibly work to build desire to be anything more than the ‘toughest’ criminal in the joint. That should explain prison over crowding to my view. That we have so many criminals to incarcerate has so many reasons that it would take a row of books to examine all those reasons. The books I have read are only able to work over a few of the causes, in each. The short answer would be too many laws, hopelessness of a real life outside of crime, bad or non-existent parenting, a society with more liberty than it’s collective morality can justify (I am an extreme proponent of liberty as guaranteed by our constitution, but find it incompatable with this largely immoral society). This should give you an idea of why I believe the Chinese have a smaller portion of criminals in jail. I don’t want to live in China even with the lower likelihood of being incarcerated. The (mostly) black kids that perpetrate these crimes are simply acting out their frustration with having a slim chance of success in life, in a way that exposes them to the least risk of being caught. If I were to be forced to live in the ‘bad neighborhood’, I would carry a sidearm all the time. I am too old and weak to take a single knockout punch and make a complete recovery, I’d also be paranoid as hell about small groups of highschool boys loitering with no obvious aim. My post above was simply to bring your awareness to the fact that as long as it is so hard for law-enforcement to stop, that it won’t stop. It feels good to the perpetrators to get some ‘revenge’ even when the victim has nothing to do with the attack. Everything you stated above was true, except,

            “Sure, Will, I suppose in your dreams your fanciful theory explains why we have more people incarcerated than any other nation”

            My statement was about the knock-out participants. The almost NEVER get caught, even when there is clear video.

            and: “And criminals stupid enough to allow themselves to be videotaped in the commission of a crime typically end up getting caught even sooner”

            Out of the 60 attacks that I have noticed in the news, in only 4 instances, has someone been charged.

            Other than those two problems with you perception, you and I are on the same bus.

          • Kenny Powers

            so is it wrong to carry a fire arm? that is what this thread is about.

            copy of original comment i replied to
            texasaggie

            texasaggie

            4 hours ago
            Someone explain to me why the RWNJ are so afraid. They worry about
            violent crime so they carry guns that end up committing violent crime.
            They worry about invasions so they invade other countries which ends up
            with our soldiers dying. They worry about all sorts of boogeymen that
            are so unlikely to happen, but they don’t pay attention to the things
            that are real, like poor eating habits (the homeland of the RWNJ is far
            and away the most obese section of the US.) They aren’t concerned at
            all with pollution that has killed and is killing hundreds of people
            living next to refineries (Houston), who are dying because of oil spills
            (the Gulf Coast), who are dying because of mountain top removal for
            coal (WV, KY, PA). How do their brains work?
            _______________________________________________________

            i then posted a link to one story of hundreds of these particular style assaults. showing that there is in fact “a boogey man”.

            NO HYPERBOLE.

          • wilywascal

            The statement about guns was just one part of demonstrating a skewed perspective. The point being made is that the proliferation of guns translates into more guns being acquired and used by criminals, resulting in more violent crime–contributing to a vicious circle. It’s a valid point, one that the NRA and its supporters choose to ignore or diminish. Regardless, you called the comment racialist and authoritarian, which is to grossly misconstrue what was said.

          • DannyE

            Wow, such misunderstanding about the use of weapons…if I could sell your ignorance, I would get rich…lol

          • Barry Leon

            I am totally unaware of any studies that show that guns purchased and in the hands of the law-abiding, raises the likelihood of “more guns” in the hands of criminals. What is the logic that that is the case?

          • wilywascal

            Right–the proliferation of weapons makes it harder for criminals to obtain them. How’s that for logic? Personally, I call that kind of thinking illogical and irrational. I pity the fool wishing to fantasize criminals breaking into a home wouldn’t steal firearms found there along with whatever other readily convertible valuables they could lay their hands on. Weapons can always be dumped for ready cash to other criminals, if the criminals stealing them don’t keep them for themselves.

          • Will

            Criminality isn’t a sport. The ideal environment for criminality is one where the victim is weaker than the criminal. Chicago was recently forced by the courts to obey the constitution and required C/C permits to be issued to non criminals. Violent crime has already dropped noticeably in just the few months since the law was fixed. The police chief who was adamantly against it, has now endorsed it and is glad for the improvement. Did you see it on the evening news? Gun crime has dropped by 49% in the last 12 years, while the citizens have armed up by over 100% in just the last 6. Did you see that on the evening news? The hard data is in. It never fails. Always, when unconstitutional gun bans are brought into line with the law of the land, gun crime drops. Did you see that ever, even once, on the evening news? No bs about it. When the good guys have as many guns as the bad guys, everyone is safer.

          • wilywascal

            First, as far as I can see, no one is contending crime is a sport, so it isn’t clear why you felt the need to state the obvious. It’s like debating what the weather is going to do and someone saying the sky is blue when there are no clouds. A pointless inanity, no?
            I would also point out that you are responding to comments in a thread that ended up going off-topic from an article about health care in Texas–all of which are dated from over half a year ago. The initial comment about RWNJ’s that initiated it was actually relevant to the topic at hand; the point was about misplaced priorities in relation to health care. No big deal, it just seemed rather strange when there are so many current articles dealing with gun violence and gun control you could have chosen where a robust discussion could have been engaged in more appropriately than this dead forum.
            To correct you on another point, the U.S. has had many various gun restrictions enacted into law throughout our history, and it is only fairly recently with the rise of the NRA and the far right that the “constitutionality” of gun control laws has become an issue. The Second Amendment actually devotes very few words to the subject and the vagueness of what is does say leaves it open to differing interpretations. Regardless, all of our constitutional rights are subject to restrictions, and–however one wishes to interpret the brief passage in the Second Amendment discussing it–gun ownership is no exception. As just one example, very few would argue in favor of permitting violent felons to exercise a “right” to own a weapon.
            Last, but not least, is the fact that crime rates are due to many factors, and can vary widely despite any gun control laws or lack thereof. The argument gun nuts try to make tying a drop in crime to the repeal of gun control laws is at best sketchy and at worst specious. As a person of advanced age, I can attest that there was far less gun violence and people generally felt far safer when there were far fewer guns and gun nuts. And if owning a gun makes one safer, why then is one far more likely to become a victim of gun violence in households with a gun owner? Moreover, that argument you are using does not negate the indisputable point I made that the more guns there are in circulation and the more readily available, the easier it is for criminals to obtain one.
            Just to be clear, I am not some anti-gun fascist. I advocate common sense gun control, as do the majority of people, including most gun owners. The NRA has unfortunately devolved to an extremist position where they now represent the interests of gun manufacturers more than responsible gun owners, and they use propaganda to feed gun nut desires and paranoia to advance those interests. Ultimately, arming the population to the teeth in order to deal with crime (or government policies one disagrees with) is unnecessary and the wrong way to go about dealing with the problem. It’s an ineffective Band-Aid some wish to believe works against the symptoms that does nothing to cure the underlying causes. We don’t need to regress to the days of gunslingers in the Wild West, we don’t need more road rage incidents involving firearms, we don’t need more mass shootings, we don’t need more Clive Bundy or Timothy McVeigh types, and we don’t need a bunch of George Zimmerman’s running loose acting as judge, jury and executioner.

          • Will

            Sorry Wiley, I had understood from your previous posts that you actually read and thought about what others posted before going off half-cocked. As far as the comments being off topic, I was responding to the off topic post of yours right above mine. I will try to restate my off-topic point again in a simpler format, to make it more difficult to get lost.

            Criminals choose victims based on how likely it is that they will succeed with the crime and take the spoils home safely. The courts recently ensured the rights of law abiding citizens in Chicago to protect themselves. The criminals in Chicago found out that their previously unarmed victims may now be armed, which induced the criminals to lay off many of the former victims.

            Gun crime has dropped by 49% in the last 12 years, while the citizens have armed up by over 100% in just the last 6. Now, that improvement has come to Chicago, the most crime infested city in the country. For the same reason the rest of the nation has become safer for the law abiding and more dangerous for criminals.

            Always, when gun bans are repealed or deemed unconstitutional, gun crime drops. It goes without saying that when there are abundant firearms available to steal, more will get into the hands of criminals. That said, when the good guys are equally as dangerous to criminals as criminals are to the law abiding, criminals choose to do something else.

            Not all of course, as criminals often choose that life because their other choices are dismal, but a noticeable drop in crime, in Chicago can’t be unwelcome, even if it disproves a tenant of a religiously held ideology.

            We will very likely see a major drop in street crime in Washington DC now that courts have mandated carry permits be issued to the law abiding there and the police chief has ordered beat cops not to arrest otherwise lawful citizens.

          • wilywascal

            You’re not really responding to any of the points and arguments, you’re merely repeating yourself. Perhaps you are trying to convince yourself that citizens arming themselves to the teeth is a rational national policy for a nation to reduce crime. You’re certainly not convincing me, because there has been no conclusive proof establishing any correlation, nor any reputable independent study indicating how much of a factor, if any, it has. But even if there was, I believe it would still be the wrong way for a modern society like ours to deal with crime.

            Incidentally, Neighborhood Scout, which uses the FBI’s rate of violent crime for comparison, does not list Chicago as the worst in its latest list of 100 most dangerous cities in which to live. In fact, Chicago did not even make the top 100. I did notice numerous other cities on that list which do not have any additional gun restrictions, which doesn’t square with the theory you’re trying to peddle.

            Your bit about “going off half-cocked” doesn’t make any sense. If it was intended as some kind of dig, my previous response clearly shows that I did read and consider your words before giving a thoughtful reply. And just because it wasn’t the answer wanted wouldn’t justify a baseless allegation.

          • Will

            Studies that show that kind of comparison are ignoring learned, proven results. It wouldn’t matter IF you could find one. The results of more guns, less crime is universal and overcomes the BS arguments to the contrary.

          • Will

            Gun homicide is down 49% in the last 12 years. Fewer than 15% of Americans know that. This is in the face of the fact that citizens have armed up by over 100% in just the last 6 years. Tell me how unbiased the fake news reporting is. Why wouldn’t everyone already know these facts? Even in Chicago, when the constitution was forced on them, to allow for concealed carry. Gun crime has dropped dramatically. It has only be a few months. Gun bans cost lives. It’s a fact.

          • Richard Brewer

            Actually I think it is less a form of form of projection or transference and more a method of right wing effort to spread division among the working classes. It’s a way of making it easier to be a financial predator on both white and black working people. Make them fear each other instead of their real enemies – the 1%.

          • wilywascal

            No, I think I had it pegged right, although I would concede you are right insofar as that he is unwittingly part and parcel of that right-wing strategy. Kenny isn’t part of the 1%, he’s just another example of the willfully ignorant mindless water carriers whose irrational fears make them easy prey to bigotry and for the 1% to manipulate as a means of fracturing and deflecting opposition to their rape of our economy and widening inequality.

            A more plausible alternative explanation could be that more and more of these baseless allegations of racism, discrimination, authoritarianism, etc., are seen being leveled against liberals by right-wingnuts, and are simply another deliberate, designed slimy strategy to deflect and evade valid criticisms, in typical rabid conservative fashion going on a blitz attack rather than trying to hold what they know in their hearts are defenseless positions. But these are still often based on projection and transference, as preemptively accusing others of things your position is guilty of can be an effective way of avoiding those charges being legitimately leveled against those making the false accusations.

            But I also think there is a secondary objective, which seeks to cheapen words like racism, where through rote repetition and inappropriate usage the goal is to more or less render the word meaningless. Once the term has been worn out, the hope is that the well deserved labels they’ve earned will no longer stigmatize and damage their credibility. And that’s a real problem for people like Kenny outside of the right-wing echo chamber, as it doesn’t take the nose of a hound to get a whiff of where they’ve been stepping, and most reasonable folk won’t want to linger long enough to fill the other nostril with the malodorous scent.

          • DannyE

            Two of the attacks have resulted in murder. And thanks for confirming liberal bias to let blacks get away with murder.

          • Lorelei Lee87

            There you go bringing race into it… Oklahoma wasn’t the first time young males of any race, or ethnic background decided to see what it felt like to kill a human being. Anyone that wonders about that to the point of action has issues that could probably be dealt with if we had affordable mental health detection, and treatment. I’ve lived 52 years without needing a gun. Partly because I don’t hang out with deranged people.

          • Kenny Powers

            i didn’t bring race into it. i simply posted an article about a crime spree that would justify anyone carrying a weapon. the fact is that many black amerikan youth enjoy picking white skinned people out for random attacks of violence for their amusement. Just because you choose to live as a victim in wait doesn’t mean i have to. You made it 52 years without needing a gun la di da…. tell that to the family of the men who died in these random attacks. The 2nd amendment is here to stay. MOLON LABE.

          • margieR

            That is BS. Far more crimes are committed by whites, but they get their charges lowered to misdemeanners if they have the parental wealth to back it up. The vast majority of Black men incarcerated are in for MINOR drug offenses, such as possession of a single joint. White kids, as I assume you are white, usually get off with a slap on the wrist for those offenses. There are a number of studies available on the internet. Many legitimate studies are now available there.

          • Kenny Powers

            1. i am a black american.
            2. i never brought the racial component into this. I simply provided proof that random attempted murders happen all the time and that you would be better off armed.

            3. by assuming i “am white” makes you a racalist and a bigot.

            i sick of you rwnj and koch brothers agents trying to malign free thinking americans. shame on you racist.

          • Richard Brewer

            Kenny, I don’t see why the behavior you (properly) reject is characteristic of Black youth! I see that as a racist conclusion. The other causes of that behavior (if it does occur) are a lot more important than race (which is a made-up category based on the ability to easily assign individuals to that category)

          • Kenny Powers

            i was told that it was racist of me to post that link.

            my point is that random murders happen all the time and it is always justified to carry a concealed weapon./

          • Richard Brewer

            That behavior of seeing what it feels like to kill a human being is a combination of a lack of adult supervision and mentorship and also of children who do not believe they will be allowed to belong to mainstream society.

            Those children are unguided and searching for a social role they can successfully fill. When the dominant society rejects you because of your race, poverty, ethnicity, education or whatever, then you will search for some role you can successfully fill. The role defines your behavior, and you define the role by by behaving the way you think it should be done.You then behave in the ways those you known reward.

            Killing someone is a way of finding your possible role as a social outsider and social reject. Society creates such individulas by rewarding behavior that belongs to those roles.

            Oklahoma is a culture which rejects a lot of people because they do not fit the rigid religious roles which are permitted only to a few,and those few are mostly white and not Indian or Hispanic.

          • Will

            A large part of the crime problem in young males, comes from the fact that few poor folks of any race or color, have a father in the home by the time the young boys, begin to swim in testosterone. There is neither adequate discipline or a role model that provides and protects the family. Kids have to learn these things by example and largely that example is missing from low-income homes. Black kids may well get the worst of that problem.

          • Richard Brewer

            Kenny, I find it difficult to discern the so-called authoritarian racialism which you seem to perceive in texasaggie’s postings. I also find no support for the truth of the news articles about the alleged “knockout game” which is being allegedly reported.

            At the moment I would classify it as scare-propaganda which is racially-based. That is very easy to do in a society like America which is very much infected by the White Supremacy meme which is used by the wealthy to spread fear of Blacks.

          • Blaire Sovereign

            …what’s an authoritarian racialist?

          • enkelin

            They dont

          • hollyhock

            They are afraid because, deep down, their consciences are telling them that they have done very evil things.

          • shadeaux14

            You are assuming that they have a conscience.

          • dcordell

            Psychopaths don’t care. And America is now the leading psychopathic nation in the world.

          • GED

            please cite all information

          • Richard Brewer

            Bush 43 was a psychopath, and the conservatives led by Karl Rove specifically elected him President because they agreed with him.

            That said, I am not sure that America is a psychopathic nation – with the exception of the American attitude towards White Supremacy. The psychopaths are numerous and have taken over the Republican Party, but that is because we give power to money and wealth demands power. Rural agricultural political units can accept this, but modern urban city dwellers will not. The rural agricultural areas have rigged the American system to give them power even when they do not have the votes and this has lasted past the time they had the real power. Such a system will not last much longer! That’s the recent lesson of California, and I suspect also New York.

            It’s the unpopulated states and the southern states which are delaying change to the modern society we all desire.

          • DannyE

            Nobody wants a new modern slave society….but liberals do…lol

          • Blaire Sovereign

            Yeah, you’re trolling. Get out of here.

          • DannyE

            Blaire, get a life, its comments….and you fail the test.

          • DannyE

            You are right, liberals are very afraid all the time. They can’t think for themselves, they can’t protect themselves, and God forbid they bring a child to term and it not be on the taxpayer dime.

          • dcordell

            Because America has become a death worshiping country. How else can one explain spending about 2/3 of a TRILLION $$$ per year on the military death machine, but “can’t afford” to save the lives of sick citizens.

            America is a moral sewer.

          • DannyE

            Don’t forget the liberal love of abortion…

          • SueTX

            Sorry to burst your illusions DannyE, but I’m a liberal who is pro choice, NOT pro abortion. I have never been on the ‘public dole’ and have worked since I was 11 years old. I have sung in the church choir since I was a child.
            I’m pro choice because I don’t have the right to decide another woman’s health needs. I’m Christian because l believe, among other things, the teachings that Jesus gave us in Matthew 25:40-46.
            I’m pro marriage equality because God doesn’t make mistakes, and everyone should have the right to marry the person they love.
            I believe we should all work to the best of our abilities, and be paid a living fair wage for our labors. I haven’t made up my mind about the death penalty….Cheney is still alive and might be eligible for it one day.
            Maybe this will help you turn off Fox Noise and join the real world where truth lives, instead of their twisted entertainment/lies.

          • DannyE

            Such a puerile response. Pro-choice means pro abortion. A christian who believes in killing babies, wouldn’t Jesus be proud.

            You need to turn off the race baiters of MSNBC so you can even have brain processes that might see the truth.

            Gays marrying eats at the very foundation of society. Recent studies prove that raising kids in a gay environment is bad for them. But then again, your liberal idolatry blinds you.

            Worshiping the golden calf of liberalism. I guess we know who you worship now.

          • SueTX

            No, choice means CHOICE – giving a woman the respect to make her own decisions about her own body and future. I’ve known personally 5 women who were impregnated by rape. All CHOSE to keep the baby, and raised it in a loving home. It was their CHOICE to do this and that was what made it possible.
            Contrary to controlling conservatives lies, women do NOT want to go through this difficult invasive procedure if they don’t have to. Education and availability of contraceptives does more to prevent abortions than your draconian laws.
            As for raising kids in a ‘gay environment’ it’s been proven over and over again – children need love, discipline and security, and the makeup of the family unit that provides that is much less important.
            I’m a 57 yr old grandmother who lives way out in the country. I don’t watch TV or depend on talking heads to tell me what to think. I read many different sources, discuss with others who have opposing views and pray for guidance. I suggest you try it too.

          • DannyE

            Women have repeatedly shown they have no acumen for guiding their lives. So many use men to get pregnant and rip the taxpayer off. Time to start sterilizing. Education only fuels younger and younger kids having sex. It seems you may be 57 but you need to grow up.

          • Blaire Sovereign

            I really hope you’re just trolling. If you actually believe the evil you’re spewing God help us as a country T_T

          • DannyE

            And Blaire Soverign goes into the same pile as SueTX…

          • SueTX

            I’m going to add you to my prayer list DannyE. You obviously are in need.

          • DannyE

            Please do, but don’t forget to pray about killing babies, I bet God does not like “choice.”

          • DannyE

            Please do and pray for your own confusion about “choice” I bet God has a word of wisdom for you on that one.

          • Will

            We are all in need of God’s love, guidance, and grace. As crudely as DannyE explained his views, he does have a point on ‘education’ bringing childrens interest is sex up to critical at an earlier age than necessary, with inevitable results.

          • SueTX

            I absolutely have to disagree about the role of education and sexual interest Will. Our culture barrages everyone in movies, billboards and TV shows with sexual titillation. Sex sells…thats why bikini clad models sprawl on new cars etc.
            Without the knowledge to deal with the barrage, you end up like Texas, with one of the highest teen birth rates and the highest second child teen birth rates.
            The diets our children are fed encourages earlier sexual development. The clothing sexualizes them earlier. We can pretend the problem doesn’t exist…and deal with the resulting costs, or educate and provide contraception when appropriate. It’s been proven over and over again to prevent abortion and early birth rates. I think we can agree on that as the ultimate goal.

          • Will

            I agree on the goal Sue. I don’t know Texas’ problems with teen pregancy or the demographics but I certainly would rather have kids having kids or using rubbers and birth control pills rather than just killing the inconvenient children. I do wonder about how many teen parents are motivated by having anchor babies to gain a form of forced amnesty. As far as society shoving sex on kids, I’d say the motivation is a lot more devious than sex sells. Honesty, teens don’t have a lot of money. Maybe too much time.

          • SueTX

            We’re not talking anchor babies here, Will. I’m talking about the fact that in 1973 when I was in high school, the mascot of our class was the child of one of my classmates. It has only gotten worse. Kids having kids is wrong from any angle you want to look at it. The teen girl isn’t developed fully to be able to safely carry a child to term, whether it’s physically, mentally or emotionally. The teen boy doesn’t have the ability to provide support, financially or emotionally. The resulting child suffers greatly. I speak from observing this in my own family and in my community.
            I do not like or want abortion. I lost 3 pregnancies to miscarriage and it can be a very traumatic and painful
            thing for a woman to go through. HOWEVER, reality says there are times when the least harmful thing to do is to care for the already living girl/woman first. That is the truly pro-life way, not just pro-birth.

          • Blaire Sovereign

            “Education and availability of contraceptives does more to prevent abortions than your draconian laws.” That’s just the thing though, religious psychos don’t care about preventing pregnancy they want to prevent SEX, they don’t want people having sex and want to dictate how others live. Forcing people to have children young is a way of controlling them.

          • SueTX

            You’re absolutely right there, Blaire. It’s a pleasure to join the “same pile” with you ;-)

          • TattooedLittleMiss

            Again, it can be asked: what are conservatives so afraid of?

            Also, cite your sources, sweetcheeks.

          • Will

            We just like other thinking people, see the utter devastation of this republic and are frightened for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures. If you need me to cite sources, it took me forty years of research to find and assemble my world view, and I’m afraid I don’t have enough time left to cite them. We are headed for a dystopian, future, complete with mass starvation, a tyrannical government that will kill or allow to die, enough millions to fall between Mao, and Hitler. This is what I’ve found in my research. Good luck to you happy-go-lucky young folks.

          • Marty B.

            Danny, please let me know the general area where you live so I don’t accidentally come close to you……….

          • DannyE

            Anywhere in Texas…you need to stay in the NE where brain dead liberalism is still in style.

          • DannyE

            All over Texas, you need to be in the NE with the liberal loons.

          • Penny Wood

            Danny, you’re a prize muppet.

          • TattooedLittleMiss

            Look at that derailing. It would almost be impressive, if it weren’t so pathetic.

          • Marty B.

            Maybe you check the political affiliations of the many women who seek abortions — at least half of them are young unmarried women who are afraid to tell their RWNJ parents about being pregnant. Or even married women who cannot afford to feed another mouth. Yep, there’s such a thing as right wing poor people. People are weird.

          • DannyE

            Liberals love to kill off thier potential voters..lol

          • Will

            Being afraid of public disgrace seems a poor excuse to kill your own child. That is why my first wife killed my oldest son. She never really regained her composure.

          • Richard Brewer

            I have long thought that the U.S. failed to pass national health care in the 50’s or 50’s because the U.S. government was spending so much on the Cold War that the additional budget expense of universal health care could not be justified to a majority in Congress, especially when the AMA fought against it and employer-provided health care covered the middle class.

            Congress is not a moral machine. It is a political one in which individuals strive to get ahead personally and sometimes reflect the need of the nation. The power of money from the 1% has changed this country away from the essentially democratic nation it was before.

          • Citizen of the SW

            They have brains???? It’s the paradigm of “Texas” thinking that always does them in and the fact that they are bigots, Republicans and uninformed voters who don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves.

          • Wrong For America

            In Texas they expect you to get a job and take care of yourself and your family … not sit on your butt and get free benefits!

            Americans are getting lazy and fat and more government programs won’t help!

            “Oh, I have a mental health issue” … yeah, so some good hard work should do you good.

            You better move to California because LAZINESS don’t pay Texas!

          • Blaire Sovereign

            Obvious troll is obvious. Also look into this you moron, work doesn’t guarantee livable wage anymore. http://consumerist.com/2013/10/16/study-low-paid-fast-food-employees-cost-taxpayers-3-8-billion-a-year/

          • Marty B.

            Wrong for America — YOU are wrong for America. You’ve been listening to Rush the Druggie and to Canadian Ted for too long, that tends to kill all the brain cells. So, why don’t you go to Alaska and join Caribou Barbie? She does share your opinions.

          • Marcella

            You have jobs for everyone in Texas, how nice. Not everyone is as fortunate as you Texans.

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            They’d have to have brains, first. THAT is the problem. The politicians keep defunding schools because they know that smart people would NEVER EVER vote for them in a million years. And then they sell them on the idea of “homeschooling” so they can teach their kids that the earth is only 6k years old and slaves were really “unpaid interns” who rose up against their “benevolent bosses”, and the war was NOT about slavery, it was about Northern aggression. These are inbred, stupid hillbilly trailer trash and anyone who agrees with them isn’t much better. And they are so gullible and malleable and compliant in these politicians hands because the evil they preach is what they WANT to believe. Hatred, bigotry, racism and greed. Destroying what made this country great once.

          • Pamela Barres Kepner Fusco

            Very well worded reply, So many people I would love to read your point of view!

          • Will

            It was well worded. He learned his incorrect but intellectual-sounding msnbc talking points perfectly. He sounds like a recent victim of the public school system.

          • Richard Brewer

            As correct as I think you are, your view is too narrow. It is not a problem of inbred stupid individuals because these are people created by the dominant class – especially in the South but not only in the South – to support the predatory wealth-garnering behavior of the upper class wealthy. Check my post above for a more complete explanation.

          • TattooedLittleMiss

            Agreed. Too many people scream about hicks and rednecks. They point fingers at “trailer trash” and ignore the fact that the extremist conservatives with power all come from wealthy families and own our media conglomerates, our corporations, and quite a few are from practically dynastic families in the political sphere. Even the “rednecks” of television usually started out as clean cut and paid into a stereotype to get attention: Duck Dynasty and Larry the Cable Guy being ideal examples.

          • DannyE

            I think your dogma poo**ped in your brain. Something seems to be wrong most of your neurons are not firing.

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            Spoken like a homeschooler. I can smell the butthurt from here. Try some deodorant or something, that shit stanks.

          • DannyE

            Wow, such a brilliant riposte from such a dullard. You need to change your avatar to something besides trolling….lol

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            More name-calling. Typical, when you have no response that doesn’t make you sound even more stupid than you apparently are. How long did it take for you to look up the big words? Very impressive. (Look it up.) Thanks for playing.

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            Whatsa matter? Did your homeschool not teach you the big words? Get your kids to explain them to you. Well, get kids that went to REAL school to explain it to you.

          • Liberalism_is_mental_AIDS

            You dummies keep thinking schools are defunded because of some right wing conspiracy…its not…school funding has been taken over by prisons. Since 1995 more money has been spent incarcerating than educating and your idiocy proves it.

          • Barry Leon

            Just pointing out that America spends more per student than most of the rest of the world and it does not seem to be the answer to our educational deficit.

          • TattooedLittleMiss

            Because we don’t spend more per student than the rest of the world, what we do spend is not equally distributed, and instead of teaching children objective facts, we’re teaching them dogma. We allow majority-conservative regions (*ahem* Texas) to erase events, people, and theories from their textbooks because another curriculum might, for a few seconds, remove glory from white, straight, Christian cismen a millisecond and then the rest of the nation buys those faulty textbooks.

          • Barry Leon

            Also pointing out that it is the least educated people who seem to vote for the party that is most likely to give stuff out (longer unemployment insurance, food stamps, phone), never realizing that it will often keep their family in an inter-generational cycle of poverty.

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            Uhm, actually those RED voters are the ones who suck the system dry while voting for rethugs, (who CLAIM to be fiscally responsible but spend like its sand instead of our money when THEY are in charge)….who also cut them off unemployment (That THE GOP foisted on the poor and newly jobless by encouraging companies to take our jobs overseas for tax breaks they lavish on the same companies…you trying to claim Dems do that? They fight every time we try to reverse this crap or change the laws.), food stamps, and whatever else the poor NEED while shoving our money at the rich with both hands…Stop shaming people for being stuck in poverty, first off. And STOP BEING THE STUPID PARTY. They are LYING to you and you are being totally gullible. Your statement PROVES that.

