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Growing Bolder Article

What Do We Need To Do To Improve Health Care In This Country?

Posted August 24, 2009, 9:03 am
Growing Bolder asks leaders, thinkers, writers, life coaches, entertainers and role models to weigh in on issues affecting our lives.

What do we need to do to improve health care in this country?

Gordy Shields Gordy Shields
At 91 years of age I am extremely interested in our governments efforts to finally try and come up with a national policy that would meet the needs of people like myself and of those without any health insurance. 

Unfortunately the opportunity for a rational and calm discussion has been overwhelmed by vested interests and politicians who are more interested in preserving their own turf than in taking a calm and reasoned perspective. 

I was particularly disgusted with the so called "death panel" hysteria fostered by certain members of the Republican party, especially Palin.  My own feeling is that, having witnessed the degrading circumstances experienced by many of my friends when they are kept alive even when death is inevitable.

About Gordy Shields
Californian Gordy Shields is living proof that anyone can overcome almost anything. The 91-year-old can't walk more than 100 feet but he's one of the country's best cyclists. The discs in his lower back are slowly deteriorating, which leaves him hunched over. Rather than focusing on the fact that it keeps him from walking, he says his condition is ideal for racing. Last year, Gordy shattered the American record in the 20-kilometer time trial for cyclists 90-and-older.

Nancy Merz Nordstrom Nancy Nordstrom
Never have I seen such hate, misinformation and garbage as what is circulating now about the health care  debate.  I feel very strongly that many of those who did NOT want Obama to be elected are using the health care debate as a smokescreen to hide their racism so they can continue to spew their venomous hatred of a Black man as president.  All one needs to do is look at the people who are leading the charge!  Shame on these bigots!  Shame on the Republicans for letting it continue!  Shame on those who call themselves thinking Americans for buying into their lies and fear-mongering!
I turn 65 next April and look forward to going on Medicare as my health coverage will be MUCH better - and cheaper -than what I have now as a self-employed person.  My husband is on Medicare now so I can see first-hand how much better this government-run system is.  The insurance companies are only interested in one thing - the bottom line.  They don't give a hoot about the health care of their customers.  That has been very obvious all along.
This new plan will allow those who want to keep their private insurance to do so.  And it will allow those who do not, to make a change.  That's it!  Plain and simple! Freedom of choice!
Wake up people and use your brain for a change.  Stop REACTING  and start thinking for yourselves.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

About Nancy Nordstrom
Nancy Nordstrom didn't publish her first book, or even write it until she turned 61 and she hasn't slowed down since. "Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret for Making the Most of Your After 50 Years," focuses on lifelong learning. She's had to take new chances since her husband died of a heart attack in 1993. Since then, she's been learning how to continue to grow bolder and she's eager and willing to pass along what she's learned.

Ted Skup Ted Skup
Many Americans are paranoid that if we socialize health care in the U.S., we would soon be a communist country. Canada started there public health care system almost sixty years ago and they are not communist yet.

England has had free public health care for years, and are not communists yet either. If you and I were poor or sick, we would be on our congressmans butts to pass this through.

Many are also afraid that this public health care will but a dent in our national budget. Guess what, the war  has already done that and nobody is protesting it, but they are protesting free public health care that just might make us more equal!

Change is good...real good.

About Ted Skup
He believes that with obesity levels at an all-time high, fitness needs be a national priority. He says despite the fact we have an arsenal of exercise options at our disposal, the ultimate choice is, the simple push-up. Skup takes on the 35-billion-dollar fitness industry and explains why it is failing us, with its bogus claims, magic bullets, and quick fixes. Although the fitness industry may not want to hear it, push-ups are free, no equipment, no gimmicks and totally portable. He is the author of Death, Taxes & Push-ups.

pat paciello.JPG Pat Paciello
    Many people are missing the point when it comes to the Heath Care Debate. The Health Care Bill is finally the straw that has broken the average American's back. People are upset that in a very short period of time, this administration continues to spend money and push this country into debt. Through stimulus packages ,TARPS, and bailouts, we are not only bankrupting our generation, but placing an unfair tax burden on the next.

