Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Your tax dollars (not) at work, v. 65.

"For want of a dentist," a little boy is dead.

Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

If Medicaid dentists weren't so hard to find.

If his mother hadn't been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.

By the time Deamonte's own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George's County boy died. Deamonte's death and the ultimate cost of his care, which could total more than $250,000, underscore an often-overlooked concern in the debate over universal health coverage: dental care.

This should not happen in this country. This should not be allowed to happen in the United States of America. Read the rest of this article, and feel shame. And get angry. And then get busy.

(Thanks to Crooks & Liars for the head's up.)


Comrade Kevin said...

What we need is the standard baseline coverage that Canada and the UK have.

Their systems are not perfect, but aside from raising taxes, I don't know how we'd pay for such an undertaking.

I took a look at my last paycheck. I pay 30% of my total income in taxes. And I make less than $30,000 a year. That's a light tax burden compared to the rest of the world.

Health costs have skyrocked because no one's been watching the store. It's the health care industry and their foolishness that have put us in this situation. Why not tax them!

QuakerDave said...

- Withdraw all the troops from Iraq over the next three months. End the war there. Start negotiating a long-term solution to the issues in that part of the world. Yes, talk to the bad guys. And stop flushing those tax dollars down the toilet.

- Repeal Bush's tax cuts for those making over $125,000 a year. Put that money into health care.

- Slap a five dollar flat federal tax on cigarettes and on alcohol purchases. Put that money into health care.

- Change the system in Washington that allows outfits like Big Pharma and the insurance industry to BRIBE our lawmakers into passing the laws THEY want.

- Institute a single-payer health care system that supplies, as you said, a baseline standard of coverage, INCLUDING dental and vision care, which are especially important for kids.

For starters.

QuakerDave said...

Oh, and while we're at it, since gun violence is one of the leading causes of death amongst young people, I would do what Chris Rock sort of suggested: tax the heck out of BULLETS.

msliberty said...

Taxing bullets! I love it!

I am just so sad for my country when I hear about these things.

Comrade Kevin said...

I pay attention to British politics and the current political football on that side of the pond is over NHS cutbacks.

Labour claims that it sped patients through the NHS much more efficiently. and the Tories claim that Labour reduced the number of beds.

I can see the same sort of arguments between Republicans and Democrats over here.

I see Democrats as being more receptive towards universal health care, but the current issue we face is, as always, where's the money coming from?

Most people who can afford it in Britain would much rather pay for private care. You are treated sooner and more efficiently.

This goes for Canada as well.

We are moving more towards a socialistic state out of necessity, but clearly we need to find a way to pay for it. I hope whomever is in power in 2008 has a better scheme than the UK and Canada.

WayneDawg said...

Why don't we just go ahead and let the government take all our money and let them spread it out as they see fit.

This way the folks in Washington can appropriate the necessary health care, housing, vehicle allowance, utility needs, grocery grants and maybe some entertainment funds for the entire citizenry.

Why not just go ahead and give them control of the whole aspect of our daily lives? Thats where were headed anyway; why not just expedite the inevitable?

Why stop at a 30% tax rate CK? Why not 100% and make it a true burden as opposed as a light burden?

We should live in a society where
government forcefully takes what is yours to serve the purpose of someone else.

This way, we will all be equal! The burger flipper will have just as much as the brain surgeon. The janitor will have just as much as the CEO of Microsoft.

Then, then it will be the perfect place to live!

QuakerDave said...

Umm, no, I didn't say that, but I'm not surprised at that response. I never said anything about vehicle allowances or entertainment allowances. This is about health care.

I just happen to believe that health care should be a right and not seen as being a privilege which is affordable only to the upper class. We need to change this. If we are truly "pro-life," we should first be concerned with the life and health of living, breathing persons. EVERY PERSON in this country should have access to the same quality of health care given to members of Congress and lobbyists. Period.

elle said...

it's also hard to get good behavioral/mental health care w/Medicaid, too.

and wayne, way to reiterate the whole "health care for all is the most socialist thing evar!" argument without once addressing the really shameful issues behind this country's pitiful system of social provision--the suffering of people like this precious child.

too bad he was born into a "poor" family--that's just the beaks, huh?

QuakerDave said...

I'm sure Barbie and Jenna have no trouble getting an appointment with a dentist...

Sarah said...

Conservative philosophy: Every child is sacred until birth. The government should force every woman by law to carry that sacred "child."

After birth, we could give a damn about you. If you are poor and lack health insurance, it's your own damn fault. If you die, oh well, not our problem!

It's no wonder that all those "socialist" countries in Europe rank highest in their standards of living. Who knew tax money could actually be used well?

Gee, what WOULD Jesus do in this situation? Pick the greedy over the needy? Or did I miss that part in the Bible where the whole conservative platform was lined out?

Sarah said...

By the way, if we are talking about the shame of a "godless" society, let's talk about the shame of a society that worships money over people.

elle said...

um, "beaks" should've been "breaks"

and i didn't mean to use "also" and "too" in the same sentence :-)

QuakerDave said...

I blog off the clock. The only spelling and grammar I check or judge here will be my own.

WayneDawg said...

Sarah - My point is that the government should not be the teat for the people to suckle on.

But you are right about one thing.....Christians, not the government should be the ones helping out here.

Did she seek out the local church for help? If she would have come to my church we would have been there for her as we are hundreds of people each year. That's what Christians do (are supposed to do anyway).

SadButTrue said...

Tax and spend are not bad ideas if what you spend the money on is worthwhile. Having the government tax money from everyone into a vast pool can result in significant savings. Its called 'economy of scale.'

Why do economic conservatives not see that collectivisation in and of itself is not evil? Isn't the pooling of wealth to achieve economy of scale the very reason behind the concept of the corporation? But somehow the blind eye gets turned towards the similarities - agribusiness is automatically deemed better than a farmers' co-op. And what then is the difference in corporate collectives? That only a very few of the participants benefit, and the rest lose - the customers, the employees, even the stockholders sacrifice to the greed of the CEOs.

It has been said that a society's state of civilization can best be judged by the way it treats those least well off. By this yardstick the U.S.A. hovers somewhere between barbarism and savagery.

It's Me, Maven... said...

Just wanted to pop in and say I read, even if I don't comment, Dave.

And to be honest, Sarah's comments rock... and ROCK HARD... I find very little, if anything, to add to her POV.