Douchebag of the Day



The 2008 Republican presidential candidate suggested during his radio show, “The Huckabee Report,” on Thursday that, under President Obama’s health care plan, Kennedy would have been told to “go home to take pain pills and die” during his last year of life.

And the right-wing echo chamber keeps going, and going, and going …

Huckabee: Kennedy Would Have Been Urged to Die Earlier Under Obamacare [Sam Stein]



We may have a winner for a “death panel”:

Yahoo: Some question private Medicare plans’ advantage

The whole article is a fascinating example of why private health insurance is a racket, but the last example is the best:

At Jamaica Hospital, it all became clear with Angela Dispenza.

The New Yorker was a healthy 77-year-old when she fell two years ago and fractured her back.

Doctors thought it obvious that Dispenza should be admitted to the hospital, then receive rehabilitation as her best chance to walk again. The hospital says her Medicare Advantage plan, Oxford, denied her hospital admission, rehabilitation and even an ambulance ride home.

The hospital admitted Dispenza anyway. It was paid, though not in full, only after going public with the case. Dispenza was able to walk out of the hospital on her own; doctors said she would have been bedridden and died without the treatment they insisted on.

Sedrish, whose Medisys network of hospitals in New York owns Jamaica Hospital, found her case such an egregious example of denials he says he sees so often that he set out to prove it.

He analyzed files for 16 months in 2006 and 2007, looking only at patients from on insurer, Oxford, in need of just two types of care, acute rehabilitation and treatment for traumatic brain injuries. Of 46 such cases, the hospital says, all but three were denied.

No better way to reduce costs than delaying care until the insured dies – and we’re ALREADY paying for this. Guess the private insurers really can’t compete with the government version (Medicare).

Well, hey, Dispenza would have been allowed by her own insurer to die in her own bed. That is what Freedom is all about. Under Obamacare, everyone knows, the doctor would have been ordered to lop off her head with a machete and offer her remains to the Infidel Harvest Brigades.

T/J Anyone see Bill Moyers last night on Bill Maher? I feel sorry for the guy to have been a young man in the excitement of the Kennedy and early Johnson years and to see how timid we’ve now become as a nation. Absolutely nothing is done because it’s the right thing to do. President Obama and the Democratic Congress have some big-time catching up to do this year and they need to get started right now. I would like to think Obama was also reading “The Prince” right now.

More on topic, I’ve checked and double checked the federal pay scales. There don’t appear to be any federal employees who get paid the same wage as the managers of private health insurance companies even though they’re doing exactly the same work administering Medicare. Could anybody please tell me even one reason why private health insurance coverage is better than a single-payer federal program unless you’re heavily invested in health insurance company stock?

I don’t think anyone seriously thinks the Bush Administration would have organized anything to the benefit of seniors. Clearly, this was an opportunity put in front of the insurance industry to loot Medicare and steal from pensioners.

@al2o3cr: In 2003, the government added lucrative subsidies for insurers, now totaling more than $15 billion a year. Many more companies got into the business, with massive marketing efforts, and enrollment went from 5.3 million in 2003 to more than 10.7 million in July.

With basic Medicare, seniors generally know what sort of coverage they’re getting. That’s not the case with the roughly 7,000 Medicare Advantage plans, where one person’s coverage could be completely different from a next door neighbor’s.

Oh, I don’t know, the “Ted Kennedy would have died” GOP meme is getting so worn out, I think the sicko kidnapper who is the talk of the Bay Area is the douchebag of the day, if not decade.

@SanFranLefty: DOTD is generally for stupid politicians. The kidnapper is simply terrifying in the way that guy in Austria was terrifying, but throw in Jeebus and maybe a bunch of dead hookers. Frightening.

@blogenfreude: Love the jesus angle. Maybe he’ll dig it when he is sentenced to crucifixion.

@blogenfreude: Of course – DOTD is also reserved for stupid media blowhards, of course.

I’m still pissed at GHW & Barbara Bush. No fucking class.

And I’m seeing several life sentences without parole for the kidnapper and his wife.

