Tales of an academic prole

Patrick D Hahn

Patrick D Hahn
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
June 07
I used to wash trucks for a living.


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AUGUST 10, 2009 10:45PM

They're as mad as heck and they're not gonna take it anymore

Rate: 18 Flag


 Tonight I went to the Towson University Center for the Arts, where Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland was holding a town meeting on the subject of health care reform. Don’t ask me what the Hell happened at the meeting, because the didn’t let me or about 1,000 other people waiting outside in. I can tell you what happened outside.

no admittance

I got there just before 6:00 PM. It was still pleasantly warm outside. The crowd seemed mostly amiable, not at all like the angry mobs I have seen on YouTube.

I walked past the Larouchians holding up pictures of Obama with a Hitler mustache, past folks carrying “Don’t tread on me” flags, past a sign proclaiming: OBAMACARE: SICK? CALL 1-800-SUICIDE FOR YOUR PAINKILLER and another one demanding NO GOVT. DEATHCARE.


  argumentum ad hitlerum

don't tread on me

I crossed the street and struck a up conversation with an ordinary Joe, a gentleman in his late seventies, holding a sign demanding NO OBAMA DEATH CARE. (In fairness, I suppose I mention that Joe is a veteran of our nation’s armed forces, and I am not.) “Socialized medicine will take this country down the tubes,” he warned me. I asked him who paid for his health care. “Medicare,” he replied.

I queried him about the message on his sign. He explained that he had heard on both Hannity and Limbaugh that under Obama’s health care plan, every five years senior citizens would be required to go before a government panel to justify their continued existence. If they couldn’t, the government would withhold life-sustaining treatment, effectively condemning them to death.

I spoke to another fellow with iron-gray hair, tanned and fit, standing next to an expensive mountain bike, holding up a sign that displayed the single word OBAMACARE beneath a skull and crossed bones. “What brings you here?” “I’m a conservative,” he replied. Asked what the message on his sign meant, he shot back, “Oh, I think you know what it means.” Asked what he didn’t like about Obama’s health care plan, he snapped, “There’s a lot of things I don’t like about it.”

I decided to move on.

I encountered two young women handing out leaflets listing average wait times for treatment by a specialist in Canada. I asked them what they didn’t like about Obama’s health care plan. “The wait times,” they explained.

“I’ll tell you what I don’t like about it,” a burly bald fellow with a mustache interjected. “I don’t like the euthanasia provision.”

I walked up the hill towards the Arts Center, which had been cordoned off by the police, and I spoke to another gray-haired fellow who claimed to be 75, although he could have passed for twenty years younger than that. He held a sign that said, NO COMMIE RAT BUREAURAT HAS THE RIGHT TO SEND A DEATH SQUAD FOR ME. He explained Obama’s health care plan would mean that “At age 75 some bureau-rat – some commie rat – will tell you you can’t afford hip replacement, can’t even afford painkillers, just go take some aspirin, because some illegal immigrant has had a passel of kids and we need to pay for them.”

The shadows were lengthening, and I decided to go home. As I walked back down the hill, I saw that across the street, one of the protesters, an elderly woman, had collapsed. Our Socialized Police Department stopped traffic, and our Socialized Fire Department sent an ambulance to the scene. The crew expertly bundled her into the back, but she emerged, just a few minutes later, shaken but otherwise seemingly none the worse for the wear. A middle-aged woman, presumably her daughter, arrived in a gray minivan to pick her up, and they drove off.

socialized medicine

  socialized medicine

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The irony is, I don't much care for the way Obama's health care plan is shaping up, either.
Well, there is that euthanasia provision. . .

Thumb for braving the madness.
A good kook at the paranoia within the madness. rAted!
A good kook? Was that a freudian slip, Mr.Mustard?

Thanks for your comments.
I guess my freudian is showing. That's what I get for typing in the dark.
Thanks for the report from the front lines Patrick. I'll be going to several of these events myself and it's nice to get a sense of what's going on from a first hand witness.

So Sinner, what about those of us who have jobs but no insurance?
"Our Socialized Police Department stopped traffic, and our Socialized Fire Department sent an ambulance to the scene."

They just don't get it.....

Rated for bravery
Blue Roses the First
To poorsinner:

I have four jobs. None of them provide health insurance.

Thanks to everybody for your comments.
To poorsinner:

I have four jobs. None of them provides health insurance.

Thanks to everyone for you comments.
Rolling: whts argumentum ad hitlerum!
Patrick: “Oh, I think you know what it means.”

