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To scream into a different vacuum…

I have been wanting to write about health care reform for several months, but I haven’t been able to do it. I still don’t think I can do it, but I suppose it’s worth a stab. Perhaps, if I put some of my anger here, I won’t have to shake and cry whenever I think about it.

No big secret that I’m ultra liberal politically. I hoped and prayed for universal health care when the Clinton administration tried to make it happen and was heartbroken when it didn’t go. At that time, I was in college studying sociology and pretty knowledgeable about how single-payer healthcare works in other first-world countries. I don’t get the fear. I mean, I get it; I understand where it comes from, and why, but I don’t come from the same place of mind. Plus, being knowledgeable about how single-payer healthcare actually works (as opposed to the fear-based arguments that come from the ads by the insurance lobby), I know that the arguments against it just don’t hold water. Seriously, health care rationing? Do people seriously think that that’s not happening now? The shrill voices that ring out the word socialism over and over and over again boggle my mind. As they say, though, the right has gained such a strong foothold in the US that, if we didn’t already have a public school system in place, we couldn’t pass the laws to create it today. Hence, miserable funding.

So if I was in favor of universal healthcare back during the Clinton administration, when I was a young woman in good health with no children, imagine how much more I want it now. Because Brian and I are crippled financially. There are quite a few reasons for that, the largest of which is that I don’t work due to Carter’s needs. But the fact that we spend nearly one-third of our income on healthcare is a very close second. When Obama took office, I really thought there was a chance that we could get some real relief. The gutless bill that’s in place now? Barely a start. Am I grateful that lifetime spending limits will become illegal? Of course. Should Carter require repeated hospitalizations in the future, the last thing we want to do is count days. But they could have done so much better, and if the far right hadn’t been so scared, we would have.

I won’t go on too much longer because I just can’t bear it. I’m not nearly as knowledgeable about this bill as I would typically be because, frankly, it hurts too much. I feel cheated. I feel like my country has said to me, to my child, to my family, that we don’t matter. We are disposable. My baby boy, my beautiful, suffering child does not matter. My nation chooses to build prison cells so that he can live in one of those someday, instead of helping us pay for his treatment today. They say I’m a bleeding heart and you know what? Hell yeah I am. If you think that’s a bad thing, I dare you to come over here and look in my boy’s face and tell him directly that he doesn’t count, doesn’t matter, might as well die as expect to have his nation help him get what he needs. Because when you Tweet, or speak on the floor of the House, or write a letter to the editor, and complain about the slippery slope toward socialism and how that’s the worst thing that could happen? That’s what you’re saying – to my Carter and to millions of others who can’t access the care they need.

Laissez-faire capitalism brought us the monopolies, the Vanderbilts and Carnegies and the ultra-concentration of wealth that left millions to suffer a life of bare subsistence. It won’t cure our health care system anymore than it inspired Vanderbilt (or, for that matter, the companies who now exploit labor in third world nations) to pay fair wages.

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9 comments to To scream into a different vacuum…

  • Anonymous

    Not to make you more angry, but how does expressing opinions say that Carter doesn’t matter?

  • Well, because, in a healthcare system wherein we can all get what we can afford, Carter is consigned to a life where he can get only the care that we can pay for. Thankfully, we can afford quite a bit, but if he needs more, the bottom line answer from our nation becomes “Tough shit, kid.” And what about the many, many millions of working class families who don’t qualify for Medicaid but can’t buy good health insurance? The new bill will shrink that population, but w/o a public option, many people (like my family) will be trapped into paying for health insurance we can’t afford.

    I’m well aware that there’s a line of thought on the far right that says that’s the way it ought to be; sift the weakest folks out and let them go. I don’t think most people would go that far, but the end result of refusing to be part of a different kind of system is the same. The current system makes choices for us everyday, and we choose the system. We’ve so far chosen to sacrifice some people, to make them disposable.

  • You’re right: had the far right not been so paranoiacally afraid, the bill would have been bigger, stronger, better. But.It.Passed. Past presidents — Democratic and Republican — have tried to reform the system. They all failed.

    Obama succeeded. Could it have been better? Unquestionably. But it could also have been much, much worse.

    It’s a start. In a couple of years, when people see that the sky hasn’t fallen, and a few years after that, when this has become normal, there will be more.

    I wish it all helped your son a lot more right now, I do. But I honestly think it’s the best the could happen. Yet.

  • I am on the fence about the whole issue. My parents and everyone I am related to are very Republican. My mom used to do campaigning when I was young and I remember having to stay up late nights in a fancy hotel when the elections were going on, waiting for her to come ‘home’ while I ordered room service. {that part wasn’t that bad grin} My parents are both pretty middle to higher income. Me and my sister, on the other hand, have ALWAYS been very low income. I have 4 kids and am currently working from home as a transcriptionist, barely making it. My husband is making $13 dollars an hour. So to wrap this up and not make a book on your blog, I want to say this. I agree with you wholeheartedly. At the present time I have NO medical for myself. My 2 kids have government insurance that I have to pay $70 a month (called kidscare, a sort of ‘free’ insurance AZ provides) My husband is covered for FREE at his school job but we couldn’t afford to put me on, as they wanted $850 a month! yes, 850!! to cover me AND him. So I said no to that. I’ve worked at the hospital before and know that you cannot be denied care if you need help. So I figure if I’m dying I’ll figure out the bill later. I’m not sure what is wrong with the whole insurance issue. But if you asked my dad he would write a book about the ‘damn’ liberals. It’s tough. I’m not sure. I know something needs to be done.
    *hugs* from arizona
    ~niki

  • Well said, Adrienne. The irony of being “pro-life” but anti-health care boggles my mind. “We’ll protect your life and health, but only until you are born. Then, kid, you’re on your own.”

    My husband sometimes makes me stop watching the news or listening to the radio because I get so angry.

    I wish this bill had single payer, but its better than nothing. All the ridiculous protests to “government run health care” really infuriated me, especially since every single congressman has “government run health care”, or in other words, a private plan administered by the US government office of personnel management.

    I could go on, but I feel my blood pressure rising…

  • LOL Allison…yes, my husband does the exact same thing! We call it a “news diet.” He threatened to take the modem to work with him once because I was so upset.

  • I, too, feel like there are worse things than being a bleeding heart (or even knee-jerk) liberal. Unfortunately, I am so inclined to avoid conflict that I would never own up to my extremism in public. I rarely have as much information as I should and FOR THAT REASON choose to err on the side of being generous. When in doubt, I just try to think about Sweden. If it works there, it won’t kill us all here either.

  • Hey, you could do a lot worse than Sweden as a template for success!

    Remember, too, that the US is the ONLY 1st world country that doesn’t have single-payer healthcare. We also spend the highest percentage of GDP on healthcare, largely because the administrative costs are eating up a huge chunk of our healthcare dollars.

  • Anonymous

    How ’bout a law that requires are health insurance lobbying and advertising costs to come out of the CEO’s pay?

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