We’ve talked about Senator John McCain’s diagnosis with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in several threads below. So there are a just a couple of thoughts I’d like to add here.
First, obviously, best wishes to Senator McCain and his family. This is a very tough diagnosis, as we all know. The next several months and years will demand an enormous amount of McCain and all those close to him, and I wish them well in that fight.
Second: John McCain is receiving the best of care, as he should, and as I would wish anyone in his position could expect. That health care comes to him through his job as an employee of the federal government.
The immediate context, of course, is that this particular federal employee is one of those Republican senators who was, by all accounts prepared to vote yes on a bill that would have pulled federally mandated and supported health care from tens of millions of his fellow citizens.
The larger context is that John McCain has throughout his life relied on the United States government for his medical care — from birth to now. He was the son of a serving naval officer, then a cadet at the Naval Academy, then a serving officer himself, then briefly a veteran in private life.
Then, within a year of his retiring from the armed forces, elected as a member of the House of Representatives. Four years later he won his Senate seat, to which he has been re-elected five times, which brings us to the present day.
A whole life, all 80+ years of it, and John McCain has never for a moment had to wonder what he would do if he became sick, or if his wife or his kids fell ill. For the first half of his life, he had access to a single-payer system; as a member of Congress, he received his health benefits through the same benefit package available to federal workers; since the passage of the ACA, members and their staffs have access to on-exchange subsidized plans.
And that’s great! John McCain should have had secure, guaranteed and persistent care. The injuries he suffered in Vietnam and during his imprisonment there should never have been eligible to be pre-existing conditions. He should have been, as he was, free of the choice-crippling necessity of working a secure gig to ensure access to insurance, thus enabling him to pursue his life of military and public service.
The kicker though: so should we all. The health-care life John McCain has led is the one that’s right not just for him and his family, but for all Americans. I won’t rehash here the moral and the practical reasons why — we’ve done that before, David can do it better, and we will be back at that by nightfall at the latest. All I want to do here is to make a modest proposal.
The Democrats should come to the next round of manouvering on health care legislation with a plan that repairs ACA’s current weak points and lays out a path to full coverage. And they should name it after one of the great exemplars of the power of guaranteed health care to liberate Americans into lives of daring and service.
Here’s to the John Sidney McCain III Universal Health Care Act of 2017!
Image: Doris Zinkelson, No 115 British General Hospital, Ostend – Unloading Wounded, 1945
So should we all – AMEN
Not sure how I feel about that. But Trump would have a stroke…. Ok, I like it!
@satby: I mean figuratively, but it wouldn’t let me edit the comment.
@satby: Having read that interview he had with the NYT, I’m not entirely sure that Trump hasn’t already had a stroke.
Major Major Major Major
The Nepotism Act of 2017!
edit: never mind, it was funnier with the way i’d misread the part i block quoted, it’s early
The Kennedy-McCain Universal Health Care Act….lets go bipartisan ;)
“No, nobody’s going home because this is life or death.” – @ChrisMurphyCT
Don’t let up, because the GOP won’t. Keep calling: (855) 999-1663 pic.twitter.com/ACVf6sYPs6
— MoveOn.org (@MoveOn) July 19, 2017
John McCain has been a walking pre-existing condition from the moment he stepped off the plane from Vietnam. Let alone his FOUR PREVIOUS BOUTS WITH CANCER.
But, he’s never had to deal with that fact of life, because:
1. His wives were rich
2. He would get treatment from that socialist entity known as the VA.
That he could purse his lips to take away healthcare from others…..
you know my feelings…
it certainly is somewhat funny that the passage of the ACA was made much more difficult due to a dem senator having brain cancer, and now the repeal of it is made much more difficult due to a gooper senator having the same thing.
Did John McCain all of a sudden stop being a foreign policy Senator and start giving a shit about economic and domestic policy? This is the guy who never met a country that didn’t deserve bombing.
Let’s be honest. McCain never bothered to learn anything about health care because he wss too busy carrying water for lobbyists. He was a no vote on the ACA because he didn’t want to apply it to how it would make the elderly population of Arizona better off. But now he’s a saint and we’re supposed to roll over and forget that he has never, ever done anything substantive? Please.
One of the problems, politically, with health care for all in this country is that it would include 10+ million undocumented immigrants. I’m almost amused–almost–at Republicans now throwing around the number of currently uninsured without specifying that a significant proportion of those are the very people they complained would get care in the US system when the ACA was being developed. And are excluded from coverage under it.
In the Bay Area, some municipalities have universal coverage plans that don’t ask about legal status. They receive primary care and inpatient care if they get sick or hurt locally. It gets complicated for folks who get sick while traveling (although that’s also the case for Medicare beneficiaries traveling internationally).
It’s the sticky wicket of the “for all” framing, though. I’m not sure how we get around it.
My sympathies to the McCain family. That said, I’d really like to see the bills for his treatment at the Mayo. Then I’d like to ask him what he thinks the average American should do in similar circumstances.
On another note, preznit would be breaking his oath of office if he lets the ACA fail. Link.
I wish John McCain a long and healthy retirement.
A video that I have meant to post:
Comedian DL Hughley has been one of Dolt45’s fiercest critics.
He did a video on Dolt45 supporters and broke it down about why we really shouldn’t give two shyts about reaching out to them.
Final proof to come – but appears to be some truth involved
Jessica Roy on Twitter
My friend’s husband died of glioblastoma in AZ. They wrote a letter to McCain begging for his help. He advised them to move.
Game of Thrones creators think they have their next hit: a show about an America where slavery was never abolished https://t.co/g2wO3T3IQx
— Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) July 19, 2017
If HBO wants a series about the Civil War so bad, here’s an idea – PICK UP UNDERGROUND.
— ReBecca Theodore (@FilmFatale_NYC) July 19, 2017
Ditto. Such a great post.
@dmsilev: That interview was…disturbing on many levels. To make just one point relevant to the current discussion, it was obvious Trump knows fuck-all about how health insurance works. Not the slightest goddamn clue.
I really wish reporters would goad him about Obama’s hours-long bipartisan healthcare summit and triple-dog dare him to hold a similar televised meeting. Trump’s staff is busily scheduling MAGAt rallies instead to buck up his perpetually bruised ego and would never allow the boss to display his staggering ignorance in such a forum. But still, it ought to be more widely noted that Trump is in dereliction of that particular duty.
@amygdala: For my whole lifetime, one of the biggest problems with enacting universal care are the people who insist on making the better the enemy of the best. Ted Kennedy in the early 70s, even Hillary Clinton in 1994 (though I don’t know that her mulish stance was pivotal to failure). The grief that Obama took from the left in 2009 and 2010 — that he wisely ignored — arose from the same attitude. And you know what? These were basically valid objections held by people who really were correct about what access to health care ought to encompass — just as you are. All I can say is, let’s move towards universal care, with the understanding that the fewer people there are who are left without guaranteed access will still have an easier time of it if they are not competing with so many others. And then keep trying to move the ball in the right direction.
New: Trump now accusing Comey of essentially blackmail, and suggests Mueller must avoid Trump family finances. https://t.co/bURdq6WDv0
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) July 19, 2017
Iowa Old Lady
@rikyrah: That’s a great commentary. Thanks for posting the link.
With Trump wanting the FBI Director to report directly to him, there should be NO further movement on confirming nominee Chris Wray.
— Pé Resists (@4everNeverTrump) July 20, 2017
We do not know if Wray made a personal promise to Trump to work for HIM, not the country. That’s how Trump views the entire US Gov.
— Pé Resists (@4everNeverTrump) July 20, 2017
The CBO just scored the latest Senate repeal bill.
17,000,000 Americans will lose coverage by NEXT YEAR.
32,000,000 by 2026.
Raise hell. https://t.co/XrhZehRk50
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) July 19, 2017
@amygdala: Good points. But we need to remember that there are real administrative costs in deciding who does and doesn’t get care. I think Atrios makes this point quite often with regards to things like means testing “free tuition for college” and the like.
If we want most people to get a benefit as a consequence of being in the country because it helps the country as a whole, then just make it universal. Don’t worry about the rich getting a benefit “they don’t need” – instead tax the rich enough to make up for the cost of including them (and more). Every exception and eligibility rule means that there’s paperwork and people to evaluate the paperwork, and people to handle the appeals, etc., etc. All that reduces the amount of money that actually gets spent on care and drives up costs. Just make it universal and be done with it.
J went to a conference in Budapest a few years ago (and I tagged along to play tourist). On the flight over she developed a horrible earache. After a day of looking around, she was able to get an appointment with an ENT down the street. It was a scary office – lots and lots of long, pointy, stainless steel implements on the counter… We don’t speak Hungarian and they didn’t speak much English at all, but we came to an understanding.
The nurse held her head still in a bear-hug and the doc looked inside and dug out whatever was causing the issue. They then went away for a few minutes and came back and apologized for having to charge her the equivalent of about $30 because we didn’t have a EU-compatible health insurance policy. We were shocked that it was so cheap!
There’s no reason why the USA can’t have something similar to what Hungary had then…
@rikyrah: Comey testified that he told the president about the dossier so that he did not feel like the FBI was holding anything over his head. There is no way to win here, of course, whatever Comey did — whether he did or did not tell him — would be viewed as evidence that Comey was trying to hold something over him. Because Trump cannot imagine that there are people like Comey with a reservoir of good faith and integrity that would prevent them from ever doing something of that nature. Because, of course, if Trump has something on you, he is definitely going to use it. Exhibit A is Trump Jr.’s response to the overture from the Russians. It’s projection, more projection, and then even more projection, any which way you turn.
@rikyrah: I think his use of the King Solomon analogy is spot-on!
A much warmer statement from the Democratic former president, who battled McCain in 2008, than from the current Republican one. https://t.co/HMN8V6zHpU
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) July 20, 2017
NEW: Trump administration used Obamacare promotional money to run a major PR effort against the law https://t.co/yhHHgdlGvr
— Sam Stein (@samstein) July 20, 2017
Wow — HHS retrofitted website, replacing enrollment links with anti-Obamacare propaganda
Via @samsteinhttps://t.co/qmCAYBeeB6 pic.twitter.com/vIExz8IhIC
— Jonathan Cohn (@CitizenCohn) July 20, 2017
Tilda Swintons Bald Cap
And OT but related to it all:
@Another Scott: But they did charge you. Just as the Canadian clinic I went to with my daughter when she had an ear infection charged me. The Canadian clinic actually charged quite a bit though probably less than an ER in the US. People really can’t conceive just how much more expensive everything in the U.S. is than it is elsewhere.
@rikyrah: Hughley’s theory is the only one that doesn’t assume Trump voters are almost too stupid to breathe. So I guess I agree with DL, because I can see those dolts breathing while they’re being interviewed.
I am trying to muster the compassion to give a crap about McCain after he so blatantly does not give a hot damn about some 30 million others life and well being. Sorry, can’t do it.
Axe Diesel Palin
I don’t know if it is fair to say his years in Hanoi would count. That is 5 1/2 years of limited access to healthcare.
@Barbara: Hillary angered the stakeholders when she tried to reform health care, and they made sure she failed. Big changes are iterative and Obama and his crew invested a lot of time and energy getting insurers, hospitals, medical professionals, etc. on board.
@Another Scott: There’s no structural reason we can’t have it, but the politics are a beast. No amount of reason works with people who cannot be convinced that people handling their food or caring for their children or elderly relatives should be in good health, and that obligates access to care. Or that it’s not practical to decide in the moment, when EMS is bringing in someone who has been shot or badly injured in a crash, whether said individual does or doesn’t “deserve” care. And, as the last general election showed, these people vote.
@Barbara: Good friend of mine slipped on some ice and broke his leg badly while attending a surgical conference in Canada 20 years ago. He needed surgery there and was pleased with his care. He wound up paying a big bill before he was discharged and was amused, albeit also horrified, to learn it was because HealthCanada had gotten tired of getting stiffed by US insurers.
@Betty Cracker: Never happen, of course.
Remember when Donnie whined that the three hour debate was “too long”?
Simple. Join the military. Become a POW. Get elected to high public office.
If John McCain can do it, anyone can.
