BUBBA GUMP’S SHRIMP–MONTERREY

IMG_0047What could be more appropriate than to have dinner at one of the most famous restaurants relating to the boundary dispute in Vietnam? Day one of the Gilead Sciences begins this morning. I feel honored to be here with Randy.

 

 

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Posted in HCV Health, KP Veterans, Medical News, Vietnam Disease Issues, Vietnam War history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Removing Net Worth Requirement From Health Care Enrollment

Topic:

AP37 – Proposed Rule – Removing Net Worth Requirement From Health Care Enrollment  (LINK and LINK)

Docket ID: VA-2015-VHA-0024

Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

We know that not every person who has served in the military is actually eligible for health care based on income and assets–in addition to their non-service connected health status and/or rating.  One reform in the works is the elimination of the net worth assets rule that has been used to deny care.  (Annual “Means” income reporting, formerly done on paper, is now being done by computer matching with the IRS and Social Security. LINK

The asset part of this process is/was particularly cruel.  Veterans had to list the value their homes, cars, land, retirement accounts etc…What the heck should ownership of a motorcycle have to do with veterans’ rights to access healthcare, we collectively fumed?  As one frustrated commenter on the whole asset-based concept lashed out on Regulations.gov:

I think this is bullsh*t! No one was worried about the net worth of these individuals when they volunteered to enlist in the service. Just because they served their time/retired & went on to a Higher paying career, does not mean they don’t deserve equal benefits. All veterans served their time, spent countless number of Months (even years) away from family, the same thing was expected from all of them. What they did or how they handled things when they got home, should have nothing to do with the benefits the deserve!

The VA admitted that “the burden on veterans to supply asset information to VA on an annual basis was considerable” and that about 135,000 ineligible veterans will be able to enroll based on the change.

Priority rates determine co-pays for medications, in-patient and out-patient care and extended care.  See the 2016 Co-pay Fact sheet here:  (LINK)  Medication co-pays are listed here (LINK).  This meds flyer lists co-pay exemptions and important billing information if you have private insurance as well (LINK).  The income threshold limits for free care, even geographically adjusted by region, are ungenerous (LINK or LINK). Because only a small percentage of veterans actually get rated with a service-connected condition (13-15% if I recall correctly), it’s important to eliminate all income and asset tests because they are unrealistic and discriminatory.  Facing dangers in-service, distinctions based on money or possessions are irrelevant–and so it should be post-service.  VA healthcare was never meant to be a charity and operating it as such has led to widespread abuses.  Enough already. 

Because veterans are more likely to need long term VA care, and some of the new extended care facilities look very nice, we’ll have to take a look at how the VA looks at a veterans assets, his/her estate, and how survivors are protected–if they  are–another time.

Posted in All about Veterans, Guest authors, Uncategorized, VA Health Care, vA news | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

JETGUNS–WE’RE ON A MISSION FROM GOD

M FM GODCupcake has graciously offered to drive me to San Francisco for the Gilead Sciences Conference. We’re taking Silvia’s jetguns (plural) to Foster City. I have been invited as fellow HCVet Randy Nesbitt’s guest. Finding air travel less than desirable in late summer and feeling the call of the road, we are off to break bread with fellow Vietnam Veteran and good friend Brad Golding. After, we will see my oldest cousin Denise in Sacramento and then on to another good friend and Vietnam Veteran in Salinas for a joyous celebration of not being on the Vietnam Wall. 

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will be devoted to praising and singing the virtues of Gilead Sciences. Some may feel disgruntled that the treatment costs seem high. Remember the first hand-held calculator from Texas Instruments for $1150? Everyone said that about Ross Perot, too.  This isn’t Gilead’s fault. Blame Pharmasett who wanted a cool $11 Billion for the NS5A cookie recipe. Gilead simply made the winning bid. What the hey? All that negative animosity could have just as easily fallen on Bristol Meyers or Sandoz Labs. They cured me after 44 years and not a moment too soon. The cirrhotic swan dive into an ammonia-soaked brain is no fun for you or your family. It makes Alzheimer’s look like a spectator sport. For granting me life, I will sing all four verses of The Hokey Pokey at high noon at the intersection of their choosing. If I never get Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) I will even do free commercials. It’s akin to beating terminal cancer five minutes before the priest arrives to administer Extreme Unction.

6th Life of 9

6th Life of 9 -March 2010

Getting a pass on inevitable early death is very exhilarating. They had my bingo date as early as 2018. It makes you feel like the cat’s pajamas with nine lives. After what happened to me in 2009-2010 at the Seattle VAMC, the analogy is even more appropriate. I think I’ve used up about eight now and am coming to believe I am not so bulletproof as I would like to be.

The teaching moment is obvious. Those folks at Gilead Sciences deserve to see what caused their windfall bonanza. Trust the lazy Government to cut corners and try to save money on disposable syringes. Idiot’s delight. It has now come around in spades and bit them upon their buttocks. The more power to Gilead. Win or Die, right?

Road Trips! Love them.

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Four Gilead successes-Win or Die.

Four Gilead successes-Win or Die.

Again, Thank you Gilead Sciences for commuting my death sentence to time served.

 

Posted in 2015 Hugfest Gig Harbor Wash, All about Veterans, Food for the soul, HCV Health, HCV Risks (documented), Jetgun Claims evidence, Jetgun Manual, KP Veterans, Medical News, Nexus Information, Sofosbuvir, transfusions and hepatitis, Vietnam War history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

All VA-enrolled veterans needing HCV antivirals may get them now

What a crazy, crazy summer:  nutty politics, all-manner of leaks, evil violence, zika and more. Time to think about HCV again, a topic and problem that now seems easier to deal with despite all the misinformation/avoidance/denial that the government puts out.  Frank sends us this news from JAMA:

VA Extends New Hepatitis C Drugs to All Veterans in Its Health System (LINK).  The article is free to read.

The government agency is now beginning hepatitis C antiviral therapy for 1100 patients a week—double the figure from a year ago—and hopes to increase that number to 2000 patients a week by the end of this year, said David Ross, MD, director of the VA’s HIV, hepatitis, and public health pathogens programs. At the same time, the VA is trying to screen all veterans born between 1945 and 1965, who account for more than 75% of hepatitis C infections.

The article links to a CDC press release, “Hepatitis C Kills More Americans than Any Other Infectious Disease” which states that there were 19,659 (known) HCV deaths in 2014. 

JAMA notes that HCV is “the nation’s deadliest infectious disease, which kills more people in the United States than HIV, tuberculosis, pneumoccocal disease, and dozens of other infectious conditions combined.”

 I didn’t know that.

Better late than never?  Of course.  Yet for thousands of deceased vets and their families, it is too late.  For tens of thousands of “cured”  veterans, there are on-going side effects–physical, economic, emotional and social–to deal with.

Posted in Guest authors, HCV Health, Uncategorized, VA Health Care, vA news | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

WHEREFORE ART THOU JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN?

222When we drove back east every time from here in The Other Washington, we took I-90 through to Maine or dropped down to Virginia depending on where we were heading. The first time we took the I-94 side route over to see Gen. George Custer’s tactical error in northern Montana. In the summer, take a shorter-barreled 12 gauge with #4s  for the rattlers. Just a head’s up if you want to go off the trail for  some super photos of all those headstones. It sounds like a gazillion cicadas up there in July. A razor blade and a tourniquet isn’t such a bad idea either.

In our travels, we always ended up in Madison,  Wisconsin about 1830 on the second day. Cheeseworld. The house of Cheese. Cheesaholics Anonymous. Yessir. They have cheese there. They must sell a ton of Miralax, too. The next day we drove through Janesville on I-90 heading to Chicago. I remember it was a pretty small burg.What I could never comprehend was why they chose Janesville as the Evidence Intake Center for all the VA correspondence. The problem has been solved.

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The 59th VARO

I was watching the CBS news and they announced Representative ( and House Speaker) Paul Ryan was done campaigning for The Donster and was heading home to the wife and kids in his home town of … wait for it… Janesville. Seems if the VA wanted to get Congress on board for more dinero, they were going to have to set up shop in his congressional district. That’s a shit ton of jobs, Jose.

I just thought all of you might want to know that. It’s how they work. You scratch my back and get my folks jobs in Janesville and we’ll make sure you get some down yonder in Newnan, Georgia, Congressman Westmoreland. Roger that? Too bad the guys in Newnan got busted for piling it all in the back room. The shredders would have been next.

As Roseanne Rosannadanna used to say. “It always goes to show it’s something!”

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I got a letter here from Alex in Gig Harbor and he wants to know why the VA put their collection center at the ass end of the world in Janesville, Wisconsin. Well, Alex. This is how it works…

 

Posted in All about Veterans, KP Veterans, vA news, vARO Decisions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

GLOBAL WARMING FOR FUN AND PROFIT

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2014 corn forest

Over the last several years I have remarked about how my corn reached 12’6″ and mostly threw three ears per stalk. I had to use a step ladder to reach the highest ones (two Pinocchios). Beets got so large we had to transport them singly in a wheelbarrow to the wheelchair lift to get them into the kitchen (three). We didn’t have knives large enough to cut them so I brought in Cupcake’s “baby” electric chainsaw with the 12″ bar (four). 

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IMG_0031Seriously, everything is early this year and physically large. Two years ago the strawberries showed up in early May instead of June 1st. The raspberries followed suit and showed up on June 3rd instead of their traditional 4th of July entrance. Several days ago I went out and noticed more flowers in the strawberry patch. Yep. More strawberries. Seems the raspberries are trying to follow suit as well. It must be Bush’s fault.

In all this there were several constants that seemed inviolate. Apples, pears, plums and peaches appeared to be immune to this accelerated  life cycle- until this year. Suddenly, my Gravensteins are the size of IMG_0035softballs a month early and the peaches are emulating them. Some might say I’m blessed but I’m busy in the garden right now. Everything has a schedule and when something ripens prematurely in the orchard, it sets off a domino-like effect leaving other gardening tasks on hold. A good example is the zucchini got away from me and I now have Louieville sluggers. The folks down at the food bank  are not impressed.  Hell, I’m not even picking the apples and peaches. I’m just picking them up as fast as I can to avoid bunny damage. I have a gaggle of wascally wabbits  lined up at the edge of the emoticon13          forest with knives and forks wearing cute little neck bibs. If I had my druthers they’d be in the freezer waiting for a good stew but Cupcake has given them names like Flopsy and Mopsy. I have been forbidden to harvest any animals with names at LZ Grambo. That cost me every one of my prepubescent red pears last year to deer while I was in San Francisco at the NOVA IMG_0036convention. The repair order was deceptively simple. Shoot first and ask names later. Then put an old dog collar on them when you bring them in and say. “Relax Punkin. It was just some rogue interloper named Stanislaus. See? Look at the nametag on his collar, honey. He just looks a lot like Prancer and Dancer.” Women don’t dial on that collar thing. What the hey? Every animal in the forest has a collar with a name tag in case they get lost. Right?

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Cupcake bought this for Christmas in 2006 just for me.

In order to keep up with the changing schedule Mother Nature has handed us and avoid waste, we decided to manufacture more apple juice as we did last year during Hugfest. I had a bushel or more piled up at the Buckwheat-designated Servant Entrance with about as many peaches next to them and the yellow jackets were beginning to set up a manufacturing line. Trust Cupcake to find the repair order. Apple cider and peach jam. The downside was she got me up at 0500 to begin production this morning. Where, pray tell, is the law that says apple or peach anything must be produced before 0700 on a Sunday? Show me in writing. I want to see it.

Peach juice

Peach juice

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IMG_0037I have two more apple trees which, thankfully, are not following suit like the Gravensteins (yet). The plums are still out a fortnight with any luck. Having an orchard is like a controlled explosion of fruit. Plant the wrong combination and you’ll spend every waking moment out there after July 4th. One thing that will be saving my bacon is that the deer went to the other end of the orchard and ate all the Bartlett pears this year. So I have that going for me.

I always used to enjoy living like the homeless and go deer hunting every fall. Having an orchard and little time to do that anymore solved the problem. One-shot shopping in the front yard- and you can haul it up to hang in the shop with the tractor. That’s civilization for you. Reckon I’ll have to bring a mating pair of elk back and turn them loose around here now. Cupcake thinks the quail and grouse are Cornish hens from the store and I don’t have the heart to tell her differently. Besides, ignorance is bliss. I do have to use my metal detector on them to get that pesky #7 birdshot shot out before cooking though. That would be hard to explain.

Peach problems

Peach problems

All humor aside, I am blessed. Deb’s dad had the foresight to plant all these trees back in 2004 when we bought the property. I only wish he could have lived to see the outcome.

I’m also guessing we should be hearing from our young Judge Meg Bartley soon on the subject of tardy greenhouses. I’ll keep you in the loop on that. Boy howdy will I ever. I’m like a kid the week before Christmas.

P.S. To Grammar Policeman Denny: We thought long and hard on this. We consulted the Oxford English Dictionary. Proper Tense Always! by Hortense Shrouder (1868) and finally arrived at three choices.

  1. Servant Entrance- as a coloquial  proper noun expression that had gained wide acceptance by 1840.
  2. Servant’s Entrance (possessive)  -not recommended by the Bourgeoisie after the French Revolution as it gave the hired help too esteemed a belief in themselves being essential to good order.
  3. Servants Entrance (non-possessive) and in widest use before the turn of the nineteenth century.

So yes. It was thought out.

 

Posted in Food for the soul, Independent Living Program, KP Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

POLITICS? WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ POLITICS…BUT

22I was sent this link this morning and I sensed one of those mental bowel movements coming on. My battles are very narrow. Dying on the hill of Political Incorrectness is one of them. As for politics? Until this year, I’d never known the freedom of being able to cast a vote for a loud-mouthed, uncouth chucklehead who wasn’t a born politician. There’s a significant difference this year. One has a PhD. in Poly Sci and the other has a real Wharton degree in Business 401.

