We all know about our lousy health care system. But when you actually tangle with it firsthand and try to guide someone you care about through the madness, it’s like a nightmare that turns real.
Let me tell you, there is nothing more frustrating and – I’ll admit it – frightening than watching a parent’s chances reduced to what their insurance will or (more often) won’t cover. You’re standing in a hospital as if you’re talking about a car transmission but it’s your father that’s sitting there in a daze. And it comes down to is this: If he can pay, he can live. If he can’t, he may not.
We’ve assigned our very existence a dollar value.
This is totally nuts. After all, OUR government ought to take care of OUR needs. But take a look at recent American history objectively and you’d think that our government’s main purpose is to simply fight more effective and aggressive wars. We’ve forgotten that government exists because theoretically, a centralized authority representing the will of the majority is supposed to address our needs better than might be possible for us as individuals. But 25 years of conservative government – topped off with a $3 trillion war – has brought us to the edge of financial ruin. We can’t take care of people who need help because – as Vonnegut used to say – we’re too damned cheap. Or maybe it’s that we’ve handed over our democracy to a minority corporate power whose interests are not aligned with just about everyone else.
Meantime, you have to hold your breath as you drive over another rusted, tumbledown overpass or past another dying city, while we can’t even provide life-saving care when it’s needed most. Something is very, very wrong here.
So where’s the mass outrage? There ought to be marching in the streets by now. Maybe the general indifference can be blamed on the corporate media, which redirects justified anger towards paper tigers, like “communists” or “liberals” or “the clash of civilizations.” At the same time we soak our brains in hours of commercial entertainment which has one sole aim: To get us to fill our homes with more stuff, to think about our next car or ‘gotta have it’ gadget, as if things will give meaning and provide contentment to our lives. They never do. But we keep falling for it, time after time. It’s easy to forget that life is for living, not just an opportunity to go shopping.
The bottom line is that it’s not “other people” who need affordable, comprehensive health care. It’s everyone: Our parents, our kids, our best friends. Someday, inevitably, it’ll be you and me.
This is a site about progressive change. So I’ll end this post on a positive note: Maybe it’s time to “unplug and de-program” ourselves; turn off the media manipulations and re-focus on the things that matter. And convince your neighbor to do the same thing.
There are many organizations working to address our sick health care situation. Here are a few:
- HealthCare Now
- Guaranteed Healthcare (check the petition for “CheneyCare”)
- Nine-Nine-Oh-Nine: Healthcare for ALL by 9/9/09
Tags: health care system
April 10, 2008 | Filed Under Living Now |