Corrente

If you have "no place to go," come here!

Party's over here

Hello and welcome. First a little business...

Thanks, lambert for the place and the constant support.

Thanks DCB and hipparchia for yeo-woman work on the issue of single payer. You are why I got involved. Well, that and I got really pissed off.

Next virtual house parties:

All 8pm EST
Friday, Dec. 26
Saturday, Dec. 27 (fab Gf and ohio report)
Tuesday, Dec. 30 (Paul L's report)
Possibly a wrap-up on the 31st.

Spread the word.

Here's the list of questions we gathered.

1. Have you or anyone in your family ever failed to seek medical attention because you couldn’t afford it? (h/t a little night…)

2. Have you or anyone in your family ever failed to seek medical attention because you couldn’t afford treatment though you had health insurance? (h/t a little night…)

3. Have you ever lost your health insurance? If so, why?

4. Have you ever been refused health insurance? If so, why?

5. Have you ever had to change doctors, delay treatment, or pay higher deductibles because of a pre-existing condition or long-term illness? Are you delaying treatment now? (h/t a little night…)

6. Have you, or someone you know filed for bankruptcy because of medical costs?

6. Do you have health insurance now? If not, why not? If so, how do you pay for it?

7. Have you ever asked your parents or children to help you financially because of overwhelming medical bills? Have they ever asked you for financial help?

8. Have you ever given up a job or assets to qualify for health insurance programs designed to help people living in poverty?

9. Have you ever stayed in a marriage or relationship because you had health insurance coverage you would otherwise not be able to get?

10. Have you ever decided to accept or turn down a job because of health insurance benefits? (h/t VL)

11. Have you ever lost your job because of a medical condition you put off seeking treatment for until it became so serious, you had to miss work a lot?

12. Have you ever foregone treatment because of the paperwork required by insurance companies?

13. Does what you've heard about or your experience of insurance companies stop or delay you from seeking medical help when you need it?

14. Have you ever gone without necessary medication because you can't afford it or it is not covered by your health insurance? (h/t Iphie)

15. Has your insurance company ever refused to pay for your prescriptions, and instead substituted their option over the judgment of your doctor? (h/t Iphie)

16. Have you ever avoided getting a diagnosis because you lacked health insurance, or didn't want to risk going on record with a pre-existing condition? (h/t

17. Has anyone you know ever contemplated either suicide or refusing to get treatment for a life threatening and/or chronic condition because he or she didn't want to bankrupt his or her loved ones? Have you known anyone that died because of such a choice? (h/t tnjen)

18. Have you ever skipped out on activities (skiing, running a marathon, etc.) because you might not be able to afford an injury?

0
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Comments

Submitted by ohio on

And that human suffering pushes to act. But I am not enlightened. Just like everyone else, I saw the mayonaisse jar on the counter of the liquor/grocery/convenience store, shook my head at how said and unfair the whole thing was, that someone would be begging for charity because they need medical help they can't otherwise get. Sometimes I'd drop in some change, but not much past that. I know people who have had disasters involving the their health or the health of loved ones. Hell, I came out in the 1980s and I know some men dead of cruel diseases made more cruel by indifference.

But why is it just in the past few weeks that I have finally been moved to act? Because the lying is so bald-faced, so unrelenting, and so callous, I can't stand it. I take offense at the cynical tricks of those in power and my umbrage has pried off my own indifference. I opened my own damn eyes to see what I've always known and to accept that if I don't make a move to change this, I can't expect anyone else to.

No choir of angels sang in unison at my realization but I'm old enough to know that the things worth doing aren't the things that angel choirs sing about.

And you?

Submitted by hipparchia on

the things worth doing aren't the things that angel choirs sing about.

this is unfortunately true. and i would add that the things that need doing are often not the things angel choirs sing about. polar bears and dolphins and giant sequoias arguably need to be saved [and i actually prefer them to people], but so do teenage moms and drug addicts and folks just released from prisons and little kids of all the wrong colors living in housing projects and ...

charity is all well and good, and i was raised to believe that everybody ought to do volunteer work as one of the many ways to give back to the community, but some problems are so large that only a very large entity can successfully tackle them. around these parts, we call that entity guvmint.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

My consciousness is like a clogged furnace filter for lies, at this point; so what, in particular, set you off?

