There is another of those free health care clinics being conducted in MeriKa today. This one in Houston. It is a one day affair, unlike the last one in Los Angeles which went over four days, and saw some four thousand people.
This one will hope to see two thousand. As is the norm, no questions are asked, if you appear you will be treated. Unless of course, you are too far back in the line. These clinics always turn away people, running in the end, out of that precious commodity, time.
This is our national shame. The same organized groups that used to go over seas to do this in third world countries, now stay home, because where health care is concerned, MeriKa is a third world country.
I’m not a big fan of anecdotal stories, since one can be found for virtually every point anyone would care to make, but I thought this was apropos. The first person in line for the Houston clinic is a woman. She is employed as a school teacher. She has seven children. Her health insurance premiums rose from $800 per month to $900. That was her straw that broke the camel’s back. She had to drop her insurance, no longer able to afford it and still feed the kids and pay the bills. This is her option.
Imagine, a fully employed person, working in a white collar job, unable to afford health insurance?
- Nearly 18% of the population under65 is without health care insurance. That figure comes from the US Census bureau. Other indicators place the figure near 27%.
- It is expected that 7 million more will lose their insurance through job loss between now and 2010. If unemployment reaches 10%, that figure will more that double.
- 85% are natural or naturalized citizens.
- Eight in ten of the uninsured come from working families.
- While inflation raises at the rate of 2.5% health insurance premiums have risen at 12%.
- It is estimated that 22,000 people die as a direct result of lack of health insurance each year.
Half of all bankruptcies in America are due to health care costs, usually from catastrophic illness.
One of the reasons I mentioned the story of the women scheduled to be the first patient today in Houston is this: The ultra right tends to argue that all we really need to do to bring down costs in health care, is do tort reform. This of course, is always tied to that Republican truth that is really a lie, that benefits seen by the economic giants “trickle” down to the little guy in terms of lower costs.
Balderdash as they say. Texas did indeed pass massive tort reform, capping awards for pain and suffering at $250,000 and massively reducing lawsuits. But health care costs haven’t gone down, and in fact Texas is home to three of the most expensive cities in America to get health care.
Moreover, experts claim that reducing tort claims only affects health care costs to the tune of a mere 2.5%, not nearly enough to make a significant difference.
Of course, this and more about the abominable state of heath care in this country is known to most of us. That is why we are so passionate about changing the system and making health care a right, not a privilege. Every single human has a right to basic health care, period. No argument.
Yet the fringe right continues to bellyache. Some of it is misplaced hatred of all things Obama. Everyone admits that. The birther and deather arguments aren’t rational, and no self-respecting conservative will have anything to do with them. They decry their hidden racist agenda, as do we all.
Others are just looking and finding, (sometimes by misuse of the Bible) reasons why this section of the uninsured, or that section shouldn’t receive health care. The “lazy,” usually distilled from corrupted passages in Paul and Timothy, are not to be treated for free. Nor are immigrants. Nor are those who seek treatments that some portion of the citizenry find objectionable to their religious beliefs. All this finely masks, I would argue, at least some who really are just trying to keep what is theirs theirs. Just selfishness. “I worked for mine, and you should too.”
What I find ironic are those that argue that public health care will end up serving those women who seek abortions. Thus, public options must be fought against. I find it ironic, because in opposing health care for those without it, they fail to remember this ugly vile statistic: America is tied at the bottom of all industrialized countries in terms of infant mortality figures.
Yes, we are in the company of Hungary, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia. Canada, Britain, Australia, France, Sweden, and on and on, come out ahead of us. This is a national shame, this is absurd, it is immoral in the ultimate sense.
Yet the right wing religious continue to scream about abortion, an undoubtedly horrid outcome we all hate, while turning a deaf ear to universal health care which SAVES babies lives. It is illogic in full-blown glory. Is it any wonder that normal people question the motives of these people?
Meanwhile, as I am writing this I see a CBS poll that asked self-named Republicans what they thought about the Republican “Just say no” to health care reform. Forty-three percent claimed it was politics and nothing more ( Rethug politicians thus having no interest at all in the public well being). And forty-nine percent said that such opposition was not helpful and not right. So perhaps there is hope still.