Thomas Cleaver to Spineless Democrats : Thanks for Saving my Life

Nancy Pelosi gives press conference after passage of health care reform. Photo from AFP.

Thank you,
Stupid, spineless, worthless Democrats

By Thomas McKelvey Cleaver / The Rag Blog / March 22, 2010

After the historic passage of health care in the House of Representatives last night, President Obama said that the issue of health care was personal to every American.

It certainly is.

For me, it means I get to live longer than the next six years.

Back in 2007, the doctors found I had the potential for prostate cancer. The news came at the worst possible time. I used to have the gold-plated health insurance of the Writers Guild of America, but that was long gone (when you’re over 40 and you didn’t make them a bazillion dollars, your likelihood of further employment changes for the worse), and it really wouldn’t matter since what exists today for the Guild is a small piece of Swiss cheese that the mice had a serious go at, compared to what used to be.

When they said the “c” word, and I was among the 45 million Americans lacking health insurance, my first thought was why didn’t I just go die — it would be easier. Fortunately, I mentioned the possible diagnosis to friends, who it turned out had faced the same thing, and I discovered prostate cancer — if caught soon enough — is eminently treatable.

A doctor at the Los Angeles Free Clinic, where I went to get a PSA test, asked me if I had ever been in the service. Turns out, the answer was yes. He told me to go tell the Veteran’s Administration I had a possible diagnosis of cancer, and they’d take me in right away.

He was right. Over the past three years, the VA has looked out for me. Turns out that year in Southeast Asia did have some worthwhile value after all. And it’s a good thing, because I got a job where I would not have been able to use the health insurance the company offered, since I now had a “preexisting condition.”

As it turns out, after all their tests,I have prostatitis, not cancer (not yet anyway), and they want to treat it so as to lower the possibility of cancer. That involves medicine that decreases the size of my enlarged prostate.

We tried Finasteride, and it just made me sick. No go. The alternatives are Flomax or Avodart. At present, neither one is on the list of drugs the VA can give (though they can get a special dispensation), though they are easily available if you’re on Medicare, through Medicare Part D. Only the drugs cost over $100 month if you get them from Canada, and a good double that here.

Even with Medicare insurance, they’re not cheap in any way. Way too expensive for me, and then there was the problem that about three years into the treatment — assuming it worked — I’d hit the “doughnut hole” where I’d have to pay the full price I couldn’t afford, just as my body really needed the drugs. Going off them would result in writing “Fade to Black” in about two or three years. Two or three painful years.

And now, thanks to this awful bill that doesn’t do all the wonderful things we Lefties were willing to sacrifice it for, that’s not my future. Thanks to this bill, the VA will be able to get me those drugs at VA prices, paid by Medicare, without ever worrying about the “doughnut hole.” I’ll be able to afford to stay alive. Danny, the youngest kitty who came in my life last fall with a life expectancy of around 15 years, who I promised to take care of for all of his life, gets the promise kept.

Not only that, but my wife, who as a self-employed person with the problems most women over 50 face, who couldn’t get health insurance even if she could afford it because all those conditions women over 50 face due to the accident of their birth as women — which are called “preexisting conditions” by the insurance companies — will now be able to buy in to Medicare four years early.

She won’t have to ever spend another six weeks fighting bronchitis and “toughing it out” without antibiotics — as she has been doing these past six weeks — because she’ll now be able to see a doctor and get the necessary prescription. At a price she can afford for both.

Yes indeed, this “awful bill” that sold out the left in America sure is horrible.

I just keep remembering that when Social Security passed in 1935, it only covered jobs traditionally filled by white males (and not all of them), but when I got my Social Security Card 52 years ago, everybody was covered. And Medicare in 1964 was a shadow of what it is today (which is hopefully a shadow of what it will be as we amend this new system to end up with “Medicare for all”).

In the meantime, I like the fact that I’ve now got a good shot at hitting the longevity numbers eight generations of Cleaver males before me (excluding the one immediately before me, who walked around with a piece of uranium the size of his thumb in his pants pocket for six weeks in 1955) have had. With a vegan diet, a 161 cholesterol, and a blood pressure of 132 over 63, I’ll be kicking the wingnuts for a long time to come.

Thank you, you stupid spineless worthless Democrats, for standing up when it counted.

The Rag Blog

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5 Responses to Thomas Cleaver to Spineless Democrats : Thanks for Saving my Life

  1. dacos68 says:

    Can you show me in the bill where I can buy into Medicare four years early, my wife would like that too.

