Thursday, February 25, 2010

Keith Olbermann on "Life Panels" and Health Care

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I didn't catch this last night but saw it posted on Momocrats.

Olbermann speaks of a very personal situation - his own father's illness and the choices that he has had to make - and relates it to the current debate on health care, pointing out the claim by members of the GOP that there would be "death panels" to be absurd, and also showing how lack of insurance can taint decisions that should only be between the patient, his or her health care proxy and the doctors.

It is very moving; you'll need about 10 minutes of free time to watch it if you haven't already seen it, but it's worth the time spent. Naturally this seemed very pertinent to me given my recent (and ongoing) situation with my mother.

I didn't get to see much of today's health care summit, but did catch the last part when President Obama wrapped it up. From what he said it sounded as if the GOP did not yielded on any major points, which certainly didn't surprise me. They also all looked very sulky as the President talked.

I hope he and the Democrats in Congress will go forward without them and use reconciliation to pass as much of the health care bill that they can. Something has to change because our health care system is broken.


lisahgolden said...

That was hard to watch. I know that this must have been very familiar emotional terrain for you, Maui. The thing that struck me most was when he said What do we stand for if not to take care of our people?

For anyone who thinks "I'm covered and I don't want the gov't messing with me," I want to scream at them - tomorrow you may not be covered. What then? WHAT THEN?

Mauigirl said...

I know - it was hard. And exactly, those who are so complacent could be the ones out of luck next. That's the problem with the GOP, they only think of themselves, and never of anyone else.

Sue said...

you're in NJ too! I'm in SW Joisey, not born but raised.

I did see this Olbermann comment, he really touches my heart. He was off last night and I hope it wasn't cuz Dad passed away!

Anonymous said...

Hey Maui Girl,

Just wanted to say hi and thanks for stopping by my "blog" (not much of a blog these days but hopefully I'll be back to it really soon, I'm working on it).

I hope things are Ok with your mom. This healthcare stuff is frustrating, but I'm trying to remain at least somewhat optimistic. As someone with major "preexisting conditions" and these days practically anything qualifies as that, I know how important it is for things to change. With so many out of work and so many being hired on for only contract work etc with no benefits, access to health insurance that's not reliant on employment is all the more important as well. Anyway, preaching to the choir here I'm sure. I'll just wait and see what happens and try not to be too cynical about the state of our country right now though it's not looking too good.

I really liked your last post about your mom. If I've learned one thing in my journey in being a patient, it's that doctors do not have all, or often even a lot of, the answers.


Jolly Roger said...

Oh, the Rushpubliscums think of others, all right. They are scared to death that one of those dirty brown inferiors will get access to healthcare, and they cannot abide by THAT. Believe me when I tell you that these racist "teabagger" scum would rather destroy the healthcare system than give access to those who aren't like them.

Fran said...

I'll have to come back & view the vid later, but the closing line in your post sums it up for me--
" Something has to change because our health care system is broken."

We just have to get a foot in the door to start making the necessary changes.

It really burns my toast when they say scrap this & start over. To me that equates to we are stalling & the more we stall the more money we get from lobbyists.

Every person is just one diagnosis away from having a "pre-existing condition".

It's criminal.

Fran said...

I watched the clip the next day online and I immediately thought of you as well.

I also thought about an online article that I had linked to on my FB page about the insurance nightmare.

It is a tragic mess, a giant nightmare of a mess. I went through my mother's end years with her, but she died in 1991, which was quite a very different time. I can't imagine having to deal with the insurance, the decisions and so forth, now.

It is so inhumane that in the midst of all of that, many have to navigate such complex insurance nightmares or worse yet... no insurance at all.

My good thoughts, prayers and wishes for you and your mom and thanks for your brave blogging.

TomCat said...

Great Minds, Maui. I had this up the morning after it appeared on Countdown. I wish every Senator and Representative would watch it.

Randal Graves said...

Olbermann is a death panel!

Going to take decades if not longer (if ever) to get Americans to realize that in many, many cases, you'd rather have the feds than a for-profit entity having a say.

Tough to kill a myth.

Dave Dubya said...

Obama's mistake was when he said the Republicans need to do some "soul searching" about health care.

They have no souls.

S.W. Anderson said...

I saw Olbermann's piece the other night. It was moving because it was from the heart in the midst of a heartbreaking time.

The health care meeting Obama had with Republicans gave them the chance to display their shallowness and general disregard for people's needs. Democrats there, including the president talked about people who are hurting, people who've been let down by insurers, people who have died or lost loved ones for lack of insurance and medical care.