I still dont understand your issues with health care. maybe you could explain to me why tht guy says "because some illegal immigrant has had a passel of kids and we need to pay for them." in a PM? if it isnt too much work, m curious as it is all over this place.

here, if you are ill, you take money out of your bank and go see a doctor. the govt is not responsible except for the poor, for tht they have the free OPD in govt run hospitals, if you go there you are sure to die of infection
Sinner, what you're not getting is this: your company plan is more expensive, and your taxes higher, in order to provide care in inefficient ways for the people who don't have coverage. It costs $10 to treat someone for the flu at an emergency room for every $1 it would cost to have them go to a primary care physician.
What poorsinner doesn't get is that I'm subsidizing his employer-based health insurance, because he gets to deduct the cost from his income.

Thanks to everyone for your comments.
Rolling wrote:

"maybe you could explain to me why tht guy says "because some illegal immigrant has had a passel of kids and we need to pay for them." in a PM? if it isnt too much work, m curious as it is all over this place."

I was hoping you could explain it to me. :-)
Patrick, y9u say you have 4 jobs and no health insurance. I would like to ask a few questions. You don't have to answer them if you believe they are too personal. I am just trying to get a feel for why some people don't have insurance.

How old are you?
Why do you have 4 jobs?
What is your educational background?
What choices have you made to be in the position taht your are at this time?
To blackflon:

I am 48 years old. I have a PhD from one of America's top research universities. I am an adjunct professor, which means I do the work of two professors, for half the salary of one.

Most of my adult life I had no health insurance. A couple of years ago I purchased at my own expense a policy with a $10,000 deductible (not a typo).
Oh Patrick I'm sorry. Blackflon, as someone in academia, I can vouch for him. He's telling the truth. He's teaching courses as an adjunct and not considered to have a full or even part time job that would qualify for benefits. The custodial staff (civil service) has better benefits than he does. It's just wrong. Adjuncts have long needed a union. Years ago I had one of those huge deductible accounts as a secondary precautionary account. It was expensive and was with a triple A rated insurance company. They canceled my policy because they quit selling insurance in the state of WA, and left me with nothing. No insurance and certainly not anything for the years I had paid them.

And these folks at these town halls-- whether duped by special interests or just hysterical because they don't understand a complex solution to a complex problem-- have to either be educated or stopped. This is just not right.

The elderly are particularly prone to misunderstanding this effort by Obama for a myriad of reasons.

I'm also thinking that these protests are bordering on "hate" speech, which isn't protected.

Something has to be done.
To blackflon:

If employer-based health insurance was my number one goal in life, I could figure out a way to get it. The public schools would take me on in a heartbeat. Or, I could take the civil service exam and get a job shuffling papers, or Hell, become a prison guard. All honorable choices, but none of these are careers I feel called to do, so I don’t. Guess I’m just not interested in living a life governed by fear.

I have to tell you, health insurance isn’t even my main issue. My main issue is medical hubris and overmedicalization. I teach biology and so many of my students want to be physicians and nurses and other types of health professionals, and of course I want to see them do well, but I began looking into these issues a couple of years ago and it’s been like finding out the emperor has no clothes. Most people would be blown away if they had any idea how much harm and how little good is done by the medical profession.

And once you realize that, and you realize that 58% of health care costs in this country are underwritten by the taxpayers, (on a per capita basis, that more than TOTAL spending on health care in all but three other nations) the obvious corollary is that we could indemnify everybody in the country, and save hundreds of billions, if we stopped performing interventions which have not been shown to do any good, or which HAVE been shown NOT to do any good.

This is the main theme of my writing here. You are cordially invited to scan my posts.
From the look of things, hate speech is just fine in the U.S.

How to get thru to these idiots? Actually, it's kind of a pity there isn't a mandatory euthanasia clause in the bill...
To denese:

Remember, freedom of speech means nothing unless it means freedom of speech for opinions you don't like. Everybody is in favor of freedom of speech for opinions they agree with.
To myriad:

Take a deep breath. I refer you to my previous comment.

Thanks to everybody for your comments.
You're exactly right, but shame on those people who are putting these dimwitted folks up to this. And Obama with a mustache like Hitler ...? I just don't know Patrick. It seems like something should be done about that. Of course, I'm one to think that anything Nazi isn't protected.
" "maybe you could explain to me why tht guy says "because some illegal immigrant has had a passel of kids and we need to pay for them." in a PM? if it isnt too much work, m curious as it is all over this place."