(And is this an effective marketing strategy?)

Submitted by ohio on

or whatever that thing. I heard the phrase three times in the space of five minutes on the teebee, all coming from the mouths of people who ought to know better.

(I have my variation of Harry & Louise I though up while shoveling snow. It hits the lying and offers single payer as the solution.)

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

... for an hour and I may have something a propos ....

Submitted by ohio on

[Edited to add: HAHAHA we posted at the same time, lambert. I was just asking other folk why healthcare was an issue for them and you asked me first.]

It seems like a lame question, but I've wondered about it. Healthcare wasn't my issue until I heard that Uniquely American Solution garbage. I got tired of being lied to and how those lies were being used to hurt people I know

That we don't have single payer strikes me as deeply stupid. Most politicians aren't stupid, so there's obviously a reason why we don't ahve it and the reason is fairly obvious. But that doesn't make it a good reason. It's just a reason.

So, is healthcare an issue for you because of personal experience? because of systemic wrongs you'd like to make right? Because you got tired of being lied to?

(I'll also add, because healthcare is expensive and it's often ahrd to make better choices when money is involved, say about a job, if you need to earn enough to pay for or take a gig that give you health insurance.)

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

... that I want. The classic marketing thing that you're not selling a corkscrew, you're selling opening a bottle of wine.

Health care is an issue for me because it just... never... fucking... occurred to me that the Dems would betray me on this issue. Two years ago, I made a judgment to leave an insured situation, to take a risk, on the assumptions that (a) the State of Maine's program would have a place for me and (b) that the Dems would come through in 2008 with a policy that had health care as a goal, instead of making sure that the insurance companies could keep sucking our blood. Neither thing came true; Maine, unbelievably, let the insurance companies administer their program, and so of course they fucked it up. And so far, the Dems have turned out to be... less than we imagined.

And then you go on from there that in the most optimistic scenario, I've got 10 years to Medicare, but I'm feeling older now, and I worry about every ache and pain. And the economy doesn't help any. And it would be insane for me to go for treatment because if they find anything (a) I won't be able to pay for it anyhow and (b) I'll get in the system as having a pre-existing condition, so I won't be able to pay in the future either.

And I've seen what health care is like in civlized countries; so the lies tire me out.

The whole thing feels to me like a "little person, go die" message. I don't like that at all.

Submitted by hipparchia on

which is what changed me from needing reform to rabidly agitating for reform.

i'm in a similar situation to yours -- chucked the safety net of employer-provided insurance [it was lousy insurance anyway, barely above the level of junk insurance] for going independent and paying [full price!] for my own insurance. then i got expensively sick and got dumped. unlike you, i've got closer to 20 years before i'm old enough for medicare, and at the rate we're going now [cut benefits], they'll probably move the eligible age even further out of my reach.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

It seemed so obvious to me that if the Dems wanted to build an FDR-style coalition for the next 40 years, that this was the way to do it. Then, POOF! That's not really a lie, though, as such.

Risk-shifting is a big issue, too. The punishment for making what turned out to be a mistake -- and we are supposed to take risks, right? -- is disproportionately severe.

It's like the penalty for choosing the wrong cable provider is losing a limb, or something. Totally disproportionate.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i love the whole americans are too risk-adverse! meme that the libertarians and their ilk keep pushing.

fucking idiots.

but keeping track of all the lies, large and small? not even sure i could pull the important ones out of my head now.

still, the one about americans are afraid of medicare for all has got to rank right up there near the top. i can see how it's not politically viable though -- it's the spineless politicians who fear for the funding that enables them to keep their cushy jobs who are afraid of hr 676 [and just about anything else that might rein in corporations just a little bit].

i can see why many of them are confused about whether medicare for all would lower costs, and by how much... not everybody is inclined to wade through the math, and so much of our payment [non]system is as transparent as brick walls... easy to discourage anybody who's not part pit bull. :)

Submitted by ohio on

and the table flippers and the pointer-and-laughers. Speaking of pointing and laughing, where's GQM?

