Inside the Capitol

Sunday, August 09, 2009

8-12 Healthcare Thoughts

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- With all the talk about healthcare, I feel compelled to offer some of my thoughts for what they might be worth. I am far from being a healthcare analyst. These thought are from purely personal experiences.
I've been on Medicare for over six years now and must say, I love it. I can go to just about any doctor, present my Medicare card and Blue Cross cards and never hear another word about co-pays, deductibles or denied coverage. And I know they won't cancel me. That's insurance.
Occasionally I have asked a doctor if an expensive procedure will be covered. I've been told often enough not to worry that I no longer ask. Will the proposed health care plan help me? Not likely. I'm already set for the rest of my life.
Since I already have about as good a plan as I could ever want, why should I support the government extending that guaranteed coverage to everyone else? It will surely raise my taxes regardless of what is being promised so I'll actually come out behind. And the government could lower my Medicare benefits besides.
So about the only reason to support health care coverage for everyone is that I shouldn't be selfish and maybe having everyone covered will make this a better world. I read somewhere it is my patriotic duty to want healthcare for everyone.
If I'm going to be patriotic and unselfish, I at least want to see this proposed plan be as good as it can be. There have been some extremely scary claims made about what is going to happen to old people under the proposed plan.
I'm told President Barack Hussein Obama is going to send out death squads to decide whether I can live any longer. I find it impossible to believe any member of Congress would vote for that, much less a majority of both houses.
And I think the American Association of Retired Persons, to which all us old folks should belong, would be able to keep something like that from happening.
Actually, in my community, the problem is much the opposite. We're concerned that the new owners of our hospital will require all patients be kept alive as long as absolutely possible.
To me, that's not welcome news. My parents spent the last 10 years of their lives in a nursing home, one with acute dementia, the other with Alzheimer's. They had great care and were in good health but they didn't know where they were, who they were or who I was.
That is zero quality of life as far as I am concerned. I am reaching the age at which they started their long downhill slide and don't want to be a burden on my family. I have a long term care policy which I hope would eliminate the financial burden. I will write this column as long as I can to keep the mental juices flowing.
But when I reach the point that I no longer enjoy life, I don't want to stick around another 10 years. I would like for there to be some end-of-life options. I don't expect the government ever to snuff me out. But I would like for there to be some way to respect my wishes.
The main problem in my mind is that the healthcare effort is being rushed. Obama is said to believe it is now or never. In my mind that means never. Everyone needs to settle down and search for changes all can accept.
It appears to me that the poor and the old already have deluxe coverage. The rich can take care of themselves. And the young have their health. Who really needs help? The middle-aged, middle-class.
And yet, at congressional town halls, they seem to be the ones raising the most ruckus. At one, on TV, almost all raised their hands that they had insurance.
Since people with individual coverage are at the mercy of insurers, the protesters must have insurance through their employers. And yet, their health is insured only as long as their job is insured. And that isn't much these days.
WED, 8-12-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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