Saturday, August 1, 2009

Damned If I Do ...

I'm scared.

Today my health insurance ceased _ after getting laid off in yet another large downsizing by a major U.S. metropolitan newspaper.

My choices are extremely limited. Sign up for COBRA, which even with a government subsidy is cost-prohibitive when you only have an unemployment check and must pay rent and a car loan, feed your family and pay bills. Try to find cheaper insurance. Or join the 47 million other Americans who have no insurance.

The United States is supposed to be the greatest country in the world, and yet we cannot guarantee health care for our people. Our health care system is bloated, hijacked by the "for profit" insurance companies and Big Pharma and their legions of lobbyists handing out campaign cash and freebies like it's Halloween to the very people entrusted by us to reform the system.

We have a system of competing interests with obscene advertising and marketing budgets designed to persuade you to choose their health care system over their rivals. Big Pharma spends zillions of dollars on advertising their products and on greasing the hands of the doctors who prescribe their medicines. When you get really, really sick, your insurer will probably deny you the best treatment as well as the expensive medicine that will keep you alive. God forbid you get diagnosed with a catastrophic illness, because your first call should be to a bankruptcy specialist, not a health care provider.

We can spend trillions of dollars on feeding the war machine and for policing the world, when a small portion of that could guarantee universal health care in the U.S. But no, we cannot dial back our bloodlust and empire-building to take care of our very own people. There's too much money to be made by the Halliburtons of the world.

We can bail out the crooks on Wall Street with billions of dollars, on the premise that to do nothing would lead to another Great Depression. We watch them dole out millions of dollars in bonuses to executives whose incompetence and greed led to this economic crisis in the first place. But we can't spend a dime on universal health care.

The Republicans and the Blue Dog Democrats are threatening to water down any possible health care reform. They don't offer an alternative, but are spreading blatant lies and misinformation. For example, conservatives are spreading the "Kill Granny" myth to scare seniors into thinking that health care reform will lead to euthanasia for our elderly. Poppycock!

Why shouldn't everyone in this great country have the same health care coverage as members of Congress? Why do we deserve less?