Tuesday, November 9, 2010

9 November 2010 Midnight in the mission

In today’s Washington Post, titled John Boehner’s health care delusion


“: No American, certainly not one about to occupy a leadership position in our government, could possibly call the American health-care system "the best health care system in the world." Boehner did just that last week. He was having an out-of-country experience.”…

“Mission in The Rain"

Words by Robert Hunter, music by Jerry Garcia

Copyright Ice Nine Publishing;

“I turn and walk away

then I come round again

It looks as though tomorrow

I'll do very much the same

I must turn down your offer

but I'd like to ask a break

You know I'm ready to give everything

for anything I take

Someone called my name

You know, I turned around to see

It was midnight in the Mission

and the bells were not for me”

Come again

Walking along in the Mission in the rain…”

The Medicare program has been a bête noir for the GOP since it first appeared. So was the healthcare system Teddy Roosevelt advanced. The Obama modifications to Medicare and other components of health care in this nation are particularly infuriating to the GOP and teavangelists.

What the opponents of national health care cannot undo, they weaken and complicate. Medicare part D, the Bush Admin drug benefit is helpful to some patients but is a windfall to the drug companies and the insurance companies that administer it. Gloria pays a monthly premium for her part D medications but ¾ of the year also pays full price for her meds. The twisted mind that slipped that bit in for the pharm and insurance lobbyists deserves to be a penniless patient with a debilitating chronic disease in the system he helped create.

During the 2008 town hall meetings that were designed to provide misinformation to the public by the GOP. The myth of “best health care in the world” was a standard GOP excuse for blocking health care reform.

I’ve had friends repeat this canard over and over. They obviously believe it. They also have lots of money, excellent health insurance, and treatable diseases or disorders. If you suffer from something that can be treated and have the money to pay for standard care at a place of your choice; if you don’t have to worry about loss of income while you are being treated; and if you can find the right physician and afford his services and the diagnostic work-up and post-op follow through; you might agree that you’re receiving the “best care in the world.”

If you have the money and the freedom to travel for care, as well as the time and money to remain there for follow up or to travel back and forth for your care, you can generally walk into a physician’s office and schedule the treatments you need within days.

If you have money in the U.S., you can avoid what critics of health care reform deride as European socialized medicine with rationed care. You might be able to avoid having to wait a week or even months for some elective treatments. Because we hate waiting and think we deserve what we want when we demand it, we view such delayed care as bad; and “bad” equals “socialized rationed care.”

If you have the same problem or disease and live in Europe, Canada, Japan, or other modern nations with excellent national health care programs; you might have to wait as they all ration care somewhat by availability and necessity. Other people may need the facilities and the treatments more than you do and will rightfully go ahead of you. Not all places have the same levels of care and diagnosis. Therefore, those places and things are shared among all who need them and elective procedures sometimes are pushed back for emergency procedures. That’s rationing care by availability /necessity.

In our U.S., “best care anywhere” system. We ration care too. If you can pay, you can have what you want. If you can’t pay, there will be no wonderful care. That’s rationing by affordability and the GOP, teavangelists, and insurance company lobbyists never mention that term, “rationing by affordability.” It doesn’t fit the myth and never will.

Our churches and some charitable organizations spend millions of dollars sending medical care to third world countries, dispensing health care and religion. They intend to convert the poor benighted heathens by offering them medicines and treatment of diseases.

Those same organizations tend to avoid providing healthcare for impoverished Americans. There’s the horrible fear that someone might get something for free rather than by hard work. The teavangelists and the GOP firmly believe that anyone who doesn’t have a job, health benefits, insurance, and the other things that separate our impoverished from America’s tarnished dream are lazy, shiftless, and of no value to society. They overlook the idea that being able to see, hear, and be free of or treated for one’s illness might allow one to work again. Missionary medicine is fine for the 3rd world on other nations’ soil. It’s not acceptable for the 3rd world citizens who are Americans.

Recently an organization known as Remote Access Medical has been running clinics in various parts of America. Thousands of people line up and wait overnight for the limited chance to see a doctor, to get glasses, to be treated for diabetes and hypertension. These clinics drew thousands in the larger cities and turned away thousands more for lack of staffing and logistic support. Large cities have large convention centers and other such buildings that provide dry places with tolerable temperatures for those waiting.

When RAM last came to N.E. Tennessee, no such building was available. The “best care in the world” was dispensed in the stalls and stables of a county fairground. People from several states began lining up in the rainy dark, waiting overnight, for the opportunity to take a number that would allow them into the line of people who would probably be able to see someone about their problem. Many more would wait through the rainy night and be told that they were too far back in the line to be able to see a doctor or a nurse about their medical needs.

At a time when Americans are worse off financially than any time since the Great Depression, Mr. Boehner and his band of lobbyist-compensated legislators have announced they intend to gut Medicare and undo the Obama accomplishments because they are self-made men and don’t need charity of handouts; so why should other Americans need anything but a kick in the ass to make them entrepreneurs, selling nothing of value to people who have no money. The missionaries need to come here to bring health care. However, they need to leave their religion at the church doors. All the fundamentalist Christianity available won’t cure glaucoma. Group prayer at public meetings won’t cure diabetes or hypertension. And all the church-sponsored abstinence-only education won’t lower our unmarried teen birthrate or educate, house, feed, and vaccinate unwanted children. Just ask the Palin women.

The mission is noble and plain to see. The missionaries, in churches and in Congress, have lost sight of the mission and are calling out the wrong names. When it comes to health care for the uninsured, the under-insured, and the medically needy in America, expect no positive changes. For the wealthy will be seen in the order they pay while the poor will line up once more, hoping for a lower number.

“I turn and walk away

then I come round again

It looks as though tomorrow

I'll do very much the same”

No comments:

Post a Comment