Americans are risk-adverse? You're right---that's crap. What we are is distrustful and for good reason.

Lambert, your point about the FDR coalition is excellent. It is obvious that healthcare for all is a solid foundation on which to start over and perhaps inch our way a little closer toward a more perfect etc. But though you are a bright fellow, you can't be the only one who sees this.

I mean, a certain junior senator saw it, didn't she?

So why not just the apathy but active resistance?

Submitted by hipparchia on

but i've always liked the question authority outlook myself.

unfortunately, the reagan/bush/howevermanyothers wing of the republican party has managed to obscure just where the authority is [loosely defining authority here as who has power over your life]. a great deal of it is vested in corporate america [fast becoming multinationals now] but there's a smokescreen in front of that part of it.

otoh, many in my family [including me] have benefited both materially and intangibly from working for huge multinational corporations.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

... "preserve industry margins." Yes, we the taxpayers can't sustain the system as it now is; but the proposed changes have nothing to do with our health and everything to do with keeping the insurance companies in business.

Anybody looked into Axelrod's work with ASK in Chicago? It would be nice to frame all whatsherface as more Axelrodish astroturfing.

Submitted by ohio on

I think Axelrod just cut all his ties with both of his companies.

But from the ASK website: "We specialize in bringing policy issues into the public arena in a way that gives our clients a chance to make their case directly to citizens and voters."

This is an important thing because they have made it clear that the firm advocates without any sort of ethical guideline, it operates in secret (they've refused to list clients or share revenue info), and it has created operations that are dishonest to their core.

That's just swell.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

... a uniquely American solution.

Or perhaps unique to Czarist Russia, or name the third world country.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'd buy that t-shirt [with or without the uniquely american solution part] if corrente sold it and the proceeds went to feed the hamsters.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I have been for single payer ever since I heard about it twenty years ago. I always assumed that at some point America would be ready for it. I worked as hard as I could to pass Clinton care back in '93-'94; but I was almost happy when it went down because I knew we would never have single payer had it passed. I knew the next time America was ready we would be too angry for Clinton care.

For reasons too numerous to mention I have lost respect for the Democratic party. From 2002 until 2006 I held out some hope that blogosphere would turn the Democratic party around. I don't have to explain to this community why I no longer believe that.

But I am not content to wallow in hopelessness like Arthur Silber. The fight for single payer has kept me sane. I keep remembering how we got Nixon to establish the Environmental Protection Agency, how we got Reagan to sign the sanctions against Apartheid South Africa, and I know that it is possible to win victories in the most hostile political environments. That is why I don't get rattled by Sen. Baucus saying single payer is off the table. I am confident of our ability to put it back on the table.

The funny thing is that I think we will pass it and Obama will spend 2012 bragging about it and winning by an even bigger landslide. And you know what? I couldn't care less; because single payer healthcare will bring quality health care into the lives of millions of uninsured and millions of only-think-that-they-are-insured. Single payer will have the effect of a massive economic stimulus that will put billions of dollars of spending money into the hands or ordinary Americans and American businesses.

We are going it win and it is going to be fun.

All the same, it is a shame about the torture and continuing war crimes.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

That's the plan, yes.

Submitted by hipparchia on

*i* think it ought to be our plan.

i've mentioned before [maybe not on this particular blog] that i come from a family of ultra-competitive board-game players [scrabble and monopoly were only the beginning]. we cheat -- a lot [although we call it updating the rules]. one of the popular tactics has long been for someone who's losing to lure the family cat to jump up on the table and scatter all the game pieces. by the time you get everything picked up, nobody can remember where it all went, or even who was winning.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i didn't really see the light until recently, though i'd known since the clinton era that we needed to fix things. i've been reading a lot about the clinton plan in the last few days, and i have to agree with you, i'm glad it didn't pass either, and for precisely the same reason -- it most likely would have taken single payer off the table for good, or for the next 30 years.

Submitted by ohio on

What are you thinking? I mean, other than renting an amenable cat?

