PDA

View Full Version : Universal Neglect; Health Care and Paul Krassner



Peter Lemkin
03-17-2013, 08:27 PM
Universal Neglect: A Failure to Protect Americans’ Health
By Walter M. Brasch


Paul Krassner

I
received a letter from a friend this past week.

It was a letter he should never have had to write, yet did so out of desperation.

He is 80 years old, living off occasional writings and Social Security.

He has Medicare, but no dental insurance, and that’s the problem. He needs dental work. A lot of dental work. $10,000 worth of dental work.

Many dental insurance plans for individuals are so expensive, and give relatively few benefits, that many dentists suggest the premiums just aren’t worth it.

Without the dental work, my friend, like many people in the country, will suffer significant additional problems. Infection is one. Poor nutrition is another. There are even links to diabetes and thickening arteries.

So, my friend sent a letter to his friends asking for help. Not a lot of help. Maybe $100 from each of us.

Paul Krassner, my friend and colleague, is a giant in the world of social activism and journalism, praised by Groucho Marx and George Carlin, despised by the Nixonian establishment. He was a proud member of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters; with Abbie and Anita Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Nancy Kurshan, he was a co-founder of the Youth International Party, better known as the Yippies. For almost five decades, he has been one of the nation’s most influential editors, satirists, and columnists, his writings appearing in major newspapers and magazines.

Recently, two of those magazines that ran his column decided they could no longer run it. One editor said the column was spiked because the magazine was “shifting to a more business/retail-oriented editorial content.” The editor of the other magazine, which had published his column for decades, said he had “great admiration for you and your writing,” but decided another writer would now take over that column. That’s just the way it is in journalism.

And so my friend has found his income not just slipping but in free-fall.

If he—the great writer, reporter, and editor—was the only one with this kind of problem, it still might be a story. But he isn’t the only one. And that’s why this story is so important.

Millions of Americans—most who have worked hard their entire lives, and now live on not a lot of money—can’t afford dental bills. So, they don’t see the dentist.

More than 45 million American adults don’t have dental insurance, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control. Medicare doesn’t cover dental procedures; Medicaid, primarily for low-income individuals, only covers dental care for those under the age of 21. However, about one-fourth of all children have untreated tooth decay, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Our system of providing oral health care, particularly for children in this country, is ineffective, inefficient and it’s extremely expensive and it really deprives children of decent care,” says Dr. David Nash, professor of pediatric dentistry at the University of Kentucky.

Among adults, according to the Foundation, lack of access to adequate dental care impacts low-income families, the elderly, and minorities more than the general population. Want to know why so many people in those categories don’t have teeth? It’s because the cost to extract a tooth is significantly less expensive than the cost to do a root canal to save it.

Many dentists allow payment plans, or will lower their fees for certain patients; many will not, and demand payment up front. Many dentists participate in an American Dental Association (ADA) program to provide low-cost or free dental care to children; but, dental and medical societies, unlike the American Bar Association, don’t require pro bono community service work to maintain membership.

A number of community non-profit health programs exist, but there are far too few, with far too few financial resources. Patients can go to dental schools and have students, supervised by licensed dentists, work on their teeth. But, there are only 64 dental schools in 36 states, and many patients with dental problems can’t afford the time or gas money to drive more than three or four hours to an appointment.

The new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect next year, moved the United States closer to universal health care, already enjoyed by the citizens of 28 industrialized countries. But, it doesn’t cover dental care.


In a nation that doesn’t object to star athletes and Wall Street
maggots making a few million dollars a year, or a strange pre-teen named Honey Boo Boo becoming a TV star, we neglect one of the most basic of all human needs. It is the need to assure that every American, no matter who, no matter what social class, has proper health and dental care.

