CPC Report; An unabashedly liberal perspective

1 March 2010

Another Medical Horror Story

On 9 February, Keith Olbermann reported the story of Kyler Van Nocker, who suffers from neuroblastoma.* HealthAmerica, his insurance company, refuses to pay for an investigational and experimental therapy, called I-MIBG radiation, in which Kyler had just begun. This therapy is needed for him to live. A lawsuit against Health-America has been filed on behalf of this person, who is only five years old.

Coverage for the procedure was denied on the grounds that there was not sufficient medical evidence that the requested procedure will be effective in treating Kyler's condition and that this therapy is not approved by the FDA. Yet the insurance coverage had already covered two other therapies for Kyler which are likewise investigational and experimental and had also not been approved by the FDA.

The stated grounds for denial was that "inadequate evidence in the peer-reviewed published clinical literature regarding its effectiveness" was available. Furthermore, even an independent board chosen by both parties had approved the treatment, which would indicate the board's disagreement with HeathAmerica.

"It's considered experimental because not enough kids with recurring neuroblastoma live long enough. So, really, all treatment at this stage of Kyler's disease is considered experimental." was Paul Van Nocker, father of Kyler, reply to the remarks made by a representative of the so called health provider.

Kyler's oncologist, Stephan Grupp, is on record saying that "It's considered the standard of care in Europe and the United States for recurrent neuroblastoma. It's not an unproven treatment with no basis in medical science. Actually, the results are often very good."

Paul has angrily declared this about his so called health care provider. "They have a plan for Kyler. Their plan is for him to die."

In an obvious attempt to put to shame and compel Health-America into honoring its obligation to provide the much  needed health care prescribed by Kyler's doctors, Kyler's parents sued. Health American has continued to refuse to pay for Kyler's medical bills. They must think that their bureaucrats know better about medicine than Kyler's own  doctors. Exactly where did these bureaucrats receive their medical diplomas in which would justify killing Kyler?

But thankfully, Kyler did receive some treatment. But it was not from the Health-America that had so eagerly accepted those premium checks, but from the generosity of Kyler's doctors, his hospital and New Jersey's state's Medicaid program. Because Kyler's coverage was denied, his parents went bankrupt. The question now is whether the treatment Kyler gets now will be enough to save his life.

Now where is the outrage from the right concerning this matter? For all the bogus talk about government run death panels promoted by the RWLM, why is there no concern expressed about the ones we already have- the health insurance companies. Health insurance companies operate for profit and are only beholden to their shareholders. How about having a health care delivery system primarily concerned with the health of our people instead? Five year old Kyler Van Nocker would appreciate this.

* Neuroblastoma is a kind of cancer in which begins development in the very primitive nerve cells found in an embryo or fetus. This kind of cancer is found mostly in infants and young children and is rarely found in children older than ten.


 In Defense of Socialized Medicine

 Adequate health care is a right for all Americans, not just for those who can afford it. Furthermore, the free market is incapable of adequately providing this and so socialized medicine is the answer. To make this argument does not one a socialist make nor does the acceptance of socialized medicine have to lead to a slippery slope towards socialism, which is a fallacious argument anyway.* Yet the latter argument is the usual tired old tirade one gets from the RWLM whenever the subject is broached. True socialism would involve the state running the nation's industries, something very few of us advocate. What socialized medicine would bring is what the market placed has failed to bring- affordable health care. Such should be the right for all Americans.

The single payer system is socialized medicine. This would be the expansion of medicare to such an extent that it would be  universal in its coverage of Americans. It would also be mandatory. This would not have to preclude private insurance, for such is the situation exists in both Canada and Great Britain. But what it would do is to provide health care for those who cannot afford it. It would, however, minimize the impact that insurance corporations would have upon the public welfare. This is important because in reality these corporate entities are parasites feeding off the public trough, for these entities add nothing constructive to the health care delivery system. Billions of dollars are diverted from actual health care into the profits of the before mentioned corporate coffers. Millions of dollars are wasted on bonuses for the already overpaid CEOs of the health care industry and on lobbying against any reform in which would in turn threaten those prolific profits and those bountiful bonuses. The RWLM and the GOP opponents of the single payer would have spread lies about the single payer, except for the fact that such a proposal was off the table from day one and was never considered in Congress. Instead those lies deal with the public option proposal.
The current system of medicare, medicaid and SCHIP (for children) for a few and private insurance for the rest is broken. For those who are not covered by the before mentioned, it is completely profit oriented. The insurance companies are exempt from federal anti-trust laws which regulates monopolies. Instead they are regulated by the individual states an too often on this level, the insurance market is dominated by only one or two corporations. The insurance industry prefers this over any federal oversight because it is to their benefit to be regulated by the 50 individual states as opposed to being regulated by just one entity- the federal government. This by itself would assure that regulation of that industry would be uneven from state to state. The states have been proven to be ineffective in regulating the insurance industry. Proof of this is the growth of insurance rates exploding at an ever increasing rate.

