My friend died.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by vrDrew, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #1
    At age 56. From an infection of an undiagnosed cancerous tumor. His neighbors noticed that the mail and newspapers had been piling up and called the police.

    I don't know where to start with Tom. A gregarious, intelligent, witty guy. One of the best natural salespeople I've ever known.

    Tom had gotten downsized out of a good professional sales job some years ago. He'd tried, hard, to make a new career for himself. But in order to make ends meet, he'd also taken an (IMHO) dead-end part-time job in a supermarket. We rarely saw him socially because of the second-shift hours he worked.

    Tom was also a hard-right Conservative. We sorta agreed not to talk too much about politics.

    I spent most of the summer in Europe. And when I returned in September I learned that he'd finally quit the supermarket job because of back problems. I asked him if he'd seen a doctor, because if he'd injured his back on the job, the treatment would be covered by Workmans Compensation. He acted as if I'd suggested he join the Cominterm.

    Tom hated Barack Obama. He hated Obamacare for reasons I never quite understood. He hadn't seen a proper doctor in a decade or more.

    And he died, alone, in a grotty apartment.

    It's probably a mistake for me to draw too many concrete conclusions from all this. But I do see too many of my friends, white men in their early middle-age, guys who got pushed out of the corporate-paid healthcare system, dying alone and dreadfully prematurely because they lacked affordable access to healthcare.

    And the tragedy is they vote Republican. Because they are going to keep them safe from the nasty muslims and lazy mexicans.

    I'm so angry, and sad, right now.
     
  2. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #2
    I'm shocked that you took an unfortunate event and used it as a diatribe against Republicans/Conservatives. [/sarcasm]

    It is sad that you look at everything including your friend's death through a political lens.

    I'm sorry for your loss.
     
  3. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3

    Well, in this case I do.

    Tom was, to put it nicely, a dick when it came to politics. And he's not the first such guy I've known who held on to the sort of rabid Reichwing political philosophy, and yet ended up dying at a tragically early age because he couldn't go to the ****ing doctor.

    So yeah. White men's lives matter. Stop being such ****ing imbeciles. And vote for Democrats. Or at least people who are going to do something to fix the cluster **** that is the healthcare system in this country.
     
  4. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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  5. Vanilla Ice macrumors 6502

    Vanilla Ice

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    I am very sorry for your loss. On the other hand, no Democrat is going to give you the medical coverage you need. We are talking about a very big government that only cares about the money that keeps their pockets fat. Democrat or Republican. White or Black.
     
  6. NT1440 macrumors G5

    NT1440

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    It takes a keen eye to ignore systemic issues and instead go whistling through the graveyard merrily while your own country continues its decades long slide into pathetic apathy.

    People in countries with universal healthcare tend to actually visit the doctor, because the value of a healthy society is actually seen as a virtue rather than a non-consideration as it is here.
     
  7. bambooshots macrumors 65816

    bambooshots

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    #7
    Sorry for your loss.

    Your friend may have avoided doctors even if healthcare was free; some people just don't like going to the doctor.

    For some people, death may be preferable to getting poked or prodded.

    It sucks, but it is what it is.
     
  8. Hater macrumors 6502a

    Hater

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    #8
    We have the NHS. People still die in the mid 50's, alone in grotty apartments.
     
  9. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Thanks for your response.

    What you say is true. And, to be completely honest, I can't say that my friend would have gone to the doctor even if he'd had access to (British) NHS style healthcare.

    But I do have to wonder.

    And the reality is that that, here in the US, if he had gone to seek medical attention, a fair amount of the time he spent at the clinic or hospital would have been dedicated to working out the payment arrangements.

    Tom didn't.

    And he ended up being cut to pieces by the county medical examiner all the same. I just wonder if his family will get a bill for this last service.
     
  10. darksithpro macrumors 6502a

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    #10

    Sorry for your loss, but I agree with @ucfgrad93 on this one. Ten years ago was the dawn of Obama's 2 year tenure, so I don't think you should be looking at this through a political lens in today's landscape. If he didn't like doctors, chances are he'd be the same way, regardless of what administration, or country with free health care offered. Some people are like that.
     
