Monday, October 22, 2012

Does the PPACA ration care for disabled and elderly citizens?

I am back - trying to find income takes time and the blog has been content limited during the pause...

Below is a written op-ed that I have written, looking to be published for a pittance perhaps but does reflect concerns that I have about the PPACA (aka: Obamacare) regarding potential rationing, and have had for awhile with my Muscular Dystrophy (MD). Access to health insurance is admirable, but are there unintended costs and consequences in the law?

Does the PPACA (aka Obamacare) ration care despite what its proponents say?


As someone afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy and uses a power wheelchair for ambulation, I pay attention to the nuance of laws that may offer unintended consequences to myself. Such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), aka Obamacare.

There are a few that might advise me that such a law could be beneficial to a disabled consumer. Perhaps in part, however one aspect concerns me greatly: the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The term ‘death panel’ has been used frequently, and the biggest reason that term may be appropriate is just who makes determinations in available care. Per Public Law PL 111–148, dated 20 March 2010, on Page 189:

This advisory board under this paragraph shall consist of 15 members appointed by the Comptroller General of the United States…”

How great is that? A politically appointed Comptroller General of the US and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) gets to select this board of 15. Will they be chosen for the knowledge and competence unexpected of most bureaucrats - especially from the spendthrift GAO?

So I wonder if such parameters such as my condition Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy determine the quality of care I may or may not receive. Will such a bureaucracy consider my ‘quality of life’ to be sufficient in determining what care I may need – and perhaps not receive? Further, the secretary of HHS, an unelected position, has extraordinarily broad powers to enforce the law. A text search of the public law mentions the HHS secretary over 100 times.

The media seems to indicate the IPAB will likely ‘ration’ care. The libertarian Cato.org  opines: “Obamacare requires IPAB to issue "legislative proposals" to reduce future spending. Those proposals could include drastic cuts that jeopardize seniors' access to care”

LifeNews.com notes that the law that the law states “The Obamacare law doesn’t define what it means by the ‘rationing’ it says IPAB can’t use… the standards limiting treatment are simply ‘cost-effective’ means of assuring patients get ‘appropriate’ care’ ”. Whatever the HHS says is appropriate – whatever that means.

The liberal New York Times printed an opinion piece by Steven Rattner, once the auto czar in the Obama administration. The lede to the September 30 story notes that "We need death panels". The NYT seems to de-emphasize or ignore in the past this term - that Rattner really said this here says that perhaps the NYT thinks this type of rationing is indeed a possibility despite any denials in the past.

Is the IPAB part of the law designed to ration care? Given the law as it reads, it probably does despite any (and all) disclaimers to the contrary. Will disabled and elderly persons be denied life-saving care? Given my physical issues and look into it, I have concluded that it does.

Comments are welcome!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Website and newsletter - getting there (sort of)

More newsletter business being solicited as I prepare the October issue promoting this year's successful Wheel-A-Thon. Word is the most balky program to use but with a need for more Alcam sales $ we utilize what we have...lots of pictures anyhow for the special issue. Layout for page 3 (minus copy) looks good...

Need a web site for alcamwriting.com - working with an old version of IWeb, the results when publishing are less than stellar...need sales. But, I am getting the knack (sort of) for html so one of these days I will have a site...

Monday, September 17, 2012

First sale

Must mention the business entity name whenever and wherever I can...

The newsletter is finalized - it has been delivered electronically and by the US Mail. I have another inquiry looking for a newsletter on 12" X 18" (A3 in metric) newsprint, a sort of mini ersatz newspaper...I am closer to confident that this small LLC can grow. Not looking for millions, just steady contracting work...

Page 1 (see Patti ADA story)
Page 3 (Patti's story continues...)

Monday, September 10, 2012

CDR is rolling, if not Ralph...

We went to an event yesterday that was fun and also involved wheelchairs. This event was the seventh annual Wheel-A-Thon (WAT) hosted and run by my last employer (and now customer) CDR - The Center for Disability Rights in West Haven Connecticut.
Comcast and Patti query Marc and Roger
Teen rockers add live performance
CDR is a center for independent living (aka: CIL), its mission may be described as follows: Independent Living Centers are typically non-residential, private, non-profit, consumer-controlled, community-based organizations providing services and advocacy by and for persons with all types of disabilities. Their goal is to assist individuals with disabilities to achieve their maximum potential within their families and communities

Awaiting the results...
Walking and rolling
That said, this event is a fund raiser for a youth transition project that assists high school students with disabilities and provides scholarships to students with disabilities, so it is a worthwhile endeavor. At its essence, it is a walk with an option to travel the course in a wheelchair should anybody want to experience ambulating by one.
A leader asks for no more than he would do himself, so the ambulatory MarcAnthony leads the WAT event...
The weather cooperated as it was a stunning day for a walk and/or roll. There was live music, camaraderie and team involvement. Patti is writing of the event for her New Haven Register blog and a later newsletter and she and Allegra signed the waiver and walked the course too - fun and serious do work together well...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Newsworthy

Proposal, P.1...see Patti's story
Proposal, P.2...Patti's story continues...
I had my first month of contract work from my previous employer. It is a newsletter that this organization was dormant and I have been tasked to create it, most of yesterday and today...

Using a wheelchair seems to affect the employer/customer world with a feeling that seems if not disdainful but certainly indifferent about your real abilities...

So, working with the balky Word instead of real publishing software, I am mastering layout, pagination and such...I like what I see yet wonder if this basic publishing skill is marketable - however, not to get too far ahead: will the customer approve?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Here and there (mostly)


I can get beyond some barriers sometimes, like the dunes at a beach. At this beach is a long ramp to the sand, so descending toward the sand if not completely on the beach. Thus, the briny sea breeze is accessible from here as well as parking lot (picture posted before)

I am working on a newsletter for a center for independent living (CIL) I used to be an employee of this fine non-profit. When the funding ran out, Alcam was able to land an assignment here. Calling attention to myself has an unnatural feel to it, yet maybe growing the business enough may allow me to be less disabled in certain aspects...will explain on a later post...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ramps and such...


My current ride since 10 March 2010 is a 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan SE. In what Chrysler calls Modern Blue, it looks innocuous, more like a suburban family hauler. However, it has a Braun conversion with the kneeling suspension (6") and a ramp that unfolds for egress. It also has a 10" dropped floor between the firewall and rear axle to give interior headroom for a rider in a rigid-frame wheelchair - with the lowered floor, speed bumps are handled very carefully...I drive the vehicle with mods and am happy to get around...The ramp sequence pictures have been taken from a 2010 shadowy themed post. Follow the ramp closing sequence...