@amygdala: I understand. The point is, they do charge you when you aren’t eligible under their system. Not everything is just free. It’s easy to say that the Clintons were destined to fail and heaven knows they made a lot of missteps, but one of the biggest was to resist changes made in committees that phased reform in over time. Obama did not make the same mistakes, he figured out that if he had at least one influential set of stakeholders who were at least neutral (providers) he could cope with insurers. Ted Kennedy made the biggest blunder, which was to oppose Nixon’s plan in the early 1970s because it didn’t go far enough.
O. Felix Culpa
Wow. Powerful stuff. Thank you.
Yeah. I wouldn’t wish brain cancer on anyone, but I’m not even going to pretend I care, either, except in the sense that McCain’s retirement almost certainly means his replacement with somebody even worse.
The Trump election and aftermath has kind of finished the process of making me indifferent to the fate of these people. I didn’t fully realize that until the Alexandria shooting last month… to which my reaction was basically the same as if I’d read about some Mafia dons getting hit. Do I think it’s bad? In absolute terms, sure. If you put me on the jury, would I vote to convict the culprit? Sure. Do I actually care? No. All the victims involved were up to their eyeballs in decisions that would kill thousands. Except in strategic terms, you really can’t ask me to give a shit about such people. They certainly don’t about me.
Honestly, that’s for suckers. Far better to dodge the draft, build a career out of calling for war in all contexts, sing the praises of THE TROOPS! as a vague undifferentiated mass while viciously slandering every actual veteran you run into in politics, and get elected president.
(See also the Good Will Hunting speech in response to whether he should join the NSA…)
@Barbara: It’s been interesting to watch the medical profession adjust over the past couple of decades. It certainly didn’t cover itself in glory when Hillary was trying to do her thing. Now, even the friggin’ AMA has come down hard against repealing the ACA. It’s no surprise that primary care organizations, pediatricians, the public health community, etc., support the ACA, but the AMA is still in some ways the id of the medical profession. I never thought I’d see them do the right thing.
What I’d like to see is McCain saying what he actually thinks here, since Fate has handed him a golden opportunity. The ‘maverick’ thing is bullshit, of course; he’s a conservative. But I doubt that he’s got anything positive to say about Trump or about McConnell’s healthcare policy.
@Barbara: Nominal fees (if people can afford to pay them, if not the system should get the money via another path) are fine, IMHO. The point I was trying to make was that everyone – citizen and non-citizen alike – was able to get timely care in Hungary (in our experience, anyway). We didn’t have to suffer until we could return to the USA for her to be seen and treated by a doctor (a specialist at that). The cost wasn’t a hardship and did not enter into our thinking of whether she should try to get treated there or not. It should be the same in the USA.
Yes, there has to be a substantial change in the composition of elected federal officers before that happens… (sigh).
There was a conversation going around Facebook the other day where the key phrase was from somebody saying “I just realized why Americans think universal health care is unaffordable and will bankrupt the nation; they actually think that what they’re buying actually costs as much as they pay for it.”
I thought it was absolutely on point.
@rikyrah: I just read today’s installment of The Guardian’s ongoing series about Trump voters in PA, and Hughley is right on the mark.
Not even trying, here. I am on record as not giving a shit from the instant I heard the news. I have better uses for my compassion than a rich old fuckwad who has spent his entire political career pursuing policies that have destroyed millions of lives, and would have put Sarah Palin “a heartbeat away” from the shriveled worm-infested thing in his chest. And I’m frankly sick of people falling all over themselves to wish him well.
@rikyrah: Just a couple details, as a retired Naval Officer, he and his family remain entitled to health care under TRICARE, as will as as military medical facilities on a space available basis.
The Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan is an employer based system that basically creates and exchange for Health Insurance Providers (often non-profit associations or unions of Federal employees who contract with health insurance companies) and HMOs for employees to select, either upon appointment or an annual open season where they can compare and change insurance companies or networks or HMOs. I would not call it a “single payer” system if you mean a single entity directly paying health care providers. In fact it is somewhat similar to the individual exchange market and served as a model for the original “Romney Care” law in Massachusetts.
Finally, God Bless Senator McCain and his family. This is a tough diagnosis, the same one Ted Kennedy got in 2009. Hopefully, it was caught earlier and will respond to treatment.
I have mixed feelings about this, as I’m confident the people of Arizona would send us someone worse.
