Sympathy For Jon Caldara?

Does Jon Caldara really believe it?

This weekend, reporter Tim Hoover of the Denver paper wrote an excellent recap of the “Hands Off My Healthcare” protest organized by Americans For Prosperity at the Colorado Capitol on Friday afternoon. In welcome contrast to some recent whitewashes of outlandish conservative antics on the steps of the Capitol by the Denver paper, Hoover faithfully reported the signage (“End Medical Licensing”), and some of the wacky things said by speakers at this rally.

There was one thing Hoover reported that particularly struck us, that we had missed in the report we got on this rally and we really wish Hoover had been able to follow up on. Speaking before a paltry crowd of 100-150, Independence Institute President Jon Caldara told the audience something rather shocking. Caldara has had several children, one of whom died at a young age, and another a victim of Downs Syndrome who has, according to Caldara, required ten surgeries in only eight years. It’s a legitimately sad story.

On Friday, Caldara flat-out told his audience, “If this law stands, I will lose another child.”

Folks, what could he possibly mean by this? Any theories based in reality?

It’s a serious question–our first instinct was to blow this off as typical Caldara bombast, but it occurred to us that a lot of the people in attendance are going to believe everything said from that podium without question. From there, we began to consider the possibility than Caldara might honestly believe this too. After all, he’s talking about his own children.

We’re not sure about that, though. We do think it would be quite appalling for Caldara to make such a statement about one’s own child knowing it’s not true. And if Caldara, who we believe to be an intelligent man not as given over to irrational ravings as some on the left might think, really does think that the Affordable Care Act will result in the death of his child, not “may” but “will,” reporters need to get over their squeamishness and ask him why he thinks that.

We’d say Caldara should either be called out for misusing this tragedy so crassly, or brought up to speed on what Obamacare actually does so he doesn’t go through life thinking Obama wants to kill his child. And perhaps to set the guy with the “death panel mentors” sign straight.

61 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlue says:

    He’s never going to justify this ridiculous statement, because he cannot.

    Reporters are never going to question Caldara because he schmoozes with them.

    Caldara spreads his lunacy and nobody calls him on it because he is “in the club.”

    At some point, either he or the reporters he’s co-opted into silence will retire.

  2. DavidThi808 says:

    I personally think it’s reprehensible to say lies like this about your own child. But this particular depth has already been plumbed by the Republicans.

  3. PERA hopeful says:

    Failing that, maybe DaveThi could dust off his interviewer’s cap.

    Seriously, I remember reading about Caldara’s little girl with the brain tumor and it was a heartbreaking story.  I can’t imagine that any parent who lived through that horror would talk lightly about losing another child.  He must believe that it’s true, and I would love it if one of our resident interviewers could find out why.

    • BlueCat says:

      I also wonder what they’re talking about when they say it will raise middle class taxes now that the Supreme’s have said the penalty is a tax.  Obviously if you have insurance, and I assume the hands off people do and like  what they have, you will not have to pay that tax/penalty which is too paltry to act as much a of a deterrent anyway.

      Since there is nothing in the bill about any kind of public/government plan except for expanding Medicaid, why do they keep talking about government death panels? Since private insurers are the ones that have been refusing insurance to cancer survivors, people who have donated organs or with any sort of “preexisting” condition, subjecting the sick to caps or dropping them outright, it’s clear which bureaucrats are running the death panels: Private for profit company bureaucrats.

      And since a large chunk of the middle class population is already on public, government run plans such as medicare, VA etc., where is the evidence that these people are being decimated by death panels?  As far as Caldera’s claims are concerned, many more children like his will have a better chance of obtaining quality care without bankrupting their parents with the ACA than without it.

      Hey MSM reporters out there. Do your job.  That goes double for all Dem campaigns. Stop hiding and start aggressively educating the public about what’s really in the plan. That’s what they did in Massachusetts when they put the nearly identical Romney plan into place so you already have a successful ad campaign template ready to go. This is a golden opportunity for an info do-over.  Grab it and run with it.

      • PERA hopeful says:

        But if nobody asks, how would we know?  If his little boy has had 10 surgeries, my guess is he’d be in a lot more jeopardy of hitting the maximum lifetime benefit and losing coverage under the current system.  But as I said, if nobody has the sense to ask, we’ll never know.

  4. harrydoby says:

    Their strategy will be “Rinse and Repeat”.  

    Between a gullible public and a timid, deferential press, there is little need to defend or retract anything, no matter how patently false or outrageously misleading.

    Paraphrasing Dick Cheney, “Truth doesn’t matter”

  5. dwyer says:

    His first child, a little girl, died suddenly of a fast growing cancerous brain tumor.  His second child is another little girl, whom I believe is healthy.  His third child is a boy, who has Down’s Syndrome.  I believe he has spoken previously about the cost of medical care for his son.  

    He needs to follow up specifically on how he would lose a second child if Obama care is instituted.

    • allyncooper says:

      Caldera (whom I personally like) is using emotional blackmail here.

      My father has been diagnosed (by proxy) by several therapists as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and emotional blackmail is is how a narcissist manipulates, so I know the behavior well.

      For instance, one time when he was trying to manipulate me he said he hadn’t felt so bad since his mother died. The implication was I was a “bad” son because I made him feel bad. Of course his mother dying 15 years earlier had nothing to do with the current issue we were having, but that’s how narcissists manipulate.

      Seems to me Caldera is invoking emotional blackmail because he can’t come up with a rational cause and effect of losing another child because of Obamacare.

      I’m not saying Caldera has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (only a professional could make that diagnosis) but he is using emotional blackmail here.

  6. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Some individuals in this community legitimately believe that universal health care will lead to delays in delivery of services for people with chronic conditions, related to the unlikeliness of a positive outcome and the high costs of prolonging the life of a person who has a shortened life expectancy already. For instance, a woman I was in contact with who lives in Canada went from being a leading athlete in her sport (fencing) to being unable to walk within months, and instead of care was referred for psychiatry; it took her over two years to get a nerve conduction test done, which, by that time, showed severe generation of her central and peripheral nervous systems. By the time she got any care at all, she was so degenerated she was eligible for hospice care–so, again, no treatment.

    These terrifying stories are anecdotal and are always paralleled by similarly terrifying anecdotes of people who do not receive care because they cannot afford it under the current US system. However, they are very real and if we pretend they never happen, we risk designing a universal health care system that replicates all the flaws baked into similar systems around the world. We shouldn’t allow our commitment to delivering care to put rose-colored glasses on us when we have the incredible opportunity to learn from literally dozens of similar systems’ mistakes. Just like a country designing a privatized system would be foolish not to look at the US system and try to avoid the problems caused by employer responsibility for health insurance, we would be foolish not to look at the Canadian and UK systems and try to avoid the problems that cause slow or nonexistent delivery of care to people with chronic, disabling and/or terminal conditions.

    A person is no less human because of a disability, and individual choice must be respected in health care. People with Down Syndrome are often perfectly capable of understanding the risks and costs of prolonging their lives, and if Caldara’s child wishes to have additional surgeries to prolong her life, that care should be delivered promptly and competently. There are absolutely many people in the health care system who disagree and would prefer to prioritize neurotypical people’s care. In face, many in the health care establishment would like to see Down Syndrome eliminated through selective abortion and minimal life-prolonging care for those already living in order to reduce the likelihood they will themselves reproduce.

    Caldara isn’t going crazy, but he is being selfish. The fact is, under the current system, his personal wealth allows him to command prompt delivery of care for his child. If the Affordable Care Act isn’t implemented, many other families will lose children because they cannot do the same and must receive a lower tier of care, or no care at all, instead of the premium care Caldara’s child now gets. Family wealth is not an acceptable way to judge who is most deserving of life, even if making judgments on that basis could prolong Caldara’s child’s life (at the expense of other lives). I would love to see Caldara get involved in organizations like ADAPT and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition and help those groups get their recommendations to the politicians implementing the ACA, in order to ensure that we become the first nation with universal health care that truly does not discriminate against people with disabling and terminal conditions.

    • harrydoby says:

      I’m puzzled by this statement:

      Caldara isn’t going crazy, but he is being selfish. The fact is, under the current system, his personal wealth allows him to command prompt delivery of care for his child.

      The implication being that under Obamacare, Caldara (if he has the means to afford it) couldn’t continue to receive whatever level of care for his son that he chooses.

      I have no idea if Caldara is wealthy or not, nor how he pays for his son’s current care.  But I can not envision any scenario under the ACA that would prevent a sufficiently wealthy person to purchase any medical services they wish.

      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        However, if you add 30 million customers to the health insurance system (the estimate sold with the individual mandate) and continue to have a dearth of family physicians, increasing medical school tuition expenses, slow growth in personal income for physicians, and extremely rapidly rising costs for malpractice insurance, I think you’re going to have a little bit of an adjustment period while we work out the details and figure out how to keep delivering services promptly as people who might have previously accepted shorter lives with more suffering rather than accessed care, now begin accessing care.

        In other words, if every family with a child who needs Surgery A can afford it when previously 10-20% of them could not, and the number of surgeons capable of performing Surgery A remains static (as it is likely to do until the economy and educational system react to Obamacare, which will take time), and the cost of Surgery A is billed to insurers rather than to individuals, there will be 10-20% more families in line for Surgery A and this may, for some families, delay Surgery A despite their personal wealth.

        It is my understanding that certain “Cadillac” insurance plans (to be taxed under Obamacare) do provide the service of cutting the line by paying a lot more up front. I assume Caldara could probably afford such a plan for his family, especially since his child will not be excluded or dropped based on the pre-existing condition of Down Syndrome, thanks to Obamacare. However, I can understand his apprehension given that everyone with a brain can see that Obamacare is just the beginning of health care reform and a lot more will need to be done to make it work, all of it in the direction of expanding access and lowering costs of care.

        • harrydoby says:

          I agree with your basic analysis of the market effect of increasing the demand.  That was obvious to me 2 years ago when the law was initially passed.

          But one thing that is assuredly true — for the right price, the supply of services will continue to be provided.

          Your statement:

          The fact is, under the current system, his personal wealth allows him to command prompt delivery of care for his child.

          Will be equally true under any implementation of ACA and whatever market adjustments that will inevitably ensue.

          As always, the expansion of services for the poor will, even under ACA, not guarantee equal service for all.  But there is no need to worry about the wealthy’s access to the best medical care being proscribed.

          • unnamed says:

            …I think PG thinks that Caldera THINKS that he will have to worry about his access to affordable healthcare being impeded by ACA.  Either because he drinks the kool-aid or because he’s trying to promote his worldview and ACA goes against that in his mind.

            • BlueCat says:

              The plan does nothing to dislodge the private insurance industry. The people added to the system will still mainly have far lesser insurance plans and fewer options than those who can afford premium plans.  The  wealthy will continue to be able to afford a level of care beyond the reach of the majority.

              While the ACA accomplishes some good things like allowing cancer survivors to get insurance, it also doesn’t accomplish anything close to erasing the difference between the haves and the have-nots in terms of access to health care.  The wealthy and those lucky enough to be on gold plated health care plans really needn’t fret. The level of care available for any child will still depend on whether or not the child had the foresight to be born into the right family.

              Caldera is an intelligent man and knows that the words coming out of his mouth are total bull as he speaks them. He is simply raising the straw man argument to dizzying heights. The ACA he argues against exists only as completely fabricated misinformation, the sole purpose of which is to scare the masses into, once again, giving the elite their votes against their own interests.  

              The Koch brothers and their acolytes didn’t create their “grassroots” organizations to help the 99% but to scare the hell out of it to keep it in line. They still do need the votes, after all.

              • harrydoby says:

                That’s another Day One task for Mitt “Corporations are people, my friend” Romney.

                With a GOP president, Congress and Supreme Court, I could see granting corporations full citizenship rights.  And since opening the corporate treasuries might not be enough to guarantee absolute electoral victory all the time, I would think granting all corporations 1 vote per outstanding share of stock should be sufficient to render the carbon-based lifeforms infesting the planet irrelevant, once and for all.

    • dwyer says:

      UK and Canada are both government provided health care, not regulation of private health insurance.  The latter is what AHC is.

      Caldara’s disabled child is male and is under ten years old.  Your following statement is not relevant.

      People with Down Syndrome are often perfectly capable of understanding the risks and costs of prolonging their lives, and if Caldara’s child wishes to have additional surgeries to prolong her life, that care should be delivered promptly and competently

      Now I have a question for you.  Aren’t children with certain disabilities already eligible for government funded health care.? I thought that they were, but I don’t know for sure.

      Also, I thought that Down’s Syndrome people could not reproduce, although again, I could be wrong.

      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        Apologies for the misgendering of the child.

        My niece was seven when she had a broken bone for the first time, and doctors gave her options. On the more serious side of the spectrum, kids with cancer often are asked as it becomes obvious they are terminal if they want to continue chemo or not. Obviously, it’s ultimately the parents’ decision, but children facing such serious decisions can and should have a say — NT or not.

        DS usually comes with sterility for males and reduced fertility for females with increased risk of miscarriage, but women with DS can and do have children.

        Your point about regulation vs. government care is valid, but most conservatives believe this is the first step towards government delivery of care, and I hope they’re right.

    • DaftPunk says:

      I have no idea who they are, but the rumors are out there.

      many in the health care establishment would like to see Down Syndrome eliminated through selective abortion and minimal life-prolonging care for those already living in order to reduce the likelihood they will themselves reproduce.

      OK, who?  Obamacrat death panel overlords at HHS?

      You’ve just stepped into Rick Santorum world by accusing some nebulous group of people of wanting to implement eugenics, and I’m curious who that group is, since I work in the health care establishment and volunteer in the Pro-Chioice movement, and have never met any of them.

      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        I worked with a few hundred and most have run into doctors who look forward to the elimination of ds through eugenic measures. Abortion providers don’t seem to be in that category — I heard it mostly about ordinary ob-gyns more than anything. Docs who believe in choice for any and every reason seem to also support the choice to parent a kid with a disability.  

        • DaftPunk says:

          And I’ve never heard such a thing.  Pro-choice, anti-choice, on medical websites where the cloak of anonymity is identical to here, I’ve never heard of it.  The termination rate for Down fetuses is much lower in Colorado than nationwide.  It’s a fair stretch to take some anecdotes and imply, as you did, that there is a significant movement in medicine that, if encouraged by bureaucratic cost saving measures, would unleash a program of eugenics against Down syndrome.

          p.s. Patient anecdotes are notoriously inaccurate.  I’ve heard people “quote” things I’ve supposedly said, which would never in a million years cross my lips.

          • Barron X says:

            U R extra-ordinary.  

          • BlueCat says:

            First, any argument concerning what government would do to interfere in these decisions is a straw man argument since ACA is not a single payer government run health care plan in the first place. Not even close.  Not even providing a voluntary public option.

            Second, as you say, even if it was a pure, universal single payer plan, no evidence that there is a movement toward eugenics to eliminate DS in any government plans that already exist has been brought forward. You’d think the right would be shouting it from the roof tops if they had any to support their death panel meme.    

            We already have large numbers of people of child bearing age via Medicaid,  the VA  and as active military in government run programs. These would be the logical places to look for statistical evidence via comparison with the world of private health insurance of a specifically public, as opposed to private, health care system eugenic plot or any other kind of “death panel”, for instance the supposed death panels for seniors.  Any evidence seniors in the government run Medicare Plan are being pushed toward elimination?  

            What “some” people in emotionally stressful situations, desperately searching for answers or for someone or something to blame are saying or have heard others saying should have no place in a rational discussion of ACA or anything else.  Either stats are available to back up these allegations or they’re not because we already do have lots of people in public plans producing plenty of stats.  

          • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

            But I don’t see any reason that the parent of a child with a disability would lie to me about what her doctor told her when she received the screening. I suppose everyone can only see things from their side, and people who are constantly in and out of the medical system with a child with severe health problems certainly tend to have a particularly dim view of the trustworthiness of doctors, while doctors who deal with patients day in and day out may take a dim view (such as yours expressed above) of the trustworthiness of patients.

            You’re deluding yourself if you think all doctors are magic people immune to the same prejudices that plague individual human beings in any other field. Some doctors are fantastic — one of them is my PCP. Some doctors are jerks. As the old joke says, “You know what you call someone who graduated last in his class at medical school? Doctor.”

            Not every patient is honest, surely, but not every doctor is perfect, surely. The diary asked what Caldara might be thinking. I am reluctant to assume the worst of him, and knowingly using the prospective death of a child to score political points would absolutely be the worst. I don’t think there are very many people that evil in the world, but I know for a fact there are absolutely people in the world whose experiences with the medical system have made them afraid of any change that could be viewed as giving “the system” more say and patients less, and based on their experiences, those fears may be incorrect, but they are not crazy or unreasonable. I would feel the same way if I had the experiences some of them describe.

            I don’t want to share anecdotes, because people deserve privacy (even anonymously) and you’ve already decided not to believe anything that comes from a patient’s mouth and is related to you. That’s your right. But I know what I’ve heard and I know I’ve heard it too many times for none of those things to ever have been true. Hell, I know my own mother, if she were a doctor (something she easily might have been–there are several in the family and she’s by far smart enough), would behave exactly the same way and believe she was doing the right thing.  

            • Aristotle says:

              But they do exaggerate, and filter news through emotional filters, and process things until they’re well distorted. Not intentionally, but there’s a reason why police and prosecutors place little stock in eyewitness testimony.

              • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                But the same is surely true of Daft, who processes things through her respect for the medical community.

                You only need to go out in public a few times with someone obviously disabled to get a grasp of how much of able-bodied, neurotypical society tends to view them. I had a neighbor for a while who was of normal intelligence but had a severe stutter and was very socially awkward as a result. I was shocked to overhear the lovely woman next door, who I’d perceived as incredibly warm and caring, gossip about the neighbor with a speech condition, to the tune of, “Why don’t they put people like that in group homes instead of in apartment complexes where they annoy normal people?”

                I can only see through the filter of my own experiences, like anyone else, and my own experiences lead me to believe that most nice people really have absolutely no concept of how much outright malice and hatred is directed toward people with disabilities. We wouldn’t ever suggest to a woman that she is a drain on society for not aborting her child or that her son should be left to die, so we have a hard time believing anyone else would.  But people would, and when they do it, they genuinely think they’re doing the right thing. Hell, even Autism Speaks, the world’s biggest fundraising organization for Autism, put out an official documentary that presents as sympathetic and praise-worthy a mother who considered killing her Autistic daughter — and in the documentary, she tells the story in front of her obviously extremely uncomfortable daughter, who is unable to verbally express her discomfort due to her condition.

                • BlueCat says:

                  if you think this is a general problem among health care givers, what does it have to do with specific objections, such as Caldera’s, to the ACA? Caldera is saying that children will die as a result of the ACA, not that health care givers in general are trying to steer parents to abort or not treat DS babies. Why give any credence to that without foundation in verifiable hard facts.

                  What Caldera seems to be arguing against is a public government run plan which has nothing to do with the ACA but in any case, he hasn’t produced any evidence that public government plans that already exist have been more likely to favor eugenic elimination of DS babies than the private health care system which, one more time, remains completely in place under the ACA. Are women in the VA system being pressured to abort or not treat more so than those in the private insurance system, for instance? Show the stats.

                  I just don’t see what merit there is in Caldera’s incendiary remarks about the ACA and what it would cause to happen as opposed to what happens now, especially since this bill allows him to keep the insurance he has now.  That’s why those remarks, specific to the ACA, are unadulterated bull, regardless of what you are hearing people say about their experiences in the present system.

                  • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                    The diary asked why Caldara might believe this.

                    I think he’s wrong, but I think that anyone raising a child with DS may become fearful of anything they perceive as potentially putting more decision-making power in the hands of anyone other than the patient or patient’s legal guardian. I can relate to the train of thought and the strong emotions driving it, while considering his conclusion incorrect.