    Michael Cosper

  2. b.f. says:

    Ralph Nader seems to have a different take on the actual value of the Dem Congress’s health care reform legislation. In yesterday’s NY Times,he wrote the following:

    “Most of the health insurance coverage mandated by this legislation does not come into effect until 2014, by which time 180,000 Americans will die because they were unable to afford health insurance to cover treatment and diagnosis, according to Harvard Medical School researchers.

    “The bill’s 2,000 pages afford many opportunities for insurance companies to further their strategy of maximizing profits by denying claims, restricting the benefits of their present customers, and the benefits of the new customers who are mandated to buy their policies, all backed by hundreds of billions of dollars of federal subsidies.

    “Its main saving grace is that it is so inadequate and so delayed in implementation that the position supported by the majority of people, physicians and nurses –- full Medicare for all –- will have abundant opportunities to build around the country. The spiraling price hikes by the insurance industry are sure to spur the single payer movement to new popularity. (See singlepayeraction.org)”

  3. Brother Jonah says:

    It does mean, however, that doctors can actually start treatments, something they didn’t have before.

    My landlady’s husband died from Agent Orange. Because the VA refused to even look at it as Service Connected Injury, until 5 years after his death, his dying took them from being $2M in the black to being in the red before he died. She lost her husband, their business, their home and almost cost her life, because at that same time she developed Lymphoma. Can the Tea-Baggers actually imagine living on the street while taking Chemo? I bet they can’t. That’s the life they hoped and still hope to doom millions of Americans to live. Until they die of course, then we’ll be conveniently out of their way.

    Sure, the Democrats risk losing big in the November election, but the R’s? They’re perhaps hoping that those of us whose lives were so brutally affected by the Corporate Death Panel “health insurance” racket will develop instant and permanent amnesia. Our friends and families too.

    Or maybe that they can shout us down, drown out our stories with their Tee-Potty Whine Fests.

    Those of us who have experienced the tender mercies of their system tend to be from Poverty Stock. You know what Lincoln said about po’ folk. The Lord must love us because he sure did make a lot of us. My voice, multiplied by my 7 brothers and sisters, our mom, our aunts, our cousins… and that’s just the immediate family. Every one of those PEOPLE who have been killed by delayed health care, same thing. They and we don’t exist in a vacuum, it never affects just one person.

    Now the R’s are crowing that they’ll make us suffer for getting that bill passed.

    mmm. mmm. mmm… Me no thinky so. I think that between here and November they’re going to radicalize more Democratic voters than Republican.

  4. b.f. says:

    But according to the Physicians for a National Health Program’s March 22, 2010 statement:

    “The hype surrounding the new health bill is belied by the facts:

    “About 23 million people will remain uninsured nine years out. That figure translates into an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths annually and an incalculable toll of suffering.

    “Millions of middle-income people will be pressured to buy commercial health insurance policies costing up to 9.5 percent of their income but covering an average of only 70 percent of their medical expenses, potentially leaving them vulnerable to financial ruin if they become seriously ill. Many will find such policies too expensive to afford or, if they do buy them, too expensive to use because of the high co-pays and deductibles.

    “Insurance firms will be handed at least $447 billion in taxpayer money to subsidize the purchase of their shoddy products…

    “The bill will drain about $40 billion from Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals, threatening the care of the tens of millions who will remain uninsured.

    “People with employer-based coverage will be locked into their plan’s limited network of providers, face ever-rising costs and erosion of their health benefits. Many, even most, will eventually face steep taxes on their benefits as the cost of insurance grows…

    “The much-vaunted insurance regulations – e.g. ending denials on the basis of pre-existing conditions – are riddled with loopholes, thanks to the central role that insurers played in crafting the legislation. Older people can be charged up to three times more than their younger counterparts, and large companies with a predominantly female workforce can be charged higher gender-based rates at least until 2017.

    “Women’s reproductive rights will be further eroded, thanks to the burdensome segregation of insurance funds for abortion and for all other medical services…

    “The major provisions of the present bill do not go into effect until 2014. Although we will be counseled to “wait and see” how this reform plays out, we cannot wait, nor can our patients. The stakes are too high.

    “We pledge to continue our work for the only equitable, financially responsible and humane remedy for our health care mess: single-payer national health insurance, an expanded and improved Medicare for All.”

  5. Janet Gilles says:

    Thanks for posting, as one of the many millions who will benefit from this bill. I am amazed by so called leftists who say no, wait, let them suffer until the perfect bill is passed.

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