Maria Yeager

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The American Health Care System – How Do We Fix It?

Until about a year ago, I was totally uninterested in politics – those subjects were my absolute least favorite in school. So, I am surprised that today I watch the news on almost a daily basis. I don’t know what changed. Maybe it’s all the chaos surrounding this administration. But, at age 51, I am finally paying close attention to what is happening in the United States…and I don’t like it one bit.

When Obamacare was passed, I was concerned. At the time, I only watched Fox News and I was a Republican, so you can imagine what I thought at the time. Fox News did bring up many concerns regarding Obamacare …and those concerns were justified as there are serious problems with it that need to be addressed.

When Trump became President, I wasn’t happy at all even though I was a Republican. I lived in a highly narcissistic environment for about twenty years, and I saw the exact behaviors in this man that I saw personally in my own situation. This concerned me greatly. I tried to warn people about this man, but I was attacked on social media for daring to question Trump’s behavior. Since that time, I have watched on a daily basis the chaos in this administration, mostly a direct result of his narcissism. I shake my head in frustration all the time, and I am disgusted with Washington in general. During this time, I contacted my senator, Mark Warner, and my Congresswoman, Barbara Comstock, on several occasions about my concerns. I never thought I would contact a Democrat, but I am so glad I did. Mr. Warner responded every single time I contacted him. I never heard from Barbara Comstock (she is a Republican). That speaks volumes.

A few months ago, I decided to become an Independent. The Republican party as I knew it years ago has changed. This party no longer represents my beliefs as I don’t condone the behavior that I have witnessed in this administration. I have watched Mark Warner as he drilled members of the current administration about possible Russia collusion. I am very impressed with Mr. Warner, and he will always have my vote in the future because I believe that he truly wants the best for this country.

Now to healthcare. John McCain is my personal hero. Although I do have issues with Obamacare, the “skinny bill” was a “disaster”, as Lindsay Graham put it in his speech before the vote. It would have left 16 million without insurance if it was passed into law. It also would have hiked insurance premiums 20%!! If that doesn’t anger every single American out there, I don’t know what will! Thank you so much, Mr. McCain, for voting your conscience. You have no idea how many Americans consider you their hero today.

Here’s the way I see it – if you want to bring down the cost of healthcare, lower the cost of prescription drugs, medical supplies and insurance. DO NOT take it from people who barely have anything (Medicaid)! Specifically, I would love to see caps put on the salaries of the CEOs and other senior management of pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

I used to work for a pharmaceutical company, so I have an idea of how much money these companies pull in and how many “perks” employees receive. I also worked in the medical field as a laboratory technologist. We used to joke about how aluminum foil in a medical supplies catalog cost something like $50 per roll when you could go to Food Lion and get the same thing for $2…I’m not kidding!

The following is a list of the highest earning CEOs in the pharmaceutical industry (per research done by Tracy Stanton of FiercePharma.com) :

  1. Len Schliefer – CEO of Regeneron, $41.97 million
  2. Jeffery Leiden – CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, $36.64 million
  3. Brent Saunders – CEO of Allergan, $36.61 million
  4. Martine Rothblatt – CEO of United Therapeutics, $33.21 million
  5. Lamberto Andreotti – CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb, $27.06 million
  6. Heather Bresch – CEO of Mylan, $25.82 million
  7. Kenneth Frazier – CEO of Merck, $25.03 million
  8. Alex Gorsky – CEO of Johnson & Johnson, $24.99 million
  9. Robert Hugin – CEO of Celegene, $24.24 million
  10. Ian Read – Pfizer, $23.28 million

That is just the top ten!

These salaries are ridiculous. No one needs to make this kind of salary when we have American citizens out there that are struggling to make ends meet every single month. Personally, I am on disability because I have had three back surgeries and live in constant pain. I also have fibromyalgia, and just in the past month, I learned that my right knee has almost no cartilage behind the knee cap (due to 25+ years of ballet, jazz and hip hop dancing). I am in physical therapy and have received an injection, but it is highly probable that I will need knee replacement surgery in the near future.

I have Medicare parts A and B. I also bought extra coverage through United Healthcare to help pay the 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover. I am on Savella and Lyrica for pain/fibromyalgia. Six months into this year, I received a notice from United Healthcare that I was in the coverage gap for these medications which means more out-of-pocket costs for me. Well, the cost was too high for me, so I had to drop my Lyrica to one-half of what I was taking during the first part of the year. I now live with increased pain and will have to deal with this until the end of the year.

