Thursday, June 28, 2007

Riled up and stuff

First, happy Irenaeus day to everyone! Here's a bit about our buddy Irey from the Daily Office website:

Irenaeus maintained that the Gospel message is for everyone. He was perhaps the first to speak of the Church as "Catholic" (universal). In using this term, he made three contrasts:

1. He contrasted the over-all church with the single local congregation, so that one spoke of the Church in Ephesus, but also of the Catholic Church, of which the Churches in Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, Antioch, etc. were local branches or chapters.

2. He contrasted Christianity with Judaism, in that the task of Judaism was to preserve the knowledge of the one God by establishing a solid national base for it among a single people, but the task of Christianity was to set out from that base to preach the Truth to all nations.

3. He contrasted Christianity with Gnosticism, in that the Gnostics claimed to have a message only for the few with the right aptitudes and temperaments, whereas the Christian Gospel was to be proclaimed to all [persons] everywhere.

What a guy.

But I've gotten all riled up this morning reading a story in the paper entitled "Bush warns against children's health plan". The gist of it is that Bush thinks that a move toward universal healthcare for children is a move toward government-run healthcare for everybody.

Oh, no! What a tragedy that would be!! You mean that insurance companies would be forced to cover whoever needed care? Even if that care cut into their bottom line?? What a terrible state of affairs!!

Seriously, I have such a problem with this. Why? Because I am one of the people who is not able to get health coverage on my own. I don't qualify because I have depression. Now since that's an ongoing thing with me, it's maybe somewhat understandable (although all I need for it is medication, I don't even need doctor visits). But I have read documented cases of people denied insurance because, say, they once had an operation 10 years before. Now that is stupid. Or they have a condition like mine, or like diabetes, that is ongoing.

Now help me out here - if you have a condition that is ongoing doesn't that mean you actually need the health care? Like, more than the healthy people who get coverage? Ah, you see, we start to understand that it's not about actually helping sick's about making money. And you can't make money insuring sick people. Only healthy ones. Which means you're not actually doing anything but taking a very safe risk and lots of cash from people who most likely won't use your services. Nice racket.

Anyway, Bush calls this push for children's insurance a "step toward a government takeover of medicine" (quoting the story, not him) "His bottom line: Government healthcare programs should focus on the poor and near-poor, not on middle class families."

Ah, because as we all know the middle-class has so much extra cash sitting around to pay super-high premiums. Or is the idea that middle-class people will only work for huge companies that cover healthcare? So no middle-class people are allowed to be self-employed? Or students? I guess once you become self-employed or a student you drop to "near-poor," huh?

Bush's solution for the middle class is to mess with the tax code. Ah, yes, the answer is always in the tax code. That way, the majority of us will never know what happened and not realize what we need to do to take advantage of it. Smart. Keeps those big insurance companies in the black.

He's so worried that Democrats want "to take incremental steps down the path to government-run healthcare for every American" (quoting Bush). Well, gee, yeah, that sounds pretty dandy to me. I could actually maybe have some choice in my healthcare, instead of only getting the crappy insurance that will cover a deviant like me? What a concept.

Bush says it eliminate choice and competition. Excuse me, but at the moment, I have no choice. There is no competition over me. A huge number of us never get a choice to begin with because nobody with cover us. Please. I think eliminating the insurance companies' choice to not cover me would be the proper choice to eliminate! Making them compete over me is what I want. Again, we see only concern that the businesses have choices. Not the consumers. Not the sick, I should say.

Bush says that government-run healthcare would "result in rationing, inefficiency, and long waiting lines." Did he ever think that maybe the reason the lines are so short is because only a few people can get health insurance?? Yeah, sure, if you eliminate healthcare for millions of us, those lines are sure gonna be short! Only the wealthy and the employed-with-benefits waiting in that queue. And that group keeps shrinking.

Then there's the whole middle-class that he's so concerned with, and a lot of those people are waiting in long lines b/c they can only afford HMO coverage. I remember when I had an HMO for years, depending on which part of the city I was living in (and thus which office I visited), I could have to wait 6 weeks for an appointment. 6 weeks! Now, some of the offices could do same-week or same-day, and of course this was all for checkup appointments (illness usually got you in faster). But come on, a 6-week wait - and phone center people who laugh at you if you ask for anything earlier - is pretty much a "long waiting line" I think. I don't see how it could get much worse, Mr. Bush.

So basically, what I'm seeing here is that people in the President's situation (government-covered and/or wealthy and/or businesspeople) are pretty much the only folks hurt by government-run healthcare. And unfortunately, they are in power. So the rest of us get by however we can.

Bush's answer is to increase access to private insurance. But even if I had access to it (which I don't b/c of said condition), I couldn't afford the premiums. So that's kind of a dead end.

I'm sorry to get so political this morning. I know I've been raging activist mode lately. It's just that this particular issue gets under my skin so much because I have been affected, I've been one of those people who can't get insured. And I remember how wonderful it was to be covered, even by a stinky HMO that has hurt other people, and to be able to go in and get whatever I needed (within reason - I know this HMO has denied care to lots of cases). But for me, where I'm at in life and health, it was perfect. And I kind of think that's how the government program could be. Of course, some people may abuse it. But hopefully it would settle down and eventually people would use it just when they need it. It would sure help empty out emergency rooms (which are used as doctor's offices for the uninsured, since they are required by law to treat whoever comes in, no matter how minor).

I just think more and more that our stubborn holding on to a private system is not right. I guess I'm kind of advertising Michael Moore's new flick, here. But there is something to the fact that most industrialized nations provide universal healthcare. I guess we could keep private insurance for the rich, and they could get the better care that they expect. I'd just be happy if I could qualify for basic care on my own. Having lived a couple years relying on Planned Parenthood and county mental health (yikes), I know how important it is to level this field a little bit. And I am grateful that I get to have real insurance again thanks to J's new job. But I know I'm leaving a lot of folks in the clinics, and for them I will continue to speak.


Anonymous said...

I have my own story: when I first moved to LA, since I was on the starving-artist plan (ie signed up with every temp agency in the yellow pages and spent my free time in coffee shops working on The Great American Screenplay), I decided I would try to buy some kind of minimal catastrophic-coverage insurance on the open market. Being a young male with absolutely zero health problems, I figured this would be no big deal, if a bit expensive.

The mistake I made was in being scrupulously honest in my application. When asked if I have ever, in the last ten years, had a respiratory infection, I replied, yes, as a high school sophomore I had pneumonia that had me down for a week.

For this, I was denied coverage. A bout of pneumonia from 7 years previous.

Stasi this will come as a shock to you, but on this one you, I and Michael Moore are all in agreement. I am normally a doctrinaire free-market libertarian, but since when you are ill you are in no position to comparison shop there can never be an free market in health care. I vote single-payer system, and we can decide politically the level of care we wish to provide and what % of the GNP we're willing to devote to it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stasi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stasi said...

Dear Anonymous,

I'm deleting our thread because it's not germaine to the point of this discussion. I am also modifying the offending remark. I hope that satisfies. I do not wish to discuss my health with you, but with my doctor (who apparently misdiagnosed me, but at least has seen my condition). I am sorry for your pain and the ravages of your condition. Mine is minor but certainly comprises all the elements you mentioned.

Let's keep the comments on topic. Also if you wish to continue commenting please use your name and/or blogger tag so that we can see your context and where you're coming from. We strive for an open forum here. Thanks.