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Monday, June 22, 2009

“Is Everybody All Right?”

"Is everybody all right?" These were Bobby Kennedy's last words after being shot by Sirhan Sirhan. Now these words are beginning to resonate with the American people as his brother, ailing from a brain tumor, hopes to finally see his own efforts at championing national health care for everyone come to fruition.

Is everybody all right? Everybody? OK, you, the guy working the union job at the Ford plant in Atlanta. We all know you're fine with it. You got all the bells and whistles. When you step up to the pharmacy counter you don't expect to see any $50 copays. So you're happy. Right? Well maybe you shouldn't be. Maybe you should have a little more concern for those of us who are unemployed. Or working in a small business that doesn't offer health insurance. Or even those of us who have that $50 copay when you get to pay next to squat.

Maybe, just maybe, this isn't about you. Maybe it's about somebody else. Maybe it's about everybody else. Everybody, just like Bobby Kennedy said.

At his funeral, Senator Ted Kennedy quoted a famous statement by George Bernard Shaw, saying, "As [Bobby] said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him, some men see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'Why not?'"

So dream a little. Dream about that mother down the block with the two kids and the out of work hubby. Dream about a country that cares so much more about them and people like them than about corporate profits and dividends and rationing and authorizations and paperwork and deductibles and copays and lab fees.

Dream on.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Public’s Indifference is the Real Problem


What is currently wrong with the pharmacy/health care picture is still a nonchalance and "so what?" attitude by so many people. Even when it directly concerns people, when they are even pissed off at the insurance companies (which might—Oh My!—go out of business if we have a public plan).

A customer getting some morphine—long term customer, not an addict trying to get a fix—couldn't get the insurance company to go along with the dosing. Had to get a prior authorization. Well, obviously this was needed NOW because the guy was in some serious pain, but he didn't have the $57 to pay for it. He assumed—never assume this people—his insurance company ("his insurance company": Why do we say this like they are a member of our family?) was going to pay for it and he'd have to pay about $5. So he got pissed at me and stormed out.

Later he came back and apologized. I got talking to him, and basically stated that until Obama gets backing from people like him, people telling their congress people to get on the stick and change things, then nothing was going to change.

"Oh I don't know about that," he said. He was angry still, but not quite angry enough to say that he was ready for the government to step in and fix things. He'd rather still have his precious insurance companies oversee his health care, these greedy, immoral—OK, EVIL—shysters than a public plan that gives everybody equal access, equal—and fair—copays, and covers everybody.

What is wrong with people? And how do you fix this when few care enough to?