Ideas I got, but c'mon, now, spill, you agitator you.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

... is here. A new tool to let posters (a) suggest email addresses for readers to respond to, that (b) accumulates the addresses for future use.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'm all for a big tent strategy here -- people participate in whatever form they prefer, or switch from one form to another based on what they feel will work on a specific target or at a particular point in time.

i use ntodd's 198 sundays series for new ideas [this post says it all for me].

Submitted by ohio on

I think they're useful, but not the only. I lean more toward the use of technology---especially video, audio, and animation to handle messaging. But that's because I have strengths in those areas.

And they require a lot less energy, resources, and people than marches and sit-ins. I'm not saying big public events wouldn't be useful, but to get from here to there? How about some youtubery?

I am not suggesting astroturfing---we got a real grassroots thing going here. But we can use the same cynicism as those who do astroturf, only we get to be truthful about those who oppose healthcare for all.

No?

Submitted by hipparchia on

it's not everybody's cup of tea, so we could also help foster other forms too i would hope. just like we're doing both online daschle house parties and providing a place to publicize rl daschle house parties....

ooooooh! shiiiiiny! speaking of techery, i just now noticed the add webcam comment. i may have to dig mine back out of wherever i stored it [had to hide it, as it was becoming far too popular a cat toy].

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

(Yes, I know this isn't YouTube, and it's not even local storage, but it will do to go on with until I can come up with a more robust solution. Plus, I like the idea of recording directly into the blog a whole lot.)

Remember to save!
[riffly_audio]53E4C24CD16211DDA7987275BB573E90[/riffly_audio]

Submitted by lambert on

... that's open to interpretation. But at least the person(a) typing these words right now was singing into the mike just then....

UPDATE I just played it back, and no sound. I don't think there's a bandwidth limitation (this is the site) so I'm guessing a network issue.

All we can do is experiment!

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Americans aren't ready for single payer or definitive steps in that direction (e.g. mandates). F*ck that! And f*ck the Democratic Party and progressive blogosphere trying to screw over the people or rationalize said screwing.

I was a proud Democrat. I was never a strict idealist so I didn't mind some of the compromises. There were some principles of democracy I thought the Dems would never compromise on but they did. Then the compromise on FISA and pushing the bailout. Now real health care reform appears increasingly off the table because of some post-partisan BS that's supposed to solve the worlds problems. Saving lives with health care reform is post partisan, not helping insurance companies prevent care because that seems like the post partisan thing to do.

I've said that I've lost hope this cycle but that's not entirely true. I may have lost faith in the system, but not the people. They are ready for things like UHC. Its the f*cking politicians who aren't ready. Or aren't willing.

Submitted by hipparchia on

just to be a trouble-maker here...

in blogging / emailing / messageboarding [ha!] one problem is the well-known and oft-forgot caveat: never put anything in an email or on the internet that you don't want to come back to haunt you.

in our present [non]system, where any admission whatsoever of even a hint of a possibility of a pre-existing condition can scuttle your chances of getting [or keeping, if you've already got] insurance, people are often reluctant to discuss how any of these issues affect them personally. and well they should be, especially now that we're finding out just how much google and at&t and ceiling cat knows who all else is watching / listening to us.

Submitted by ohio on

is at sometime we could rig a Corrente proxy server specifically for anonymous medical searches on the Google or whatever. Not now, but is such a thing easy to set up? Specifically, anonymous in and anon out, so even if the server gets nabbed, there's no way to trace who asked what when?

Just wondering.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i hadn't heard of this one until lambert mentioned it, but i do use various proxy servers and anonymizers for stuff like that. don't know how well they work, though.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

A very universal one, as it were: something about the time and frustration of getting payment, which sometimes leads to just going ahead and eating a bill rather than sit on hold and/or haggle and write letters, etc. Needs to be more succinct, but perhaps you get my drift -- the cost of time and stress from bureaucratic hell.

Submitted by hipparchia on

especially for people with complex health issues.

also, something that a lot of people don't realize [and that a lot of the but insurance admin costs are low! memers won't tell you] is just how much time doctors spend on letters and phone calls with the insurance companies, haggling over treatments for their patients.

Submitted by ohio on

I wonder if I could get permission from a physician to videotape him or her on the phone talking with an insurance rep about a treatment. We wouldn't hear the other person on the phone and we'd hide the identity of the patient (I'd still ask permission, though)...

hipp, is the percentage of healthcare costs going to administrative 31%? Do you have actual facts on this to share?

