Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is the Opera Over Yet? Who Is This Canadian Woman Whining On TV?

My evening's enjoyment of Larry King's interview with Joe Jackson was disturbed by a commercial featuring this carping, whining Canadian woman claiming that she would have died if she had stayed in Canada after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. The woman, Shona Holmes, apparently went to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and loved the treatment there. (She might have benefited from some bariatric surgery while she was there. Oh well.)

Turns out that the word "Big" in "The Big Lie" can modify both the speaker and the message. Daily Kos quotes the Mayo Clinic's press releases on Ms. Holmes' treatment:

"Dr. Naresh Patel, neurosurgeon, diagnosed Holmes as having a Rathke's cleft cyst (RCC). The rare, fluid-filled sac grows near the pituitary gland at the base of the brain and eventually can cause hormone and vision problems. Dr. Patel joined forces with Drs. David W. Dodick, neurologist, and Michael D. Whitaker, endocrinologist, to work on Holmes' case."

As Kos points out, Rathke's Cleft Cyst "is generally very treatable through minimally invasive surgery and is NOT a “brain tumor” as both Ms Holmes and Right wing hack writers contend. It's a fluid build-up and has nothing to do with cell division as occurs in Tumors."

And anyway, Ms. Holmes, NOBODY in Congress or the Administration is proposing a "Canadian-type" single-payer system of health care. What is being discussed is a "Public Option" that will allow currently uninsured people to CHOOSE to be covered by Government-subsidized health insurance. That, my dear, is a very different thing.

A recent editorial in The New York Post (which hasn't been accused of being liberal in at least a hundred years) explains:

But we do know that in many other sectors of the economy, government and private offerings happily compete and coexist. Well-established government options are available as backstops for millions of Americans, especially those without the money to afford any alternative - without denying customers who want to pay more for different or better services the right to buy what they want.

There's the government option in schooling. All across America, local and state governments, with increasing involvement by the feds (thanks to George W. Bush and No Child Left Behind), educate young people. All told, it costs us about $1 trillion a year. That hasn't kept 10% of students from enrolling in private schools and growing numbers from being home-schooled. Is government doing a particularly good job with its dominant market share? No - but the point here is that America is pretty comfortable with the powerful, effectively mandated, public sector role.

There's the government option in security. This one, like education, is in many respects a government-imposed monopoly. Keeping people safe has long been considered the quintessential public sector duty. That hasn't stopped businesses and individuals from supplementing government security with their own private providers.

There's the government option in shipping, the post office. The USPS is a quasi-governmental agency with special privileges. But that hasn't stopped FedEx and UPS from peeling away customers by offering premium services and greater convenience. Right now, the USPS, FedEx and UPS split the overnight delivery market share with about a third apiece. Cats and dogs, living together.

There's the government option in scientific research. Government agencies dole out most of the money seeding experiments in fields from basic physics and chemistry to energy and astronomy to biology. Through the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, in fact, government selects winners and losers. And by most accounts, it does a decent job.

There's the government option in travel. Amtrak has been propped up by the government for years; it competes with private sector planes and buses. Some Americans choose the train. Some choose other modes of transportation. The sky does not fall.

* * * *

There's the government option in retirement. We call it Social Security. To many elderly Americans, it's the only thing standing between them and poverty. None of this stifles private retirement plan innovation. And public-employee pension plans, run by government officials, regularly throw their weight around the private equity markets.

And, like it or not, there's already a sizeable government option at work in health care. Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration may be plagued with problems - just like, ahem, private health care - but, each in their way, do the job.

Thank you, New York Post. Not that single-payer systems are nearly as bad as Ms. Holmes thinks they are. After all, do you know any American women who have successfully delivered a newborn baby at age 60? I didn't think so.

Is the Opera over yet? Someone PLEASE tell the Fat Lady to stop singing. I want to go back to Joe Jackson trying to defend himself against the allegations of childhood abuse of Michael:

Asked about stories that he was abusive to his son as a child, Jackson said "Oh, that's a bunch of bull S. That's a bunch of bull S."

"You never physically harmed him?" King asked.

"Never. Never have. And I -- and I raised him just like you would raise your kids, you know? But harm Michael, for what? I have no reason. That's my son. I loved him and I still love him," Jackson said.

* * * *
While denying any child abuse, Joe Jackson's explanation did leave [open] the question of spanking:

"The media keep hollering about saying that I beat Michael. That's not true. You know what this beat started -- beat started in the slavery days. Where they used to beat the slaves and then they used to torture them. That's where this beating started. These slave masters, and that's where that come from. But, hey, there's a lot of people in America, Larry, a lot of people in America spank their kids, you know? They say they don't, they're lying. They're lying. Now, Michael was never beaten by me, I've never beaten at all."

Wow. Maybe Joe and Shona can hook-up. They'd be perfect together.


Anonymous said...

Jeez Jim, on behalf of "voluptuous" women everywhere, could ya tone down the nasty fat remarks?

Jim Craig said...

That was a pretty catty post, I know. But I thought it was fear game, since I'm overweight myself -- after working out twice weekly since January, I just now can see the numbers on the bathroom scale over the "horizon." But I am sorry to personally offend one of our readers.

Terry Williamson said...

I was checking out PatientsUnitedNow, which paid for this bogus add. At the website they state: "Patients United Now is a project of Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which is a nonprofit organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code." http://patientsunitednow.com/?q=about

Americans for Prosperity is a right wing lobbying outfit. And by the way, they are registered as a 501(c)(4) organization: "Americans for Prosperity is a section 501(c)(4) organization under the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions or gifts to AFP are not tax deductible. AFP can advocate for and against specific legislation at the state and federal levels.

AFP can accept contributions from individuals and business entities in support of its mission." http://www.americansforprosperity.org/about/legal Oops. A mistake or an intentional misrepresentation on the PatientsUnitedNow site? You be the judge.