Nothing like a medical emergency to focus the mind and the attention. Once the dust settles and the hours drag on, and you view life through a hospital window and the limited television selection [no MSNBC!] of a hospital room, you learn to appreciate the blessings and ignore the rest for a while.
But there's no ignoring the health care system these days, and we're hearing snatches of real life about it everywhere. From the caller to NPR describing how her insurance will go from some $800 a month to over $1400 if she renews. To the couple in the ER worrying in whispers whether there'll be coverage. To...well, you and I know the examples are legion.
And it's almost inconceivable that the insiders in Washington could be so oblivious or deliberately disregarding of what's going on for their fellow citizens, their constituents, their voters every single day.
Maybe you Senators and former Senators and lobbyists and industry corporatists aren't talking to us...but we're talking to each other, and we're mad as hell that we're being ignored.
You remember us...We, the people?
Or as my dear friend Kathy shared with me from the letter she sent the White House [and the observation that very likely it wouldn't even be read...is our cynicism showing, Rahm? David? Barack?]...we all have strong opinions, and experience to justify 'em about the current state of our health care. Since I'm a tad preoccupied right now, I'll let Kathy's words speak for both of us:
Dear Mr. President:
The issue is health care. My question: Are you wimping out on a true single-payer option?
I worked hard to help get you elected. When I'd donated more money than I could afford to give, I gave my time. I'm tired of lobbyists, tired of corporate profit-taking, tired of war profiteers, tired of not being heard. Do you know why your approval ratings are slipping? It's because we've moved on to the issue of health care, and you're not saying what the people want to hear. That's right, the people who are getting e-mail requests for donations to help you fight for health care reform still have the audacity to hope for true reform. Our money doesn't seem to speak as loudly as what comes from "special interests." Just what makes their money so special?
Republicans are repeating the big lie over and over again--"The American people don't want a system like [shudder] what they have in Canada!"--and you're letting them get away with it. Which American people are they talking about? The American people DO want coverage for everyone. The guy we don't want between us and our doctor is the insurance agency's bean counter. You're worried about "unfair" competition? Why is free market competition even an issue? Is there a market for sick people? I don't think so. My daughter worked for a health insurance company for two years as a claims evaluator, one of those people who decides whether a procedure should be covered. She had no medical background except as a patient. And she had a quota to meet. She had to deny many claims for procedures ordered by doctors treating children with terrible illnesses. She was never so glad to move on to a different job--the county probation department. At least there the criminals aren't running the show, she said.
I grew up in a military family. Government health care. My husband is Lakota Sioux and an Army veteran. Government health care. I've never heard of one person refusing Medicare coverage when they became eligible. (Have you?) Government health care. If it's good enough for the soldiers, the veterans, the elders, the poor, and the Indians, it's good enough for all of us. So, for the love of God, don't fail the people now. Only a public (Federal) option will make a difference for us. Medical care is treated as a right in our society. Hospital emergency rooms cannot turn people away. Parents who don't provide medical care for their children lose parental rights. We need single payer to bring access and cost in line with what we accept in fact as a basic human right in the United States.
And speaking of the love of God, I'm a Christian. A real Christian. I don't believe in the "prosperity gospel." I don't believe Jesus would be a Capitalist. What I do believe is that whatever we do to the least of our brethren, we do to Him. Oh, and as a Minnesotan, I sincerely apologize for Michelle Bachman. God and the Supreme Court willing, we'll send Al Franken to make up for that particular embarrassment.
Right now we're receiving a master lesson in citizen activism...from the people of Iran. Surely we, too, can stand up and Twitter, email, letter-write, fax, call...ask at the next public appearance....
The whole country is watching, Senators, White House. We, the voters. And we have just one question. It starts with healthcare.
When can we have our democracy back?
Oh, and...Vive Prairie Writers Guild!
TWO FOOTNOTES TO THE DAY:
Our local newspaper editorialized that the Conrad co-op plan is "intriguing." And notes the co-op plan will be regionalized, multi-stated, like oh, say, a pool among North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.
And, when I returned home from a day at the hospital, I was greeted by two anxious vocal spaniels, of course. And a hangtag on my front door inviting citizen participation in the health care reform action supporting the public option.
Prescriptionforchange.org and Consumers Union, those terrific folks who bring us Consumer Reports on everything from cars to laundry detergent are showing leadership on the public option for health care reform. Who would know better about getting the best value for our dwindling dollars!
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette