November 18, 2009

Media Whores, Politicians...and Goats

Late last week I got an email from Mary Jones. If you don't know who Mary Jones is, I certainly can't help you because I have no clue who the woman is either. But I opened it because of the subject line - Pelosi healthcare bill - what the mainstream media is not telling. And, well, I half expected to find, instead, horny Ukrainian temptresses blowing goats or man-on-man fisting action. And who doesn't love gay fisting over coffee in the morning? I was surprised when a) there was no goat-blowing, porn of any kind or text that began I am a pretty inosent girrl from Indonezia looking for mail companionship and b) after reading the terrifyingly worded text, the back up information provided was actually pretty compelling. Here's what the text of the email said.

Please read this: One of the many things a lot of people don't know is that if this bill is passed, you will not be able to opt out of healthcare or make your own choices. Failure to obtain what is deemed by the government as "acceptable" coverage will result in steep fines and jail time. Freedom of choice will be a thing of the past. Where in the Constitution does it say the government can either force you to enter into a contract or prevent you from entering into a legal contract?

Think about it...this has never happened before.

A few things are clear. Mary Jones will never score a book deal for her devastatingly beautiful prose. She'd have been better off writing "We're fucked. Here's a link describing the fucking!" Mary Jones also subscribes to the point of view that the mainstream media is run by some liberal cabal.

I've talked about the media a lot in the past. And through writing out my thoughts and listening to your feedback, I've come to the conclusion that the media isn't out to change our minds politically or brainwash us into some Orwellian fog of compliance. I think there are definitely some outlets that are more biased than others. Fox leans to the right. We know this. MSNBC leans just as strongly the opposite way. We know this too. CNN just leans which ever way Larry King's suspenders pull it. So, fine, some have an agenda but I'm not cynical enough to think that the mainstream media is actually trying to brainwash us or change our minds. No, they're just out to make a buck. And they'll pretty much whore themselves to the highest bidder for the almighty dollar.

Of course politicians are the same way. And it's the politicians who've come up with the most recent set of healthcare reform bills being shouted about now.

As to the validity of the claims in the email - the health-focused ones - I'm not an expert nor have I spent a hell of a lot of my bountiful free time reading proposed federal legislation. That's about as much fun as blowing a goat (so I'd assume). I will say that other types of insurance are mandatory. You have to have insurance before you get behind the wheel of a car or jump on a motorcycle. You can't operate a bank without insurance. You can't operate on someone without insurance. So, should you be able to exist in this country without insurance? Sure. Because it seems slightly creepy for the government to mandate such a thing. But if you've made the decision to be uninsured, in no way should I be forced to pay a penny of your medical bills or increased insurance or provider costs.

Mia's recent trip to the hospital taught me something. The system isn't hopelessly broken. Yes, it needs to be better. And yes it needs to stop ignore the ones who need the system the most. But Mia had excellent people making her well in a world-class facility. She emerged healthy with an arm-load of prescriptions. And we paid $150.

What say you? Does the media have an agenda or are they just whores? And should there be an insurance requirement?

Posted by Chris at November 18, 2009 6:58 AM

I'm going with they are just whores. I do believe there should be an insurance requirement only because, as you stated, we are paying for those uninsured anyway.

Of course none of my immediate family will speak to me because they disagree with me. It will be a quite Thanksgiving at least...

Posted by: daisy at November 18, 2009 8:16 AM

Yup, the media is filled with whores. They go where the money trail leads, and if it requires sensationalizing an otherwise unremarkable story, or scaring the bejesus out of people to follow said trail, they will.

Should insurance be required? Definitely. If there is an option available that you can afford and you choose not to take it, I shouldn't be required to pick up the tab, which is what happens now. I think "affordable" is the sticking point to my statement though!

