March 25, 2005

Politics: Putting it all Together

So:

The US has recently passed a Senate bill in the House to limit malpractice lawsuits at $350,000. Terri Schiavo got $750,000 in her suit, of which about $40,000 remain. Her assets have been well managed, but her medical costs have been more than the interest: it now costs about $80,000 per year for her care.

Medicaid is going to be cut by $15 Billion over the next few years. A large portion of Ms. Schiavos drugs are covered by Medicaid.

"Chapter 7" Bankruptcy (individuals who are liquidating all their assets except "exempt property") and "Chapter 13" Bankruptcy (aka "reoganization bankruptcy", for individuals who have a predictable income, and are refinancing their debts into a more manageable form) have been toughened by the new reform laws, and are now far more difficult to use. "Chapter 11" Bankruptcy (corporations resturcturing finances and avoiding onerous liens) was left alone.

The government is stepping in to prevent the husband of a brain dead woman from letting her die.

So:

If your doctor is careless, and feeds you a drug cocktail that gives you an aneurism, stroke, or seizure that leaves you brain dead, your family can get up to $350,000 from them for your care. If you can't get medicare, that will keep you alive for what, five years, give or take? Assuming you can swallow, it would be illegal to pull your plug, euphemistically speaking. Leaving your family on the hook for however long you last.

This is if you didn't have any surgery, experimental (like Ms. Schiavos) or otherwise. The only person I know that needed open heart surgery in the States paid out $300,000 for it after all was said and done. That settlement doesn't look like much now, does it?

If your family can't afford a care facility to look after you, they can try it themselves (until they snap, anyways). This means at least one person in the household (other than you) without employment. They chose not to look for work, so they don't get welfare. Your house gets mortgaged, the family cars become the family car, and Hello, credit cards!

By the way: an amendment to the new bankruptcy bill to stop predatory practices by credit card companies, like random rate increases, 20%and higher interest, late fees, renewal fees, et al. was soundly defeated. As was an amendment to limit credit card interest to 30%. Enjoy!

How exactly do these bills, passed or proposed, help any consumers? In any way? More to the point, why the hell does anyone support these twats?

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posted by Thursday at 6:10 pm

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