Sick and Tired

I’m going to respond to the following comment on the front page, here:

commodorejohn said: Man, Jabberwock, you’re usually pretty good about being fair, but…damn. Is it that hard to acknowledge that at least some of us just don’t want the government running it? That maybe not everybody who’s opposed to your positions is some sort of capitalist-fetish lunatic who would fellate the corporate world if they could? Is it so hard to understand that some of us would just rather keep our options open than trust the federal government to look after our good health the way they look after our privacy and financial solvency? Christ.

Allow me to put this into perspective for you:

TENS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE in this country — myself included, along with some friends of mine, one of whom needs prescription meds filled on a regular basis — are LIVING WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE. Which means that we are either GOING WITHOUT HEALTHCARE, or we are BEING BANKRUPTED BY and CHARGED OUT THE ASS for NECESSARY MEDICAL EXPENSES.

Think about the private health insurance business model for a moment: The only way they can make any money is to ensure that their customers get as little coverage as possible. It’s not about actually providing anyone health coverage. The ultimate truth of the matter is that the insurance industry has absolutely NOTHING to do with healthcare — it’s just a middle man that exploits the fact that people need medical care throughout their lives in order to continue living.

Now, if our goal is to allow this particular rent-seeking industry to profit at the expense of human lives, then great — we’re doing an awesome job, and our system should be commended for getting a portion of the population to pay substantial amounts of money for a service where the bulk of what’s being paid goes toward ensuring that the customer doesn’t actually get the service they’re paying for through whatever loopholes are intentionally written into the policy. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! *trumpets* *fanfare* *Romanesque chariots being driven through rose-petal parades*

But if our goal is to actually ensure maximal healthcare availability to everyone, regardless of their income or employment status, then we’re total failures.

So we need to examine our priorities: It’s the insurance industry or it’s our health — we can’t have both, because the former ONLY THRIVES WHEN THEY DENY US THE LATTER. Do we provide healthcare, or do we facilitate the exploitation of human lives by the insurance industry? That’s what this is all about.

And then there’s the issue of workers’ rights. Businesses have a sort of bargaining wild card in that they can control whether or not you have health insurance. During any kind of negotiation for better pay (until they recently raised it, the Minimum Wage actually decreased in value, corrected for inflation, since the mid-1900s) or treatment or whatever else, a business can always threaten to take away employees’ health benefits.

Why should your boss have the power to decide whether you live or die? Whether you can get your cancer screening this month? Whether you can afford dialysis? And why should you be forced to stay at a job that’s unfair or unsafe or uncomfortable or that you otherwise hate just because if you leave, you might either a) not get health insurance at your next job, or b) not be able to get coverage after you lose your current plan because of a pre-existing condition?

And yeah, it’s easy to say “well I have insurance so why should I care?” but in this economy, maybe it’s a good idea to remember that no job is permanent.

So yeah, you might have health coverage right now, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed it for the rest of your life. Under a single-payer healthcare system, you WOULD BE, whether you got laid off tomorrow or you were born with cancer or you just found out you have lupus or whatever else. And under our current system, that’s very much not the case. So why perpetuate it? Really, why?

Why pay deductibles? Why get less pay because your employer’s taking a cut out of it to pay for part of your insurance plan? Why pay for a service whose primary business model is to deny you that service?

Why?

So, yes, it really isso hard to understand”. Especially when what you’re basically doing is condemning me and millions of others to death should we happen to not remain absolutely healthy until we hit our sixties and Medicare kicks in.

I completely respect your right to your opinions. I just don’t want them to kill me and tens of millions of other Americans is all.

Hope your job lasts forever, by the way. Good luck with that one. And if you do happen to get laid off or fired or too sick to work or your employer decides it has to cut back on your coverage or the myriad other things that can (and do, I’m sorry to say) go wrong, I really do hope that you and your then-uninsured family remain perfectly healthy until you can either find another job that offers health insurance or we can actually pass a plan that would guarantee you (and everyone!) healthcare.

16 thoughts on “Sick and Tired”

  1. This CommodoreJohn fellow’s comment looks like an obvious troll.

    What’s horrifying is how close it comes to what people really think.

    How could anybody believe that the government’s just going to take control of every hospital, every doctor’s office, every dentist’s operatory? They don’t even do that shit in England or Canada for fuck’s sake.

    This ain’t about government run health care. It’s about government funded health care.

    People throw shit out like “it’ll be like the post office”, which is ironic both because this isn’t even close to the same thing and if Americans actually gave a shit about getting a good postal service they might throw a little more money its way so it wouldn’t be working with chronically understaffed and underappreciated employee rosters.

    But that would require taxes, which Americans have been trained by Republicans for years to hate, along with being trained to (paradoxically) hate budget deficits and cutting funding for weapons and the military.

    Also, note that military forces have VA hospitals.

    So basically, fuck anybody that doesn’t have a gun or that isn’t rich or powerful.

  2. Oh yeah, also, my uncle went bankrupt because he couldn’t afford copays for his back surgery. He’s been forced to do odd jobs for family members that can afford to pay him.

    Also, my grandma’s been forced to wait months for surgery on her hips with little hope for speedy recovery. It’s kinda hard to fault Canada’s health care system for long waits when we have exactly the same problem in the United States.

  3. Exactly, I don’t get why people would trust a company that just wants their money more than their government which represents them and of which they actually get to decide who runs it.

  4. @The Luigiian: But haven’t you heard!???! World leaders from other countries actually COME TO OUR COUNTRY for healthcare!!11!!@!!$#one!!unoexclamationpoint Because obviously everyone in our country can afford the same level or healthcare or anything else that a world leader can afford. Hey, if rich people get better service in our country, that means that EVERYONE gets better service, right?

  5. “And why should you be forced to stay at a job that’s unfair or unsafe or uncomfortable or that you otherwise hate just because if you leave, you might either a) not get health insurance at your next job, or b) not be able to get coverage after you lose your current plan because of a pre-existing condition?”

    Yeah and people stay in bad marriages for the same reason, believe it or not. Something has to change.

  6. Jabberwock, THANK YOU. Perfectly stated.

    I haven’t seen opposition to health care reform that went beyond hysterical paranoid rantings of poorly informed conservatives, who are being whipped into a frenzy by lies being fed to them by those with a personal interest in keeping things status quo. We’re on a sinking ship, and yet these people have been convinced that lifeboats are evil and under no circumstances should anyone use them. It never ceases to amaze me how many people can be persuaded to vote against their own best interests.

    People are stupid. Well, some people, anyway.

  7. I used to work in health care. The saying goes that insurance companies are in the business of collecting premiums and not paying claims. And let me tell you, they do everything they can to dodge the bill.

  8. On further thought, I wish my dad could have figured this out. I had to carry a hundred-dollar a month premium on a health insurance policy he took out on me, while trying to go to college and work my ass off in the meantime carrying $4 gas, an old car, and a 60 mile round trip to school every day. And then an extra hundred a month.

    Why?

    Because it made him “feel better” to know I’d be “taken care of” if anything happened to me. I explained how I was just giving my money to a rich man for nothing at all and he didn’t care.

    Why did I keep it? My dad has heart problems himself, plus diabetes, and he’s one of those martyr types–always whipping up his blood pressure at ever slight worry of the sort. Sure, I was going to school full-time and working like a slave to flush money down the toilet, and it was affecting my physical and mental health as well as my grades. And yes, I pointed this out. But the health insurance was priority worry for him. If I’d canceled it and he’d gotten wind, I was afraid he might have a heart attack or a stroke.

    NOW he’s beginning to start to understand that maybe that is just a very expensive piece of paper that has no actual value because a private policy is, at present, WORTHLESS!!! Funny, he only begins to start to understand this when I’m unemployed and he has to take up the premiums again.

    It’s a con game, is all it is. I’d almost prefer an “honest” con, in fact. At least there would be consequences for him, while the rich corporate cons will continue to fleece desperate and frightened people and get away with it.

  9. Say what you will about Canadian wait times, but I’ve lived in Canada all my life and I’m here to say I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with my health care.

    I’ve always gotten the tests I’ve needed, waited less than a month for an MRI, and never wait more than an hour to see my GP even without an appointment or an emergency. My grandfather after having his stroke recovered fully, thanks to prompt hospital treatment and physiotherapy. His diabetic nurse sessions are always covered and he has never had to take insulin. My other grandfather survived cancer twice with government health care.

    Saying that government health care will be the ruin is just plain ineffective. It’s got its kinks, but it’s better than your cause of death being “Poor”.

  10. You know, even Joe Scarborough admitted that health insurance as it currently exists is basically a scam. That says a lot, doesn’t it?

  11. Coming from an entirely different nation with an entirely different system of healthcare, I do think the Government should have some sort of say in how it’s run — it has to be government-regulated on some level, so we don’t have witch doctors drilling holes in people’s heads to let the demons out.

    But this doesn’t mean I support a Government that wants to take over PRIVATE healthcare, and nor will it happen. I feel rather sorry for people who think a National Health System would let that sort of thing happen, or who think it’ll have power over life and death (I’m looking at you here, Ms. Palin, and if I ever meet you it’ll be with men in white coats).

    People say the N.H.S. has its share of problems and I agree, but that doesn’t mean the theory — a tax-funded healthcare system — is erroneous. That’s all down to where the money goes, specifically all the wrong places.

    Still, it is an absolutely fantastic system, for all its faults.

    ———

    @ Kay: I wish everyone thought the the same thing about Canadian healthcare, but perhaps you should read this.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/jeremy_clarkson/article6814702.ece

  12. I live in Washington DC, and last Saturday we had that huge group of people marching against Obama, the Democrats and (of course) health care reform. I stayed as far away from them as possible!

    It’s partly our fault for not going on the offensive back in August when the tea-party brigade started raising the roof at the town halls. Barack and the Dems in Congress (at least some of them) are going on the offensive and trying to beat back the “Death Panel” and “Socialized Medicine” propaganda spread by Glenn Beck and company. But it just brings to mind the adage, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on.”

    I was at a progressive study group and we were discussing the wrangling and I suggested that maybe Obama take a page from Dubya’s playbook and say something like, “If you don’t pass health care reform, the terrorists win!” I meant it in jest, but it’s time for “No-drama Obama” to take the gloves off and start playing the fear card (which the GOP has been playing for years) and let these people know what keeping the status quo intact will do to the economy. And the Democrats in Congress can do their part by reaching out to the working stiffs who are marching with the wackadoodles and thinking “let us at least have our health care!” by asking them to think if they prefer not being forced into bankruptcy by a sick child or hospital bill or having to choose between filling a heart-med perscription or putting food on the table.

    Perhaps we should organize a march of our own, but then again the media might under-report such a march they way they buried the millions of people who protested the Iraq war a couple of years ago. But at least the Tea-Party crowd is out there instead of screaming at the TV and/or computer like the rest of us.

    When are we going to learn, democracy doesn’t work! – Homer Simpson

  13. TEA PARTY PARADE!? Oh for fuck’s sake, Republicans, grow the fuck up. Do you think it’s still 1776 any fucking more? Get the chip off your shoulders and get the fuck over yourselves.

    When I first heard about Sarah Palin’s “death panel” remark, I wanted to strangle her.

    I read that the head of a particular hospital (somewhere in Kent, if I remember, but I’m unsure) invited her to see how things are run. I doubt she’ll take it up though — probably thinks they’ll kill her.

    Tonight on FOX: “N.H.S.: National Health System, or NAZI HOLOCAUST SYSTEM?”

    Also, sorry about the off topic rant regarding Palin, but I really find it hard to believe that someone that fucking thick was able to become the deputy leader of a political party. To think the worst we had was Neville Chamberlain.

    Seriously, Lin, North, guys — do you have any idea how they can actually believe the shit they say? The fact that they don’t ever research or even LOOK, sometimes literally REFUSING TO DO SO, has to mean they secertly know they’re wrong, right?

    It has to be LITERALY impossible to believe the things they say — it isn’t just a lack of reasearch and logic, but basic, innate COMMON SENSE. They HAVE to know that what they’re saying is a lie, surely.

    So, again, HOW can they SERIOUSLY BELIEVE THIS without being mentally deficient (you’d have to be)? Any ideas, guys? Cause I can’t think of one.

  14. Some contributor tool on Faux News: “What’s the point of having a state constitution if the federal government can override it?” This was part of the constant Fox shit-stirring about healthcare reform.

    THE FUCKING FUCK?!?

    Do these people not fucking understand how the government is set up? FEDERAL > STATE. END OF FUCKING DISCUSSION.

  15. You don’t have to worry about “keeping your options open.” If you like the coverage you have now, no one is going to outlaw it. That’s why the idea of government-funded (and I’d like to emphasize that the correct term is “funded” as opposed to “run”) health insurance is being called a “public OPTION.” You will still have the right to buy private insurance, and most people will still be covered by their employers. But, as was already discussed, they will not have to worry about losing coverage if they lose their jobs.

    A good website you should check out is:
    http://healthcarefactcheck.com

  16. Well, to play devil’s advocate, the idea is that since the government doesn’t really have to worry about making a profit, they can provide coverage at a price that other companies can’t compete with. Even if *you* like your current coverage, no one else will, so they’ll all leave said insurer, and said insurance agency will go under. At least, that’s the argument as I understand it.

    Obviously, I consider it worth that loss, but then again, I don’t have health insurance.

    As for the “What’s the purpose of a state constitution if-” well, that goes all the way back to the Articles of Confederacy, now doesn’t it? State rights vs Federal rights has always been a sticky issue. It’s why Texans occasionally want to cecede. And I’m sure us east coast ivory tower liberals all would be happy as pigs in figurative excrement if we just let them (no more GW, I’ll tell you that), but what about the poor souls who live in Houston as a matter of course, because that’s where their livelihood is? I mean, who amongst us hasn’t lived in a Red State because of circumstances in their lives? Hell, I live in Florida as I speak. There are too many innocent victims when we just let people have their way like that.

    Wait, who the heck was arguing against that? No one here that I see. I can apparently pull arguments out of thin air-my rambling senses are tinglin’

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