So Hillary finally presented us with her "health plan." Whoopee! That will fix everything. Right?
Wait a minute, isn't that what Romney did in Massachusetts? Isn't that the same pattern set by George Bush's Medicare Part D? We must, by law, buy insurance from the already money-bloated insurance industry while still being obligated to pay deductables and co-payments that will further burst our shrinking budgets?
Does that make sense? Those who are suffering from lack of medical care because they cannot afford to pay for health care absolutely cannot afford to pay insurance premiums because, even after they do so, they will not be able to afford the additional costs that are built into the system.
As a personal testimony, I will say that, were it not for Medicare Part D, my medications would cost about $120 a month for three generic medications. As the result of choosing a plan that will not leave me hanging in the "donut hole," I pay in excess of $40 a month in premiums. My co-payments amount to $55 a month. I may go on a cruise to the Caribbean with all my savings! Or, better yet, and even more realistic, I could buy a new pair of shoes -- from Wal Mart, of course.
As all the mainstream-media-nominated candidates struggle to come up with some plan that will not interfere with the flow of corporate funds to their campaign coffers, those potential candidates with any real understanding of the plight of the medically underserved and who might be able to view the situation with some real perspective, are relegated to the back row and kept hidden from the public eye.
After fifty-odd years of voting Republican, it was only after the completion of the "glorious Reagan years" that I began to realize the rightward shift our government was taking. Our society had become mean, selfish, and uncaring about the less fortunate. Those in the middle-class became convinced of their entitlements as an indication of their superior worth and were more than willing to leave the working poor and the impoverished abandoned to life in ghettos, out of sight and out of mind. Of course, lip service was paid to being "kinder and gentler" but nothing changed. While the religious right were sitting on the edges of their chairs, rooting for the Apocalypse, they were totally ignoring the admonitions of Christ to care for "the least of these."
Then Bill Clinton inspired us all with his rhetoric of "welfare reform" and appeared to have some recognition of the steps necessary to provide abandoned mothers with some bootstraps with which to lift themselves and their children from abject poverty. However, once he gained the Oval Office, he found a solid opposition and only those plans which would preclude and limit access to the child welfare programs were enacted.
These plans, augmented by the Bush agenda, only made necessary the further neglect of children, with one parent working two jobs, leaving children to grow up on the streets with no adult supervision. The promise of high-quality child day-care centers, as presented by Candidate Clinton, never materialized because they would cost too much and "people really don't want to pay taxes."
To give the devil his due, the S-CHIP children's health program, with a mix of state and federal dollars has been a godsend for a great many but does not go far enough and even that small assistance is endangered as Bush threatens to veto any possible increase.
What happens to those healthy children when Mama gets sick? Even if Mama is eligible for Medicaid, a few days of lost work will be so devastating that a few dollars more in food stamps the following month will not stop the hunger pangs now. The result of this revolting situation is that nearly all teen-agers from poor familes have a record for juvenile crime and the prisons are full of the warped adults who fell afoul of the law in their effort to survive.
After years of having worked in a business that employed young females, most with children and also struggling to survive on minimum wages, I have developed a good understanding of their trials. Now that I am aged out of the job market and reduced to relying on Social Security as a "safety net," that understanding has deepened into outrage. Instead of the titular $1200 month in Social Security, after deductions for Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D, the actual amount is about $1000. From that, in addition, I must plan for co-payments of $5 or $25 for each prescription, a co-payment of $13 for every visit to a physician and, should I require hospitalization, the first time each year will require me to pay the first $2500 as a deductible plus the co-payment on the rest, while any further stays in the same year will cost "only" $980. Of course, the attendance by each physician, specialist, or technician which is billed separately will carry its own deductible and co-payment.
How about the "catastrophic illness insurance" which people can buy at their own expense? Forget it! At my advanced age, the premiums would eat up the remainder of the Social Security. And don't think that "private insurance" is any better. One can pay hundreds of dollars a month for a "family plan," only to learn that it carries a deductible of $3000 to $5000 a year PER PERSON! If one feels secure with a private-pay health plan, they will certainly feel the pinch should more than one child require a tonsillectomy in the same year that another needs an infected appendix removed.
We now find ourselves with many of the class distinctions in our society totally removed. We are no longer a nation of tiers of society but have been reduced, simply, to a society of haves and have-nots. The former middle-class has devolved in a morass of lost jobs, home foreclosures, and impenetrable credit-card debt, while the destitute die off from malnutrition and lack of medical care.
We may lament the fact that much of the public prefers to ignore the political situation that threatens their very existence, but we must understand that it has become so depressing that just speculating on the probable winner of the Super Bowl is a respite from the dirge of personal problems.
Is it any wonder, then, that a man like Dennis Kucinich, who came out of poverty and has experienced "the American Dream" and who totally understands what would be necessary to restore our nation to the Land of Opportunity it once was, should be marginalized and excluded from the opportunity to even speak by the very party which is blessed by his presence, even to the point of being uninvited to engage in debate?
The wonder is that the mainstream media even bother to cover the announcement of Hillary Clinton's proposal for "health care reform" or that they ignore the fact that the two-party system for electing our government is as dead as last week's newspaper.