Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who Are These People?

Can I just ask who these people are who are showing up at these town hall meetings on health care and getting so ragingly angry that they have to be removed by force?
Does ANYONE really believe that we have the best health care system in the world? That it can't be improved upon? Where do these people get their information?
Have they never lost the job that gave them health insurance and had to try and find insurance on their own? Have they been able to afford it? Have they ever tried to run a small business and buy health care for their family without the help of an employer? Have they ever tried to maneuver the Medicaid System for a friend or family member who is terminally ill and can't afford either health care or a facility to care for them during the final months or years of their lives? Have they ever had to pay for a colonoscopy or mammogram or MRI or ECG or medication without insurance? Have they ever lived in fear of becoming ill or injured without insurance? Do they know that in Canada EMT's have years of classroom and practical training instead of the shorter training our EMT's get? Do they know that people actually go to other countries for health care because not only can they not afford it here but that the health care is BETTER in other countries? Do they not know that our infant mortality rates are scandalously high? That we rate below Cyprus and Slovenia? That only the wealthy in our country or people with incredibly great insurance can afford fertility treatments while in other countries, they are free or very affordable? Have they never tried to get new insurance with a pre-existing condition? Have they ever been turned down by a doctor because he or she does not accept Medicare or Medicaid?
Do they not realize that the Medicare they're going to depend on or ARE depending on is a government-run agency? Do they not know that we spend twice as much per person on health care in this country than any other industrialized country and far more of our citizens have NO INSURANCE AT ALL?
Who are these people?
Have they never sat in an emergency room, in pain and in fear with a serious illness which could have been treated cheaply and easily with a medication if it had been taken care of at an early stage but that the visit to a family physician for that treatment was just too expensive?
Do they not realize that we DO pay for the medical care for the poor already, only in a very inefficient and expensive way?
Do they not realize that insurance companies have more to do with the health care they get than their own doctors do? That doctors could charge less and actually practice more medicine if they didn't have to spend so much of their income and energy dealing with the crazy, insane job of trying to collect money from insurance companies?
Have they never been told by a doctor that he recommends a treatment but that insurance will not pay for it?
For Christ's sake. They've got it going on all over the world and it works fine. Or at least better than what we've got.
WE DON'T EVEN HAVE A SYSTEM! We have insurance companies and drug companies.
That's our system, baby. That's our so-called system. And trying to find a place within it where you feel safe and provided for for a price you can afford is ridiculously and insanely hard.

So again, I ask- who ARE these people who are so happy with the way things are?
And what's their point if the best they can come up with is that one of the plans Congress is working on actually provides for Medicaid to pay for a visit with a doctor if you want it to discuss end-of-life issues which everyone should damn well be discussing and getting on paper in a legal fashion anyway? And who better to discuss it with than a doctor? And your family, of course.

Okay. I have a lot more I could say about this but I won't. Not tonight.
I just wish I knew who these people were. And what country they live in because it sure doesn't sound like the country I live in where health care is neither cheap, easily available, or easy to understand.

What is the deal?
Could it all be traced back to, oh...I don't know.
What do you think?


  1. I'm putting a link to this on my Facebook page -- you might get a lot of traffic! I think it's terrific, and I thank you.

  2. Fuck 'em all.

    I know that's not very profound, but that's what I feel at this moment. I am so blessed to be healthy, for now, and unfortunately, it seems like the most blessed among us (aka those you don't actually navigate/benefit from/feel the negative effects of/ the healthcare system) are the loudest in this debate.

    When I lived in Denmark, I just kept my mouth shut whenever we talked healthcare systems...I couldn't even begin to argue.

  3. I'm not sure where they're coming from, either. (I found your blog through Elizabeth's Facebook link.) What's bizarre is that most of the ordinary people opposing Obama's health care initiative are people who would likely benefit from it. Sadly, a lot of people will believe whatever Rush says.

    A few years ago I read about Dylan Thomas's visit to Iowa City in the early Fifties. At a party, a woman asked him what th thought of Britain's national health insurance. Thomas thought it was wonderful. The wonan responded by saying, "My husband's a doctor.." and went on to denounce the British system. Dylan responded with a string of profanities that some people had never heard before. To think that Britain, in its painful postwar years, was able to put through national health insurance.

  4. We are so behind other "industrialized nations" as they keep saying.

    Oh yes those people have been sent there by the insurance and drug companies! The ones who believe what they're saying are stupid lemmings who have been manipulated by the other ones.

  5. I think you know who those people are; they are the ones who not only have excellent insurance benefits or enough money so that what their insurance doesn't cover can just be paid for. more than likely, too, they arethe people who go to the doctor for every single cold or hangnail, which also drives costs up. Or who want ONLY name brand prescriptions instead of settling for the generic ones because if it is generic, it can't be good enough-which in turn drives insurance costs up...

    I have health insruance provided by my employer as of July-which is good. It is a healthcare plan that I can't afford to use, which is ridiculous and bad and absolutely NOT how it should be. My children have Medicaid-which thankg GOD pays for most of what they need, unless they don't-which is good AND bad.

    I could go on and on as well, but get way too worked up about it to REALLY tell you how I feel-not with only half a cup of coffee in me.

  6. AMEN!!!! I work in a county/non-profit clinic, and we are constantly having to scale back on our services because Medicaid reibursement runs only around 40% of the total bill. We eat the rest. Something is seriously wrong with a (non)system like ours.
    And I hope you don't mind, but I'm printing your post to send to my disgustingly Republican parents, who also bitch about the cost of health insurance. Oxymoronic, anyone?

  7. AMEN! This country is so ass-backwards about all this and it does, once again, all come down to money. Money! When we're talking about life and death and quality of life! Americans are so fucking pigheaded and afraid of doing anything that they think might be taking away some sort of idealized freedom they have, that "mine-not-yours" mentality, that fight for the American dream capitalistic bullshit, when all of that is just words words words and none of it based in reality.
    I love what you said about people being forced to wait until their health deteriorates to a point where they have to have emergency care (which costs us so much more in the end) rather than get the care they need early on. People lose their lives and their livelihoods waiting around to get help.
    The one time I've tried to go to the doctor in the past two years was for an ear infection that was driving me nuts. The base fee was $100 dollars, and after waiting for two hours I wandered out into the hall and told a nurse I was going to leave. She said, "I don't blame you." What the fuck? Where's the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in that?
    Pretty words painted on a page mean nothing when the rich spread lies to maintain the status quo. Fuck-a-doodle-cock. Bring on the socialism! If the people of this country are going to stand fast to their ignorance it is up to the government (that we elected, by the way) to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

  8. Back during the campaign, I remember someone declaring that "If Obama wins, there'll be class war and socialism!" Taylor and I had the same exact response: Fuck yeah! And not a moment too soon!

    Those morons at the meetings are just so damn childish. They're being paid or manipulated into throwing tantrums. Is that supposed to help their side look reasonable?

  9. a lady i work with is part of the group putting on Tallahassee's town hall meeting in a couple weeks on health care reform. they already had a group of activists call and be really ugly about the location, etc. b/c they are getting a big group together to make trouble. so my co-worker is very nervous (i don't blame her). but i don't get it. they have 2 doctors talking at the meeting; 1 for each side. so it seems like they are trying to make it 'fair.' whey a group to stir up trouble just because? why can't we have peacable discussion so people can learn things from others' point of view? ugh. people.

  10. Agreed. 100%. My mom has struggled to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills after she beat cancer. It pains me to see what she goes through. To work so hard, to see that money, that survival celebration to be pushed aside by greedy insurance companies. Disgusting. And then, oh, I see these lazy sob's who leech off the system and lie to get the State Insurance. It makes me fightin' mad. Change is needed. Adapt or die.

  11. I cannot comment intelligently about this. It still makes my blood boil too much. Probably the same way the crazy people who have to get dragged out of the meetings do!

    I have to practice more spiritual detachment before making comments. But I like what you said. I think it sums it up nicely. Does that count?

  12. I too have often wondered who these people are and what in the hell is wrong with them that they're behaving this way, many of them without even seeking factual information. They're just going out there spouting crap.

  13. Oh, Ms. Moon - You're really hit on a big one for me today. All of my children have healthcare because their fathers are in the military. YEA! I however, divorced from the military, do not. Even the bottom of the barrel policy that I could qualify for (goddamn preexisting condition) would cost me $400 a month. Yeah, right. And that's not even my family's most tragic connectin to the health insurance debacle. My Sweet Dawn, my great love, my wife is actually still legally married to her ex because of her health care needs. We are forced to commit adultery in the name of a once yearly body scan. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness my ass.

  14. Thank you for hitting the nail on the head.

  15. I've noticed the British NHS is getting a lot of abuse as a side effect of this campaign.

    Here's a statistic, the UK spend less on health per head of population, and have a longer life expectancy.

    This is one of my pet US peeves, and I'm going to watch like a hawk.

  16. I don't get this either. It seems like common sense, looking in from the outside.

    I'm not saying it has to be entirely free at point of delivery. I have to disagree a bit with Xbox there. I've been at the receiving end of the NHS, and I used to travel to Belgium to get my health care because it has serious issues.

