Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to Health Care Reform: I'm Addicted

Last night, Aug. 20th, Jon Stewart had a lengthy interview with Betsy McCaughey, former Lt. Gov. of NY under George Pataki, 1995-1998. She is, apparently, not the originator of the term "death panels" but the originator of the concept which Sarah Palin to the dismay, hysteria or fanfare of Americans, depending on which side of the health care fence they are on.

She walked on the set of The Daily Show last night carrying, she said, one half of House Bill 3200, the oh-so-wildly debated health care reform bill. She was there to underline her position on why this bill is bad, constantly referring to a specific paragraph on pages 425-430, which she then spent the majority of the show trying to find and read to Jon Stewart. Besides being under prepared for the timing demands of the show (no pages bookmarked, no paragraphs highlighted), her interpretation of the excerpts she read aloud was contradictory to what I heard and what Jon Stewart had read and interpreted.

"Did you ever think of putting Post-It notes on the page?" Stewart inquired at one point.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Betsy McCaughey Pt. 1
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Political HumorHealthcare Protests

I don't know if this woman is genuinely confused or if she's part of the conspiracy to confuse the public but it's hard to believe she's a former Lt. Gov and sits on some medical board. Can you imagine this woman making any significant decisions for you, least of all medical decisions?

Below is the rest of the interview, done off-air.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 2
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Between her fuzzy math plan for debit card coverage and her resistance to having medical directive consultations with patients (something I think everyone needs to face) she came off as disingenuous and even a bit smarmy, perhaps thinking her charm would win the audience and/or Stewart over. I've read criticism he was not confrontational enough but I think he was balanced, funny and managed to pinpoint the absurdities and inaccuracies with great wit.


Star said...

Hello, I'm English, as you know, and I want to say here that our National Health Service is wonderful. I'm nearly 60 years old and I've never had any cause to complain about it whatsoever. I am hurt that the politicians in America are using our NHS to get at the other side. It is not fair. We have a wonderful health system and it is available to EVERYONE. It doesn't matter what may happen to you, you will be looked after. The real problem is that we are all living much too long and there isn't the money to go round. If you think about it logically, the system is a victim of its own success. Three cheers for our NHS,hooray, hooray, hooray. You must get it over there. How could you live with yourselves knowing that 47 million people don't have insurance at all! Don't you want to help them?
Blessings, Star

Tony C. said...

Let's Call Their Bluff.

I am prepared to accept any death panels in the final bill as long as the bill includes a real public option that provides clear competition to the for-profit insurance agencies.

Bring on the death panels!

lakeviewer said...

She was flippantly unprepared and cutsey. Jon kept asking for specifics, she kept turning to the audience with statements of opinion. No, she didn't come across as a credible source.

Baino said...

Cali how do I turn off your newscast. It starts up automatically when I get on the page so if I play the videos I have two lots of conversation going on?

Nancy said...

Coming from a human development background, I can say with absolute certainity, that we need to have advanced care directives! EVERYONE should have one! And she is absolutely WRONG in her opinion that everyone wants to be kept alive on a ventilator!

She's an idiot. And people like her are why our country is in freefall. They misinform, misinterpret, and miscommunicate.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Seems to me this is a civil rights and a social justice issue. What has happened to the ability to think critically? Why are so many people fighting for the rights of the insurance companies to make exorbitant profits and cruelly deny treatment or coverage as they see fit? It boggles my mind.

lettuce said...

its kicked off a whole new/repeat debate over here about the NHS.... and here, at least, those most critical of the NHS tend to be the ones who can afford not to rely on it.


California Girl said...

Star: I wonder why we don't see more interviews with people like you? I keep reading comments from readers outside the U.S. who are very happy with their government run health care. Yet, we hear more from people in the U.S. interpreting your health care. Michael Moore's "Sicko" went to other countries and interviewed recipients of health care in those countries.

Tony C: I am too.

lakeviewer: I'm watching it again right now with my husband. She does think she's cute. She also uses the tactic of accusing him of being so rich he can afford any health care. He responds in the affirmative that he doesn't mind being taxed to help pay for those who cannot.