  11. bradl macrumors 68040

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    You really don't want me to bring up the story of my wife again. You really don't.

    BL.
     
  12. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #12
    America does have an issue with access to healthcare that’s much greater than the U.K. for its poorer residents.
     
  13. A.Goldberg, Oct 25, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018

    A.Goldberg macrumors 68020

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    #13
    My deepest condolences for your loss @vrDrew. I’m so sorry for the situation Tom found himself in towards the end of his life.

    Sadly, these situations of people dying in their homes and going unnoticed for extended periods isn’t entirely uncommon. Maybe 10 years ago in the town I grew up in in CT a reclusive woman died and went undiscovered for I believe around a year. Eventually the mailman became concerned about the amount of mail piling up. Basically she could not be identified immediately because the decomposition was so bad.

    Last year in my current neighborhood in MA a woman died and went undiscovered for months until her neighbors became concerned.

    As you may know I work in healthcare and I like to think I have a pretty good understanding of insurance system in the US. After dealing with thousands of patients over the years I can tell you Obamacare may have not made a difference. I can’t tell you how many patients forgo healthcare simply because they cannot afford the deductibles and copays- it’s an overwhelming amount. I practically run an unofficial consulting clinic out of my office for my hospital’s low level, underinsured, low wage employees (cafeteria staff, cleaning staff,l, etc) who cannot afford their Rx medications. Basically I find them supplemental financial support programs or suggest cheaper medications that will do the same thing as what they’re prescribed. In many cases they have serious chronic health problems that go untreated despite being insured.

    I can also tell you in both the afformentioned of women dying and going undiscovered for months, both lived in some of the most affluent towns in their respective states. The woman who died in my current neighborhood lived in a multimillion dollar home. The woman in CT lived in a $1m+ home.

    I’m not sure you can ascribe dying alone with a lack of insurance, that can happen to anyone who fails to maintain social connections. I can however definitely sympathize with Tom’s situation and can relate to your frustrstion around insurance- believe me I deal with it daily. The fact is many insured people can barely afford the premiums, but past that can’t afford to utilize their plan. It’s a big problem and it doesn’t seem to be improving. Healthcare costs are simply too expensive for lower middle class individuals and families.

    Here in Mass we have what’s to be considered one of the best Medicaid programs in the state- it’s actuslly very comprehensive coverage. But if you make too much money, you get stuck going through the state exchange and end up with horrifically expensive plans that generally aren’t great. For people with significant chronic health problems, it seems like they’d be better off quitting their job, getting MassHealth, and collecting disability. It’s unfortunate because these people actually want to work.

    In regards to his opposition against Obamacare and Democratic platform, that remains a mystery. The people who would generally benefit the most from their policy (white, blue collar, working class/lower middle class) are the ones who are most opposed to the Democratic policies.
     
  14. blackfox macrumors 65816

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    vrDrew, I reiterate sympathies for what has happened, but it is probably a mistake to discuss it here. Sooner or later, Tom will get lost in an argument about Healthcare (in this Country and as a concept), and that will do neither you nor Tom any good. I feel that the argument (i feel you) made - is a good one, but we as a Society can't come to terms on this issue...personalizing the issue will probably not change any minds or give you peace-of-mind. Again, my sympathies.
     
  15. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Any single experience (either mine or yours) is an anecdote. And I'm all too aware of the dangers in drawing too many sweeping conclusions from one's own personal experience.

    But I have been aware for some time of the larger issue here: White, middle-aged, working-class men are dying at an alarming rate in this country.

    I think that the authors of the study cited by Brookings got it right: "Death of Despair" is a fitting description.

    And I also suspect, very strongly, that the same sense of despair is what motivated so many of that cohort to vote for Donald Trump.

    Would a fully-implemented, funded, and functioning Obamacare (Wisconsin Governor Walker rejected Medicaid Expansion) have saved Tom? Who knows.

    But I think a lack of access to health care is part of an overall problem. A problem that includes limited opportunities for meaningful employment; a breakdown of the sort of social connections that prior generations enjoyed, and a sense of fear and bewilderment at a world that seems spinning out of control.