Also, VL, do you mean, "Have you ever given up trying to get reimbursed by an isurnace company because of the time and trouble involved?"

Submitted by hipparchia on

nobody really knows what the facts are... insurance companies don't have to report the kind of information that would help answer this question, and doctors, hospitals, etc are basically in the same boat we are -- we're already spending so much time fighting with the insurance companies that we can't afford to also take the time to track this.

lots of privacy issues there. rather than taping a particular phone call, maybe tape an interview with a doc who is willing to take a week [or some other time frame] to carefully document how much time they spend just on standard insurance company paperwork, writing extra letters, making extra phone calls, etc. for completeness' sake, it would be good to break out time spent on medicare vs private insurance vs people like me [and the cash on the barrelhead discount that i get, probably others do too]. and break it out by time spent by clerks vs time spent by nurses vs time spent by docs... ugh, the complexity is overwhelming.

Submitted by ohio on

But there are contracts I have that cover these situations. And what I don't have I can get---a pal of mine used to work for DiscoveryHealth doing all those birthin' baby shows---you know with the close ups and everything? She's sure to have any paperwork I don't have.

There are many ways to hide someone's identity. I'd probably tape the whole conversation, then cut it down to a 30-second spot, editing from bit to bit that doesn't mention the patient's name or gender, or even condition. But I would show the clock running---so at the end of the spot, you see the physician has just spent however many minutes arguing with the insurance people.

The harder part is finding a physician in a hundred-mile radius who would do it.

Submitted by ohio on

"How much? Nobody knows! At least, not anybody who thinks transparency is a good idea. Doctors have to decide if they're going to track this stuff or treat patients, patients have to decide on concentrating on getting better or arguing with insurance companies, insurance commissioners are fighting to stop the very worst of abuses. One of the business reasons we need single payer is because we can demand an accounting of costs---and get it!"

You have to flail your arms around when you say this, though.

Submitted by hipparchia on

including the flailing of arms.

Submitted by ohio on

What if we had a series of these. Call it "Complicated answers to simple questions about healthcare" or something.

We close each one with the same tagline: Insurance companies don't want you to know. But Pres. Obama promises transparency. That's a plan that's as clear as mud.

Submitted by lambert on

"Why don't the insurance companies want you to understand that?"

That would even work with the doctor vid -- the doctor is gonig paperwork instead of giving care.

I'm getting a picture of a surgeon in an operating room, instruments in hand. A nurse walks in. "Doctor, it's the insurance company again. They say...."

Submitted by ohio on

And tag all of these with that.

But we want to end on the tag---it's the thing we want echoing in people's minds.

"It's simple. Healthcare is a right." That's good.

Submitted by hipparchia on

that part's accurate, but obama promises transparency isn't really accurate, or maybe it is, but it's not one of the main points he and his surrogates are pushing here.

Submitted by hipparchia on

other than addressing obama [or maybe we should be addressing daschle instead] specifically when we deliver the results of our house parties, i'm against attaching anyone's name to this, but particularly obama's.

Submitted by ohio on

And I admit I took a swipe at him for no good reason. I usually don't do that, but lambert's FDR comment intrigued me and I had a bad moment when I thought of the opportunities slipping away from us because of timidity and plain odl dumbness.

There are also people who are great fans of the president-elect, and who are right thinking on single payer. If they want to fight for this basic right, fine by me.

Submitted by lambert on

Sure, a common interchange format for medical records would be great, but does anybody seriously think it will happen without legislation? Why would anybody think that parasites want transparency? And without legislation, it's going to be just another boondoggle for the Beltway Bandits to build another failed and very expensive system -- like air traffic control, for example.

And suppose we force a common interchange format by legislation. Why the need for all the different companies, then?

Submitted by ohio on

Two guys in suits standing at an ATM talking about how difficult it would be to have shared records and patient tracking, cut to them at lunch as one pays with a credit card, cut to them going ina buoilding with an I.D., cut to them in a swanky office and someone calls to one of the guys, "Sir, those documents arrived via email from Tokyo and Minsk." Sir says thanks, and then ends with, "Yeah, handling all this information is just so complicated. No matter what, we have to make sure our way wins."

