Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Big (YAWN) Schauer Town Hall Meeting on Health Care

Let's see now--
We had a scheduled hour and a half program. Started 10 minutes late. Spent 20 minutes on introductions and opening remarks. Gave the Union Nurse, the AARP Rep, and the Consumer's Lady about 4 minutes each. So we got started about 2:42 leaving about 48 minutes for questions which were halted about 3:24 for a grand total of 42 minutes out of the 90 for questions. (A part of the opening remarks consisted of a power point presentation which were copies of parts of the hand-out given us as we entered.)

A good number of 7-10 were denied entrance to the building due to fire codes; there were 18 people in the hallway waiting for someone to leave so they could enter. Out of all the questions there were 3-4 which were not softballs tossed by supporters. This was a "random" pull your number out of a bowl but later found out that the general public waited 40 minutes for entry. When they were allowed in a good share of the seats were taken.

One of the early questions had to do with the donut hole in the prescription drug program. A friend of his who has MS was there and she indicated she takes 18 different medications and uses up the full amount of $2700 allowed before the donut hole in the first month. Then she has to pay $4000 before she gets to the other side. Of course this is a huge cost for her. However, what was not explained was that the other side of the hole is considered catastrophic and she only has to pay 5% of that number.

So if her monthly cost is $2700 the total cost for 12 months at that rate would be $32,400. So she pays $2700, plus $4000, which leaves $25,700. Now 5% of that is $1285 for a total of $7985 as the total cost to her of her prescriptions. So, yes, it's too bad she is ill, but I'm sure that there is help for her if she needs it. What bothers me is that Mr. Schauer didn't explain what closing the donut hole actually means. If she has co-pays throughout rather than the 5% area, I'm not sure exactly what her exact costs are or would be.

None of the questions listed on the blog yesterday were asked. One woman who lived in Canada and still has family there described the rationing and Mr. Schauer agreed that single payer is bad--he is not in favor of it. What he failed to say, however, is that it may not start that way, but it doesn't take long for folks to go with the public option and supply and demand shows that with more people in the plan and no more doctors added to the mix, good care will be hard to come by.

He also said when asked whether he and other government employees would be put on the same plan as the general public that we would have an opportunity to "choose" our insurance plan the same way he chooses his subsidized plan. He was heard to say on the radio the other day that we could all have the plan he does. A bit misleading to say the least.

Another question had to do with home care services for children. A bit lengthy and wordy to repeat. Suffice to say: read pages 1178-1196 in the bill. Schauer said it was for emergency problems having to do with birth problems. Apparently this is not true.

So there you have it--a complete waste of time, but at least we know that he hasn't changed. He said he gets his support from the people he meets and talks to in person and on the phone. If he counts his Town Hall phone calls, and I'm sure he does, we all know 77,000 people did not interact with him. He hasn't a clue.

As for the guest speakers, forget it. They were a farce and represented very few people.

Have a good rest of the weekend--
God bless............

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