Riding single-file into Medicine Tail Coulee is not on my list of things to do in politics. I’m the epitome of apolitical. Either party, in most cases, is equally capable of turning law into gibberish and trying to remodel the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I guess it’s a minor miracle so much actually gets done. So let’s see how I can say this.

imagesI find it intriguing to watch each political party, like Sumo wrestlers circling one another sizing up their opponent, approach this latest contretemps over a dead, Muslim-oriented (religiously) soldier. I’m old school. On the battlefield, you’re only talked to and talked about when you’re alive. It really doesn’t make any difference unless you got a CMOH for being incredibly stupid or brave. Once you get shot down, shot dead or plumb blown to Kingdom Come, talking about you a lot after you’re planted is downright depressing where I come from. I don’t even care if you a Churcher of England like me. God sends the Right.  We don’t mope around and cry about those who served and died. There’s also a difference in being proud and confusing wearing their glory for your own-purposefully or accidentally.

CaptureIn this case,  it appears Mr. Khizr Kahn, the father of the fallen soldier (one of millions in the pantheon of our proud servicemen over 240 years) is donning the mantle of sacrifice personally. Thus his diatribe about Muslims, as a race and/or religion, being singled out for exclusion (potentially by Trump) begins to smell of a political nature and no longer a racial violation. Remember, too, President Jimmy Carter declared Muslims persona non grata without so much as a whimper from his own party or the other Gross Obese People. America seems to have a selective memory dysfunction along about election time.

Whatever the case, I always become uncomfortable when politicians take Veterans for granted or use them for political gain.  On Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, the moment we’re no longer needed as a cohesive voting bloc, whoever wins is going to huck us like an empty, no-deposit Bud Lite can right out the window. I’d like to think the Republicans might keep their promises as the prospective FNG is not a politician, but I’m a realist too. That one’s going off at 6/1 at my Sports Book desk.

downloadRegardless, hedge-hopping from VFW to DAV conventions in cushy jets drinking single-malt and collecting ‘political contributions’ for future favors has nothing to do with us. They’ll hire a few more relatives and give them meaningless jobs at the DVA. Nothing will change for you and me. But…. I’m sorry your son died, Mr. Khan. You didn’t nor did your wife. He died twelve years ago.  Get over it. Mr. Trump may be a lot of unsavory things. He may shoot verbally from the hip and later “retweet it”. Unlike bullets, you can call words back. So what? I lost lots of friends in my war and I don’t invoke their name every time I get in front of a microphone and talk about my sacrifice. And I don’t blame LBJ for killing them. Or Nixon. Or Bush whom we all know screwed everything up . Most of those I “lost” did what I had always thought aerodynamically or mathematically impossible to pull off until I did it myself-to fly into a bullet at 120 knots or a DShk. Or the big banana like a 37mm. Shit happened 40% of the time back then to us. It isn’t nearly that bad now. Listen to what that Marine has to say in his letter, Mr. Khan. Suck it up.

If I had my druthers, I’d sit this one out. As it is, I think I’ll take a flyer on Trump because we really haven’t ever had a true non-politician in the position since the Bull Moose Party. I guess I get the biggest bang hearing our current President saying Donnie isn’t fit or equipped to be President. He also said that in 2008 about the lady who currently aspires to the office.  Who is? My thoughts are that the President has enough on his plate already and shouldn’t be worrying too awful much about who’s going to be next. He has his pension in the bag. When you’re a golf club, everything  should look like a ball.

To both candidates, please. Leave us out of this. Let the dead stay dead. Spare us the empty promises we’ve heard a million times. Seems I remember about fifty years ago some one was shouting “If you vote for Goldwater, we’ll be at war with North Vietnam within a year!”  Gol’ Dang Boy howdy was that ol’ boy ever right and I ended up right in the middle of it for two years. It makes a fellow take a long gander at his ballot after something like that. Be careful where you have that pointed when you pull the trigger, hear?

501901-1000-0So, I say to all of you who didn’t die, who might know someone who did, or know a friend of a friend of a cousin who’s feeling that “sacrifice” thing, let’s leave religion and dead people out of this. We know who the bad guys are. Hell, they dress up in black to make it easier to spot them. Their flag is even black. Vote against them. Whoever that guy or gal is who is against the Men in Black-vote for them. You figure it out. You don’t need Mr. Khan or Donny Dufus to talk about their ‘sacrifice’. Hey. I sold my 67 GTO (Hurst 4-speed) in San Francisco before I left the world for $2,000 bucks in 70 to a used car guy in Oakland and still made payments for another year on it. Don’t talk to me about sacrifice. You look that one up in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of me in there.

Nodster

P.S. I got an email from anonymous that wants to know why we always see the gal who is running wearing a blue dress. Seems like blue dresses got somebody into a heap of trouble back when. You don’t reckon it’s that one, do you?  Shoo doggies. That one’s got to be in the Smithsonian by now, I’d expect.

And lastly, a democarrot. It has something for everyone. And you can put it on a stick before the horse donkey.

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Posted in Complaints Department, Food for thought, Humor, KP Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments