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The Pursuit of Life, Liberty, Happiness and Healthcare
by Leah Sellers
2008-12-28 11:05:59
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I was asked to write a letter to Senator Ogden (by one of his staff members) explaining my thoughts about Workman's Comp and healthcare in general, which did not use any 'fancy' metaphors (as he is a man who sees things in black and white). I thought I'd pass those thoughts (non-metaphorical, of course) onto Y'all - ha!

* * * *
What is the pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness, when American Citizens are denied our health and gradually drained of our material assets while seeking proper and expedient medical care? How do these events serve the “common good”?

Every citizen in our great state of Texas - in the great nation (struggling to be an ‘enlightened’ global leader) of the United States of America deserves (and has a right to) proper, timely and affordable healthcare.

Yes, every Citizen of the United States of America has a ‘right’ to healthcare. Why? Because to deny healthcare to any Citizen dilutes their abilities and potentialities - robs them of - undermines their very core rights regarding their 'pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness'.

The struggle I find myself involved in with the Workman’s Compensation system and the insurance companies, insurance lobbyists and insurance lawyers who have made it the dysfunctional entity (for the patients) it is today, is not one I would have chosen. In fact, I never thought much about the Workman’s Comp system at all, until my back, left hip and leg were seriously injured by one of my high school student’s during gym class almost two years ago.

Since then, instead of receiving proper and expedient medical care so that I can return to work and my active life, I have been greatly disillusioned and negatively impacted by my employers WC insurance company’s endless litany of delays, denials and litigious hearings in which I find myself having to argue for and justify every treatment and procedure ordered by my doctors.

The relationship between doctor and patient is no longer sacrosanct or productively meaningful within our present dysfunctional system.

Doctor’s have admitted to me that they are no longer able to diagnose. They can merely recommend. Insurance companies hire their own medical teams to decide who does or does not get the ‘recommended’ treatments, procedures and surgeries. The insurance company’s medical teams never meet the patient(s) in question. The patients are solely a paper chase. Of course, if, as in my case, for months the paper work is inaccurate and misleading the omniscient insurance medical teams can wind up making poor judgments and ‘bad calls’, which ultimately hurt the patient(s).

The longer a patient, is ‘delayed and denied’, the worse their physical condition and overall well being become. Physically, over time, other secondary problems develop as a result of the longevity of their original injury. Left to suffer in constant and persistent pain over a cruelly inhumane and extended period of time, the patient eventually becomes demoralized, further stressed and socially displaced by financial concerns (and/or ruin), and incrementally downtrodden and distressed by a system which legally forces them to have to nonsensically and illogically fight for their ethical and moral ‘right’ to proper and expedient medical care.

Healing systems need to be - have to be based on Benevolent and Just principles in order to function and serve humanity productively and effectively. I think Hippocrates would agree with this assertion. Human beings are not just commodities - not just carcasses to be vulturized and processed for profit. Patients are people. They are living, breathing sentient beings and Souls who deserve respect, humane dignity and Quality of Life. Who, in an Enlightened society, have the inherent right to be kept healthy - to be kept whole for the benefit of the Whole - the benefit and well being of All. We are as strong as our weakest link. So, why are we continuing a broken system that most folks can't afford and which deters healing practices due to financial considerations?

 If someone breaks their leg, why argue over, delay and deny care to that patient for 19 months to ‘take diagnostic pictures and perform tests’ set, cast and do whatever else the doctor (and his team) thinks necessary in order to heal the limb in question? To return Quality of Life and Work to the patient in question? What makes a back, hip and leg injury (such as mine) any different? Does a health care system that spends most of its energies, time and money engaging in this kind of illogical and nonsensical behavior accomplish its original task and goal toward safeguarding and aiding an injured employee - an injured citizen - an injured human being? Where is the Benevolent Healing, Humane Equality or Justice for All?

To complicate and exacerbate things even further, doctors tire of the copious amounts of paper work created by the Workman’s Compensation’s system, and begin to see their Workman’s Comp patients as nothing but trouble. The doctors want to help, but their hands are tied by the Workman’s Comp’s insurance company’s endless barrage of denials, delayed non-payments, and the time and paper work required by WC’s innumerable hearings arguing over the necessity of each procedure and treatment.

The doctors begin to balk against the recalcitrant insurance company at the expense of the patient. The real loser in this litigious game created by the WC’s insurance companies is the patient. When the doctors and the insurance companies walk away, the patient is still broken down - still ’damaged goods’.

Adding to this climate of unconscionable dysfunction is the WC’s claims adjustors, who are paid to and given bonuses for disallowing payments on as many treatments, procedures and surgeries as possible. My heart goes out to them. It must be uncomfortable to depend upon a job for your bread and butter, whose sole purpose is stalling, and ultimately stopping, patient care until the WC’s system can kiss their injured patients good-by. Out of sight, out of mind. They become someone else’s problem. But who hires cripples and what insurance company in its right mind covers cripples?

The insurance companies, under our present corporate, money-making mentality and authority, have become an impediment. Patients are denied proper and timely medical care because of ’the bottom line’. A ’bottom line’ - a price tag - which is far too inflated and overrated.

 Healthcare is a right - not a privilege. Without our health we cannot fully function as completely viable citizens. When we are ill or in pain, we are incomplete - fragmented energetic beings. Ethics aside, how financially responsible is it to keep someone sick - in pain - or broken down in the long term? What does that type of systematic attitude and action cost our Nation - our Society’s overall Health?

The Workman’s Compensation system - our overall national corporatized (through the monopolizing and highly paid insurance companies) Medical System needs Healing - needs resuscitation - needs restructuring - needs to be given the chance to function as a healthy entity. Healthcare needs to return to the vocation/occupation of healing, not financial wheeling and dealing. Costs need to be reasonably and fairly regulated.

Doctors, nurses and other medical staff members need to focus upon and help to build and structure a National Meritorious Healthcare System that financially rewards their effectiveness as Healers. A National Meritorious Healthcare System which holds the relationship between ‘Doctor and Patient’ sacrosanct and constructively meaningful. A Merit system to be determined by, and agreed upon, by doctors, their fellow medical workers and staff, an assigned regulatory system, and the populace of America as a whole. The keys to developing this system should be based upon constructive discussions and compromises while brainstorming diverse elements and ideologies of structural strategy, philosophy and healthcare practices from around the globe.

Taking the best ideas from healthcare systems globally to create the best medical care system for Patients (not the insurance companies, insurance lawyers, insurance lobbyists, etc...). Patients - Texans - Americans, whose Quality of Life depends upon and is maintained and protected by their Quality of Healthcare. A Healthcare entity which serves, protects and sustains the “common good”.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-12-28 15:56:06
Indeed, Senator Steve Ogden and his fellow Republicans and fellow oil speculators, those who believe in meritocracy and entitlements to privilege and wealth, have still to wrap their mind around the idea that inalienable rights are just that, integral part of being a human being, and as such they are not earned or merited and do not depend on the government or the flag one is born under. Those inalienable rights are mentioned in the US Constitution as part of the common good. Till that simple idea (unknown, to be sure, to the ancient Greeks and Romans despite their wonderful system of law, and only introduced in the Christian era with the idea of a common Father who cares about all his children) is grasped by Republicans the demise and dismantling of the Republican party will continue pari passu. Lincoln must be turning in his grave at the mind-set of his current fellow-Republicans.

Sand2008-12-28 17:15:20
According to the dictionary something inalienable is incapable of being transferred to something or someone else. It does not say anything about it being irreversible or not. All of my rights as a citizen of a state are guaranteed by human law and no other since there is no other than human systems for enforcing them.

Emanuel Paparella2008-12-28 19:26:35
That is too bad for you, obviously you need a powerful state to guarantee your rights which you do not conceive as inalienable and therefore that state that guarantees them can also take them away at any time, but be of good cheer, in fact inalienable rights also belong to atheists and agnostics since they are also human beings and therefore entitled to them. You may thank the Judeo-Christianity ethos for that.

Emanuel Paparella2008-12-28 19:28:12
Errata above: Christianity ought to be christian.

Jack2008-12-28 20:44:52

It seems that pursuing and acquiring are not the same thing. Life, Liberty are easier to establish than an etheral "happiness" which is highly subjective. The Worker's Comp is set up that you have a better chance being a trained poodle jumping thru various hoops than qualify for what the law right gives as required.

