Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I am amazed at the downright hysteria that opponents of the bill are displaying (here’s an example from The Sexist, in which the author examines how this bill is compared to date rape by conservatives - no, really), so I made myself a little mental checklist to think through some things and see if the hysteria had any basis in reality:
Do I know anyone who plans on just sitting back and let other people’s taxes pay for their healthcare? No. No, I don’t. But I also don’t know any woman who says, “I’m gonna pop out more kids for the gubmint to pay for, so I can stay on welfare!” And yet, according to many, many right-wingers, these Welfare Queens do exist, along with their companions the Disability Defrauders and the Medicare Scammers. I want to make this clear – I have known many poor people. I come from poor people. I’ve been a poor person for a lot of my life. I live in an economically depressed area, and I always have. Shouldn’t I have encountered any of the above archetypes of super-entitled-but-not-deserving people at least ONCE in my life, if they actually existed in the numbers that Republicans seem to think that they do? Now, I’m not saying that people who abuse welfare or disability or any other government-subsidized program don’t exist. I’m saying that they’re not the giant menace to our way of life that they’re painted to be.
I firmly believe that the majority of people who can’t afford healthcare in the U.S. would pay for it if they could. Don’t bother telling me that most people who don’t have insurance now are trying to scam the U.S. and turn it into a Socialist paradise. I don’t believe you, and I never will.
I’m a lot more worried about waste on the government’s end – like the 80 letters and postcards I’ve gotten to remind me to send in my Census form. How much did all of these pieces of mail cost? And this government waste is not something Obama invented, let’s get that straight right now. I remember, during G.W.’s reign of terror, getting a ton of mail telling me about the Stimulus Refund. Which I didn’t even qualify for.
Do I think all small businesses are going to shut down now? No. Like most people, I have not read the bill in detail, but I’m fairly certain that businesses will be protected to an extent. I haven’t heard anything about employers having to provide the VERY BEST AND MOST COSTLY INSURANCE EVER to their employees. Yes, I do think that employers should help with insurance costs – I have never worked for a company, small or large, that didn’t. If a company, small or large, is well-run (and really, how many are?), paying out for health insurance for employees shouldn’t send them under. Especially if health insurance companies are forced to regulate their ridiculous prices – which is the point of this legislation, right?
Do I know people with pre-existing conditions who can’t get insurance/medication? Yes. I mentioned a few entries ago that my mother finally got disability, and that she’s shopping around for health insurance. Well, it turns out that she can’t get Healthy NY because she hasn’t worked for more than a year (because of her hips), and the private insurance that she can get is unaffordable (because of her hips). Can we say Catch-22?
Here’s another example – at my last job, I had a Healthy NY-style plan. I have sports-induced asthma. It hardly ever affects me, and I can’t remember the last time I had to refill my inhaler. When I got a letter from my insurance stating that they wouldn’t pay toward my asthma medication because of my “pre-existing condition,” I shrugged it off. But another coworker, who started a few months after me, had more serious asthma and needed daily medication. She also got the letter informing her that our company’s health insurance wouldn’t be paying toward asthma medication for six months, and it freaked her out.
I guess it could have been worse. I guess that they could have said that we couldn’t be on the plan at all because of our asthma. But do any of you out there have asthma? Do you know how expensive the medication is? Maybe it wouldn’t have been a big deal if we were making good money, but we were working for a non-profit. And the middle class, the people that the right-wingers are so worried about? Having to pay for asthma medication (hell, any medication that needs to be taken regularly) without the help of an insurance plan is the kind of thing that bankrupts the middle class.
OK, the last thing, and then I’ll step off of my soapbox for now. I’ve heard this a lot from opponents of the health bill – “I understand that the healthcare system needs to be overhauled, but I don’t like the way it was shoved down our throats!” Dude. Step back and look at history. How did civil rights and integration come about? How did women get the right to vote? IT WAS SHOVED DOWN YOUR THROATS. Otherwise, most people would never change. Most companies would never treat their workers like human beings. It’s sad but true that a lot of good change needs to be forced change. And it’s sad but true that the U.S. has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the First World.
