Tag Archives: Anniversary

Seven Years Good Luck

Despite LinkedIn’s algorithm to the contrary, today is the seventh anniversary of this blog. It was seven years ago that I began to write about Medical Travel and Workers’ Comp.

And although it has morphed into a blog about health care issues, and more recently, about Medicare for All, it is an accomplishment that it has lasted this long.

As I am sure happens to many a blogger or writer, one runs out of things to say, so they fall back on re-posting what others have written to keep themselves in the game. Such has been my experience of late.

This is no accident. Having been diagnosed with ESRD, and attending to the protocols involved with receiving treatment and dealing with it on a daily basis, I have had to slow down the pace of writing, concentrated on other issues, or just took a break from it by not working on it period.

However, with the Democratic primary campaign heading towards its next phase, I thought it would be a good idea to review the positions of each of the major candidates now debating regarding health care for Americans.

This review is a follow-up to previous posts on this blog about the Democratic debates and Medicare for All, namely Medicare for All and the Democratic Debates and The Debate Continues.

Since then, I have concentrated on posts that single out aspects of some of the candidates positions on providing health care to more people, but each and every article posted has shown that those positions will not lead to the outcome that will provide universal health care to all Americans.

So, here are the plans for health care of each of the candidates currently still debating:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: https://www.npr.org/2019/09/10/758172208/health-care-see-where-the-2020-democratic-candidates-stand

Since August, five of the last eight posts I wrote addressed some aspect of why those advocating a public option or keeping private insurance are wrong, and why we have not had universal health care.

The New York Times, as part of a series of articles published in their Sunday magazine about the year 1619, included an article as to why universal health care has been rejected in the US.

The article, Why doesn’t the United States have universal health care? The answer has everything to do with Race, traces the opposition to universal health care to after the Civil War, when the South was devastated, and the Freedmen’s Bureau addressed the smallpox virus that was spreading across the South. It was argued then by white legislators that it would breed dependence.

But, other articles posted since August, have criticized calls for a public option, such as the article, Public Option A Bad Policy, which was re-posted from The Nation earlier this month.

A second article, Private Insurance Failure to Lead to Medicare for All, re-printed from The New York Times two weeks ago, was written by a former CEO of a health insurance company, and currently professor of health care finance at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.

His observations about where private insurance is leading us should be read by those who are supporting candidates who advocate keeping private insurance.

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) president Adam Gaffney, in Boston Review, put it simply: “It’s the financing, stupid.

Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, writing in The Guardian four days ago, stated that Medicare for All would cut taxes for most Americans, and that not only would universal healthcare reduce taxes for most people, it would also lead to the biggest take-home pay raise in a generation for most workers.

This is something that Elizabeth Warren has not been able to address in the debates, instead talking about how it will lower costs for people. She has not been wrong in doing so, because if the average family pays $5,000 in taxes and has medical costs twice that, moving to a single payer system will save them money, even if their taxes were to increase by a small percentage. Their medical bills would fall far below the $10,000 level. However, Warren will be releasing a plan to pay for it.

Saez and Zucman, in a chapter in their book, The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay, called private insurance a poll tax.

According to Saez and Zucman,

“…private insurance premiums are akin to a huge private tax. Although most workers get insurance through their employers – and thus employers nominally foot the bill – the premiums are a labor cost as much as payroll taxes are. Just like payroll taxes, premiums are ultimately borne by employees. The only difference is they are even more regressive than payroll taxes, because the premiums are unrelated to earnings. They are equal to a fixed amount per employee (and only depend on age and family coverage), just like a poll tax. The secretary literally pays the same dollar amount as an executive.”

Listening to the candidates other than Sanders and Warren, they would rather keep the status quo so that stakeholders can profit from the dysfunction in the system than address the problem of health care head-on.

It is as if we said we wanted to go to the Moon, but opted to go part of the way, saying we will get there someday, but not now, as it is too expensive, people like looking at the Moon without knowing there are men up there and spacecraft parts, and that we shouldn’t mess with it until we clean up down here.

It is better to advocate going all the way, then not at all. If you fail, then you know you must do it again until you get what you want. Thus, was the case with passing the ACA. It did not happen overnight.

This video, from a president who knew how to speak in complete and intelligible sentences, illustrated what it took to get Medicare and Medicaid passed.

Just like President Kennedy’s call to go to the Moon in the 1960s, so too did he call for universal health care as far back as 1962 when he made this speech in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

We cannot afford to do anything less, because the stakes are that important. Medicare for All must be the one and only goal. Anything else is a half-measure destined to fail.

Five Years

Yesterday marked my five year anniversary as your humble blogger. But all through the month, many of my LinkedIn connections have congratulated me prematurely, only to have me set them straight as to the actual date. LinkedIn does not do a very good job of capturing exact dates on your profile.

But be that as it may, it has been a great five years. Let me recap.

To begin with, I began the blog three days after returning from the 5th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress in Hollywood, Florida where I met many people from around the world engaged in the Medical Travel industry.

