If you’re looking for cheerful today, this ain’t it.
I lived in London (yes, England) for long enough to see socialized medicine in action. It’s not perfect. In so many ways.
I have several Canadian friends who live under the single-payer system in Canada. While they agree their system is far from perfect, not a one of ’em would give it up to come play in our pond. I know. I’ve asked.
The bill that just got passed here is imperfect. In so many ways.
So where does that leave us in the US? I don’t know. But it would be really nice to have a dental checkup. Or an OB exam. (Okay, no it really wouldn’t be nice to have one of those… who am I kidding?) But it would be fantastic to have the opportunity to get around to have a checkup with the various medical professions I’ve only met at social occasions over the past three years.
I gambled this year playing the “health insurance lottery” and blew roughly 4-6 months of “coverage” in one ER visit. (Let’s hear it for that unexpected visitor “Mr. Kidney Stone”, shall we, folks??) It would have likely been covered if I had gone with the so-called cheap insurance I found (cheap insurance = $250-300/month). But tell me, what do I do without in order to obtain this Holy Grail of Crappy Insurance? My car that I use to transport myself and my goods to shows where I sell my glass? My oh-so-extensive wardrobe (that was sarcasm in case it was unclear) containing hand-me-downs, thrift store finds and clothing I’ve made myself? My 35 year old sewing machine? My dog?
Better yet, is there a physician in the audience willing to trade a checkup or two for some stained glass? How about a dentist? Yes, I’m on a rant today. I apologize for nothing other than being myself, because I’m tired of moving and working alongside some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, only to watch them be financially crippled by the burden of an unexpected surgery or medical event. Over the past three years I’ve watched them lose their teeth, duct tape their glasses back together, and live sometimes daily with pains or aches that no doctor will ever see, let alone treat, because, hey, that’s the price of being uninsured in America. You simply go without. I tire of watching elected idiots getting full health benefits while large numbers of their constituents have no such niceties. Perhaps I’m an idealist, thinking that every person, regardless or race or sex or orientation or pre-existing condition should be able to receive treatment and regular checkups.
But I prefer to think of myself more as a humanist. You could even make an argument for my being Christian (Leviticus 19:18 “love your neighbor as yourself”) or Islamic (Woe to those . . . who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due” – Qur’an Surah 83, “The Unjust,” vv. 1–4) or any of the major world religions – all of which, I might add – ascribe to the Golden Rule: Buddhism, Judaism, Wicca, Hinduism… the list goes on and on.
So tell me again why my friends, my acquaintances, my spousal equivalent, myself all live without any form of health care?