                    I think Caldara’s kid is likely to receive the same level of care under the ACA as he does today; however, several things that conservatives tend to accept as truth about the ADA would, if true, make his fears somewhat reasonable, within the context of the extreme anxiety it can cause a parent to feel uncertain about his child’s future. IF the ACA’s implementation expanded patient rolls without expanding provider availability, IF quality of care is compromised without meaningful expansion of access, and IF the ACA results in longer waiting times for care and reduced patient choice, kids like Caldara’s child could be at greater risk.

                    I do not think any of those consequences are inevitable or intended by the ACA. Every analysis I’ve read (and I did multiple research papers on Obamacare for CSU) indicates this is not going to happen, or at least will not affect wealthy families. But I can empathize with Caldara’s fear for his child, given the framework within which he is viewing the ACA.  

                    • BlueCat says:

                      Caldera  doesn’t say that he thinks a child like his will die in the future because of any of the contingencies you bring up.  He simply says the ACA itself means that it will (not might or eventually) happen. He offers no facts.

                      Maybe a quick return to the subject query is in order.  “Sympathy for Jon Caldera?”

                      Yes, for suffering the incalculable agony of losing one child and having another about whom he is probably deeply concerned and anxious, especially vis a vis what life will be like for that child if and when parents are no longer around to give care and protection. Yes, yes, yes.

                      Does he deserve sympathy for presenting factually incorrect information about ACA because of his personal situation?  No.  

                      Does his version of what the ACA contains, unsupported by a single fact he has seen fit to present, deserve to be accepted at face value as having validity? No.

                      Does the media need to demand of him the factual basis for his accusation, such as the provisions on which he bases his blanket statement? Absolutely. This would remove the need to indulge in any speculation as to what his feelings and fears may or may not be or whether or not he actually knows what’s in the ACA beyond what conservatives “tend to think”.

                    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                      Folks, what could he possibly mean by this? Any theories based in reality?

                      That’s my theory, and I suspect if he is pressed to elaborate on his thesis, he will say something similar.

                      I sympathize with his fears and I do not think that it is unreasonable to be somewhat paranoid about government involvement in health care for people with developmental disabilities, given the overall abysmal record of federal treatment of people with those conditions. Ironically, though, most of the most egregious instances (from forced sterilization to Reagan’s cuts to today’s underfunding of IDEA) are a result of conservative policies.  

                    • BlueCat says:

                      We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this. I think that the “reality based” stipulation rules out imagining someone’s possible emotions as a basis for a theory. To me it means theories based on actual any items in the act to which he might  have been referring. Perhaps a bit of unclear wording that could be presented as evidence that a reasonable person could reach the same mistaken conclusion that he reached, as an example. That would fit “based in reality” for me. Speculations on his emotional state don’t.

                      But here are my purely gut level speculations, not meant to fit that rquirement.  I don’t read him as the type of person to be so undone by his emotions as to become unaware of what he’s saying or why.

            • DaftPunk says:

              you’ve already decided not to believe anything that comes from a patient’s mouth and is related to you.

              But that’s not what I said.

              • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                I don’t want to type up a bunch of anecdotes when you’ve already said patient anecdotes don’t mean much to you. I can’t fathom a situation in which one would change your mind.

                There was a lot of opposition in Texas in 2008 to a pretty simple law requiring that anyone who receives a prenatal diagnosis of a disability be provided with information on supports and services for people with disabilities, not just information on terminating the pregnancy. I’m usually opposed to anything that gets in the way of the doctor/patient relationship, but I hardly see the problem with requiring that someone be given accurate information on what a child with a disability can or cannot expect if the mother chooses to give birth. It’s that kind of thing that makes parents nervous.

                • DaftPunk says:

                  Many people in discriminated-against groups may be quicker to incorrectly interpret things people say  as slights, either through internalization of the majority’s biases, or as a conditioned response to the daily prejudices they face.  But I had a patient translate my saying “all our patients wear those” (underwear brand) to “I like your underwear.”

                  There was a lot of opposition in Texas in 2008 to a pretty simple law requiring that anyone who receives a prenatal diagnosis of a disability be provided with information on supports and services for people with disabilities, not just information on terminating the pregnancy.

                  I’m not sure you’re remembering this correctly, as I could find nothing about it, thought perhaps you’re thinking of this federal law, to which I could find no evidence of any opposition.

                  Perhaps you could have phrased it: “many in the disability community believe the health care establishment would like to see Down Syndrome eliminated through selective abortion and minimal life-prolonging care for those already living in order to reduce the likelihood they will themselves reproduce.” which would be true.  Otherwise you haven’t supported your claim.  

                  • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                    May be quicker to incorrectly interpret complaints about their industry as invalid or having no basis in reality, either through internalization of legitimate industry-wide risks of false accusation, or as a conditioned response to personal incidents of false accusation.

                    I get it: You have experienced a patient unintentionally falsely accusing you, so you have a greater tendency to assume that a patient’s statement which paints a doctor as behaving badly is a result of the patient mistranslating an innocent comment. But that’s EXACTLY THE SAME PHENOMENON cognitively that you’re identifying in members of the disability community. You’re discounting the valid experiences of another group because you perceive yourself as a member of a persecuted group, that of doctors who have to deal with idiot patients.

