Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ideals and other silly thoughts...

    Sargent Shriver died last week.  He was the main person behind the Peace Corps which to me represented the Best of the 1960's.  We still had idealism in those days, a pride of Country, alternative to the war in Vietnam, a belief that we could get things accomplished.  Heck, we could go to the Moon if we wanted to, and we did!  I was in High School when Kennedy became President and remember his words so well: "Don't ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country".  I was in High School when he was shot. And in quick succession, Bobbie and Martin and others.  Like single sniper shots killing a dream, we lost our innocence when we awoke.
    I am a "Baby Boomer", born in 1946 after the last great War, I am at the head of the line. They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions and I am left with how easily sidetracked we became.  Why did we derail?  Why did we derail so easily?  What happened to our dream?  What entered in our sleep to make it all become a nightmare?  The Wars are nuts and a farse and a lie.  We are not being told the truth about anything.  It is no big deal to fine British Petroleum billions of dollars for their oil spill. We pay for it.  They just add it to the price of a gallon of gas.  We rape and pillage the environment.  We destroy our home, this very planet we live on.  And everyone is lieing to us all the time about everything.
    Republicans and Democrats are both guilty of this.  The "Glen Beck's" of television want to rile us. We have no leaders to take us out of this mess.  It has become every man for himself on a sinking ship. And it seems as though we don't even give a rip!  We just carry on and hope that tomorrow will be better without a clear definition of what "better" means.  We don't really seek to understand anything.  We dig in and form our opinions based on, I don't know what, emotions?
     National Health is one of these emotional issues with "death panels" and such nonsense.  What would happen if we just didn't do it?  You could get really radical and repeal all National Health, not just "Obama Care" but ALL of it..  I say this because we already have National Care for millions of us, just not everyone.
Our Health Care for Veterans is National Care and so it Medicare and Medicaid.  Sometimes you hear about how bad our system is but did you know that for those of us over 65 years old, when we can get on Medicare, we have the Best National Health Care in the world?  It is true.  If you can make it to 65 you will live longer and healthier and be taken better care of than anyone in the world.  Where we fail, and there are 35 countries that do better than us is for everyone under 65.  You are more likely to die, more likely to be not treated, and more likely to go bankrupt.  We have the highest rate of infant mortality in the industrialized world! We pay more too, a lot more and get a lot less.
     Twenty-five Million Americans are losing their insurance every single day.  Those that have it can't afford it.  Business can't afford it anymore.  In California the rate recently went up over 50%!  People are dropping out.  There is no mystery about the economics of this, it is not a secret.  The more people who participate the less expensive it becomes and every time someone drops out the price goes up.  What do you want to do?
     If you have work, a good job with benefits, it is easy to develop an "I'm all right Jack" kind of attitude.
Until you lose your job, are made redundant (I Love that word~Useless, right?) or your company reduces or eliminates the insurance part of your benefits.  Happens all the time.  What is the solution to this problem?  Could we really sit at a table and discuss this?  Without calling each other names?
    I think in order to do this you must first identify the problems and admit that what we have now doesn't work and is becoming more and more expensive by the day.  It IS a crazy system.  It doesn't really cost $5,000 a night to stay in a hospital but that is what you will pay.  You are paying for empty beds and for those that can't pay.  Think if a Hotel operated this way?  If the hotel were almost full and everyone was paying your room might cost a hundred bucks.  If people skipped out or the hotel was empty you would pay a lot more.  That's almost, almost, god forbid, Communism!  The way we do it NOW!  We are paying for something we don't use; we are paying for others...now.
     If I were in charge of this discussion I would put all offers on the table, including the option of scraping Insurance altogether, make it illegal!  Wow, what would happen?  Maybe you would only pay for what you used?  Maybe a lot less paperwork, maybe a lot more competitive?  I am just talking here, but what would happen if medical school were free? Well, sort of free.  Free in return for a couple years of community service?
     Perhaps a more realistic option might be, what would happen if we snuck it in?  Just slowly increased the circle of those who are covered?  How about including Peace Corps Volunteers and others who have served America into the Veteran's programs?  What would happen if Medicare became available to those from 62 years old. and later, maybe 60? and children to 10 years or 12?  The biggest problem is the notion that some deserve Health Care and some do not.
    Believe it or not this is the effect of our Christian Heritage.  Some are deserving and others are farther away from God.  Deep down inside we believe they get what they deserve. It is only now that we realize that it is us who is paying the bill and we can no longer afford it.  What would happen if we just dumped them?
We could put that on the table.  To each his own.  Create a slum on the outskirts of the city for the poor, the degenerate and the sick.  Funny, how that just slips off the tongue isn't it?  "Poor, degenerate, the sick" like leper colonies of the past.
    Maybe the bottom line will be math and we will put all the ideas on the table that will offer better and less expensive treatment.  Nah, that might be too reasonable.  Got any ideas?
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Maundering mutterer said...

Tough one. Over here, everyone who is a citizen is entitled to medical care. If you have no money, it is free, if you have a little you pay a little. The public hospitals only treat those without medical insurance - so the taxpayer foots most of the bill because people who do have money go to the expensive private hospitals. I'd rather my tax money went on this sort of thing than on a lot of things the government spends my taxes on!

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Clipped Wings said...

I don't really know what the answer to health insurance is. The worse way to come up with a plan is through politics, and that's what has happened. No one got a say, like daddy telling you how it is going to be while you are still living under his roof. I'm totally against forcing people to have health insurance or fining them...what kind of country have we become? Fairness is one thing, but free choice only available to those who pay an extortion fee...come on.

Constance Stanza Extravaganza Extraordinaire said...

I don't think they are silly thoughts Jerry and I don't have any answers. All of this is happening throughout the world :-(

AutumnLeaves said...

Well, Jerry, your words are unsettling and in so many ways, spot on. I don't have the answers and feel like we're left writhing in the wind. Thinking a socialistic approach isn't the right answer either though...