Baino: I've watched this on other computers and the video is not automatic so I have to think your computer may have a control that allows videos to automatically play or not play. This is, unfortunately, beyond my expertise but perhaps another reader will know.

Nancy: Having lost my mother 12 years ago, my father 2 years ago and my father-in-law this year, I now have personal experience in this area. My parents had medical directives. My FIL did not. My brother and I knew exactly what they wanted and was needed, there was no red tape, no confusion on our parts. My husband had to go to court to get a guardianship, had to make decisions with input from family members, none of which he was comfortable with. It was nightmarish for him and he suffered emotionally. Yes, medical directives should be part of every health care plan.

Bonnie: I doubt they'll mandate this but I think they should mandate some type of directive to help the next of kin make informed decisions.

lettuce: That is interesting to hear. Are you in agreement with Star (comment above) about your healthcare system?

Deborah said...

You have a very balanced, rational view of this issue - as a Canadian I've been astonished by the vociferous opposition to this bill, and the pointing of fingers to the 'terrible' Canadian system. It's not perfect, for sure, and we have our share of horror stories and incorrect assumptions about the American system, but I would have thought that American public would accept the need for change. Maybe most do, and it's just that the squeaky wheels are getting the most airplay. In any case, it's unfortunate that there's some back-pedalling going on.

And by the way, thank you very much for your kind comments on my writing. I am not a professional at all, having only decided in mid-life that I would finally do what I've wanted to do for years, and write.

California Girl said...

Yes, I have wanted to be a writer since...well, I guess my twenties. Did not know it when I went to college. Really got into it after that but never had the courage to try to publish. Blogging is helping me fine tune my writing.

Tony C. said...

Bonnie, OAS:

It is civil rights, social justice, and simple humanist morality.

Insurance company executives get salaries, bonuses and perks that are directly correlated with the number of claims they can find a way to deny. This drives deceptive contracts and is a motivation for them to do what I have seen explicitly done in multiple cases; breach the contract and deny clearly covered claims on the good chance that the insured party will be too naive to file a lawsuit.

This wasn't the way it used to be back in the 60's and early 70's, but that is what the for profit insurance markets have evolved into, greed driven borderline criminal enterprises with executives that explicitly weigh their decisions against the expected average cost of lawsuits they would lose.

When I first started consulting in 1979, most executives were honorable and wouldn't simply breach contracts because they figure the counterparty is too small or too clueless to bring them to court. Now, at least in the insurance industry, such actions seem routine.

California Girl said...

Tony C is correct.

My husband became disable in 2007, unable to work for over two years. We applied for Long Term Disability, which he had through his work. They denied him three times. We hired a consultant who had worked in the industry, specifically for UNUM, and is now acting on behalf of claimants. She advised us of the industry practices, including bonus rewards for execs and underwriters who deny claims, etc. It's truly terrible. Some of the tv magazine shows have covered this over the years but not enough attention is consistently paid to these practices.

Meanwhile, we now have a lawyer and are persuing our case through the court system. While the insurance companies have salaried lawyers and time and money to resist, we are GOING FOR IT.

Coffee Messiah said...

Smoke and mirrors and no content, hence the shouting at the town halls.

And we're supposed to be a christian and civilized nation?

Oy vey ; (

Mary said...

Jon Stewart's interviews are always excellent. He asks questions to get clarity, not play "gotcha."

This woman resigned the next day from the Medical Corp. board of directors, perhaps by mutual agreement. Maybe they watch The Daily Show too.

Like many who are so vociferous against the health care overhaul, when it came right down to it, there was no "there" there.

California Girl said...

CM: you have pointed this out before and it is ironic, isn't it? I mean, the party of the religious right is so very un-Christian in their POV.

Mary: that is fascinating and I had not heard. I was so tired last week, I didn't stay up to watch Stewart. That is COOL! Thank you for letting us all know.


by Cole Scott