Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why Healthcare is Personal

(another of Paul Rhea's photos)

I guess most folks who read here realize that, in most areas of life, my thoughts and feelings run to the Liberal end of the spectrum, except for the punishment of those who commit crimes against women and children. I think that, if punishment can't teach killers and rapists and the like to care about victims, then it's time to off the lot and quit wasting time, money and air on them.

But, as far as the rest of the issues people find to argue about, I'm pretty liberal. I think any adult should have the right to marry any other...after all (as my friend Melissa Usrey used to say), in the Grand Scheme of Things, what can it possibly matter who sticks what into whom? I fail to see how allowing two people of the same gender to marry would somehow diminish or cheapen the marriage of any heterosexual couple. A marriage is a marriage, and each one is what each couple makes it into.

As far as education goes, I think we have to teach Science as Science, and not Religion. If what kids learn in school wars with what they learn at home, well, that could open up some discussion on the topic. Surely that's not a bad thing! Honest discussion of sex education seems like it would be good, also. While I'm not in favour of allowing teens to do whatever, whenever, wherever, I do think that they should be armed with the information with which to protect themselves.

Going to that Health Care rally yesterday was really an eye-opener. Between the guy yelling at us on the road, and the people yelling across the street once we got there, it was forced on me that this is a personal issue for a lot of people.

It is especially personal for me, because I don't have any health insurance. None. Over the years, I've had jobs that provide it, and I was married to a man whose job provided it, but now I have none. Which means that the heat rash on my fingers is being treated with lavender oil, my bruised knee that I fell on a year or so ago was treated with arnica, and my chronic backache, with OTC pain killers. My depression since Jim's death...well, there is no counselling or anything; just the unflagging support of my family and friends. This is working, more or less. My knee creaks whenever I climb stairs, but I can live with that. I can even live with the worry about what will happen if I do come down with something that hugs and aloe vera won't cure. What I won't be able to live with is any one of the conditions that could happen to a woman of my age. The possibilities are endless: high blood pressure, cancer, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, heart disease...the list goes on.

Oh, there are charities...I fall into an income level that can get me discounts for mammograms and such, and for emergency care, but, guess what? If I develop something really bad, I'm still screwed, blued and tattooed. Frankly, I would be better off indigent, because then I would qualify for some county plan or other.

People have pointed out that there is such a thing as individual insurance, and I have looked into it. So far, the cheapest I can find is $250 a month, and that comes with a huge deductible. When, in a good month, I might bring home $1200, paying that much for coverage is out of the question.

People also tell me that our system is better than "socialized medicine." Folks, I'll tell you what we don't have. We don't have a system. The only thing systematic about health care in this country is the way the insurance companies fleece us. For instance, when Jim died, the insurance company to which he had paid a ton of money over the years and never used, informed me within days of his death that my coverage would be discontinued in three weeks. That didn't do much for the possibility of grief counselling, now did it?

Hardly anyone stays in one job all their life, and somebody has to do the cleaning, child care, food service and retail sales that free up the white-collar, heels-and-hose people to keep their jobs with medical insurance, retirement plans and stock options.

I am not looking for a freebie. I just want coverage that I can afford, while still eating and enjoying air conditioning.

I was discussing the dismal state of my options with a friend a few months back, and she asked me, "What happens if you get cancer?" My answer was, "I guess I'll just die."

I've sold the guns. Death is not an option.


  1. WOW is all I can say about that picture. Why is that man so angry? I bet he has insurance to help with his blood pressure issues.

    And I agree on all points. Surprisingly enough, my parents do too. Which is surprising since they are uber Republican.

  2. He has been drinking the koolaid that the anti-health-care lobbyists have been spewing. The "antis" were holding pictures of swastikas, Chairman Mao, hammer-and-sickle symbols, and many other things. Paul Rhea has 94 pictures up on Facebook, but I don't know if everyone can see them. Try, and get back to me if you can't. He gave me permission to use them.

  3. You know, it's interesting. I don't know a single anti-healthcare reform type who has ever been through a serious illness and had to fight with insurance. There's nothing like hearing the insurance company say, "Oh, cancer? We'll pay 10% of your medical bills." Self-centered, short-sighted, and insulated. Someday they will hear words like that, or similar, and I pity them as they get ripped from their egocentric fantasy land.

  4. I so agree with you Ronni. As a parent who had a child with a critical illness (cancer), I can tell you first hand what a wringer they can run you through. And we had what we THOUGHT was fairly good insurance. I could go on and on. I'll just leave it with "I agree".

  5. Martin's medication is $200 a month for a copay; without insurance, it would be $3200 a month. No, it's not liquid gold. And we have "good" insurance.

    The health care system needs a big overhaul and it isn't going to happen overnight, but it's a start.

  6. It's outrageous that a person's ability to be a functioning member of society should be impaired, when a prescription is available to control his condition.

    Even with insurance, it's $200 a month! And that much again for the insurance, I'm sure...probably more!

    Frankly, I don't see how anyone can actually call it a "system." It's just a hap-hazard, laissez-faire, caveat emptor, let's-take-the-patient-for-everything-he-has fleece-fest.

  7. If I develop a life-threatening illness such as cancer or COPD, I also expect to die. Dying would be quicker and less anguished than trying to survive the way you're expected to these days.

    Health care for profit is like water for profit, or air for profit. It's a sin to try to maximize the bottom line on any of these.

    In health care, the ones who are meant to benefit most are shareholders, not patients. If shareholders' profits are threatened, it has to come out someone's hide. Literally.

  8. I'm with you. We don't have a system, we have a controlled dictatorship with insurance and drug companies at the helm. Doctors are forced to do expensive tests because lawyers are ready to pounce if they don't do CYA for everything. Common sense has lost its place in healthcare. Our "system" is broken and needs to be completely rethought. Some people are scared to death of change, especially those who have it good right now. Which is what - 20 percent of the population?

  9. The insurance industry's cash cow lobbyists have been working this one very hard.