But I’m happy when I think that we’re on our way.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I have seen him by the subway station this winter, picking up sticks and swinging them vigorously, in almost a violent manner. He wore one of those masks that snowmobilers sometimes wear, foamy and black, with eyeholes and a mouth hole cut out. I was a little wary of him until I realized that he was being more playful than violent.
I mentioned him at work this morning, and someone told me that he keeps his stockpile of sticks in the lot across from our building. He’ll take ten minutes to pick out the perfect stick from his collection, and then he’ll play in the snow with it. My coworker said that he couldn’t imagine what the boy would do now that the snow is melting, but I thought the boy was definitely having fun this morning, swinging his stick around over grass and mud.
I wonder what that boy is thinking. I wonder what he dreams about.
Yes, spring has sprung in Buffalo, and while we all know not to trust that it’s here to stay, we’re all delighted with the sun and the warmth. We’re all being super cheesy and raising our faces to the sun and smiling goofily. We’re all saying, “I almost called in to work because it’s so GORGEOUS outside!”
Of course, it’s supposed to rain on and off this weekend. I say “of course” because this weekend is Buffalo’s St. Patrick’s Day parade (and we sure do take our drinking seriously; we sure are “Irish.” Actually, I am Irish, a little). My friends Ami and Jon are having their usual brunch, and then we’ll watch the parade, while drinking. In the rain, apparently. But I am not discouraged, because my friend Julia is coming back to town for the weekend! And I am making cupcakes for the brunch! And we will party like we’re 100% Irish.
I have been especially giddy lately because my mom finally got disability! She got rejected the first time – I think everybody does – but then she went to see another doctor about her hips, and he must have written up a doozy of a report. Before my mom knew it, she was receiving checks and notices of her disability. Now she can look into getting insurance and getting her hips fixed! YAY!
The only downside is that we’re going to have to stop picking on mom when her hips are fixed, because she’ll actually be able to catch us and beat on us, instead of just waving her cane at us in a threatening manner.
Friday, March 5, 2010
I had to make do with a few sips of my nephew Izaak’s shake. I’m glad he loves me, and glad that he shares. But this year I WILL HAVE MY OWN SHAKE. I’m working on some leads now. And I’m going down to visit my family this afternoon, so I will check some places along the way.
The weather is just perfect for a bit of a drive – sunny, a little windy, warm(ish). The weather has been perfect since Sunday, and I’m willing to put up with some slush if it means that I can go outside without a hat on. My scalp can breathe!
On Sunday some friends and I went downtown to check out the Powder Keg Festival… and I gotta say, we were a little disappointed. Obviously it wasn’t anyone’s fault that the pond hockey tournament was canceled (we had slush and rain all Saturday, and the “pond” was deemed unsafe), but we were kind of excited about the pancake breakfast at the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery – and they weren’t prepared! We got there an hour before the breakfast was supposed to end, and no one who worked there seemed to know what we should do. Everyone gave confusing answers, and then, after a few minutes of waiting, we were informed that they ran out of food. Seriously,
We checked out the ice maze, which was nice, except that they weren’t limiting how many people could go in at a time, so we basically followed a big line of people to the exit. Not exactly maze-like, in my book.
So we came back up to
A disappointment or not, Powder Keg did get me out of my room, which I started painting on Saturday. I thought I’d get the bulk of the work done on Saturday, but I underestimated both the size of my room and the amount of stuff I have (in my defense, I have an apartment’s worth of books, personal papers, knick-knacks, etc. in my room). I did get quite a lot done on Saturday, but it was good to take Sunday off. I finished most of the painting on Monday, and moved most of my stuff back into the room on Tuesday. Now it’s pretty much back in order, except for some papers that need to find a home. And while I kind of liked the fort of furniture I had going around my bed while I was painting, I’m happy that everything is back where it belongs.
I’ll post pictures eventually.