    In Belgium, we have a cunning mix of public and private in which everyone is insured, but we get to choose our own services. This works beautifully, I think.

    For about three hundred euros a year (not sure of the exact number), we get all this. We do have to pay small surcharges, but I'm willing to pay about five euros to go see a doctor. I think you can get even that back if you're poor enough.

    I hope you all get a better system.

  17. @Mwa - the statistic about the NHS is factually correct.

    I don't claim it's the be all and end all, the system here is a million times better, but they DO spend less and generate longer life expectancies.

  18. Rush Limbaugh and other right wing talk radio personalites (I won't call them entertainers or news reporters) are whipping all of the Republicans into a frenzy. If you'll remember, Rush is the one who said he hoped that Obama would fail as president. I think he's gone beyond hoping and is trying to cause Obama to fail! This is all a ploy for the Republicans to recapture the House and Senate next year, but Rush forgets that Americans are like kids with ADD - after the World Series, Christmas, football season and the Super Bowl, plus whatever early 2010 throws at them, very few people will remember all of this by November, 2010.

  19. @Xbox - I do not quarrel with your statistic. I would never ever ever accuse you of lying. :-)

    What I meant and inadequately expressed was that the NHS gives decent enough care, but it's a bugger to use. My husband once had a kidney problem and had to wait SIX MONTHS for a scan. By which time, luckily, it had healed itself. I broke a tooth and was told I'd have to wait OVER A YEAR to get it fixed.

    Hope we're ok now.

  20. Superbly eloquent appeal.Any risk is better than none at this point. Mexico could be banning Amerians as aliens as we move down there and make brujos and sorcerors rich as our only alternative.
    as always we seem to make the biggest and best of everything until we won't deal with the small customer anymore and we run out of customers to keep us going.Medical field as it is, will just cut their own throats.

  21. Ms. E- I do appreciate the shout-out.

    SJ- Yes. The only defense is staying healthy. Pay for food or pay for health care. That's what I say.

    Mr. Steve- I love the image of Dylan Thomas cursing a doctor's wife.

    Joy- Or racists who want to bring down Obama. That is a very valid explanation.

    Kori- I think we should be going to these town hall meetings. Town hall? My town doesn't have a damn hall. What am I talking about?

    Rachel- And it's people like you I hear on NPR. But why not on Glenn Beck? Well, actually, I have no idea who's on Glenn Beck.

    May- Oh darling. I love you so.

    DTG- "'If Obama wins, there'll be class war and socialism!' Taylor and I had the same exact response: Fuck yeah! And not a moment too soon!"
    Why are we such crazy liberals?
    I love you.

    CMe- I have no idea.

    Tiff- I know. Change is hard but let's look at the possibilities!

    Ms. Fleur- Maybe we should discuss spiritual detachment on our next coffee talk. I might need some.

    Marsha- Comparing health care reform in the USA to Hitler's government. Please.

    Ms. Windy- And you've given me an entire other post's worth of thoughts. God. I am so sorry for the situation you're in.

    Ms. Sally- Thank-you.

    Xbox- Facts are facts. I love having commenters from other countries. It makes this all so much more universally available.

    Mwa- And it's not like the US can't study other countries's health systems and figure out what works and what doesn't. Right?

    Lucy- I believe you are right.

  22. Mr. Berry- I hear that Mexico has a very decent health-care system. Even without the curanderos.

  23. Hi
    I noticed one who had lived in Denmark ! Well, I'm Danish and live in Norway and one of the major reasons for never seriously considering to move to US (even if I like many of you !) is your current health care system compared to our Scandinavian system; as I understand Obama's plan (and I'm facebook fan of Obama), it is a matter of raising the US health care system to a decent modern system, so it is really sad to see this (foxnews driven like their teabag parties ??) obstruction coming from people who otherwise talk so much of how to behave, but apparently only when it comes to others behavior ! so I really hope that all you good people are strong enough to let Obama succeed; in fact it will also help the rest of the world !

  24. Niels- You just never can tell with this huge crazy country. I swear- sometimes I don't even begin to understand my fellow countrypeople.

  25. Ms.Moon, I understand, in fact, I neither understand why the majority of Danish voters for the last 8 years could vote for a prime minister (Fogh Rasmussen) who was very proud of being a close ally to no less than GWB!, and proud of celebrating one of the birthdays of your past president ! and neither some of my friends here in Norway, see a new post, have a nice weekend !

  26. To work so hard, to see that money, that survival celebration to be pushed aside by greedy insurance companies. Disgusting.Fexmid And then, oh, I see these lazy sob's who leech off the system and lie to get the State Insurance. It makes me fightin' mad. Change is needed. Adapt or die.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.