                    Really, I feel ya. I tend to laugh at anyone who gives “the mass media” too hard a time, because as someone who has a hand in publishing stuff to (literally) an audience of hundreds of millions, I tend to overcorrect for my own bias if anything. I get it. But you’re being foolish to attribute confirmation bias to people with disabilities and not to understand it to be at play in your own interpretation of the issue as well.

                    Here’s a source for ya:

                    A 2000 study found that nearly 25% of physicians who explain prenatal test results put a negative spin on a finding of Down syndrome, or actively encourage the parents to terminate the pregnancy. Furthermore, a 2005 survey of mothers with Down syndrome children uncovered a similar bias within the healthcare community when such a child was born.

                    Mothers reported their obstetrician telling them that they had “awful” news, or commenting about a newborn that “this could have been prevented … at an earlier stage.” In reality, a child with Down syndrome usually has only mild to moderate cognitive delays, and can make many positive contributions to society.

                    It may largely be a problem with how doctors in the U.S. are trained. Fully 45 percent of obstetric fellows report that their instruction on how to deliver a prenatal diagnosis is “barely adequate” or “nonexistent.” And 81 percent of medical students say they’re not getting any clinical training in how to talk with people who have intellectual disabilities.


                    Here’s another:

                    A 2000 anonymous survey of 499 primary care physicians in the United States, published by Georgetown University, indicated that only 4 percent of physicians who attend women whose babies are pre-natally diagnosed encourage them to continue the pregnancy and allow the baby with Down syndrome to be born.

                    Thirteen percent of doctors attending pregnant mothers whose babies are discovered to have Down syndrome, this survey said, “emphasize” the negative aspects of Down syndrome and 10 percent said they “urge” the mothers to terminate the life of the baby.



                    A recent study on attitudes of NICU staff and parents of children who are likely to have long term disabilities is telling: “Most health care workers ranked the most severe disability…as worse than death, whereas most parents of preterm infants ranked death as the worst outcome.”

                    Hugh Simon Lam, et al. Attitudes Toward Neonatal Intensive Care Treatment of

                    Preterm Infants With a High Risk of Developing Long-term Disabilities. Pediatrics


                    It seems fairly obvious (and this is just from a 20 second search) that there are areas of disagreement between the aggregate of DS parents and the aggregate of health care professionals on the moral rectitude of carrying a DS pregnancy to term. Even if only 10% of physicians “urge” pregnant women to abort in the case of DS, that is, as I said, many.

                    • DaftPunk says:

                      But you’ve described ignorance and paternalism, not a systemic program to eliminate Down’s.

                      You sound like the anti-choicers who say Planned Parenthood is racist because the rate of abortion is higher among blacks and there are more abortion clinics in communities of color.

                      “Eliminated through selective abortion” sounds like a eugenics program, not an individual choice made between a woman and her doctor.  It may be a poorly informed choice, but it sounds like one geared toward reducing the perceived hardship the effected family might suffer as a result of having an affected child, not a plan to rid the world of DS.

                    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                      If 10% of doctors actively encourage women to terminate DS pregnancies, another way of phrasing the exact same thing–a statistic based on a survey of doctors–would be to say that “10% of doctors do not feel DS pregnancies should be carried to term.”

                      How in the world does that not equate to hoping to see the elimination of Down Syndrome? Where, exactly, are the DS babies going to come from, if none of them are born?

                      I’m not morally condemning that; I understand that these doctors intend to do the right thing. I’m just saying that I can understand how someone who feels that a child with DS enhances their life and is grateful to have that child would find the medical establishment alarming, knowing that a certain number of doctors within that establishment do not think babies with Down Syndrome should be born.

                    • DaftPunk says:

                      The question is one of intent.

                      How in the world does that not equate to hoping to see the elimination of Down Syndrome? Where, exactly, are the DS babies going to come from, if none of them are born?

                      You can achieve the same results with different intent.

                      If I tell every woman who had fibroids that she needed a hysterectomy, either through my ignorance of other treatments or value judgements of what I believed their quality of life would be if they didn’t have one, I would effectively eliminate uteruses.  My intention would be to treat their symptoms, thereby improving their lives, but the effect would be eliminating uteruses.

                      Every doctor in the world could be poorly informed about the prospects of Down’s kids, have paternalistic views about counseling regarding termination, but if the only thought in their mind was improving the lives of the patient and their families, the resulting lack of down syndrome kids would not be the result of a plan to eliminate down syndrome.

                      You have made a scandalous charge about intent that is not supported by arguments about ignorance, bias and paternalism.  None of those things is good, and the disability community has legitimate gripes regarding how doctors counsel these families.  But because two things lead to the same result, does not mean both things have the same motivation.  

    • Barron X says:

      in earlier posts of yours,

      I am in thorough agreement with you on the points in THIS PARTICULAR post that concern the value and dignity of every human being.  

      I understand if you decline,

      but I would like to offer you honorary membership in the El Paso County Chapter of the American Constitution Party.  