Posted by: Elizabeth at November 18, 2009 8:31 AM

I think they have an agenda AND they're whores. It wouldn't surprise me all that much to meet some of the more radical show hosts and find out that they're very moderate in their views off the camera. In my view, the news media keeps leaning more and more toward entertainment pointed at people who are willing to drink whatever kool-aid is served them and farther away from anything resembling fact-based reporting.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at November 18, 2009 8:53 AM

Please don't confuse the media with media whores.
Tom Brokaw and Larry King are media.
Richard Simmons and Sarah Palin are a media whores.
E-mail is media (but a p!ss poor one).
People with an agenda who send crap through e-mail are media whores.

Appreciate it, thanks!
Member of the media, but not a media whore

Posted by: Roses at November 18, 2009 8:55 AM

I'm guessing "man-on-man fisting action" is not a boxing match.

I have many doubts that this healthcare thing will make it through. Not that my opinion matters one iota to those in D.C. It's taken too long and too many hands are in the pot.

Posted by: Knot at November 18, 2009 9:12 AM

That "fines and jail time" bullshit is the stupidest line I've heard come out of this. Well. One of the stupidest. If you don't buy private insurance and you don't buy one of the public options available in the stupid exchange, you are fined. With a tax. (if we had true universal health care, this wouldn't even be an issue. The "requirement" to have insurance wouldn't be one, because you'd be born just having it, because you live here. If "you" [the vague, collective you] are going to bitch and moan about how unhealthy we are, help us be able to remain healthy first. It will cut costs.).

Here's the catch. I'm going to put it in a separate line so it stands out, because it's ~ground-breaking legislation~

If you don't pay your taxes (and get caught), you go to jail!

Wow! That's never been a law before.


Posted by: Sparkle Pants at November 18, 2009 10:22 AM

As someone who has chosen in the past to remain uninsured because paying my medical bills in full was actually cheaper than paying for insurance, I am against the federal mandate.
Yes, you have to have auto insurance. But only if you want to drive. And you only have to have enough to cover the OTHER PEOPLE you are putting in danger every time you choose to get behind the wheel. FDIC and doctor insurance are the same - they are choice based, and intended to prevent you from harming OTHER PEOPLE with your endeavors.
I can't agree with a law that mandates people to pay for health insurance when the only choice they are making is to be alive.

Posted by: Amy at November 18, 2009 10:34 AM

i'm laughing because anyone googling blowing goats is going to find your post.

and it sounds like you are lucky enough to still have "co-pays" instead of "co-insurance". we always have to pay what feels like an arbitrarily determined percentage of everything. enjoy yours for as long as you have it...

my father was a small-town weekly paper editor for years. i know too well the politics that naturally infiltrates even the most well-meaning publications. but then also money is king in the industry. it has to be. so i think the media is both a whore AND bowing to the agendas of whoever pays the bills. unfortunately. luckily, we are intelligent enough and have enough common sense to hopefully see through what we need to.

as for insurance, i don't know the answer to your question. it seems we've started the insurance snowball and we won't be able to stop until every aspect of our lives has some kind of mandatory insurance requirement. ok, i obviously need more coffe...

Posted by: kati at November 18, 2009 10:55 AM

I think the demise of the news media as a serious industry started when cable news went 24 hours. That is a lot of time to fill. Think about what you'd do if you had to blog 24 hours a day. Eventually you'd start making shit up, you'd have to! No one is that interesting (not even you, Cactus).

When the news had an hour a day to bring us what we needed to know, I think they picked and chose the really meaty stuff, and we were either woefully uninformed or blissfully ignorant (you pick).

As for insurance, I'm hopelessly liberal. I think we should have to have insurance. Because there is no way we can mandate the insurance companies/health care system not to charge us for every single mother who brings her kid into the emergency room for an ear ache. If the government tries to control the ins cos it's socialism. If they try to mandate everyone carry insurance it's fascism. I don't know. Everyone isn't going to be happy, and I think we need to see the bigger picture, and the people like Mary Jones are just going to have to take a Xanax and get to the back of the bus.

Posted by: Candy at November 18, 2009 11:22 AM

Wow, Mia was in the hospital how many days and you only paid 150 bucks? Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we've discovered Chris' secret: he's really a US Senator! With the only decent health insurance in the country! (Either that or ya'll have a nice bill heading your way in 6-8 weeks).

Posted by: Erin at November 18, 2009 11:26 AM

I say you have awesome health insurance, and therefore the system isn't broken for *you.*

Millions of children in America don't go to the doctor or hospital when they are sick, because the system doesn't treat all children equally. Some parents have to worry about overwhelming medical bills for an emergency room visit, so they take a chance an hope their kid gets better. What did those kids do to deserve that?

Posted by: Laura at November 18, 2009 11:28 AM

I think the media's only agenda is to get more attention as fast as possible. However they do this is up to them.

I understand the need for everyone to have insurance. But if they're going to force us all to spend our money, they'd better be rid of things like preexisting conditions and make it a hell of a lot more user friendly. Because I know shit about it. What I do know is if people are forced to pay for something, and it won't even help them, they're probably going to be pretty mad.

Posted by: caleal at November 18, 2009 3:33 PM

I am strongly against many aspects of the health insurance bill for many reasons, and the government taxing me for breathing is one of them. The insurance examples you gave were choices, being alive is not a choice (unless you suggest those who refuse government-controlled healthcare should simply choose not to live). You are right, you or anyone else should not have to pay for my treatment but me. However, you can't have it both ways. You can't say you want universal healthcare, and be willing to take on those taxes (or pass them to Mia and Owen) but then say you are not willing to pay for the uninsured. A large percentage of the phoney statistics include people who willingly go without coverage. If you support this bill, you need to take the whole thing, not just pick and choose the parts you like. Remember, you are opening the door a crack for government control and the next president may be someone you don't want to have given that power to. This is not just about healthcare, it is about how much you want the government in your life. That is all.

Posted by: Tess at November 18, 2009 3:45 PM

Overall, I believe the media has an agenda - I mean look at things like the Today show - started out as news, now is an entertainment program (I'm not hating on the Today show, my day doesn't begin without a little Matt Lauer!). I agree with the poster above that there is a difference between the media and media whores - whooo boy, what's her name Miss California anyone?

As for insurance, I thank my lucky stars that I have decent insurance - I had to have surgery at the end of the summer (for which I'm still receiving bills - including one for 89 cents which just killed me to write a check for!). It cost me a pretty penny out of pocket, but I can't even imagine what it would have set me back without the insurance. I get myself in trouble because I don't have a problem with a socialist healthcare system similar to the UK or Canada (I know it isn't perfect, but it's a heck of a lot better than what we have now...). Here's to universal healthcare!

Posted by: Melissa at November 18, 2009 5:22 PM

That's the one point I can't get over. Requirement of people to be a part of it or pay a fine. That seems destined to fail. Bad P.R. too. Poor family, down on their luck, fined by the government for not having insurance. It's too stupid to work. If you can find them to fine them, you can find them to sign them up. Either way, you'll be asking for money they don't have.

Posted by: Brad at November 18, 2009 6:05 PM

Like you, I haven't really read a ton about the whole health insurance specifics but I always think to myself, well *I* have government run insurance (via military) and it's awesome.

I have also spent time working in an emergency room where a large portion of patients couldn't pay or had medicaid - and they were coming in for things such as ear infections and sore throats (most common ER diagnoses: pharyngitis and otitis media). A lot of people with no insurance/medicaid were coming to the ER for SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE (Seriously, I actually had to fill out a form once: "Patient states "pecker hurts").

People are griping about the government getting involved but I can't help but think of all the money that is somehow getting funneled from taxes to help pay for these uninsured patients to be seen because they couldn't be bothered to roll on a condom.


