Tuesday, November 3, 2009
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Because of the cartoon above, I got a lot of hate mail from readers who are against government-run health care and/or are regular viewers of Fox News. I thought I'd spend a couple of minutes today explaining my position on health care reform, not as any kind of expert, of course, just from my vantage point as one who cannot afford health care in America.
I make a decent amount of money, but I'm not rich. I'm also self employed, so no one provides any kind of insurance for me, I have to buy it. Health insurance costs vary from state to state, but here in NYC, the cheapest I can find for my wife and I, with a large deductible, is over $1000 a month. That's another mortgage payment each month, into the pockets of super wealthy insurance execs, in all likelihood for nothing. Statistics show that if I ever want to use that insurance there is an excellent chance they'll find a way to deny me. That's how they make their profits. My wife had serious brain and heart surgery when she was 20, so just about anything that happens to her now will be called a "pre-existing condition." You can bet on it.
So here I sit, a reasonably famous guy who makes a decent living, unable to afford to get sick. Sure, I can afford the occasional doctor's visit or prescription, and do, but if either my wife or I are ever in an accident or get a serious disease, we're out of luck. We can't afford insurance and we can't afford to pay for the care. So we die.
This is clearly an unfair system tilted heavily toward the corporations running it. This dilemma does not exist in any other wealthy nation. Government run health care does. And it works. It's not perfect, but anyone who has spent any time going through America's current health care system knows that it is far from perfect, too. Most people describe it as a nightmare.
Yes, it is popular in the U.S. to be fearful of the government, and throwing around scary words like "socialism" is a very effective way to herd people in the direction you want them to go. There has virtually never been a time in human history when this kind of tactic did not work. But all of the top nations in the world are a combination of socialism and capitalism, including ours. Medicare, Social Security, VA hospitals, welfare, public schools, road repair, anything you pay taxes for is a form of socialism. Some people imagine it would be better if none of those things existed and we all got to keep all our money and just "pay as we go" for these services, provided by private companies. But history shows that private industry is just as likely to screw up and cheat the consumer as any government. A combination of socialism and capitalism works best, which is why it is so prevalent worldwide.
A public, non-profit health plan provided by the government is socialism, yes, but no moreso than Medicare or Social Security (which have worked well for decades, despite Fox News' inaccurate reports of their impending bankruptcy), and will not interfere with your option to pay a private insurer through the nose and take your chances when you make a claim, if that is your choice.
If you're getting your information from Fox News, that is your right, but you are kidding yourself if you think it is anywhere close to "fair and balanced." Any number of independent agencies and studies have invariably clearly shown FN is guilty of habitual misinformation, routine and obvious inaccuracies, and a consistent support of the will and benefit of a handful of the world's most powerful corporations, who already have far too much influence in Washington.
Simply put, Fox News is not journalism, it is propaganda. And not because their opinion disagrees with mine, because much of what they say is demonstrably false, and always supports the narrow interests of a small handful of the uber-wealthy. Millions of Americans are being tricked into fighting for the very corporations that threaten our freedom and welfare. When every other large news agency in the world is saying something is bright and Fox News is the only one saying it is dark, especially when the ten wealthiest and most powerful people in the world are selling light bulbs, be very suspicious.
People opposing health care are afraid the government will control their lives. Right now, huge corporations control our lives by controlling our health care and virtually every other aspect of our lives. At least I can vote against a government. I have no recourse against CEOs.
Your opinions may vary, that's fine. I'm just hoping there will be a way to afford to go to a hospital before I actually need it.