Submitted by hipparchia on

just how exhaustively i can opine on this issue. besides the whole privacy thing [a biggie for me] there's that whole implementation thing, which i have massive opinions on, being as that's what i do for a living [though not in the medical field].

Submitted by hipparchia on

the figure calculated by david himmelstein and steffie woolhandler [of pnhp] is 31% [everybody should read this article, although if you're feeling lazy or overwhelmed, i abstracted a couple of tables from it here].

this figure has supposedly been discredited, but the one reference that purportedly debunks this that i've seen was a link to an article behind a paywall at the time.

others have come up with 15-25%, among them noted princeton economist uwe reinhardt who says it's 25%.

and now, quoting directly from the lte in the helena independent record --

In 2005, James Kahn and coworkers undertook to see if the 31 percent overhead figure was correct. They said, “these estimates, the most comprehensive for the United States, have been taken to task for a variety of reasons.” So they studied hospitals, doctors’ offices and insurance companies in California.

Their report in Health Affairs showed that billing and insurance-related functions added up to 21 percent of spending. They added in 13 percent for the rest of the overhead and administrative costs and came to a total of 34 percent! That’s in the ballpark, but even higher than the 2003 New England Journal of Medicine report by Woolhandler!

[...]

Thinking about these issues, I e-mailed Professor Kahn at the University of California this week to see if the 34 percent figure was correct. It was, he said, but he added a proviso: A new study of these costs shows that the percentage of administrative overhead is even higher. “We’re in the process of writing this up,” he said, “It looks like only 62 cents out of every dollar spent goes to actual care!”

Submitted by ohio on

That's three.

-Corrente
-groundlings, go die
-And the 62 center: "Only 62 cents of every healthcare dollar spent to save your life actually goes to saving your life."

We need something snappier than that.

Submitted by hipparchia on

insurance 38, groundlings 62

or... your life, saving it for 62 cents on the dollar

or something...

Submitted by lambert on

That's the front, in big type.

In smaller type, a variety of slogans:

42 cents of every health care dollar goes to insurance company bureaucrats."

--- with source.

On the back:

"Single payer now!"

Does that work?

Submitted by ohio on

And one I need to do research on. The benefit of using it is that we can define it.

A month or so back we had a big discussion about using "Medicare" (as in, "Medicare for all") as part of a marketing slogan. I thought (and still do) that Medicare is perceived negatively---regardless of the facts of it success. (Someone who worked in Medicare posted that people needed to separated Medicare and Medicaid because one worked and one didn't, and that people often had bas associations with both programs because of the bad stories coming out abother one of the programs. I kind of feel a little vindicated because she proved my point. People do have a negative perception of "Medicare" and it is very difficult to get people to change their minds on something they're sure they know. Compare this with introducing and offering a first impression of something new.)

"Healthcare for all" dodges the existing perception of Medi-whatever, but it can easily be co-opted as it isn't specific enough. "Single payer" names the solution, but is obscure. Not an easy remedy but it can be done, especially if we define it and brand it as such.

That means "single payer" becomes what people say when they're talking about solving our healthcare mess.

FTR, this requires a huge branding effort and may be beyond our abilities. But maybe not.

Submitted by hipparchia on

that's one of the problems, people do confuse the two if they've never had any direct experience with either one, and medicaid is dependent on states, so some of the programs are pretty dismal.

Submitted by hipparchia on

is the short title of the bill [hr 676], and i use it when i'm talking to people in general. single payer is a more accurate description, but it's still pretty wonkish for most audiences.

Submitted by hipparchia on

:)

i'm no good at reaching the masses with a few words. when i talk this up one-to-one or in a small group, usually i figure out what their specific concerns are, and then point out how a national health insurance program would fix that. different messages for different audiences.

the other title for hr 676 is somethingsomething national health insurance bill. maybe that's the way to go. how to make it sound catchy, i dunno. isn't that what we keep you marketing types around for?

Submitted by ohio on

And you win a prize for that last sentence.

