Posts Tagged ‘Health care’

Let’s move beyond corporate health care

October 6, 2009

I was in full agreement with the president during his health-care speech a few weeks ago until he got to the part when he said he didn’t want to put the insurance companies out of business.

Why not? They’ve been working to put us — individually and collectively — out of business for decades. Let some of these quasi Ponzi-schemers collect unemployment or stand in a soup line for a while. It’ll be cheaper in the long run.

Oddly, I find most people who are against some sort of public health system to be the same folks who already enjoy the benefits of the best socialized medicine programs in the world: Medicare, VA benefits, PERA, etc. Why shouldn’t the rest of us have the opportunity to buy into plans like these?

Here’s a little story for you . . . I carry what is known as “major medical” coverage with a $5,000 deductible for myself and my son. Besides being the type of coverage many of my doctor friends carry and recommend, it’s also what I can afford. Plus, I figure why give the insurance companies a lot of money when they are likely to deny any claim I have anyway. (“We’re sorry, Mr. Walter, we didn’t know that you  . . . [fill in the blank: race pack burros, formerly worked in the newspaper business, ride saddle donkeys, run long distances, work around cattle, live in the same ecosystem with rattlesnakes, bears and mountain lions, have a rat terrier dog, drink water, breathe air, whatever]. We can’t possibly pay for your medical expenses. Perhaps the hospital would consider your home in partial trade for the amount due.”)

Or, just fill in a blank with “autism” and see what happens.

About a year-and-a-half ago we took Harrison to The Children’s Hospital in Denver to be tested for autism. The doctor told us right then and there he has autism, and we got out a credit card to pay for this testing ourselves, which is what we had intended to do from the very beginning without involving the insurance company.

A few weeks later we received via certified mail what amounted to an extortion letter from our insurance company alledging we had withheld a pre-existing condition — autism — when we signed up for our plan. The only remedy was a higher rate.

Huh? Check out the logic here. If we had known he had autism, then we would not be paying $2,500 out of our own pockets to find out he had it.

These greedheads aren’t just contemptible, they’re idiots.

Plus, here’s something else for you to think about. Why does my autistic son not deserve to have as good and as affordable coverage as anyone else? If anything, he should have better.

A new study published by the medical journal Pediatrics has found that autism is even more prevalent than previously believed. If this study is accurate, one in 92 children now have been diagnosed with autism, which translates to about 673,000 children in the United States.

And you were worried about the flu.

Like the flu, statistics for autism also are compiled by the Centers for Disease Control, but is this condition really a disease? Can it be controlled? We don’t really know what it is or what causes it. We don’t know why some children are more affected than others. We don’t know why some apparently snap out of it at a certain age, while in others the problem progresses. We don’t know of any definitive treatment.

We really don’t know squat about autism, but we do know this: It’s a growing health-care issue and insurance companies don’t want to pay for it. Yet another reason we need to move beyond the corporate-greed model of health care and on to what we have already proven works — some sort of public health-care system.

Back to school and bad food

August 15, 2009


It’s that time of year again when school cafeterias gear up to provide the standard unwholesome lunches to children and even so-called health-food stores have set up back-to-school displays featuring the usual disastrous breakfast line-up of toaster pastries and sugary cereals.


In the heated debate over health care — which is really about disease care — it’s amazing that the most basic discussion isn’t taking place. This discussion is not about all the misinformation out there — the proposed plan seeks to “cover illegal aliens” or “requires death counseling” are two fallacies now making their way around the conservative talk show misinformation networks.


The real discussion should be about why so many people get sick.

A burger of grass-fed beef served up on a grilled eggplant "bun," and sides of weedy salad greens from the expansive Jackass on the Run Gardens and Rootin' Tootin' Summer Salad.

A burger of grass-fed beef served up on a grilled eggplant "bun," and sides of weedy salad greens from the expansive Jackass on the Run Gardens and Rootin' Tootin' Summer Salad. Not available in most school cafeterias.


For the most part people get sick because of what they eat. Largely (and I don’t use the word lightly) what most Americans eat, starting in childhood, is too much refined wheat flour and sugar.


We would not allow big tobacco to provide cigarettes to our school children, but our collective mindset has not yet shifted to view what the captains of industry serve up — processed foods — as just as real a health threat. Clearly these foods contribute to the growing threat of childhood diabetes, not to mention cancer, heart disease and others.


As a result, more than half of U.S. children are overweight, and a large proportion of kids are actually obese and headed for a lifetime of disease. Unhealthy people are what really burdens our health-care system.


The amazing thing is that you — not the government or the insurance companies — have a great deal of control over your diet and health. But few exercise this personal responsibility. Instead, most people expect this illusion of a “health care” system to save them. And regardless of what kind of reform takes place, it won’t.


Meanwhile, even here we’re trying to figure out something that we can send along to school with Harrison that he will actually eat. I’m thinking in terms of making a bunch of wheat-free waffles on Sunday and using them for sandwiches. Probably almond butter with fruit-only jelly or honey.


Incidentally, I used the waffles as a take-along “energy bar” for mid-morning snacks before all of my pack-burro races this summer. I ate some just plain, and had one with almond butter before the 29-mile Fairplay race.