Sunday, July 31, 2011

WHY IS THE COST OF MEDICARE SO HIGH?

Surely, there has to be some waste

Speaking for myself, I can see clearly why some costs are unnecessary and just tagged on to profit from Medicare.

Let’s begin with my primary physician, he wants me in there at least twice a year even if there is nothing wrong with me; his take is billed directly to the insurance company and yes, I don’t pay anything out of pocket for it…not directly.

Then we have the specialists who need a referral and they too get a cut of Medicare…oftentimes requesting unnecessary tests that have a deductible co-payment that I have to pay for out of pocket…and some of these, even with my limited knowledge of medicine…I know are unnecessary.

You also have to face the fact that if you suffer some serious ailment the medicines are so expensive one would think that ground gold goes into their manufacture. Some of these medications are mandatory if one wishes to stay alive.

There are hospitals…those money-hungry institutions that exist for profit. They charge you for a room on a daily basis that far exceeds a five star hotel in cost. Yet, the rooms are dank and devoid of the luxuries one finds at these hotels. Additionally, the food you are given is not fit for human or animal consumption.

Lastly you have the insurance companies…those good for nothing businesses that exist for the sole reason of making a profit. These insurance companies do not perform any useful function, they are actually deniers of claims and de-facto DEATH PANELS….in other words…they are true parasites of society...they are motivated by

Our country lags behind other industrialized nations in the healthcare provided and the costs are oftentimes twice as much. Yet, you hear assholes like Hucklebee go on television with this ad urging the viewers to call so that OBAMACARE can be repealed because if you don’t, then irreparable damage will be done to our economy and our healthcare system. Really? The only damage I can see if we had what we all want: UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE is the health insurance companies out of the equation.

What we need in America is UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE, yes, FUCKING SOCIALIST, NOT FOR PROFIT, GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

PILLAGE AND PLUNDER, TAKE HOSTAGE THE COUNTRY AND HOLD THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FOR RANSOM…DESPICABLE



And it is not about the debt ceiling or even about the budget or deficits…it is about forcing upon our country a very misguided agenda.

The thorough destruction of all our safety nets, the elimination of regulations that were already watered down to begin with and the climate of placing the interests of the wealthy and the corporations instead of WE, THE PEOPLE is what is taking place.

From Social Security to Medicare and Medicaid, from eliminating agencies that protect the consumers and offer safety requirements like the EPA to EDUCATION; the Republicans are on a pillage and plunder trek leaving no middle class person untouched, raping the dignity of those who are already poor and offering nothing in return…only more of the same…which is to say: MORE MONEY FOR THE WEALTHY AND THE CORPORATIONS; it is a veritable WELFARE STATE for those on the top of the food chain.

Yes, the government is too big and can’t do anything right, the government is the problem…it is the problem for the rich, it is the thorn on the side of corporations because they have to abide by the laws and pay their fair share of taxes, or, put another way: government is a problem when it is in the hands of Republicans.

Our government is as big as it needs to be for a nation that is the number one world power and it is not a question of having a spending problem; although we could cut spending on stupid wars and defending countries that need no defense while we borrow the money to do this from these very countries…how ironic is that?

But what we actually have is a REVENUE problem…tax cuts and loopholes, subsidies to corporations that are making oodles of money…that is what we have, that is what is causing the deficits.

7- 30 – PROTESTS OVER THE COST OF HIV MEDS

Arguably, these pharmaceuticals are making a killing on HIV and other life saving drugs for other life threatening illnesses.

CALL IT SKEPTICISM. CALL IT IGNORANCE BUT I REALLY DON’T TRUST DRUG MANUFACTURERS

It has become sufficiently clear that some of these drugs are way overpriced. The drug manufacturer claims that it is investing in research, testing and such so that they are in a spot where they must charge those prices in order for the drug to be profitable for them…really?

I clearly could see if there was a 50% mark up after they are through deducting the cost of research, testing, manufacturing and the ingredients…and still have enough left over to make a very handsome profit. But it is ludicrous to think that a 500% or even higher percentage mark-up is justified.

Then there is the question of whether these drug manufacturers are reputable and on the level…what prevents them from putting a bunch of ingredients in one pill and leaving out a key element and then making a companion drug that contains only that ingredient missing from the first drug?…in reality what it amounts to is selling a near placebo…you see how they tell you that a certain drug must be taken together with this other one…they don’t recommend it, they require it.

