Here it is Wednesday already and I haven't posted anything since Sunday. I've been traveling the 'Toobs, especially my blog list (see sidebar) and leaving comments around like so many landmines.
As some of my co-conspirators of the less-than-famous blogs know, I've been fighting a battle with health issues. To those who have asked, I'm finally on the mend. I'm actually able to walk to the store without a lot of assistance. Now, if I can find a way to get rid of this 80 lb beer barrel strapped to my six-pack abs, I'll be a damn sight better. Now that these old bones are getting better, the worst part is becoming apparent... paying for it.
I have insurance through work. Over the course of the last three years, my employer (who shall remain nameless) has reduced benefits and raised costs - go figure! As a result, I find myself in the middle of the health care battlefield. I am luckier than a lot of folks. I'm not so far in debt that I can't eventually crawl out. But, should I lose my job or suffer an additional medical setback - I am thoroughly screwed. However, I know of folks who have chronically sick kids or who have cancer or AIDS who are racking up bills like a drunken sailor in Singapore.
There will come a point for them when they can't go on any more. They will have trashed their credit with unpaid bills, lost their homes and assets, blown through any savings only to face their personal war on that illness - the fight of their fucking lives - with no resources, no weapons and no allies. Do they just give up and die? Let the bastard disease win? Do the rest of us just sit in the bleachers and watch and say: "Damn, I thought he was going to get better. He was really strong in the end, why did he just roll over?" All over money.
All of us know this game. Many of us live it. Health is humanity, humanity is health. There are certain absolutes that humanity requires to exist. However, it seems those absolutes are negotiable. Corporate greed has cast its deadly shadow upon those absolutes; chief among them maintaining good health. We have the means to provide every American with excellent health care. American medical care is second to none. It's there. It exists all around us like the air we breathe. But it's kept in a vending machine. The problem in our health care system isn't that quality doesn't exists, its that it only exists for those who can pay for it.
For-profit hospitals, insurance companies, HMO's, and pharmaceutical companies have placed quality health care on the top shelf, out of the reach of many Americans. When confronted with this fact, these corporate goons say that the problem isn't that their services are out of reach, it's that the population is too short. In other words, we have to rise up to meet their needs, they don't have to lower to ours.
The crime in this isn't the companies though. They are born and bred greedy bastards, that's their nature. You can't expect any other action from these groups. The crime is that we, as a society, have allowed them to do it. There have been many opportunities to rein in these bastards and put this system right. At each point, we shied away, allowed ourselves to be gilded by the scare tactics and insidious lies and propaganda of these industries to maintain the status quo.
We let our ignorance and fear dictate our actions over the objections of our best interests. Even now, as our leaders debate the health care crisis in the halls of Congress, we are starting to smell the acrid scent of capitulation, feel the fear and loathing of all things government creep into our psyche and the pushing of our best interests once again into the dark basement where it has been for the last twenty years.
There may come a time in my medical treatment when I say "Stop! I can't afford any more!" That frightens me as I'm sure similar situations frighten millions of my fellow Americans. How did we get here? But more importantly, how do we get better?
So Mote It Be,