I would like to do a piece on my blog, Releasing Religion, regarding mixing God & government.  And I'd like to know what opinions people have here about doing such a thing.  Some points to mention are:

Glenn Beck is well known for arguing that we have misunderstood that founding fathers & their desire to keep church & state separate.  Holding his rally on 8/28, he gathered 150.000 people to hear him talk about bringing out country "back to God".  What do you think it would do to our country to "get back to God"? 

The Tea Party has been called racist Chrisotcrats. In their recent convention, most conference sessions began with prayers.  What do you think of the Tea Party?  Do you know very little about them?  Do you know a lot?  Please share your thoughts here.

The piece will be posted on www.releasingreligion.blogspot.com









Tags: 8/28, Beck, Christocrats, Glenn, Honor, Party, Rally, Restoring, Tea

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I am interested in your family member's breast cancer & why it may be or may have gotten delayed.

@ Maia - My sister-in-law was caught extremely early with MRI because her family history is chocked full of breast cancer and because of that her doctor recommended she go to a specialist to get her mammo any time she had a mammo after the age of 40. It did not show up on the mammo but due to her family history the specialist then took the extra precaution of ultra-sound (did not show up on that either) so then they did an MRI and found a tiny lump. She had a double mastectomy but thankfully - no chemo or radiation required - she is a three year survivor. She was 43 years old at the time. Strange that my cousin died at 43 years - I just realized that connection.

In my cousin's case - she had a mammo at age 40 - skipped getting one at age 41 and at age 42 had the pain in her back addressed medically and that was when they discovered she was full of cancer everywhere, brain, lungs, liver, spine, bones, said it started in her breast (the most aggressive breast cancer - tripple negative). It was discovered she did have the Bracca 1 gene. It was the doctor's opionion that it was very possible she had the cancer when she got the mammo at age 40 and it was not detected by the mammo. Whether it would have been detected by the ultra-sound or MRI - I have no idea and I don't think I can ask her family about that since they are all still in a total state of complete devastation. She died a couple months ago. She did have a sister who died of lung cancer at age 41 (strange isn't it?) Maybe she should have gone to a specialist since her sister died young of cancer but it was not from breast cancer.

So anyway my sister-in-law tells me that if she had been a Canadian citizen she feels the chances would have been increased that the early diagnosis would not have happened. She belongs to on-line breast cancer forums and I assume this is where she formed this opinion. Of course it can depend on the doctor that you see. She could have ended up with a doctor that did not recommend her to go to a specialist to have the mammo.

It can get complicated.

The other night I saw a commerical on television where a Canadian lady was saying she had a brain tumor and she would not "be here right now" if she had followed the Canadian health care guide-lines and she was telling America that national health care was a bad idea. Of course this could be untrue and just more propaganda against Obamacare but come on folks - look what I have to contend with. I keep hearnig that Phil Collins song from 1987 over and over in my head "Land of Confusion".

I'm sure there are people on this thread that are going to get fed up and sick and tired of my crying about my poor pitiful confusion but I'd rather those people just ignore me than be rude to me. Or if they want to bitch about something I'm saying - you can always do it in a polite and diplomatic way - it cost nothing to be nice. It cost me having to try to make you look like an ass if you are not nice.
Confusion is fine. I have confusion, too, which is why I'm asking all these questions.

Thank you for sharing this story. So I'm going to pass this off to my health care experts... Jason, Larry, and all you others who probably know more about this than I do. In the mean time, I'm going to look this up, because that is a very valid question. Does National Health care mean delays in treatment? If so, why?
Confusion is fine. I have confusion, too, which is why I'm asking all these questions.

@ Maia - you are just too nice lol.

I'm going to do some research on that too (delays in treatment). It is a good focal point (for me anyway - my thoughts seem to go in six different directions at once sometimes). I'll report back on this thread with links and I'll try to get views from both the leberal and the consevative side.
I found a good Wikipedia link right off the bat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_the_health_care_systems_...

Snippet from the above link:

Although Canadians and Americans have each looked to the other for ways to improve their respective health care systems, there exists a substantial amount of conflicting information regarding the relative merits of the two systems.[16]

See? Land of confusion. What did I tell ya. Here is another snippet that specifically mentions breast cancer.

In 2004, researchers published a study comparing health outcomes in the Anglo countries. Their analysis indicates that Canada has greater survival rates for both colorectal cancer and childhood leukemia, while the United States has greater survival rates for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as well as breast and cervical cancer.[109]

But this might not have a thing to do with delayed diagnosis. It doesn't get that specific.

Okay, going to surf some more.
Wall Street Journal Digital Network

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704204304574543721253...