@FlyingChainSaw: I’m not sure that’s true. I remember having to harass my mother to buy a supplemental which meant looking at them carefully. They are all labelled from A to whatever, J? The labels tell you what the plan offer; every plan labelled A must be the same whatever the company and whatever the price. I got her to go with Plan B which picked up hospital costs Medicare doesn’t cover. I got prices from several companies and found AARP to be half the price of the nearest competitor. Whether one thinks that retired people should be having to spend their pension on basic health care is a different matter.

TJ: Interesting read for anyone who has had the black dog chase them.

@Benedick: Sure, they can buy it – it doesn’t mean they’ll pay out when a claim is filed. I can imagine the conversation between BushCo and his insurance patrons. “It’s pissa. They’re fucking old. They file claims. We tell them to fuck off. Some yell and scream. Their kids threaten legal action, ok, we end up paying one or two now and then. Most pay a few years and die. Found money.” “Dang, that’s genius. Can you get a lien on the house, too?” “Working on it.”

Can somebody explain why THIS isn’t the first thing pro-reform advocates bring up? Here we have a population formerly well-served by government where the “free market” has come in and basically created a massive swindle machine.

Combine that with the previous mention, which had these same plans ACTUALLY telling seniors to “go home and die” (via denying pre-approval for coverage), the “reform will kill grandma and/or hurt Medicare” people need to have a nice big glass of STFU. I just wish Frank or Byrd or somebody would put this in their faces publically.

@al2o3cr: Um, the “free market”, as such/as we know and love, is a swindle machine, no?

@FlyingChainSaw: Also, any chance we can harvest some organs for some worthy bluebloods who could use them to greater (free market) advantage?

Capitalism = BIG FAIL. We can conjure up trillions of dollars — immediately! — for bank bailouts (because in that case, we can’t just let the market work its magic!) but we can’t imagine spending that much over tens of years to provide health care to all of our citizens.

When does our supposedly “free market” become so burdensome that the people rise up and take to pitchforks and torches?

When? When?

When does our supposedly “free market” become so burdensome that the people rise up and take to pitchforks and torches?

When? When?

Tuesday next.
Oh, wait. You meant when will it really happen, not when should it happen. Sorry. But you raise a good, if dismaying, point. How badly does the American population have to get fucked over before doing something about it?

@Pedonator: I am sure that is the business plan. These monsters don’t miss a trick.

Writing as someone who is kept awake at night by the prospect of either of us needing long-term nursing care there are a few things I’d point out. The first is that it is long-term care that is the great expense that insurance will not address – and if you think Plan B is a swindle you should check out some of the long-term insurance companies. Living in NY state I can get into a state plan of sorts. But it still keeps me awake. However, the Medicare add-ons are quite sensibly done and do illustrate how government does it better. The government dictates what the plans should offer and all the companies must fall in line. I never had any problem getting paid. The main problem I had was the endless paper work – and I do mean endless, every time she went into a different room she had to fill out the same set of forms yet again – the endless testing – ditto on blood work, and she was so thin her arms got torn up and I finally refused to let them do any more – and very expensive scans. One doctor made her go through some kind of imaging thing at a time when she could barely leave her house and then dragged us to Albany for a consultation and then wouldn’t answer anyone’s phone calls. I reported him to the governing body and Medicare to tell them not to pay him but that’s a very difficult thing to do.

In my experience the fraud and waste that is endemic to the system obviously leaches it of funds and resources. If one looks at a medical bill one can see quite clearly what the doctor or hospital charges and what Medicare pays, it’s usually much less.

@Benedick: “If one looks at a medical bill one can see quite clearly what the doctor or hospital charges and what Medicare pays, it’s usually much less.”


I got to see my hospital bill after surgery and a four-day stay, sent to me pending insurance company payment. Bill was more than three years of private law school. 12 bucks for a gauze pad.

I said to the surgeon’s nurse, “Is Blue Cross really going to pay all of that?”

She said, “No, they’ll probably offer to pay half that amount, and the hospital will agree, and your account will be cleared. You won’t have to pay the difference.”

I asked her, “But what would have happened if I didn’t have insurance? Would the hospital expect me to pay the full $165,000?”

“Yes, of course.”

THAT is one of many things that is so fucked up. I helped a friend fight a prestigious hospital’s collection agency in court when they went after her because while the hospital accepted her insurance, the practice of the doctors who were treating her didn’t take her insurance. Since I helped her file a counter-claim because the hospital and doctors didn’t disclose that to her prior to admission, they agreed to a settlement where she had to pay $1500 and they’d consider it clear. But what about the people who don’t have insurance or the wherewithall to fight back? Their credit is fucked, they are pursued by collection agencies, and their lives are made hell to pay a bill in full that the insurance companies don’t have to pay in full. Buying a car at a non-Saturn dealership is a more transparent process.

@SanFranLefty: I can only imagine, since everyone’s so happy with their health insurance, that they’ve never had to use it.

@SanFranLefty: Unless you’re penniless. In which case Medicaid will medivac you from a coastal island of SC and fly you to Atlanta for major surgery – as happened to a friend. Otherwise you are fuqued.

BTW. How hot is that shot of the Huckster? Wow! And he’s got his shooter all wrapped in a darling cozy. Someone needs to unwrap that thang and git it primed STAT.

@Benedick: “I need to buy a gun and join the NRA,” my friend’s candidate said to him one day. As a Democratic Indian woman running for Congress in Oklahoma against a third generation Boren, she needed all the help she could get. The odds were stacked against her from the get go, however.

“In response to the question of whether he owned a gun, candidate RML said ‘I got a shit load of them and I could be out shooting them instead of wasting my time talking to you'”.

The photo above is from Huckleberry’s famous pre-Iowa caucus pheasant hunting trip. He may be holding the Browning shotgun he told the NRA about. It is probably not his Benelli duck hunting gun.

When I first saw the photo yesterday, I thought Bloggie was playing off my Walter Matthau reference. I’ll give him the credit, even if it was coincidental.

@Benedick: Check out Kristof’s column in today’s NYT–exactly on point. I love the conclusion:

So, for those of you inclined to believe the worst about President Obama, think it through. Suppose he is indeed a secret, foreign-born Muslim agent who is scheming to undermine American family values while killing off as many grandmothers as possible.

If all that were true, why on earth would he be trying so hard to reform our health care system? We already know how to prod families into divorce and take a life unnecessarily every 30 minutes — all we need to do is reject reform and stick with exactly what we have.

@Mistress Cynica: Major error:

think it through

Not in this debate, pal. Rationality is a socialist plot.

Heavy metal health care financing:

“08/30/09 Trujillo and Others Make Song For Chi

“Korn bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu has put together a song with Robert Trujillo (of Metallica) and members of Slipknot, Machine Head, Disturbed, Kill Switch Engaged, and Hatebreed to benefit Deftones bassist Chi Cheng.

“Cheng was in a car accident about a year ago and has been in a coma ever since. Unfortunately, the insurance company has stopped paying for his treatment and his family is selling off everything to pay for it.

A Song for Chi was made to raise money for Chi and his family. You can download the song, watch the video, and make a donation. Be sure to check it out.

“Thanks to Blabbermouth.”

from Insanity Palace of Metallica

@nojo: Plus, you posted a video of Ann Coulter. That’s worth a touchdown and a field goal, right there.

@Dodgerblue: Well, like I said at the time, if I had come up with the headline first, I would have aimed straight for the satire. But it was getting late.

Some time back, I watched or read a story about how the Onion works: they pitch headlines on Tuesday, then write out the winners. Which is why their headlines are often better than what follows.

Quirky faux foreigner update: Did anyone see that blonde whackjob on Stewart? The one with the health care bill? I felt like I was watching her on one show, and him on another. And her condescending “Isn’t he cute?” and talking to the audience was bizarre. And she’s been a constitutional something or other?? WTF?

@RomeGirl: You’ve met Betsy McCaughey, who sank the Clinton healthcare bill, and has come back for seconds.

Her other claim to infamy is as Pataki’s lieutenant guv; I give the floor to our NY Stinquers.

@Original Andrew: Thanks for the Onion link! I’ve been forgetting to check the Onion lately, very foolish of me, since it often makes me very happy.

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