Snicker.

Submitted by ohio on

Image: pie chart or a picture of a dollar, sliced into 62 cent and 38 cent sections.

On the 62 cent side: Rx
On the 38 cent side: BS
Underneath: "Your healthcare dollar at work."

Submitted by hipparchia on

ordinary people who need a place to learn about this stuff

obama, daschle, kennedy, our own senators and reps -- people who are going to enact the policies

other bloggers, think tankers, wankers -- people we can convince to join our coalition or help get our message out

i'm sure there are others, it's a big problem, needs a multi-pronged approach.

as for the audience of the house parties, i'd say there are 2 primary audiences: change.gov, and whoever we can incite to make their voices heard at change.gov between now and dec 31.

Submitted by ohio on

people. For the questions above, anyone who attends one of the real life house parties. I can't give you a break down of that demo, but suffice that these are people motivated enough to leave home in the middle of winter to talk policy with strangers. So make that very motivated.

For the online survey, the audience is registered Correntians who self-select to take it.

For other efforts, well, we have some baby steps to take before moving forward. First being to identify those ready to move further along in the buying cycle of taking action and getting their ideas on what to do and what their strengths are. Since we're limited by resources, we need to work from our strengths (and identify our weaknesses), and devise a plan of action.

I wrote a whole thing to Val earlier today about this as a marketing effort. Sorry about the length---hey, I was a novelist in a former life. If you read it already, sheesh, I am really sorry. But it does explain my view of things as of today.

Submitted by ohio on

I'm not the only one who got fed up with lies. And I'm glad to see I'm not alone in my anger. Does anyone else want to talk about why single payer is an issue for you?

Would you like to discuss a couple of the questions from the list at the top? The online survey lambert created hits a lot of these questions, but not all.

Or would you like more bullet points with facts to share?

Or would you like to discuss tactics and what we can do next?

Or shall we all sit and marvel at lambert's ability with the technology?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Which at times I've maintained at phenomenally high costs, the sleazy rigmarole makes me, well, sick. But mostly I hate cruelty and a lack of empathy, and the way our system works (or, rather doesn't) for the have-nots (which, I've both been and not been) is one of the great shames of our society.

oceansandmountains's picture
Submitted by oceansandmountains on

Often mental health is treated as a poor step-child to physical health care. Yet mental illnesses require expensive medications what must be taken with strict regularity. Community-based mental health care is generally poorly and inconsistently funded. Worst of all, if a person requires structured treatment, they often are looking at extended in-patient time. You can't go to a doc-in-the-box for a lot of these illnesses.

One thing I admired the most about Hillary was her clear identification of mental health as an important component of any health care/insurance program.

Submitted by ohio on

Is all part of the healthcare package. Mental illness is still illness and can destroy a person or his or her family through its effects, and that includes the financial.

oceansandmountains, are you concerned treatment for mental health illness are being left behind?

oceansandmountains's picture
Submitted by oceansandmountains on

A big part of my job is dealing with patients in psychiatric facilities. I see the real impact of funding decisions every day. Mental health issues are different because it is not typically an illness one recovers from. It's managed, not cured. Also, mental illnesses prefoundly alter a person's behavior so many many people are frightened of the mentally ill (and thanks Tom Cruise and Scientology for further stigmatizing mental illness). This makes it hard for people to want to advocate for mental health treatment because they'll be embarrassed or written off as "crazy" and not taken seriously.

Because mental illness is often part and parcel with substance abuse and criminal behavior, it's easy to write these people off as needing lectures in personal responsibility rather than people needing seriously focused long-term treatment. And don't even get me started on mental health treatment for juveniles.

Submitted by ohio on

I thank you for that hard work.

Stigmatizing the mentally ill is useless and cruel. It helps no one. What would help is taking that 38-cents-per-healthcare-dollar someone else is collecting and cutting it to half or a third of that, so more of that money can go into diagnosis, mangement, treatment, reserach, and everything else we need.

oceansandmountains's picture
Submitted by oceansandmountains on

had to spend even one weekend in-patient at any publicly funded facility, I guarantee you that it would get attention. Remember what happened at Walter Reed? Too bad we don't have that kind of exposure for health care in general. I can't tell you how much it meant to hear Hillary make mental health care such a prominent part of her package.

