Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Meanderings

"And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." 1 Cor. 13: 2



Here's another non-partisan informational site, this one devoted to research.

An interesting perspective on "death panels" . The unhappy yet undeniable truth is we're living (and dying) with them now.

Finally, here's the audio for a fascinating interview with T.R. Reid, author of The Healing of America, a Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care. No matter what side of the current debate you find yourself on, you will find his discussion intriguing, entertaining, balanced, and highly informative.
"Journalist and author T.R. Reid set out on a global tour of hospitals and doctors' offices, all in the hopes of understanding how other industrialized nations provide affordable, effective universal health care. The result: his book The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care."

8 comments:

haithabu said...

Please excuse this little lecture, Laurie, but as a Canadian I find it puzzling to watch as America wrestles to reinvent the wheel regarding health care. Things that I and most of the developed world take for granted, such as automatic coverage seem to be revolutionary concepts down there.

As you know my wife and I were recently the involuntary guests of our health care system due to a motorcycle accident. While we had plenty to worry about, we didn't have to worry about 1) how to pay for it, 2) our coverage running out before treatment was complete, 3) whether coverage would be denied because of a pre-existing condition; or 4) whether we would be dropped from our plan afterward.

Instead, we focused on getting better. And I might add that in spite of what has been suggested in some stateside ads, we received first class care all the way through.

I was in for 3 days with 3 surgeries; my wife was in for almost 4 weeks with 2 surgeries. Total cost: $702 for the ambulance ride.

Laurie M. said...

Phil,

I welcome your lecture. I'd like more people to read it. I've gotten some feedback from friends in other countries and their response has been similar to yours. They are happy with their systems and wouldn't want to live under ours.

I do not have health insurance. We cannot afford it. Our only hope for getting it is for Paul to get a job that offers it. (He's unemployed at the moment.) Because he has asthma private insurance is out of the question. Ironically, the drug addicts that smoke crack on the curb across from our house can get free health care through MediCal. We working class folk are not poor enough to qualify.

I'm not bitter about it, and accept it as my lot at the moment. If the current system is all we ever have, I'll just trust the Lord in it and be content. But I know that if I am now developing some cancer and am unaware of it I can count on dying from it. Because I cannot afford routine tests and check-ups it will not be detected early enough to do anything about it.

We do have some government health care in our country. It is available to the elderly, the very poor, and the children of the poor. My mother uses MediCare and it is a wonderful system - modeled after Canada's, BTW. I have used the MediCal system, when my children were small, and again recently for my son (who qualified because he was still a minor - though I could not qualify) when he had to have his appendix removed. All of my experiences with government health systems have been very positive - far more satisfactory than my dealings with health insurance agencies over the years.

I do not believe that the value of human life can be measured in dollar signs. And I don't believe a person's health should be left in the hands of those with dollar signs in their eyes. Health care should not be a profit making venture. If I had to list the things I would hope my tax dollars could be used for, public health would be near the top of that list.

haithabu said...

Laurie, your faith allows you to live with the uncertainty. I wonder about all those who do not share that faith, or hold a weaker form of it?

Surely the lack of assured health coverage must add to the atmosphere of economic fear and insecurity which many Americans seem to live in nowadays. When we (Canadians) lose a job, we just lose a job. But when you lose a job, it seems you don't just lose a job, you potentially also lose a lifeline to health care. I suspect that this is one of the reasons that the recession in Canada, as bad as it is, doesn't seem to carry the same existential sting for us as it seems to south of the border.

America has given a lot to the world, and I hope that it will regain the confidence to make change where it is needed. Then perhaps it will also regain its unity and generosity of spirit towards its own and others (perhaps even illegal aliens?).

Laurie M. said...

Phil,
I really appreciate your input.

One step at a time, I guess. As far as concern for illegal aliens, well, I see that as a long way off. There is little sympathy for them among the populace. I used to have the common mindset about that, but, well, that seems to be changing too. These are in many, if not most, cases desperate individuals, not unlike refugees we hear of in other "third world" countries, tossed about by desperate need brought about by the lack of infrastructure in their own countries, and through no fault of their own. These are not dogs. They are fellow humans, created in the image of God. I don't know what can be done, but increasingly my heart has softened toward their plight.

haithabu said...

Laurie,

You're probably right that the will to deal constructively with illegal aliens is a long way off. But I think the two issues are connected in the sense that anyone who lives in chronic fear and insecurity is much less likely to be generous toward outsiders. If working class people feel that their system leaves them to swing in the wind, then who can blame them for wanting to close the door to others?

Here's my beef though on the common attitudes toward illegal aliens: I know that every nation has the right to control its borders, but I feel that these people are being kept illegal for reasons which have nothing to do with keeping them out.

They are not leeches. Most are hard working and faithfully send money home to their families. They are illegal but businesses (and often law enforcement too) turn a blind eye toward them because we need them. They do work that the rest of us turn our noses up at (even now, I think). How many white Americans would last a day at a mid-Western meatpacker? Or get out into the fields to do stoop labour for piecework? I tried the latter once for a day. It took me 8 hours to pick $6 worth of strawberries while the Hispanic women around me shuttled back and forth to the loading station with full baskets.

So why are they kept illegal? Because they might swamp our social services? Most would leap at the opportunity to support our system through taxes like everyone else. (Many already do, because they are working under assumed identities, in which case they are subsidizing our services while being denied the benefit.)

Or is it because if they are legalized they might actually start competing with us for the good jobs?
We need them to support our standard of living, so we don't kick all of them out, but we keep them illegal because that is the only way to keep them down and working cheaply in the dirty jobs.

I think that is the implicit deal behind the toleration of illegal immigrants in America. It is not only fundamentally dishonest, but it creates two classes of citizenship: the (unofficially) tolerated illegal and the full citizen. If our economies are in such need of guest workers, we should at least give them the security of a recognized status as such, as in Europe.

Laurie M. said...

Again, Phil, very well thought out, and well spoken. I can find no fault with what you've said here. I thank you for sharing your perspective. Sometimes it's difficult for those stuck "in the box" to think outside of it. I really appreciate your insight. Thank you so much.

I trust you've seen yourself quoted in my post today?

haithabu said...

Yes, I did, thank you very much. I enjoy as much as anyone else the implicit flattery of being quoted.

Laurie M. said...

Well, I'm tempted to quote all you've said. But, as I said before, one thing at a time.