I was enjoying a Saturday evening with my son and my husband at a local pool hall that friends of ours own. Not really being into the whole pool action, I sat down with a few of the girl's to have a nice chat. They were having a discussion with a gentlemen that I had just met that very evening. I sat and listened and waited for the opportunity to have some girl talk once the gentlemen finished his discussion with the ladies.
It became immediately apparent that they were speaking about healthcare. "Oh no," I thought,"I just wanted to enjoy a casual evening with friends." This would not be the conversation I would want to join with someone I barely knew, so I just sat and listened.
The discussion went back and forth about how all the illegal immigrants are the core problem with healthcare (can we at least be informed before we blather on) and how we don't want to be Canada or Britain. I have plenty of things to say about those topics but I could see I would get nowhere with this particular gentlemen who, as the conversation progressed, I realized, is no gentlemen. As he continued with his talking points that he so clearly regurgitated from watching Fox News, I just listened as they lobbed their views back and forth and begged (in my mind) to make it stop!
Now, here is where my head almost exploded as I choked back the bile that began to rise in my throat. This person, this "American" raised his arms and very plainly stated, "well, I'm good, I'm OK and that's all I care about."
Wow! Really! Now I am not naive and I do realize that a good portion of Americans feel this way, "I've got my bases covered and I'm not really concerned about the problems of my neighbors or my fellow Americans." But, here was my opportunity to look one of them in their face and say NO!
I pointed out my husband to this "man", "see that guy over there? That's my husband, he just got laid off last Friday, so he can expect to have no more medical coverage after 30 days. The problem is that he is a kidney transplant recipient and needs medical care and lots and lots of medication to stay alive." Now we know all about COBRA, we have been through this before, and that's a long story that we will save for another day. Suffice it to say, COBRA is not cheap and exacerbated by the mere fact that you no longer have income when you become eligible to get it. It's a fantastic idea and needs to be improved but that's also a discussion for another day.
So, in an effort to make this person understand the challenges of the everyday person, someone you could be sitting next to right now, healthcare is not an issue about illegal immigration. It's about real people, your neighbors, your friends, Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever label you would like to put on, it's about real people who get sick. Does it make sense to anyone that it would be cheaper for me to fly my husband to Europe to get the medication he needs to stay alive than it would be for him to stay here and pay just for his prescriptions, leaving out regular blood tests and constant medical supervision? I asked him, "Does that make sense to you?" His answer was (and I should add that I almost fell off my chair) "Well. it doesn't matter which country, he's going to die anyway."
Flabbergasted, my reply was, "what did you just say?" I was sure that I did not hear him correctly but, in fact, that was exactly what he said! "He's going to die anyway," he repeated. OK, I should have punched the old guy in the face, I am sure I could have taken him down! Instead, my reply was, "that doesn't sound very American or very Christian to me." That was my effort to get to the base of what he was deluded into believing his core values were, about what it was to be American.
He looked me in the eye "nothing is ever going to change anyway." I looked him right back in the eye, "it will if we demand it!" "No," he said, "nothing is ever going to change." This coming from an individual that believes every war this country has ever fought has been justified. Where was that fight now, the fight for rights that effect everyone, that seemed to be something he did not care to wrap his mind around. He only understood it if he could shoot it!
Now can we all stop screaming "America is number one." This isn't a g'damn pep rally. Stop your fervent proclamations that "America is the Best" and spend more time and effort in actually making it the best.
America is ranked 45th in life expectancy
We rank 37th for healthcare
For education we rank 18th
Infant Mortality we are 33rd with Cuba having a better ranking than us!
OK, I will give you the fact that we are #1 - For Obesity!
So let's get real and stop talking about Obama's "Death Farms" for the elderly. Let's stop blaming the illegal aliens. It's a bunch of crap that's out there to scare you. Doesn't anyone find it interesting that the scare tactics for healthcare reform include the BS that a bureaucrat will soon stand in between you and your doctor if the government gets involved? Hello people, if you have medical insurance you already have that and you pay an arm and a leg for it. If you have an HMO and your doctor sucks and spends no time with you, you can't change it and if you can, it takes forever. In the meantime whatever happens to be wrong with you is getting worse and worse. If you have an issue outside of the expertise of your GP, you have to get permission to see a specialist, not by your doctor, you have to wait for the insurance company to approve it.
Educate yourselves and get involved. Don't get your information from the political pundits, be a responsible human being on this planet. Get off your high horses and start caring about someone else besides the "Almightiness" of you!
Let's have another tidbit about the current system that chokes the life out of us:
My niece, wonderful person that she is, gave my husband one of her kidneys when he needed a second transplant. Everything went beautifully! It's important to note that one can't be a donor if the transplant surgery in any way compromises the health of that donor now or in the future. The donor, once recovered, will be as healthy as they were the day before transplantation.
Once my niece was given an all clear from the doctor assigned to her, she was unable to get medical insurance for herself. I personally spoke to insurance agents in an effort to help her and was told that she could not get private insurance for a year after she got the all clear. The company she worked for did not provide her with medical coverage and the insurance companies would not give her a policy on her own. What does this say about the system that we all live with now, the one that some people are so desperately clinging to. A completely healthy 25 year old woman, who literally, gave of herself, could not get medical coverage in this country.
Now I could go on about the nightmare that has been my experience with a country that is OK with firing someone because they are sick (that happened to my husband by a very large company, ironically owned by Pfizer) a broken healthcare system and even the people living in my community:
People that worship (the Almighty Dollar),
these same people that are racist, but they worship,
the same people who raise their children to make fun of mine because we don't go to church, but they worship,
the same people who net over $250k a year but don't want to pay another 3% in taxes to help others who need help, but they worship (in their designer clothes while driving their foreign cars),
The same people who might be sitting next to you in your neighborhood bar, that don't care if your family member dies, but they worship!
Can we stop obsessing about being Americans and start focusing on being human? After all, won't that make us better citizens?