Walter Brasch

My Personal Note: I find this very sad on many levels. First, I too know Paul personally, but am in no condition to help him out - far from such a position. Second, the general lack of health care in American hurts all by the very affluent and I've been hurt by it...am BEING hurt by it - with several medical problems I can't pay for. Lastly, my father was a dentist and a very progressive person. He never turned away a patient who could not pay...and received threatening calls [I heard some of them myself on the phone] from fellow [sic] dentists in the area and others who hate such behavior. I remember one woman who he did extensive root canal work on over many weeks who could pay but a dollar at the time. Years later she knocked on the door to bring another ten dollars, which my father refused, with warm thanks and invited her in. He would only accept such late payments if he felt their financial circumstances had changed for the better. Where has compassion gone to in America? Did any of the Doctors and Dentists really understand the Hippocratic Oath they took? My father was reviled by many other professionals - and often called a 'Socialist' in spitting tones [he was :mexican:]. Now it is worse than it was then. I, of course had perfect dental care growing up and check-ups about once every other month with a cleaning. Now, I can't find a dentist that will even give a slight discount, let alone wait for part of the fees later. I hope Paul gets his $10,000- as money seems to be the only thing most professionals in American understand now......to everyone else's detriment - physically, medially, and spiritually. It is not just Paul's teeth that are rotting, but our entire polity, society and what it means to have a society - caring and sharing.

Jan Klimkowski
03-17-2013, 09:25 PM
Peter - so this Merry Prankster has finally lost his writing gig because


the magazine was “shifting to a more business/retail-oriented editorial content.”

As Krassner himself wrote:

"For years, reality has been nipping at the heels of satire. Now, it's finally caught up. I don't need to make this stuff up."

Phil Dragoo
03-17-2013, 10:28 PM
On the road after the ivied halls, the asphalt seas and the sun-drenched mesas took a toll.

The removals and repairs, the snipping and stitching and scraping took a good deal of custom home building in the Land of Enchantment, and later a barter system with a dentist whose charitable attempts vis-a-vis educational institutions made him a target for IRS audit.

Then came a double shot, a double decade of cancer and its costs, the ones in coin running the gauge back to its starting pin.

The so-wonderful medicare which chummed for the feeding frenzy of competing specialists running up bills, potentiating toward the final, fatal stroke of my mother made me less then ecstatic over some Beltway Bernie Nadoff in a lab coat.

There was La Clinica Del Gente where it was free back in the day. Free. Davey Jones was a Peace Corp veteran with a photo on the wall of his South Pacific office, a thatched roof on a beach over a chair.

He didn't have a panoply x-ray and wasn't an oral surgeon. He had Channelocks and his foot on your chest.

Paul Krassner, the world needs real writers now--needs you. Not some pampered lavender-cloud "blogger"

http://paulkrassner.com/

http://www.lafamiliasf.org/about_us/13/OurHistory/

Peter Lemkin
03-18-2013, 11:40 AM
Peter - so this Merry Prankster has finally lost his writing gig because


the magazine was “shifting to a more business/retail-oriented editorial content.”

As Krassner himself wrote:

"For years, reality has been nipping at the heels of satire. Now, it's finally caught up. I don't need to make this stuff up."

Yeah, Paul has lost his writing 'gig' and must be in more trouble than just his teeth. It was not only financial support, but a way of communicating his thoughts and getting feedback from fans. Merry Pranksterism is as dead as the 60s. The 'system' just uses people up and throws them away when not needed or they are 'out of step' with what maximizes profits. To hell with good writing, ideas, comedy, art, morality, criticism, political satire, a sense of loyalty to someone who has worked at the same job for decades.....an ugly system is getting a whole lot uglier. No, Krassner doesn't have to make this stuff up!

Keith Millea
03-18-2013, 04:31 PM
Merry Pranksterism is as dead as the 60s.

I hate it when people say the sixties are dead.I like to think of it in terms like hibernation.And,it just awaits some spark to set it off again.What we did in the sixties was lay down a base of countercultural thought,and alternative ways to living better.That base still exists today.

Phil talks about the free health clinic in New Mexico that still exists today.Here,we still have "White Bird" free clinic.

Phil talks about homegrown denistry.Although retired now,we had our own hippie dentist (set up in old 1952 Diamond T school bus.It is featured in the hard to find book "Rolling Homes".It wasn't free,but Doc(learned denistry in the Army,Korea) would charge about half what other dentists charged.And,less if you couldn't pay.

And so much more.....

Hang in there Paul.........

Jan Klimkowski
03-18-2013, 06:43 PM
Merry Pranksterism is as dead as the 60s.

I hate it when people say the sixties are dead.I like to think of it in terms like hibernation.And,it just awaits some spark to set it off again.What we did in the sixties was lay down a base of countercultural thought,and alternative ways to living better.That base still exists today.

Phil talks about the free health clinic in New Mexico that still exists today.Here,we still have "White Bird" free clinic.

Phil talks about homegrown denistry.Although retired now,we had our own hippie dentist (set up in old 1952 Diamond T school bus.It is featured in the hard to find book "Rolling Homes".It wasn't free,but Doc(learned denistry in the Army,Korea) would charge about half what other dentists charged.And,less if you couldn't pay.

And so much more.....

Hang in there Paul.........

Keith - a post of hope! Thanks.

Yes, the CounterCulture still exists, despite the efforts to delegitimise, marginalise and silence its voice.



“Damned Beaver/Jeremy is the War, he is every assertion the fucking War has ever made--that we are meant for work and government, for austerity: and these shall take priority over love, dreams, the spirit, the senses and the other second-class trivia that are found among the idle and mindless hours of the day....Damn them, they are wrong. They are insane.”

― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

Keith Millea
03-18-2013, 07:44 PM
Here's a little spark for ya.....

Plan in works to fix Merry Prankster bus

The family of the late Ken Kesey is raising money for the tribute

By Jeff Barnard
The Associated Press

Published: March 17, 2013 12:00AM, Midnight, March 17

PLEASANT HILL — The family of writer Ken Kesey is reviving plans to restore his original psychedelic bus in time for the 50th anniversary of its passengers’ LSD-laced trip across America.

Stephanie Kesey said Friday she has created a foundation to raise money for the restoration as a tribute to her late father-in-law.

“It’s the private Ken Kesey I’m saying thank you to, but in a very public way,” she said from her home in Pleasant Hill, a short way from the Willamette Valley farm where Ken Kesey settled after the bus trip.

Fresh from the stunning success of his novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Ken Kesey bought the 1939 International school bus in 1964 from a San Francisco Bay Area family who fitted it with bunks.

With a jug of LSD-laced juice in the refrigerator, clean-cut Kesey pals known as The Merry Pranksters on board, and Neal Cassady, the driver in Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” at the wheel, the bus crossed the country from California to New York to visit the World’s Fair. The journey was made famous by the book, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”

Kesey put the old bus, called “Further,” into retirement in a swampy patch of woods on his farm, and years later bought a newer one, which in typical Prankster style he tried to pass off as the original.

“The bus is essentially the best icon of the ’ 60s,” said his son, Zane Kesey.
Ken Kesey died in 2001. Four years later, a Hollywood restaurateur offered to pay to restore the bus, and the family hauled it out of the swamp. But the deal fell through.

Stephanie Kesey said the project is back on track, and her family is under the gun to get it finished by next summer, the 50th anniversary of the trip across America. They are putting updates on Zane Kesey’s Facebook page and building a website for the project.

“We are in the middle of finding out how much money this is going to cost,” Stephanie Kesey said. “We get one shot at doing this. We definitely want to do it right.”

The goal is to do a museum-quality restoration, preserving as much of the rusty old original as possible, and to secure a trailer for it. They hope to produce a documentary on the work.

Zane Kesey said the family will hold a vote to decide which of the constantly evolving psychedelic paint jobs to put on the bus. They have plenty of photos and film footage to consider, and plenty of members of The Merry Pranksters to do the work.