      If you understand and agree with the essence of the Declaration of Independence so much that you were compelled to write this, it’s only a matter of time before you become a full-fledged conservative.

      To clarify, few Republicans are true conservatives; rather, most are money-grubbing pigs that already have theirs, and don’t want to share.  

      A conservative, on the other hand, recognizes and appreciates the Judeo-Christian foundation of our society,

      and what that tradition has done to nurture people and society.  

      U don’t need to belong to any particular religion, you just need to appreciate the value that religion in general contributes to order and opportunity.  

      Sure, people who believe in God are fools.  But that foolishness results in so many benefits to individuals and communities that, a posteriori, even a scientist-ist might embrace it.  

      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        Both parties tend to forget the essential human dignity of people with disabilities from time to time, and I suppose any third party that garnered enough influence to affect public policy measurably would probably end up doing the same thing.

        Some of my earliest political memories are of sitting on the lap of a family friend in his wheelchair and wheeling up with him to talk to politicians about disability rights and the points that became the Community Choice Act, simple legislation to allow people with disabilities to decide to use their care benefits for in-home care rather than being forced into nursing homes. I learned about it when I was no more than 6, and it STILL hasn’t passed, and people with disabilities are STILL being given the “nursing home or nothing” menu of options. I met a 25-year-old with MS who had been in a nursing home for two years where she was the only person under 80 and watched several roommates die of old age. She was fortunate enough to respond so well to a new drug that she was able to leave and live on her own with not even an in-home caregiver, but there are lots of young people still in “old folks’ homes” who could live with more dignity in their own homes.

        Although I take your offer in the spirit it was intended and deeply appreciate it, I am a Democrat to the core and doubt I will ever affiliate myself with any other party; however, I genuinely wish the ACP the very best in recruiting what you describe as true conservatives. The modern Republican party is a home for almost nobody who has any principles at all. There are many conservatives whose principles I vehemently disagree with, but can recognize as defensible within a consistent moral framework. Most modern Republicans, on the other hand, seem to rearrange the moral framework to fit whatever principles they’ve decided to articulate in accordance with the latest iteration of party doctrine.

        I value religion very much, myself. I wasn’t raised with any one in particular, but my parents did me the service of exposing me to various religious texts, from the Bible to traditional Hawaiian religious mythology. Dogma is harmful and tends to provoke violence; the thoughtful study of faith and theology expands the mind and tends to provoke better treatment of one’s fellow man. I switched my self-identification from “agnostic” to “interfaith” sometime last year.  

  7. Albert J. Nock says:

    Fortunately I have been blessed with good health, so have my family members on both sides.

    However, the only way I can afford health insurance is to forgo savings for college and retirement.

    Why do I feel like insurance is punishing me for good health or at least taking away my God given advantage?

    Caldara claims to support the free market, yet pre Obama, health insurance was resultant massive intervention, not a free market. For the past 100 years, health care and health insurance have been government controlled.

    As a free marketer myself, I always try to figure out if Obamacare is breaking down existing intervention and restoring a more free market or is Obamacare doubling down on government  intervention. This is what Jon Caldara should be pondering.

    This really is the age of confusion.

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      and you appear to be using the full immersion principles

    • But are you rich enough to afford hospitalization?  If you all of a sudden have a car accident or get cancer, can you afford the payments?  Because if not, you immediately become a burden on the community, and it’s because you’re thinking on saving money for yourself (college or retirement).

      I’ve spent money on insurance that I could easily have saved for retirement, because that insurance will likely save me a lot more money than I could save for retirement in the long run.  I don’t like how much I’m spending to do that – I think the system is rife with overcharging and profit-taking for what should IMHO be a non-profit function.  But that’s why I work for reform of the system – because it is important for all of society.

    • parsingreality says:

      Over the lat 50 years I’ve put, what, $50,000 of today’s dollars into car insurance?  That includes often having two cars and a motorcycle, sometimes. Most conservative case, $30,000.

      Insuring one nice car, one old van, and a MC in the mid 1980’s in California was costing me $1500 of that time’s dollars.  No wonder we voters passed Prop 104 (??).

      I have had one accident which both carriers deemed 100% the other guy’s fault. I have taunted the grim reaper (legally) white lining between cars in California working as a motorcycle courier in Lost Angeles.

      I’m a money maker for the insurance companies.

      My driving record is spotless.  Yet, I have to have car insurance and I don’t get the best rates because of some old credit dings.  WTF?  And I don’t drive or insure my Jeep because I can’t get any special rate for under 100 miles, or even 5,000, per year.  Full freight, no matter what.

      Car insurance, I’m sure, falls under the RICO statutes!

      BTW, the gummint’s not been in the health insurance bidness for a hundred years unless you count the military.  Full disclosure:  I WAS born in a naval hospital post WWII.

      As to Medicare, Medicaid, and all the offspring, we’re talking fifty years, just to round it off.  

      • MADCO says:

        Your facty reasonableness is not relevant.  

        We demand refudiation! With passion and MUS!  Solyndra!

        Here’s a hint, if you find yourself remembering personal experience without exaggeration or looking up an actual fact – you’re missing the point. Keystone! The well formed refudiation should make people nod energetically and shout out.  

