Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hi, Everyone. I will not say 'good morning' because this little item on MSNBC was the first thing I read today. As you can guess, it raised my blood pressure mightily. I am not terribly surprised at who is the author of this obscenity--that good ole blue dog boy, Max Baucus. I will make a couple of points and then move on. First, comparing health insurance to auto insurance (which the article rightly pointed out is mandatory in all states) is a farce of the first magnitude. You can CHOOSE not to own a car. You can't choose not to live unless, of course, they are trying to encourage suicide and I have no intention of obliging them. Second, the proposed fines are a joke on two counts. They are so low, compared to the current cost of premiums, that even the well-heeled would make out financially by simply paying the fine. And, third, what do they plan to do to those who refuse to pay (or cannot afford) the fines? Are they going to revoke your life as they can you driver's license? Third, I see this as an absolute gift to the insurance companies. Do I, at age 60, really represent a quintupled risk over a 20 year old? Fourth, this plan does nothing to encourage the insurance companies to cut costs which, if I read all of the propaganda right, is a major goal in this reform process. Even the so-called triggers I have read about are so absurdly set that even the most insignificant cost saving achieved by the most absurd calculations will prevent any public option from taking effect. If this goes through we will be giving the health insurance industry an early Christmas present.

And for the next little farce--next year Utah seniors who draw social security and work may find that they will lose any rights to unemployment benefits if they are laid off through no fault of their own. Evidently a donnybrook is brewing over whether to extend the current break which allows them to draw at least 50% of the normal unemployment payments. Utah is one of four states, according to AARP, that still has this provision. But, if the law is allowed to lapse, that will go from 50% to 0%. Read all about it here.

Ronni Bennett has a link to Bill Moyers Journal in which he makes some very good points. She does too and has followed the health care issue (and others affecting older Americans) for some years now.

As a child of the mid-to-late 20th century film often speaks my mind well. In the Return of the King, the orc general standing with his army before Minas Tirith sniffs the air and says 'Fear--the city is rank with it.' The same thing can be said of our country. I have watched the coverage of the so-called town hall meetings turned hate-filled donnybrooks and the 'tea-bag express' with total disbelief. How did so many people's thinking apparatuses get turned off?? The local news on Sunday night showed the stop the 'tea-bag express' made in a southern Chicago suburb before heading off to Washington for their big rally. They featured two well off women (one past my age) spouting off about how they are losing their 'freedoms' because of the Obama Administration. Mom and I looked at each other and said "What freedoms???" The reporter thought to ask that very question. I wish they had shown the results but the reporter merely noted that one woman could not even cite a freedom she had lost. The other said she lost the 'freedom to call this a Christian country.' As the youngsters say--WTF???

Each side of the debate on health care is driven by fear. Fear of the economic costs of health coverage lost or soon to be lost. You can smell the fear. It is pervasive.

There is something else as well--a search for scapegoats, a search for blame. That came through in one reporter's coverage of a town hall meeting where a wheelchair bound woman expressed her fear that her insurance coverage would be cancelled leaving her with a bill for $600+ every two weeks for 2 drugs that make her medical condition manageable and the fear that those costs will cost her her home. Somebody from the back shouted that it was 'her fault.' Her fault?? I was reminded of something else; not a movie this time but a biography. During Stalin's purges of the 1930's the writers, artists and others who saw their friends and colleagues disappear into the Gulag tried desperately to figure out why those particular people were taken. If one could just figure out what those people did one could escape their fate by simply not doing that same thing. The poet Anna Akhmatova told her friends that they had to realize that they were on a fools errand because they could be imprisoned for nothing, nothing at all. It was entirely out of their hands. Those of us who are still well off, still have our jobs and homes, still have health insurance seem to be on a similar quest. If they can find the sin others have committed they can simply not commit that sin and thereby escape the consequences. Unfortunately for them, all too often there was no sin. And they may find themselves on the receiving end of the came cosmic joke. They are just a job away or an illness away from disaster. And they have already shredded their own safety net.

Now that I have caught up on my ranting, I will go have breakfast. See y'all.

1 comment:

Looking to the Stars said...

We are two peas in a pod. My husband and I recite that very same line from Return of the Kings. Fear is what this country has been running on, its what the Republican party has used for decades.

My husband and I have told each other, enough. We will not have fear run our lives. We will not be afraid or believe the lies they are spreading. The tune they are singing is getting old but I doubt they will stop singing it. :)