Behind it all, I believe, is red-tape obstacle courses that insurance companies/carriers set up as to discourage people from negotiating it. Many simply give up, others become so frustrated they don't even try.

I find again and again, the bottom line is the bottom dollar. The joke about politicans, fishermen and lawyers stands...you can tell they are lying. Just wait for their lips to move.

Sand2008-12-29 01:13:16
As usual, Paparella is fulminating in an attempt to deny the obvious. The Bush administration had no difficulty denying basic rights whatever the Judeo-Christian philosophies might dictate. If the rights are not maintained by enforced human law they disappear. You have to be immensely stupid to deny that.

Emanuel Paparella2008-12-29 03:39:16
Indeed one has to be mighty stupid to deny that the term "inalienable" means that one is born with those rights, they are granted by the Creator as part of human nature and, in principle at least, nobody ought to take them away. Of course the trouble with those atheists and agnostics who understand the meaning of inalienable but play dumb neverthless is the idea of a Creator of human nature. But as I said, it includes them whether they acknowledge it or not, and the state or institution that denies them or takes them away stands condemned by the same principle.

Sand2008-12-29 06:48:39
A social right exists as a functional mechanism of a social organization and requires social legal regulation and enforcement to exist. Legal mechanisms for defending granted rights operate through lawyers and courts which are totally human. When God can appear in court and testify that He operated as an official agent of government in providing and enforcing those rights then God can be considered as a realistic element in the process. Since this has never happened and the US separation of church and state expressly forbids it there is absolutely no basis for assuming social rights are directed by any but human sources.

Emanuel Paparella2008-12-29 14:18:45
And yet those "dumb" founding father, who had the wisdom to separate Chruch from State without abolishing either, do mention the term "inalienable" logically meaning that the state that they were founding was grounded on the idea that it too could not take away inalienable rights with impunity. Sorry to disappoint you Mr. S., but the United States of America, from its beginning, never was Hobbes' Leviathan set up for utilitarian purposes only. We have seen where Leviathans such as the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany did with those inalienable rights. They both had a wonderful system of law and lawyers aplenty and deluded people who misguidedly thought that the state's power would protect them. Come to think of it, there is still one such society today; it is miscalled the People's Republic of China which is neither a Republic nor of the people and condemns religion while proclaiming legal rights. It is the experiment of the godless society that continues. The fruits so far have not been very good.

Sand2008-12-29 15:32:43
The subject is not the authority of the founding fathers who can also speak exhilarating nonsense for political effect or any of the totalitarian governments that can be just as nonsensical as the Vatican to defend their excesses against criticism but the brute fact that a legal right exists only if it can be successfully defended in human law. There is nothing particularly mysterious about that.

Emanuel Paparella2008-12-29 16:02:01
There is indeed nothign mysterious in "might makes right" and assorted bullies in charge of empires have practiced throughout history, to hell with the legal system and human law.

Sand2008-12-29 16:04:18
You are trying to persuade me that a country's functioning legal system has no function?

Emanuel Paparella2008-12-29 16:28:26
The Nazis and the Bolsheviks had a functioning legal system too and it functioned to promote injustice and unfairness parading as justice and the good or the country. There are laws against torture in the US which did not prevent the bullies to violate them. So the concept of inalienable rights (in which logically atheists do not believe) condemns them as hypocrites even if they have the power to do what they wish to do. That is the sword that divides which Christ brought on earth and it still divides those in good faith and the hypocrites with a relativistic notion of truth. Neither Nazi nor Communist had an inkling of what "inalienable rights" might be.

Sand2008-12-29 17:17:38
If you have a non-functional legal system then the rights disappear. Whether you call those rights inalienable or not, if the legal system does not support them then they cease to exist. A right that is not enforced is not a right. I have yet to see Jesus and his righteous sword at Guantanamo preventing any torture.

Emanuel Paparella2008-12-29 22:41:12
Spoken like King Herod or Staling: where are your armies? I am afraid that for those who cannot see the novelty and sheer beauty of the concept of inalienable rights, "migh is right" is after all the only concept they are able to grasp. Pity.

Emanuel Paparella2008-12-29 22:42:56
Errata above: Stalin, might.

