Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2 Cents

I had a million thoughts today, as I was running down the road trying to loosen my load.

Actually, I drove all over the city, dropping off and picking up my children from their various summer activities and, in the case of Sophie, school. And while I drove I listened to a CD that my dear friend Shannon gave me by a Buddhist woman named Pema Chodron (the tape is in the car and I can't remember the name of the book that this Buddhist nun wrote and read). She has a soft, strong voice that is alluring really in its gentleness, but like all things aural, I get distracted and my mind wanders and then I'm not listening to it at all. So then I switched over to a cheesy commercial radio station where, God Bless, they were playing entire sides of albums from the seventies. So then I got really happy and felt so goofy because I happened to know every single word of an album by Bad Company and I actually sang along. The DJ then played the whole side of the first album from Woodstock and I was in heaven, especially when Richie Haven started singing. And so it went until I got sort of tired of all that music and noise so I switched it off and went back to thinking.

I've been a little caught up in the healthcare debate crap and even went to my congresswoman's office yesterday to tell her how important healthcare reform is to me and my family. There's a part of me that wants to believe it's my civic duty and that my opinion actually matters in this battered democracy of ours. And then there's a part of me that thinks it's all bullshit and why am I bothering because the stranglehold of the medical/industrial complex is just too enormous, and that doesn't even go into the absurdities of the populace, those eggheads that are crying socialism, etc. etc. And then there's the embarrassed part of me that thinks Americans are really just a fat, lazy group of people who are constantly complaining (myself included) when we, in fact, live better than 7/8ths of the world's population and have a yawning idea of entitlement that is downright...embarrassing, like I said. But the fact that I spend tens of thousands of dollars in health insurance and still have to argue every single time a claim is made for anything related to Sophie, knowing that her chart in BlueCrossLand is probably marked with a giant, red dollar sign with a slash mark through it and we're probably one step away or so from her being denied health insurance of any kind or, worse, bankruptcy and the feeling of being trapped in more than ways than one, well then I think it's worth it to fight. And the fact that the care we receive is often astonishingly bad, that I can go to a pharmacy and get the wrong drug or go into a hospital room and find someone else's urine in a cup on the radiator, or that gazillions of dollars are spent and made on medicines that actually create illness, well, it's right: To ask for, to demand reform.

So, to my "free market" friends, those who espouse it above all, I want to ask why we can't take the free market and all notions of it out of this healthcare debate. I know that sounds completely nutty and I admit to knowing absolutely nothing about economics. But I think it's more of an ethical issue, no? In a country as rich and powerful as ours we can't afford to provide equal access to healthcare to all of our citizens? I think that's nonsense. And I think it has everything to do with morality and nothing to do with capitalism/socialism. If free market enterprise (or however you say it) were good for everything, we might say that slavery should be governed by the market, too.

I pulled into the parking lot over at the baseball field and waited in the car for Henry's camp to be finished. I opened a new copy of the magazine The Sun and read a fascinating article about hallucinogenics, namely LSD, and the work that was done in psychoanalytics using this substance. And that made me think of Richie Haven again and sometimes I feel like a motherless child.

So that's my two cents.


  1. your thoughts are worth more than two cents and your fight, while amazing difficult, is worth the good fight, My mom and I are on that same path with you now!

  2. I know exactly what you mean! It is an ethical issue! Frankly, I am disgusted with healthcare in this country! But if we didn't fight we would regret it, I think. I had to fight for my sons healthcare a few years ago and it was then that I realized something had to change. Your two cents counts! It matters!

  3. that song 'sometimes i feel..' is just brilliant. and you rock.

  4. Keep talking. Your experience with "health care" is valid, real, and immediate. And worth far more than two cents.

  5. I'm posting this anonymously, but you know who I am. I totally GET what you are saying about the free market people, my parents falling into that category.

    I think that if there's one thing government SHOULD do, it's to provide health care to its citizens. If people/businesses get taxed more as a result, then so be it. We need to take care of our own!

    My parents complain about the taxes. They happen to be in the top income bracket, so they see lots of their money going to the government. Even my husband's small business is going to get taxed for the health care plan, and he's not too happy about it either.

    But I'm in complete agreement with you. There are many things that I think are worthy for taxes to cover, and health care is one of them.

    Now, if you ask me if our government spends money efficiently, that is completely different story...

  6. I've said it once and I'll say it again...there's ALWAYS money for war and space exploration, but none for health care?? Stupid. I remember seeing a poster (for education) once saying something to the effect of..."What would it be like if the military had to have bake sales to make ends meet?". I would to see that day!

  7. Anonymous - I don't know who you are but thanks for the comment. Why the anonymity? I'm flattered that you think your "exposure" on this blog would be such that you'd prefer to remain anonymous.

    Claire - Love the poster. I wish that I could find it on the internet and then I'd post it!

  8. God, Elizabeth. I think you have a talent for politics. Really. You are brilliant, articulate and compassionate and sensible and brave. Isn't there something you could get elected to and just kick ass on this healthcare thing? Really. You wouldn't have to pay a speech writer either. Really. Really.