Snippet

More spending on "prevention" has long been the cry of health reformers, and President Obama has been especially forceful. In his health speech to Congress in September, the President made a point of emphasizing "routine checkups and preventative care, like mammograms and colonoscopies—because there's no reason we shouldn't be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse."

It turns out that there is, in fact, a reason: Screening for breast cancer will cost the government too much money, even if it saves lives.

End of Snippet
Another link also from the Wall Steet Journal Digital Network

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303284604575582394262...

Snippet:

Midterm elections amid a lousy economy are usually bad for the President's party, but it looks as if a neutron bomb may detonate on Democrats in 2010. And one of the major reasons that this year shifted from ordinary losses to potential catastrophe is ObamaCare. This election is a referendum on an entitlement the public never wanted and continues to hate, as evidence from around the country is showing.

End of Snippet

These sound conservative. I'm going to try to find some liberal info.

Here is a liberal link:

MoveOn.org Political Action

http://www.pol.moveon.org/2009/agenda/results/hc.html

Snippet:

“I am a health care professional of 47 years, still working because of the economic stresses of our time; but that's another issue. More and more I'm seeing people with severe needs who have NO insurance. In many instances these are people who ARE working and can't afford the obscene premiums they are expected to pay for even minimal coverage. Just the room cost in the hospital I work at is $4,000/day. Reform isn't an option anymore - it's a necessity!”—Pat L., Los Angeles, CA

Another Snippet from same article:

I lost a daughter to cancer in July after a fight she couldn't win because she had no insurance.

End of Snippet

Maia - if you are reading this. I'm going to stop now. I'm going to keep doing some more surfing for myself though. Let me know if you want me to post more links.
Thank you for the links, Linda. So I read through the WSJ article and felt like it was more of an editorial than news reporting. So I read through the comments. Several of them were contradictory to the article, but these 2 were the best retorts. I checked out the links as well, so it better explains the idea behind where breast cancer sits in this new health care system:

#1
"Now that was an interesting article. One little tidbit, one of the common themes against universal health care is that all those great innovations in modern medicine would be stifled under universal care. It turns out that mammograms were invented under the socialized medicine of Sweden."

#2
"I was appalled reading this article. I used to believe the Wall Street Journal was a reputable news source, but this article has seriously shaken that faith. Let's address a few of the gross mischaracterizations and falsehood that this article perpetrates against the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report. It's worth noting that the USPSTF is the same group that issued the previous screening guidelines (not a bunch of fringe quacks as the article suggests). Note - those wishing to read the actual report (the article's author might want to check it out) can go to:
http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstf09/breastcancer/brcanrs.htm

First let's address what the study and recommendations ACTUALLY say. This USPSTF report was entirely about the benefits of routine breast cancer screening versus the very real risk of HARM arising from excessive screening and unnecessary treatment. The finding was that for most women under 50, breast cancer screening resulted in worse health care outcomes, i.e. for every women who may have been saved by early detection a slightly higher proportion died due to unnecessary treatment. This is because a disproportionately high number of young women develop cancerous growths that do not damage health, but whose treatment might. The results were obtained by analyzing statistical evidence, the same method used to determine the safety and efficacy of most medical treatments. The study also looked at the benefits of self and clinical breast exams and found that self breast exams in particular are likely to result in more harm than good. The report had absolutely nothing to say on the need to reduce health care spending nor did it advocate for doing so. And yet, from reading this article you would think that costs were the only thing the report considered and you would have no idea that the study even addressed patient health issues (that's pretty much all it addressed.)

Also of note, the new guidelines against screening for women outside the 50-74 age group do not apply to women who have a history of breast cancer or other increased risk for the disease. What this means is that since many women still should to be tested under the new guidelines there is no reason to believe insurance, public or private, should not continue to cover the screening of these women. Thus there is no reason to believe, as the article suggests, that the new guidelines are a move to reduce health insurance coverage.

In short, this article is of the worst sort of partisan political hackery out there. It does not attempt to accurately represent the matter and raise legitimate questions and criticisms. Instead it constructs a completely fabricated account of the USPSTF report and proceeds to attack it. All told, the WSJ has taken a respectable scientific study by an independent organization of doctors and health experts whose sole concern is improving patient care outcomes and SAVING LIVES, and turned it into a political hatchet job on the Obama administration's proposed health care reforms. A good news article should leave the reader more informed at the end of reading it, not less. This isn't news, it's propaganda. The WSJ should be ashamed of itself.

At least the Economist gets it right:: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2009/11/why_well_...



I know it's so confusing, Linda. I just refuse to believe that our current healthcare changes would actively try to hurt women and increase the amount of breast cancer. In a recent interview with Christina Applegate, who battled bc and won, she said it was the MRI that saved her life. So I will continue doing research on this. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
Warning - this post is long - and I never do long posts (you can check my page if you don't believe me) but it is just pouring out.

@ Maia - I did go and read the links you gave. The Wall Street Journal article really did seem like a hatchet job to Obamacare and I was surprised about that. Usually they are more objective than that (imo).

Maia - here is another link:

The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/magazine/19healthcare-t.html?_r=1

Snippet

In the current U.S. debate over health care reform, “rationing” has become a dirty word. Meeting last month with five governors, President Obama urged them to avoid using the term, apparently for fear of evoking the hostile response that sank the Clintons’ attempt to achieve reform.

Another snippet from same article:

Health care is a scarce resource, and all scarce resources are rationed in one way or another. In the United States, most health care is privately financed, and so most rationing is by price: you get what you, or your employer, can afford to insure you for. But our current system of employer-financed health insurance exists only because the federal government encouraged it by making the premiums tax deductible. That is, in effect, a more than $200 billion government subsidy for health care. In the public sector, primarily Medicare, Medicaid and hospital emergency rooms, health care is rationed by long waits, high patient copayment requirements, low payments to doctors that discourage some from serving public patients and limits on payments to hospitals
End of Snippet

I'd like to share a personal experience at this point. At one time in my life I had no health insurance. I did not qualify for medicaide (I tried). I had to go to the emergency room at a large downtown Atlanta hospital. I could not afford to go anywhere else. It was a HORRIFYING experience.

First of all I waited for hours in the main ER lobby and I'd say there were at least 50 other people waiting with me. One lady (who appeared mentally impaired) pissed in her chair and wondered around sitting in different chairs afterwards. I was shocked. Everybody knew what was going on and nobody seemed to think it was anything unusual so I acted the same way but inside I was dying. I thought where is the nurse that is supposed to hurredly bussle in and take this poor woman somewhere where they can help her out. I wanted to place little signs on all the chairs she sat on that said (do not sit in this chair - this chair has piss on it) but I sat there praying people would not sit in one of those chairs.

I wanted the hell out of that place! And the smell of the piss!!!! I am used to that smell in nursing homes (another issue) and I have been to a million of them (being an EMT) but being stuck there for hours inhaling that smell when I am sick myself? Different. At least at the nursing homes it was in/out - done. I got piss on my arms many times lifting elderly patients from theirs beds into the stretcher and I really hated that - it really grossed me out (I did not last long as an EMT btw lol). But being stuck somewhere where you could not escape the smell (you could not leave because your number might be called and you sure in the f*** don't want to miss that).

My best friend graciously was with me (you know the one? she's a Mexican American atheist (yes I kid you not) staunch Republican with more conservative views than I ever thought about having). She is against abortion and I am very much support it and this is my best friend of 30 years. She had to use the bathroom (thank Godoodess I can hold it a long time). She came back and told me she never saw such a disgusting public bathroom in her life. She said the floor was sticky with piss and the bathroom was beyond filthy. She said she thought there was blood on the floor - she wasn't sure exactly what it was (CRINGING HERE)!

Finally I got a gurney and they rolled me into the waiting hallway in the ER. Now I used to be a basic EMT and took many patients to this same hospital. The patients would use the ER public bathroom but we were allowed to use the same bathroom as the hospital workers. Waited many more hours. I got there at 10 in the morning and left at 7 in the evening and this was the emergency room.

Finally I get checked out and they give me some medication that may cause me to use the bathroom and they pointed to the public ER bathroom. I didn't think anything about it. Okay, so I go into the bathroom. Just let me say I turn around and go right back out of the bathroom and prayed to dear God I could wait (I was not an atheist at the time -more of a generic supreme being kind of believer) but this experience was definitely one of the several I had that set me on the path to being an atheist.

Also while I was waiting in the ER hallway, a doctor came out and announced to the man in the gurney next to me that they were going to have to amputate his foot (he had diabetes). I was like OH MY GOD! They could not even take him into a private room to give him this news - he had to suffer the indignity of having the bad news delivered to him within ear shot of a complete stranger. You would think I would not have been surprised since I had been a EMT but I guess being a patient and being the EMT is two different ball games. Also I was an EMT over 20 years ago so maybe things have declined since then - I have no idea what the explanation is. Shaking my head and shuddering as I recall the memory. I think I blocked it becaue I can't remember the last time I let myself think about it.

Don't even get me started on all of the red tape and trips to a branch office and phone calls and waiting long waits at the branch office I had to go through JUST to get qualified for the financial discount for the ER bill.

So nobody has to tell me that we are in desperate need of healthcare reform. No f***ing siree. I GET that in a huge way. HUGE.