We need insurance. We need a functional insurance system. We need doctors and nurses and health care systems that are getting paid fairly so that they continue to provide good care to our loved ones and each of us.

How do we do that? Hell if I know.

(That wasn't the question, was it? HAAAAAAAAA)

Posted by: sarah at November 18, 2009 8:30 PM

Won't be able to opt out? I find it hard to believe the bill would have missed that. In Canada (where I live), recognised groups like the Amish don't opt in. As you rightly pointed out, there is already a lot of government-mandated insurance. Besides, this is about your health! Why wouldn't you want to insure your health? (Unless you live in such a way that you take care of it financially otherwise, like the aforementioned Amish.)

Do the people objecting to this opt out of paying taxes towards pubic education and maintenance of public spaces like parks? I have to wonder.

Posted by: Kat at November 18, 2009 8:31 PM

I dont think media outlets are having meetings about how they can help politicians win elections (snicker) but I do know somewhere "journalism" has taken a back seat to "opinionism" (I'm looking at you Keith Oberman). But at the end of the day, your outlets future is based on ratings, and you dont get ratings by reporting that "everything is fine." If media has any agenda, it's to make $$ first, ask probing questions later. Does that make them whores? We'll have the exclusive report after this...

Posted by: scott at November 18, 2009 11:25 PM

and B)

Damn right we should have government run healthcare. How else can we get treatment after those a-holes in Washington stab us in the back and leave us to blead to death?

If they had to live with the same insurance plans most of common-folk have, the healthcare system wouldnt even be an issue.

Insurance has always been, is, and always will be a scam in any form.

Posted by: scott at November 18, 2009 11:33 PM

Generally, I believe that the people who don't think there is a huge problem tend to have awesome insurance. Let me give you a look at someone else's costs, just so you have an idea of what's out there.

Between my employer and myself, it costs $16,000 per year to insure my young, healthy family of three (luckily, the employer picks up most of it, but I am well aware that they do not have to). Breathtakingly, despite that, almost any care beyond a regular doctor's visit requires that my family meet our deductible first. Which is $9,000. Basically I/my employer must shell out $25,000 per year before the insurance company will cover my family.

I confess that the health insurance mandate makes me nervous, simply because I don't see "affordable" actually being affordable. There is simply no way that the costs I face are affordable. It will have to be one mighty big subsidy to make that affordable, and I don't think adding more people to the pool will help. So, yes, the mandate makes me twitchy.

Oh, and the media aren't whores, but they are a business. Sometimes it is really hard to tell the difference, I think.

Posted by: Alias Mother at November 19, 2009 3:30 PM

There shouldn't be an insurance requirement. The messed up thing is that most people in the public think if this health care bill passes it will be free insurance for everyone. There's nothing further from the truth. I don't know everything about the bill, but I know enough to think it's a very bad idea.

Posted by: Rose Witners at November 19, 2009 4:26 PM

Kat: I WISH I could opt out of the mess of an education system we have in this country. If possible, I would opt out tomorrow. Until we develop a functional voucher program, I will be homeschooling my childen while still paying taxes I am told go to educating other children (but we all know where it actually goes). I am more okay with doing that, because I am choosing to educate my own children. I will not accept the alternative to choosing to be alive.

Posted by: Tess at November 19, 2009 5:05 PM

It's an odd debate you guys are having down there, and the opposition to it all is very odd. Odd indeed...

Posted by: Nat at November 21, 2009 8:28 AM

It's amazing that you have such nice insurance. My son fell out of our parked minivan and landed on his collarbone. $800 out of pocket for the emergency room visit + x-rays. My daughter was jumping on the couch (while I was telling her not to) and fell and hit the coffee table. $1000 out of pocket for emergency room visit and stitches.

Our insurance that we pay so much for every month covered less than half of the total bills. Why? We can't afford to pay the higher premium associated with having a smaller deductible.

Posted by: Jen R. at November 21, 2009 11:50 AM