        Death Panels! Free abortions on demand for foreigners!  Kenya!  

  8. Ralphie says:

    I have an enormous amount sympathy for anyone who lost one kid and has another with Down Syndrome.

  9. caroman says:

    As noted in previous days’ posts, there is some controversy about how many attended that rally.  Eli Stokols, Fox31 reported between 100-150.  I and other Polsters looked at the wide angle lens picture from behind the podium in the Denver Post and counted about 100 or so, which validated Stokols’ estimate.

    (Of course, we have our own ArapaGOoP who claimed that there were “at least 500” attendees.  But, there is no need to endulge the rantings of a truly crazy idiot.)

    But, the front page of the Saturday Denver Post had a blurb that said “hundreds protest health care law outside Colorado Capitol.”  And, Hoover’s first line in the Saturday DP edition starts, “Hundreds of conservatives… rallied outside the Colorado Capitol….”

    I emailed Hoover about this and he said, “I was at the rally. The photo didn’t show everyone who was there. I thought about 200 was right.”

    So, Hoover takes the 100 or so pictured in the wide angle shot, doubles it for those outside the wide angle shot and rounds up to 200 which now becomes “hundreds“!!!

    I guess a story about 100 or even 200 attendees isn’t as newsworthy as “Hundreds” of angry voters who aren’t going to take it anymore.

    I’d like Jason to comment on how “journalists” get away with hyping events like this.

    • BlueCat says:

      for progressive issues with over two hundred, sometimes a lot more than that, in attendance that got no coverage whatsoever. This one, meanwhile, gets coverage and gets called “hundreds”  when the highest half way serious estimate seems to be 200.  Yes, two is plural but generally “hundreds” implies more than just two.

      The bias toward conservatives in matters of coverage is pretty blatant.  Get 500 women and a few Dem members of the state government to rally for, say, equal pay for women and nobody hears about it. Get a handful of TPers or Kochsters and a figure like Caldera together for any reason and the media is all over it.    

      • Barron X says:

        150 qualifies as “hundreds,” because it is more than one “hundred.”  

        • caroman says:

          The range of “hundreds” would be 200 – 1,999.  

          Mr. Hoover “believes” there were 200 attendees so he felt entitled to use the term “hundreds”.  (Hoover doesn’t seem to trust his own paper’s photos and thinks there were about 100 attendees outside of the wide angle photo from behind the podium.)

          It’s completely misleading, at least on this planet.  

          I don’t know about Barron XXX’s or ArapaGOoP’s, or Hoover’s planet.

    • dukeco1 says:

      with Grand Junctions’ own, beloved, right wing, propagandist, Gary Harmon.

      Mr. Harmon is, by most accounts, a very nice man. He just happens to allow his point of view to color his reporting to a degree I have always found laughable. It becomes irritating when it is published on the front page of the local daily newspaper. My first letter (not the last) to the Daily Sentinel, complaining about the papers’ penchant for printing Mr. Harmons’ opinions as news, was in the 1980s.

      He did have (maybe still does) an opinion column for a time, but it was difficult to discern the difference, except for the location of the page. Yet, the soft, pink fingertips of our own precious Gary, continue to pound out stories in which, the world is viewed through a filter.

      Maybe it is just myopia. I sense nothing nefarious in Gary. On the other hand, he doesn’t speak to me…

      Perhaps some of my western slope bretheren (and is it “sistheren?) would care to expound on the shade of that filter??  🙂

  10. Barron X says:

    I’m bookmarking this diary for later “I-told-U-so” posts.  

    • harrydoby says:

      Then it won’t matter because we won’t be around anyway, right?

    • BlueCat says:

      not on who is ignorant and what the ignorance is about.  I believe the ignorance has arisen because Dems initially ran from  the legislation for two years, leaving the field to righties happy to fill the void with misinformation. Since the Supreme Court decision and Obama’s speech on the subject a new poll (I’ll have to look for it) shows that the number opposed has shrunk and the number in support has grown, both by several points. The cons still are in the majority but by considerably fewer points already and it isn’t a large majority.  

      If Dems use this do-over opportunity to aggressively put the facts out there and counter the misinformation instead of trying to change the subject (change it to jobs and Rs will reply that ACA is a job killer so that just won’t work) that trend will continue. Less ignorance will mean more support. More support helps Obama and Dems and weakens Romney and Rs. The GOP thrives on ignorance.

  11. ArapaGOP says:

    Don’t talk like you care about Jon Caldara’s family. Nobody thinks you really do.

    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

      Funny, you haven’t shown any signs of empathy or perspective that I’ve noticed.

    • parsingreality says:

      ….but most of us lefties understand what is personal and what is business.  (To use the criteria from the Godfather.)

      I was around here when his daughter died, and I assure you, no one gloated, whatever the political persuasion.

      I don’t know John Caldera other than his public personna.  I think he is an ass and an opportunist.  OTOH, I want him and his children to be healthy and able to tap into our health care system, most likely via the AHCA.  

      You just defined another general difference between your ilk and my brethren.  

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