Money in the form of campaign contributions buys influence on the state level and the federal levels. The difference between a contribution for a candidate for public office and an outright bribe for the same is extremely blurry. It would require a mind reader to make the determination of what such a transfer of funds between those who lobby and those who are lobbied means. Often, an insurance commissioner is elected to regulate the industry on the state level. Where does the candidates get money for their campaign coffers except from those interested parties, especially from those with money. It would be absurd to believe that the contributions are simply given freely without any quid pro quo being in effect. The same pressures are also true for those in the legislative and executive branches of government as well. It applies to anyone who is able to exert influence on the process of enacting and enforcing public policy.

The problem with this system is because of the corrupting influence of money, there are few restraint on insurance rates which are growing rapidly. Those who cannot afford these rate hikes and also cannot qualify for medicare, medicaid or SCHIP, are on the own. Profits are a great incentive to look for ways to drop insurance for those who really need it because it bodes ill for that bottom line- profits. Taking care of sick people reduces that profit margin, therefore the means are sought to simply drop the sick from the insurance rolls even if it places their life in danger. The end result is that many Americans are literally being priced out of the market. Where is the moral outrage from those Christians on the right?

Profits will always prevail over people in our health care delivery system. Profits is all that matters to the health care insurance industry. In other words, for them it is the public be damned and profits be praised. Forty-five thousand people on average die every year who are without insurance. Well over 40 million people are without insurance. How many of them are forced to sell off personal property or declare bankruptcy just to deal with medical debts. And what of those people who put off going to a doctor for checkups? What happens to them when they get very ill? They end up in the emergency rooms of their local hospitals. This care adds tremendously to the overall costs of medical care. This financial burden would be avoided if the preventive care from having frequent physical checkups from a physician were available to those who are currently unable to pay for such examinations. If one excepts the concept that the primary reason of health care is to promote health, then the system does not work. Once more, where is the moral outrage from those self proclaimed Christians on the right?

The single payer system would automatically cover everyone. The public option would be a compromise between the current nonfunctional system of health care and the single payer. Of the public option, critics on the right say that private insurance cannot compete against this. Apparently the moral outrage from those of the right is on behalf of the right of private insurance to profit under the banner of free enterprise.  

The right of private insurance to profit should not be a concern, for as noted already, private insurance companies do coexist with the single payer government supported systems of Canada and Great Britain. Why would it be any different with a public option in this nation? In fact, the public option would introduce competition into a marketplace which is sorely lacking as far as health insurance is concerned.

As it stands now, health care reform being considered in Congress will not include a public option. Furthermore, of the estimated 45 million uninsured, it would only cover 30 million. For  those who are covered would be able to purchased health insurance in insurance exchanges. Each state would run its own exchange, from which one may choose from a list of different insurance plans with costs and benefits clearly defined for each plan. If a public option is offered, this is where one would come to apply for it.

At this time, debt from medical expenses is the number one reason for both home foreclosure and bankruptcy in this nation. About 45,000 Americans every year because they cannot afford health care insurance. Yet, the current proposal leaves 15 million not covered by the exchange. For these people, the failure to buy insurance results in being fined for not doing so.

Current proposals would prohibit the usage of preexisting conditions which is often an excuse for denying  people from having coverage. Nor would these people be penalized by having their insurance rates jacked up at a higher rate than what would be more typical rate hikes. Even if this would pass, if no outside competition is injected into the marketplace, then what is to stop the health insurance corporations from finding other means to deny coverage. They will still have the ability to get creative and find loopholes in the law from which they may benefit. This will not change even if competition within the private insurance industry is allowed, which is a big talking point among conservatives. (That is when they are actually talking about reform, which seems only to occur when they are in the minority and the Democrats as the majority are the advocates of reform. When the GOP are the majority, all thoughts of reform seem to be forgotten.)

