I was not expecting to post a political blog for quite a while, but because of the Health Care Vote today it is getting moved up. I am currently watching the debate and vote online through c-span.org.
On Saturday, the Tea Bagging movement showed their true colors towards the end. If you think this is the last time we will see these fools, think again. Wait until the debate for Immigration Reform.
Over the winter I heard a spoken word reading of A Christmas Carol. There is a line that sums up those on the side of anti-reform.
Portly Gentleman: At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.
Scrooge: Why? Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?
Portly Gentleman: Many can't go there; and many would rather die.
Scrooge: If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.
- A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, 1843
We live in one of the most prosperous and industrious countries, yet when it comes to health care we do not rank in the top five. Not even in the top ten. Hell, we're not even in the Top 25. We are #37 overall.
We are #1 in health care spending in the world and THIS is the output we get?!
When people say that, "America has the BEST health care system in the world." Well, they are right, but missing one key phrase: IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT.
If you regularly watch MSNBC's Countdown, you have probably noticed the absence of host Keith Olbermann. Mr. Olbermann has been tending to his dying father. In his last appearance hosting Countdown, Mr. Olbermann commented on the Blair House Health Care Summit (Part 1, Part 2). In his last appearance on Countdown, he provided an update on his father's condition and strongly advocated people to let family members know what their medical decisions are especially in times of good health and calmness.
On March 19, Mr. Olbermann's father passed away. MSNBC re-aired the hour long Special Comment from October 7, 2009 on Health Care (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).
What the health care bill comes down to are three key principles.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are LIFE, LIBERTY and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS."
-Declaration of Independence, Adopted July 4, 1776
"This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
–President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, March 5, 1933
"Primum non nocere."
-Latin, loosely connected to the promise of "To abstain from doing harm" in The Hippocratic Oath (text of the modern version)
I highlighted those three words because health care should be about LIFE. Not the so called "Death Panels" that Fox News Commentator Sarah Palin champions. When you go to the doctor, you are pursuing your own LIFE whether it is a simple as getting a flu shot; a colonoscopy to check for polyps; seeing a specialist to consider knee surgery due to a soccer injury; emergency gallbladder or breast reduction surgeries to alleviate pain; pursuing treatment for breast cancer; or having a C-section as a safe alternative to BOTH continue a current LIFE AND to bring a new LIFE into this world.
The LIBERTY to live your LIFE to the fullest extent without worrying about being denied coverage because of a "pre-existing condition" or if you face a medical condition, you won't end up going to the poor house because of it. We all have a "pre-existing condition:" It is called being human. We have to face our own mortality: we are going to die someday. We have made advances in medical treatment over the past two centuries to extend our time on earth to 75 years (conservative average). Let's try to make the best of it while we are here; and when it is time for us to go it should be a dignified exit.
This comes down to the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, which should allow its citizens to pursue a happy and high quality of life without the fear (from FDR's speech) of being bankrupted by medical costs.
The current system in place violates health care provider's oath to help people. Overall that is the goal of a medical provider: to do good.
Yes, I agree that this is not the best bill. It is better than nothing. The health care debate was sadly dominated over the summer 2009 recess (believe me, I know…) with the claims from the extreme right wing elements and being backed by the health insurance companies that changing health care will lead us toward socialism. We already have socialism in this country. Some examples: Social Security, public works, and (my personal favorite) the Interstate Highway System.
I would rather see a British style system to where everyone has access to preventative medicine (Frontline, "Sick Around the World"). I am hopeful that this legislation is on the road to true reform.
Once the Bill is voted on, I will post the results.