Seeking Progressive Social Change
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Fighting Mad from Fighting for Health Care

sickoWe 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.

Resources

There are many organizations working to address our sick health care situation. Here are a few:

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April 10, 2008   |  Filed Under Living Now   |    Permalink

6 comments

1 nix { 04.10.08 at 7:42 am }

dear person,
i think you are confused about the role of goverment and who is in control http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbakN7SLdbk&feature=related

2 Eric { 04.10.08 at 9:32 am }

Hm. Interesting link… I didn’t watch all eight sections but I’m not sure I buy it completely. Either way, I’m sure there’s more oil in the ground than we know about, but so what? It’s time to move onto safer, cleaner energy anyway. So gas could be a buck fifty; I’d rather leave a livable planet for my kids to enjoy…

Still, the link’s there for anyone who’s interested.

Today, it’s indisputable (at least to me) that corporate interests have become the main benefactors of most legislation, to the detriment of our public safety and our general well being. (Just Google “American Airlines grounds 1000 flights” as an example of the cozy relationship the industry has had with the FCC for the last eight years. Yikes!)

This runs contrary to the role of government as I see it, which is supposed to help soften the edges of an unbridled profit drive…the airlines want to make money. I want to survive my flight. The FCC ought to make sure my kids see me after my business trip ends. Yet the FCC has been letting dangerous planes fly. Government fails again.

But thanks much for your comment.

Eric

3 Jason { 04.10.08 at 12:03 pm }

I think it needs to be decided the role of government first. Many of us feel it is NOT the role of government to take care of us in such ways. I feel the government is involved in many areas where it should not be.

4 Eric { 04.10.08 at 12:23 pm }

Jason –

I understand your concern about the “nanny state”. I don’t want my government dictating to me how I should live in any way. All I’m saying is the free market is fine for many things, but when it’s unregulated it can cause tremendous grief and anxiety (just google “America cancels another 900 flights” and you will see what I mean. They’ve known about these airline wiring problems for years. Taken a flight recently? Yikes!)

I’m telling you, watching someone you love suffer – and perhaps even die – because there are no affordable programs available will turn even the most strident libertarian into a European socialist, and do so in a hurry.

Anyway, thanks for the comment.

5 jason { 04.11.08 at 9:09 am }

Im not saying no regulation. There should absolutely be oversight to ensure that laws are in place to make sure there is nothing underhanded or nefarious going on and that the proper safety regulations, in all aspects, are being done and being adhered to.

As for turning into a European socialist, absolutely wrong. Because some of us will actually make the sacrifices needed to do what needs to be done instead of looking to the government for help. I should know, I am already in the situation with one of my parents. I do not look to the government for help, I look in the correct places when I need help.

Prior to the 1900′s, throughout all of human history, people did not have the luxury of the state doing these things for you.

6 Eric { 04.11.08 at 9:19 am }

Fair points Jason, and you make them well.

Still: Prior to the 1900′s we had millions of Americans in dire poverty, raw sewage in the city streets, poisonous air that turned industrial centers into black-dusted communities, water and food that could kill, horrific working conditions for most workers, no laws for emergency exits or any safety protocols, zero social support, no social security or old age pensions, 10-year-olds in factories for 80 hours per week, dire tenament living….in brief, not a pretty place! I’ll take the 20th century over the one before it anytime.

But it’s a good argument and I appreciate your comments. Hope things work out with your parents, as we both know it can be pretty tough.

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