“Part of me was willing to let it rust away out in the woods,” Zane Kesey said. “It was beautiful and happy out there. But eventually it wouldn’t be beautiful and happy.”

http://www.registerguard.com/web/news/sevendays/29587194-47/kesey-bus-family-ken-original.html.csp

Magda Hassan
03-18-2013, 08:35 PM
Merry Pranksterism is as dead as the 60s.

I hate it when people say the sixties are dead.I like to think of it in terms like hibernation.And,it just awaits some spark to set it off again.What we did in the sixties was lay down a base of countercultural thought,and alternative ways to living better.That base still exists today.


Totally agree Keith! A million seeds were planted and bloom they will.

Peter Lemkin
03-18-2013, 08:50 PM
Here's a little spark for ya.....

Plan in works to fix Merry Prankster bus

The family of the late Ken Kesey is raising money for the tribute

By Jeff Barnard
The Associated Press

Published: March 17, 2013 12:00AM, Midnight, March 17

PLEASANT HILL — The family of writer Ken Kesey is reviving plans to restore his original psychedelic bus in time for the 50th anniversary of its passengers’ LSD-laced trip across America.

Stephanie Kesey said Friday she has created a foundation to raise money for the restoration as a tribute to her late father-in-law.

“It’s the private Ken Kesey I’m saying thank you to, but in a very public way,” she said from her home in Pleasant Hill, a short way from the Willamette Valley farm where Ken Kesey settled after the bus trip.

Fresh from the stunning success of his novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Ken Kesey bought the 1939 International school bus in 1964 from a San Francisco Bay Area family who fitted it with bunks.

With a jug of LSD-laced juice in the refrigerator, clean-cut Kesey pals known as The Merry Pranksters on board, and Neal Cassady, the driver in Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” at the wheel, the bus crossed the country from California to New York to visit the World’s Fair. The journey was made famous by the book, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”

Kesey put the old bus, called “Further,” into retirement in a swampy patch of woods on his farm, and years later bought a newer one, which in typical Prankster style he tried to pass off as the original.

“The bus is essentially the best icon of the ’ 60s,” said his son, Zane Kesey.
Ken Kesey died in 2001. Four years later, a Hollywood restaurateur offered to pay to restore the bus, and the family hauled it out of the swamp. But the deal fell through.

Stephanie Kesey said the project is back on track, and her family is under the gun to get it finished by next summer, the 50th anniversary of the trip across America. They are putting updates on Zane Kesey’s Facebook page and building a website for the project.

“We are in the middle of finding out how much money this is going to cost,” Stephanie Kesey said. “We get one shot at doing this. We definitely want to do it right.”

The goal is to do a museum-quality restoration, preserving as much of the rusty old original as possible, and to secure a trailer for it. They hope to produce a documentary on the work.

Zane Kesey said the family will hold a vote to decide which of the constantly evolving psychedelic paint jobs to put on the bus. They have plenty of photos and film footage to consider, and plenty of members of The Merry Pranksters to do the work.

“Part of me was willing to let it rust away out in the woods,” Zane Kesey said. “It was beautiful and happy out there. But eventually it wouldn’t be beautiful and happy.”

http://www.registerguard.com/web/news/sevendays/29587194-47/kesey-bus-family-ken-original.html.csp

I wanna go on 'da bus this time! Some years ago I spent a very interesting weekend outside of Santa Fe with a friend of a friend; and who was also staying at the house - but none other than Wavy Gravy. He just happened to have photos, slides and films [!] of the 'trip'...all the way to the Himalayas...a good time was had by all that weekend, I assure you!

As for the seeds sown in the '60s and '70s, I agree....but it is time now for them to bloom again while there is still soil for them to grow in and atmosphere not toxic to them....let alone a polity not 100% hostile to them....only 99% :noblesteed:It really is time again, NOW!