My pont is I'm all ears when it comes to what Obamacare can accomplish for the country. But (oh the terrible but), is his platform the right platform to take a stand on? There are others (tort reform for example). Government regulation on pharmaceuticles
and hospital equipment pricing, etc. Or is the Obamacare plan the simplest most effective path to get out of a desperate situation in a hurry and worry about crossing the bridge over the collapse of the American economy once we get there and will it be too late to get to the other side by then.
I liked this article much better, Linda. Thank you for posting it. So it brings up some interesting points, and I'm having the same questions as you are about what is the best health care system. Do I think Obama's Health Care is perfect? No. I don't think he's claiming that it is. But there was no question that something needed to be done. It was interesting to me in the article that his mother died from Ovarian cancer. I didn't know that. So no wonder he was so passionate about that as a platform. I mentioned to Larry earlier that I have a nephew with Hemophilia. My husband and I talk all the time about what kind of situation he'd be in if A. His parents lost their jobs and ability to cover his pre-existing condition and B. What he will do when he can no longer be on his parents' health insurance. Moreover, he has to have shots of something called Factor everyday, which helps his blood clot. Without health insurance, that stuff is like $800/per shot. It's absolutely crazy.

It would be worth examining our health care vs. the socialist health care systems of other countries and see how we compare.
I have a reasonably serious heart condition, and if it weren't for Medicaid I might be dead by now.
When I pick up my meds, and see the price charged to the insurance company, I have to wonder how in the hell we're supposed to maintain this, when so much of that cost is nothing but profit, everyone involved adding unnecessarily to the final cost every step along the way.
I don't even want to know what they charged for the MRI I had last week.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with everybody involved making a very good living for doing one of the most important things a human being can do: namely healing and helping the sick. It's the criminal extortion of the insurance and pharmaceutical companies that socialized medicine would mitigate.
The right always criticizes the Canadian and European models of socialized medicine as inefficient, with below par care and that whole tiresome party line nonsense they love to repeat endlessly. Even if half of that propaganda is true, fine, does that automatically mean that the U.S. can't improve on them?
The tea party's answer to that question would seem to be that we can't.
How patriotic of them
I find the question of whether the Affordable Care Act is the "right way" to accomplish reform rather bizarre. It's a start. There's no reason we can't also pursue tort reform, medical procedural reform (to prevent mistakes in the first place), insurance company reform (for-profit health insurance should be illegal--there's no reason why insurance company execs should make millions a year by denying poor people a chance to live), pharmaceutical reform (why the hell did Bush hamstring the government's ability to negotiate lower drug prices, like all the other countries do?), research reform, and on and on.

The fact is that our current health care non-system is going to bankrupt the country. The projections I've seen from the CBO suggest that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit and lower medical care costs in the long run. Highly debatable, of course, especially with long-range predictions, but those saying that "Obamacare" will wreck the economy are just fearmongering.

Ultimately the Times article is correct--no resource is infinite, which means they all must be allocated somehow (rationing is a scare-tactic word). Currently, we allocate our health care dollars to corporate big-wigs and allocate our health care products and services to the relatively wealthy. Why is that any better of a "rationing" scheme than what Canada does? In a lot of ways it strikes me as far less moral, less humane. And a lot of research suggests that it doesn't lead to the best patient outcomes, in aggregate.

There are always going to be cutting-edge treatments that cost a fortune, and those really shouldn't be covered by insurance until their cost comes down. In my opinion, those super-expensive treatments are essentially still in the experimental stage if they haven't figured out how to deliver them at a reasonable cost. If NASA discovered the cure for cancer on the moon, but they had to mount an Apollo mission for each dose, I'd say that's a promising discovery, but it's something that needs a lot more research so we can make it in a factory with common ingredients. That means a lot of people will die while we're waiting for the price to come down. That's regrettable, but a lot of people died before smallpox vaccination was invented. Until the cost is reasonable, the discovery of a new treatment isn't complete, and it's unreasonable to expect anybody to pay for it.

The trouble is, of course, that with health care the way it has been run in the US, even inexpensive treatments are out of reach for too many people. It makes no sense economically for a kid to die from a tooth abscess before they even enter the workforce, if a $1,000 root canal would keep them alive. That's just a wise and humane investment. But apparently it's more important to the Teabaggers that the family be responsible enough to pay for it themselves than whether the kid lives to contribute to society or dies miserably.

Everything in economics has a cost/benefit ratio. The US routinely is penny wise and pound foolish, especially when it comes to the social safety net. Sick, crippled, or dead people can't contribute to the economy. Treatments that cost more than the expected lifetime earnings of the patient can't be sustained economically. Somewhere in between is a relatively humane, relatively effective, relatively sustainable compromise. That's not rationing. That's life in a world of abundant, yet limited resources.

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