"Don't mean to offend, just politics."

For the past few weeks, I have been jobless and therefore out of the loop, by choice. I have not been paying my usual attention to the ISSUES. But then the universal health care coverage started to pop up everywhere, and now I can no longer claim ignorance.

Well, I'm still uninformed on a few points - not surprising, considering that the health care plan put forth by Obama seems to change daily. So this is all going to be pretty general.

But I do not understand people who don't think that universal health care is a good idea.

By and large, the people I've seen oppose the plan are Republicans (a few are hardcore Libertarians). One such Republican, a distant family member, popped up on my mother's Facebook page to say that Obama has failed us as a country - only 7 months into his first term, no less. And one of the things that scared her the most was the universal health care plan.

Of course I had to argue with her. I said (rather politely, I think) that it was kind of ridiculous to expect Obama to do EVERYTHING that he promised to do in only 7 months, and that it's obvious that we need health care reform in a big way. Having something like 60 million Americans without health care in this day and age seems unconscionable to me.

This family member on my mom's Facebook page - I will call her Beth, although that's not her name - said that she was a firm believer that America is a country of hard workers, and if you work hard, you earn your way. I said that I knew or had heard of far too many people who had full-time jobs but couldn't afford even basic medical procedures, and that is a problem. Beth countered by saying that she knew "a lot" of people who can afford decent health care coverage, but instead choose to spend their money on frivolous things.


Beth also said that "Big Government" should not be involved with health care. I asked if she felt the same about public schools, public libraries, the police force, firefighters, taking care of the roads, etc., etc. She didn't answer me. She did say that Christians, churches and charities were around to help those who need and deserve it (apparently, according to her earlier comments, this help should only be offered to those who work hard, so forget about the mentally ill, people too sick to work, etc. - they get too many handouts anyway!). When I responded that churches and charities aren't about to pay people's health insurance premiums, Beth countered that DUH, she didn't mean that!

Beth did say that the health care industry does need some reforms, but OMIGOD, NOT A COMPLETE OVERHAUL. At the time, I was shaking my head with amazement that someone could be so willfully blind about how bad the health care industry is. But what I should have brought up was Descartes. And this is where I turn into a snooty liberal intellectual.

Descartes was talking about God and our very existence, but his apples in a barrel analogy works for so many things, like this here health care overhaul. The analogy is this - if you have a barrel of apples, and you know that some of those apples are rotten, do you stick your hand into the top of the barrel and try to find the rotten apples that way? Of course not! Well, not if you have any sense. Instead, what you do is you upend the entire barrel, pick out all of the rotten apples, and return all of the sound apples to the barrel.

And yes, I do think that the health care industry in the U.S. has enough problems to warrant a complete overhaul.

Last week, I was in a car with two friends, and health insurance came up. Both friends work for different companies and had different insurances. Insurance premiums have gone up so sharply in the last couple of years that both friends' companies were constantly changing their insurances, to try and find lower prices, better services. Both of my friends were unsure what exactly was covered in their current policies because they'd switched insurance companies so often. That's a problem.

And then there's the fact that your insurance company can kick you off of their plan if you use your insurance too much, or if you have a pre-existing condition (and not just cancer - things like asthma, which is pretty common, can cause an insurance company to deny your claims or benefits).

People like Beth are going on and on about how we're going to pay for universal health care. I say that we should all expect to pay in, just like we do for the aforementioned public schools, public libraries, police, firefighters, roads, etc. England and France are good examples of how this could work and be beneficial for everyone, not just for people who can afford it. Besides, I think it's pretty clear that, if the health care industry continues the way it has, no one will be able to afford it.

One of Beth's comments was this - "Don't mean to offend, just politics." Right, because politics don't affect people's lives or anything.

I asked my mom one thing. I asked her whether Beth knew about her situation. She replied that yes, they had had a long talk about it.

My mother needs both of her hips replaced. She was laid off right around Thanksgiving. She found out that she had rare hip cysts, and that both hips would need to be replaced, two days before her health insurance ran out. Right now, she's making too much in unemployment and from her 401K to get on Medicare, and she can barely afford food, rent, car maintenance and other costs of living, let alone massively expensive operations that will take months to recover from.

My mother has always been a hard worker, and she is the perfect personal example for me of how the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality of fiscal conservatives is not working. My mother, who is going to be 59 at the end of the month, can't walk without a cane, has trouble with stairs, has trouble getting into the tub or into a car. My mother has a great sense of humor, and I don't think she's depressed, but obviously her quality of life would be better if she could walk without pain.

So yes. I AM offended that Beth decided to come onto my mother's page, knowing about my mother's situation, and spew all of this nonsensical opposition to a health care plan that would help out people like my mother (as well as the millions and millions of people who can't afford health insurance) immensely.

I would like to tell Beth and people of her ilk that there are more important things than money.

If you want to learn up about the health care plan, check this out: here

I'll be studying up as well.


A Fuss said…
Brava! My jaw is still on the floor frpm Beth's frivolous spending comment, but if I could speak I would say 'Nice Descartes analogy.' I would also say the health care I have from my old job (Cobra thank God -- I'm sure Beth objects to that too!) changed while I was in mid-pregnancy to a policy with a higher deductible because it was cheaper. As it was my deductible was high enough that we have spent a fortune having Maddie, certainly more than we could afford. And when I shopped around, pre-pregnancy, to see if I could find better insurance anywhere I was quoted a minimum of $750/month -- just me, no-pre-conditions or even health care cost-history involved.

But you know what, even if I decide to keep my current health care, I would be willing to pay more taxes (not actually being proposed, but still) so that people who aren't as financially comfortable as I am could be taken care of. And quite frankly, as a Catholic, I think any Christian who disagrees isn't very Christian -- let alone American. Wow, I just sounded as accusative as Ann Coulter!
Literary Auntie said…
Thanks, Alex.

You know, I've been on unemployment three times now, and I've never been able to afford COBRA! Not with such frivolous things to spend on like rent, car insurance, food... obviously, if I were having a baby, I'd try to be on some sort of insurance. But there are news stories about people skipping things like chemotherapy because they can't afford it and can't afford insurance.
Literary Auntie said…
And you made more sense than Ann Coulter.
Julia said…
Wow, that is a GREAT post, Sarah! So nicely said!!

ps-and yaya, i'm pretty sure you mentioned me, and this makes me feel famous ;o).

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