     If you as a consumer followed the government game plan -- spending money you don't have, you would eventually be filing for bankruptcy. If you could spend your way into economic prosperity, I'm sure people and governments would have figured this out a long time a go.

    Before you can discuss the pros and cons of the Health Care Bill, you have to know what is contained in the bill. To the amazement of just about everyone, not one Senator has admitted that he read or understood the bill in it's entirety, yet the President expected them to vote on it before the summer recess. This is madness, and only contributes to the feeling of many, that big government can not be trusted and is certainly not the vehicle to put this country on the right road to prosperity. If somehow you are one of the chosen few who can read and understand all of this gobbledygook, then you must decide if we can afford to pay for this bill -- we can't. The country is in the middle of a deep recession. The cost of the bill is staggering. And for all of the money spent on the various stimulus packages, unemployment continues to rise to dangerous levels.

    Health Care Reform is a noble and important piece of legislation, but let's not throw out the baby with the bath water. We should make modifications to our present system, and do it in a fiscally responsible way. Show the American people that you have a plan that achieves results, rather than playing Russian Roulette with the economic health of the country.

About Pat Paciello
Pat Paciello is pushing 60 these days, has three grown children, and has been happily married for over 30 years. (He says the first year wasn't so hot!) He has been retired from the workforce for almost a decade. During that time span Pat has been particularly adept at enjoying leisure pursuits, and earning the highest recommendation from his peers for his "I do nothing, but I do it well attitude." His book, Has Anyone Seen My Reading Glasses? offers a unique and fresh approach to the subject of Baby Boomer retirement. First, it's written by a Baby Boomer who is actually retired. Second, the book is long on humor and personal anecdotes, and short on statistical analysis.

Pat Bond Pat Bond
     Now that you mention it, I do have strong feelings about the present debate.  First, let me say that I am a registered Independent.  Started out a Republican, switched to Democratic when I learned to read and think about things, and then decided Independent fit best of all.  I don't mind paying taxes, so long as I see the money going for good programs.

     I am in favor of a public plan.  I have had medicare for six years and it works beautifully.  I am also a retired WV State employee, so I have supplemental in addition.  They turned it over to a private insurance company a couple of years ago, so it works like a medicare advantage program.  Many medical people, hospitals and group practices don't take it at all.  Fortunately, I already had physicians that kept me as a patient and, therefore, filed claims.  The company has done a great job; however, I lost a lot of options.

     Health care in this country ought to be a right.  Most developed countries have public health care systems that work.  My youngest daughter lived in Japan for many years and her health care was very good.  They didn't do some complex procedures in private rooms, rather in a bed surrounded by a curtain.  It was clean, efficient, courteous and competent.  She got excellent care.  She has Crohn's disease and got her medications at no cost.  It is cheaper to prevent relapses than to treat them when they occur.  I believe she would not be able to get private insurance in this country because of her existing condition.  It might even prevent her from gainful employment because it could increase her utilization of the plan.

     You have to admire Obama for trying to pass legislation to provide health care for Americans.  I am hopeful that we will end up with something better than we have now.

     Thanks for asking.  I look forward to reading what my comtemporaries write about the question.

About Pat Bond
If working out is something new to you, you're not alone! Patricia didn't get serious about it until she was in her 40s. She stuck with it, and before she knew it, fitness had changed her life in more ways than she ever expected. She wasn't the only one who noticed. She was chosen Florida Senior Athlete of the Year back in 1999 and she's still going strong. Swimming and cycling are the events she says help her live her life to the fullest.

Christine Schwab Christine Schwab
I am outraged about the Health Care plan. While I agree that we need a good health care plan that covers everyone who is a legal citizen in our country, this is not the one. If our politicians won't adapt this one for their own personal use, because they have what they feel is a far better plan...why don't we have the plan that they have?

To me, that says it all about this plan. And why didn't Obama come up with a plan, why did he allow Nancy Pelosi to write a plan that is so huge nobody has really read through it? Haven't we had enough of her politics? And where is AARP? They have abandoned the Senior Citizen in favor of selling all different insurance plans. They are afraid to speak out for the people they say they represent.

Really, do politicians think we're stupid? That we will allow them to decide who lives and who dies? That we will allow them to determine if our quality of life is right to sustain? I don't think so. I am proud of the American people for standing up and saying "enough."

About Christine Schwab
Turning forty, fifty, or sixty is not about getting older, it's about becoming ageless. Renowned style expert and television fashion reporter Christine Schwab sees aging as an opportunity to revitalize your style and enliven your attitude. In her frank, opinionated, and provocative style, she wrote "The Grownup Girl's Guide to Style", a book that defies many of the fashion and beauty industry philosophies. In this honest and empowering book, she offers the first open-minded approach to style, beauty, health, and well-being that will help every forty-plus woman achieve a classic look while maintaining her edge and personality.

Tony Handler Tony Handler
I have seen your thoughts on this issue and wholeheartedly agree with you that much more emphasis should be put on individual responsibility to live a healthier life style, i.e eating right and exercise.

In addition the government should be dedicating more funding to prevention and education on how to accomplish a healthier lifestyle and prevent obesity, diabetes and heart issues.

In addition, I think that there should be much more emphasis on identifying and eliminating fraud and wasteful practices in Medicare.

I am sure that millions (if not billions) of dollars could be saved and used to fund some of the other good parts of the reform.
I was also glad to see the Congressmen and Senators getting verbally beaten up at town hall meetings, because hopefully they will go  back and get serious about coming up with a much more sensible reform bill.

Keep up the great work with Growing Bolder!!

About Tony Handler
Tony Handler isn't supposed to be alive. In 1983 he was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. His doctor told him had two years to live. Despite this news he continued training. He's had a number of major health challenges since, but steadfastly refuses to let them be the focus of his life.

Terri Dennis Terri Dennis
This subject is so close to home that it makes me too angry to even think about.  I am self employed and I cannot afford health insurance.  I make too much money (anything over abject poverty is too much money) to get any assistance and they keep raising the age of social security so there is no help in the immediate future.

Now I hear rumors the powers that be want to offer social security benefits to illegal aliens when they are cutting benefits for citizens who have actually paid in to the system.  And they want to raise the age to receive benefits again?

The people who live on Capitol Hill have no idea what most of America is dealing with. They are living in Ivory Towers of power, influence and ridiculous incomes supported by those who don't have the same benefits and probably never will. 

I'd like to see ever politician stripped of their health benefits and all their perks and have their salaries dropped to minimum wage immediately.  Let's see how they handle the situation when they've walked a mile in our shoes.  I suspect their attitudes might change drastically.

About Terri Dennis
The Pop Art Diva is an artist unlike any other. She's a baby boomer and proud of it! So proud, that even though she grew up during the Golden Age of TV, Rock 'N Roll and other classics of American Pop Culture she has embraced modern technology to advance her art. She's found the computer to be a great tool to feed her passion in art inspired by pop culture. She's also fascinated in how American history relates to pop culture mythology and understanding the influence it's had on our society.

© 2013-2014. Growing Bolder Media Group. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


  • Posted 7:33am October 22nd, 2009

    I don't pretend to have the answers. But I do have lots of questions about health care reform. Such as, has anybody stepped back and considered for a moment the kind of money this nation and its citizens and its insurance companies would save if everyone stopped smoking? Is this proposition any less realistic a solution than what is being proposed? I'm just sayin'! That's a simple idea people could get their heads around. I know the tobacco lobby would disagree.

    The whole health care issue is mind-boggling to me. Of course it would be nice if everyone could have access to the best healthcare in the world. But as Mick Jagger would say, you can't always get what you want. I'm sure if I or someone I loved very much were sick, I would do everything within my power to find all the help we could get. The government is the last place I'd want to turn. Have we, as a culture, really exhausted all the options? I think not.

    Of all the opinions I've read here, I agree mostly with those of Pat Pacielo and Tony Handler. We all need to take more personal responsibility for our own health and help others to do the same, as citizens and human beings, not as taxpayers. I don't want any government in charge of my body in any way, shape or form, except when it comes to protecting me from enemies who want me dead for no good reason.

  • Posted 12:09pm October 13th, 2009

    As a healthcare worker the idea that the government will improve healthcare seems crazy.  Many of the governement administered plans such as the VA and medicaid have long waits, do not pay for anything that is viewed as preventative including the treatment of sleep apnea, creates large sums of paperwork and expect a good job to be done with minimal reimbersment. 

    They do not help protect the healthcare workers from wrongful lawsuits, or from continuous no shows for visits. In fact every time a patient does not show for an appt we are not allowed to charge anything for that missed appt. 

    If you are on a public program many times it is cheaper to go to the ER then to visit the doctor's office if you can get in for a timely appt. 

    While I do agree that healthcare needs significant changes it would probably be not so much about patient care as it is about paperwork and expensive malpractice insurance.  So we the people who work with and for our patients can do the job we were hired to do. Help people to live healthy lives.

  • Ann2-13.jpg
    Posted 2:02am September 7th, 2009

    I totally disagree with Nancy.  Medicare..the government run so called health care has been nothing but a nightmare since my husband who has cancer went on it in May.  Thank the Lord he didn't go on it when he first got his cancer 2 years ago or he would probably be dead now.  But thanks to our United Health care, provided to us through his retire benefits, he is doing great right now.  But with the law that when you turn 65 you have to go on Medicare his company bumped him over on it.  Of course they are not going to continue with the insureance when they know the government will take over.

    We saved for our old age.  Now what good is that going to do when we have to start dishing out money because Medicare will not pay what United Health care did.  I don't want any part of the government health care in any way. 

    I've told it before.  We only had to pay the deductable with UHC which was $300 a year and a monthy fee of $183 a month for my husbands pills for cancer.  BUT when bumped on Medicare they wanted $4200 up front and wanted us to pay $381 a month for his cancer pills, so you see why I'm against government run health care.   Medicare is NOT what it is cracked up to be.

    I agree with Christine if Medicare and government run health care is so great why don't obama and all the congress have it?  What about Obama running on his platform of getting us insurance like he had.  He has NOT once mentioned that and no one has called him on it.

    What ever they pass they should have to be on it too.  If not that should tell you something.


  • Posted 11:29pm September 2nd, 2009
    I agree with Nancy Nordstrom.  I think she chose her words carefully and stated her opinions in a thoughtful way.  I realize that there are two schools of thought here but I feel that "Latoaks" is out of line as are the mobs that attend the town hall meetings.  I don't understand where all the anger and false accusations are coming from.  Why don't we just wait and see what is finally in the the Healthcare Billl before we start all this finger pointing.  I felt like I was watching Fox News when I was reading his comments.  This forum should not be the place for that.

  • Posted 10:15pm September 1st, 2009
    It's interesting, looking at the comments non this issue and hearing about things in the news.  One thing sure, the country is really up in arms.  The entire issue kind of reminds me of when I worked for a cemetary and I saw three or four people come every week to honot/talk to their loved one.  And another didn't care a bit.  The point is, death is a very personal thing, and apparently so is each person's health care.  I do not want a government run plan under any circumstances.  Yet, I have Medicare and Blue Cross which I am very happy with.  Though there is little talk about it, I believe co-ops might be the best answer.  Maybe even the big companies could have their own Co-Ops.  One of the things most people do not realize is that young people generally do not need medical care - but families and older people must have it.  That kind of says large companies should be made to furnish health care for their employees, and done through insurance companies.  That brings us to the people near or at poverty level and the small business man.  Let them also be covered by co-ops and paid by the government.  But at the same time do something to get the public to eat better, get more exercise, and learn preventative medicine.  And lastly, let us remember that Medicare is run and paid for by the government, but administered by private organizations.

  • Posted 7:47pm September 1st, 2009
    I fear the same thing as Richard.  Even if the proposed health care plan were perfect, which it isn't, by the time congress finishes with it, nothing will even faintly resemble what was intended.

    Doesn't seem strange to anyone that, except for the USA every country in the world with a freely-elected government and a developed economy has a health care plan that covers all of their legal citizens?  Furthermore, none of these countries have gone bankrupt over their plan not have the indentured their people for generations to come. 

    As it is, the USA is now aligned with places like Vietnam, North Korea, Somalia, Haiti, Borneo, and all other third-world and totalitarian countries.  Is this anyone's vision for America?

  • Posted 9:10pm August 24th, 2009

    It appears that Nancy Nordstrom has retained the same uninformed hysteria which caused the election of Barack Obama.  Hysteria and accusations without substance.  I am not a bigot; Revs Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Hugo Chavez, Achmadinijad; they are bigots.  I am just a Republican, recently converted from Independent seeking the retention of my American Dream for generations to come.  In the comment section, Richard Dimeola clearly presented FACTS from the Bill created by YOUR US Congress and being crashed through by a President who had promised "transparency"  Did you read HR3200?  Did you sit in front of Rev Wright for 20 years, as our President did, and listen to the words of a true bigot?  Time for study, Ms. Nordstrom, so you can attempt to present your case with facts, not hysteria and fingerpointing.   And good luck on Medicare; I'm 71 and I hope I can outlive its demise.......I feel for my children who will have to pay for so much that they did not cause (except for their votes)....

  • Posted 5:55pm August 24th, 2009

    Dear Ms. Nordstrom,


    I agree about health care misinformation, but I don’t believe it’s one-sided.


    I realize that you have reiterated what Mr. Obama has repeatedly stated, that if we have private health care coverage and like it, we can keep it.  But, the health care legislation voted out of committee in the House, HR3200, calls for something a bit different than what our president is promising.

    Page 16, Section 102 of HR 3200 is entitled, Protecting the Choice to Keep Current Coverage.  It specifically states that we could keep private coverage, that’s true. But, I’m afraid it’s not so “Plain and Simple,” as you state.  On the contrary, it’s complicated, and not entirely correct.


    Section 102 also provides that private insurers could not enroll any new members after the law goes into effect, 12/31/2010, except dependents of those already covered.  It goes on to provide that none of the terms and conditions of existing plans could be changed going forward, and it would limit insurers ability to raise premiums.

    The bill would establish an "Exchange" that would consist of a government run insurance plan (the public option) and those private plans that qualify, which, it is true, might be the private plan a person already has. But it might not. To qualify for the Exchange, the private plan must conform to new rules, mainly the one that says they can no longer exclude preexisting conditions. So, the only way a private plan could enroll new customers would be to drop the preexisting condition provision. 


    I suppose an insurer could choose not to drop that provision and continue covering their current insured population while being prevented from adding new customers, but I don’t think that would provide a very promising future.

    We must ask then, if private insurers must cover preexisting conditions while being limited in raising premiums, would some opt to go out of the health insurance business altogether, leaving their insured no choice but to switch to a plan within the Exchange?  And if the private insurers in the Exchange are more expensive than the public option, which is what is widely expected, would people not tend to opt for the government plan, unless they would want to pay more to stay with a “Federal Express” as opposed to a “US Post Office” (to use The President’s analogy)? That’s some protection of choice.


    Regardless, 63% of Americans are currently covered by employer provided health care plans.  If this insurance is more expensive than the public option, employers would tend to drop private insurance in favor of government insurance and their employees would have no choice but to accept it, thus losing the private insurance President Obama says they can keep.    


    Unless he, too, hasn’t read the bill, the President must know this, so, is he not being disingenuous by repeatedly promising we can keep our private insurance, if we want to?  It is a fact that Mr. Obama is on record as preferring a single payer health care system, otherwise known as socialized medicine. HR3200, which he supports, seems to be a direct path to that eventuality.




    Richard DiMeola

  • Posted 2:06pm August 24th, 2009

    RIGHT-ON NANCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    HOPE WE CAN ALL FIND SOME GOOD WAYS TO HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THANK YOU KINDLY, B & LP HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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