After attending two more conferences in 2014, one in Miami Beach, and the other in Reynosa, Mexico, where I presented my paper on Medical Travel and Workers’ Comp, my blog was viewed by increasing numbers of people in multiple countries around the world.

To date, my blog is viewed in every continent except Antarctica, and places like Greenland, several countries in Africa, Iran and two of the countries in Central Asia, and North Korea (but who cares?). Even China, with it’s limited access to the internet has viewed my blog.

So it has been a productive five years, and I hope that you have enjoyed reading it. I know not all of my posts are prize winners, but then again, not every writer wins a Pulitzer every day. You may have noticed that my focus has shifted and my tone has gotten more pointed. I make no apologies for the tone, there are too many bad things happening in this country for me to be silent. And as for the focus changing, my medical condition has personalized the fight for health care for all, and not just for those who can afford it.

Let me know what you think, after all, after five years, you must have some thoughts. Also, if you can help me personally with extra work, I would appreciate it.

Thank you, and here’s to another year, and another five years.

 

The Second Time Around

Today, October 29th, marks my second anniversary writing the Transforming Workers’ Comp blog, and as I wrote in my first blog post, What I Learned at the 5th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress, and Why It Matters to the Workers’ Compensation Industry, I began the blog three days after returning from the MTA Congress in Hollywood, Florida.

The first anniversary was a milestone in that I actually was able to sustain my writing for an entire year, and gained enough support that my articles appeared in online medical tourism magazines and blogs. But this year’s anniversary is even more special, because next week I will be in Reynosa, Mexico, speaking at the 5th Mexico Medical Tourism and Wellness Business Summit.

At this year’s summit, I will be meeting people I have connected with through my writing and through LinkedIn who are in the medical tourism industry and who are business leaders here in the US and in other countries in the Western Hemisphere.

It is my hope that during the three days of the summit, I will find time to write a short piece about the day’s events, but if I am not able to do so (well, it is a mini-vacation, after all,J), then I will certainly do so once I return, as I did two years ago, and earlier this year after the Miami Beach event.

My topic, which I will be presenting on Friday morning, November 7th, is about the Barriers, Obstacles, Opportunities and Pitfalls of Implementing Medical Tourism into Workers’ Compensation. It is based on my original White Paper and various blog articles that I have written over the past two years.

Those of you who have criticized my idea in the past as ridiculous and a “non-starter” have failed to understand that globalization cannot and will not be stopped by any one industry, including the workers’ compensation medico-legal behemoth.

The fact that I was invited to speak proves that someone believes my idea has merit and is worth paying for both my airfare and hotel. Maybe in your narrow-minded view of the world it doesn’t, because doctors, lawyers, and service providers have placed the workers’ comp system in a padded cell.

It does as far as the medical tourism/medical travel community will learn about next week. As Schopenhauer wrote, “Every man takes the limits of his field of vision for the limits of the world.”

How many of you workers’ comp professionals have seen claimants treated by doctors, both in private practice and in hospitals who are foreign-born? Doesn’t that tell you something about where health care has been for several years, and where it is going? Of course it does. It even is happening in the UK, as one of my UK medical tourism connections has written about last week.

It is a sign that medical care is not limited to one part of the world, one hegemonic power in the world, and to one culture. As doctors and nurses come here to work, so too do our medical students go abroad to learn medicine when they get turned down by American medical schools.

Why not our workers? Because some judge says so, or some lawyer would object because he can’t collect a hefty fee? Or is it because our politicians are so jaded that they only know one thing: screw the workers anyway they can.

I take it as a badge of honor that business professionals will hear what I have been writing about, even though those in the workers’ comp industry bury their heads in the sand, shut their ears, eyes and minds to new ideas, no matter how “out of the box” they seem. You see, that is the real reason workers’ comp today is failing to address the problems injured workers face. The industry keeps insisting on doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results, and wasting time, money and resources on a broken system.

They insist that state laws, regulations and rules prohibit medical travel, but some states do allow it, as I mentioned in my paper and articles. Even a WC Deputy Judge said that medical tourism is here to stay, and while he referred to domestic travel, cross-border workers’ comp is already occurring in CA, and AZ amended their work comp laws to allow a claimant to collect benefits in AZ and Mexico, and a unanimous court ruled on behalf of that claimant.

Given these facts, medical travel to Mexico and other countries in the region for surgical procedures under worker’ comp cannot be too far off. What is really going on, is some high-level executives and consultants who get paid from keeping things the same, refuse to allow new ideas to enter the system, thus bringing on hardship, pain and misery for injured workers, while they and their clients get rich.

And the industry is now dealing with some bad actors who are screwing and maiming legitimately injured workers because the system is bought and paid for by the very entrenched interest groups that profit from maiming and harming workers who have already been injured. In law that is called “double jeopardy”, and no, Alex Trebek is not going to double your winnings.

So the next time I write, it will either be in Reynosa, or back home after my trip. Until then, muchas gracias por seguir conmigo estos últimos dos años, y espero que siga haciéndolo en los próximos años.

To paraphrase the most interesting man in the world, “Stay open-minded, my friends.”