The cost of these drugs is exorbitant…one would think that they actually put ground up gold in them, but in reality some of the ingredients are quite common and inexpensive.

The government of Brazil has embarked upon a project where they are now manufacturing generic drugs that are the most used and the most expensive when they are brand names. As a consequence, because of the competition even those name brand drugs are considerably lower in price than in America; and of course the generic is quite affordable. Call it SOCIALISM, I don’t care but I also think that it is unethical to make a profit out of people’s misery and it is IMMORAL to make an obscene profit out of it.

But when all is said and done; I really don't have that big a beef with the drug manufacturers because at least they produce something...a medicine that is going to keep people alive...they sell a product...albeit at an exorbitant price and that is my main resentment towards them. Unlike the health insurance companies that don't produce anything, don't offer a useful service, they don't even take the risks that would be the reason for their existence...they are true parasites.

But the issue remains that if you can’t afford them and have no access to some charitable organization that will provide it, HIV people will simply die…CAN YOU SAY “DEATH PANELS?”

THIS IS A LIST OF THOSE DRUGS AND THEIR EXHORBITANT COST:

COST PER MONTH (estimates) - Medication Fact Sheets

Agenerase

$772

Aptivus

$1117.50

Combivir - Buy Here For Less

$752.64

Crixivan

$570.96

Emtriva

$347.11

Epivir 300mg

$347.11

Epzicom

$813.55

Fortovase

$263.35

Fuzeon

$2315.40

Hivid

$273.00

Invirase

$748.50

Kaletra

$796.26

Lexiva

$658.99

Norvir

$321.46

Rescriptor

$316.35

Retrovir

$405.59

Reyataz

$892.91

Sustiva 600mg

$499.43

Trizivir

$1164.35

Truvada

$867.99

Videx EC 400mg

$346.04

Viramune

$442.45

Zerit

$385.88

Ziagen

$466.44

Source: Test Positive Aware Network; "Annual HIV Drug Guide"; 2006.


There have been protests nationwide in front of the corporate headquarters of these pharmaceuticals…the protests go unnoticed, no publicity and thus they are not ashamed into lowering the costs.

Merck’s Isentress: Salvage Therapy versus First-Line Use

Initially approved in October 2007 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a salvage therapy, the FDA subsequently expanded its approval of Merck’s Isentress for use as a first-line course of treatment in HIV/AIDS, a move which both greatly expanded the U.S. market for the drug and makes Merck’s antiretroviral (ARV) Isentress the most expensive first-line treatment on the market. When it first came to market, Merck set the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) of Isentress at $12,150 per patient yearly. Merck has since raised the AWP of Isentress to $12,895 — a more than 5% price hike — since its introduction to market.

At minimum, Isentress must be taken with at least two other HIV/AIDS drugs as part of an effective antiretroviral treatment regimen, pushing the overall price of one Isentress patient’s yearly AIDS drugs to between $20,000 and $30,000. Public programs (federal and state) are the largest purchaser of ARV medications in the country, with Medicare and Medicaid the single largest payer for HIV/AIDS care in the U.S.

The Department of Health and Human Services treatment guidelines include several preferred treatment options for first-line patients. These options provide the same clinical benefit as Isentress but cost less. For example, Isentress — which must be taken with two additional AIDS drugs — costs nearly as much as an entire three-drug regimen of Viread, Emtriva and Sustiva, commonly combined in Gilead Sciences’ three-in-one tablet, Atripla.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and services to more than 169,000 individuals in 27 countries worldwide in the U.S., Africa, Latin America/Caribbean the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe. www.aidshealth.org

BUY DRUGS FROM CANADA: Help is available -- from a northern neighbor like CanadaWayDrugs.com (http://www.canadawaydrugs.com/) in Vancouver, British Columbia where drug savings average 48% vs. a popular U.S. chain.

