dinner conversation

Last night I was at dinner in someone’s home and the following is the abridged version of a portion of dinner conversation. I say abridged because I was so mad that one, the guest had the audacity to discuss politics in a room of people this person had never met, save one, and two I didn’t want to go ballistic and embarrass the host so I left.

Guest: I was at the VA hospital today for (some random event) and was able to see the blueprint of the new hospital.

Me: Oh really, tell me about it…

Guest: Well on Banks street, the old oak trees were saved, and some of the buildings will be built around the oaks, so there will be a corridor down the middle – a shaded promenade with benches and such.

Me: That sounds nice!

Guest: While I was there today, some of the (nameless) dignitaries were discussing how the Charity Hospitals were being dismantled and they were looking at private corporations to take over the care of the patients.

Me: Oh really? Well after Katrina, when Charity hospital was closed down, all the patients had to go somewhere so they were seen at Ochsner, East Jefferson – it didn’t work well and those hospitals lost a lot of money…

Guest: Yeah, one of the doctors at (nameless hospital) was telling me how after the storm, a gun shot wound patient broke into some pharmacy storage area to take medicine, so that didn’t work out too well with “those” (emphasis guest) patients at the private hospitals. So its going to be difficult for “those” (emphasis guest) patients to find somewhere to go.

Me: I honestly don’t see how the state could possibly shut down the Charity Hospitals? What are they going to do with the new hospital? Sell it?

Guest: Well there will be no more Charity system, they are doing everything right now to close all the hospitals. It won’t be an issue especially if Obamacare is defeated in November when Romney wins.

Me: Its called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Plus there is no guarantee Romney will win.

Guest: Well if Obama is re-elected, there are ways to defeat the health care bill.

Me: Oh Really? You know, we really shouldn’t be going there (having political discussion with strangers) at dinner…

Guest: Well how do you think Obamacare is going to be funded? The federal government will need to put up $50 billion dollars they don’t have to pay for it…

At this point I excused myself and helped clear the table and began washing dishes. The guest continued carrying on political discussion with the others remaining at the table which I could hear from the kitchen. I did as much as I could to assist the host –  but very soon after when another guest excused themselves it was my cue to leave too.

I find it extraordinarily disturbing that there is a subversive political process going on which is hell bent on obliterating health care for the poor and uninsured in Louisiana. There has already been a loss of thousands of state jobs, and this current round will result in 1500 more people out of work. How does this contribute to the tax base, the spend and growth economy, putting people out of work, regardless of the fact that these are hard working and dedicated state employees?  Where are all the students of health care, physicians, nurses, allied health, going to go for training? Not to mention all of the sick, sick patients and not just the victims of and perpetrators of violent trauma: there is no plan in the foreseeable future for the state to pony up through Bayou Health or any other fee schedule to reimburse the private hospitals that will wind up caring for the uninsured poor. And once these private hospitals begin to see red, what will happen to the patients? Will they just start dying in the streets? Where is the social justice in that?

There is a call to action out there, let your voice be heard. Representative Jerome Richard from Thibodaux has called to convene a special session to address the recent bulldozing of healthcare, among other things. Contact your state legislators and senators, and demand they go to special session in November to reverse the evisceration of health care in this state. You the citizens elected the legislators and they answer to you, compel them to do their job and do what’s right by their constituents and not the special interests.

*****UPDATE***** This link will take you to an online petition through Change dot org requesting the legislature to convene a special session to find out what in God’s name is going on with the railroading of health care in Louisiana – please consider signing it – thanks

9 thoughts on “dinner conversation

  1. Very enlightening post and although I am not currently a resident of La., it is a matter of extreme importance..

    • Thanks for the reply – even though you don’t live in Louisiana, if you know anyone that does, perhaps you can start a dialogue and enlighten them to sound the alarm to their state representatives.

      • I am actually moving there in the next few months so this is of real importance to me and yes, i have a few people there I will most certainly enlighten.

  2. ” Will they just start dying in the streets? Where is the social justice in that?”

    I’m not sure if they (1) don’t care or (2) if that is *exactly* their plan. I hear the same hateful rhetoric in NW FL. Most shockingly, I often hear it from some of the very people who could benefit most from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    • I honestly think they just do not care. The guest in question was so smug, so indifferent to what I said last night, its an unnerving arrogance to turn a blind eye to human suffering.

      Republicans are the true death panels…

  3. I am one of those who will soon be affected by Jindal’s heartless dismantling of the charity hospital system in Louisiana. I am a freelance writer, uninsured, and due to multiple pre-existing conditions, uninsurable. I get my healthcare at Lallie Kemp Medical Center, a rural clinic in Independence, Louisiana. Governor Jindal has gutted the hospital and has zeroed in on it again with more cuts looming. Where will I go and what will I do? I have no options. I will soldier on as long as I can with none, and then I guess I will just get sicker and die. I fully expect my epitaph to read,”Victim of the Failed Healthcare System.”

    • Betsy, you don’t have to take this lying down – you can e-mail, writing a letter is better, to your state representative and state senator. There is a link in the original post to find out who those persons are, and you could just cut and paste your reply and send it off. The legislature needs to hear our voices to know that the citizens of Louisiana, especially those most impacted by these draconian cuts, are not going to lie down and take this and that they need to call a special session and find out exactly what is going on here. I wish you all the best…

      • Thank you. I have written letters and made calls, wrote a Letter to the Editor of the local Hammond paper. I will write again, call, whatever I can do. It just never seems to matter and is very disheartening. Local writer/activist Dayne Sherman had an excellent editorial in the October 7th issue of the Hammond Daily Star, “What Price of Soul In Louisiana,” about Jindal shill Frank Opelka rolling over on his former position of support for the charity health system run by LSU. It is extremely discouraging to anyone who has seen the desperation of the patients who will now have no options. And the thing is, eventually we will all medically “crash,” and those who don’t drop dead immediately will be taken by ambulance to local for-profit hospitals and run up possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills we can never pay, and the cost of treating these indigent patients will then be passed along to John Q. Taxpayer. So rather than treating manageable medical conditions and maintaining optimum patient health, the state will now assume the bill for people who are on ventilators, in wheelchairs and possibly nursing homes from catastrophic health crises hat were entirely preventable. The shortsightedness of this is absolutely breathtaking .

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