    My friend Tom died of despair. He chose to focus a lot of that despair on hating Democrats.

    I think that was a mistake.
     
  16. GermanSuplex, Oct 25, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018

    GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a

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    People, unfortunately, will use emotion to vote against their own best interest (not necessarily them singularly, but their community/city/state/country as a whole).

    What we need are things like entitlement reforms - true abuses of the system, not kicking poor people off of it or vilifying single parents, etc. - we need to get rid of the simple majority votes in the house and senate to force compromise, etc. A lot of the divisiveness would work itself out by forcing people to come to the table.

    Unfortunately, there are also people who will only vote one way based on their religious, personal beliefs and, sadly, loathing and bigotry of others.
     
  17. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020

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    #17
    Sorry, I mistyped that first part you quoted. I meant to say the people who would benefit from the Democratic platform the most (unemployed/underemployed middle-America lower middle class white people) seem to be the most opposed. In other words, their political views oppose their own self benefit.

    I would agree there is a major societal problem leading to unhappiness- not just white working class males, but I do think Trump’s election is in part related to this.

    I don’t think you can assume retrospectively what would have saved Tom.

    Anyone who spends all their waking life full of despiar is bound to live a miserable existence. Focusing on hate and resentment is no way to go through life.
     
  18. webbuzz macrumors 68000

    webbuzz

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    #18
    I am not shocked.
     
  19. stylinexpat, Oct 25, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018

    stylinexpat macrumors 65816

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    My uncle told me about a local doctor who was really famous and very very busy with patients. He took 20% of the money he earned from his patients and put it in one if his drawers at the office. That drawer was for those who could not afford medical care. He worked 6 days a week. 1 of those days he worked only to help and service the poor at his office. He felt that he could not only help and profit from treating those that could afford treatment while leaving others that were less fortunate without medical help.
     
  20. Huntn, Oct 25, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018

    Huntn macrumors P6

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    #20
    It struck me more as an observation than a diatribe.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 25, 2018 ---
    Ultimately, their prejudices preempt their judgement, volunteering to step on rake, but unaware of the long term ramifications and consequences or feeling so strong about it they don't care how it effects them, but later they will cry about it.
     
  21. spacemnspiff macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    I am sorry for your loss, I agree with most of the sentiments here that it would be dignified to leave political impulses out. What I can draw from this discussion that your friend was not friendless and probably had some sense of peace knowing that there were people like you who would feel the loss his passing.

    I had an uncle like that, on the free day, there would be a line down the street and he mostly worked for 18-20 hours straight that day. When he passed away, what looked like 1000 people showed up at the funeral.
     
  22. BeeGood macrumors 68000

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    #22
    My dad is like this. To my knowledge, he’s never once in his life voted for a Republican but he’ll wait years to get seen for issues.

    He just avoids medical care. And he’s stubborn. It’s an issue with older males (regardless of race or politics).
     
  23. Vanilla Ice macrumors 6502

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    #23
    No I do not.
     
  24. bradl macrumors 68040

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    Exactly. Which is why one really shouldn't be talking about if no Blue is going to give us the health insurance we need, when one particular Blue POTUS did that, albeit a bastardized version of it because the Reds thought it would be a death tax/death panels, too expensive, and drive us into debt...

    ... Yet those same Reds, when in power, wanted to not only repeal it, but couldn't even put their own heads together to come up with a replacement. In effect, they were called out with "well, can you do any better?", which they were shown that they can't.

    ... And now today, the Reds are saying that they are the ones who are fighting to keep the people's coverage for pre-existing conditions?

    Like I said, you don't want me to bring up the story of my wife; BOTH of them (yes, there's more, as we had yet another episode), let alone call out the Republicans and Trump supporters for their bold faced lies, deception, hypocrisy, and outright ******** regarding health insurance coverage.

    BL.
     
  25. FrenchRoasted macrumors regular

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    #25
    I don't understand. Obama brought us socialist healthcare, the problem is solved. Why are people complaining?
     

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