Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Part timers and middle class deserve health care

The rich DO get richer. Our nation values the rich and tells the poor and middle classes that they "got what they deserve." Even Evangelical religious groups tell their followers that "God wants them to be rich" therefore when they don't achieve wealth, it's their own fault.

Along with all of this, we see the number of uninsured rise each year in this country. You see, to be insured, means you have "made it," you have a "good enough" job, with "good enough" skills. The problem is, fewer and fewer jobs are "good enough."

For example, here in Kendall County, part time workers do not get any benefits. They work 29 hours per week (just 30 hours per week is considered full time). One more hour per week and they would qualify for health insurance. I find that a really cheesy way to bilk employees out of benefits. One lousy hour per week. Oh, and since when is 30 hours per week full time? Who can live on 30 hours a week salary? It's harder and harder to live on 40 hours per wEEk.

However, on the flip side, if an employer does not pay for health insurance, he/she will save several hundred dollars per month in fees. Which begs the question, is for profit healthcare ethical?

Just who deserves health insurance and who does not? Who decides? What is "worthy?" Who is "worthy?" Just the rich? This is an ethical and moral question. We, in this nation, have been duped into believing that only "certain" people are deserving of health care. Why?

When you consider the fact that it is illegal to deny emergency care to any person in critical condition, why then is it illegal to deny health care to anyone? It's more expensive to take care of a very ill person than it is to perform preventative care, provide prescription drugs and prenatal healthcare.

Our nation ranks behind Latvia in maternal child death rates. That is the rate of deaths of mothers while giving birth. Most of us only think of death in childbirth as something that happened to the pioneers and early settler of this nation, such as in the Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prarie) era. Not so. In the great USA women are dying while giving birth at a greater rate now than since the mid 19th century. They are not in covered wagons giving birth by lantern light, this is in so-called state of the art US hospitals.

It is shameful. Shameful. We shuttle our elderly off to the hell we call nursing homes, we don't help families care for the elderly at home, we don't provide maternal and child care, and in essence, we only care for those who can pay. And the costs keep rising.

We need national health care, and forget the B.S. you hear about Canada and the U.K. They see a specialist and wait no longer for surgery than we do. Having your knee replaced, or your backache taken care of surgically is not an emergency. There is a waiting period in this country as there is in any other country. Most surgeries are not emergent. That is what we need to understand. Emergent care is life-saving care, like treating heart attack, stroke or major trauma. Everything else can be treated in a clinic, and a bit of a wait won't kill you. Living without any access to medical care to treat your diabetes, hypertension, or other chronic illness will kill you. So, in the good old USA, we live with untreated, or under-treated chronic illnesses that will kill us eventually. The US government and the insurance companies know this, and they don't give a darn. Profit is their motive.

There is no reason to have FOR PROFIT health care. Nobody should make a profit on illness or the prevention of illness. It's unethical.

Overheard at Methodist Hospital...a physician is taking a temporary job in Austraila. Why? 6 weeks of paid vacation a year and a smaller patient load. He wanted to try it out, because it sounded nicer than the hours he was currently working in the US although the pay was a bit lower. Tempted by quality of life, perhaps? Well, wouldn't we all like some quality of life.

So, while thinking about the quality of life you wish you had, spend a minute and think about our Boerne city employees. Write letters to the editor, attend a community meeting, and demand health insurance for all our city employees. Even if we can't have it ourselves, if we work to help one group attain health care benefits, they may just return the favor.

In Nov. 2008, when you vote, vote for a candidate that promotes single payer health insurance so we can raise our maternal child death rates above those of Latvia. Vote in your own best interest, not for party, but for what will help you (and the citizens of this nationa) the most. Forget the blather and B.S., think critically and then do what will serve ALL Americans.


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