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Bill of Health


NOTE: Beginning today, we’ll be adding material only available on this blog on an irregular basis. Keep checking back often if you like what you read.

The health care debate has become less of a debate than a series of people shouting at each other. Not everything being said makes sense, particularly coming from those who are arguing against a national health care plan. Some of it amounts to little more than name calling, a national debate on the “tastes great, less filling” level.

The whole thing is thoroughly disgusting. What must people around the world think of us? It can’t be good. Our chief executive, elected by 70% of the popular vote of the largest voter turnout in the history of this country, being called a liar by a pinhead from South Carolina during an address to the joint houses of congress. When did we become a nation of assholes?

Personally, I’m tired of the rhetoric. I’m tired of the political posturing, I’m tired of being polite about a subject that has taken on additional urgency as our country gets older and our health care declines further. As a society, it is our responsibility to take care of those who require care. That’s not from our constitution, folks; it comes from a source that is a bit older than that. That is the viewpoint espoused by early Christians.

That’s right folks; the far right, of whom many call themselves evangelical Christians (which is a nicer way of saying fundamentalist) are espousing a viewpoint that is decidedly un-Christian. That whole good Samaritan thing must have just been an early version of Punk’d. Every time I hear of some jerk saying they just don’t want to use their tax dollars to pay for someone else’s health care, I just want to stomp a mudhole into them. Sure, you don’t have any problems driving on the roads my tax dollars paid for but I don’t drive. You fuckwad.

At this point, I don’t give a crap about the Republicans and the health insurance industry. Screw the lot of them. The President needs to get tough with them and grow a pair. He’s far too polite and well brought up for that, but maybe that’s what the nation needs right now – President Kickass. The insurance companies don’t like the compromise plan that is being presented to congress? All right, how about a new one – we get rid of the goddamned insurance companies altogether and create a national health care plan using the one of France, England, Canada or freaking Sweden for that matter as a model. All of those countries provide better health care to their citizens than ours does with the supposedly more efficient business model that we have.

Why do we need the insurance companies? They’re just middlemen, taking your money and parsing it out to the medical industry as needed – and sometimes not even then. Remember, this is your freaking money. It is coming from your salary, your pay. Your employer isn’t providing a red goddamned cent to your health care other than administrative costs. It’s all coming out of your pocket. When you are denied coverage for whatever reason the insurance companies should provide you a refund of your unused cash. Why shouldn’t they? They’re making money off of your money, if nothing else in interest.

If the medical insurance industry were to go away tomorrow, only those employed by it would miss it at all. I know that the people that would be most hurt are the clerks and front line employees who are underpaid and overworked and I have some sympathy for them, but they are working for a business that is a parasite on our national economy. We don’t need them. They need to go away.

The amazing thing is that the money we’re currently paying to insurance companies could go to a national health care system and fund it easily. Why should it be any less painul to pay a tax than it is to pay a premium? At the end of the day, it’s just money going out of your wallet somewhere else. I’d much rather it go directly to the people caring for me than into the coffers of some insurance giant who then turn around and deny somebody desperate in need of treatment because of a pre-existing skin condition – acne. That should never happen in an advanced society. It’s cruel, it’s criminal and the people involved should have been marched to a medical lab and given a cyanide enema for all the suffering they caused the patient and their family.

Not that all of what ails this society can be laid at the feet of the insurance industry. The medical industry has it’s own share of blame to cop to. Recently, we got a bill for my late father-in-law for the two night hospital stay he received after a fall, which resulted in a broken wrist. The bill came to just over $17,000. $7,000 of it was just for laboratory costs. That’s the cost of drawing blood, taking urine samples and sticking those things into machines that examine the fluids and spit out a report. That’s obscene. It’s indefensible. No hospital administrator on the planet can adequately explain why costs are so high – yes, I understand that malpractice insurance is a big chunk of what hospitals charge, but Christ! Part of the problem, as Bill Maher pointed out on a recent program, is that we have turned the art and science of medicine into a profit-generating industry and not just profits, obscene profits.

This has to stop. It has to. There are too many people getting wealthy off of the misery and suffering of others. We have to rise above our baser instincts. We have to demand better for ourselves and our children. We need to become less passive in things that affect us directly and take action. E-mail your congressman and let them know your expectation is that they will push through the legislation this country needs and has to have. It is time for us to stop being distracted by the bread and circuses that constantly usurp our attention away from the matters we should be focusing on. Time to take control of our destinies again. It’s time to take back our country.

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