aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I’ve been trying to ignore John Stossel’s take on what ails American healthcare (not enough market). Then I ran across this letter from Julie Pierce:
My name is Julie Pierce. My husband was Tracy Pierce. I am featured in Michael Moore’s documentary ‘SiCKO.’ In the movie, I share my deceased husband’s story - his unsuccessful battle with our insurance company to receive what could have been life-saving treatments for kidney cancer.
I just read your Wall Street Journal article written on Sept. 13, 2007, titled ”Sick Sob Stories.” You begin by talking about Tracy’s role in ‘SiCKO,’ and claim the bone marrow transplant denied by our insurer would not have saved him. You also accuse me of “sneering” over our situation.
In your ‘reporting’ of this story, you did not contact me, and you did not contact my husband’s doctors. I cannot believe that a publication like the Wall Street Journal would print such an accusation without talking to anyone involved - especially in such a personal matter, which resulted in the death of my 37-year-old husband and the father of my child.
If you had contacted me, I would have told you that bone marrow transplants became a last option, only after our insurer denied many other treatments again and again and again.
I would have shown you a letter from our doctors at the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Kansas Hospital, in which they argued strongly for the bone marrow transplant, citing “strong evidence” supporting the past success of that treatment - they wrote that it could “give him a chance to achieve complete remission.” In fact, they called the bone marrow transplant “his only chance of survival.”
Instead of calling me up and doing real reporting, all you can do is throw around studies from 1999 about the supposed inefficiency of bone marrow transplants for breast cancer patients - even though Tracy didn’t have breasts. He had kidney cancer! I understand that you want to try to prove that private insurance in this country really isn’t that bad. And I can see that you won’t let the facts get in the way.
You go on to claim that Tracy wouldn’t have received his transplant in a country with socialized medicine, either. Where is the evidence? Not only are more bone marrow transplants performed every year in Canada, but they invented the technology! So much for your ridiculous claim that “profit is what has created the amazing scientific innovations that the U.S. offers to the world. If government takes over, innovation slows, health care is rationed.”
You are simply carrying water for the for-profit insurance industry that killed my husband. And then you have the nerve to accuse me of “sneering” about it. My husband has only been dead since January 18th, 2006. It is still fresh to me and my family, and comments like this are inhumane.
I have since tried to contact you via email, but you have not responded. I don’t expect an answer. People like you just write with an agenda, without coming to the source or getting any facts, because your main goal is to try to discredit Michael Moore and universal health care. I understand it’s a game - you did it without thinking about how you would hurt a family who have suffered - and are still suffering - such a tragic loss.
My family is not a “Sick Sob Story.” We are a normal, American family that has had a significant member die from a horrible cancer that ravaged his body due to repeated denials from a health insurance company. We will never know for sure what would have worked because Tracy was never given a fighting chance. Over 18,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have health insurance. I suppose theirs are “sob stories,” too.
I don’t want a hit-piece. I want answers. Why does our wonderful profit-driven system of medicine kill 18,000 Americans each year? Why do we pay far more for our health system than any other country, but have some of the lowest life expectancies and highest infant mortality rates in the Western world? Would you discredit the work of your late colleague Peter Jennings who, while suffering with lung cancer, did an excellent report titled “Breakdown: America’s Health Insurance Crisis”?
I hope you have answers, but I am not optimistic. I pray that you will never have to go through what we went through - if you did, you wouldn’t be so quick to cheerlead the system we were victimized by.
John Stossel interviewed five advocates of free-market approaches to health care but only one advocate of increased government-mandated health coverage. The five free-market advocates were interviewed on air for a total of 6 minutes, 24 seconds, while the lone advocate of a public health system, filmmaker Michael Moore, was interviewed on air for a total of 1:40.
They have more here.
Back in August Stossel looked at Why the U.S. Ranks Low on WHO’s Health-Care Study.
Stossel links to a 215 page study and he takes one aspect out of the study to ridicule. Life expectancy is one factor to look at but clearly it is not the only factor that the WHO and other studies consider. Stossel should realize this if he bothered to read these studies. And as he bashes the WHO, he offers no evidence in return for his suggestion that the US health care system is not as inefficient as others claim.
But you say he did acknowledge that we could do better. OK - and his policy is what? Getting rid of insurance? The mind boggles.
Ron Chusid at Liberal Values has a good bit more.
