Friday, September 11, 2009

Health Care Reform: Now Is a Good Time

President Obama is trying to pass health care reform. To many of us, this seems like a no-brainer. Why doesn't America take care of its people at least as well as Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Seychelles, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and The United Kingdom?
People in this country are suffering medically, financially, and emotionally, because we do not as a nation take care of our own. I have heard people screaming about socialism because national health care is being proposed. I beg to differ.
Socialism, like Christianity, is an ideal to which many have aspired but few have put into practice. I believe that people are not afraid of socialism. They don't have the first idea what socialism is. They are afraid of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is an idea that has been put into practice many times, frequently by people who have claimed to be socialists, and we have seen that we do not like it.
Threatening people with socialism is an old bleat, and for some reason, to some people, still an effective one. People toss the word “socialism” around like PETA members throw red paint.
Speaking of red, when did Republicans become red? To an older person like me, who remembers when being accused of being red was a vile slander that could ruin a person's business and life, this whole “red is conservative” thing is confusing. However, I do feel a certain perverse joy in thinking of someone as one of them Republican pinkos.
But I digress.
I have heard people saying that if this socialized medicine scheme goes through we will not be able to choose our own doctors. This is an empty threat to me – we had to stop going to our doctor because my husband got health insurance at work and our doctor did not have a contract with that company. The doctor I go to now is a great doctor and the nurse practitioners in his office are great, and it is more than great to have health insurance, but it would have been nice to keep seeing the doctor with whom we had a history and whom we trusted.
If we were rich we could. We could buy health insurance from some one who contracted with our doctor, or we could pay medical expenses out of pocket. There are always options for the rich.
Are you rich? If the answer is “yes,” then, hey, no worries. For the rest of us – worries.
I wish President Obama well with health care reform. It's a long time coming. As a country we are heartless bastards about our poor, our hungry, our widows and orphans, our handicapped, our elderly, our veterans, our children. We pay great lip service to ideals of respecting and caring for the weak, the heroic, the young, and the indigent, but in fact we allow people to languish in poverty, to starve, go homeless, and die without giving them a thought.
See, it's like taking care of your teeth. Say you go through life expecting your teeth to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and take care of themselves. You never brush, you never floss, you never go to the dentist. If you're lucky, your teeth survive. It is more likely that your teeth will go bad. You'll end up with a sick, stinky mouth and a few dingy, ugly teeth that can no longer do for you what teeth are supposed to do. The health of your entire body will suffer.
That's what I'm saying here. The country that does not take care of its own is not a healthy country, and has cultural bad breath.
Support health care reform. It's a no-brainer. Even if you don't care about yourself, you might have children or grand children you care about. Do it for them.
And now I feel an urge to brush my teeth.


Deedee said...

Wow. I couldn't have said it better. A great post. Let's hope the President can get something done, what with the GOP thwarting his every effort. Great post!

Zhoen said...

I don't get the hostility to the idea, either. Amen.

June Saville said...

Well done for being so vocal on health care reform. I'm an Australian and lucky to know that our nation cares sufficiently about its citizens to provide health care for all.
Our health scheme isn't perfect but my goodness it's a lot better than what I've read about in your country.
Good luck to you all and down with the rabid rumour mongers.
June in Oz

June Saville said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barrett Bonden said...

One problem is that words like "socialism" are a red rag to a bull for some Americans. Britain (where I live) is not a socialist country, it combines state help with capitalism and can thus be described as pluralistic. I took exception to the way our National Health Service was slandered in the US a week or two ago as a means of terrifying Americans into rejecting the Obama plan and wrote what I regard as an honest assessment of the NHS for American consumption:

Most Brits would admit that the NHS is not perfect but, hey, when you're hurting you're prepared to forgo the icing on the cake. Just recently Brits were polled on what were the genuine advantages of being a Brit: despite constant sniping by our Conservative party (for which read your Republicans, but not quite so red in tooth and claw) we were united on two things. The rest is junk but we do care about the NHS and the BBC.

Go out and fight for healthcare. Tell people that a country's greatness is measured by how it treats its poor people, not its rich.

The Crow said...

Glad to see you back in blogland, Mary. This post is good reading.


greerberge said...

Very nicely said! The dental metaphor is so perfect.