          • Will

            Politicians keep defunding schools? We waste by FAR the most per student per year in the world on education that turns out the seventeenth from the top in math. Either the kids are morons, or the public school system is completely messed. The latter seems more likely, but the former is part of the problem too.

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            It costs around 8k a year to educate a kid. it costs 30k a year to house an inmate. YOU do the math. Which would you rather spend money on?

          • Will

            I believe in my state, it costs near $60k/yr to warehouse criminals. Over 90% probably a lot closer to 95% of the convicts are victims of the public school system. That has little to do with whether or not we get a return on our money. We waste more money, to produce crop after crop of dunces. Please, obfuscate some more. If public schools are no darn good, which is undeniable given the results, why not get back to where we were when these same school buildings educated productive Americans. You know. Back before the DoE. Perhaps if we go back to what worked, and quit running public schools as political indoctrination centers, we could regain the competetiveness required to excell in the modern world.

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            And 98.9999999% of non criminals also used those same school systems and committed no crime. Therefore, your argument is invalid. If you are talking about schools teaching to the tests, however, then i agree it is a waste of time for both teacher and student. But no one even tests the homeschooled kids to see if they are keeping up….

            Perhaps if children were taught NON SCHOOL things in the HOME more often, this country wouldn’t be where it is. You know, like courtesy, politeness, how to turn off the tablet…I can see you’d rather pay for the criminals than to fix the system you claim is broken…Good choice. :P

          • Will

            It’s obvious that most of us don’t go to prison, Dog. My point was not, that attending public schools means you go to prison. Just that those prisoners already Had gone to public school, so your argument was invalid. Homeschooled kids are tested four times a year, and take the same sat.s as all the public school kids. They also score considerably higher than public school victims. I understand that the public schools have to compete against homeschoolers, and because those parents that fail to teach the rudimentary basics to fit into society are parents who don’t care enough about their children to homeschool, ensure that they are home at night or sometimes even interact with the kids education beyond beating them 4 times a year for getting lousy grades, that public schools are at a disadvantage from these kids. I don’t hate public schools, and some or most of those, employed in that endeavor, have a strong loyalty and love for all their students. I hate the DoE that continuously trots out programs like ‘no child left behind’, which could as easily been named ‘no child allowed to excel beyond the dumbest turd in the room’. The DoE has proven itself, over the last thirty-eight years of it’s existence, to be the second worst influence in students lives and should be folded up. That has proven exceptionally hard to do, so the next best choice has always been to try and starve the beast. That will continue to be the avenue of choice, until (we are waiting for those same parents who don’t have the expertise to teach manners, and social skills, to grab a brain and demand the end of the DoE.

          • MyKarmaRanOverYourDogma

            I guess you’ve forgotten who to thank for that little NCLB debacle. Georgie “Shrub” Bush signed that piece of work in to law. A complete rethuglican idea. THEY are the ones you should be pointing your fingers at. Them and the doofus creationist jerk in Teaxass who decides all the books for the entire nation. Talk about dumbing down the country… Make sure you remember that while you hear people whining about Common Core, it ALSO was a rethuglican idea to begin with. But just like anything they do, they twist it around into something horrible and ugly and then blame it on the liberals….it’s getting very predictable. But stop blaming the DOE and blame the politicians making them do the things you don’t like.

          • Will

            The DoE is beyond the reach of the executive branch. All of the new directives that the DoE has laid down, during R and D administrations, have been worse than the last. Producing students more indoctrinated, and less educated. Before the DoE, American public schools produced graduates that were better educated than any other country in the world. Since then, our graduates have steadily gotten more ignorant at every new directive. It’s time to stop the decline, and defund the DoE.

          • Charlie golf

            So, you’re the one liberal who went to A&M.

          • Prisfiles

            There are many of us!

          • SueTX

            My son is a junior at A&M and says a surprising number of professors are liberal, not so much the student body. He is as liberal as I am, thank goodness.

          • Wrong For America

            … or so he pretends when he is around you.

          • SueTX

            Um no, no need for pretences at our house.

          • Will

            Ma’am, you are almost an extreme right wing nut job. You actually use experience and logic in your posts, rather than the big gob of lies taught to public school victims. John Kennedy’s logic and the direction he pushed the country would be considered terrorism by many of these little fruitcakes. I love to read your posts and like to answer them with my own logic and experience as we can actually communicate and disagree without being enemies. If your liberalism was taken to be the liberalism of today, the nation wouldn’t be on it’s deathbed. Thank You, and keep posting.

          • Marty B.

            You did a tough job, Sue, raising a liberal in Texas! Yes, universities are usually places of original thought and of a liberal approach to problems. Then when the kids graduate and are gobbled up by this unbridled capitalist system, many of them forget their ideals and give in to greed. You done good, Sue!

          • Richard Brewer

            There is more than one. I also went there – and that is the main campus in College Station, not just one of the other schools who have joined the A&M system for the money.

          • whomoi

            the RWNJ’s don’t really have working brains. They are told what to think by the RW hate machine and that’s all there is to it. The RWHM panders to their already biased views and nurture the hate, tells them it’s ok to hate the poor for being poor and to push their own agenda’s off onto the rest of us. basically they can’t think for themselves so they allow the RWHM to do that for them.

          • Prisfiles

            You nailed that – wish there were answers for some of those questions. Gig Em!

          • Dylan Kynaston

            They are not afraid. They are actively seeking the destruction of this country.

          • Richard Brewer

            A large part of the answer to what they are afraid of goes back to the myth of White Superiority which grew to support the slave operated cotton plantations which created the majority of wealthy families from the time of the invention of the cotton gin until after the Civil War. The South had to have the free slave labor (with black African skins to identify them if they escaped) in order to maintain the White plantation owner class. From the time of the Haitian rebellion the South was a militarized society in which every white man was required to belong to the militia (which enforced the curfew on all Black people) and to carry a firearm at all times, even in church.

            The associated belief in White Privilege similarly was used to separate labor by race so as to keep out both most industry and all labor organizations.

            The only white churches able to financially support a minister were those which preached that the Bible supported slavery. The evangelicals had sent missionaries to the South to convert the slaves in the 1830’s, but those ministers could not organize churches which supported the ministers. Instead the plantation owners supported the churches which preached the legitimacy of slavery.

            Reconstruction failed, very likely in part because of the assassination of Lincoln and the nearly three years of the Southerner Andrew Jackson’s obstructionism. I’m sure war weariness also had a lot to do with it, as did the opening of the West by the railroads. The result was that the Southern racist slave-culture economy (with Jim Crow Laws replacing chattel slavery) based ideologically on White Superiority and economically on the need for cheap labor to grow cotton (which lasted until the Depression when mechanical cotton harvesters were finally invented) continued for another century. The mechanical cotton harvester and WW II finally brought the economic basis for that Southern culture to an end.

            Those of us born in the 40’s and 50’s especially grew up in that culture and live with it today. It colors our judgments and always will, whether we recognize that fact or not. Most people I know in the South don’t recognize this. They are tea baggers. Nixon’s Southern Strategy followed by Reagan’s exploitation of that Southern Democrat to Southern Republican shift created today’s Republican Party and the NeoConfederate Republican South.

            This is a thumbnail description, of course, but it carries many of the most important factors needed to answer your question – “What are the RWNJ so afraid of.” It’s Black Slave Rebellion, of course. The Southern culture is being manipulated and used by the 1% (think Sheldon Adelson, Mitt Romney and the Koch brothers) who fear that the economic inequality that their financial predator behavior has created will result in a socialist government which taxes away all their largely unearned and mostly inherited wealth.

            By the way texasaggie, I am also a Texas Aggie.I was probably there before you were born.

          • TheGrimJester

            Remove the military and see which happens first.
            The reason we are not invaded is because we have a military. In fact our military actually makes the world a better place for everyone. We stop wars before they get to be too big. We help people when disasters strike. We bring war criminals to justice. I love doctors, but they do not come close to what our military does. Even doctors without borders does not match our military in scope of work.

          • texasaggie

            Oh, please! How much of a military do most of the Latin American countries have and when was the last time any of them were invaded? How much of a military does most of Africa have and when was the last time any of them were invaded? None of them have even a small fraction of what we have. The top ten militaries in the world together `are less than what we have.

            And the bit about helping when disasters strike, tell me about what happened in Haiti where the US military forced actual relief flights to land in the Dominican Republic so that the US military could use the airport in Port au Prince, and then kept the relief supplies in their compound once they were trucked in rather than distribute them right away. The US military does diddly when it comes to disaster relief. And when was the last time that the US military brought a war criminal to justice? One is living in Dallas, another on the Chesapeake and another has a daughter in Wyoming. When is the military going to bring them to justice?

            And Doctors Sans Frontiers does more good in one year than the US military has in its entire existence since WW II.

          • TheGrimJester

            Okay. Obviously you hate the military and are completely ignorant. I give up. Good luck.

          • anthony

            > The reason we are not invaded is because we have a military.

            Objectively, it’s quite clear that the purpose of our military isn’t to defend against invasions — it’s to do the invading.

            > In fact our military actually makes the world a better place for everyone.

            Seriously? Only those deluded by American exceptionalism could believe that — the rest of the grown-up world totally disagrees. Ask the families of the hundreds of thousands of innocents murdered by our military if they think the U.S. military makes the world a better place for everyone.

            > Obviously you hate the military and are completely ignorant.

            Of course, you misunderstand these criticisms and twist them into “hate” of our military. Really, the hate and criticism is really directed at our policy makers — not the men and women in the armed forces.

            If there’s anybody who hates the military, it’s those very policy makers and their supporters who send our troops into unjustified wars — and who turn their backs on veterans when they run into hard times back at home.

            > Remove the military and see which happens first.

            If we stopped bombing people, and sent doctors, engineers, scientists — hell, even nightclub owners — around the world, that would do a lot more to increase goodwill, reduce hate — and as a result, reduce terrorism.

          • TheGrimJester

            I appreciate your reasonable tone and disagreements presented in such a manner. I will try to hit each point you noted but I am on a cell so forgive if I miss a few.

            1) As I noted before we do invade. This keeps wars to a minimal that do not spill over into neighboring regions. Such as the conflict in Libia and now the one in syria. We also help stop ethnic genocide in South America. We went into a bull blown war in Bosnia and stopped that as well as brought the leader to trial for war crimes (he was also Christian I might add). Iraq invades Kuwait, guess who stopped that. It begins with US and ends with A.

            2) The rest of world doesn’t disagree unless they are our enemies of ours. When a group of people are being slaughtered the scream for our help. Every respected that shows how many wars, loss of life to major conflicts and number of major civil wars that have broken out since America has become the worlds super power with a military spanning the globe notes that every single one of those have decreased. The facts clearly point that people now live in safer times than at any point in their history. And yes it tooknthr Iraq and Afghanistan war into consideration.

            The person I was replying to was not just criticizing the army such as you are..she actively hated it. She ignored every single good thing the military has done and did her best to blast it for every evil she perceives it has committed.

          • Kenny Powers

            dont you know about the New World Order?

          • dcordell

            You are living in a delusion about the America military. Try to educate yourself.

          • Naight

            Correction The purpose of the military is not ‘to do the invading’. The purpose of the Military is about money! (taking money from people who have jobs and sending it to those to wealthy to work) So said Major General Butler -U.S. Marines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket

          • Charlie golf

            Neville Chamberlain lives.

          • TheTrue Pooka

            No, you’re just conflating the American military with the American government.

            Of course the American military is the sword of the American government. So if you love the American military so much because of what they do then logically you must love the federal government and what it does.

          • Sunnyhorse

            Just. Get. Off. It. Seriously.

          • 1mikejanz1

            Do you really pay attention to the world, these countries constantly are fighting insurrection or drug cartels maybe not foreign invasions but certainly a sign of how weak their armies are.
            When was the last time the American military was challenged at home since the Civil War, and that was by states trying to leave the Union in order to continue halding blacks as slaves.

          • enkelin

            Latin American countries are usually invaded by the USA

          • Charlie golf

            Why would you bring that up? TheGrimJester was originally responding to Sekonda H and your response only detracts from that. But, why not? I’ll engage.
            “…what happened in Haiti where the US military forced actual relief flights to land in the Dominican Republic..” Perhaps they did that to avoid the looting and confiscation of relief supplies they have seen in places like Somalia.

            “when was the last time that the US military brought a war criminal to justice?” Osama Bin Laden…’nuff said.

            DWB/MSF is a laudable venture. They do, and have done, some great things. But, to compare their work to that of our military is nonsense. Side note: It’s funny that you say “in its entire existence since WW II”. Disregarding the poor syntax of that statement, can you defend your position that DWB has done “more good in one year than the US military has” from 1775 to 1945?

          • Mr Gross

            Well if we have a Nation that is 50% poor / sick, really doesn’t count. If all you have to show for is, a military made up of that population (poor / sick / young adults) what’s our end goal as a Nation or Planet? Is this a pissing contest between USA,CHINA,RUSSIA,MIDEAST to see who’ s got the best new toys to kill our people / planet or are we trying to lift Americans to a high place in education and health? We used to be great, known for our scientist and engineer’s and the next generation was gonna be better … Now its a crab barrel.

          • TheGrimJester

            Tired old argument. Every generation thinks the next one is terrible and will never amount to anything. But they do. Time and time again. Every generation ignores the stupidity in their own.

            We still are great. People from around the world study at our schools to become those amazing scientist that win awards. To become those amazing engineers that build wonderful things. We innovate more than any other nation. All of those power house steal our patents, rip off our designs in an effort to catch up. Our technology is decdeds farther along than any other nation. Look at our military. Every other country buys the stuff we retire. Our used equipment. The stuff we don’t need. We lead the world in cutting edge medical technology. We have some of the world’s smartest scientists. Our knowledge is growing by leap and bounds. Those kids you dismiss are discovering new and exciting things with nano technology and quantum computers. But if you wish to remain ignorant and badmoith a country that has done more to promote peace throughout the world than any other nation because you think k it makes you hip. Well…hades…go with it then. I am sure your friends will think you are edgy.

          • Nina Spencer

            And if the GOP and the Tea Party continue to get their way it will be ONLY in those other countries where science and engineering continue to advance since here in the USA the GOP/TP are doing their damndest to defund all scientific investigation and trying to end any education programs that teach critical thinking skills, force theology to be taught in science classes and the Dominionists among them are trying desperately to get this nation to be ruled by Biblical law instead of the Constitution. However, why are you all arguing about the military vs medicine here? Did all of you miss the entire point of the article? Have any of you had to watch a loved one die of a treatable disease because they are poor? I have. I had to watch my brother die of cancer that started out as entirely treatable simply because he could not afford health insurance and as a cook in a restaurant only earned $12 an hour. He was only 34 years old. I, myself, have to choose every single month whether to buy food or buy the insulin that keeps me alive. The point of the article was that Perry, Romney and Cruz are either thoroughly ignorant or flat out lying sacks of crap. Hospital ERs DO NOT HAVE TO TREAT YOU BEYOND MAKING SURE YOU AREN”T GOING TO DIE ON THEIR DOORSTEP. But they damn sure want to be absolutely positive that the working poor cannot get any type of medical insurance.

          • enkelin

            You are describing the world 20 years ago, not how it is today. Todays American students are just about dead last in science and mathematics. In fact many of those so called Scientists are usually immigrants from other countries. Our Government dosent do any R&D anymore. That was where most of the inventions came from.

          • juniper97

            You’re talking out your ass and are simply wrong.

            I work in a research-university physical-sciences department. People from around the world study at our schools because we can’t find enough American students who’re qualified to fill the spots. Don’t think we don’t look — we spend major bucks running around American universities trying to recruit students who can actually do the graduate work. Fewer and fewer of those international students who come wish to stay here after their training; many are appalled by the conditions they see here. The Chinese students are, increasingly, simply angry and contemptuous; they had this idea that American universities were some kind of wonder, but get here and find that they could’ve worked with better facilities in China.

            China is on track to outspend us on research in a few years. Where do you think all our unemployed and underemployed life-science PhDs will go? Yep, you got it — they’ll be lecturers and lab lackeys in China, where at least they can get paid and do their work.

            Speaking of those unemployed PhDs — maybe you haven’t noticed, but labs are shuttering in universities all over the country. Scientists spend half their time writing grant proposals, trying to get funded at win rates well under 20%. Many of them, in the last few years, just aren’t winning often enough to keep a lab going, pay their graduate students. Our federal science funding has dropped off substantially in the last decade.

            Go learn some facts about this wonderful country and how well it’s doing.

          • alcoremortis

            Half the time is something of an underestimate. My P.I. is practically writing grants non-stop. Considering what a great scientist he is, I can only imagine what he could do if he didn’t have to spend all his time justifying it to an agency that proves time and again that it doesn’t care about science that can’t be applied directly to defense or medicine.

            I mean, grant requirements basically punish basic science. Everything has to cater to a special interest group or it won’t get funded. You wanna study cytoskeleton structure? Gotta make up a way you can cure cancer with that or you get nothing.

          • 1mikejanz1

            Unbelievable how many American hating libtards by into this story which is one persons anecdotal sory at best.
            People are not turned away from hospitals to die, they are treated and the sent to a government run hospital for follow up.

          • Sunnyhorse

            Yes, they are. Do you even know what she was talking about with EMTALA? Do you even know what EMTALA is, ffs? Announcing that it’s so doesn’t make it so, you asshole.

          • enkelin

            Wrong. My brother was “stabilized” in the ER and then wheeled out to the sidewalk for me to drive 4 hours to pick him up. Two weeks later he died of kidney failure on a friends couch. Government run hospitals? Where are those? Never heard of one. Do they have Free beds for every sick person? I think not, even if they did exist.

          • 1mikejanz1

            What a crock of BS! NO HOSPITAL WOULD EVER PUT SOMEONE OUT ON THE SIDEWALK TO DIE, ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID? It violate the Hippocratic that all doctors take.
            Doctors are humanitarians not barbarians so please keep your silly statements of so called facts to yourself because only an idiot like you libtards would believe you
            Idiot! Every major city has at least one hospital that is kept open by the taxpayers for just the purpose of treating indigent people, many of them are run by universities which are called teaching hospitals, and no body gets thrown out of these hospitals!
            Check it out, I’m sure you can find someone to lead you by the nose to find one!

          • enkelin

            Are you telling me that I didnt experience what I experienced. You are completely blind. And you are unaware of what kinds of things actually happen.

            “For Arnold*, discharge to “home” meant a ride to the local shelter. Eleven days earlier, Arnold had emergency surgery for an intestinal obstruction. He was critically ill, on a ventilator and in the intensive care unit. But his real problems started when he was discharged to the shelter with the optimistic plan that visiting nurses would find him and care for his wounds. The shelter provided a place to sleep, but at 7 a.m. each morning Arnold, like all the other shelter guests, had to vacate the building, passing the day walking the streets until he was allowed to return in the evening. Needless to say, the visiting nurses never found him. Four days after his hospital discharge he ended up back in the ER and was readmitted to the hospital for a surgical wound infection.

            Arnold’s story is not unique. A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that 67 percent of homeless patients surveyed spent their first night after hospital discharge at a shelter. Worse, 11 percent spent their first night after discharge on the streets. We need to stop discharging homeless patients from the hospital to the shelters or streets, because it is dangerous for patients and ultimately costly to the health care system.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-doran-md/hospitals-should-never-discharge-homeless-patients-to-the-streets_b_2096634.html

          • juniper97

            You’re a total moron and clearly have not been uninsured and gravely ill nor known anyone who’s been uninsured and gravely ill.

            I don’t know what kind of lie drip you’re wearing as an IV, but you seem to be deeply out of touch with what actually goes on in this country. This is how things have been for over 20 years.

          • ginjaninjaavenja

            My god, you’re barely literate. Its so sad.

          • Cindy Tuttle

            They certainly do turn them out. And what about all of the places in this nation that are NOT major cities with supposed “government/taxpayer funded” hospitals? Where do you think the people in those areas go? Without insurance, money, and reliable transportation they go NOWHERE. EMTALA is a fact. We are only required to stabilize the patient and then turn them out. The current system of miles of red tape does not allow for any more than that. It is an outrage and a patent case of political immorality that is ruling the roost when it comes to healthcare for the poor. Just for the record, hospitals in California most certainly did sit patients on the curb who had no insurance or money and nowhere to go.

          • Rebecca Hester

            Mike,

            I urge you to read the following articles: http://www.publiccounsel.org/press_releases?id=0050; http://www.nytimes.com/1986/12/18/nyregion/hospital-ordered-to-readmit-paraplegic-left-on-sidewalk.html; http://abcnews.go.com/Health/san-francisco-sues-nevada-patient-dumping/story?id=20350308

            This is just a drop in the bucket. Please search for “patient dumping” on the internet and feel free to call the local social service providers in Galveston and ask whether UTMB does, indeed, “dump” its patients. You will be shocked to learn that your idea that patients don’t get dumped on sidewalks in the good ol’ U.S of A. is nothing short of a fairytale in today’s profit-driven, hyper-capitalistic society. Just for the sake of clarity, UTMB is a government-funded hospital but with a mandate to run like a corporation.

          • SyntheticPhylum

            It’s not the doctors that do it. It’s the ADMINISTRATORS who set the policies that FORCE doctors to take uninsured patients, stabilize them, and DUMP them. The doctors generally HATE it, but they can’t DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

          • skraf

            “People are not turned away from hospitals to die, they are treated and the sent to a government run hospital for follow up.”

            Of course you have citations for your piece of imagination? Just where are these fictional government run hospitals?

            ” into this story which is one persons anecdotal sory at best.”

            This wasn’t an just an anecdotal story, this was a story based on the experiences of a person that RUNS a free clinic.

          • 1mikejanz1

            You liberals have to be the stupidest people on Earth, how is it possib le for you to survive.
            Oh yeah, you have the government take care of you!

          • skraf

            Right, you can’t back your claims, so you call those that dispute your imaginary “gubmint run hospitals” stupid. You’re an idiot.

            God I’m glad I moved out of Texas.

          • WesleyV

            This comment comes from right wing fantasy land where republicans sprinkle magic dust on everything that is unpleasant to keep them from smelling the stench of their policies.

          • juniper97

            What are you, hallucinating? No, they most certainly are not. Not in this country.

          • Wanda Elder Devers

            What government run hospital?? Where??

          • Will

            This is the ‘schooling’ your tax dollars are spent on.

          • TheTrue Pooka

            If we removed the military the first thing that would happen is attacks by the poor Southern states on the wealthier Northern states.

            “We stop wars before they get to be too big.”

            And that must be a joke. American intervention is one of the primary causes of war throughout our history.

          • Kenny Powers

            operation paperclip— we brought all those nazis to justice here in america where they were able to continue their work.

          • Pmc

            The military contains doctors, nurses, technicians and various other practitioners along with soldiers and is a large, multifaceted organization. Doctors are a specific professional body…..so the two groups are not mutually exclusive and the comparison therefore inappropriate.

          • Prisfiles

            We do allow other more advanced nations the luxury of decent healthcare, that’s for sure.

          • theraven71

            Our military help when disasters strike? Really? Where were they after hurricane Katrina? Why did Mexico have to send hundreds of Mexican military personnel to help with the aftermath of Katrina?

          • Richard Brewer

            The first reason we have not been invaded (since the British in 1812) is that the U.S. is carefully protected by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The second reason is that neither Mexico nor Canada are capable of invading the U.S.

            I doubt that there is any single more well- protected nation of significant size anywhere in the world.

          • Gigi VaDonna

            and you went to Texas A and M…heaven help us

          • Richard Brewer

            Many of us did. There were very good reasons for that.

          • 1mikejanz1

            I think you had better study your geography and history a little better, Hawaii was the 50th state added to the United States in 1950 and it’s in the middle of the South pacific, 3000 miles south west of California.
            On Dec. 6th 1941 when the United States was attacked by japan at Pearl Harbor an American naval base, Hawaii was an American territory.
            Even if it hadn’t been , the base was sovereign American territory and there fore the attack was an attack on the United States

          • Virgil Williams

            I beg to differ. Hawaii, which was the last state to join the union, did not do so until August, 1959. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_date_of_statehood

          • 1mikejanz1

            Your right, my bad hit the wrong key!

          • Prisfiles

            You missed the nuance of texasaggie’s statement. Go back and read again…

          • Lorelei Lee87

            Which shows how sarcasm eluded you yet again.

          • 1mikejanz1

            Loelei your not too bright, That wasn’t sarcasim. that was history.
            Just because my finger hit the 0 instead of the 9, which is right next store for your edification, dosen’t mean I got it wrong, just means I hit the wrong key..
            Now thats sarcasim!

          • TheTrue Pooka

            You’re confusing “The enemy at the door” with “The enemy dropping some bombs and fucking off.”

            Hope that bit of clarity helps with your confusion.

          • 1mikejanz1

            Your taking the saying literally, when it’s a phrase meant to say we are under attack.
            When it was first used there were no airplanes dropping bombs.
            I wish you liberals would take as seriously the important things as you do the trivial things, but then again small minds can only comprehend small things!

          • mattvanhorn

            Hawaii was not a state at the time. So, not our doorstep. Get a history book.

          • 1mikejanz1

            It may not have been a state but, Every military base in the world is American territory and therefore if you attack one of our bases, you attack the United states.
            That’s the same with every country!
            And just because you don’t like the truth, does,nt mean it’s going to change to what you want it to be.

          • Sunnyhorse

            It is not always about fetishizing the military. This is one of those times.

          • dcordell

            Hawaii was an American PROTECTORATE at the time, NOT part of the United States.

            Read a little history. It will enlighten you.

          • Barry Leon

            and as such a “part of the US”. Are you claiming our military base there was not attacked?

          • highwaterjane60

            Ummm. The Japanese came and blew up a bunch of American ships in Pearl Harbor. The Army totally failed that day. I’d take a doctor over a soldier most days.

          • OldTulsan

            Japan held two islands in Alaska.

          • Roger Barton

            Oh, you mean the Hawai’i which OUR ARMED FORCES took away from the Hawai’ian people by force of arms after deposing their Queen, and installing a puppet government in place of their elected Parliament? The Hawai’i stolen in support of American business interests, without even the pretense of a danger to the USA? THAT Hawai’i? Hawai’i is presently a state for two reasons, and two reasons only… American missionaries who saw a business opportunity, and American soldiers who helped them take over.

            You’re right, I have very little respect for the American military-industrial establishment.

          • Blaire Sovereign

            Thanks for taking the time to ignore the point of the piece, insist that soldiers are more important than doctors and belligerently argue with other commenters. Kindly go somewhere else to be a smart ass.

          • TheGrimJester

            Thanks for taking the time to read the posters I replied to that insist soldiers are trained murders and terrible people that deserve no respect and be belligerent and stupid. Kindly go elsewhere and learn to follow a simple thread before you comment and make yourself look like a fool.

          • TattooedLittleMiss

            Pearl Harbor would never have happened if we hadn’t already been making threatening moves towards joining WWII. We weren’t nearly as neutral as has been claimed.

          • 1mikejanz1

            How about 9/11, how about the Obama administration, they can certainly be considered the enemy?

          • wilywascal

            Which was a war of aggression where we unjustly stole 2/3 of Mexico–a prime example of American “exceptionalism.” Ironically, in a nation of immigrants, we now have racist attitudes against the very people we stole the land from who come here to work at jobs no one wants.

            BTW, as others have already pointed out here, Texas being part of the U.S. makes your statement factually incorrect.

            To be clear, I opposed the war in Iraq and think people like the Grim Jester and Republicans in general glorify the military too much. If you really support the military, which is composed of our sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, you are very reticent about sending them off to war. And if you’re smart, you see war as a failure and the very last resort. It’s funny how Republican politicians wrap themselves up in the flag and profess supporting the military, yet consistently vote in Washington against bills supporting vets, while it’s peace-loving Dems who consistently vote to support them. Moreover, it should be clear to all that we have an unhealthy obsession with our defense, spending more than the next 19 nations combined in a time of relative peace when we are the world’s lone superpower and face no credible existential threat.

            To further clarify, I must take exception to Sekonda H’s comment above in this thread. While I agree with the gist that more respect and accolades should be given to such health care workers and others who make peaceful contributions to society, it is wrong to stereotype those in or joining the military as “trained killers.” I may not agree with the size and scope of our military force, but we should not disparage those risking life and limb in serving to protect their country. Besides, it should be remembered that most joining–particularly in peacetime–come from impoverished backgrounds or the lower middle class, and volunteering provides a way to improve their lot and get higher education through military benefits.

          • Citizen of the SW

            Your worst enemy is your paradigm, your state government and the folks who vote for them because they don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves.

          • Richard Brewer

            For one, an enemy of America and Texas is at our door since Ted Cruz became our Senator. The conservatives – and the tea party as a particularly virulent branch of the conservatives – are enemies at our door. Tom DeLay, Louie Gohmert and Steve Stockman are enemies at our door. Rick Perry is an enemy at our door.

            These are all people actively killing Americans who do not have health insurance.

            Pancho Villa was nothing compared to these sociopathic killers.

        • dcordell

          What “enemy at our door”? We invaded country after country, like a drunken bully, killing innocent people, destroying their lands and livelihoods, then leaving them to rot in the charnel house we have created.

          If you don’t get that about America, you have not be paying attention. “They” don’t “hate us for our freedoms.” They hate us because America has become death-worshipping country that destroys what it touches.

          • 1mikejanz1

            What innocent country are you referring to, Germany, Japan, N. Korea, which we really didn’t invade because the liberal UN would not allow us to and in which the people are now starving because they are ruled by your buddies the communists, Maybe Iraq to over throw a dictator who was murdering his own people with poison gas, Afganistan who se government, the Taliban carried out the attacks on 9/11.
            Maybe it was Vietnam whose government invited us in to help them stop the communist invasion from the north, Grenada where the communist leaders were holding American medical students hostage with the help of Cuba, and threatening to kill them. Cambodia were the Vietcong went to get away from the South Vietnamese army. I will grant you that the War with Mexico was a little suspect an the Invasion of Cuba and the phillipians were definitely acts of aggression bent on building an empire but please what other invasions has America done that qualifies as unwarranted?

        • Shellie Lyon

          We have met the enemy, and he is the millionaire politician who is unabashedly and unashamedly beholden to the 1%.

        • theterriblefan

          Enemy at our door, enemy at the gates, we need more drones and funding for stealth submarines and don’t forget, the soldier is a hero! I’m so tired of hearing this hogwash. Keep buying that load and watch as the America, and more importantly, the idea of America, is completely warped by the military industrial complex. You must be part of a military family or a member of the armed forces to keep buying this horse crap over and over. Frankly, I’m more afraid of rouge local police officers than any of our perceived enemies. You’re the one who needs to grow up and obtain a view outside of the standard.

      • 1mikejanz1

        What kind of sick statement is that?
        You need to show more respect for those that are willing to die for your personal freedoms such as free speech, if it wasn’t for them you would’nt be able to make your hateful statement!

        • enkelin

          Wrong, the constitution enumerates our civil rights and it is mostly lawyers are who fight for people who have had their civil rights denied to them. Soldiers do what ever their superior officers tell them to do, for example Kent state, or the when Pershing attacked the WWI veterans of the bonus army in Washington DC, or the many times the army or Natural guard was used to kill union strikers. As short a time ago as 2005 the military was used to go door to door and take law abiding citizens weapons from the so they could no longer defend their own homes. NO the military does NOT give a rats ass about Citizens rights. They do what they are ordered to do.

          • 1mikejanz1

            First off Kent state was caused by some stupid college student setting off fire crackers that sounded like gunfire and the National guard soldiers responded in kind!
            Second dummy, I have yet to see a group of lawyers go into the battle field to fight an enemy who is bent on destroying our way of life, it always seems to be young men and women who are dying.
            If you would read the history of this greatest of all nations you will see that before freedom comes blood has to buy it.
            In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the Tree of liberty has to be watered not only by the blood of tyrants but also by the blood of patriots, that would be the young men and women who are willing to die in order for you to make such stupid statements.
            If it wasn’t for the American military, lawyers would not be able to go to court and argue for the rights of citizens

          • enkelin

            If we would quit trying to overthrow foreign leaders (Mossadeq) and stay out of the middle east they wouldnt try to fight us in any way they can. We use out military to steal other countries resources and then wonder why they hate us. And NO Kent state was not started by a firecracker. Keep making excuses for our attacking every country we can get away with with all of the false flag BS (Gulf of Tonkin) The whole world hates us because of our military. One of our nephews who was in Fallujah in 2004 told his dad he didnt understand why we went in there, there was no WMD and we did much worse things to the Iraqis than Saddam ever did. MY civil rights were destroyed by the Patriot act and now the NSA has destroyed all privacy, Those things were done by our government, NOT any invading force. Just who is going to invade us? NO one wants to invade us, they just want us to stop attacking the world. We have invaded literally HUNDREDS of Countries and killed countless millions of people. http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html

          • enkelin

            And the military does NOT defend ME. If their superior officers told them to kill me they would. Soldiers OBEY orders. They dont Defend anyone unless the ones to Run the government tell them to do so. Why are you so paranoid that you think everyone in the world wants to attack us. They dont, they just want to be left alone and not have us dropping bombs on their heads.

          • wilywascal

            No, the Guard at Kent State responded by firing lethal weapons on unarmed students–not by setting off harmless firecrackers; therefore, they did not respond in kind. Loud noises do not justify killing fellow citizens who are defenseless, as is clearly evident in video footage and which could plainly be discerned by the soldiers. The disproportionate response at Kent State was also part of a pattern of similar incidents across the nation at that time by police and others committing violence upon peaceful protestors of the Vietnam War.
            As those well educated in American history know, Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers were very much non-interventionists who favored a limited military. The quote you use is often taken out of context.

      • mister_guero

        That is not fair. You could say it to both. I know many in the armed services that would rather do anything than take a life. You really should check yourself.

      • JaneAddams

        The United States may have an “all-volunteer” armed services, but many people who opt for military service do so out of financial necessity. Joining the military is less of a choice for these individuals than it is a means to an end – money for college, job training, etc. In fact, many of these “trained killers” you so despise are the very people who are being served by the Dr. Pearsons of the world and and for whom the healthcare system has failed. These individuals want nothing more than to better their place in world that is designed, at every level, to keep them poor, sick, and powerless. I agree that individuals in helping professions deserve a whole lot more praise (and compensation) than they receive, but slagging off soldiers as a means to getting there is counterproductive.

    • kendraro

      Concerned health care practitioners such as Rachel need to learn about Cannabis and what it can do for their patients. Please google Cannabis cures cancer and Rick Simpson to learn more. Many lives could be saved. Here is a good introductory article on the Endocannabinoid system. http://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system

      • Mr. Fusion

        Pot illegal in Texas. Regardless of its potential, it carries stiff penalties.

        • Monica Savant

          yes it is and i find that reprehensible. We won’t accept federal funds that could help you because our jackass governor is like a toddler throwing a tantrum. he does not care about Texans AT ALL. Then when you use alternative substances like cannabis, we will arrest you, jail you and otherwise abuse you. PATHETIC!

          • 1mikejanz1

            It’s not the governor who makes the laws, it’s the legislature who does it and then the governor signs it into law. High school civics 101, check it out you’ll learn a lot more than you know about government now!

          • wilywascal

            HS Civics 101: The Executive Branch possesses the power of veto. In some states, they even have the power of line-item vetoes, which can drastically change legislation. In states like Texas that have a divided or conservative majority in the legislature, the Governor’s veto power is unlikely to be overridden, effectively preventing legislation from being advanced and sometimes from even being considered, thus allowing a Governor broad latitudes. The governor also has a leadership role with his party affiliates in the legislatures, often sets the agenda, and possesses an ability to sway legislation to advance those agendas. Then there is Ohio, which had a special panel approve Medicaid expansion, allowing the Republican Governor there to bypass a Republican-controlled legislature mostly opposed.
            While I would agree that people often mistakenly attribute too much power and blame to Executive Branches, in the case of Medicaid expansion, the blame on the respective Republican governors is well deserved. Sadly and tragically, their ideologically and politically driven poor choice not to expand Medicaid is certain to result in untold needless deaths and suffering. What makes this even more senseless it that expanding Medicaid is beneficial to the States, as treating people insufficiently and inefficiently in hospital emergency rooms is more costly to States and their citizens than participating in the ACA, which promotes preventative care.

      • Nina Spencer

        It does not however cure diabetes or heart attacks or strokes or any number of other diseases that kill. It doesn’t cure Lupus or kidney disease or liver disease and it certainly didn’t cure my brother’s brain cancer even though he had been a long time smoker of cannabis, so please don’t try to give the impression that cannabis cures all cancer. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to die of treatable diseases in this country. The USA is a terrifying place to get sick unless you are wealthy.

      • SyntheticPhylum

        Cannabis is PART of a viable cancer treatment program, but it does NOT “cure” cancer on its own. I really wish people would stop relaying that bit of faulty data. Cannabis is NOT a miracle drug, though it DOES have several honest & viable uses for many conditions… It’s just not as useful as SOME people claim!

    • Wrong For America

      How ridiculous that Obamacare won’t cover the uninsured poor in 30 out of 50 states simply because the states didn’t sign on to this voluntary partnership.

      This was the whole purpose of Obamacare.

      The millionaires Obama, Reid & Pelosi probably forgot that America is still in a recession and that the states have no extra money to fund anything. Sure, Obamacare pays the state funding for the first few years but then that funding expires – so it is unknown whether the feds will renew this funding … so many states refused to offer these expensive benefits that they won’t be able to afford in a few years.

      Two things should have happened before this law was passed:

      1) They should have actually read the bill before passing it in the middle of the night (with no republican votes).

      2) Funding for programs you want administered by the states should have been permanent … and not just funded for a few years (6 years).

      • Wrong For America

        EXAMPLE: So, say Texas had signed on to the “Medicaid Expansion” and the taken the money from the federal government to pay for it (for now).

        What happens in 2020 when the funding stops? Do you really think that Congress is going to agree to extend the funding?

        Texas would then have hundreds of millions of dollars in unfunded state Medicaid liabilities.

        Why would any state take this risk?

        If the voters in Texas wanted to pay higher taxes to fund these types of programs then they would have voted in those who would do that for them. But they voted in the low tax, provide-for-yourself crowd instead. Texas is happy with this.

        • Wrong For America

          FACT: The reason that Obamacare didn’t make the Medicaid funding permanent is because that would have thrown the numbers off when they were selling this train-wreck to the public.

          If you remember back then, a huge point was that Obamacare would PAY FOR ITSELF after 10-years … remember? This is because the state funding for the Medicaid Expansion would have expired by them … in other words, MORE LIES!

  • martin garfield

    Rick Perry and Ted Cruz are the faces of the Republican health plan— If you’re not healthy, die quickly.

    • Marilyn Olsen Scheffler

      I think that is EXACTLY right! And the fewer poor people that Cruz and Perry have to “worry” about, the better! I don’t have a lot of money and I sure could put myself in the places that some of those mentioned in this article were in. How awful to think that your life is so meaningless that no one cares if you get well or not –and—if you don’t? Well, less for the state to deal with financially. I doubt that Cruz or Perry have one moment of concern or care for any of us in Texas—other than themselves. Makes me furious!

      • Jack Fried

        The more poor people (democrats) Perry/Cruz et al can kill off
        by denying health care the better off republicans shrinking demographics will
        look.

        • 1mikejanz1

          Jack the only part of you that is fried is your BRAIN!

      • 1mikejanz1

        You know what’s really great about this country?
        You have the right to live wherever you like, if you don’t like Texas, You can always move to NYC and be under the control of A Bloomberg clone who will take care of you from cradle to grave because as we all know, the government knows far better in how you should live than you yourself do.
        We should all be as willing as you liberals to give up our freedoms to have the government take care of us, unfortunately there are way too many of us that still believe that making our own life choices is A God given Right!

        • VincentVonDudler

          Don’t forget about democracy’s ability to change our laws for the better. That imho is a much better source of greatness for this country.

        • Stella Baker

          So that’s why you right wing nutters prefer living in the 19th century is it? Gotcha.

    • VFerrll

      What about the death panels of Obamacare, which is coming?

      • Mr. Fusion

        Obamacare death panels? Try reading the article and then tell us about your stinking “death panels”.

        • VFerrll

          I did, but you will see that Obamacare is not the answer. Try reading the law, which no one seems to have read. I am just saying that healthcare as we know it today stinks. Everyone knows that, but there must be a better way.

          • Mr. Fusion

            You claimed that the law has “Death Panels”. Please show us where it is.

            The article shows the death panels in the current set up. If you are not accepted then you can die.

            If you want a better way start advocating for single payer.

          • VFerrll

            I am thinking about what happened to the little girl who needed an adult lung and had to have a judge interfere.

          • Won Word

            What was the name of the girl? What was the name of the judge? What date was the ruling? What court?

            Fox “News” has you all confused.

          • Perso Nasplit
          • SargentRock

            I read every word of those stories you linked and nowhere does Sebelius say that? She sympathizes with the family but doesn’t rule because there were THREE other children just as sick in that same hospital. It’s a sad story, but there are cut-off ages for a reason–younger children’s bodies are more likely to reject the lungs of an adult. What if your 12-year-old was next on the list to get a lung she desperately needed when suddenly the rules change and she’s not next anymore?
            There aren’t enough organs for the people that need them already. The only way to change that is to make organ donation mandatory, yet strangely people are against that idea…

          • Josh Gravens

            The truly important question here is if he is so concerned has he signed up to be an organ donor?

          • Perso Nasplit

            the doctors ALL agreed she would do good with the adult lung. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBox1iCrsow

          • SargentRock

            Once again your source and your words do not match. The doctors all agreed she would die without a lung transplant–there is no commentary at all directed towards whether an adult lung or child’s lung is what’s needed or that Mrs Sibelius should even over-ride the existing legislature. It’s right there at :25 if you need to watch it.

          • texasaggie

            To a RWNJ opinion and facts are the same thing. They aren’t bright enough to tell the difference between “would die without a lung” and “would do well with an adult lung.” So you have to excuse their ignorance. They aren’t deliberately being dishonest.

          • west129

            And there will no longer be enough physicians to serve all of you!

          • enkelin

            So two adults died so she could break the transplant rules.

          • Sara Clifton

            he’s referring to a long-standing transplant rule regarding adult organs. It has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act. But FOX got on board so Sibelius was forced to get involved. They didn’t care about the child, it was just an opportunity to embarrass the President and muddy the waters.

          • Mr. Fusion

            And because of her, an adult went without a lung.

          • Catlin Mills

            Actually TWO adults went without lungs. She did not do well with the first one and rejected it, so they had to do a second transplant, which cost a second person a chance, where an adult might have accepted that first lung properly.

          • Mr. Fusion

            I seem to remember hearing something along those lines. Very good point and thank you for bringing it up.

          • voncey

            That had nothing to with the ACA. UNOS makes those decisions.

          • VFerrll

            I am not a politician and only go by what I hear. I guess it depends on who you are listening to.

          • SamNash

            You only go by what you hear…yet you claimed to have read the health law and come to your own conclusions?

          • borninatrailer

            You probably should listen to some better sources then. If you are going to spout something as inflammatory as “death panels” don’t you think you should know what you are talking about?

            So here you go. The background for the “death panels” was a small section in the original bill for the ACA, 4-5 pages, that allowed patients to be covered for a consultation with their doctor about end of life care (living wills, hospice, advance directives, etc.). The 5 years was how often this could occur and be covered. So let that sink in: patients could *voluntarily* talk to *their own doctor* about these matters and the health insurance could cover this visit. But only once every 5 years (otherwise, out of pocket). A rather important and serious topic. But some partisan morons (most notably Palin and why she should never be in elected office again) spun up an insane lie about this part of the bill where grandma (and I believe she mentioned the mentally disabled as well) would have to go before an Obamacare panel of bureaucrats and justify the healthcare they needed. She also made a perhaps more insane implication that this justification would hinge of how much the person contributed to our society.

            If you didn’t know this, I’d imagine you are now rightly embarrassed for propagating that nonsense. If you already knew this and continued to stoke up the tin foil hat crowd over an issue this important, then you are an awful person.

          • west129

            You must have missed the death sentence handed down by the administration on the lung-transplant for a child? Luckily the Courts intervened! You don’t have to have death panels. Regulations and rules will accomplish the same without being able to point the finger at those who are responsible. Whenever it will be your turn those who handed down the death sentences will no longer be in office

          • Mr. Fusion

            What Bull !!! The Administration does not interfere with medical decisions. The government has nothing to do with allocating scarce organ transplants. Period.

            The court intervened to overturn a rule that the child could not have an adult lung. She got the lung and promptly rejected it.

          • west129

            Odd, why is the “administration” complaining about the cost hip-replacements for old unproductive citizens if the money could be spent more effectively on our productive members? And why were 1/2 Billion stripped from Medicare? You realty think this “administration” will approve expensive “experimental” cancer drugs more readily than private insurances? Well, being on a waiting list for scares services as the Brits have to will cut a lot of lives short. The age pyramid doesn’t work in favor of the 62 and older population. Too many old farts suck up too many resources!

            Face reality, be compassionate and at least save or children that failed to be aborted!

          • Mr. Fusion

            There you go, making up your crap again. Please link to the “administration” complaining about hip replacements.

            Why should I even ask, everyone knows you won’t post anything.

          • borninatrailer

            You are a fool. The “death panels” people have been wailing about are the supposed bureaucratic panels that would gauge whether a procedure is valid for you based on cost/your worth to society/some other nonsense.

            That isn’t what was going on here. For organ transplants, there are *always* hard decisions to be made because there are rarely enough organs for those on the waiting lists as well as a host of other complications (like how well sizing down adult lungs into a recipient of that size will work).

            Of course, you know all this but you still babble on.

          • Perso Nasplit

            why someone would downvote that…….it absolutely depends on who you hear. keep an open mind, and look for the truth.

          • NancyDL

            You might learn a little bit if you watched a variety of news programs rather than just tuning in to FOX. You also might benefit from some reading.

          • VFerrll

            But Fox has the highest ratings.

          • Mr. Fusion

            Riiiight. And you listened to FOX and Limbaugh and the other fright wing outlets and they told you bull poop. Yet you insist there are death panels in the PPACA.

            You tell me to read the law but you haven’t. Would that be because you are bluffing? Guess what, your bluffing is only leading to someone else dying. Instead of doing something to help those with no health insurance, you want to disrupt the process. That makes you a pretty low person.

          • VFerrll

            Excuse me, but I am not a low person. I have a hard time paying for my own insurance. I really don’t think I need to pay for someone’s birth control or pediatric dentistry.

          • Mr. Fusion

            And you also don’t want your tax money paying for a road half the nation away, or a missile that will sit in a warehouse for decades, or rehabilitating the washington Monument, or …

            IF, you first posted as “Guest”, then you were the one who claimed Obamacare has “Death Panels”.

          • Lox N Bagels

            Not to be harsh, but this is the inherent problem with voters today: They don’t do their own research; they only listen to what the TV blasts at them.

            Try reading the law, or go to a source that has no bias and focuses only on factual information. Hint: Do not go to a news source for information; journalists of today are inherently bad at confirming any information as fact because they are overwhelmed by all they’re expected to do and underpaid. Instead, they’re forced to resort to sensationalist editing (like claiming there are “death panels”) rather than verifying information by reading a law in its entirety.

            Your best sources of information are sites like Snopes, Politifact, or alternatives that solely focus on reporting facts, but not news.

          • west129

            You are right! I get my facts from the talking points of the democratic party who reports facts only. I have to believe them because they fought for my right to marry my brother!

          • MikeCarrick

            And you are easily led by people who know how to inflame your passions.
            (see Southern Strategy).

            If you would rather spend your last penny and mortgage your house to stay alive, and let insurance companies screw you, just so queers cant marry? They OWN you.
            If you think what passes for healthcare in America is Ok? They OWN you.

            But my guess is you don’t read the articles, you just show up to bicker with liberals.
            cuz that has nuthin to do with this

          • Jack Fried

            Broadcast news (CBS,NBC,ABC,FOX,CNN etc), as well as some internet news sites (HuffPost, Dailey Beast, etc) are businesses for profit.
            Also, did you know that lawyers (before 1977) and pharma (before 1997) could not advertise.

          • voncey

            The nonsense with the “death panels” started because there’s a provision in the ACA that would permit Medicare to pay for a doctor’s visit for an elderly person wanting to discuss end of life care — like whether they wanted a living will or to sign a “do not resuscitate” order. That’s it. Then Sarah Palin got involved and voila – “death panels.”

          • texasaggie

            Part of being a citizen is developing a sense of critical thinking. You know that insurance companies before Obamacare did in fact have death panels (under an assumed name) where they decided whether or not to cut you off from your insurance when it looked like you might be expensive. You also know that Obamacare told the insurance companies that they can’t drop people anymore. You also know that Obamacare doesn’t have direct control over how the money is spent, only that it can’t be denied. That should be enough to tell you that “death panels” is an invention of the people who stand to lose if Obamacare is instituted.

          • Charlie golf

            If an insurance company “decided whether or not to cut you off from your insurance when it looked like you might be expensive” what do you have to fall back on? Your policy or contract. If no such provision exists in your contract that allows the insurance company to take such action, what recourse do you have? Court.

            Since the ACA gives effective control over the insurance side of our healthcare system to the government (government can dictate what provisions are in each policy, can set rates, etc), what recourse would one have then? The courts? I think not.

          • Sara Clifton

            that’s why it’s so important to listen to reputable people and to check your sources.

          • MikeCarrick

            And THERE you have it!
            Koch Brothers : 1
            American intellectual honesty : 0

            Thanks to the internet and television, Americans are kept constantly befuddled and at each other throats while the bankers rob us blind. This is the story of America, going back to the railroad barons who carved this country up for their family fortunes.

            So, go ahead. “Believe what you hear”.
            Then go out to the internet and sow more confusion for your corporate owners. You know, the ones who use groups like “Freedom Works” to prop up tea party front groups. And do things like tear down Glass-Spiegel protections established after the depression so bankers can have a feeding frenzy while American infrastructure rots out. The bankers want to stay in control, and nothing spells control like an insurance policy that you lose if you change jobs and have a lapse in your coverage.

            Now THAT is terror.

          • enkelin

            I think that is ‘Glass-Steagall”

          • Perso Nasplit
          • Mr. Fusion

            The Hill, nope, nothing showing the “Death Panels” there.

            Your fright wing Western Center for Journalism can’t point to a “Death Panel”.

            And your third link is a repeat of the first. So, you can’t show us the “Death Panel” either. Even your RWNJ sites can’t show us the “Death Panels”.

            Why do you RWNJs always have to invent your crap? It would be so much nicer and promote civilized discussion if you guys could use actual facts.

          • texasaggie

            If they didn’t invent stuff, what would they have?

          • Mr. Fusion

            What they have now, nothing but a handful of air.

          • tankbuddy

            Single payer is what Obama first wanted, but he compromised to please our corporate Congress and the insurance industry. So instead we got insurance reform. No wonder things are in a mess. Could this be what the insurance industry wanted? Back to the table I say , and come forth with single payer. We know that works.

          • Jeff Childers

            People spouting about death panels in the PPACA completely ignore actuary groups in insurance companies denying claims until that became illegal through the act.

          • Shawn Blagg

            The better way is completely free essential healthcare… Or a worst, make all Essential health-care needs Non-Profit.

          • Perso Nasplit

            you are more than free to start that business. have fun. good luck(seriously mean that). Hope it works out for you. But until you do, stop crying that the “rich” are killing poor folk.

          • NancyDL

            When one makes the statement that “the rich are killing poor folk”, they are not whining. They are stating a fact.

          • Perso Nasplit

            prove it. the evil rich are risking their money, giving families a way to earn a wage, and providing products or services. Without businesses doing that, YOU would starve. not some generic “poor folk”. YOU. unless you own a couple acres of farmland, and are out in the fields scraping at the ground with rocks(tools and machines are made by businesses run by the rich), getting medicine and water from nature, and trading your crop for something your neighbor has you need, YOU would starve. but you sit at your computer or phone(made by the businesses) using the internet(given to you by the businesses) on a website(run by another business) and complain about how evil they are. Grow up. If you don’t like the hand youve been dealt, change it. but don’t sit there like a hypocrite and say someone owes you their money unless you EARN it.

          • Shawn Blagg

            Don’t argue with this guy… The Stupidity of Perso Nasplit can’t be argued with…

          • Carter

            I love the imps like you who run around spouting off about the lazy poor, and entitled rich. The game is rigged, the playing field is further from level than it has ever been, and you blame the poor.

            You will eventually reap what you sow.

          • west129

            The game is rigged indeed in that life itself is dangerous to ones life and that taxes and deaths are categorical imperatives!

          • Perso Nasplit

            and people like you will complain that what i have reaped is yours by right of entitlement, and you will try to tax it. it was my hard work that sowed the seeds of prosperity, and my labor that reaped the crops of life. if you think i took advantage of someone by owning what i made, then you are as guilty as those evil rich people. Nice analogy, but you dont understand what it takes to actually WORK for a living, so you don’t understand what its like to have something stolen from you in the claim of “being fair”. Be an adult for once in your pathetic existence, and quit trying to blame everyone else for your poor choices. Get some responsibility for your own actions.

          • Carter

            “People like me?”

            I’m solidly in the top 1%. I just understand that I’ve had certain advantages that others haven’t. Oh, and I care about my country, my fellow Americans, and I have a sense of fairness. I also don’t prance around thinking I’m special and superior to my fellow Americans.

            I’m don’t assume the poor are lazy, because I actually work with them and see first hand how much work and stress comes with living in poverty. You hate the poor because you’ve been told to by your corporate masters. Hence, you are an imp.

          • Perso Nasplit

            if you truly are i the 1%, good on you. congrats for using the system, or your family using the system, that since the republicans freed the slaves and gave rights to, everyone has the same right to earn money.

            I don’t hate the poor, i hate the people who demand money for nothing. i also hate the people who demand -i- pay for someone else without the integrity to give of themselves first.

            I couldnt care less what you think of me. Unlike you, i dont assume that anyone who is a republican or a conservative “hates the poor”. Ive seen form the actions of this regime that they hate the poor. did the previous regime hate them too? equally as much. both are terrible, but the answer isnt YOU TAKING MY MONEY, OR ME TAKING YOUR MONEY. the solution is getting people to work with skills that allow them to earn a wage enough to support their family, but ALSO to make sure they understand if they buy the newest iphone or xbox, they will go hungry. I am all for helping people get the basic, but when -i- have to make choices on whether i am able to buy something, they should too.

          • Carter

            And my problem with the point of view you have is that it is completely patronizing and condescending to poor people. Go work with them. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Talk to the families you see there. You will find that the anecdotal examples of people on SNAP driving mercedes and buying the best electronics is not the usual scenario. You will find people who are working hard, living in incredible stress, making very difficult decisions about what to buy and not buy.

            Yes – some take advantage and make bad choices, but there is abuse and fraud in any system.

            We are still impacted by the worst global economic recession in nearly 100 years. There simply are not enough jobs. Most people on SNAP are children, elderly, disabled, veterans, and working poor. All I see from the far right are plans to cut SNAP as a way to inspire these “takers” to work harder, with little concern for waste in defense spending and corporate subsidies.

          • Perso Nasplit

            “give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime” SNAP, while helping people, is giving them fish for votes. Lowering taxes and cutting the programs, while offering a way OFF welfare, is what is going to teach them to fish. NOT cutting the program, and wanting the program to be bigger, is inviting fraud waste and abuse, while demonizing the people who realize the people who ARENT working cant afford to be taxed more, while the 1% pay taxes on capital gains not INCOME, and obama just wants to increase INCOME taxes on the rich. The people filing $400k/yr are small businesses filing as individuals because the corporate rates are too complicated and only beneficial to BIG businesses. Sequester was the only way we were able to cut anything at all, and it was a 2% cut IN THE INCREASE IN SPENDING, not an actual cut. We cannot continue to spend into oblivion. you want to cut defense? im right there with you, but ill be a monkeys uncle if you think cutting border security, military members pay, and increasing taxes on the middle class and small businesses, while demanding illegal immigrants(not legal immigrants) take the jobs that the poor have, and the military members are overskilled for but are going to be dumped into a job market that is unprepared for them(im one of them, and i have 10 years of HIGHLY advanced electronics experience and education that could land me a very good job, but not all are as lucky as me). You think the far right heartless. imagine the people who currently have jobs replaced by formerly illegal immigrants taking the jobs because it is a raise for them, and they are proven to work hard, and the new-veterans taking the high skilled jobs from new college grads and people laid off recently, then realize that the taxes they COULD have paid wont be there, so the regime will demand MORE taxes on the people paying currently.

          • Carter

            So we seem to agree on most things in principle. Believe me. I’m no fan of Obama and disagree with the majority of his policies. I just think the hyperbole about him being the spawn of satan and a fascist dictator diminishes the opportunity for real constructive discussion about his faults.

            It just drives me crazy to see such extreme focus on finding efficiencies in programs like SNAP (which the CBO says is among the most efficiently run programs) while there so much greater waste elsewhere. Most left leaning people I know don’t want the program to expand in any significant way, but just don’t understand the extreme focus and blame hefted on the poor. It doesn’t even make economic sense as it’s been proven that a very high percentage of SNAP funds directly stimulates local economies while the waste in things like DOD spending and corporate subsidies really only benefits a relatively few people.

            Thanks for the relatively civil exchange. Apologies if I put you in a category you didn’t deserve, or otherwise insulted you. I’m in no way a conspiracy theorist, but it sure does seem like there are forces at work (on all sides) to keep Americans focused on the differences between us instead of the failings of our elected officials.

            Good luck.

          • texasaggie

            “don’t sit there like a hypocrite and say someone owes you their money unless you EARN it.”

            Why not? How do you think the rich got that way? By earning it or by taking it from people who actually do the work? The Waltons have done what exactly that is worth the billions of dollars they own? The 1% has done what exactly that is worth a 300% increase in their income during the last thirty years while people who actually work are at the same level or lower? They don’t earn diddly. They are in a position where they can control the flow of money into their own pockets, nothing else. An excellent example is the hedge fund owners and the bankers playing with the movement of dollars in the economy.

          • Perso Nasplit

            your example is the waltons? seriously? How bout provide jobs and cheap products to people who desperately need them. you are absolutely idiotic if you think the people who created walmart, from the money they risked, are evil because they offer food, clothing, house items, toys and pharmacy access at prices cheaper than local chains or mom and pop stores. i bet you even shop at walmart. how dare you people sit there and take advantage of the services that hard working business people made, while damning them for making those products. You are just jealous of the fact they had a good idea, and made it work.

          • enkelin

            No business exists without customers and there are not enough customers who are “the rich” The Rich dont drive tractors, the rich dont operate drill rigs, the rich dont do anything except live off the labor of others. The did not invent the money. they got it from extracting a fraction of the value of other people’s work.

          • Josh Gravens

            Read a history book, all history says rich people kill poor folks.

          • Perso Nasplit

            really? strange. i could have sworn the rich dont usually end up in the trenches or foxholes shooting at poor folks. we must have had a LOT of rich people during WW2, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

          • Josh Gravens

            Under whose interest where those poor soldiers there?

          • Perso Nasplit

            that’s a really good question……………………….. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/by-us-deaths-as-of-today_b_683441.html

          • enkelin

            You do realise that we have been in Afghanistan since 2001 and more soldiers were dying in Iraq until Obama ended that. Now there are more troops in Afghanistan but the ideas is that we train the afghans and leave that place by the end of 2014.

          • Christine Johnson

            I didn’t send them. I didn’t like the reasons they were sent. I support the troops, don’t get me wrong, and I am appreciative to the point of tears. But whose interests? I’d say Halliburton, primarily. They got most of the big dollar contracts.

          • texasaggie

            Yet another example of the intellectual handicapped RWNJ. It never occurs to them that there may be several ways of doing the same thing.

            If rich people don’t care whether commoners live or die, then they can get them killed off in any number of ways. Starting a war to enrich the oil companies or the military providers they own stock in is one way. Forcing them to live in contaminated parts of town next to refineries by pricing them out of healthier places is another. Making sure that medical care is unavailable to them because of expense is a third. There are many more.

            And what you want to bet that many of them consider themselves to be “pro-life?”

          • Won Word

            I’ve read it, moron. It isn’t that hard. There are NO “death panels.”

          • Perso Nasplit
          • Kenny Powers

            sure no death panels… but there absolutely a board of bureaucrats that will decide when to withhold care in the best interest of the collective.

          • isochronous

            Yeah, unfortunately for everyone those people are hospital employees, and are in no way associated with the government.

          • Kenny Powers

            negative. these are federal employees that will decide the rationing of care. These are not hospital employees but bureaucrats that will control who gets the care and who doesn’t. Just another eugenics mechanism on display.

          • Mr. Fusion

            Show us the board. Or, if you prefer, show us where in the legislation, I do have a copy.

          • randys_donuts

            You mean insurance companies don’t do that already?

          • Josh Gravens

            Insurance companies make choices based on the collective. This is why you pay outrageous amounts for auto insurance before turning 25. You are paying for everyone else’s wrecks. Insurance companies are bureaucrats looking to minimize cost and increase profit for their company.

          • Kenny Powers

            the fact still remains that per the ACA there will be federal employees deciding the rationing of care.

          • Josh Gravens

            So you just prefer bureaucrats by another name? “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” You prefer the show up to emergency room after your severally hurt and die healthcare, which is precisely why cost for healthcare is so inflated. We currently work under a sick care system, not a healthcare system.

          • Kenny Powers

            there is a difference between federal employees and employees of hospital or insurance company.

          • Mr. Fusion

            Then, pray tell, why can the RWNJs never show us where in the legislation this so called “Board” is?

          • Mike Howle

            Yes there is. One has the best interest of the patient. And the other get paid a bonus for denying claims.

          • Richard Miller

            That talking point is a flagrant misrepresentation of the truth. The Independent Medicare Advisory Board (which has had its name changed to Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB) is intended to give recommendations on how to save Medicare costs per person, deliver more efficient and effective care, improve access to services, and eliminate waste. However, they have no real power. They put together a recommendation to put before Congress, and Congress votes on it, and the President has power to veto it. What’s more, they are specifically told that their recommendation will not ration health care, raise premiums or co-pays, restrict benefits, or restrict eligibility. In other words, they need to find ways to save money without reducing care for patients. So no death panels. No rationing of care.

          • texasaggie

            Where are these bureaucrats? What department do they belong to?

          • Mr. Fusion

            Could you show us this “board of bureaucrats”? I know every Tea Bagger that has claimed it has been unable to link to it, maybe you know something no one else does.

          • Kenny Powers

            Sec. 1104.

            Sec. 1343

            Sec. 1560

            ill put the rest from the 30k pages of regulations when I have some free time.

          • Mr. Fusion

            Sorry Kenny, but Sec. 1104 has nothing to do with any “Death Panel”.

            Summary of Section 1104 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

            (HR 3590) Concerning Operating Rules

            Requires the Secretary to adopt and regularly update standards, implementation

            specifications, and operating rules for the electronic exchange and use of health

            information for the purposes of financial and administrative transactions.

            http://www.caqh.org/pdf/HR3590_Section1104.pdf

            or, if you prefer to read the actual section

            https://sites.google.com/site/healthreformnavigator/ppaca-sec-1104

            In short, you lied.

            ***

            Sec. 1343? Make me laugh !!!

            here, point to the clause.

            https://sites.google.com/site/healthreformnavigator/ppaca-sec-1343

            ***

            Sec. 1560? You guessed again. And blew it.

            Here, look them up in summary because you don’t know the Act and have never read it.

            http://www.dpc.senate.gov/healthreformbill/healthbill05.pdf

          • Guest

            Oh, you mean like insurance companies have done traditionally? Or, as this article points out, emergency rooms when the individual doesn’t have insurance?

          • texasaggie

            No, there aren’t. You should know better. The closest thing to that is a group that does the research to see which drugs and techniques give the best results and then make recommendations that doctors do not have to follow if they don’t want to.

          • BICU_Doctor

            Firstly, I am hard-pressed to believe you read the entirety of House Resolution 3590. I’m calling bull!@#$ on that claim. Secondly, “death panel” is a horrid, and misleading term used to describe the process of care rationing. It’s a monicker created by politicians in order to fuel opposition to government-managed care.

            Funnily enough, care-rationing is something private insurance companies do on a regular basis. Ever had a claim denied? “Sorry sir, we do not believe a $6000 MRI is necessary. We will not pay for it.” That’s your wonderful private insurer rationing care! The only difference I see between a private company who does this, and a government “death panel” — to use your words — is that the government has to be more transparent about their decision making process.

            What’s so bad about care rationing anyway? People’s fear of this stems from a misguided belief that “more is better.” In healthcare, this is definitely not so. Many times not doing a test, or not performing a surgery IS the best answer to managing a person’s illness. In fact, I would be leary of any doctor who takes a kitchen sink approach…he or she probably has no idea what they’re doing! But I digress.

            I encourage you to consider this: A majority of US healthcare spending is in the final weeks of life — admitting people to ICUs, paying for care that minimally prolongs the inevitable. And ask yourself: If you were dying of cancer, in agonizing pain, gasping for each breath — would you rather spend many thousands of dollars in an ICU strapped to a ventilator, probed with IV lines, with a Foley catheter jammed in your urethra? Or at home with your loved ones, paying twenty bucks for good pain medication as you bravely ride out your remaining days?

          • Gregg Braddoch

            That is different than a little girl needing a lung transplant. If care rationing is a good idea, then why can a young person get a lung transplant? Plus, care rationing has worked so well in Canada.

          • texasaggie

            By more people donating organs so that there are enough to go around. You can’t transplant ten lungs into twenty people.

          • Christine Johnson

            While I’m not an admirer of some of the terser comments here, I cannot help but note that the practical and humane aspects of care, particularly end of life care, seem paramount. Perhaps if this were presented frequently and popularly (e.g., Showtime’s “Time of Death” for example) people would become more enamored of a hospice approach. Hospice at the end, good prevention and education throughout life and good basic thoughtful care rather than a “what can I bill for” approach (maybe not you, Doc, but plenty, trust me) would stretch our healthcare dollars and achieve a higher level of health generally. We spent more than twice our closest competitor (what a competition!) and have much poorer health generally. Alas, the “I want it now” mentality, the bigger/more is better mentality and here’s a new drug you need in so many colorful attractive ads has produced big profits for a few and poor health for the rest of us. Common sense, especially at the end of life, ought to prevail. But then, what could docs bill for? Certainly not the 3 PET’s a year, or hospitalizations for unnecessary “observations” or care that can be accomplished on an outpatient basis! And certainly not quality of life for us all–unless you seek to essentially be a serf to the feudal lords of big business, big pharma, big advertising, big fast food and big government. And I am not so sure that the last one is the worst, frankly.

          • west129

            Looks like yo do advocate that death panels are a must. But be assured it will not be a group of people who will decide over your care. It simply will be part of the regulations issued by the Department which makes it legal and incontestable; lets say as automatic as the promised grandfathering of old insurance plans. We get it done incrementally so you won’t notice it!

          • enkelin

            The better way is single payer universal national healthcare. No insurance companies needed.

          • alcoremortis

            I have read the law and it put me right to sleep. Obviously not cut out to be a politician. So instead I looked at the closest cousin to it, RomneyCare. From what I saw there, it experienced many of the same problems early in its implementation (well, not with the website) but leveled out later with most payers ending up with a 5% hike in insurance costs once *everyone* was paying into the plan. And the return was much shorter waits for emergency care, slightly longer waits for primary care.

            This took several years to happen, so I think it’s too early to make a definitive judgment on the success of this bill.

        • Gregg Braddoch

          Again, you are ignoring the provisions under the ACA that will shut down the majority of non-profit hospitals and clinics with over-regulation.

          Medicaid expansion is a bone to throw to uneducated people so they will think the ACA is good.

          • kidsandliz

            No, medicaid expansion was a way to try to help the poverty line and below poor have health care. There isn’t a lack of education requirement to get it in the states that expanded it.

          • Gregg Braddoch

            LMFAO – While this is true, it does require a really special kind of stupid to accept a bunch of new harmful rules about healthcare, which drive the cost up (by a lot), and shuts down lots of non-profit hospitals, and allows the government 4th amendment abusing power through the IRS to get a couple concessions such as “expanded medicaid” and “coverage for pre-existing conditions” – when the good things could have been done without all the other /fail BS that was written by insurance company lobbyists…. just sayin.

          • Gregg Braddoch

            Hmm.. it would seem my comment was censored.

            I wasn’t saying that only uneducated want to use medicaid, I was simply stating that only uneducated people would suggest that medicaid expansion is good, when the price is the IRS violating your 4th Amendment rights, increased premiums for all, hundreds of millions of wasted tax dollars, the shutdown of non-profit healthcare facilities, the illegal manner in which the law was passed (which is going to the supreme court soon), the individual mandate, etc.

      • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/ heartbot

        The death panels were actually end of life counseling, which is where doctors and nurses explain options for palliative care and DNR orders for people who are very old or in the final stages of terminal illness. This is something doctors and hospitals already do for many of their patients, and this is merely education, not actually forcing any decisions on anyone. However, end of life counseling became so controversial due to the fact that it was part of the Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare), the provision was removed from the legislation entirely before it passed Congress and became law.

        There are no death panels in Obamacare. There never were, but even the thing many people thought were death panels were taken out of the legislation before it ever became law.

        • VFerrll

          Thank you for explaining this to me in a non-negative way. It makes a discussion nicer.

          • 1mikejanz1

            Liberals don’t know how to discuss a subject in a civilized manner, you speak from how you feel instead of using facts and evidence and then call people names when you can’t back up your side of the argument with the truth!

          • SyntheticPhylum

            But, Little Mikey, doesn’t that describe EXACTLY what you’ve been doing this entire time! Somehow operating under the premise that the “loudest” person automatically wins the argument, despite the fact that all you’ve been saying is utter BS?

        • west129

          Well, let’s dig a bit deeper. More people to take care of does require cutting some services. The models are clear. The healthy (18-40 year old) that need the least will have a good chance to be served. All the others will have to suffer or commit suicide if we believe Obama’s promise that he will bend the cost-curve down! Here is the plan:

          • gonzo731

            Could you help me understand where this graph came from? I found it in another source, the y-axis was not labeled as it is here, there was no mention of “100% government funded abortions” or any mention of euthanasia. It was also quite curious as the article was discussing “scarce medical interventions” (i.e. organ transplants), which when you take it without the x-axis, actually makes sense. You would not give an older person a heart when there is a younger person who also needs a new one, all things considered equal.

            Honestly, this graph hurts any sort of debate.

          • 1mikejanz1

            You people hurt any sort of debate, because your too stupid to look at the truth.

          • gonzo731

            Then please provide the truth. This is a shoddy graph as I explained in the above post. If you want the source, you can find it in another reply I made to this post.

          • alcoremortis

            I actually haven’t seen any “truth” so far. Just a bunch of showboating.

            Citations or it didn’t happen.

          • 1mikejanz1

            I know you people ain’t the brightest, but you can’t even tell when some ones being sarcastic? CMON morons get a sense of humor, you live longer when you laugh!
            On second thought forget I even said anything about laughter!

          • gonzo731

            This isn’t sarcasm, you dolt.

          • gonzo731

            And so I cannot be accused of not citing my sources, here is the paper this graph was butchered from: http://bme.ccny.cuny.edu/faculty/mbikson/Courses/BMESeniorDesign/EthicsOfHealthRationing.pdf

          • Mr. Fusion

            Oopps, apparently I messed up here. Please ignore the original comment, I was wrong.

          • gonzo731

            No worries! I thought that might be the case.

          • Mr. Fusion

            And where did that graph come from? More inventing your facts by quoting your own Tea Bagger’s opinions as facts?

          • west129

            Mr. Fusion don’t worry about the death panels. You are old enough to receive the death counseling soon enough to find out! It is mandatory at age 65 and every five years after.

            But if you didn’t sign up for the DemoCrapCare because you believed that you could keep your insurance if you liked it then you will remain ignorant. You may want to study the text of the law and the mountains of regulations that comes with it!

          • Mr. Fusion

            So you admit inventing your own graph. Gotcha !!!

          • west129

            Sorry, I cannot claim it as mine. The source is stated in the graph. The graph was a snapshot of the law before the death panels and abortions were stripped from the final version that was signed by Obama.

          • Mr. Fusion

            No, the graph is not sourced. There is a name attached, not where it was published. If it isn’t published then it needs background sourcing where it derived the data. Without that it is just another made up piece of bullpoop.

            There never was any “abortion” in the PPACA and the “Death Panels” are a figment of the Tea Baggers imagination. Both claims have repeatedly been debunked.

            BTW, Emanuel is well known as a ethicist, not a statistician. He is also well known for rationing of medical care, especially for the elderly and poor when care is scarce, yet, he is opposed to euthanasia. That means that chart is most likely something someone else has done.

          • gonzo731

            Either this guy is a troll or an idiot, or both.

          • 1mikejanz1

            God Pal! Every time you write something you make it stupider and stupider.
            Your so far behind that you should quit now before even liberals begin to tell you how stupid you are!

          • 1mikejanz1

            How did they possibly strip anything out of it?
            They had no idea what was in it because they never read it!

          • 1mikejanz1

            Gotcha? WOW!
            Your so much smarter than the rest of us who knew he was being sarcastic from the very beginning.
            I’m soooooo proud of you, who’d you get to help you figure it out, A conservative?

          • gonzo731

            What the hell are you talking about? Seriously, what are you talking about? Nowhere in your answer is based in anything called reality.

            It’s not mandatory though it’s strongly recommended to go over those details. BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO. Having a living will is a good idea, so your family knows what your intentions are.

            It’s also quite curious you didn’t even bother trying to explain that POS chart you butchered from a legitimate source (and unlegitimized it).

            Please take your own advice and read the freaking law, or at the very least, stop listening to Fox News or whatever claptrap you happen to be listening to.

          • west129

            It is infuriating, isn’t it? In 2009 the graph accomplished exactly what you are so upset about: The 100% free abortion legislation was modified and the “mandatory Life Counseling” was stripped from the bill before Obama signed it into law!

            Keep up your research. Next, find out why we do not have to have amnesty for illegal aliens to sign up for DenoCrapCare, as the Democrats try to make us believe and why Republicans were part of the Gang of Eight.

          • gonzo731

            Okay look, dude, I provided a possible, legitimate source for your horrible chart. It had none of the BS that you are talking about on it. In fact, the whole source had none of your BS as it was about scarce medical interventions. You have not answered anything and are making up even more crap.

            Federal policies on abortion haven’t changed. Mandatory life counseling is a bigger lie made up for people like you. Why don’t you read this article?

            http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/jul/23/betsy-mccaughey/mccaughey-claims-end-life-counseling-will-be-requi/

            Now, in conclusion, you are either an idiot, a troll, or maybe a little of both.

          • 1mikejanz1

            Please stop with the stupidity, they didn’t read the bill and had know idea what was in it so how could they remove anything from it?
            If they had read it they would have known that the keep your insurance promise uttered 39 times by our idiot in chief would not have turned out to be a lie because he would have known it’ wasn’t true,
            Gimme a break with this silly crap about removing things from this economic disaster!
            You people have got to start living in reality.
            If you want to know the truth you need to speak with a conservative TEA party member.
            It dose’nt require a lot of smarts, just a little common sense!

          • 1mikejanz1

            This is going to be very interesting, how do you make it mandatory for people to receive death counseling, even if they’re on the verge of dying.
            I for one will never be forced to do anything like that!

          • Mr. Fusion

            Good, because the only mandatory about the counseling is the physician must get paid for it. There is nothing in the PPACA about the patient is mandated into being counseled.

            But we already know how stupid RWNJs can be, you didn’t have to repeatedly show us.

          • 1mikejanz1

            Sounds like a liberal don’t it?
            Always making things up in order to make your point.

          • 1mikejanz1

            Another humorless moron heard from!
            Keep it coming, you clowns are making me feel like a generous!
            I’m feeling so smart talking to you people I’m on the verge of applying to MENSA!

          • alcoremortis

            Nah, it’s okay, we don’t really need real facts. Palin *knew* that Obama was intending to put them in. We’re so lucky to have a psychic in public office to help avoid all these evil liberal traps for the good honest white gun-toting ‘Murican.

          • Barry Leon

            The graph, is a visual representation of an economic estimate. Like all economic estimates is has a major component of conjecture. There is an element of reality here that any thinking person will note, that medical services will increasingly be parceled out less and less as one grows older.

          • Mr. Fusion

            Unless you can show the source, it means it is invented. Or, as we usually say, you pulled it out your butt. Since no one can show the source, that means it was pulled from a RWNJ’s butt.

          • Dirk Prophet

            If you think that there is no private insurance rationing, don’t get sick. The chart is BS and Ezekiel Emanuel did not generate it.

          • west129

            This indeed is Emanuel’s chart and was circulated to inform the public what was going on and to put the heat to our legislators to do something about it. As a result the “100% government funded abortions” and the “legislation of euthanasia …” was stripped from the final ACA bill signed by Obama.

            The graph served its purpose well and should be a reminder as to the direction ever national healthcare heads (see Holland’s rate of >1500 euthanasia).

          • Dirk Prophet

            I looked for this chart in connection to Emanuel. The only posting of this chart or anything like it came from extreme right wing sites. I think you’ve been hoodwinked.

          • west129

            As can be seen by all the responses, Ezekiel’s graph is as effective now as it was when the abortion and euthanasia provision was part of the law but was stripped from it because of the public fury . It should serve as a warning to the public as to what governments are capable of in the future should we no longer care or decide not to stay involved

          • gonzo731

            You are the biggest tool in the toolshed. Ezekiel did not publish the vile that you or your ilk added to the chart. I linked the source to which you still have not addressed!

            Do you not have any sense of shame? You are wrong. End of story. Please just stop spreading your FUD.

          • 1mikejanz1

            Amen brother, I feel ya!

          • Mr. Fusion

            And who said RWNJs were all straight?

          • Barry Leon

            While the graph might be a bit too pessimistic, the reality in many of the the one-payer systems around the world include an increasing amount of triage of services as people’s age. Major surgeries and treatments that could extend the lives of people in their seventies, eighties and older will probably begin to see many more denials of payments.

        • 1mikejanz1

          In reality Moron Obamas death panels are government bodies that decide whether you are worthy of saving.
          Yeah, that’s who I want to decide my health treatment for me!
          Obamacare is nothing more than away for you idiot socialist to destroy the economy of this country that you hate so much because you consider it to be the most evil entity that ever existed on Earth!

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/ heartbot

            Where in the legislation does it make provisions for such death panels? I’m very curious. If you can point to the actual legislation that creates death panels, I’ll retract my statement.

            I don’t know why I would think the US is the most evil entity that ever existed on Earth or why I would ever want to destroy its economy. The US has its problems, but I would prefer to solve them and make life better for all the people who live here. I live here, after all, and so does my family, including my daughter. Why would I want to make conditions here worse for them or for myself?

      • Jo Rebmann

        Those so called “death panels” are actually encouraging something we ALL should have. Living wills- those things that state how far a doctor should/can go if you are unable to make the decision for yourself. They are NOT for deciding who is/is not worthy of healthcare based on age, ailment or any other basis! Quit listening to FAUX news and read the law for yourself!

        • Kenny Powers

          have you read any of the law at all?

      • NancyDL

        There are no death panels in Obamacare. Where did you get that idea? The death panels are the boards at UTMB who decide what 90% of patients will be DENIED care.

    • Gregg Braddoch

      Pay no mind to the fact that St. Vincents and many other non-profit healthcare organizations will most likely be disqualified as healthcare providers under the ACA (due to new requirements for non-profit organizations)

      There is a lot of other stuff in the ACA besides medicaid expansion.

      • texasaggie

        And you know this how? Why is it likely that your source of information is the well-known and not particularly respected right wing scientist, Dr. Otto Uraz? (with apologies to c u n d gulag)

        • Gregg Braddoch
          • texasaggie

            Your three links all can be summarized by saying that nonprofit hospitals that don’t treat at least a minimum of nonpaying patients will lose their nonprofit status. Why is this something to be upset about?

            As Forbes says, previous law required them to spend at least 3% on charity cases. If they don’t do that, they lose nonprofit status. And the big argument seems to be that with Obamacare there will be fewer charity cases because more people will have insurance which somehow Forbes thinks is a bad thing. Go figure.

          • Gregg Braddoch

            “Why is this something to be upset about?”

            A. Other non-profit organizations do not have to do this.

            B. Not everyone’s healthcare needs are constant, so this could lead to closure in areas that need non-profit healthcare organizations.

            C. These organizations will be fined for not meeting the standards (which essentially means the IRS will receive charity money if not enough people need healthcare at the time)

            D. The majority of hospitals in the US ARE non-profit, and always have been.

            “And the big argument seems to be that with Obamacare there will be fewer charity cases because more people will have insurance”

            Yes, that is why only around 25,000 people have paid for Obamacare to date. (Around 100,000 have signed up and chosen a plan, but have not started coverage) This is also why millions of people are unable to keep their healthcare plans, and the premiums for ALL healthcare plans have gone up (unless they are being subsidized by the government, but the cost is still higher – it’s just paid by tax dollars instead of the individual).

            The ACA is a failure as far as “free healthcare for everyone” goes, and it’s time people own up to the fact that a small element of congress, coupled with dirty politics involving insurance company lobbyists fed this crap to us, and now want to force us all to follow it. (We didn’t even get to read the bill before it was voted on).

    • Mr Gross

      And Rich, don’t forget that there are business here that don’t provide health care to workers because they Hire them through temp-to-hire and they don’t have to pay benefits or retirement and can lay you off with out a word of explanation…

      • 1mikejanz1

        And your point is?
        Sounds like smart business practice to me, if a small company has to pay for all of those benefits, it would soon be out of business and the employees would not only be without benefits, they would also be without jobs!
        DUH!

        • Mr Gross

          DUH! Cause who wants healthy employees that you have to pay a decent living wage, when you can hire all these illegal immigrants and keep the money for yourself, DUH SMART BUSINESS PRATICE!

          • Barry Leon

            While everyone wants healthy and happy employees, sometimes businesses are unable to afford to hire if the costs attached to having those employees becomes too burdensome. When that happens there is then no business and no jobs. Unfortunate reality. The recent movement for paying MacDonalds and Burger King employees $15+ per hour because they can’t “live” on minimum wage, will certainly fail, because few consumers can “live” on $10 burgers.

    • 1mikejanz1

      YEAH, RIGHT! like your clown in the Whitehouse has done so much to improve the health care system in this country!
      I know of at least 5 million people who no longer have health care that will disagree with you.
      You clowns or the only people I know who consider making things worse improvement!
      And by the way those 5 million are only the tip of the iceberg!

    • west129

      Projecting illogical reasoning by the Democrats onto Republicans doesn’t change the facts:

      The Democrats have insisted on sending Grannies over the cliff by single handedly ramming the ACA down our throats! “Cost control” by Death Panel (re-branded as IPAB aka IMAB in ACA) means government-imposed rationing of care to the elderly that will end up closing a lot of aging eyes — permanently. Obama’s CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) administrator and lead health czar has often praised IPAB’s (Independent Payment Advisory Board) the deadly
      British prototype. In the ACA more than 18 pages confer unlimited powers to the Death Panel. Much like the T 4 Aktion, the powers assigned cannot be touched by future legislation:

      INDEPENDENT MEDICARE ADVISORY BOARD (H. R. 3590—SEC. 3403, Pg 371-389 and Pg 831)
      (Board of 15 members appointed by the President)
      Board’s purpose is to reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending—… [to] result in a net reduction in total Medicare program spending .. at least equal to the applicable savings target established under paragraph (7)(A)(B)(C) … [as follows]: ‘‘(I) implementation year 2015, 0.5% ; ‘‘(II) implementation year 2016, 1.0%; ‘‘(III) implementation year 2017, 1.25%;

      ‘‘(B) LIMITATION ON CHANGES TO THE BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS IN OTHER LEGISLATION .—(Pg 378) It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report (other than pursuant to this section) that
      would repeal or otherwise change the recommendations of the Board …

      So tell us again: Who is bent to make certain that Granny will get pushed over the cliff?

  • Jolie

    But the poor in this country don’t matter. That’s why the rich have been sending jobs overseas, cutting jobs for better profits, cutting benefits and all of that for decades. I guess they’ll really be up the creek when they realize there’s no housekeepers or restaurant workers left left to browbeat because all of the people poor enough to have to take those jobs when there’s nothing else have all died. Guess they’ll have to get off their lazy butts and dust their own crap. *smirk*

    • http://www.writinginflow.blogspot.com/ Beverly Diehl

      If only. But you realize this is why these people are so against contraception. The more the poor and used-to-be-middle-class have babies they can’t afford, the more desperate people there will be, willing to take any job.

      • Kenny Powers

        all because people can’t spend the .50 for a condom.

        • Chris

          That would have been a bargain for your parents.

  • Catherine Joy Korni

    Rachel, this is one of the purest and most powerful narratives I have ever read. You are a true crusader and I feel privileged to ‘know you’ through Natacha. It is people like you who will eventually change the unjust world in which we live. Thank you for simply ‘BEING’…

  • Jo Ann Mason

    the Gov. of North Carolina has also refused the funds to expand Medicaid– I have been suffering with chronic pain for 6 years now- with no help in sight.