It angers me that Mitch McConnell and most Republicans put forth a bill to make drastic cuts to Medicaid while doing nothing to reduce the costs of health insurance and pharmaceuticals. There are millions of Americans who are suffering and are barely able to make it month to month while these CEOs are pulling in a salary of $20 to $30 million per year! This has to stop!

Why won’t Congress address the gross mishandling of funds in these industries? How can these executives rake in this kind of money, knowing that there are people out there who are struggling, and sleep at night? Come on, congressmen and women!! Someone get a backbone and take up this issue. John McCain stood up last night, and it was great…will he or someone else have the balls to finally take on these companies?? Mark Warner, will you take the lead on this?

My suggestion for the American people is to vote out those senators and representatives that are on the extreme left and the extreme right. Get moderates in Congress on both sides so they can sit down TOGETHER and hammer out a COMPROMISE (not doing things in secret behind closed doors). I also urge Congress to come up with some kind of law that puts a cap on the salaries of pharmaceutical, insurance and medical supplies executives. Putting this cap in place should redirect the money back to the consumers and drive down these ridiculously high prices. There is no need…EVER…for someone to have a salary of $20 to $30 million PER YEAR when other people are struggling to survive.

A copy of this blog will be sent to my senator and representative. Please feel free to send a copy to your senator and representative as well.

 

 

Hypocrisy, Lies, Fake News, and Trump

It has been quite a while since I have written a blog post. I just haven’t felt like writing because I have quite honestly been quite depressed lately.

I have been struggling so hard to not write about politics. I have some really close friends that are Trump supporters, and I don’t want to offend them. In January, I decided to write some posts on my facebook page about narcissism and how it relates to Trump. Wow, did I ever get hammered by Trump supporters. They did not like the posts at all, and I was called all kinds of names. After that, I decided to not post about politics…well, that didn’t even last a couple of weeks.

Although I don’t want to offend anyone that I deeply care about, there is just something in me that feels that if we don’t speak up, we are doomed to repeat history. Keeping quiet in this tumultuous time may actually be the wrong thing to do. I struggle with this war in my mind almost every day. Well, I have decided to address some things that are really bothering me. I apologize in advance to any of my close friends who don’t agree with what I am about to write, but I feel it is the right thing to do. I hope you understand.

I am disgusted by what I am seeing in Washington. I am particularly sick of seeing all of Trump’s comments on the “fake news”. This is deeply disturbing to me, and this morning on Meet the Press, John McCain so eloquently stated these same concerns to Chuck Todd. He said that the first thing that dictators do is to shut down the press. This week, Trump actually sent out a tweet saying the media is “the enemy of the American people.” I know, I know….Trump isn’t a dictator…yet, anyway. But, as John McCain said, we should learn from history.

It is well-known how Hitler and Stalin controlled the media during their time in power. Stalin allowed citizens to read, listen, and see only what he approved. During Hitler’s reign, the Editor’s Law was enacted in October, 1933, and paragraph 14 stated, “Editors must omit information calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home.”

Here are some other facts about oppressive regimes, both past and present:

  1. In North Korea, all media is controlled by the government.
  2. During the military control of Burma, the media was not allowed to report any opinions that were anti-government.
  3. In Turkmenistan, Niyazov’s administration controlled and censored media content.
  4. In Equatorial Guinea, criticism of Obiang’s regime is not tolerated.
  5. In Libya, no negative reports of Qaddafi were allowed during his time in power. It was the most tightly controlled media in the Arab world at the time.

Clearly, freedom of the press is of utmost importance in upholding democracy. Again, to repeat what John McCain said this morning, we should learn from history!

Now, yes, there is some fake news out there, and that is not OK. But it seems to me that Trump wants to claim that all news that is critical of him is fake, and this is simply not true. According to his own tweet,

“The FAKE NEWS media (failing nytimes, NBCNews, ABC, CBS, CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

What stuns me is that some people out there are so quick to say that all news that criticizes Trump is fake, and they seem to believe everything that Trump says is the absolute truth. Let’s look at this a little more in-depth. According to PolitiFact, a Pulitzer Prize winning political fact-checking organization, Trump makes false statements more than truthful ones. Here is the breakdown:

Politifact scorecard of Trump’s statements (www.politifact.com):

4% true

12% mostly true

14% half-true

20% mostly false

33% false

17% “Pants on fire”

Here are a few specific examples according to PolitiFact:

  1. Trump stated that Ford Motor Company was staying in the U.S. because of his actions. FALSE: Decision was made four years ago. Actual statement from Ford: “We decided to move the F-650 and F-750 medium duty trucks to Ohio Assembly in 2011, long before any candidates announced their intention to run for U.S. President.”
  2. “The media has a lower approval rate than Congress.” MOSTLY FALSE: Congress hits the bottom quite often.
  3. “The murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.” FALSE.
  4. “Terrorism and terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe have gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported.” “PANTS ON FIRE”: Heavy coverage across the globe.
  5. “109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers were affected by the immigration executive order.” FALSE: Actually more than 60,000
  6. “Here in Philadelphia murder has been steady – I mean – just terribly increasing.” FALSE: third lowest since 1990.
  7. “We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College.” FALSE: Historically it’s in the bottom quarter.

And it goes on and on. I encourage you to read up on Trump’s statements…there are 27 pages on PolitiFacts website (www.politifact.com). And let’s not forget the false statements by his administration – the Bowling Green massacre that never happened, “alternative facts” about election numbers, Spicer saying that it was the biggest election win, period! etc. etc. And one of my favorites from Trump – “The leaks are real, but the news is fake”. Really? How exactly does that work? Well, it doesn’t because that’s not possible.

Fake news? How about Fake Trump!

So how is it that some are quick to point to the news as the source of the problem, but somehow seem to overlook all the untruths that Trump and his administration put out there? Hypocrisy? YES!

I have seen so much hypocrisy since this man took office. This is one of the big, big lessons that I learned in dealing with a narcissistic family – they expect everyone else to follow the rules while they break those rules themselves and attempt to justify their actions. Here are just a couple of the many disturbing examples that I have seen in the administration and in my discussions with other people (and to be VERY clear, I am not justifying the actions of Clinton, Obama, radical Islam, etc. – this is simply meant to show hypocrisy, that’s all):

  1. Bill O’Reilly of Fox News asked Trump about Putin, saying that Putin is a killer. Trump tried to justify his relationship with Putin by saying that there are killers in the United States. Hypocrisy? Yes! Trump then turns around and talks about how radical Islam is killing people, how Mexico has “bad hombres”, how he is deporting all the murderers….but Putin? Well, he can somehow justify that….(sarcasm).
  2. For years we heard all about how awful Bill Clinton was for having the affair with Monica Lewinsky. I was one of the ones who spoke out loudly about that affair – I was disgusted by his behavior. But then when I call out Trump for his remarks about women on the bus – grabbing the *****, some of those same people who spoke out about Clinton are now trying to justify Trump’s statements. Hypocrisy? Yes! One of the justifications I heard recently was that it was OK because men think about sex about every 2 minutes. Another popular justification is that “all men do this”. If it had been Clinton on that bus, I can assure you that the “all men do this” excuse would never fly!!
  3. The e-mail scandal involving Hillary Clinton – all last year, we heard “lock her up!!” over and over again. Then Flynn is caught talking sanctions with Russia and lying to Pence, and Trump continues to talk about how Flynn is a great man. Then Trump turns it onto the media saying that Flynn was treated very unfairly. Hypocrisy? Yes! Another example – Trump talks openly at Mar-a-Lago while dining after learning about the missle launch in Russia. Again, hypocrisy? Yes! Attack Clinton relentlessly, but when he does it…well, that’s OK (again, sarcasm).
  4. How many times did we hear complaints about Obama’s vacations? Yet Trump has been to Mar-a-Lago three times and has been in office for less than a month. Hypocrisy? Yes!
  5. How many times have you heard Trump say that polls are rigged? But then he posts a poll on twitter showing that his immigration ban was “one of his most popular so far”. Then he says that all negative polls about him are fake. Do you see the hypocrisy here?

So, in conclusion, Trump is not the awesome person that he portrays. This administration is full of hypocrisy and untruths. Yes, there is some fake news, but most is reliable if you watch the mainstream media. They may be biased, but in general, CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS…these are all reliable sources that will correct mistakes rather quickly once caught.

One of the news outlets suggested that Trump and his administration may be using psychological warfare. The definition, according to Dictionary.com, is “the use of propaganda, threats, and other psychological techniques to MISLEAD, intimidate, demoralize, or otherwise INFLUENCE the thinking or behavior of an opponent.” Is Trump and his administration actually doing this? I will leave that to you, the reader, to decide after reading this post.

 

 

 

 

 

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