Answers Needed on Taser Death
To the editor: The Metropolis story (“Waiting for Answers,” July 22, 2009) by Gayle Reaves is one that deserves an answer in lieu of the redundant excuses for why there has been no official determination of the cause of death of Michael Jacobs Jr. The case, as the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office says, is “still under investigation by our office.” This has been a nightmare to the family, and they deserve answers, not delaying tactics because the medical examiner’s office is intimidated by Taser International. Had Jacobs been shot with a gun, ballistics would have been completed in short order, not months.
Taser weapons are now casually and arrogantly used because there’s no mandate to the contrary, just an officer’s discretion about when and to whom to deliver those 50,000-volt jolts.
In Young County, a sheriff’s deputy illustrated this with his comment in support of the Tasers: “Tasers cut down on workman’s comp[ensation]. cases. It really saves the county money.”
This proves the greedy intentions of law enforcement agencies that allow the Tasers to be fired Wild West style – indiscriminately, just to save money, time, and of course paperwork! How’s that for budgetary considerations – and to hell with the victims.
Healthcare Woes Are Already Here
To the editor: Ron Bridges’ guest column (“Compassionate Paying,” July 15, 2009) is worth noting since the insurance industry has done a remarkable job of keeping the conversation on “universal coverage.” I was amused at his comments about what healthcare would be like under a government plan since, as a small-business owner, that’s exactly what I experienced when we offered healthcare coverage under a variety of private insurance programs.
During the last 20 years I learned some lessons about the healthcare, or rather the sick-care, system:
- Medical insurance can never keep up with the soaring cost of medical care in this country – they are co-dependent cost escalators.
- Our insurance rates went up like clockwork, every quarter, regardless of whether our employees used it or not.
- An “explanation of benefits” is designed to explain nothing to the insured. Procedural codes are used when no one has a code book.
- By design, the medical community sends bills directly to the insurance companies for payment; the insurance companies don’t know what services were actually provided, and the insured can’t figure out the codes on the bill.
- In 20 years of dealing with more than 35 different hospital bills, every single one had significant billing errors, mistakes, and inflated prices due to their unique method of “bundling” the cost of their medical services;
- An 80/20 percent coverage breakdown is always misleading since the insurance companies have their own means of reducing their 80 percent with their interpretation of “reasonable and customary charges” after the services have been rendered;
- Most good providers are not paid what they’re worth, and insurance companies have controlled their practice and incentives with mismanaged care.
- And finally, most people who have filed for bankruptcy in the last several years did so due to outrageous medical bills, and most of those bankrupted people had medical insurance.
The insurance community is a very large part of the sick-care problem, and several years ago we chose to drop all coverage. In lieu of health insurance, we don’t drink or smoke, and we eat only healthy, organic foods – no aspartame, high-fructose corn syrup, sodium nitrate, or MSG. We try to exercise regularly and live a healthy lifestyle. Novel concept, I’m sure; however, we’ve established our own incentives for reducing the need for chemical, drugs, fake foods, and toxins. As a result, our overall healthcare costs have been drastically reduced.
Get rid of health insurance, and medical costs must drop to what the market can bear.
Terry M. Harden