Dear Congress, Please do SOMETHING for our health care

February 28, 2010

Dear Congress,

there’s a lot of sick people in this country. Millions, actually, are sick. I’m not sure if you were aware of this. I was shocked to find this out, myself.

No. I’m not going to be cheeky, I’m not going to go into this with sarcasm. Let’s do this full bore, in your face, with earnestness and sincerity. Let’s actually throw everything out on the ground, like a juvenile being frisked for weapons and drugs. Let us have some sense about this, for godssakes.

Let me start by saying that, first of all, nobody wants anyone to go without health care. It’s as simple as that. I don’t think there’s a single, emotionally and mentally competent member of Congress who would say “No, you can’t have healthcare because I don’t like you.” I think all can agree that healthcare is a right. But, more to the point, affordable healthcare is a right. It shouldn’t have to be a privilege. So why is it so hard to come together, and hammer something out? I’m so tired of people debating about how to do it. And I have a few thoughts on this. That’s kind of the point of me writing this blog about it, of course.

Let me mention first that there are already a few government agencies that monitor certain industries. I’m referring to the FAA, ATF, FCC, and other acronyms that escape my memory right now. Oh, well, there’s the FDA, but after frivolously banning clove cigarettes, my faith in that agency is somewhat shaken. But let’s not get into that. I’ll just start spouting profanity.

These government agencies are there to monitor large industries that have a huge effect on the population at large. To my knowledge, there isn’t an agency that is in place to monitor insurance companies, and specifically insurance companies that handle health insurance. Why not establish such an agency? The job of the government is, among other things, to protect the well-being of individual citizens, the recent supreme court decision notwithstanding. That is government’s first priority, to protect the people from Bad Things.

You could establish an agency whose job it is to make sure that companies aren’t raising premiums outrageously. This imaginary agency is an insurance watchdog. It does the kinds of things the FAA does, but with health insurance. If an insurance company has a crash and burn, the agency will be there looking for the black box to figure out what happened. I think it would be a noble venture. Kids are dying out there, Congress. The longer you screw around debating health care, the more kids will die. I’m not saying that a health insurance company isn’t within their rights to not provide coverage for experimental procedures. They are within their rights. That doesn’t make it ethical. It just makes it legal. Now, note carefully that I haven’t said a word yet about universal healthcare. I’m getting there. So, yes, an agency to monitor health insurance companies, to make sure they’re acting ethically and morally, not just legally. You folks get really moral when it comes to abortion, but once someone’s born, they’re on their own? Is that how it works? “Hey, we made sure you got born. Now go pay your taxes, young’un.”

If a regulatory agency weren’t established, it makes Universal Health Care that much more important. I know quite a few individuals in Congress are Christians. You think Jesus would turn somebody down because of a pre-existing condition? Would Jesus say “no, that’s an experimental procedure, and it won’t be covered by us.” I don’t want to be presumptuous, but I’m pretty sure the answer to that is no. Many people claim that this is a Christian nation, yet when it comes to the sick, when it comes to the infirm, the homeless….We don’t act like it. We’re awfully good at taking the Christian High Road, however, when we need rhetoric against terrorists. All blow, no wind here. It makes us look like hypocrites. More to the point, it makes all those good Christians in Congress into hypocrites when they’re more worried about the party line than about making sure children with leukemia have affordable health care and a good doctor; when mentally ill people are thrown out into the street because the mental institution they’re in isn’t getting paid to keep them, there’s something wrong with this Christian nation. This is not how Christians act. This is not what Christ would do. I’m not trying to speak for him, but I’m pretty sure he never said anything about dumping mentally disabled people out of hospitals and onto the street. Apologies for the quick tirade, but I’m tired of being CALM about this. The health care system in the United States works for a lot of people, but, and I’m going to use the airplane metaphor here again, sometimes it crashes and burns.

Here’s another thought I had, and this is regarding Universal Health Care. If you’re going to establish something like this, establish it in stages. Add it based on certain parameters of the population. You could base it on the severity of illness or physical capacity of the person. If a person is mentally ill, or has a potentially life threatening illness, they get it first. Personally, I’d recommend establishing universal health care in stages, based on age groups. Say, newborns to age 17, for starters. This would be year one of universal health care. Year two would involve establishing universal coverage for people above the retirement age. It would make sure that people past the mandatory retirement age had universal health care. After a few years of this, we could move on to everyone else.

I’m not saying we need to establish universal health care. I’m saying that it’s not as difficult as everyone makes it out to be. Just build a few less jet airplanes, a few less tanks…Manage the federal budget just a little bit better. You know? This is your basic “why can’t we do this?” issue. Of course we can do it. All this belligerent talk of it being socialism, and therefore bad, is a cop out; some people don’t want to work hard enough to make it a reality. And, as far as socialism goes…if this particular bit of socialism is to make sure kids can go to the doctor when their parents otherwise can’t afford it, how is this a bad, evil, terrible thing? The answer of course is that it’s not.

Alternately, you could establish Universal Health Care for children only, and then offer government medical loans to people once they’re of age. We do the same thing with public schools vs college.  The government could offer savings bonds; sell them to parents of children, and let them mature till the kids are 18. Let’s be creative about this, let’s really put some THOUGHT into this. It just seems that the main concern here is, how do we pay for it? Man, look at our MILITARY BUDGET. Do we really need all those planes?

At any rate, dear Congress, all that you need to get this done is to, first of all, not try to do too much too quickly. Work on health care reform in stages; this year, for example, deal with pre-existing conditions. Make it illegal for companies to not cover something because it is a pre-existing condition. Throw in a few other things as well. But that would be a good first step. Just do something, start doing something. Get off the pot already, and get moving. People are dying out there. It’s not melodramatic to say that, because it’s true.

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One Response to “Dear Congress, Please do SOMETHING for our health care”


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