  9. Even with Youngest's struggles and our insurance hell with PKU, I do not have near the depth of knowledge that you possess when it comes to the headaches that chronic healthcare issues can bring. He's only 3, so I imagine, sadly one day I will have more of a platform on which to stand.

    You're correct, something does have to be done about healthcare - reform, regulations, litigation - for sure. But I envy your faith that government-run insurance is the answer. I so want it to be!!! But with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, not to mention public education, in dire straits, I'm struggling with believing that government has the answer for anything. Then again, private industry hasn't been stellar for quite some time.

    But that's my issue. One I'm trying to deal with by turning off the t.v., reading the bill myself, and trying to take a leap of faith.

    I said trying :-)

  10. I think I've said his before, but I LOVE how your mind works. It's just a pleasure to read your thoughts.
    I have a lot of the same conflicted ideas, the clear and simple ones that seem like they must be true, and then the doubts about getting anything positive done in a corrupt environment. But then I recall hearing that it's WAY more corrupt in other places than it is here, and I start to have hope that maybe, just maybe, good people with good ideas and patience, may prevail. I can only hope.

  11. P.S. thank you for your kind note on my blog. I haven't been around here myself because I felt like you and I had reached a point where it was better to agree to disagree. You're a deep woman whose thoughtful opinion I respect, so much so that in hindsight I now see that some of our interactions caused me to pull back a little bit and second guess some of my beliefs - always a good thing.

    I can't promise I'll be correct, politically or otherwise, in what I write, but bottom line is it's just this one crazy chick's (usually educated) opinion.

    (sorry to add this to your comments, but you I can't find your e-mail address anywhere!) Em


    I am sure you already read this but if not, here is another thing to consider. Universal health insurance is not a political ball game, it is a moral issue to me. I am sorry about the taxes but those who are upset about taxes should ask that our military budget be reduced by the same amount needed for health care. That may keep us at home minding our own business and instead of looking for weapons of mass destruction we could be looking for a cure to many diseases that the richest nation in the world should have found by now and that in the final analysis would help those less fortunate than we are.

    I still wrestle with the question that has plagued me since the 1960s " How can our country defend a military budget when our children have no health insurance?"
    But of course the opposition depends as always on misinformation and ignorance, two bastions that keep the poor poorer and the rest frustrated. We are witnessing another arm of the Swift boat maneuvers and our country is losing the only war we should be winning. One that started in 1903. "When will we ever learn..."

  13. Check this one out's a propos...

  14. I once researched and I will look into it again, how our country and businesses got started with having health insurance linked to jobs. I do know that if you or your husband worked for an employer, for example, if you started a job working outside the home tomorrow and you enrolled in the group health insurance plan, your family would be covered, with no pre-existing coverage applied and you would have the same payroll deduction to cover your family as another would with no questions asked (because you can show that you have been covered individually, consistently in the past). I am not saying you should--I am saying how different group insurance is compared to other private insurance. Small business insurance and individual insurance is a whole other ball game I know as far as increasing rates and being declined. It's a big unbalance.
    On a completely different thought, I see families where I live where there is good state healthcare available but you do have to pay a small premium, such as $60 per month/kid. And they will not pay it but they will have better electronics in their house than I do and their kids tell my kids that they are wearing $100 shoes.
    There are so many parts to all of this.

  15. Michele Renee -- I'm aware of group health versus individual insurance plans as our family has used both. And despite having "good" health insurance for years and years, we have always struggled with coverage and the cost of coverage and the threat of losing that coverage. Those who never use their health insurance are probably satisfied, and I understand why. The problem lies in the millions and millions who are NOT insured because they either can't be or they can't afford it AND those who are insured who experience issues like we do. It's very complex but I do believe that we can work it out. I believe strongly that our government should ensure that every person is covered and has access to appropriate medical care. And I don't care if that's socialist or not, frankly.

  16. From the UK - and the home of the NHS. Today I dropped in to my local doctor's surgery without an appointment because I have a persistent little cough. I saw a nurse withing 5 minutes, and, although I did have to wait an hour (because it was a drop in morning and there was a queue) I saw a lovely Doctor who gave me all kinds of checks, talked to me, got another, more senior doctor in who also checked my throat etc, and finally recommended that I got to the local hospital for an x-ray - just to be on the safe side. I will go in the next 2 weeks. None of this is costing me a penny. I am on a low income and can just about cover my food bills - if I lived in the US, I certainly could not afford health insurance. It never ceases to amaze me that the richest, most powerful country in the world - which apparently prides itself on its egalitarianism - does not have universal healthcare. In fact, it appalls me. I have heard some of the crazy scare stories from opponents of the US proposal, and just shake my head in disbelief. Really - it's a good thing, despite the odd hiccup in the system.
    Very good luck to all of you who are fighting for it.
    (BTW, turns out my cough is just a hangover from a cold I had some weeks ago - but at least I was able to find out without worrying)

  17. My very 1st experience with health care as an adult (not my mom taking me to the doctor) was in my 20's. I relied on a free clinic in Laguna Beach that was only open on Thursday nights.I still think that was some of the best care I have ever received. What does that say about the issue? I'm not totally sure - but when there's money involved it all goes downhill from there.



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