This may be blasphemy, but these days I get depressed rather than uplifted by stories of community rallying around someone in need.
The most recent involves old friend Tom Miller’s granddaughter Grace getting unexpected financial support from pals and colleagues at Wayland Middle School after her serious injury riding a horse. At first glance, it’s wonderful that her school friends and community care about her enough to help her in a time of need.
The help Grace has needed is because she isn’t rich enough to have health insurance, so her medical treatments are costly.
She wouldn’t have this problem if the United States would just bite the bullet and do the right thing by offering single payer Medicare for all. I can already hear the rebuttals, but all fall short of reality and critical thinking.
The U.S. is the only industrially developed nation on the planet that doesn’t have nationalized health care, in which taxpayers all chip into the pot so that everybody is covered and no one is turned away. None of the 33 nations listed in the accompanying graphic have made any moves to eliminate their health care systems.
I hear tell from well-meaning but wrong-headed opponents that Medicare for All would be more costly for us common folks. Not true, as proven by a conservative, Koch Brothers funded study. The current system is the most costly in the world.
Then there’s the contention that Medicare for All would result in the government telling us what doctors we can or can’t choose. That very system is in place already under our current for-profit plans.
The biggest reason the U.S. stands alone as a for-profit health care system is very simple — follow the money. The pharmaceutical, health care and insurance industries, buried under a sea of paperwork, make good money on the current system and fight like hell to keep things just as they are. And we let them.
Politicians, as usual, are very little, if any, help. Though they’re supposed to serve the people, they serve the rich donors to their campaigns so they can stay in power. As comedian George Carlin so aptly said, “They don’t care about you… at all!”
The two most popular government programs in this country’s history are Social Security and Medicare. Opponents refer to them as being socialistic because they provide a safety net for the elderly and the needy. They’re actually examples of social democracy and they’ve worked well in the Scandinavian countries. And Social Security has been in place here for 85 years.
I am so tired of honest, hard-working people being forced to beg friends and neighbors via GoFundMe for help paying for necessary and sometimes life-saving treatment.
Tom Miller’s daughter had the misfortune of getting Covid last year and couldn’t run the ship that is the Auction House Café. Friends and neighbors stepped in, bless their hearts. But in my world, they wouldn’t have to.
Another of his family about nine years ago had an unusual eye ailment not covered by insurance, and she had to resort to an auction to raise funds for medical treatment.
There are others who have even died tragically because they couldn’t afford medical treatment, despite heroic efforts of community spaghetti dinners, benefit events, auctions and GoFundMe.
A society that turns its back on those unfortunate enough to have contracted a disease that will kill them unless they can come up with the money reminds me the late Ross Perot and one of his classic observations: “Now y’see… that’s what’s wrong with this country.