@eemom: I felt guilty being harsh. I’ve had health issues, not as severe as cancer, but then I don’t have his insurance either. Missing a few internal organs like john is missing a heart. Sell a house or two John. You can afford it. You won’t even notice I bet.
@sherparick: I’d add that Tricare is a far better option cost-wise than the federal employee plans. As a retiree I pay less than $100 a month, family plan, no caps, with $12 prescription deductibles. That’s going to rise soon, but not that much.
@Bill: It is a clear and present danger, but there are a few points worth keeping mind. First, for all of his vaunted reputation for independence and plain speaking, McCain is a pretty reliable stooge for right wing causes, and was almost certainly going to vote yea to proceed and to repeal the ACA. So whatever halo effect he has for independence hardly matters if he doesn’t back it up with action. Second, Flake is not worse and in some respects is actually better than McCain. So, third, there is actually a possibility that Arizona could elect someone better, and given one, even if they don’t, it’s a risk worth taking. In other words, not a lot of downside.
@Taiko: The reason why Tricare is a better bargain is because Tricare incorporates Medicare pricing for services provided by private providers and does not permit providers to bypass Medicare pricing (which certain Medicare providers can do). Price control is a very powerful mechanism for reducing costs, in some ways. (Medicare has lower costs but basically does zero to control utilization.)
I noted a few threads back, that my senior Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) recently introduced legislation for amending the ACA:
Here’s the link to a download of the bill.
It would be nice if people who know a lot more about the issue than I do (looking at you, Mayhew/Anderson) would have a quick glance at the bill & let us know if it’s a step in the correct direction. I for one would love to have some reason to call Cardin’s office & toss some praise his way before I light into him for that AIPAC-inspired-&-likely-unconstitutional obscenity he cosponsored to criminalize support for boycotting Israel.
As a recipe for access to health care, it shares a basic ethos with Christie’s plan for acess to public beaches.
Let’s be honest. The number of people John ” Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran” doesn’t give a hot damn about vastly exceeds 30 million Americans.
Please come sit by me.
If raven reads this, who’s the motherfucker now?
@Chris: Agreed on all points. I wish I cared but I don’t. I don’t wish anything bad on McCain, which is more than I can say about McCain’s support of policies that hurt me and other Americans.
@eemom: It’s a for whom the bell tolls reaction. It’s not really personal.
Except when he was a POW. But yes, a valid point nitpicked aside. I don;t begrudge him his health care, but him voting to deny it to others is quite different. The only reason the Senate will not be better off without him is because the AZ governor will appoint someone worse. Any bets it’s that wingnut that opposed him in the primary??
Ella in New Mexico
I clicked to the link and read not only her Tweet, but the commentary below it. Apparently, the writer works for the LA Times and her Tweet was about her friend. Some asshole “Sports Writer” accused her of violating her paper’s ethics rules by not having documentation to show for her statement-she said her friend was looking for the letter McCain had sent her but hadn’t found it yet. He hammered her and low and behold her paper made her take that Tweet down.
I don’t know if it’s still there but her friend’s story was linked to in the comment thread,and indeed, she states McCain suggested she go to another state that had better insurance than AZ for her health care if they got rid of the ACA…
Bob is an asshole.
@rikyrah: Just listened, thanks. Rather have a dead half a country than a live one that moves forward, makes sense. I’ll remember that.
Did you ever see “The Man in the High Castle,” on Amazon Prime? It’s about an America where the Nazis and Japan won WW II.
@Ella in New Mexico: Knowing McCain as we have these last few decades, he probably was being an asshole. There is a chance though that the advice was good. Senators don’t have unlimited power to make things better right then, and our government requires many other votes for changes. I know someone whose mother died of brain cancer and she actually did move to get better treatment which was hard on her daughters. She moved across the state to her sisters because that specific county had more funding and she could get care. Our own county had apparently more needy people so they had run out of funds and had harder to qualify assistance. I was not close enough to be told all the details but I have heard simular things before. In fact right after Trump won, people were discussing if they should move because of insurance and other issues. I am pretty sure block grants for something like SS or medicare was the reason for the different care choices and it’s one reason I distrust that frequent Republican “solution”