    • Carlos Prado

      Getting out of the South was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, things in my life.

  • Kathy

    Here in Wisconsin, we have a similarly heartless governor who’s a puppet of the Koch brothers. It’s so hypocritical that these politicians call themselves Christians–I guess they skipped that part in the New Testament where Jesus was healing the sick. Thank you for helping to ameliorate the situation and for articulating these truths with such compassion.

    • Wally Lipton

      So let God heal them then, why do they need doctors? Clearly this is God’s will and they should die.

    • Won Word

      Er, the God of the Bible is all about slavery (Exodus 21), rape (Deuteronomy 22:28-29), genocide (1 Samuel 15:2-3) and shunning the handicapped/infirm (Leviticus 21:17-23).

      Those Teabaggers are perfect examples of “good” Christian values.

      • Kathy

        In my post, I mentioned the New Testament. The Old Testament pre-dated Christ and was based on more vengeful values…which I’d agree are shared by many Teapublicans.

    • Kenny Powers

      how much do you donate to “the poor”?

      • Kathy

        Thousands of dollars a year, plus my time at an assisted living facility. I was also a Peace Corps volunteer.

        • Kenny Powers

          clearly you are not paying your fair share. 1%ers like your self make me sick.

          SOCIAL JUSTICE is coming get ready for it.

          • Kathy

            You’re kidding, right? I’m a retired teacher. I put myself through college waitressing. My whole life has been about social justice. This is my 1st time on Disqus. I didn’t expect an ad hominem attack.

          • Kenny Powers

            clearly you are a failure. you don’t know what social justice means. We are coming for it.

          • kidsandliz

            Kathy – he is attacking me calling me a one percenter as well (when I was employed I made only sightly more than the country’s median family income). Clearly there is something wrong with him as he is full of bitterness, is trying to be a bully and has problems with logic and facts. It isn’t worth getting upset over his attacks. Those attacks say more about him than the people he is attacking.

  • Perso Nasplit

    giving the poor the ability to take the middle classes money and give it freely to the rich, while getting medicine to treat, but not cure, a condition is somehow noble. the rich get richer, and become politicians, that claim they are for the “poor folk” while robbing them blind and keeping them on a system that is tantamount to SLAVERY. You want cheaper healthcare, MAKE MORE MEDICINE AND MEDICAL DEVICES, not forcing the people paying money to BET they wont get sick cover the costs for the people who cant or wont pay. Obamacare is slavery to a system that is designed to fail, and drive the costs up for the middle class.

  • kjprice

    Cried the whole time I read this.I am ashamed of the way Texas is taking care of its poorest citizens and don’t get me started on the options for the seriously mentally ill.We as Texans need to start a grassroot effort to help the poor. Give me a minute I am starting to think of options…omg the article was well written and heartbreaking truth

    • Rachel Pearson

      Thank you so much for reading and for caring about the marginalized folks in Texas. You’re absolutely right that we need better care for the mentally ill.

    • Won Word

      How about voting for politicians who actually care about all people, instead of rich/corporations.

  • Nellie Wilson

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope you keep writing and spreading this message. I lost my very best friend in the world 20 years ago under the same circumstances. No health insurance, her husband earned too much to be eligible for any medicaid. Her easily treated, undiagnosed cancer spread, killing her at age 39. She left behind her husband and three little girls. I am so angry at how this supposedly christian nation treats the least among us. I am so angry. (I miss you, Laura. RIP.)

    • Wally Lipton

      God’s will.

    • Rachel Pearson

      I’m so sorry you lost Laura. What a tragedy.

    • Won Word

      This is not a Christian country, thank god. Otherwise, practicing medicine would be outlawed, since all sickness comes from demon possession (Mark 1:32-34).

    • Kenny Powers

      maybe they should have PURCHASED their own insurance….

      • randys_donuts

        Hey, just because you can afford insurance doesn’t mean that it won’t a) dump you as soon as you get sick b) jack your premiums up to the point that it costs as much as your rent c) only covers about 1/3 of the cost of treatment for major diseases. Having insurance doesn’t guarantee anything because a good deal of insurance available on the individual market is, for lack of a better term, prohibitively expensive crap.

      • snakeguy

        It must be nice to live in fantasy land. Do you know what ‘lifetime limits’ are on insurance?

  • Cheryl Snider

    Rachel I applaud you and would love to work with you. I am a burnt out RN and having my integrity ‘ripped’ through this system is more than I can bear. I am currently working in non corporate alternative care, but that too is a private pay. At least it removes one of my issues. I have tried to volunteer at St Vincents as I too have no insurance and go and love it there, but as an RN and not a student nurse I am ineligible because the insurance would not cover me. Only covers students and the few FNPs.

    • Rachel Pearson

      Well, thank you for being part of the community at St. Vincent’s, and I’m so glad you’ve been able to get good care there. Ironically, we see a lot of medical providers (and former UTMB employees) who can’t get into UTMB.

  • Charlie Ammen

    A large part of the Tea Party agenda can be stated like this: “Let’s slowly (and legally) kill off those who most likely would vote Democratic by denying them healthcare and food.”

    • channelclemente

      The trouble is, they keep recruiting people into the ranks of the poor.

    • VFerrll

      This is simply not true, but what you have been brainwashed into believing. This president is dividing our country.

      • Won Word

        This president is dividing our country.

        In what way, specifically?

        • f.avallearce

          Yeah! I’d like to hear some specifics as well! I guess this is just another case of, “reality having a liberal bias.” The facts are irrefutable: the GOP, driven by the Tea Party, has drastically reduced the food stamp program while refusing to expand Medicaid in states they control (I’m not even going to go into their efforts concerning the ACA itself). And this is me being brainwashed?

        • Charlie Ammen

          Won, He isn’t, but the fact that he is President has certainly made it more clear who the tolerant and the intolerant are is the good ol’ USA

      • Charlie Ammen

        V, I am as guilty as anyone is this, but I wish people would precede their comments with something like “In my opinion,” or “The way I see it” instead of stating them as though they are the indisputable truth. All these comments, including mine, are opinions, and the way I see it, opinions are personal truths that are only 100% valid to those who hold them.

      • Lox N Bagels

        Incorrect, the President has no authority nor influence over how divided our country is; it occurs at the Congressional level.

        So long as private money has a hand in politics, we are doomed to a world where money talks, and the concerns of the rabble like you and me are second (if not last) in the minds of our representatives.

        Stop blaming the man at the top by being actionless and complaining, and work toward fixing a broken system instead..

      • Stella Baker

        Well that’s better than the previous President who seemed to prefer dividing other people’s countries.

  • Sarah Gabbart

    This was very moving and it’s clear you are doing exactly what you were put on Earth to do–show people kindness and compassion in their darkest days. Thank you for all you do.

  • Jenny Green

    It is such a horrible story, stories like these help me to motivate my kids to go onto college, so at least they’ll have a chance in the world and not have to fall between the cracks. Today is all about the rich getting richer and the poor just left to die. Compassion is something that is just a passing thought to make us feel better. I cried, because I’ve been there. I share what I have, because I know what it’s like… to be without.

  • Andrea Avery

    I am truly moved after reading this story. Thank heavens I live in Oregon where I will be getting Medicaid Affordable coverage even though I don’t have young kids. Since I get food stamps the state even put me on a “fast track” for the insurance coverage that was only about 5 questions long. Even tho Oregon doesn’t have a lot of money at least they are going to be taking care of the lower income people…. You can keep Rick Perry and Ted Cruz there in Texas…. or send them out of the country since they don’t seem to care about Americans at all.

  • kidsandliz

    This is exactly the problem I will have in around 2 months. Unemployment compensation is gone. I have enough money for about 2 more months of rent and COBRA, my state (MS) did not expand medicaid either. As a result no subsidy for me and no health insurance when I run out of money.

    I confirmed with MD Anderson Cancer Center last week when I was there that they will no longer treat me when my money and insurance runs out (as it was it was a near thing paying enough of my past due bill for them to allow me to keep my apt). I am on my third cancer.

    The only choice I see that I have is to be homeless in a state that expanded medicaid that has a decent NIH cancer center that accepts medicaid. I doubt running a “go fund me” page will get me enough money to solve my problems. The people there who seem to get enough money are kids with cancer, people where bad things happened to them like accidents, terrorist attacks, the rare bus driver… rarely does it seem that those sites help the no name adult cancer patients who worked their entire life, don’t have a compelling enough story to go viral, and have hit hard times.

    Those mostly Republican governors who run on family, christian values seem to have forgotten what the new testament says about helping the poor. What happened to me, a highly educated hard working adult, can happen to anyone. No one counts getting 3 cancers in a short period of time. Add some school loans to that and no job in a state that pays the second lowest in the nation with unemployment compensation and it is a recipe for financial disaster. At the beginning of the cancer disaster my house finally sold short after 35 months on the market with me living 2500 miles away (no the deficiency was not excused), my car is almost 24 years old and falling apart… But of course to the governor of my state and the 24 other states where medicaid was not expanded, my life has no value; that I will have no health care irrelevant to them… because I am not someone who counts anymore since I became poor.

    • Wally Lipton

      You can get coverage from the ACA with a pre-existing condition. It’s bound to be cheaper than COBRA if you’re paying it out of pocket. Of course, those damn Republicans intentionally screwed up the billion dollar website and cancelled all those other people’s insurance. Oh wait, no. Also, clearly as a Christian, you know that you getting cancer and losing insurance was God’s will, so why are you fighting it?

      • kidsandliz

        Actually in my state COBRA is cheaper since I need one of the better quality ACA ones in terms of out of pocket (most counties in my state have only one choice, I am lucky with two, but right now no one local accepts either one and MD Anderson hasn’t decided yet which federal exchange insurances they will accept and which ones they will not). So I am waiting to see before I decide what to do. I can’t get a subsidy since I am living below the poverty line and medicaid was not expanded in my state. And the odds are high I will have to be without any insurance due to no money to pay for it. That is why I will probably have to move to a state that has expanded medicaid – MA Anderson does not and will not accept out of state medicaid so changing facilities and doctors is probably in my future.

      • Kenny Powers

        lol.

    • Rachel Pearson

      I am so sorry about your cancer. This is the kind of thing we see all the time: when people get serious illnesses, they slide down the economic ladder. Many of our patients have ended up homeless because of medical debt.

      • kidsandliz

        And unfortunately that is where I am headed right now. The financial help (TANF, medicaid, housing subsidies) is for families with kids under 18. I will also end up with no medical care at all unless I move to a state that has expanded medicaid.

    • Kenny Powers

      here is a free piece of advice. GET A JOB. There are plenty out there.

      • snakeguy

        Yeah, tell that to someone who has hit their lifetime care limit and has leukemia you heartless fu ck.

      • kidsandliz

        Well thank you Kenny. It never would have occurred to me to apply for a job. What a novel idea. A job. Who would have thought a job gave you money? A JOB??? HEY EVERYBODY – did you know I could solve all my problems if I just applied for a job? I take it I’d be hired immediately at the first place I applied? That is wonderful news. Thank you so much for giving me a solution to all my problems. ROTFLMAO

        • Kenny Powers

          yes it is that simple. free market will solve everything. not getting the job you expect being “highly educated”…. then it is time to take something further down the trough. After all your unemployment is running out and soon you will be living on the welfare plantation. You were clearly wealthy as you claim that you OWNED A HOME which you sold while living in another property… you 1%ers make me sick.

          • kidsandliz

            Right. Wealthy. Before you throw around insults and make nasty comments, you do realize don’t you that the average income for the top 1% is around 1 million a year. Heck I’d only need several years of that level of income and I’d be set for life. Would never need to work again and not run out of money provided my lifestyle didn’t expand to spend ridiculous amounts of money on stuff that I didn’t need. In my dreams.

            If I was a one percenter it would take more than no job and cancer to make me run out of money. And by the way, the “welfare plantation” is only open to those who have kids under 18. My kid is 21 – no not an out of wedlock child either, in case you are feeling judgmental. I adopted her when she was almost 10. Around here the welfare planation gives you $147/mo in tanf for a family of two (a family of 2 you have to be at a minimum since it is for parent and child, single adults with no kids under 18 do not get tanf) and around $305/mo (not sure of the exact amount since they are just cut) in food stamps Around here there is a 3 year wait for public housing and close to a 5 year wait for Section 8 vouchers. You can not get on either list until you are already poor, so what you are supposed to do in the meantime is beyond me. You pay 25% of your income on rent under those programs. Of course there is still the issue of utilities.

            I owned a small, cheap, older starter house in an inexpensive part of the country. I moved 2500 miles for a better job and my house didn’t sell because it was the start of the housing crash before anyone really realized that was what was happening. Couldn’t exactly commute. Because my house didn’t sell I rented a small home in a poorer neighborhood. Have had 3 break ins here in 5 years. Last time almost nothing was taken because guess what – I still have old style TV’s with converter boxes, no cable tv, no stereo, no fancy toys, my computer is 7 years old… Yup I sure live like a one percenter.

            Rent and mortgage took most of my income. I drive a car that will be 24 years old next year and that is not by choice. And of course since you know me in real life and know exactly all the jobs I have applied for I am sure you must think that fast food and manufacturing assembly line jobs are at my educational level. I grew up poor and have worked since I was 16, had all sorts of jobs, including really crappy, dirty, nasty ones.

            I have no idea what you are bitter about, but getting a job – any kind of job – is harder than you think in some parts of the country. Try getting one after a gap in employment and with cancer and it becomes exponentially harder. I live in a city that has a very high unemployment rate, above the national average, which doesn’t help. I am applying in other parts of the country as well for professional jobs, locally I am applying for anything I can find – call centers, assembly line, fast food, retail clerk, professional… if there is no background check I remove most of my education (which also means I have to remove most of my employment for the last 10 years since it would be clear that I had more education than I was claiming) since often you don’t get hired if you are overqualified. Of course then I have to pretend I was a stay at home mom re-entering the workforce and those folks have problems getting jobs too.

            I hope for your sake you never get into the kind of situation the author of this article wrote about, or get caught in the kinds of problems I am having. Most of us caught like this never dreamed this is what our future would bring. No one, even someone as mean and nasty as you are being, should have to live through that level of stress, problems and anxiety.

          • Kenny Powers

            my heart is bleeding all over my shoes for your sad sob story./….

            the fact that you lie on you application is the reason you do not get hired.

          • kidsandliz

            Hopefully you will bleed to death then LOL

            I didn’t realize you were on the hiring committees of all the jobs I have applied for to know why I was not hired for jobs. Actually since most places do background checks I have to admit to all of my education and employment – if they say you have to list everything (which not all say that). The ones that don’t are the ones where I say “relevant education” and “relevant employment”. And actually that isn’t lying as much of my education and work experience is not relevant for minimum wage jobs.

            You must have a sad life that you get your jollies trying to be a bully. You and apparently a few of the other posters appear to be in a competition for least compassionate person on the planet. Again, hopefully you will never have to experience what the patients Rachel wrote about are dealing with. No human being deserves to go through what some of her patients are going through. Right now, at this very moment in time, I am way luckier than they are because I still have good health insurance. If I were to win millions I would be donating to causes like hers because those are the people who help make this world a better place.

          • Kenny Powers

            if you were really about social justice you would renounce all your worldly possessions and your lucrative teacher pension and donate all of your times to the low life written of in this essay. you 1%ers make me sick.

          • kidsandliz

            I don’t have a pension. Don’t know why you assumed that. All your attempts to try to make me and another person on this list look like we are wealthy (when we are not) and thus deserve derision, along with the poor whom you make fun of, certainly does not paint a very good picture of who you are.

            So why is it wrong for people to try to help those who need help? The people who help others are some of the ones who make this world a better place. People like you who are nasty and vicious to others certainly are making a poor statement about yourselves as human beings.

          • Kenny Powers

            anyone who owns a home yet can live on the other-side of the country is clearly very wealthy. You claim to be a retired school teacher implying that you would have a pension. ill edit my comment to advise you to donate all of your social security to those more deserving of social justice.

          • kidsandliz

            1) I have many years to go to retirement, never made the claim I was retired. I think you have two of us mixed up. There is a retired teacher you are also busy trashing in the comments area.

            2) Cheap starter home in a below the national average cost to live town, normally it would have sold quickly but there was a housing crash.

            3) had to leave because I had quit my job there and accepted a better job elsewhere, if I had stayed with no job would have lost the home. Had to go to my new job to have an income

            4) Not possible to commute 2500 miles

            5) Had to live somewhere in my new town so rented what I could afford in a crappy part of town

            6) I bought nothing, did not eat out, have a 24 year old car, no cable, converter boxes for my TV, 7 year old computer, no cell phone, etc. low mortgage and low rent thus by spending around 75% of my income on rent and mortgage I could just barely make it. Don’t have to be wealthy to do that, just very careful with what you do have. As I said, I made very close to the USA family median outcome.

            You are certainly very bitter about something, what I do not know but I am not going to waste any more time responding to you. YOur comments speak to what a self centered, mean, vicious person you are. I’d guess you have a very unhappy life.

          • Kenny Powers

            You did not have to leave your home you chose to.

            It is possible to commute 2500 miles

            clearly you are an agent of the Koch Brothers. You are a wealth land owner enjoying the luxury of having multiple properties in your oppression. It must be nice to live as you do.

            If you were reaslly the hardship case you claim you would be out from sun up to sun down applying for any job that your 24 year old royles royce would allow you to commute to. Yet here you are not applying for any job and cashing koch brothers money check.

            YOU ARE KOCH SCUM.

          • kidsandliz

            You need to keep the people you are bashing straight. The other poster you are bashing said she was a retired teacher and did a lot of volunteer work. It will be years before I qualify for social security.

          • kidsandliz

            Top 1% LOL. You do realize don’t you those folks make, on average a million dollars a year? A few years of that and I’d be set for life, cancer and no job would be no problem in terms of paying for anything.

            By the way, there are lots of people caught owning a house they couldn’t sell during the housing crash and were living and working hundreds and thousands of miles away. So you either tried to pay your bills and spend the majority of your income on rent and mortgage (like I did – fortunately my house was a small starter house and I rented a cheap house in a poorer part of town), or stopped paying the mortgage and go into foreclosure and trash your credit.

            And finding a job isn’t always a piece of cake, being overqualified means being turned down for jobs you’d be willing to do. I have been turned down for all sorts of minimum wage jobs because I have been over qualified. I was actually told at one temp agency that they wouldn’t hire me because I had more than an associates degree, never mind that in the past I had done exactly the job they had advertised they needed to fill. Add to that a gap in employment and cancer and finding a job can be harder than you think. I have worked since I was 16, earlier if you count baby sitting and yard work, and this is the first time I have faced this kind of unemployment.

            Although part of me hopes that karma bites you in the rear, I hope for your sake you never have to go through what the people Rachel is writing about are going through or what I have gone through. No one should be faced with the things Rachel was writing about. As a society we should be grateful that there are professionals like her who try to help.

    • Allison Hollifield

      I absolutely can’t imagine saying “Get a job!” to someone on their 3rd cancer? Really!?! If I had cancer, was in danger of losing any medical care & living assistance and someone said “Get a job!” to my face, I hope I would have the strength to punch that persons nose up into their brain. Not a Christian reaction but certainly an understandable one.

      • Allison Hollifield

        I’m speaking about what a poster below responded, kidsandliz And I have hope & faith-things WILL change for the better with or without the heartless Americans who care only about themselves.

  • Jen Harris

    BEAUTIFULLY put, thank you so much for stating it so very clearly. Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness: Number one is Life, right? How many lives are lost that could continue; continue living, continue contributing, continue paying taxes even!

  • ksec

    Perry and his ilk live in bubbles of privilege. Surely these evil people will get theirs someday.

    • channelclemente

      If evil actually ‘got theirs’, there would be echoes in much of Congress now, and all of the Texas Legislature .

    • Stella Baker

      You are too kind. I had delusions in mind. The whole world is waiting for Americans to find solidarity among themselves and stand up to those in power and demand the sort of freedom which doesn’t require you to own a handgun. This requires having the same rights enjoyed by others in the West – healthcare, welfare and free access to education.

  • CzChick23

    This is heart breaking…and just imagine that many places don’t even have St. Vincent’s or any kind of free clinics. I know the closest one here is 4 hour drive.

  • Scout Finch

    As a fellow UTMB student who has volunteered at St. Vincent’s, and who has had similar experiences, I really admire your ability to bring these patients’ stories to light with such a well-worded piece. The last two sentences resonated with me especially. There were many times when I left the hospital, or St. Vincent’s, and just stood alone outside, thinking how unfair it was — how unfair that a patient was in dire straits but unable to afford or obtain care, and how unfair it was that there was little that I could do to help. I had patients who would tell me that they were grateful for my help, and I would be plagued by this little voice in my head that reminded me that I could only go so far with the help that I could provide, that as a student, I was voiceless and powerless. But no — that does not have to be the case, and you’ve demonstrated it here. These are the stories of real people, who matter, and others should hear them, even if they are a difficult pill to swallow.

    • Rachel Pearson

      Thanks, Scout! Your words really bring out how uncomfortable and sad it is for students to train in an environment where we can’t count on the medical system to back up our ideals. Keep coming to St. Vincent’s! It’s quite an education. :)

  • TexasHoya09

    Thank you so much for sharing! I am a rising med student working at free clinics in Dallas. I hope in the course of my career to keep up this fight, bring light to and change for the individuals left behind in a broken health care system.

    • Michael Napoli

      It’s people like you who will indeed be the solution, the caring people in medicine who truly have a calling. While you cannot shoulder the entire load, your thoughtfulness, selflessness and drive will change the system.Cheers and best wishes in your endeavors. My response is posted above.

  • UKlel

    This is an absolute disgrace. What kind of barbaric country lets your bank balance determine whether you live or die? When will you people learn?

    • Jo Rebmann

      That would be the rich of the U.S.A… it’s no longer the land of the free… but the home of the be rich or die.

      • UKlel

        You all have the ability to vote in a new government and set the agenda they follow.

        Take the obscene wealth out of politics and take back your own nation for yourselves.

        You’re all literally standing back and watching as your countrymen die.

        • inconsequential

          if you think the poor have the ability to vote the rich out of office then you aren’t living in reality

  • Michael Napoli

    A sad and nicely presented partial picture, but the article ignores important, complicating facts. First that the money Rick Perry and Ted Cruz will not accept are dollars our Federal Government does not have. In fact like Detroit, other cities and states have learned – eventually the piper of debt blows his horn and the consequences are severe. Perry and Cruz are for sustainable, responsible spending solutions. Second, the article fails to mention that 30 minutes from the Texas coast is our Houston Medical Center – literally one of the largest concentrations of physicians and healthcare workers in the world. If only a tiny fraction donated a few days per year, St. Vincent’s would have every specialty known to man including cardiology. But in fact the vast majority are too busy pumping 6 figure practices to donate care. Why just blame UTMB and the government? There’s plenty of blame here to go around. And consider Jimmy’s charges for care: does that sound reasonable? I can guarantee that no insurance company would ever pay those charges, but would only pay a fraction of those allowed. Until physician and medical billing becomes more transparent and reasonable, the sad affairs described here will continue. I have visited extensively countries with rich social safety nets and even socialized medicine to find limitations in access to health care and death from treatable illness remain. The solutions to these issues are much more complex than the Medicaid/Obamacare/give-me-more-money solution presented here. As a board member of the St. Vincent’s Hope Clinic, I believe when we acknowledge that fact and consider all aspects we will begin to find answers.

  • snakeguy

    Republican health policy: Only the rich deserve to live.

    • channelclemente

      That’s the tragedy. It’s 80-85% of the population not with employee healthcare are not insured or under insured. Even the quality of the employee health coverage has declined precipitously in the last 20 years. It’s a mess, and a website problem just avoids our dealing with it.

    • Charlie golf

      “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” Need I say more?

      • snakeguy

        Geee, its almost as if the market were flooded with sub-standard plans which contain provisions that are now illegal under the ACA, like removing lifetime limits on care and insane deductibles.

        • Charlie golf

          These plans were perfectly fine before the ACA and only became “sub-standard” after the fact. Millions of us wouldn’t be losing our insurance plans but for the ACA.

    • brando55

      Better than the bums

  • Ndidi Ibe

    This story broke my heart. Ball High lets students volunteer at some of the nursing homes and when I was a student I got to see how a lot of residents were treates and its just tragic. I want changes in the healthcare system for sure.

  • Kenny Powers

    why not get a job and buy insurance? why does the gubberment need to mother people from cradle to grave? no thanks. ill be responsible for myself.

    • spencer

      you must have missed the part explaining that a good portion of these cases are in fact “the working poor”.

      • Kenny Powers

        you must have missed the second part of my comment— pt 1 get a job. Pt 2 PURCHASE INSURANCE.

        • Perso Nasplit

          it’s called a skill. get one. dont have one? expect no-skill pay for a no-skill job. Education costs what a library card costs. don’t demand someone pay for your lack of desire to better yourself. Kenny, youre right. You and I wont get a lot of love in this page, but hey, if they were responsible working adults, this country wouldnt be in the piss poor shape its in.

          • Kenny Powers

            personal responsibility? you sound like a terrorist….

          • Perso Nasplit

            a confirmed “wacko-bird”.

          • Mike Howle

            What part of “working poor” don’t you get? You hate people who don’t work. You hate people who don’t earn enough for health insurance. You blame the poor for all of our countries problems. And avoid any talk of corporate welfare, government waste, corporate predators, oil speculators, etc……… but you go after the easy targets. Please, wallow in your hate and anger…..I hear it’s good for your health.

          • channelclemente

            IMO, you read these guys wrong. Although their comments are cloaked in derision and disrespect for another’s situation, that’s not the real purpose of their comments. This is a powerful, fact full, emotional story that will resonate with many. It demonstrates the consequences of the ‘Texas Plan’ for healthcare and from the reaction I’ve gotten posting it as almost a rebuttal or demonstration case for the national GOP view of healthcare, they recognize its power. It occasionally provokes a firestorm of this kind of negative dismissal because its effectiveness simply scares some opponents because it frightens them….a lot.

          • Mike Howle

            Thank you channelclemente. I appreciate your comment.

          • Charlie golf

            And what part of “we have no caste system in the USA” do you not get? If you are “working poor” and don’t want to be, fix it! Get an education, learn a trade, do something! The safety nets that are in place were designed to catch those who CAN NOT alter their personal circumstances, not for those who WILL NOT.

            Corporate welfare? Against. Government waste? I despise it. Corporate predators? You’re getting kind of shaky here. Oil speculators? Now you’re off the deep end. And who exactly is the easy target? I’ve never seen picketers protesting a soup line. I have seen plenty of people protesting businesses.

          • Perso Nasplit

            you mean the corporate welfare that the left is mandating the people pay for???? the no bid contracts under obama? the “free phones” and “free healthcare” that the taxpayers(hard workers, some no longer making a living wage because of those taxes) are footing the bill for, while the profits arent going to the poor, but to the ultra-rich friends of the current regime? the lobbyists that create the laws that are supported by the fanatical left in the name of “fairness” and “justice” that are keeping you in chains you dont even see? you think this healthcare sham is about helping people? WAKE UP! Follow the money! Look who is getting rich when the money of the middle class is being funneled through the poor to the elite ruling class. working poor my ass. working slaves! go ahead and believe your helping people by mandating the rich pay their “fair share” and give a “living wage”. your prices will go up, and the rich wont pay a dime more in taxes. the small businesses wil. the middle class will.

          • Poppy Thompson

            So everyone gets a skill, and gets well paid high-skill jobs. Who serves your food, collects your trash, cleans the street, drives the buses. Who works the gas stations, who serves you in the store? Who builds ‘American’ items, who harvests the fields……These people work minimum wage jobs, and CAN’T AFFORD HEALTHCARE. Your advice is to get a better job, but you NEED these people to keep a society running. Keep the workforce fed, sheltered and healthy, and you’ll have a happy workforce.

    • channelclemente

      I suspect you’ll die alone.

    • martiac

      Be grateful that you have a job and are able to be responsible for yourself. There are those in our society who quite simply are not so lucky, no matter how much they want to be, or how much effort they put into getting there. It’s not an easy thing to learn about, thought, unfortunately. So many people who do have a decent job and live in a middle class neighborhood don’t realize how bad it is, because no one in their immediate circle of relationships has to deal with it directly.

      • brando55

        Assuming it is just a matter of luck, what are we going to do, stand next to the dude buying a scratch ticket, and buy him a new one if he loses? Shit happens

        • martiac

          The analogy of everyone out there who is worse off that ourselves as gambling just doesn’t work.

