Tuesday, October 16, 2012

They Did It Again

They Do It Again


They did it again to me. Another mailer. I can stand it. But what about those poor souls that do not have enough cold blood to withstand another propaganda attack by highly republicanized "60 Plus" misinformation machine. I count myself as their target for I am a senior, but their scare tactics, because that what it really is, will not work on me. It is so obvious and primitive that it can hardly meet criteria of common sense analysis.

The aging segment of our society is aimed at for apparent reason. We are becoming the real power in the nation. Our numbers swell. Unfortunately for the groups that want to acquire the presidential powers. As we leave the work force to retire, we cannot be exploited any longer, and as we want to enjoy fruits of our hard labors, we are regarded as the drain on the greedy money making machine of American industry. There is so much money to be "made" and so much wealth to be gained by the few. Notice, that every time the Republicans have majority in the Legislation, be it National or State, each effort to introduce changes improving the lot of working class gets blocked, or mutilated to the point of hardly giving any relief. However, as the growing group of people, We have still something that the contenders to power crave. Those are our VOTES. Each one of us possesses, as long as we are alive, and as long as the democracy exists in this country, the undeniable ability to make or brake, or maybe just influence our leaders. This is, to think of it, the greatest responsibility towards the stewardship of the country and will influence the future of next generations. Therefore we have to weigh very carefully each and every issue that is placed in front of us by the candidates to this power. Analyze and try to predict the consequences of what is presented. This applies to all levels of the government, local, state, or federal. Particular care should be given to weigh the candidates for local positions and the legislature, for these are having an immediate impact on our everyday lives.
    The negative campaign that is wielded under the guise of "60 Plus" unfortunately targets the most vulnerable and the ones that were raised in wholesome and trusting environment. We all know how far the pre-election statements come into pass after we cast our votes. And carefully looking at the fliers that sent by the politicised  machinery of "60 Plus", we can decode the real purpose and true message of their presentation: REPEAL "OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE LAW", the  Act that cares about common people.
For "enlightenment" of our readers we place the pictures of the flier below. As usual, the phrases quoted are taken out of context, in which they would carry different, if not opposite meaning. The play on deeper humane feelings is exploited craftily by the propaganda teams. Always show smiling faces next to our message. Show utmost dejection and concern when facing the opponent's. Those people mastered the manipulation of human mind to near perfection. Enjoy the next masterpiece of misinformation and anti-humanistic propaganda.
Page 1.Sheer nonsense. No comment.

Page 2.Propaganda as usual. Repeat the lie 1000 times and it becomes the truth.

Page 3. Beautiful picture of rosy, current situation.

Page 4. Another pack of lies. Just like previous Republican "death panels", which in fact are insurance companies, because they are the ones denying coverage. Another piece of misinformation.
This is becoming serious. Such propaganda can really destroy care for seniors if enough people believe in it.

Page 5. Here "60 plus" is at its best. Total destruction of all hopes! Only the Republican propaganda machine can come up with so much venom. Poor senior's life completely shattered by denied claims. Washington bureaucrats denying claims. And what else is happening NOW? "60 Plus", GET REAL!

Page 6.The "60 plus" can play on figures all it wants. They really make a strong impression.

 Page 7. Bad case of indigestion on top, or maybe disgust with a TV advertisement? Lower, just one of the President's pictures.

Page 8. Smiling faces taken with P. Ryan's add. According to leading economists, Ryan's plan is going to lead America to economic disaster. However in the meantime, have those seniors vote for us. Later we will deal "Enron style" with the younger generation by privatizing Social Security and Medicare. Our pals will come out on top with billions. Good for us. Seniors? Who cares?

The crafty manipulators of minds from "60 Plus" have no other purpose than to support the Republican ticket. Beware of their powers. President Obama, as we know well, proposed so called "government option" in approach to health care reform. That was the most sweeping innovation imaginable, next to national, single payer arrangement. Introduction of it would be the beginning of end for greedy health insurance industry. They had to kill it. And they did. Thanks to our corrupted legislature. The narrow interest groups using their lobbying powers and unlimited money blocked another effort to improve the lot of an average citizen of our country. The Golden Rule triumphed again, not "We, the people".

The referred Golden Rule is not what passed down from the Romans. The modified version reads:
                                           "He, who has gold, makes rules"

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The $2,000 Wart

The $2,000 Wart

                                                                                                                                                                        We heard of $300,00 watches, or $100,000 fountain pens. Those are curios and usually become property of extravagantly rich people. But have you heard about  $2,000 wart? How much do you think is a wart's worth?

      Think of you and me, regular citizens of this country, people that earn their living by actually working. Suppose you want to get rid of a wart that appeared on your foot, in a sensitive spot, that causes you pain and preventing you from performing basic functions of life, like walking with a reasonable comfort. It is a small thing on your skin of the size of a particle of gravel that bites into your flesh at every step you make.
    After a short time, you begin to think that, maybe, it would be a good thing to get rid of it. You go to a doctor, a podiatrist, who specializes  with foot injuries and well being. Well, the diagnosis is - we need to treat it with a liquid Nitrogen. It is indeed a sensitive spot, and we cannot treat it (the wart) with other common method like salicylic patches or liquid wart removers, that do not work anyway.
    So the Nitrogen it is! Still a universal and widely used treatment for that purpose. Nothing peculiar or exotic. Just a liquefied gas that essentially destroys the tissue by freezing it. Nitrogen turns into liquid at -196C (-320F) and is usually stored at the elevated pressure.   The treatment consists of directing a tiny stream of liquefied gas at the exact spot of the lesion. Rapidly evaporating gas causes freezing of the targeted site. The application is painless at first, but later it feels like burns. The treatment is repeated every week or two. During this time the affected tissue surrounding the wart has the opportunity to heal, and the wart should get the signal of not being wanted. Eventually, the wart as an alien tissue, disappears. In layman's terms, this is what happens. Biologically, the process is, I'm sure, much more complicated, involving immunity and levels of pathogens, and some other difficult to understand processes.
      Thanks to the knowledgeable doctor (no physician's assistant), the wart in question was treated as it deserved. After two or three applications, however, it looked as if the wart did not get the proper signal and refused to instantly go away. At this point it was suggested that it should receive a "laser treatment" for its stubbornness.
      The question raised instantly was whether or not this new treatment will somehow improve the situation as to the number of sessions required for achieving the final effect. It seems that the only improvement would be in a "selective targeting of blood vessels" supplying the wart with nutrients.
      Question number two, of course, was who and how it would be paid for. So at this point the mode of treatment was to be determined by the way of financing the operation. Much to my surprise, the laser machine did not belong to the clinic, but to a separate business entity that specialized in renting it to the clinic for a fee. After some investigating, the company finally disclosed how much it will cost to bring it to the treatment site, allowing the doctor to use it. The fact was, that the cost was based on the number of blood vessels supplying the nutrients to the stubborn wart. It was getting quite an interesting endeavor to unravel the intricate ways to treat the wart and financial side to this enterprise. The people in this business are not very forthcoming with information of how much it costs to have a particular procedure performed. One cannot simply go to a clinic and see a price list, to consider, whether or not use this clinic, or go to the competition. Neither they have prices posted at the entrance to attract customers. The concept of "loss leader" procedure, the concept of introducing depressed prices, popular with retail outlets, would make the officials of a clinic die of laughter.
      And so, I decided to find out. The price for a treatment of a single blood vessel of a wart turns out to be $98 for about 1 minute of usage of the instrument ($5,880 per hour). There was a discount schedule for multiple vessels, but mine did not fall into the category of 5 or more. The stubborn wart had three of them, which would amount to $295 per about 2 min session. On the top of it, the clinic would bill for the visit, merely $200. Not counting the costs of transportation, one appointment would cost about $500. Now, the interesting thing is, that the laser company is issuing its own bill, of course, separately from the clinic.
      The health insurance company, upon contacting, had to make a special assessment and contact the clinic, as well as the secondary provider (the laser company), in order to issue an estimate of the treatment. It took about three weeks, before I learned that, yes, my insurance will cover it, but only 80% the "allowed" amount, in this case $57.91. Obviously I was responsible for paying the difference ($237.09) to the subcontractor. During this period I also learned that the insurance company couldn't find request forms for cost estimates for the secondary providers (in my case the laser company). The delays were explained to me as resulting from an unusual request for cost estimate of treatment. Evidently, not many "customers" make such requests.  After receiving the final estimate, the quick calculation revealed the advantage of using the Nitrogen. It took ten (10) sessions to make the wart make its mind and remove itself. The whole treatment cost was approx. $2100.
      That little thing that appears on your skin when you handle a toad! This is a treasure found by our health care system! Give us more warts they shout. No wonder, you think twice before going to a doctor's appointment. This is hardly believable, so we kept the documents and copies of them are posted with this story.
      This true account was inspired by a letter published in a local newspaper, calling for limiting costs of treatment by clinics, and written by a reader completely overwhelmed by $505 removal procedure of a tick.

      Have you got some other horror story to share with us?
                                    Hugh Harding for PhD-Central.com

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Misinformation At Its Best

    Yesterday one of our associates received a mailing from a group called "60 plus". True, he is slightly over sixty. This mailing, unsolicited,  bore correct address and somewhat correct family name. It appeared to be a specie of "junk mail". How it was targeted, we can only guess.

    It would normally land in a trash bin, where routinely its kind belongs, if it was not that the piece treated of issues of health care that are so dear and so freshly on the minds of our citizens. After opening it, an entirely new feeling overwhelms the reader. One can only wonder that so much of misinformation and propaganda can find its way into a civilized mail. What the originators of such message count on, can be only a total ignorance of a reader with regards to current events. At first, it makes an impression of being a "flight-by-night" operation of a political group opposed to its adversaries. It is not uncommon in a smear campaign to observe this kind of tactics. After checking the website given on the flier, it turns out to be an established, functioning group, no doubt financed by ultra-conservative members of our society.  We do not recommend reading it, but nevertheless wealth of information about it can be found on  www.60plus.org.