Atlanta’s Scott: one of the “most corrupt”
CREW released its third annual report on the most corrupt members of Congress entitled Beyond DeLay: The 22 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and two to watch). Atlanta Democrat David Scott was among them.
Citing news reports and Scott’s campaign-finance records, CREW said Scott’s family advertising business, Dayn-Mark, failed to pay $154,000 in payroll taxes on time and $4,600 in local and state taxes since 1998. Scott also was late in paying $23,200 in property taxes on his home.
CREW questioned campaign payments to members of Scott’s family that the FEC records indicate were reimbursements for office supplies and other items. The group also cited a former Scott aide’s claim that Scott used House office staff for campaign work.
“It has become abundantly clear that many public officials believe that the rules don’t apply to them,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement.
Michael Andel, Scott’s spokesman, called the report “ridiculous” and “untruthful.”
“It’s unfortunate that they didn’t come in an talk to us before they did their little report, because there are a lot of inaccuracies here.” Andel said. Incidents cited in the report are either false or have already been addressed, including the full payment of Scott’s back taxes, Andel said.
The damaging information on which stories about Scott’s campaign finances were based was distributed by Republicans looking to weaken Scott in next year’s election, he said.
Scott has said the late payments were due to his wife’s failure to pay them on time. Alfredia Scott accepted that responsibility in an earlier interview.
Depressing. I have to wonder if Republican defeats haven’t made Democratic politics a dead-end career path in Georgia that’s not attracting the best and brightest we have to offer. In Colorado a gang of four banded together to identify and support bright aspiring Democrats.
I sure wish that could happen here.
More Free Speech Follies
Fox explains censoring Emmy comments:
When a federal appeals court ruled last summer that broadcast networks were not responsible for censoring “fleeting expletives” uttered on television, Fox hailed it as a victory for viewers, saying they could decide themselves “what is appropriate viewing for their home.”
But when some performers and award winners blurted out expletives on Sunday night on Fox’s broadcast of the 59th Primetime Emmys Ã¢â‚¬” including one that came during antiwar comments - Fox censors hit the delete button, leaving viewers with confusing seconds of dead air and wondering whether the censorship was of language or of political views. Fox said it was only language.
Off the record a Fox executive said the network believed that the “fleeting expletives” ruling did not take away its responsibility to keep objectionable language off broadcast television. Howard Kurtz said said yesterday, “Fox was censoring the news.” Here’s Sally uncensored
Even more entertaining is Kathy Griffin who said in her speech (the night before), “A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. Suck it, Jesus. This award is my God now.”
*Sigh* Oh, how the outrage now flows from the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue and other annointed keepers of “the faith”. How dare someone use slurs to defame so many people’s personal choice of self-expression! (Remember how loudly Donohue and other Christian leaders leaped to defend John Edwards when Ann Coulter was calling him “faggot”? Oh, right, they didn’t.)
Weren’t these the same people who cried “censorship” and derided the capitulation to Muslim fanatics when US newspapers wouldn’t reprint Danish cartoons deemed offensive to Muhammad?
Russ goes on at some length to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the Christianists are wrong; we’re not a Christian Nation. Unfortunately, the folks who need convincing won’t be reading. And if they did, they’d be unconvinced.
Me, I find that most of us believe the First Amendment means “I get to say what I want to say… but you have gone too far!” Meanwhile, the folks who own the megaphones that drown you and me out have bought and paid for their free speech. They really do get to say, “I get to say what I want to say. You don’t.”
I still aspire to the Sunsteinian notion that the First Amendment right to say whatever I want to say is rooted in the small ‘d’ democratic desire for a polity informed through exposure to a multiplicity of viewpoints.
We need to move toward that “multiplicity of viewpoints” standard - and just slightly away from the “I get to say what I want to say” standard - to take just some of those megaphones away from the few de facto censors who own them.
SEE ALSO: Joe Gandelman’s “They hated her, they really, really hated her” roundup.
The kid thought that in America there was free speech
He asked a combative question. And went on and on. So six officers wrestled him to the ground, tasered him, and put him in jail.
Call me humorless but the anchors’ need to make it a joke is pathetic. The police are investigating. Want to guess what they’ll find?
To the cop haters: I have no doubt the cops were going exactly by the book, the problem isnt them, its the book! they were doing their job and looked just as confused as this kid (This isn’t something that they deal with often).
Another camera with a different angle and the question.
RELATED: Just last year The Student Press Law Center and the Future of the First Amendment found that 45% of students think the First Amendment goes too far.