Health insurance exchanges will not have the weight of the a public option federal backed by the government and will prove inefficient to restrain health costs. Without a public option, the exchanges will not work, for a public option is needed for real competition in the insurance market. This is because health care insurance companies are not going to compete with each other for clients who are in reality a liability to that bottom line- profits. If a public option is available, the private insurance practice of  pushing its clients into a large pool of the uninsured as we have today will cease. The public option is needed to provide a safety net. It is a fantasy to believe that people will get insurance at affordable rates without a public option keeping those insurance corporations honest.

The fundamental reason for a health delivery system is to provide health care for everyone, not just for those who can afford it. Health care should be as much of a right for one as the right to the air one breathes. Both are equally necessary for ones well being. A health care delivery system is the means of supporting the doctors, nurses and hospitals in order to provide that care. Its highest priority should not be filling the coffers of the health care industry in the pursuit of the end.

Index on Health Care Reform

Congress & Health Care Reform

The Health Care Debate- 29 August 2009
The Scorched Earth Solution For Health Care Reform- A means of fighting back- 29 August 2009

Death panels and living wills

An Interview With Representative Michelle Bachman of Minnesota (R)- 12 September 2009

Denial of health care

A Medical Horror Story- 26 September 2009

On health care reform

Another Medical Horror Story- 1 March 2010 (this edition)

GOP hypocrisy on Medicare cuts

On GOP hypocrisy over proposed Medicare cuts- 30 November 2009

Health Care Reform Edition- 29 August 2009

Lies about rationing

Stephen Hawking Endorses the National Health Service (NHS) of the UK- 29 August 2009

On the RWLM lies on rationing under a single payer system of health care- 30 November 2009

Lies regarding health care reform

An Interview With Representative Michelle Bachman of Minnesota (R) - 12 September 2009

An Update on the Most Recent Lies Concerning Health Care Reform & on Rush's Fear of Circumcision- 19 September 2009

Republican town hall meetings

A Town Hall Meeting in Kansas- 29 August 2009

Postscripts- To Representative Lynn Jenkins of Kansas (R) -29 August 2009

Postscripts- To Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma (R) who already has government supported health care  -29 August 2009

An Exchange Between Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia (R) & a Constituent- 26 September 2009

See also www.newsweek.com/.../the-five-biggest-lies-in-the-health-care-debate.html

Mary loves John


John is loved


Does John Love Mary

How Not to Write Like Professor Cohen- The Passive Voice

It has been argued that the passive voice should never be used. If this were so, than why even have it? Even William Strunk in The Elements of Style who argues that because the active voice "is more direct and vigorous than the passive" will concede a place for the passive voice. Even Karen E. Gordan who had said of the split infinitive that "they'd remain intact' and based her argument against its usage solely on this quip, conceded a place for the passive voice. She only advises one "To take it easy on the passive voice", because "It's too tired to be overused."

However, Professor Cohen with his 39 Picky Rules of Writing, does not approve of the passive voice. (Since he does not approve of beginning sentences with "however", however, he would not approve of the preceding sentence also, along with the fact that this paragraph does not exceed two sentences. (1 & 2)

In "Professor Cohen's 39 Picky Rules of Writing" on the internet, the good professor dismisses the passive voice in the same abrupt manner as he had dismissed the split infinitive previously. "Do not use the passive voice" declares the Professor, "use the active voice". His explanation for doing so is thus; "Because the active voice is honest and clear, this rule is the most important rule of style; and, like it or not, style affects meaning. If you will take the time to master the voice of your verb, you will find yourself a better writer in all ways. I may be a bear on this one, but I’m a bear for your sake." That was spoken like true gestapo grammarian.

Speaking absurdly and pompously in the third person, instead of the preferred first person (which he will not allow his students to use without his permission), he proclaims that "Careless students are failed by Mr. Cohen." I sympathize with those careless students who are failed, however if it were me being failed, I would consider it a badge of honor.

What the good Professor says about style is true. Style does affect meaning, which is why the passive voice should be allowed. Both William Strunk and Karen E. Gordan recognizes this truth.

William Strunk in the Elements of Style uses the example of two sentences to make this point. These two sentences differ in the voice used. The first one is clearly in the voice of passivity. "The dramatists of the Restoration are little esteemed today."  It is to be used if it were embedded in a sentence concerning the subject matter of that sentence. (3) The next one is concerned about the tastes of the readers. "Modern readers have little esteem for the dramatists of the Restoration." This is the voice of activity, which Strunk would argue "makes for more forcible writing". (3) By contrast, the passivity of the other voice, lacking the force of the active voice, is reason enough for it not to be habitually used, according to Strunk.

Karen E. Gordan argues in her book, The Transitive Vampire, if the subject of the sentence is either unknown or unimportant, the passive voice may be used. One of her examples given is; "Her crimes have been absolved." (However, those crimes against the English language by the grammarian gestapo should not be.)

Another reason to use the passive voice is in regards to the writer's intentions. Where does he want the attention of the reader directed. The following two sentences do not have the same connotative meaning. "Mary loves John" and "John is loved by Mary". The former favored by Ms. Gordan and Mr. Cohen, has its focus upon Mary as the one committing the act of love. In the latter, the focus shifts to John. With the focus on John, one might be more likely to reflect on John's feelings for Mary. A shift of focus is also a shift of perception resulting in a shift of connotative meaning. As to the meaning to be conveyed, that is up to the writer, not Professor Cohen. As for myself, I very much intend to boldly defy rules that are imposed unnecessarily upon the English language. (4)

Quite clearly violations were made in the writing of this essay.(5) Writing this essay gives me much pleasure just for violating the rules of Professor Cohen who is one of the most arrogant old fogies who has ever lived. What a silly dork.(6)

(1) Violation of rule 27, (2) Violation of rule 8, (3) Violations of rule 16,

(4) Violations of rules 32 & 25, (5) Violation of rule 15 (6) Multiple violations of rule 30

"Professor Cohen's 39 Picky Rules of Writing" from the internet (excerpts)

Ralph Alan Cohen is the co-founder of the American Shakespeare Center and a professor teaching Shakespeare at Mary Baldwin College.

 8. Do Not use one or two sentences as a paragraph.

To the deniers of climate change such Rush and Sean Hannity,

The fact that much of the East Coast has been inundated with snow does not disprove climate change. It is to be expected that the weather would fluctuate from day to day. It is the long term changes that are significant.

I am from Southern Kansas. In the 19th century, Snow has been recorded as falling in September. In my lifetime, it has never snowed between summer and the onset of November.

Snow drifts would conceal the entrances to people's homes to such a extant that they would have to literally dig the way out. For the last two decades, I cannot recall snowfall exceeding one foot since the early 1980's and since then what snow we have gotten has never exceeded a few inches. What does that tell you Rush, Sean and you other morons who cannot comprehend the obvious?

To Republican Senator Tom Colburn of Oklahoma,

"I love gridlock" because "we're not passing anything." Those were your words Senator. Would you love gridlock if the GOP was in charge of Congress and the Democrats were responsible for gridlock. Remember, what goes around comes around.

To Glenn Beck of Fixed News,

Caught you barking on the television. I just have one question. Have you had your rabies shot yet? If not, you had better stay away from Ann Coulter. I hear that she has rabies. (For those not in the know, See 15 August 2009)

To Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia,

What's this about you opposing the reconciliation process to pass health care reform because it is too partisan? That reason had never stopped Republicans during the Reagan administration and during the second Bush administration or any other time for that matter. In fact it has frequently been partisan.The Bush tax cuts were passed very much along party lines and this has not bothered the GOP. The fate of health care, an issue you hold dearly, is at stake. Why shouldn't a mere majority of 51 be enough to enact this important legislation which can happen under reconciliation.

To Glenn Beck of Fixed News again,

So progressives are evolutionary  and that conservatives are not. Keith Olbermann, was totally right with this quip. "Conservatism, so easy a caveman can do it."

To Keith Olbermann of MSNBC,

I just love that quip you used against Glenn Beck of Fixed News. Obviously, Glen Beck is caveman and you have the honor to expose this truth to the world.


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