    Back to the flier. It measures 11"x171/4" (28cm x 44cm), so it's rather large. Its spread consists of 3 folded panels. The wealth of visual information is, mildly putting it, stunning. We think, uncommon minds were there at work. Hard work! Some of the phrases are spelling truth. Naked truth. General truth. The truth that's taken out of context and put along with a picture that together creates great distortion and poisons the mind.
    Please, dear 60plus, do not take us for complete morons. Your approach is very crude, and it's time for something more intelligent than simplified scare tactic. The time for negative campaigns must be gone. Show some faith in brain power of American people. To show how brazenly this is done, read on.

    First panel asks the question, whether we as a nation can afford the path in health care we are on.

Obviously, we cannot. As we all know, the costs of health care in the US is much higher then in any developed nation (by a factor of 3 for Japan, Canada, UK, ...the list can go on). On top of it, the quality of our health care puts us in 37th position in the world, regarding vital statistics. With calling President Obama we would wait. Let's be honest. This was not his law. This was the law created by members of our House and Senate, and sort of a compromise with what he proposed. Whatever happened with the "Public Option" that was to be included with this health bill? It was killed by the lawmakers corrupted by the big insurance lobby. The picture here shows an elderly couple, a small businessman with his wife are looking into some papers, most likely bills to reconcile, sent by a greedy health care provider. The quote from The Weekly Standard is certainly not true.

    The second panel shows a concerned surgeon. How will America pay for my services? I am concerned with providing for my family! Instead of my usual take home pay of $470,000 a year, I will be only taking $450,000. This will put me in significant financial difficulty! We cannot have that. WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS LAW. Best way - repeal it. Let the insurance companies and care providers (ME including) rip off the society, especially those elderly and disadvantaged, that don't have a voice, and most of the middle class, that doesn't have much more.

    Let's take a look at the 3rd picture.

Higher Taxes.   No nation can exist without general taxes. Imagine the land without roads for example. Or an army! Or judicial system. Of course our tax money have to be spent a bit wiser, but the taxes WILL go up, regardless what kind of government we have. And they do ever.
Lost Jobs. General occurrence. Jobs are going overseas mostly. But to be honest, there is a marked improvement in jobs gain. Mostly menial and degrading jobs are created.
As to Medicare Cuts - Haven't you heard of all the abuses of care providers and insurance companies cheating the government, all at the expense of the tax payers? This is a pure utilization of generally known statements that have no connection with the subject of health care. Just to raise the level of anxiety of the reader. We all agree that the green of the dollar bills at the background of the picture add to authenticity of the statements showed in the foreground. We should nod our heads in confirmation of those truths. What is the meaning of them with regard to our health care - NONE. But they attempt to make impression that there is.

    An elderly coupe, deeply troubled, bent over insurance bills that cannot be paid. Deeply scarred faces, hands over heads in utmost desperation. Muscular arms of the man, who worked hard all his life, and at the end, he is left with nothing but grief. The woman, very modestly clad, wearing spectacles and clutching her head with one hand, with the other holding an unpaid health bill. A sore picture of pending ruin. They will have to file for bankruptcy. At their declining years such a trouble, such destitution. Background of "past due", "notice", "economic turbulence" and such others, add to the dismal picture of the impending catastrophe. We must feel strongly the empathy for their plight.
    It is so true! Again - "America CANNOT afford the path we're on". "Health care costs are skyrocketing", etc, etc... To mind come the words of Swiss Prime Minister: "...it would be a disgrace, if in this country (Switzerland) somebody bankrupted because of the health bills. To compare, the GNP of Switzerland is a small fraction of that of the USA. If they can bring it under control, why can't we. But for that we need to curtail the greed that's taken over all sectors of our health care and legislation.

    Again, quotes from different walks of life, entirely taken out of context, that are presented to fortify fear and make sure that nobody will sleep well after reading it. Mind the fact that whatever progress is made in health care provision in our country HAS to displace the system that permeated the country for so long. Pure, pay-for-service system, has no place in modern society, as multiple and successful systems around the world prosper for the benefit of other nations.

   Based on the previous contents, the conclusion is totally false. It serves the rich minority that fights to uphold present status. It is draining money and resources from the people that can least afford this to happen. All the wealth flowing from the current care system goes to the already deep pockets of the insurance companies and the providers. Just imagine that the executives of the health care providing conglomerates are worth BILLIONS. We are lucky, most of us, to have good roof over our heads and make ends meet from month to month.
    So, wait with this call to the President. We are confident that he will do what he can to ease our lot. He demonstrated his willingness already. He is not "big business".
                                                                                                             to be continued by
                                                                                                                 Hugh Harding

PhD-Central (Copyright) is a non-partisan, non-profit Midwestern group interested solely to benefit citizens of our Nation.