BTW thanks for the props. It's why I earn the tiny bucks.

Submitted by ohio on

I'm a filmmaker. Stop laughing. I really am.

I have gear. I can show you how to use it if that will work, or I can come in and we get some footage.

On second thought, could some of the patients document it?

What if I sent you a dozen of those disposable film cameras? Could they take photographs and perhaps write down what it's like? Then if they're willing and we can get legal clearance, we could interview them. Or give them a microphone so they could talk about what a typical day is like.

I don't want to violate their privacy, OTOH, talking about yourself and your life can be good for a person.

oceansandmountains's picture
Submitted by oceansandmountains on

because of confidentiality issues, particularly regarding whether other patients have/had the capacity to waive their confidentiality. I think the easiest way to document anything is to follow the travails of the VA mental health system. In the pacific NW there have been significant problems with VA facilities. The data could be accessed because of public records. Filming anywhere, OTOH, is a very difficult proposition.

Submitted by hipparchia on

everything: mental health, prescriptions, long term care, dental, all of it.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The current format asks yes/no questions, which may put the onus on yes answers to fit like a glove. A scale with degrees, such as Yes / Somewhat / No might help, so people who can relate -- but not completely -- to some of the questions will see those "kind of" answers reflected in their totals.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I'm not sure what to call it, but I mostly want to convey "sort-of," as in "I can relate to that but not totally." It might be too subtle, but I just wanted to throw out the idea that maybe there is a good way to gradate the questions, so people who agree somewhat see that a bunch of questions more or less fit them.

Submitted by ohio on

We'll see if lamberto can come up with something.

VL, your questions about ctaking or refusing a job about health insurance---I was thinking about that earlier. You know, that happens a lot. I know people who won't quit a job (or quit to take a lower-paying, more interesting job with no benefits) because they don't know how they'd pay for health insurance.

I knew some women who couldn't jump off of public assistance because they're kids wouldn't have health insurance, too. This was an excruciating dilemma for them. One in particular fought to get well educated but had a hell of a time finding work that would pay well enough so she could afford childcare and offer benefits.

She finally found a job she likes, and sometimes loves, but her child was twelve by the time she took it.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Of course, they can make a buck saving lives, considering the premiums they charge. They can just make a few more by not saving them.

Submitted by ohio on

or sleep Adobe Illustratoring.

I'm almost ready to have a glass of wine and collapse in a heap. I'll take a look in the a.m.

hipp, did you catch my quesiton about HR676?

Submitted by hipparchia on

i should add, if i'm talking to someone who i think might actually write a letter to the editor, or call into a talk radio show, or contact their congresscritter, i mention hr 676 specifically.

Submitted by ohio on

heh heh heh

Now that's diabolical.

You know we could pitch to the anti-abortionists to work for single payer based on that?

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

doesn't work as good as progressives seem to think. It tends to close off discussions from my experience.

Submitted by ohio on

That's the awesomest.

Do I have to pay you?

Heh.

On the right v. necessity thing, lambert pointed out that that is what Pres.-elect Obama said. So by repeating it, we get the double because we're quoting him. I think that's a pretty good argument.

But the necessity of healthcare could be part of the messaging or positioning...my brain may be collapsing on itself. Don't worry, I don't use it very often and I'll just re-inflate it in the morning.

Submitted by ohio on

But I look forward to reading the ongoing comments tomorrow.

Please let me know what topics you'd like to cover for our next virtual house party on


Friday, Dec. 26, 8pm EST

And think about what you may want to do to make single payer happen. How can we put your strengths, enthusiasm, sense of humor, mad skillz, or whatever to use?

Thank you for participating.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Have you ever had to change doctors or otherwise have to go to a doctor you wouldn't have chosen because your preferred doctor wasn't listed by your health insurance provider?

Questions about spiraling costs, such as:

If you pay some or all of your insurance premium, has the price increased significantly over time?

Has the cost of any co-pays in your plan gone up significantly in recent years?

If you are a business owner or administrator, has the cost of providing health insurance to your employees increased significantly in recent years?