More info:

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, 323-308-1833
Mobile: 323-791-5526
gedk@aidshealth.org
Lori Yeghiayan, 323-308-1834
Mobile: 323-377-4312
lori.yeghiayan@aidshealth.org

Header photo: work of Canadian artist James Huctwith

http://www.jameshuctwith.ca/

Protest photo: http://ahfspeakout.tumblr.com/post/8137291892/jessica-reinhart-grassroots-community-manager

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=photos+of+hiv+drugs&hl=en&sa=X&biw=1006&bih=587&tbm=isch&tbnid=wlYx6tLQMW8RAM:&imgrefurl=http://watanzaniaoslo.blogspot.com/2011/05/taking-hiv-drugs-earlier-could-curb-new.html&docid=CK_H_SO17_kCHM&w=640&h=360&ei=wSY0ToqWEaTj0QGUiIicDA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=124&vpy=280&dur=9755&hovh=168&hovw=300&tx=134&ty=94&page=9&tbnh=101&tbnw=180&start=115&ndsp=13&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:115

NOT A QUESTION OF IF BUT WHEN IF SOCIAL SECURITY IS PRIVATIZED

There will be a stock market crash or some economic crisis that will wipe out all of our savings


Please don’t tell me that it can’t happen…it already has as I can attest…I lost my pension in 2008. You see, these boys who administer all these private pensions are just salivating at the prospect of privatized Social Security. They are looking forward with great expectations the flood of money that will come from the general public who will be trusting and enthusiastic about having their “private nest egg” and that big government is out of the picture, out of their lives. And don't tell me it is not my money...I contributed to it beginning in 1960...so I am entitled.

Sure, it will run for a few years without glitches until there are enormous amounts accumulated and then these geniuses in Wall Street will fabricate some Ponzi scheme, they will create an economic crisis and all those savings will be wiped out.

This of course suits the Republican-Teahadists just fine because the greater the number of people in need, poor and destitute, the cheaper labor will be; besides, looking at it from a purist point of view…Social Security is SOCIALISM, as is MEDICARE, MEDICAID, WELFARE and PUBLIC EDUCATION as well as all those REGULATIONS that make it more difficult for capitalists to operate dishonestly.

We are already seeing efforts in Florida to demonize Welfare recipients by making them take drug tests; the implication being that people on welfare are deadbeats on drugs. The intended plan of action is to eliminate Welfare altogether in Florida so that the state can give more money to the rich and the corporations…but isn’t that also SOCIALISM IN REVERSE? Isn’t that like a welfare state but instead of benefiting the poor it benefits the wealthy…Robin Hood in reverse, if you will?. If you make people think that welfare recipients are drug addicts then it will be easier to eliminate the program altogether without much public opposition.

In the big picture, in the greater scheme of things the Republican-Teahadists know exactly what the intended result will be to eliminate all social safety nets: money will stop flowing and there will be a horrible economic crisis…unemployment will soar and you will hear them saying that it is all President Obama’s fault and the horrible socialist harm Democrats have brought to our nation.

Republican-Teahadists are not going to be satisfied until there are millions of people living in tents under the freeway overpasses.

I felt nauseous yesterday when I heard about this woman commentator (I don’t even want to mention her toxic name) on Fox who was expressing disdain for all our social networks and the money that has gone into them…begrudging that our nation has spent all these funds when they could have been re-directed to fight these two wars and we could have won them if only we didn’t have to pay those pesky little entitlement programs for trash on Medicare or on Welfare.

Yes, by all means, take away from the poor so you can use the money to kill more people abroad in a country that did not inflict any injury to ours. So by all means, begrudge the few hundred dollars we give some single mother to feed her children and not even bat an eyelash when we spend billions in stupid wars…that is so patriotic, so American, and so Christian.

According to Republican-Teahadist ideology, government is too big; it can’t do anything right and the only legitimate role for government is to police our bedrooms, our wombs and to force us to go to church.

Friday, July 29, 2011

THERE IS NO DEBT CRISIS, IT WAS FABRICATED

The GOP made up this crisis all by themselves in order to push a very perverse agenda.

It is no secret, this debt limit crisis is all smoke and mirrors; we have in the past done it without any agonizing or without much controversy. Dozens and dozens of times it has been done and nobody ever put up a fight. It was routine and it was necessary.

America has to pay the bills of the debts it has already contracted…no ifs, no buts…to do otherwise would be economic suicide. Now, the Republicans know this and that is the reason they came up with the brilliant idea to drive the country to the brink of economic disaster (for the second time, once during Bush) and then blackmail the President and hold the American People hostage.

Don’t even consider this to be a valid argument, there is no budget crisis, what there is for sure is a job crisis and a revenue problem.

This is what some respected experts have to say on this issue:

ROBERT B. REICH


Don’t Fall for the GOP Lie: There is No Budget Crisis. There’s a Job and Growth Crisis. robertreich.org —The federal budget deficit has no economic relationship to the debt limit. Republicans have linked the two, and the Administration has played along, but they are entirely separate. In economic terms, we will not “run out of money” next week. We’re still the richest nation in the world, and the Federal Reserve has unlimited capacity to print money. Nor is there any economic imperative to reach an agreement on how to fix the budget deficit by Tuesday. It’s not even clear the federal budget needs that much fixing anyway. Yes, the ratio of the national debt to the total economy is high relative to what it’s been, but not as high as it was after World War II. If and when the economy begins to grow faster — if more Americans get jobs, and we move toward a full recovery — the debt/GDP ratio will fall, as it did in the 1950s, and as it does in every solid recovery. Revenues will pour into the Treasury, and much of the current “budget crisis” will be evaporate. Get it? We’re really in a “jobs and growth” crisis – not a budget crisis.”

PAUL KRUGMAN


The Centrist Cop-Out nytimes.com —The facts of the crisis over the debt ceiling aren’t complicated. Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage, threatening to undermine the economy and disrupt the essential business of government unless they get policy concessions they would never have been able to enact through legislation. And Democrats have gone a long way toward meeting those Republican demands. As I said, it’s not complicated. Yet news reports portray the parties as equally intransigent; pundits fantasize about some kind of “centrist” uprising, as if the problem was too much partisanship on both sides. Making nebulous calls for centrism, like writing news reports that always place equal blame on both parties, is a big cop-out — a cop-out that only encourages more bad behavior. The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you’re not willing to say that, you’re helping make that problem worse”. http://www.ourfuture.org/sites/all/modules/daily_email/images/1px_trans.gif

The issue is even more severe than most people realize; either way,, the American people and the American nation will come out as losers. If in one hand we give in to the Republican-Teahadists are demanding we will see a recession even worse than the one they created and we are still trying to overcome…but if we don’t and we default on our debt, then the crisis is assured and perhaps just as severe if not worse…one that America will not be able to recover even if the best prosperous years are to follow.

THE STATUE OF LIBERTY CRIES

Hello my fellow Americans

I speak French because I was conceived and made in France. The generous people of France then gave me as a present to my new adopted country: America. You see, I too am an immigrant.

I am a polyglot…you know, when you are so close to Ellis Island you get to hear so many languages…and as I stood there holding my torch of freedom for all to see; I got to hear all these languages and it was bound to happen…so many years of that and I picked up Chinese, German, Italian, Spanish, Yiddish; even Russian.

Today, I hang my head in shame and cover my face because I don’t like what I see in America. It is not the America that so many I greeted when entering the harbor came to seek. It is now a divided, violent and self destructive country. It is full of ideologues and religious fanatics who are intolerant of anybody different than themselves; worst of all it is a country of greed.

Lady Liberty's image is one of strength, majesty, and hope, visible in her eternally raised right arm which carries the torch of freedom. Holding aloft a light that never fails, she represents hope to the hopeless, welcome to the poor, courage to the meek. Facing outward toward the ocean, her lamp is a beacon on stormy seas, drawing to her shores, those from afar who seek a better life. For these, and for countless others who embrace her message, the Statue of Liberty represents the Golden Door.

The message at the base of her pedestal reads:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

It might as well now read:

“Give me your energetic, your rich,
Your wealthy entrepreneurs yearning to get richer,
The affluent business men of your teeming shore.
Send these, the well-educated elite to me.
I lift my lamp beside our closed door.”

I cry when I see how greed and ignorance have melded together to destroy those very things I represent…It is a divided country in a dysfunctional society and an even more dysfunctional government. I am sad and I will say something unbecoming a lady of my stature: I AM PISSED.

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=photo+of+read+the+constitution&hl=en&sa=X&biw=1006&bih=587&tbm=isch&tbnid=18G5MhlIisT8fM:&imgrefurl=http://globalpoliticalawakening.blogspot.com/2011/01/so-congress-read-constitution-well-isnt.html&docid=a1-m2wEiJk_r6M&w=290&h=300&ei=1McxTurwN9TTgQedgpnsDA&zoom=1&chk=sbg&iact=hc&vpx=530&vpy=245&dur=3801&hovh=228&hovw=221&tx=106&ty=108&page=22&tbnh=134&tbnw=130&start=297&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:3,s:297

http://www.enex.com/drupex/content/statue-libertys-new-message

RECIPE FOR THE TEA PARTY

Here are the main ingredients and the instructions to this toxic food:

Measure ½ cup of LIBERTARIAN ideology on steroids

¼ cup of RACISM a la Ku-Klux-Klan

1 teaspoon of stale XENOPHOBIA

2 Generous scoops of HOMOPHOBIA

Sprinkle in EVANGELICAL-FUNDAMENTALISM thoroughly until a THEOCRACY consistency is attained.

For the icing apply a very thick layer of anti-government ANARCHY leaving out regulations and laws.

The dish is a favorite of those special interests and the very wealthy…it is fashionably consumed by those who can’t get enough cake and not even leave the crumbs for others.

Serve bone cold accompanied with a good glass of VITRIOL CABERNET 1929; the after dinner conversation should be devoid of grammatically correct English and a celebration of ignorance, lies, superstition and the lack of knowledge in most important subjects is propitious. Ironically, there is no TEA in this recipe and not even a hint of the original Tea Revolt or its motivation.


CAUTION WARNING: This dish is not recommended for the consumption by real, patriotic Americans. Cases of severe indigestion and life-threatening diarrhea have been reported. We advise that you only look at it and as soon as nausea and vomiting appear, leave the dish at once.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

TEABAGGERS ARE MORONS

I am seriously questioning their intelligence

I had my doubts before and I have expressed my apprehension in giving so much power to people who have little or no sense and knowledge of history; geography is a mystery to them and so is economics. Hell, these people can’t even speak the English language correctly and when hard pressed to paint a protest sign they will even misspell it.

There is no logic or common sense why people would even be attracted to this Tea Bag movement. At first it was laughable, then it became the subject of all kinds of news and the media picked it up as an anomaly and exposing their insanity…but not for long…because their backers saw to it that the Teabaggers would get favorable coverage and this was the beginning of the end of the Republican Party.

How is it, what in the hell are these people thinking…or are they thinking? You see people on Social Security, people who are obviously up in years and could easily get a cold that turns into pneumonia and will not have the money to pay for medical expenses…yet they want to end Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. You see these Tea Baggers defending the corporations and the wealthy when they are poor, some of them dirt poor and what would they get in return? These Tea Baggers would become even poorer.

It is the same situation you see with some (very few) black Republicans or Gay Republicans…what are they thinking? What black person in their right mind would cast their ballot alongside those who want to return to the America of the 19th century with all the perks and privileges for the WASPS and all the discrimination for blacks…Latinos? They are in a similar boat. Gays? These are even more of an enigma because as far as I know, all the Republican-Teahadists intend to do with homosexuality is to criminalize it and to even make a Constitutional Amendment denying gays of the rights everyone else has.

I don’t know about you but I keep a copy of the Constitution on my desk. Have you read the Constitution? No, you probably haven’t because you can’t even spell the word; and because you dropped out of the 7th grade when they were teaching about it. You are just repeating the talking points that nice man who is organizing the protest told you. Did you ask him who pays him to do that? Is it Fox News; is it the Koch brothers, United Health Care, Bank of America, Exxon or is it Rush Limbaugh?

You tell us that we are not listening to you…that Washington is not listening to you. Listen you douche bags; people would listen if you had something to say. So far all we have seen is hateful misspelled signs, we have heard you shouting to disrupt public discourse; we have seen your cronies spread lies and tried to dehumanize and discredit the President of the United States and now you want our government to renege on paying its debts. Making our country a dead beat, a credit risk and placing us alongside those more unfortunate countries that are at best third rate powers. And you call yourselves patriots? Your behavior is appalling and your message abhorrent.

We have many good reasons, enough evidence to believe you are racists, xenophobic, homophobic and obstinate religious fundamentalists; I don’t see many Tea Baggers with doctorate degrees or even any credible scientists, economists, award winning journalists (legitimate journalists) lawyers or scholars…there are none!. Your rhetoric smacks of religious fanaticism and your ideology is one of a repugnant and odious anarchy.

No, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Public Education are nowhere to be found in the CONSTITUTION but neither is THE AIR FORCE and we have one. And yes, the Constitution has a 14th Amendment which makes it very clear that the debt of the United States shall not be questioned…even 7th graders know that…oh, sorry, I forgot, most of you Tea Party members never got that high in school.