09/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Senior Progressive On Health Care

Seniors are the closest to dying, the most frail, and the most vulnerable population in our society. Is it any wonder they are the population most opposed to Obama Care as it has emerged from the shadows? According to Politico:

A July 31 Gallup Poll found that just 20 percent of Americans aged 65 and older believe health care reform would improve their own situation, noticeably lower than the 27 percent of 18- to 49-year olds and 26 percent of 50-to-64-year-olds who say the same.

Americans still do not know the details of the final bill. We do know that the Obama administration has made private deals and secret promises to corporate health care stakeholders. The public recipients, the inheritors of Medicare, the people who have worked and paid into this program all their lives have not been invited to the White House. All they do know at this point is that 380 Billion will be taken from Medicare in what is being termed a "waste management" effort to trim costs.

They also know that in its assault on Medicare this White House -- the progressive Democratic one -- has echoed the sentiments of the neo-con Bush one.

I am a senior who recently buried her mother who was on Medicare.

My mother received abominable care in the hospital. They looked at her insurance and based on it they routed her to a back ward and to an inferior type of care.

My mother was 87, and when it was finally deduced that she had congestive heart failure -- after two weeks of a false diagnosis -- she was deemed too old for any sort of surgical intervention. She was sent home on hospice to die because without any sort of surgical intervention that was what was going to happen. My mother drowned in her own fluids within 6 weeks.

The former Mayor of New York City, Ed Koch, recently wrote:

Most alarming for people like me, who at 84 years of age recently needed a quadruple bypass and aortic valve replacement, are the pronouncements of President Obama's appointee, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who, according to a New York Post op ed article by Betsy McCauley, former Lt. Governor of the State of New York, stated, "Savings, he writes, will require changing how doctors think about their patients: Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, 'as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others' (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008)." He also stated, "...communitarianism' should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those 'who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens...An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.' (Hastings Center Report, Nov.-Dec. '96).

My God, is anybody listening? If seniors on premium plans funded by their expensive law offices, which Koch's is, are concerned, it is because health care past the age of 80 is literally about life and death. It is not a question of measles or the flu. And if we compare the case of Koch, 3 years older than my mother, we do not need more rationing and cost effective cutting of Medicare. We need to expand it. We need to improve it. We need to see to it that hospitals and doctors across the country do not provide sub-standard care because Medicare is rationed in ways that more expensive, private pay health care is not.

My mother could be alive today if she had Ed Koch's insurance plan.

So yes, when I see seniors railing at Congress people, outraged by the crass and soul-less behavior of their so-called representatives who in fact are more representative of
health care lobbying interests, I applaud them. And I join them in asking this one simple question: if your reform is so sound and so excellent, when will you give up your terrific private plan and join us on Medicare?

The whole idea is laughable, isn't it? And yet I remember during the campaign, Obama promised that Americans would have the same kind of healthcare as members of Congress.

The health care industry giants have bought and paid for Obama Care. Now they are lobbying for it with more money than the sum which bankrolled John Mcain's entire presidential campaign.

You better believe seniors are angry.

And if we are so concerned about ballooning Medicare costs. Let's get the hell out of Afghanistan. We can "win" there through education, health care and civilian efforts not military intervention. If we went to trim costs, ok. Let's deal with our out of control financial industry which is soaking up taxpayer money for billions in bonuses, buy outs and mergers.

There is nothing about this present health care effort that could be termed reform in the traditional meaning of that word

Obama care is a return of the same waste, mis-management, and many-tiered health system dependent upon how much you can pay that reined supreme before Medicare dared to show Americans there could be a better way.

I believe many others have said all of this far better than I have. But I know no one has shed more tears or felt more despair over the boondoggle being foisted on us by a Democratic President who has wrapped this health care give-away in the flag of reform.