Emanuel Paparella2008-12-29 22:54:32
For example, encyclopedic documentation and information on slavery as practiced by imperialistic colonizing powers of the times, which paradoxically or perhaps hypocritically, also proclaimed Christian values and send missionaries together with their conquistadors to proclaim those values, is all well and good; one cannot discuss much of anything out of ignorance of the historical facts. However, what I remain interested in exploring is the ground upon which slavery was rationalized from the very beginning of human history and society for millennia, as well as the ground by which it was eventually abolished in the Western World after so many centuries of hideous practice. How does a metaphor such as that of the Exodus to which a Martin Luther King made appeal, fit into the concept?

AP2008-12-30 00:34:57
There were colonisers who proclaimed Christian values (not all) and also good Christians who acted as brutal colonisers (not all). I see no difference between those two variations.
And the institution sending the missionaries was of course the Holy See, the most powerful one of those times, which was above all States.

AP2008-12-30 00:39:17
You can see modern forms of slavery, of course. But if you diminish the implications of abolition, I can't really see where you're going - should we go back to old slavery times? Abolition meant nothing?

AP2008-12-30 00:44:39
ps - Don't ask ME how the metaphor of Exodus fits there, you're the Catholic here.

AP2008-12-30 00:46:39
What's the need/purpose of fitting it anyway? I don't understand. So many didn't.

AP2008-12-30 00:51:43
ps2 - It's funny that on certain occasions you call "encyclopedic documentation" to a given phenomenon and on others you simply call it "the product of a Renaissance man's mind". Of course, that expression could not be used in this case, but still...

Sand2008-12-30 04:48:27
It's very obvious, Paparella, you have no solid concept of what a functional exercisable right consists of. So you're not qualified to speak on the subject.

AP2008-12-30 05:36:05
ps3 - Have you read the Exodus, Mr. P.? If you have, maybe you could try to transcribe it and fit it into the concept? I would like to read that.

Emanuel Paparella2008-12-30 15:10:14
The exodus can be read as a simply encyclopedic historical fact or it can be read hermeneutically, the way a Martin Luther King read it, and then it becomes a paradigm of human liberation from slavery and oppression, and not only physical but also intellectual and spiritual. The problem today is that in the West there are more spiritual slaves than there are physical slaves.

AP2008-12-30 16:23:46
Sorry, I understood you were going to do it now.

Emanuel Paparella2008-12-31 20:35:05
Given that you and your sister are declared experts on the subject, I'd be interested in knowing a possible answer or speculation on this question: had there not been the metaphor of freedom from slavery that the Jewish Exodus puts forth, or that of inalienable rights issuing from a common Father which Christianity puts forth, where do you think we would now be vis a vis the institution of slavery which existed since the very beginning of civilization more than 10,000 years ago?

AP2008-12-31 21:01:01
Mr. P., first of all, I' not an expert, I just happen to know some facts about the topic, in part because I know some people who are experts and have followed their research. Second, beware: you are focusing on the role, I suppose, of the Baptist Churches in the U.S. and their connections with the civil rights movement. Those didn't serve, by the way, only to change the status quo, but also in some aspects to perpetuate it. But, most importantly, you should see and talk about the global picture, not presenting as an excuse "one cannot discuss much of anything out of ignorance of the historical facts" because the facts are accessible to anyone, so ignorance is reversible.

AP2008-12-31 21:24:31
Even if I would want to, I don't have the necessary knowledge to write about Exodus in connection with slavery/abolitionism. I propose that you develop your ideas more extensively by writing an article, and after that I'll be happy to discuss the contents of my article and yours, and compare the two. Right now I still don't have a precise idea of what you're talking about.

Emanuel Paparella2009-01-01 14:53:28
As a;ready pointed out, Ms. P., the idea of Exodus as a metaphor for the whole revolutionary civil rights movement and the completion of liberation from slavery and oppression in the US can easily be found in the writings of Martin Luther King. The journey leading to real equality and freedom was his dream partly redeemed by the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. He does justice to the subject, (as well as that of non-violent resistance to evil and injustice) much better than I could ever hope to do with an article for Ovi.

AP2009-01-03 06:57:35
I think you're enough qualified to write about it, that's why I asked. Don't resend me to King, I was talking about your own thoughts on the subject, as a philosopher. If you want to share them, of course.

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