on health care.
I have a personal stake in how this healthcare bill turns out. A huge one. With four kids and no insurance I'm watching the debates with a knot in my gut. The disruptions actually upset me. I want civil conversation, I want people to behave like adults--not screaming mobs (both sides). What's worse, I'm listening to people I respect and like say insulting things about those of us who are hoping it will pass--calling us socialists, calling us lazy, calling us dead beats who don't want to work for what we get in life. Until now, I've stood silently by because I don't quite know how to respond without creating a scene.
It's not personal, I tell myself. They simply don't understand what it is to live without it. They don't know that they're standing next to someone who worries daily that one of her boys is going to get hurt or her husband is going to pass another kidney stone, and how on earth she'll pay for it if either happens. They don't realize that I'm one of the statistics, that my husband works regular over time just to provide for us, putting us into the middle class, beyond the reach of MC-Plus but still making just enough to get by. We're penny pinchers; we don't want handouts and that we don't mind paying regular premiums, but we want to know that the insurance is actually going to be there for us when we need it.
I'm done with wondering what people would think or say if they knew and I'm done with being silent. The next time this subject comes up, I'm going to tell them what it's like to be me.
I'd be thrill if health care providers would play nice, charging affordable fees for services, and promise the same care to everyone regardless of whether they're insured or not. I'd be even more thrilled if insurance companies would charge affordable premiums and give me a workable deductible that applies in small degrees along the way (the way our last insurance worked before the employer decided it was too expensive) instead of what we have access to now (a $1000 per person up-front deductible that we must meet in full before the insurance pays for anything--which means that my normally healthy family would never actually access it, just that they'd get to keep my 400 dollars every month and I'd get a nifty card for my wallet). But they don't and they won't, not without the government laying down laws that restrict what they can do, but that puts the government in control of businesses--and I guess we hate that--or providing a public alternative that will force them to compete and play fair--but apparently we hate that even more.
I'm frustrated with with the "let them eat cake" attitudes of those who don't get it, who are comfortable with their own healthcare plan and assume everyone else would have access to the same if they'd just work hard enough. Or they're simply uninformed, allowing email forwards to shape their opinions. Or they simply don't care at all and want the uninsured masses to shut up and go away.
Fears abound. They're afraid of "rationed health care" and what they don't understand is that we're already rationing it--those with insurance get better care than those who don't (ask me how I know this). They're afraid that our government is going to foul it up. What? Worse than the insurance companies have? They're afraid of more taxes. And I suppose they're getting their money's worth as it is? Wouldn't it be nice to pay taxes into a system and actually get something back out of it other than knowing our government officials are flying around in nicer jets?
Yes, I'm a little pissed about this. With good reason. In truth, I'm afraid too. I'm afraid that nothing is going to change, that the status quo is going to continue, that the insurance companies are going to keep all the cards.
So there it is. Me being more direct than I usually am and certainly less tactful. I get why you're upset about this and I get why you think it's a bad idea. But can you give me a better solution? If you can't, then maybe you need to be the one standing silently by.
Monday, August 10, 2009
on health care.