      • Kenny Powers

        negative, you reap what you sow. if you keep applying yourself eventually you will be able to make money and have a decent life.

        i don’t understand your comments about “middle class and not understanding how bad it is”…. I am from the concrete jungle where animals run wild and murder each other for shoes.

        Be grateful to whom????

        • martiac

          Wherever you send your gratitude — God, the Universe, whatever name you use for where your blessings come from.

          It sounds so simple when put that way — if you apply yourself, you will eventually be able to make money & have a decent life. Sounds logical, and reasonable. It just doesn’t always happen that way in this life, though.

          • Kenny Powers

            “t just doesn’t always happen that way in this life, though.” this is because of the failure to keep trying. it is easy to go on the hand out plantation. Much easier to collect a check and food benefits and housing benefits than it is to work for these things.

          • martiac

            I disagree. It is much easier to work (when you can find it) and be productive than not. In fact, I don’t know anyone who would rather be given food and housing than work. Failure to keep trying may be related to the epidemic of depression in this country (and probably around the world) right now.

          • Kenny Powers

            i operate a small business and I am ALWAYS hiring. pay is 20-45k per year depending on p0osition. I have offered people at the HHS office jobs and they refuse as they “would lose their benefits”.

            so i respectfully but firmly;y disagree it is very easy for most people to take a perpetual bailout. We have a saftey net that people get tangled in as opposed to a safety trampoline that sends people back into productive society. The truth is the gubberment wants us impoverished and on the plantation.

          • martiac

            Thank you. I do understand a little better now where you are coming from.

            I am coming from the opposite end of that spectrum — our adult son is disabled, because he has bipolar disorder. At first, we used to think that he would be able to get off disability. When he’s between manic episodes, there seems to be hope for a while. But, this disease doesn’t go away, it comes back. So, if he was off disability (and consequently medicare) when he had another episode, his only option would be to go back into the county hospital system, which can’t even admit him unless he’s seriously “a danger to himself or others.”

            So, he can’t get the immediate help that he needs when he feels an episode coming on. We are trying a different private facility each time now, because the last two times, each hospital took him off his regular meds and put him on a totally new drug (none of them ever communicate with his regular physician, no matter what I tell them), which each time only made him more manic. Then, they discharged him after 10 days, because that’s all medicare would allow (this was before the recent change, so hopefully they will be able to keep him longer in the future, until he stabilizes on medication).

            This gives me understanding why many people don’t want to ‘lose their benefits’. I’m sure there are many people out there who have problems somehow similar to ours. If everyone in our country had equal access to health care, there would not be this problem. We wouldn’t have to be afraid what would happen if he lost his benefits. As it is, it’s already devastating every time he has a manic episode.

            I don’t know if I can explain it well enough for you to understand, even a tiny bit, but I am trained as an RN, who used to work in the psych unit in Charity Hospital in New Orleans, back in the 70’s. In short, it comes naturally to me to do what Rachael does with her patients — call, fax, email, whatever it takes, to get a response to help someone when they need help I am unable to give. Our son is fiercely independent, and absolutely hates it to have to depend on anyone, including us for anything. He does not want me to make phone calls to the different agencies to try to cut through some of the bureaucracy. All he wants is a job so he can be independent. All I want to do is help him be independent, believe me! This is quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life to see him suffer day after day and not be able to help him.

          • Kenny Powers

            look the government designs these systems too trap people. Being on the dole keeps you under control. When situations like you describe in this comment are tragic. Vaccinations GmO foods and additives in the water supply fuel these disorders in human population. Your son needs to get a job making money from the internet. it can be done.

          • martiac

            This is a very complicated issue, and compassion needs to come first when considering those who are caught up in a broken system. Human compassion is always needed.

  • ali927

    The same is happening in Pennsylvania, Republican governor Tom Corbett refused federal funds to expand Medicaid.

  • jamescrackscorn

    If two silver tongued devils say so then it must be true…give me some ER medicines!

  • Catch22af

    The first guy that called you doctor was showing symptoms of Hep C right?

    • JJ Marks

      Wait, is this Dr. Frist posting? (The congressman who diagnosed Terri Schiavo without examining her.)

  • Catch22af

    Are people so stupid? If your condition requires emergency care, the disease or condition have reached a point where you’re risking serious long term damage or death. How is that cheaper than preventive care if you have health insurance?

  • Charlie golf

    ” Gov. Rick Perry rejected billions of dollars in federal funding to expand Medicaid…” The author fails to mention that this money only lasts for 3 years, and then Texas has to start picking up an increasing
    percentage of the tab every year after that. Texas spent $9.5 billion dollars in FY2011 on Medicaid which was roughly 33% of our budget. Also important to note is that the author is a MD/PhD student and has not yet been jaded by the hordes of Medicaid patients who demand a prescription for everything because, as a patient once told me, “it’s free”. I’m not trying to make a blanket statement but more often than not I see Medicaid patients who will figuratively wave their ID card around as though it were the ID card from a privately purchased insurance policy. The author points to some tragic examples of patients who could not be helped by a free clinic, but what about the countless number of patients who were helped?

    “..assume the posture of gratefulness that charity seems to require.” Yes charity requires a “posture of gratefulness” on behalf of the recipient. When would it not? There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    Those elected to Congress are very skilled at what they do…writing legislation. I mean that in the literal sense of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s of the legislation. They are not skilled at knowing what is in MY best interest or yours, and yet they continue to overlay their designs on my life and claim “it’s for the good of the people”. They continue in their efforts to break this society down into the lowest common denominator in their pursuit of “equality” (which in reality should be called egality because they seek equality of outcomes rather than of opportunities) instead of not hindering each individual to build him/herself up to the greatest common factor.

    • channelclemente

      Texas would ultimately pick up 10-15% of the cost. Besides, isn’t government in Texas duty bound to offer it citizens access to healthcare. I know the physicians at the Texas Medical Center and the hospitals are coming unhinged over the situation Perry has created for them.

      • Charlie golf

        I did a quick search through the Texas Constitution and couldn’t find anything to the effect of “Texas must offer it’s citizens access to healthcare”.

        • channelclemente

          Actually, the question is broached, in part, under Title 2, Subtitle C, Chapter 61 of the Texas Safety Code under the provisions expected in the performance of a Public Hospitals. I would stipulate to it’s inadequate breadth as expressed, but it’s clear what the intention of the State authority is, to assure and manage the deliver of adequate healthcare.

          • Charlie golf

            Your citation is titled “The Indigent Health Care and Treatment Act”. This legislation defines indigency (in the context of being able to pay for medical services) and establishes a way that Texas counties can bill the state for providing medical care to its indigent population. In addition to Medicaid this is yet another safety net that helps to prevent those who are truly sick and truly unable to pay for medical services from going without. So, I beg to differ with you as I don’t see how the intent of this legislation is to “assure and manage the delivery of adequate healthcare”.

          • channelclemente

            You would agree, no matter what the context, the State of Texas recognizes ‘basic health services’ as a contingent requirement of health care, otherwise what standards are there to enforce.

          • Charlie golf

            I’m not following. Really, I’m not trying to be dense here or get too in the weeds. I want to make sure I understand what you are asking me.

          • channelclemente

            Simply that the Sovereign State of Texas, such as it is, recognizes that health care and basic health services are a requirement. You can’t have a law governing the delivery of something that doesn’t exist.

          • Charlie golf

            If you’re trying to get me to agree to some kind of statement to the effect of “healthcare is a right” I won’t. The law that you cited pertains specifically to indigent care in Texas.

            Sec. 61.028. BASIC HEALTH CARE SERVICES enumerates what services are considered “basic health care services” for the purpose if indigent care. This legislation ONLY applies to those in Texas who meet the eligibility criteria as an indigent.

          • channelclemente

            Perish the thought. Perhaps it’s not an explicit ‘right’, but Texas government recognizes it as a property of societal activity for which it is responsible. In any case, the individuals above are indigent by most definitions of the word. So ‘indigents’ would seem to have a right to health care.

          • Charlie golf

            Health care is not a right, explicit or implicit. No one has a “right” to receive health care, including indigents. If it were a right then there would be doctors, nurses, technicians who would all meet the definition of being a slave. Health insurance, or “coverage” is not a right either. The legislation you cite does not guarantee anything as a right.

          • channelclemente

            Physicians would meet the tenants of the Hippocratic oath. When one pursues life, I think the implicit part of that is health when it threatens life. But on one level you are right, civil society isn’t guaranteed, but then all those Constitutional rights evaporate as well.

          • JJ Marks

            Are teachers, fire fighters, police – those who provide essential social services that we are all taxed for – slaves? In a just society, health care is a right.

          • Charlie golf

            Let’s look at your examples: The first example you gave was that of a teacher. I will assume you are talking about a public school teacher. Is education a right? Well, can an adult walk into a 6th grade classroom and demand to be taught? No. Can a parent take their child to any public school within their town and enroll their child? Not that I’m aware of. Can you walk into any college/university and demand to enroll in a semester of basket weaving? I don’t think so. The second and third examples are both what I would call “emergency personnel”. These people provide public services, not social services. They provide these services whether or not you contribute to the tax base from which they are paid. Have you ever gone on vacation in another state and needed police or EMS assistance?

            In a just society EVERYONE provides for their own needs as best they can. Asking for help is okay, but demanding that the government compel someone else to subsidize your needs is WRONG.

          • irrefudiate

            You keep referring to Medicaid as if you think working people in Texas can qualify for Medicaid. They cannot.

          • Charlie golf

            As far as “RESPONSIBILITY OF GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY” goes:

            “Governmental entity” includes a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state, but does not include a hospital district or hospital authority.
            This definition covers only those hospitals that are not privately owned and the particular part that you quoted does not mandate who should receive those “basic health care services”.

          • JJ Marks

            Rick Perry considers basic health care service to be access to ERs, which even the least medically knowledgeable of us knows is inefficient and inadequate for treating common and chronic conditions.

    • mechler

      You’re not wrong. Yet I wonder, how does someone reconcile a position such as yours and a reality where people die of treatable diseases?

      • Charlie golf

        Everyone dies of something. I will. You will. Everyone who ever reads these words will. It sounds callous but is nonetheless true. If someone dies due to a treatable illness, why was it not treated? If it wasn’t treated because of a lack of income or insurance, why wasn’t the person on Medicaid? If it was because the person fell into a “gap”, what steps did the person take to get out of that “gap”? Could the person have prevented this treatable illness? There are so many variables embedded in your question that a clear and concise answer here is not possible. Needless to say, I believe that far more people will suffer and die due to our government’s “takeover” of the health care system than have or would have died without the ACA.

        • irrefudiate

          Your solutions are rather callous to suggest that a person who cannot afford private insurance in Texas has the option of quitting his job in order to qualify for Medicaid, or, and this is the GOP’s preferred option, just don’t get sick.

          • Charlie golf

            There is always an option. One may not like the choices but an option always exists. What would you do? What is your life worth to you? If I were in that situation I certainly would quit my job.

        • martiac

          This sounds like rationalization instead of reconcilng (which means to bring into agreement or harmony).

          • Charlie golf

            It was neither a rationalization nor a reconciliation. I simply stated the fact that life ends at some point. I am not arguing that the “working poor” should go without any kind of medical insurance. My argument is that redistribution of wealth (in this case, redistribution of health) is wrong…it is theft.

          • martiac

            Well, the question was to reconcile two positions.

            It is theft for those who are powerful to use to their advantage the system that collects taxes from everyone, in order to amass personal wealth, and then expect to keep it all for themselves and their family without paying back into the system.

          • Charlie golf

            My answer was, “There are so many variables embedded in your question that a clear and concise answer here is not possible.” That is to say (in my opinion) Melcher was wanting me to make a moral equivalency as to how much a death due to a preventable illness was worth.

    • Michael Napoli

      Thank you for a voice of sense and reason. The “it’s free” mentality and illusion spreads like a disease. In the end, we all pay and resources must be allocated at some point.

    • irrefudiate

      Up to 10%, Dr. Golf, the state has to pick up the tab all the way to 10% of the federal dollars that are spent in the Medicaid expansion program. You didn’t comment on the article’s statement that county hospitals do not actually treat uninsured people. Nor did you comment on the fact that working poor people in Texas get no Medicaid at all unless they are destitute.

  • Kim Triolo Feil

    Thank you for this story-my husband just went through a years worth of cancer treatment and just the $10,000 out of pocket/deductable wrecked havoc on our finances and the endless doctor visits with the $60 copay adds up. Tomorrow the PET scan to see if the chemo/radiation did its magic happens….next month is a new insurance calendar year ….the saddest part is that all the Texas refining and fracking near us and making others rich is probably what is making us so sick-yes we live in Arlington where there are 60 padsites in a 99 sq mile area.

  • carroll herzog

    The timing of Christmas will delay many from signing up, the healthy young will not sign up just like they don’t enroll in 401k. The insurance companies are crying because they will loose money, they won’t loose money they might just not make as much. Doing the right thing in this country has become a bad idea. Affordable Health Care should not be this complicated, confusing and compromising. The law could have been great if both parties could have been heard. Affordable Health Care will end up right where it started, in lap the lap of President Clinton no.2.

  • kidsandliz

    Rachel – I am so sorry people’s posts are hijacking your moving article with stupidity and ACA related arguments. Articles like yours show people two things (1) lots of people go into medicine for the right reasons and (2) we are a long ways off from figuring out how to meet the health care needs in this country.

    I follow a cancer blog (called sunset rounds), that is written by an oncologist who clearly treats the whole person, not the disease, and takes the time to really try to meet the needs of his patients. Fortunately he also trains medical students… It sounds like the two of you are peas in the same pods with your caring and concern.

  • Quinx

    All it takes to provide affordable healthcare for all is for doctors, nurses, drug makers, equipment makers, and insurance companies to be happy working for minimum wage.

    • John Gallstone

      Someone tells you tragic stories of REAL people, and all you can come up with is a snarky soundbite. Have you considered a career in politics?

      • Quinx

        Everybody dies.

    • channelclemente

      That is the voice of well tutored ignorance. You have no idea what you are talking about.

      • Quinx

        I lived for more than 20 years in the UK. I know New Zealand, Canada, and the EU pretty well. I know how ‘socialized’ medicine in those countries works. Do you?

        • channelclemente

          Well then you know precisely what kind of feathers you’re stuffed with. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

          http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/how-much-do-doctors-in-other-countries-make/

          • Quinx

            You do know all those systems are failing, too, as a result of exponentially growing costs, don’t you? They just conceal the problem by raising taxes and reducing service.

          • channelclemente

            No they aren’t. There are no power functions in healthcare cost growth.

          • Quinx

            Just wait until you get your next insurance bill.

          • channelclemente

            Actually, under Obamacare, I would make out like a bandit. Almost 70-80% of the people who signup will in my estimation/calculations. Under the current system, I’m uninsurable. The sad story is the complete clusterf**k states like Texas are being made into.

          • Quinx

            “IF” you can sign up, don’t expect those initial teaser rates to last longer than it takes the ink to dry.

          • channelclemente

            Why would you try and inject uncertainty into what is a life or death situation for many people. Trying to cultivate a sense of schadenfreude on the potential problems/uncertainties of others is ghoulish at best, and sick at worst. You have no idea whatsoever how any of this will play out, and if you were honest, you’d admit it.

          • Quinx

            No, I don’t know how it will play out, but having worked for government, and having lived on Planet Earth for over 60 years, I have seen enough scenarios to bet that it will turn out far worse and far more costly than even the most negative projections.

          • channelclemente

            Having similar experience, I’m not nearly as sanguine as you. I feel it has a very good chance of normalizing and rendering sane a marketplace that has been ruled by insurance company deceit and collusion for decades. To me, that is a rousing success.

          • Quinx

            ‘cos there’s only $65 billion a year in Medicare and Medicaid fraud?

          • channelclemente

            The fraud rate in Medicare is less than 5%, that is simply excellent. The fraud rate in the private insurance market, on the part of the insurers, is nearly 100%. That’s what led the Consumer Report to create the term ‘junk insurance’. I was most concerned by the error rate in Medicare, which was near 8-10% for years, but has dropped ~50% over the last 4-5 years. I don’t object to any system being policed and monitored. Private insurance programs should submit to the same standards. What the Frist family did at Humana should have gotten the whole bunch tossed in jail, and not just fined.

          • Charlie golf

            “The fraud rate in Medicare is less than 5%” You left out the word “detected”. Even if we agreed to your number of 5%, that’s just the fraud what was caught. Donald Berwick (former head of CMS) published a paper(JAMA. 2012;307(14):1513-1516. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.362) that put the fraud estimate between 3 and 10 percent of total spending. That’s a lot of money.

          • channelclemente

            That is a lot of money, indeed. But most of that fraud dollar wise is on the part of vendors, not recipients of care. They, vendors, commit a much higher rate of fraud against private insurance than Medicare, I’ve heard. The fraud rate (3-10% as you suggest) is estimated for the whole market statistically.

            IMO, that level of dollar fraud, given the transaction rate is remarkably small.

          • bbcaaat

            You’re talking about retail health insurance, and I agree.

          • bbcaaat

            P.S. After reading more, Quinx believes what he/she is posting, I thought it was satire, but Quinx is that hostile to fellow humans.

          • Simon Delancey

            Here in the real world, the US healthcare system costs far more per head than any European Union system, but don’t let the facts get in the of your logic-free ranting, chuckles.

          • Quinx

            Well adding millions more heads may *seem* to make the numbers better, but Obamacare is not reducing any costs, just dumping a lot more of them on fewer taxpayers.

            US healthcare has problems but price isn’t one of them as long as people get what they pay for. Meanwhile, under those wonderful state systems in foreign lands, people pay, but they don’t get. Costly drugs and treatments are rationed or simply not available. Many preventative measures that require special equipment either have huge waiting lists or simply never happen.

            Here in the US, we’ve had Medicare and Medicaid since the Great Society days of Johnson back in the 60s. How well do you think they work, compared to private care. Or, how about the VA care for Veterans? http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/16/it-takes-about-one-year-for-dept-of-vete

            If there are problems with the US system, the cheapest, most effective approach is to fix those problems, not create a thousand new ones.

          • Simon Delancey

            You seem to be under the impression that these European states are like the old Soviet Union, with no alternative to the dreaded state health care! In reality, in all those “foreign lands” which have “wonderful state systems” PEOPLE ARE STILL FREE TO PURCHASE PRIVATE HEALTH CARE SHOULD THEY CHOOSE. Isn’t that astounding? They can purchase private health insurance, be treated in ritzy public clinics, and enjoy the very latest techniques – none of which, incidentally, costs nearly as much as US ones…. and meanwhile the paupers and penniless scum are receiving basic care free of charge and not wandering around infecting us regular citizens as they do in the Land of the Free!

            And of course Medicare and Medicaid don’t work well – they’re US bureaucracies and I am only too well aware that the US just can’t operate bureaucracies efficiently. Whether it’s due to incompetence or pork-barrelling or good old-fashioned corruption I have no idea.

          • Quinx

            Europeans are certainly free to by private healthcare, but they aren’t free to not pay for socialist medicine.

          • Simon Delancey

            Actually, they are. I won’t go into details – it should be blindingly obvious what I mean.

        • Poppy Thompson

          Please don’t tell lies about my country. UK GP’s and Doctors make a very very good wage, and do an extremely good job. US spending on healthcare per capita is massive compared to any socialised healthcare country, you already spend more than us, so how can socialized medicine cost you more?

          • Quinx

            It can cost your life. NICE.

          • Poppy Thompson

            Not in my country. I pay National Insurance, which covers me should any nasty ailment happen to me. Everyone in my country is entitled to free, basic healthcare. You have the option of privatised healthcare if you wish, and if you can afford it, which gives better facilities and quicker times. Do I begrudge paying for someone elses healthcare? No, because I’m a human and belong to a society, and keeping a society healthy is in everyone’s best interests. Just admit that you value money over human life, and you’ll finally be telling the truth.

          • Quinx
          • ssspitz

            According to your link, some 32,000 operations were cancelled in last 6 months. That’s a rate of about 64,000 per year.

            But according to NHS they COMPLETED some 9,750,000 operations in 2009/10. I would venture to suggest that cancellation of 64 thousand out of 9 3/4 million operations isn’t chaos.
            http://www.nhsconfed.org/priorities/political-engagement/Pages/NHS-statistics.aspx

            You might also wish to point out that life expectancy in the UK is 80.05 and in the US 78.37.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy#List_by_the_CIA_.282012.29

          • Quinx

            Fine, as long as it isn’t your operation that has been cancelled.

            As for average life expectancy: the UK doesn’t include Chicago, Baltimore, Memphis, New Orleans, and Houston in its surveys. US urban homicides tend to bring life-expectancy averages down a tad.

          • ssspitz

            Wow, you sure are reaching, aren’t you. There are about 16,300 homicides in the ENTIRE US along with some 2 1/2 million deaths from other causes.

            No, urban homicides don’t have any effect on life-expectancy nationwide.

        • Stella Baker

          Yes in the UK we have the NHS and we also have both the political right and the political left. It was Labour who came up with the NHS and our welfare state and it came into being when the Conservatives agreed that such a system was necessary to prevent people dying unnecessarily. Say what you like about our NHS but it still works and it’s still free to all plus it still remains a model for other healthcare systems in other countries in the world.

          • Quinx

            Total myth. Britain had a perfectly modern, efficient, reliable and affordable healthcare system before the rampaging socialists nationalized it. The stranglehold of political control has done nothing but degrade the quality of care for 60 years. Is it a model for the world? Yes, if you listen to representative of governments grown fat on bribing taxpayers with their own money. Does that model provide the best possible healthcare? No.

      • bbcaaat

        Quinx just offered the republican solution, he/she is spot on, that’s what they want.

  • martiac

    Thank you for your article. I am an RN, living in north TX, with an adult son who is bipolar. We own a small business, and have never been able to afford health insurance, so we have experienced the TX ‘health care’ over the years, with our 6 children. If the legislators had to use the public hospitals, the system would get the funding it needs!

    Our son was diagnosed 7 years ago. So far, the only place that has kept him long enough to stabilize him on medication was the state hospital in Wichita Falls. His illness has brought him to a place where he is going to get ‘training’ as a janitor next week. He has lost hope of ever going back to community college or hold any other kind of job. The private, for-profit hospitals that he is eligible to go to now that he has medicare only keep him for about 10 days when he gets manic. They typically change his medication, and put him on something new (which so far has not turned out to be anything that works for him), discharge him, and when we call them after a few days and tell them he is getting worse, they tell us they are full, have no beds, and he should go to the county hospital (which is unable to admit him unless he is ‘a danger to himself or others’). This cycle has repeated itself several times since he became eligible for medicare.
    He gets a little over $800 disability check every month, which means he does not qualify for medicaid (he needs to get less than $730 a month in TX to qualify), so he is sent bills for all the hospitals he’s needed to go to when he’s manic.
    There is no where to go to even tell his story to — the MHMR clinic he used to go to had someone who could help him with paperwork, but he had to quit going there when he got medicare because his MHMR doctor refused to take walk-ins, and sent him to the county hospital psych ER when he started going into a manic episode. They again, can’t admit him unless he’s a ‘danger to himself or others’ and after sitting there for hours to be seen, he’s usually sent away.

    It is so frustrating, when you have worked in the system, and know that there is real help possible and available, but the one who needs it is blocked at every turn from getting it!
    I keep watching, and hoping that someone will show us the way to get through to the help he needs, before he becomes just another statistic.

  • kidsandliz

    Not sure what happened to my original post (the one Kenny is trashing me about having cancer and having financial problems due to also having lost my job). But here it is again… And by the way, I would guess that many of the people in Rachel’s article are hard working people who got caught by life’s circumstances and then are struggling to survive. In my wildest dreams I never would have thought I was going to be facing the problems I am facing. I have worked my entire life, since 16 – earlier if you count babysitting and doing yard work. Fortunately there are people like Rachel who are trying to help. The world needs more people like her and fewer like Kenny, who apparently has a terminal case of bitterness and has had an empathy lobotomy.

    My original post…

    This is exactly the problem I will have in around 2 months. Unemployment compensation is gone. I have enough money for about 2 more months of rent and COBRA, my state (MS) did not expand medicaid either. As a result no subsidy for me and no health insurance when I run out of money.

    I confirmed with MD Anderson Cancer Center last week when I was there that they will no longer treat me when my money and insurance runs out (as it was it was a near thing paying enough of my past due bill for them to allow me to keep my apt). I am on my third cancer.

    The only choice I see that I have is to be homeless in a state that expanded medicaid that has a decent NIH cancer center that accepts medicaid. I doubt running a “go fund me” page will get me enough money to solve my problems. The people there who seem to get enough money are kids with cancer, people where bad things happened to them like accidents, terrorist attacks, the rare bus driver… rarely does it seem that those sites help the no name adult cancer patients who worked their entire life, don’t have a compelling enough story to go viral, and have hit hard times.

    Those mostly Republican governors who run on family, christian values seem to have forgotten what the new testament says about helping the poor. What happened to me, a highly educated hard working adult, can happen to anyone. No one counts on getting 3 cancers in a short period of time. Add some school loans to that and no job in a state that pays the second lowest in the nation with unemployment compensation and it is a recipe for financial disaster. At the beginning of the cancer disaster my house finally sold short after 35 months on the market with me living 2500 miles away (no the deficiency was not excused), my car is almost 24 years old and falling apart… But of course to the governor of my state and the 24 other states where medicaid was not expanded, my life has no value; that I will have no health care irrelevant to them… because I am not someone who counts anymore since I became poor.

    • brando55

      If you’ve received healthcare for 2 cancers it sounds like you’ve gotten you’re fair share. And you’ll probably still get more, while there are kids with their whole lives ahead of them getting marginal treatment, and doctors abandoning their patients because they aren’t getting enough compensation

      • channelclemente

        Enough compensation? What in the heck does that mean.

      • kidsandliz

        Really? And how would me, not getting care (which by the way I pay for as I paid for health insurance while employed and now am paying for COBRA, and eventually I will have paid my bill in full because I don’t stiff people) cause doctors not to abandon other their other patients because of low compensation? I don’t see that the two are related.

        If a doctor thinks that my insurance reimburses at a rate that is not acceptable then that doctor can drop my health insurance. Actually by getting my cancers treated my doctors make money (chemo is a profit center compared to office visits) which allows them to do charity work or accept lower reimbursement for patients who aren’t as lucky to have good insurance, like mine currently is. You might want to check your logic.

      • ssspitz

        “If you’ve received healthcare for 2 cancers it sounds like you’ve gotten you’re fair share.”

        I guess the unstated part of your post is “So, shut up and die”?

  • Bob Smith

    Hi bleeding heart liberals, here is a check on reality:
    Your right to life doesn’t extend to free healthcare. You can’t go to a restaurant and demand free food when you are hungry, you can’t go to a hotel and demand free stay when you need a place to crush, and you can’t go to a hospital and demand free healthcare. Access to healthcare is different than free care for all. Everyone is welcomed to the ER. If you bought insurance, that will help defer the cost. If you CHOOSE to not buy healthcare, that should be up to you, and you can pay out of pocket. If you need emergent medical care, you will be given that care regardless of ability to pay, and you will be charged afterward in the form of a bill, for which you can either use your insurance or saving, depends on which route you take.
    The first law of economics is scarcity and supply and demand. Let me make this clear. There is not enough of anything for everyone to their heart’s content. That fancy $20000 a pop chemotherapy takes 20 years to develop, 20 years to go thru clinical trial, thank to your the over-regulation of our faithful FDA. Should they give it out for free cuz you think you need it? Who should pay the chemist that spend 20 years of their career developing it? The millions of dollars to bring it to clinical trial and meet regulation?
    Equality refers to equal opportunity, not equal in outcome. If you are not happy with your job or healthcare coverage, consider go back to school, learn a life skill, take on a second job. Just because you need dental care doesn’t mean someone is obligated to pay it for you. We are all responsible for our own choices in life, and we should deal with the consequences of that, whatever it may be. That is the essence of FREEDOM. If you prefer a nanny state and socialist society, perhaps America is not the best place for you.
    I am sick and tired of smokers think they deserve free lung transplant, alcoholics think they deserve free liver transplant, and type II diabetics think they deserve free insulin. Someone has to donate and harvest the organ, develop the drug, produce and transport it, and should people who do that get paid? Who should pay for them? Government? Where does government get $? Taxpayers. So do you want your tax dollars go up? No? Let’s only tax the rich people? How dare they be successful and live a better life than me?
    Last thought. Go to your local ER and see how many people show up with a fake name, give a fake address, get care for totally non-emergent medical conditions. Wonder why that aspirin you take in the ED cost $37? Well, you paid 50 cents for the pill, 20 dollars to the medical malpractice lawyers, and the rest to cover all the John Does in “sickle cell crisis” and need their narcotics.
    Please, stop blaming other people for your own problem. I will help who I can with my ability, but I sure as hell should not be OBLIGATED to pay for your free narcotics.

    • channelclemente

      To your points about the cost of drug development, please, that isn’t and never has been true. Drug companies spend considerably more on advertising on TV than they do on drug development. Secondly most of big Pharma’s drug pipeline is bought off of startup and small company discoveries, not their own efforts. They are just awful at drug discovery. Yes, FDA can be frustrating, in my experience, but I for one, don’t want another thalidomide happening because someone rushes to market for a buck. Especially given the sorry record of the healthcare system we have had historically taking care of people who endure those mistakes.

    • Vintage59

      Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…let the children die…blah, blah…why should old people still get food…blah, blah, blah, blah…

      • littleleers

        Children are dying….abortion, my friend, abortion…Do you care? What of babies tossed into garbage bins or left behind in plastic garbage bags?

        • bbcaaat

          We need easy access to both sex education and birth control.

          • SWalkerTTU

            Unfortunately it’s too late for Littleleers’ parents.

        • TiffanyinTexas

          Yeah, Fetus worship allows the Christians to focus on something other than the poor. Easier to hold a sign telling women they are murderers than give up your double latte so someone’s loved child or mother or father doesn’t die.

    • bbcaaat

      I bet you’re a practicing Christian. Let me guess …. Baptist or some born again church?

    • OldTulsan

      Nobody said healthcare was free.

      “Suffering teaches compassion. may you have a chance to learn” — unknown

    • Stella Baker

      So healthcare is a choice to you and not a necessity? So this means you schedule all your illnesses within your annual leave right?

      • Charlie golf

        “Healthcare” isn’t a choice, it’s a “thing”. Health insurance is a choice. You can choose to buy or not. You can choose (or at least you could) to buy as much or as little as you want.

        • Stella Baker

          Anything can be a ‘thing’ if you choose to define it as such.

          • Charlie golf

            Sure, but these words already have definitions. One goes to the doctor for “healthcare”. One can choose to obtain some type of health insurance beforehand.

    • chairman_kaga

      Thus spake Lord Jesus.

    • ocschwar

      Hello, dummy. Maybe you didn’t notice, but nobody’s talking about a “right” to healthcare in the article. Or in the comments, so far as I can see. Texas has the option of finding money to pay for these people’s healthcare without calling it a “right.” All they have to do is cut a few highway-to-nowhere projects in the Houston area. Freeways cost a billion dollars per mile. Just one project cancellation would cover all the medical needs ot Texas’s working poor.

  • Christopher Bedford

    Dear America

    Please join the civilized word by providing public health care for your people. Come on your current system is just embarrassing, how can you pretend to be an example for less developed countries when you let your people die for some pretty stupid reasons.

    • littleleers

      There is NO reason to destroy an entire health care structure for those who fall through the cracks. Guess what? How about fixing the cracks, instead of tearing down the ‘entire house’. I am an RN and totally agree that there are cracks and that those should have been repaired over a decade ago.

      But now we are faced with the ACA which, if it isn’t revised or repealed will ALSO bring death to a different group of people…those who are priced out of the premium (but make too much for a subsidy) or those who lose their doctors due to their policy being cancelled…in the midst of cancer treatment.

      FIxes need to be made. But a total destruction and poor to mediocre rebuild. NO.

      • Daniel

        I’m betting littleleers would not be so heartless if someone he/she knew was “slipping through the cracks.” ONE unnecessary death is not acceptable in a country as rich as the USA. I’m willing to raise taxes as high as possible to make sure these problems NEVER happen.

        • Charlie golf

          So, if I understand you correctly…you’re willing to give up 100% of any income that you have or will receive in order to “make sure these problems NEVER happen”?

          • Daniel

            Absolutely. If you could guarantee me an end to poverty for all, I would pay 100% in taxes. It’s the only position a Christian can really have.

          • Charlie golf

            That’s an interesting response. If everyone else in the US did the same thing the poverty rate would be 100% and our country would look more like North Korea. I believe it isn’t possible to take care of someone else if you can’t take care of yourself first.

          • Daniel

            Well children don’t pull their own weight. Obviously there are some exceptions in your mind.

  • aihfl

    Dear Texans, please secede

    • bbcaaat

      Let me out first and … I want to sell our houses for something at least close to their present value. If Texas secedes, real estate will become worthless.

  • channelclemente

    Astoundingly, the GOP has never seen a parade they wouldn’t jump in front of.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/10-republicans-who-cheered-on-batkid-want-to-revoke-his-obamacare-20131116

  • 1mikejanz1

    In all my years of dealing with hospitals, I have never seen anyone declined treatment!

    • kidsandliz

      Unfortunately some hospitals do that. MD Anderson is one of them unfortunately, While they have some charity assistance for in state patients, they don’t have any for out of state patients. Even then their in state assistance isn’t nearly enough to meet the need. In addition patients who get too far behind in their bills have treatment cut off. Others with no insurance they will not start treatment unless you pay a certain percentage of what they anticipate you owe up front.

      If they are part of the group of hospitals that are required to give emergency care to stabilize someone, they are still not required to admit them once they are stable or continue treatment. That being said, some hospitals do continue treatment, others do not.

    • channelclemente

      No, they moved them from Methodist or Saint Luke’s over to Ben Taub. I watched a guy die one time while the ‘admitting physician’ tried to find someplace to send him as he had a coronary, then refused to pronounce him. The admitting physician at Ben Taub was forced to pronounce as he came out of the ambulance after a 3-4 block ride.

    • colibri1

      As the author says, the hospitals don’t completely deny treatment. They do just enough to get them back out the door and transferred to a different facility.

  • Dan Bunn

    “Texas’ Other Death Penalty”….
    Living anywhere outside of Austin…

  • debbieqd

    And, Rick Perry would like the entire country to be like this. God help us. Thank you for writing such a touching and heartrending article. We must keep the good fight going. We must fight harder. These are our fellows, our American brothers and sisters. We cannot allow this to happen to them.

    • Serai 1

      “God help us.”

      Not Perry’s god, I hope.

      • debbieqd

        LOL. No, let’s pick the god that loves and cares about all the people He made.

  • Chris Herz

    American health care at its finest. There are too many poor we need to let them die off.

  • headjones

    Charles Krauthammer recently remarked that conservatives think that liberals are stupid and liberals think that conservatives are evil. I’m not sure that the second part of that assertion is incorrect.

    • Serai 1

      Conservatives think anyone who isn’t greedy, selfish, and hard-hearted is “stupid”.

  • MG

    thanks for writing. I just got our letters asking for our UTMB alumna donations. I think I will decline and send the money that I normally sent to the alumna assocation to St. Vincents instead. I remember the frustration of feeling like we couldn’t do much, but at least that was back in the day when we could often get patients the charity care at UTMB. I have to say that I no longer practice in Texas as I could not stand to see working taxpayers dying needlessly daily.

  • lkharter

    Know who represents Galveston, Gilchrist?.. take a wild guess…. Ole’ Goober Gohmert…Texas will tire of seeing their own die.. and Texas will turn. Texas.. Blue in ’22 !!

    • OldTulsan

      Al Green is my representative.

      I live in Fort Bend County.

  • Aaron Goldblatt

    honestly, it would be quicker and cheaper if we simply rounded up poor people in texas, loaded them onto barges, and dump them into the gulf. it would achieve exactly the same thing as existing texas public policy, but it would be a lot quicker for all concerned.

    • colibri1

      There are Republicans and Libertarians throughout the US, not just in Texas, who will actually say that they’d like the poor to just die. And they’re working hard on it.

  • Sheryll

    Rachel,
    I started reading this on the Huffington Post. I was about to click off when I noticed a reference to ‘Obamacare’. I scanned and found three or more statements that IF Obamacare had been in force and IF Rick Perry hadn’t turned down funds for Medicare (check the name) your clinic might be actually able to get your patients proper tests and treatment and your clinic would had been able to save many people’s lives.

    Your piece is too long for effectiveness. Your points are getting Obamacare (ACA) and getting a governor who will not block medical care for all. Or convincing the one you have to do right. These points need to be at the front of the article, in the first one or two paragraphs. I almost signed off before seeing them. If me, many others. You are in the desperate thick of it, and want everyone to know what you know, all the unnecessarily dead patients. So how to prevent more of that? Say what you know, how you can get enough money and supplies. THEN back it up with facts.

    Good luck!

    • WhoIsMyNeighbor

      I thought the decision to humanize a complex issue works effectively here. It is long, but not as long as death. I agree it is much more a Sunday morning read than a Wednesday one, but that is an editorial decision, not the writer’s decision.

      And this is a personal reflection on an obscene set of policy priorities. Shame is probably the only healthy first response to obscenity. The policy changes are left to the reader.

      I am always impressed when a professional in non-writing field writes as compellingly as Dr. Pearson did. I am glad I read this.

  • Al F

    Thank you, Rachel, for a compelling and accurate view of the sad state of the health care industry, particularly in Texas. I say “industry”, rather than “system”, because there is no “system” just a bunch of independent operators, most of which are for fee entities. It’s a societal problem, Rachel, not just a political one. Until the “Bill of Rights” sees basic and comprehensive medical care as a basic human right, something the rest of the industrial world holds true, the needless suffering will continue.

  • Jack Fried

    STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!
    Hardly any of this has anything at all to do with this article. What is wrong with you people??
    Maybe 1% of these comments are reasonable or hear felt.

  • micster50

    Perry has turned Texas into a third world country. Wendy Davis is going to have her hands full cleaning up his mess.

    Thanks Dr. Pearson for this story.

  • Jenaren

    This is a wonderful piece. Thank you!
    I really don’t think if we’re the author I would appreciate the some of the comments below.
    The topic is healthcare; let’s stay on topic and quit with the tangents.

  • Jenaren

    Great article. The article is about healthcare NOT the military. Stay on topic.

    • colibri1

      No one’s talking about the military, though I wish they would.

  • Joseph Sacramento

    Why do Texans vote for republicans who in turn destroy safety nets? It makes no sense

    • martiac

      It’s called ‘gerrymandering’.

  • John Carter

    if you live in Texas you deserve what you get. Move

    • compguy83

      So, you think the people that can’t afford health care can somehow afford to *move*?

      That’s some genius-level reasoning right there.

    • ajzjmsmom

      If only it were so easy, but if someone can’t afford health insurance, how in the world do you think they are going to afford to move?

    • colibri1

      Hey, that’s the kind of thing I heard callous white Americans say when thousands of Blacks were killed during Hurricane Katrina because rescuers wouldn’t attend to them.

      And as another commenter says here, moving isn’t so easy when you have no money. And it isn’t always a case of lack of money. I am a Texan who, even when I had money and wanted to move (out of the country), I didn’t because I was worried about family members who were in no position to leave and had lots of problems that they needed help with. I even learned Spanish so I’d be able to move to one of the many progressive Latin American countries that provide free health care and have more caring people generally than the US does. Yet, I didn’t because of concern for my loved one, and now I can’t because of depleted funds and little chance of them being replenished, partially because of the kinds of medical criminality described in this article.

      Your comment reveals you to be very American in your thinking, so you probably won’t understand anything I’ve written, but hopefully some of the other commenters can understand.

  • WesleyV

    Excellent written article. Thanks

  • dcordell

    When are the American people going to figure out that the 1% not only doesn’t care about them, they would be just as happy if we died.

    America is owned and run by psychopaths. Which is why it has become a moral sewer.

  • Melinda Robinson

    I live in Texas. My husband and I used to own a fairly successful small web and tech solutions company but sometimes, people become disabled through no fault of their own (like my husband did). Combine that with an economy teetering on the precipice, and you have a recipe for business killing. Suddenly without a source of income, and me unable to find a job in the struggling business climate, we found ourselves in need of public assistance. We applied for food stamps and got Medicaid for our son and daughter, both teenagers.

    Not long after this, my daughter graduated from high school. She planned to take a year off in between high school and college… to work, save up for a car and college, and to grow up a little. She’d been seeing the doctor for a stubborn infection that had her lymph nodes swollen but hadn’t had any health problems whatsoever otherwise; she was active in marching band and concert band and always on the go.

    The lymph node under her left arm grew quite large. She went back to the doctor, who prescribed more antibiotics. The swelling seemed to go down, but a few weeks later the node was large again so back to the doctor she went. Different antibiotics. And soon, she was sent for a biopsy. But the day before her appointment, the surgeon’s nurse called and said he doctor hadn’t done the right paperwork for a referral, so they wouldn’t be able to see my daughter. After a brief conversation, the nurse told me it was probably cat scratch fever and that the doctor would be able to prescribe the right meds now. When they didn’t work, either, the doctor wanted to send her for a biopsy again–and promised to do the paperwork this time–but her Medicaid was expiring before they could get her in for the procedure and we didn’t have any way to cover such a thing.

    My daughter turned 19 and on that day, her Medicaid coverage was cancelled. She was an adult now in the eyes of the state, and no longer eligible.

    About 5 weeks after her birthday, she was admitted to the hospital. She’d been to the ER three times that week; she was extremely ill, unable to keep anything down and in excruciating abdominal pain. They only admitted her on the third visit because she was so dehydrated that she would have been dead within 24 hours had they not done something.

    Two weeks after, the diagnosis confirmed what I’d discovered in my recent relentless research — Stage 3 anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Cancer of the lymphatic system. Very bad, extremely aggressive, rather advanced cancer.

    The story gets a little complicated here. We were sent to the local county hospital for care, but the problem was the hospital has a frightening history of wrongful death, patient neglect, etc., and is literally always under investigation for one thing or another. They botched her care so badly that when the lymphoma went refractory for the second time and moved into her central nervous system, every single one of their three tests to see what was wrong (headaches, incoherence, weakness were among the symptoms) came back clean… and the oncologist refused to listen to me when I told her I knew something bad was wrong. “It’s the meds!” she yelled at me. “The tests are clean; it’s the side effects of the meds.” All this when, as we found out a mere few days later after a series of mini-strokes and my daughter going catatonic, 80% of her spinal fluid was malignant cells.

    Long story just a little shorter, I lost my daughter just 7 months after she’d been diagnosed. She could have been diagnosed sooner. She could have had better care. She would probably still be here today if she’d had Medicaid.

    An older friend of mine in England had the same cancer as my baby girl. He told me once that he was glad he lived in England, because if he’d lived in America he surely would have did. A 66-year-old heavy drinker who admittedly lived an unhealthy lifestyle is still here today but an otherwise healthy,vibrant, vital teenage girl isn’t. All for a lack of decent healthcare. All because Rick Perry won’t allow poor adult Texans without kids and not on disability to have Medicaid.

    • martiac

      Thank you so much for your story. I am so sorry about your daughter. Our story is essentially the same, only our son is mentally ill instead of physically. We see no hope for real help. When he is between manic episodes, we begin to kid ourselves that maybe it won’t come back, but it does. He knows it’s coming every time, wants to go to the hospital for help, and their ‘help’ only makes it worse. Virtually every episode has dragged him further down, after it’s over, when he tries to recover and get on with his life he’s in a worse condition. We live in Tarrant County, TX, and most probably, if our son could get medicaid, he could get his feet under him and begin to move forward.

      • Melinda Robinson

        We also live in Tarrant County. JPS is a HORRIBLE place, and I have heard very bad things about the “7th floor.” Have you had the dubious pleasure of meeting the huge cockroaches and eating the food that looks as if someone vomited on the plate? When we complained about the roaches to a nurse, she said, “Yeah, so? What do you want me to do about it?”

        I’m sorry to hear that your son has no real help, either. I suffer with mental illness, myself–severe recurrent major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, PTSD, OCD, probable Asperger’s Syndrome–but MHMR is no help. So I get it. The psych I was assigned to ignored me, yelled at me and told me that every symptom “is the depression!” The meds available on their formulary aren’t appropriate for me–they don’t work, they exacerbate Restless Leg Syndrome and make me horrendously ill so that I can’t keep anything down, yet the psych will NOT hear any of it. I stopped going to see him this past February and have been off meds since then. I’m in pretty bad shape and have tried to get my case moved to a different office so that I can see a different psych, but they are dragging their heels on putting the change through and it looks like I’m going to have to call an ombudsman.

        If Wendy Davis is elected, she said she will expand the Medicaid option. Can those of who need medical attention wait that long? Maybe some can, but 19,000 Texans will die each year for a lack of healthcare until she gets into office.

        My oldest son lives with me and is bi-polar. He also sees a psych at MHMR but it’s court-mandated since he got into some trouble with the law. They give him better care than I see them give other clients, all because he’s on probation and it’s their job to keep him from getting in trouble again.

        My husband was permanently disabled at the age of 31 because he had no healthcare and will end up in a wheelchair within 10-20 years. I am very ill and need an operation that may possibly save my life, but no healthcare. They tell me to go to JPS, but the PTSD response to that place is incredibly strong and I can’t go anywhere near it without totally freaking out. So I will continue to get worse day by day, and hope that I don’t end up being a victim of this broken, corrupt system, too.

    • Mr. Fusion

      I’m sorry for your loss. I know this is selfish of me, but please share your story. Let as many of the hateful right wing know what happens to those children without health insurance.

      • Melinda Robinson

        I’ve been sharing her story ever since the devastatingly horrible night we lost her. As a matter of fact, The Pragmatic Progressive Page on Facebook briefly had a campaign going to put a real face on the thousands of uninsured across America, back before the ACA was made law, and my daughter’s story was first in the series. Now, since “Obamacare” is the law of the land and the very poor are the only ones to suffer, no one seems to care anymore.

        I’m sick of being marginalized, ignored, and treated like a pariah. I have a voice and I WILL use it. I may be poor, but I am not stupid… and I will not shut up.

    • Madison Blane

      As a disabled parent in Louisiana – THIS! This is my biggest fear.
      I don’t understand the fear of taxpayer-funded medical care. Anyone on medicare will tell you that it is a wonderful system. Everyone waits for the day they can join. Why can’t that day be now – for everyone?

    • BridgetD

      I’m crying for you right now. Thank you for sharing your story, and I only hope that the right people see it. I live in Dallas, Texas. My family is insured through my dad’s work, but we are still barely scraping by due to my mom’s disability and the little things here and there that the rest of the family needs. So, I fear that one day one of us will end up with something like cancer.

    • colibri1

      Worst country in the world.

  • Amacha

    I’ve been through the system with my g/f who was between health care plans where she worked and started having abdominal pain. Went through the whole system till she died of ovarian cancer. Could something have been done if it was caught early? We’ll never know. If you want to see hell on earth, go the emergency room of a county hospital, not the waiting room (where the waiting time can be 24 hours), the treatment rooms. In Texas there was one big room with patients lying on little beds in pain and hoping for some help. We were kicked out and charged $150. Obamacare may be terrible, but it is better than what we have now.

    • martiac

      I wish all the people in congress had to use the public health care system for themselves and their families!

    • OldTulsan

      Section 1332 of the PPACA, aka Obamacare, allows states to request innovation waivers from the Secretary of Health and Human Services after 2017.

      Vermont is planning to implement a single-payer system with its innovation waiver.

  • Serai 1

    I can’t stand the kind of violent, hateful, selfish, unfeeling nation we’ve become.

  • Sara Wood

    Rachel, you have made a difference just by caring. Texas needs more providers like you! I agree many uninsured patients cannot access care in Texas, even going to the emergency room. I am a nurse practitioner in Houston.

    Also, my husband (who has insurance) just received a bill today for $160,000.00 for a cardiac ablation. Apparently our insurance only paid $20,000.00, at least at this point. The facility is charging a total of $180,000.00 for this 2-3 hour procedure with an overnight hospital stay. We are well off and insured, but cannot afford to pay $160,000.00 for this procedure.

  • Daniel

    Hey conservatives healthcare is not an ipod/iphone/ipad. Those things you have a choice not to buy. You don’t get to make a decision on “hmm… should I get cancer treatment or not?” Free market principles do not apply to life-or-death situations. So stop trying to use free market solutions in healthcare. You don’t use free excuses to legalize hiring a hitman (“What, it’s just what that person’s free market life value is worth?”) or on the military (“We really should shop around and and hire private mercenaries as our military) so why so much on healthcare?

    • OldTulsan

      Three things that should not be for-profit:

      o healthcare
      o public education
      o prisons

  • Cattleya1

    There is something so horribly wrong here. In every other western democracy all the people she writes of would have medical care. Nothing has changed since I ran AIDS clinics in South Alabama 20 years ago. Maybe, somebody should hijack Mr. Perry and the rest of the Texas republican leadership and make them work in some of these clinics for the next month and get all their medical care in one.

    • OldTulsan

      The U.S. is the only member nation of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which includes Mexico, that does NOT have universal health care, which just means everyone has medical insurance, and says nothing about the quality of healthcare.

      The UK and Spain have socialized health care systems, like our Veterans Health Administration

      Australia and Canada have single-payer systems

      The rest use some form of social insurance, like the U.S. and Germany, where social insurance was originated.

      Even China is pursuing universal health care. Just search for:

      “healthy china 2020″

      • colibri1

        You make an important point. When Americans hear anything at all about the healthcare systems of other countries, it’s always the “western democracies” they hear about, the so-called “wealthy” countries, and those countries do have actual, accessible, effective healthcare systems, unlike in the US. But it also needs to be said that the “wealth” of the countries has nothing to do with whether or not they provide people with healthcare. Many countries considered poor by US standards also have free, accessible healthcare, even countries many Americans despise, like Mexico and Cuba. Cuba even provides healthcare for free to people throughout the world; their doctors actually go and live in poor communities to serve them. That ought to make Americans ashamed.

        • OldTulsan

          Someone on Huffington Post snidely commented that I should enjoy my universal healthcare in Rwanda.

          My reply was that Rwanda does have universal health care:

          http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/rwandas-health-care-miracle/?_r=0
          Rwanda’s Health Care Miracle – NYTimes.com

        • OldTulsan

          Mexico achieved universal healthcare in 2012.

          There are 58 countries that have universal healthcare, including Rwanda,

          The administration of President George W. Bush gave Iraq universal healthcare.

      • J_Enigma32

        Don’t forget to add Saudi Arabia to that list. They have a nationalized healthcare system, too.

  • Daniel

    Every person in the United States could master vector calculus and get a 100 on every test, but we would still need people that work an McDonald’s. Conservatives don’t realize this. They always parrot “Well the working poor who can’t afford insurance just need to work harder” but they refuse to acknowledge NO MATER HOW HARD EVERYONE IN THE USA WORKS, there is a guaranteed number of poor people. Seriously, everyone could master general relativity/electrical engineering/whatever but someone is going to have to become a janitor. Conservatives think that a world where that happens and then the janitor dies from cancer is ok. They imagine a world that GUARANTEES in fact that the working poor will die from cancer, not matter how skilled they are.

    • channelclemente

      If you happen to recall one particular GOP debate in 2012, in which the moderator asked a question that pursued that angle. In the end, Paul said, more or less, let them die. What troubled me wasn’t the views of one batshitcrazy Texas Congressman, but rather, the audience cheered.

      • Charlie golf

        You and I might disagree on many things but rest assured, that Texas Congressman is LOONEY-FREAKIN-TOONS!

    • OldTulsan

      1 in 7 taxi drivers have college degrees…

      http://economy.money.cnn.com/2013/01/28/overeducated-and-underemployed/
      Overeducated and underemployed – Economy

      “Getting a college degree still helps your chances of getting a job, but not necessarily a good one.

      Some Americans are becoming overeducated for the jobs that are available to them, as data shows more college educated workers are taking low-skill jobs that are clearly below their qualifications.

      Take taxi drivers for example. About 15%, or more than than 1 in 7, had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2010, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

      Compare that to 1970 when less than 1% of taxi drivers had college degrees. And the job description hasn’t changed much, if at all, since then.

      “A lot of people, particularly people with bachelor’s degrees, are getting jobs, but not good jobs,” said Richard Vedder, an economist at Ohio University.

      In a study released Monday, Vedder shows that about 37% of employed U.S. college graduates are working in jobs that require no more than a high school diploma. Those include jobs like taxi drivers, sales clerks, firefighters and telemarketers. He calls this phenomenon “credential inflation,” as the supply of college grads is growing faster than the jobs requiring that level of education.

      Vedder argues that an underemployment problem is likely to persist even after the U.S. economy recovers fully from the jobs crisis…”

    • Charlie golf

      You seem to think of the economy as a closed “pi”…(couldn’t help it). Granted, there will more than likely always be positions for janitors that does not necessarily mean that some janitors will always be poor. That goes for any and all low paying jobs. There is no guaranteed number of poor people. If so, what is that number?

      • Daniel

        I believe that it does mean janitors will always be poor. If anything they will become relatively poorer and poorer as the economy evolves.

        As for the guaranteed number of poor people. Well, take the number of restaurants in the country necessary to sustain life in the USA, calculate the number of waiters/service workers at those places and that would give you at least a start. I’m guessing it’s at least 30 million.

    • ocschwar

      As someone who mastered vector calculus in college, I doubt everyone could do it, but that is immaterial. I did not study vector calc in order to secure healthcare access for myself. I studied vector calc in order to learn vector calc and in order to learn topics that are built on it. And it was not a sacrifice for me to do it. It was a privilege. People should not die of treatable diseases just because they did not receive a privilege I received.

  • Winski

    Thanks Ricky. YOU will pay a huge price.

  • OldTulsan

    Thanks, Dr. Pearson, for sharing.

    I have a friend in Seattle who is battling pancreatic cancer and lost his job about 2 months ago.

    My advice to him is to move to British Columbia, Canada once he’s stronger, to get Canada’s single-payer healthcare.

    I told him about 9NC developed at the Stehlin Foundation in Houston.

  • Frank Schiffel

    What I got so mad at when I worked with medical data in the aggregate for a state health dept was there was no category that was ever used to denote the uninsured. And the category was expected payment at time of discharge. A data point based on fiction. The state also quit publishing statistics on how much hospitals were in the red due to non payment, last year it was done was easily $5 billion. for nearly 200 hospitals. Some way more than others.

  • Rhonda M.

    I wish I could work with you. I commend you for your work and having a heart. Our healthcare system is in need of a drastic overhaul. People like you at least give some people hope and some kindness.

  • nicmart

    America did have a strong safety net. It consisted of many charity hospitals from coast to coast, and physicians who often saw patients without fee. The net was shredded by the advent of Medicare. With no insurance I could have been seen and treated without cost in 1960 for my newly damaged shoulder. Now I can’t afford to walk in the medical door, and all the “fixes” of Democrats and Republicans don’t help a bit.

    • JJ Marks

      Charity hospitals did not/could not provide continuity of care for chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, COPD. They were meant for inpatient care. I know. I attended UTMB in the late 70’s when it was THE charity hospital of Texas. Outpatient clinics were of secondary importance and hard to attend for those living 800 miles away.

      Medicare (only for those 65 and older) began coverage in 1966. Medicare did not shred anything.

      • nicmart

        How many charity hospitals are left? Why did they disappear? Charity hospitals could easily provide less expensive outpatient care. We can already see that immediate care centers provide quality care at a much lower cost than doctors and hospitals today. Medicare utterly wrecked the economics of medicine, killing charity and replacing it with crony capitalist institutions.

        • JJ Marks

          UTMB figured out (in the 1990’s) that counties were collecting taxes to pay for indigent care but were sending their residents to Galveston from as far away as El Paso. UTMB has always been eager to keep its beds filled for teaching, service, & research but not at the cost of going broke. Finally, a smart administrator figured out UTMB could get reimbursed for care that counties were taxing their own for or that those counties could develop their own systems. UTMB got reimbursed; more counties started developing local health care for the indigent.

          AGAIN, Medicare only applies to those 65 and older, so how you can assert that it wrecked the economics of the entire system so long ago is mind boggling. I’m happy to discuss all day about Medicare but have better things to do. Like work.

          /signed UTMB M.D. graduate, 1980

          • nicmart

            I suggest you read the rich library of economic analyses of the effect of Medicare (and to a lesser extent Medicaid). Medical inflation began its skyrocket with the introduction of these programs. Let’s be honest; you are a beneficiary of centralized medicine as a member of the state-licensed medical cartel.

    • martiac

      The Charity Hospital I worked for in New Orleans was a state teaching hospital, run at least partially by LSU. It’s funding was gradually cut by the state, until it was finally shut down by the flooding after Katrina. Nothing to do with the ‘advent of medicare.’ Just less funding, over decades, like has happened to the educational system.

      • nicmart

        Your example has nothing to do with the many private charity hospitals that existed, mostly associated with Christian denominations. What you describe was decades after the government had already demolished the old system.

        • martiac

          I worked at Charity in the early ’70’s.

          • nicmart

            But Charity was a government hospital, and is not what I’m referring to. Virtually all of the hospitals named after saints gave charity care as part of their missions, but now they give what they are ordered to by government.

    • ZH38

      The charity hospitals worked great until LBJ’s ‘Great Society’ destroyed them by government takeover.

  • acn0211

    Welcome to the free 3rd world…
    You have the choice, between, freedoms & healthcare !

  • Jennifer

    Hey, don’t pay any attention to the dead bodies piling up Texas! Y’all are making tons of money for the nutty anti-life people with all those shiny license plates. Go ahead, spend all your time and money shutting down women’s clinics where they get family planning advice and birth control pills and Pap smears. As we’ve just read here, if a poor woman happens to have cervical cancer, or a poor man has any kind of cancer, y’all just throw ‘em out like the trash. And let the souls of your medical providers die a little with each patient they couldn’t save. Gee, if only something could have prevented that. Oh yeah, Medicaid expansion was in the ACA but y’all turned your noses up at it. Just like you do at your poor. Christians my ass.

    • colibri1

      Ever seen Michael Moore’s “Sicko”? Refusal to treat the poor doesn’t only happen in right-wing states like Texas but throughout the US. It is an American problem, a problem that does not exist in many other countries.

      • Jennifer

        Every state that refused to expand Medicaid under ACA, which was free money, actively and maliciously decided to allow their own citizens to die.. To suffer. As I said, Christians my ass.

  • MizzHarpy

    Maybe the folks who approved this bit of NIH funding could come visit the clinic:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2509315/Congress-adds-25m-budget-chimpanzee-retirement-plans.html

    It seems chimps get great ‘free’ healthcare. The folks at the Chimp Haven are breaking out the champagne while people die of treatable illnesses.

  • Ellen Miller Goins

    This made me cry… Then it made me hopping mad! I am so tired of the stupid idea that “Christian” = Conservative. Judging by the policies coming from the right, I do not believe Jesus would agree.

    • ZH38

      So who would Jesus abort? How evil of Christians to set up foundations, hospitals and other charities to help total strangers. Government does a much better job of taking care of people and spending our hard-earned money. LOL

      • J_Enigma32

        Oh, you mean those same Christians who refuse to help atheists who need it, or anyone else who isn’t Christian? Them? That’s awful big of you people.

        Are you seriously so stupid you think a group of churches can provide healthcare for an entire nation?

  • Linda Lucia Valdez

    Thank you, thank you. As a transplanted Texan living in California it’s been difficult to convince people that there are true and pure hearts in my home state. I can now point to you as a shining example.

  • headjones

    Amazing how a story about health care and the inability to obtain it devolves into a discussion of the military….Too painful to confront?

  • Jon Forncrook

    Thanks for the story. I was recently the chief medical officer at a community health center – a better situation than a free clinic, but not much better for patients like those you describe.

  • Samuel Clemens

    People. listen up. It’s all about where is the money coming from to treat the poor. Care for ANYONE costs. As Milt Freidman said, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” I wish we lived in Utopia but we don’t. Socialized medicine doesn’t work. People die waiting months to see a doctor. Doctors become vets in socialized medicine. US hospitals on the Canadian border thrive treating Canadians.
    After all is said & done, children no longer die from measles, whooping cough, polio, etc. in the greatest medical system to ever exist. Let’s not destroy it. Does anyone know the Aesop fable about “The goose that laid golden eggs” ?

    • nicmart

      American medicine was “socialized” when physician licensing and the prescription drug laws were imposed, early last century. Milton Friedman famously explains why licensing is so harmful to medicine in his book, “Capitalism and Freedom.”

      Government has had thorough control of every aspect of medical practice, from insurance to medication choice, since the mid-1960s. Despite all the howling, and the fact that it is destructive to good care, it is the icing, not the cake. The phony free market Republicans attack Obamacare by saying it will hurt Medicare. That is, they criticize it for being the new government program that harms the old government program. Self-identified conservatives are the strongest supporters of government control of drug dispensing. At the state level, conservative legislators have voted for the coverage mandates (e.g., mammograms) that have drive insurance costs through the roof, and of course they have never failed to support the war on the American right to self-medicate.

      So there is no genuine opposition to “socialized” medical care anymore. (If really isn’t socialist, it is fascist. The government doesn’t own the means of production. They are in private hands but the government controls those hands. This is more Mussolini than Marx.)

      • ocschwar

        Great idea. Let’s solve the problem by sending the poor to quacks and incompetents.

        • nicmart

          One learns never to debate a demagogue.

          • SWalkerTTU

            …or an acolyte of Milton Friedman.

      • ZH38

        So your answer for people to self medicate? What are some examples of the drugs that you’d put into this group?

        • nicmart

          Adults have the right to ingest anything they want. Government didn’t interfere with that right until 1914, and Jefferson made note of it in his Notes On The State of Virginia. As Milton Friedman put it:

          “I do not think the state has any more right to tell me what to put in my mouth than it has to tell me what can come out of my mouth. Those two are essentially the same thing, and they are both essential elements of freedom.”

          But Americans believe that the government should tend to their needs and wants like a flock of sheep. They believe that their rights are limited (not guaranteed) by the constitution. Thus many support the right to own a gun, but not the right to self-medicate. In this regard Americans have less freedom than do Mexicans and people in most of the world, who can buy most drugs over the counter.

          The responsibility for prudent use of drugs lies with the consumer, just is does for use of potentially deadly household products, motor vehicles, and guns. (The difference being that the latter can harm others, not just self.)

          In 1835, Tocqueville, having visited in America, anticipated the future we now inhabit:

          “Above this race of men [in a democracy] stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?”

          • ZH38

            You make some excellent points.

          • nicmart

            Thanks, but I think Friedman and Tocqueville deserve almost total credit for that post. I’m content to ride their coattails.

      • ZH38

        Yes, government has had control of medicine. Especially in the areas of insurance. That’s why every state has an insurance commission that heavily regulates what these companies can and cannot do.

        Funny thing is that during this great push for Obamacare, there were lots of detail-deficient stories about the big, bad insurance companies but never any that about the government entities that regulate them. If these insurance companies were denying legitimate claims, why was the media not camped outside of the state regulatory boards that granted licenses to these firms?

        • nicmart

          Medicare denies a higher percentage of claims than does any major private insurer.

          http://tinyurl.com/y9cz6q8

          • ZH38

            So true. That takes away the left’s lame argument about how evil insurance companies deny claims. The government denies more than all of them combined.

    • Dan Josselyn

      “US hospitals on the Canadian border thrive treating Canadians” Never bring up Canada to attack health care reform. The Canadian single payer system results in a smaller % of GDP being spent on health care, longer life expectancy, and lower infant mortality. If Canadians hate Canadian health care so much and love US health care, why has NO major political party in Canada ever proposed adopting the US approach and scrapping single payer? EVER!??! Because practically all Canadians prefer the single payer model and see it as a source of national pride. The reason we (I have dual US and Canadian citizenship) like it better is because most Canadians live close to the border and are very familiar with the US system, and we can see what a catastrophe for profit health care is for the overwhelming majority of people. I lived in the US until I was 38, and have lived in Canada the last 7 years. I support Obamacare as an improvement over the status quo in the US, but there is no denying the superiority of single payer if you have lived with both systems. Vermont is going to give you further proof soon enough.

  • aihfl

    The rest of the country wants you to leave our union. Even the extremists in bright red Kansas and Nebraska don’t openly talk of secession with the bravado that you Texans do. You are free to join the ranks of lawless Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and all those other Central American hellholes. Of course being stupid the way you all are, you’ll see nothing wrong with it. Please leave. And right after you do, I hope a hurricane comes and blows your coast off the map and half your people starve to death

    • nicmart

      You suffer from a grave moral defect.

      • aihfl

        You probably live in Texas. Only human flotsam lives in Texas

    • colibri1

      Just for the sake of argument, I’ll pretend you’re sincere in what you say. But even granting that, you’d have to be really ignorant (rather like the Texans you seem to despise) not to know that, unlike the US, some of the “Central American hellholes” you list actually have free, easily accessible healthcare with better outcomes than in the US: Nicaragua and Mexico most notably, and even Honduras before their US-sponsored 2009 military coup. If the people in this article had lived in one of those countries instead of in the US, they’d still be alive today.

      • ZH38

        How do people in Nicaragua and Mexico have better health outcomes? Is it because the WHO says so?

  • Shellie Lyon

    This is a great article. Thank you. We will do everything we can to make sure it is widely read. People need to understand the real life tragedies of no healthcare in a rich state run by corrupt politicians.

  • whomoi

    I have been a health insurance sales agent for over a decade. I can fill a room with people who were trying to get health insurance but could not qualify for a standard plan and could not afford the high risk pool. I can still see the faces of people I could not get health insurance for who later died for lack of treatment they couldn’t afford. I tell the RWNJ’s about these people and they don’t care, there is no empathy or sympathy for the working poor in America. What they cannot understand is that financial circumstances can change for anyone, in a heart beat. Loss of job, divorce, illness or any combination can change your status from working and insured to unemployed and uninsured at anytime. I guess the bottom line is that you just can’t educate stupid.

  • Shellie Lyon

    We are sending this excellent essay out to many people. It is now required reading for med students in a medical ethics course at the University of Toledo Medical School. We’re also posting it on the Facebook pages of our AG and our senators.

  • Duncan Cross

    Thanks so much for your essay, and your incredible work.

  • bacondoyle

    Medicine in the US is a business. Any business school professor will tell you, for a business, profit is the holy grail. Unless we find the political will to change this, patient care will remain just another factor in the constant effort to improve the bottom line. Politicians like Perry and Cruz have one, just one, goal in life, to stay in office and if possible advance to a higher office, so looking to them for anything beyond slogans is a fool’s errand.

    David Bacon, M.D.

    • martiac

      Yes, thank you!

  • Maggie Keavey Kozel

    Rachel Pearson has done a superb job of getting to the truth about our healthcare system. Facts and figures alone fall short, and bloated political rhetoric just blurs the reality. From a physician who has been at this for many years,well done, Dr. Pearson. Welcome to the fold.

  • Ruth Berggren

    At UT Health Science Center San Antonio, we have five student run free clinics, including one just for the refugee population of San Antonio. Our country takes in people who are fleeing war and persecution, who do not speak our language and do not understand our culture, and who are not equipped for jobs in the information age. Then we give them 8 months of medicaid and turn them loose. Apparently they are all supposed to have learned English, gotten jobs, purchased health insurance, and learned how to navigate our skeletal public transportation system in 8 months. In reality, they immediately fall out of the safety net and into the enormous and growing crowd of Texans who are too poor for Obamacare and ineligible for additional medicaid coverage.

    One bright spot in San Antonio is the Carelink system, which is a tax-funded, sliding scale, health care payment program that requires eligible individuals (you must be a resident of Bexar County with photo ID and proof of income or lack thereof) to make payments according to their ability to pay, and ONLY when they use the system. As a result, we do get quality care for uninsured patients in our University Health System, though frequently the destitute poor have difficulty keeping up with payments and difficulty maintaining their enrollment in the Carelink program. Both University Health System and UT Health Science Center San Antonio have partnered with philanthropists to help ensure that our student run free clinics can continue to bridge the gaps, and continue to accompany our population (our neighbors), back into the safety net of care. In so doing, we keep many patients out of the hospitals because we address their health problems well upstream of a crisis that would take them to our overcrowded emergency room.

    Thanks for what you do for the education of health professional students. Experiential learning in student run free clinics is one of the most powerful methods of “preparing tomorrow’s healers to ACT with compassion and justice”

  • OldTulsan

    Some ammo for this complaining about the financial burden of the Medicaid expansion in Texas and other red states…

    http://www.medicaid.gov/AffordableCareAct/Provisions/Financing.html
    Financing | Medicaid.gov

    “Coverage for the newly eligible adults will be fully funded by the federal government for three years, beginning in 2014, phasing down to 90% by 2020. Authorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is extended through 2019 and funding is currently authorized through 2015. Additional federal funding for state Medicaid programs is also available for primary care, preventive care, community based long-term services and supports, and new demonstrations to improve quality and re-engineer delivery systems…”

  • ZH38

    Some of these stories make an excellent argument against Obamacare. Has the author not heard of the foundations and other charities that help people pay for medical treatment?

    Of course, that has to be shunned by the left because is does not come from Big Brother, er, Saint Obama. It comes from private citizens who WILLFULLY give to help strangers in need. What a radical concept! Yet again, this kind of Judeo-Christian generosity must be ignored by the so-called elitists who create failed government-run systems that cost taxpayers countless dollars while destroying the health care that 90% of us liked.

    In liberalspeak, health care must be decoded:

    Women’s Health = Abortions
    Eldercare = Denial of care

    • ocschwar

      You’ve just read a whole article about how the current system denies care to people with treatable diseases, and you come forward with this drivel ?

    • Dan Josselyn

      HOW do these stories make excellent arguments against Obamacare? Did you read ANY of it? I am gobsmacked.

  • dxp2718

    I wonder whether there is actually funding available to treat every patient dying of a treatable illness. If not, then this is an inevitable consequence of the capitalist system. However, while spending millions of dollars treating cancer that might not even be treatable (many who can afford and do receive treatment still die) may be a waste of limited resources, one illness is barely mentioned in this piece but is far more important to look at: the schizophrenia. I can’t help but think that, perhaps, if Danielle’s mental illness had been treated, that the couple would have been financially better off and perhaps able to afford her husband’s cancer screening and treatment. Even reputable insurance plans don’t usually cover much, if any psychological care, and that’s a problem. Mental illness causes both loss of productivity and physical illness. Treat the mental illnesses properly, and you’ll generate revenue and save costs down the road.

  • northierthanthou.com

    Very well written. …and it leaves me damned angry.

  • dolgre

    I’d give anything to hold Ted Cruz down and shove a rolled up paper version of this story up his rectum.

  • Pam

    Thank you Rachel, both for this moving article and your service to the poor. It pains me greatly to read some of the comments left here. Your first hand experience of the state of health care in this country deserves a real debate and conversation from serious readers.

  • pennyson349

    Sadly It is this way because death is the desired result of those who fight to keep it this way

  • The Thinker

    This is my new reference piece for all of those unenlightened individuals who claim that everyone in American gets the care they need. Wonderful piece, your compassion is an incredible and blessed gift.

  • Raul J. de Vera, Jr.

    Reading this, makes me wonder how far worse does it look like in my country, the Philippines, who just suffered one of worst hurricanes in recorded history. The official tally as of yesterday being 5,235, yet one source I’ve got, they’ve already used 19,000 body bags. You just don’t get the right figures in a corrupted environment anymore.

    Imagine what kind of medical benefits (if any) we are getting down here? Compared to us, this article is a children’s book come to life!

  • JoAnna

    Thankyou so much for the work that you do! I find it difficult to believe that people are treated in a manner that indicates their lives are unimportant. I have been a nurse for over 40 years and have had my heart broken over these issues so many times. It is clear that Texans do not take care of their own and have little
    reguard for human life.

  • Martin

    Dr. Pearson, thanks for writing this and for all that you do to help people. I was a paramedic for 16 years and I saw a lot of this as well. I don’t know how you find the strength to keep doing it but I’m grateful that you do.

  • Johntheoldguy

    They had better die and reduce the surplus population, says Republican America.

  • Happy Liberal

    Shame on almost all of you! I’m sure Dr. Pearson didn’t write this beautiful and moving article so you assholes could turn the comments section into a cesspool of political toxicity. It appears that nearly everyone has missed the point entirely…and that is unbelievably pathetic and disheartening. Our healthcare system is broken, and judging by the comments I just read, so are most of you.

  • Erica Wagner

    Wait? Texas had to cut health care to the poor in order to close a budget shortfall (feigns shock)? But, but they said that they were breezing through the recession just fine because of their “business friendly” polices. Disgusting. That men like Perry and Cruz then turn around and call themselves Christians who want to protect innocent life is nothing short of disgusting. They’d better hope their religion’s hell doesn’t exist.

  • natsera

    I don’t live in Texas, but many years ago, I was in that situation of being in-between: too “rich” for Medicaid, and too poor to buy any kind of individual insurance. It was only luck that neither I nor my son had any illnesses requiring medical attention those years. If I had become unable to work in the poverty-level job I had at the time, we would have been homeless. Why is it that wealthy people, who NEVER admit to being wealthy, can’t spare just a little bit to help those who really ARE down and out, most of the time through no fault of their own? The blame and shame are on wealthy Republicans, and the people that they have duped into voting against their own interests, but these politicians have NO sense of shame, NO knowledge of the reality in which many people live, and NO interest in actually learning anything about the people whose welfare they are supposed to be guarding. Shame on them.

  • Christy L Strauch

    Excellent piece…. how can we help to pressure your gov. (to expand medicaid)?

  • the logical centrist

    This is the unspoken, rarely seen side of the radical right wing. They do not give a rat’s a$$ about anyone except their powerful backers/donors. Period.

  • mambocat

    Thank you for writing this. Thank you, thank, you ,thank you. I just wish that every Member of Congress and the Senate were forced to read this and I wish that they, in person, had to be the ones to say, “you’re poor, and you have a treatable condition, but you’re poor, so you have to die.”

  • Mpls_Me

    I, too, want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do every day to bring humanity to those humans that Texas has thrown away, to bring hope to the hopeless, to care for those who have no one to care for them and to bring each of them what medical help that you can with the limited resources you have been afforded. I can only hope that when Gov Perry leaves office, the state of Texas will finally be led by someone as caring as you are. Bless you and the people that you serve!

  • sstacinator

    Exactly so many people die and it is it makes me so freaking sick just thinking about it! GREEDY AMERICA

  • annafeehly

    What the hell? I thought this was a thoughtful piece on healthcare.What are you idiots discussing? Invasion of the U.S.? You people are idiots, and i really hate saying that, but stay on point.

  • Alexis Kostich

    Thank you for a tragic insight, and for doing something. So sad the tragic lack of healthcare insurance and funding in Texas was largely avoidable – with the millions of relief dollars Governor Perry threw away. He should be prosecuted by some of these families. :(

  • Erin Julia Bernstein

    I am 18. I have to tell you Texas isn’t the only place affected with these issues. I live in PA (Pennsylvania). I have bipolar disorder. They want to take away my coverage because I am 18 and apparently magically cured from an organic brain disorder. They want to take away my insurance. If I lose my insurance I also lose many other things. Which I am sure you know of as a doctor. Look at my petition on Change.org (for all children with disabilities who are now adults) that will explain better. No need to sign it I gave up on it. I have bipolar disorder ODD and OCD as well as asthma and allergies. No body can usually tell because I usually have my meds. The medicine I take to keep myself under control and able to function in the real world cost hundreds of dollars with out my insurance. If I lose it I can lose myself again ending up in the psychiatric ward again which costs even more. I want to have a decent life but with out my meds I have been known to hurt people. Now we are fighting them so I can keep living my life basically. I cannot tell you how many people we know were told the same not only with people like me but like my sister. Autistic. Someone we know has a non-verbal son. She was told (literally a quote) “Oh, he can be a telemarketer”. A non-verbal child? (for those who do not know it means he cannot speak). This kid is a computer genius but cannot speak and you cannot get within his personal space. They wanted him to get a job that would cover him and help him get paid. There are so many more stories I can tell with stuff like this. I understand you are worried about your people but there are others going through this. Maybe you should protest for those who cannot. Someone needs to stand up and I will do it if you will. Other doctors feel the same. My mom was a nurse for hospice she witnessed the suffering of people like yours. She would help out privately when she could but it got to a point we couldn’t afford to get her there to help. I hope this made sense I am glad though my area isn’t the only place suffering from politics. Now you know you are not alone too.

  • Mitch Sharp

    And yet the same people are elected in Texas election after election. You have the Government you deserve.

    • JJ Marks

      Texans have the government that was gerrymandered for them (excepting the governor, which still is a head shaker).

  • Renee Stewart

    As said below this was an incredibly moving piece. To hear from a doctor, how broken our medical system is a ray of light. I live in Arizona and the same thing is happening here. I am on SSD, with a Medicare part D. No Obama care for me, or the affordable care act. I make $100.00 over the Medicaid cut off line. And you don’t get on Medicaid or Access unless you are a mother usually unwed. I work part time 30 hours a week, and I am 100% disabled. I am the face of the working poor, a single, divorced woman. Who lives well below the poverty line. I have already had one life threatening disease. The older I get the worse it gets. With all the cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, I will likely die of something that is preventable.
    The work that you do is honorable. And yes, you do take away a person’s hope, but you still fight the good fight and forge on for the working poor. Something needs to change and if more doctor’s like you continue to write what you just wrote there is still a small amount of hope.
    I pray that something changes for the better and not the worse. You are a warrior….thank you.

  • Jack Disheroon

    Perry’d rather send patients to the E.R. b/c it’s more “cost effective”; when E.R. costs were driven up deliberately over 15 years ago in order to ENCOURAGE people to visit their M.D. first. What a double-standard. Don’t tell me, he’s in the pocket of Big Insurance & Big Pharma, too, screwing the patient no matter which way they turn. Dafuq…

  • Gianine Carbone

    Thank you for writing this. I’m a nurse and the majority of my career has been in hospice care, though now I work in a city HIV clinic. I’ve seen countless patients come and go on hospice care, who, if they had insurance, would have been treated early and would probably still be alive. Now, working in a city clinic, where most of our patients are uninsured, it’s infuriating to see patient’s who obviously need diagnostic testing for serious problems and because they are uninsured, they do not get diagnosed until they land in the ED, almost dead. I know of 2 current patients struggling with cancers that we tried to get diagnosed months ago, however there was no one to pay for the CT scans, the MRI’s, or the biopsies. Our state will continue to have this problem since Rick Perry has turned down expanding Medicaid – which could have covered ALL (legal) Texans. Now, we have a group who makes over the federal poverty level but doesn’t make enough for the AHA insurance. In other states, these people would get Medicaid. Governor Perry is doing everything he can to block the AHA from working.

  • wenchNadine

    First of all, Rachel, with all my heart I thank you for your service and writing this essay. We, as a State, should rightfully feel ashamed of political policy that makes this article even possible. Texas is better than this. I find it interesting that one comment can divert the discussion on a tread to a completely different issue. But I find more and more, this is becoming the new normal: don’t look at this and really examine your heart, look over here! In that regard, it is the perfect example of living in fear. I don’t choose to, and I admire and appreciate your decision to DO SOMETHING, in spite of the hardships it must demand of you, and most certainly to your patients, real human beings who suffer and die because they cannot afford healthcare. We are one of the richest nations on this earth. And before you accuse me of being a soft headed “Liberal” that wants government to take care of me I will say, what I want from true governance is good roads, regulation of commerce so the food and products we consume and buy don’t outright kill us, and that a part of the taxes I pay provide a safety net and compassion for the least of us. We cannot call ourselves a “christian” nation without the last part, in my opinion.

  • Tikidoc

    I trained at UTMB (residency and fellowship, finished in 2001), before these changes. At the time, we were mandated to care for those who had nowhere else to go, and we got state money to provide the care. During my training, I don’t remember ever hearing of anyone being turned away if they needed care. It is so sad to see how much things have changed.

    Politicians like Rick Perry should have to spend a week observing care-givers in places like St. Vincent’s, so they could see first-hand how their decisions based on extremist ideologies impact people. They should have to be present when someone with cancer is told that they can’t receive treatment because nobody will take them.

    On the other hand, I sincerely doubt that a person like Rick Perry would give a damn.

  • Leslie Boyd

    My son died from colon cancer five years ago because the birth defect that left him vulnerable to cancer was a pre-existing condition so he couldn’t get insurance. Unlike you, Rachel, my son’s doctors could have done something but chose not to. When he got sick he went to the ER and was given a laxative and pain pills when the problem was a malignant tumor blocking his colon. These stories need to be told because these lives DO matter. To allow people to die of treatable conditions is as anti-life as it gets.

  • Kathy
  • http://louiszwu.blogspot.com/ Michael Powers

    We, as a nation, should be deeply ashamed. We’ve created a system whereby ruthlessness, and a predatory nature is a requirement for success. Little wonder, then, why many who have so much consider the rest of us so inherently expendable. Many years ago, I had a friend who was dying of something eminently treatable, had he not been so poor. He had accepted his death. I had not. So I was angry, and railing against the injustice of it all. Had I a Rick Perry or a Ted Cruz in the room with me at the time, I might have killed them where they stood, such was my rage. My friend just smiled and said, “I have consoled myself with the fact that it is perhaps better to die, than to live among such people.” A couple of months later, he was gone.

    There is no karma. Nothing to magically set things right at the end of the day. Rick Perry will live a long life, at the end of which, after receiving the best medical care money can buy, will die in a safe, warm bed, surrounded by loved ones. Most of the time, the bad guy wins. But only because we allow it.

  • Dennis McClune

    Texas … where being like a third world country is considered an achievement…..

  • http://www.autodidactic.biz/ Nashville Kat

    I don’t feel qualified to comment on health insurance or health care at all even though I come from a medical family (two doctors, a nurse and a dentist). I cannot add much to the conversation because except for four months when I had to use COBRA for my insurance and I could afford it, I haven’t been without insurance a day in my life. Thanks to a corporate career, I’ve been insured since I hit the workforce. I have absolutely no idea what it would be like to have no insurance, but I can immagine. But, in the corporate world there was something I could count on when enrollment came each November–higher rates and less coverage. Still, I was covered even though my coverage deteriorated each year. So, I don’t know what it is to be poor, or to be out of work or being unable to obtain insurance. So, I don’t feel comfortable commenting on something I’ve never experienced. However, my feelings about health insurance companies aren’t so vague. I firmly believe that the sicker one becomes, the closer they are to having policy canceled.

  • Alex

    As a UK doctor I have the deepest and most profound respect for you working in this system and doing what you can to change it. This moved me and appalled me – moving writing and a disturbing truth.

  • Jennifer Rowan-Henry

    I’m just curious as to how the discussion about the Affordable Care Act has been hijacked by nutcases who embarrass themselves with their rant about “enemies at the door”.

  • DannyE

    Don’t worry doctors were bought and paid for by obamacare!

  • TheRealBillybob

    Nobody should ever die!

    • DannyE

      No one lives forever you idiot, but then again a liberal is blind to reality.

      • TheRealBillybob

        Hey DannyE, FYVMMF!
        You appear to be able to read but apparently to lack the ability to understand sarcasm without someone telling you that’s what they are doing, recognizing the absurdity of a statement is usually enough of a clue for the literate, too bad you’re not!

  • GenericGuy

    Dr. Rachel must not be a very good doctor. I diagnosed kidney cancer from the symptoms in the first paragraph. Nice job killing your patient.

  • dmcrane

    Vote. Only voting out those who don’t care about you, and certainly don’t care about the poor can fix this. There is no excuse for Texas, or any of the other states that refused to expand Medicaid, to do this to people even if the Supreme Court said they could. This is not in any way the Christianity they profess, and forgetting that, it is not even common decency.

  • AngelaFromAbilene

    690 comments and throughout the first section of comments, not 1, other that the 1st is even relevent to the article above. Pretty freacking sad. The point is, our dumbass so called “christian” leaders in Texas don’t give 2 shits or a tinkers damn about poor people in Texas. Much less wether we live or die.

    • DannyE

      Then why don’t the poor flock to massachusetts?

  • Pangolin

    It’s sickening to see anybody defending the horrifically poor quality of care in Texas. These patients would be better off in Costa Rica or Cuba. As american citizens in a Republican controlled state we watch them die without adequate care.

    • Jim Smith

      If you don’t like it, don’t come here. Go to Massachusetts where they give free medical care.

  • beeluci

    Move to a blue state where the leaders (and citizens) are not monsters. Where Medicaid was expanded. These horrors are no longer unavoidable. It is nothing but the blackest sin to support this system and I do believe you will be judged, those of you who impose this kind of suffering on your neighbors.

  • tax payer

    Doctors can only do so much and, if there’s no financially help for the patient than some of them just wait to die knowing you don’t get something for free in this country anymore.

  • Jim Smith

    Another whiny liberal piece filled with half-truths, made up facts, and assumptions that go no where.

  • Micheline Drebert

    This is a very shifting part. Thank you for composing this — and thank you so much for your support to those who need it most. do my assignment with perfection