Republicans talked about stalling, starting over gain, the political process, letting the markets take care of the problems — as if the markets haven't had decades to do something besides gouge customers and write people off when they become an expense. They're obviously very concerned about politics, money, business, the markets, their ideology. They're concerned about anything but people and their needs.

About one-sixth of the U.S. population has no health insurance, can't afford health insurance or much medical care either. By all means, Democrats better use reconciliation or whatever means are required to fix this situation.

For years I've condemned Republicans for their anything-to-win ways. On this issue, I want to see Democrats be just as hardball and overbearing, do whatever it takes. For once, I want to see them do anything to win.

MRMacrum said...

Both sides are acting like bad school children in my opinion.

TomCat said...

Hi Mimi

I'm rushing through to let you know that I've moved Politics Plus to

You're in the new blogroll there. Would you please update me in yours?

libhom said...

We need to put the HMO/health insurer death panels out of business for good.

Mauigirl said...

Thanks for all of your thoughtful comments on this important subject.

Sue, good to know you're a fellow Jerseyan! I too hope Keith's dad didn't pass away - anyone find out since then? I haven't had a chance to watch Countdown this week.

M, good to see you. And yes, it's so important for our health care not to be tied to employment anymore. It doesn't make sense now, with the way they do business these days.

JR, I'm sure that does play a role in the GOP's opposition to universal health care.

Fran, totally agree. Starting over is just another way for them to stall. They have no intention of actually coming up with a plan, bipartisan or otherwise.

Fran, thanks for your good wishes about my mom. Thank goodness she is on Medicare and I don't have to worry about how to pay the enormous bills she must be running up in the hospital. Plus she has the supplemental insurance to cover what Medicare doesn't. Younger people are not as lucky as she is. Wish we all had "Medicare."

Randal, that's the problem - the American people don't even realize that the government actually does this whole medical thing very well compared to the insurance companies. Heck, half of them don't even realize that Medicare is a government system!

Dave, well said. If Obama had realized that fact a long time ago he'd have gotten more done by now! He keeps expecting them to actually have souls.

SW, I agree - it is time for the Dems to play hardball. What kills me is when they talk about using reconciliation to get this through the GOPers all start whining and complaining about how awful that is - when they did it all the time when Bush was President!

Mr. M, I do agree both sides have their problems. But as always, the Dems are the lesser of the evils and at least most of the time their intentions are much better than the Republicans.

TC, done, you are updated!

Libhom, I agree - this whole insurance industry is an unsustainable system.

TomCat said...

Thanks, Mimi! Glad your mom is out of the hospital. :-)

Sue said...

If you missed Keith last night he talked about his Dad. Thank God the dear man is doing better, he is still sedated but Keith says his blood counts are getting back to [normal]. But good news anyway!

susan said...

I work in a surgical department in a big university hospital in Portland where I have two main duties. The first is to get insurance authorizations for patient's treatment. The second is being in charge of the hospital billing side. It's said that our profession is recession proof but that's not true. Many more people have lost coverage and are just staying home until they have a crisis. Our numbers have been going down steadily and we know it's not because people are getting healthier. We live in a sick society.

Fran said...

OK I finally did get around to watch the vid.
Literally, it brought me to tears.
I can see this kind of healthcare scenario where the patient needs to decide- or as Keith says, make sure your family knows your wishes, in detail. Because they always say the patient is the head of the medical team. As he points out, there is usually some medical intervention or procedure that can be done, and some are invasive & painful, and, especially after a long lived life, there is a time when you must respect nature, and that it is a loved one's time to go.
I'm all for continuing on if there is reasonable hope for recovery. But if your life loses quality, and each day & procedure becomes a living hell or torture, we've missed the point.

We do this for our beloved pets-- know they can't get well, and give them a break sparing them pain, we certainly need to have this compassionate enlightenment for our people.
For those who want to press forward w every possible intervention, they can make that choice (if they can afford it).
Death is a part of life.
We seem to want to defy it beyond reason.

Mauigirl said...

Sue, glad to hear his dad is doing better.

Susan, I believe that, it makes sense people would put off getting treatment during the recession. We also have a gap in treatment options between going to the doctor or the ER - there should be some other possible choices. Otherwise you get people like my aunt going to the ER for problems that aren't actually critical (e.g., a recent bout of mild dehydration and painful constipation) but when you need some "tuning up" staying home isn't an option either. There should be a happy medium where you can get the care you need at home or in some kind of treatment facility without having to be admitted to the hospital via the ER first.

Fran, I know - I remember thinking about my dad when he was 92 with Alzheimer's, "If he were a cat we'd put him to sleep..." I think it's harder when the person is still cognizant and mentally alert than when they are not, however. It is all a thin line and hopefully we know when to cross it and when not to. It's a hard decision.