I was hoping you could explain it to me. :-) "

I'll explain it. It's not ok to say you hate Latinos because you're a racist, but it's ok to say that Latinos overburden the healthcare system, or, as one of my favorite bloggers said the other day, got subprime loans for houses they couldn't afford and caused the economy to crash, or maybe you don't like the way they send their half-dozen kids to the public schools at your expense. Just remember, "illegal immigrant" or better yet, "illegal Mexican," is code for all those scary Latinos breeding like rabbits, taking your job and going on welfare at the same time, refusing to learn English and forcing you to learn to pronounce Spanish names like Sirenita (see-ray-Nee-ta).

I'm so tired.
See-Ray - you are So funny. We've got to do lunch.

We've not met, but I like what I've read. Truly journalistic, with a little humor/human quality. Very good.

And I totally agree with your personal view: I'm not so damn sure about the healthcare "plan" either, but I want to be able to ask questions, offer suggestions, think about it, vote on it.

And I'm Very unhappy about the White House's alleged (according to former Sec'y Reich) deal with the devil, i.e., Big Pharma.

But to get back to your central, I think, point:

The Irony, oh, the Irony!!!

To Connie Mack:

In my last post, I wrote about how Obama's plan represents a colossal giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry:


Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting.
If you are paying close attention to theobjections being raised, you will qickly discover that the resistance to propsed changes in health care or anything else is couched in something other than policy differences and variations.....
You have a lot of patience, my friend. I don't know if I could have walked through that crowd and maintained my sanity.

Rated for tenacity!
Well done, Patrick. I'm curious if you bothered to correct the misinformation in your meanderings. Like, when people mentioned the death panels, did you say that in fact those are not in the bills, that they are screaming falsehoods stemming from the end-of-life coverage that would in fact be a godsend to many? I recently did some interviews for a study here in Ohio and wasn't allowed to inform my subjects even if they got it wrong. The restraint required was near impossible for me.

As an aside, I'm not sure the public schools would take you in a heartbeat. It's a little beef I have--that most public districts require certification/licensure even if the person is academically tops in the subject.
To Lainey:

Did I correct their falsehoods? Absolutely not. I was there to find out what THEY believed.

I don't know where you're from, but I know for a fact that in Maryland the public schools would be happy to take me on. But, I'm just not interested in living a life governed by fear. As someone once said, security is an illusion.

Thanks to everybody for your comments.
"I was hoping you could explain it to me. :-)"

me? nope. reread the part. why shd he be paying for illegal immigrants and how? our system is different. we dont have social security or healthcare. we spend our own money.
To Rolling:

For decades now our government has basically been turning a blind eye to illegal immigration (although they still won't me bring my wife over here -- but that's a topic for another post). But I don't see that as especially relevant to the health care debate.

58% of health care costs in this country are borne directly by the taxpayers. On a per capita basis, that's more than TOTAL spending on health care in all but three other countries.

Also, a point I have hammered away at repeatedly here: we are an INSANELY overmedicated nation. If we would switch to a single-payer system based on evidence, we could indemnify everybody in the country and save hundreds of billions.

But people like these protesters don't want to hear any of this. They don't seem to believe in anything besides the uninterrupted flow of taxpayer-funded medical interventions to themselves, via our nation's socialized healthcare system for the elderly, while all the while railing about the evils of "socialized medicine" and screaming "euthanasia" at anyone who proposes introducing a modicum of fiscal sanity to the system. And of course, without ever bothering to ask whether all this relentless medicating is even doing them any net good.

For more information, see my latest post.
We could kick every illegal immigrant out of the country, and it still wouldn't make a difference in regard to Medicare -- we don't have an infinite amount of money to spend on health care for the elderly or anyone else, and so we're not going to fund every intervention every one asks for. And there's the real problem -- these people don't want to be told there's ANY limits.
I pay out the whazoo for health care. I have never been sick nor hospitalized. I am now on a fixed income, but my BCBS certainly has not remained fixed. So, according to these people I should lose my home, go on medicare/medicaid and lost my home and any savings or inheritance I may receive.

Why does everyone keep comparing the health care plan to Canada and England? I lived in Switzerland and I would live with that health care plan in a heartbeat!
God help the ignorant. If you tell a lie long and loud enough it will be perceived as the truth.
To middleagedwomanblogging:

Every country in the developed world has a better health care system than we do. Our health care system is almost literally off the charts due to its combination of high costs and crappy outcomes.

Thanks to everybody for you comments.