I happened to read a blog posted by an acquaintance of Angie's regarding the health care issue. I thought it, and the the comments it elicited, exemplified the under-current of frustration that's currently in our country. It got me thinking about the subject, something I have not done, either because I've been too busy, or because I know that dissembling the facts from the massive amounts of printed opinions, reports, projections and whatnot would be a herculean task that, frankly, I don't have the time to which to devote. But, as it was a though provoking dialogue (and it was a dialogue...there was plenty of back and forth) I've been "sucked in" as it were, and now I have to air out some thoughts in the hope that I can come to a conclusion.
Let me say that I don't really trust the written word very much, and I trust the spoken word even less. (Sorry to the reporters, journalists, and other members of the media). It's not that I doubt the media's inability to gather and report facts, I just feel that often times, I'm not getting the whole story. Sometimes its because there are underlying motives (such as with Fox News or MSNBC) or its because the amount of facts related to any given subject are so great and vast that it would be impossible for anyone to report it in it's totality, and again, who has the time to read, comprehend, and process vast amounts of information. This speaks to the larger problem at hand. I could, if I wanted to, set upon a fact finding mission of my own, obtain and pour over the facts and figures of the current problem and come to my own conclusion. Problem is, I would finish the project about 17 years after I was dead, provided I lived to be about 85 years old. This speaks to a couple of problems that I think are far greater in this country than the current health care issue. First, I feel that in this country no one wants to accept their civic responsibility. Case in point: when was the last time you met someone who looked forward to jury duty? Do we thoroughly research candidates that are running for office, or do we just tick of the party box in when we're in the polls? When was the last time you researched a legislative topic solely for the purpose of understanding the issue, a la, look at the website of the Senate of House of Representatives and actually read the bill that's up for discussion? We're content as a country to let other people do our thinking for us, either because we're complacent, or we're too busy making a living and trying to catch the "American Dream" (which, frankly, I don't think exists, if it ever did. The house, white picket fence, and 2.5 kids was nice, in print, but as sociologists like Betty Freidan found out, it was all a facade and hid larger, more complex problems). I'll hear about a bill that's about to be voted on, and then I'll hear that it's 1,200 pages long, and that there is no way anyone could have read it prior to the vote. If I did that at work, say, design a show before I read the script, or built the set before I had drawings, I'd be out of work I'd set a new land speed record on my way out the door. Why is that acceptable for our elected officials? What's the rush? I would be perfectly happy with a vote being delayed for the purposed that everyone read and understood what they were voting on. Sure, I understand that the fast paced nature and obligations of our elected officials makes it difficult, nay, impossible to read every piece of legislation. But isn't that a problem that needs addressing?
That being said, I freely admit that I do the same thing. I don't participate in the running of my country, which I love. I neglect it and ignore it, and let other people tend to it for me. So many people over the last 233 years have laid down their lives so that I might have the opportunity to do just the very thing that I neglect. I am shamed by my own inactivity.
I believe our health care system does need fixed. Why do I have to choose between giving my son a drug that will keep him healthy and bankrupt me (even though I have insurance, but they won't pay for it, despite the doctors telling me my son needs it), and letting my son die? I have a tough time believing the "the quality of my care will decrease if the government runs my health care" argument because I get bills from my insurance company saying that they won't pay for a procedure because it was "over and above what they deemed necessary treatment". Seriously, I have EOB's that say that. Where was the insurance agent when Max was lying on the table, blue and on ventilation? I'm sorry, but that's wrong. I don't believe transferring responsibility to the government is the right answer, but I do believe that there are things that need to be changed in our private sector health insurance companies. If I weren't in school and was able to buy into a group policy, neither Max or I would be able to get health insurance Me, for my cancer, despite that testicular cancer has a 99% survival rate, and Max, because he'll cost too much based on past history.
I get the distinct feeling that it's all about the bottom line with the insurance companies. How about a non-for-profit insurance company? Or a non-for-profit drug company? I read some people would rather have a charity come to their aid during natural disasters than FEMA. In fact, some people said that's how it should be. That's fine, assuming there is a large charitable undercurrent in American, and to some degree, there is. But there's also a large "if it ain't in my backyard, I'm not dealing with it" attitude. And there are a lot of people out there that are happy to help, for a price. Like drug companies. I haven't heard of a drug company going broke in a long time. I'm happy to pay the money for a drug if the money is going to research, but given the profits these companies are making, I'm not so sure it is. Where's the charitable sentiment there?
Likewise, I'm happy to buy my own insurance. But please, don't make decisions on my care based on an actuary's formula or a bottom line. If that's what you're going to do, then let's save ourselves the aggravation and put a bullet in my brain. It's quicker and less painful.
Argh, this is complicated. Right now, I want to throw my hands up and let it all go. Dump it in someone else's lap. And that's the problem. As a country, we've done some pretty amazing things all through our history. But lately, no one wants to put their nose to the grindstone and get stuff done. Look at facts and researching can be just as difficult as putting a man on the moon or defeating the British army. Twice. Its just not as glorious in the end to study and make an informed decision.
I voted for Mr. Obama because I thought he was a thoughtful man who would look at the facts and make an informed decision. With the health care issue, though, I think he's trying to slam something through that's not ready yet. I'm deeply disappointed with his leadership on this issue. Hopefully, that will change, but I don't see that happening.
These are merely the early stages of my independent thought process on the subject. Obviously, I need more fact, and I need to get them myself. Feel free to add your two cents, but with the understanding that two cents buys very little anymore.