A friend sent me the link to the video below. In it a woman by the name of Katy Abram makes an impassioned anti-health care plan speech to Sen. Arlen Specter at his town hall meeting. I was not impressed with her argument; she doesn't have a clue as to what she's talking about. I have no patience for people espousing opinions based on nonexistent facts. My friend, who is far kinder than I am, observed that while she was totally uninformed, that she nonetheless appeared to be a decent person.
I don't think that she's a decent person. I think that she's selfish and doesn't give a damn about anything except her own back yard. People like her are dangerous; they form the base of Limbaugh's dittoheads and the acolytes of Glenn Beck and all of the other ultra conservative groups. She's uninformed but too stupid to know that she doesn't know or understand the issues that she is attempting to address.
The biggest issue that these people have is some twisted notion that their hard earned money is going to be taken away and distributed to a bunch of undeserving, lazy ethnic minorities and illegal immigrants. That's the subtext of every reference to upholding the Constitution and getting back to the principles of the founding fathers.
Her entire opinion was based on her fears that so-called good, hardworking Americans such as herself are being asked to be their brother's keeper. In spite of the litany that these people espouse about America being founded on Christian values, they are as far removed from any resemblance to Christian values as I am from looking like Marlene Dietrich.
These narrow minded, ignorant, selfish semi-bigots scare me more than any honest, sheet wearing, card carrying member of the KKK. The KKK has always acknowledged that it is based on a sense of self-superiority and hatred of the "other;" these people delude themselves into believing that they are just being good citizens, trying to preserve American values.
I think that they are so consumed with their own sense of self-righteousness that they have no ability to empathize with others. As long as their little piece of the world functions well, they don't give a damn about anyone else's troubles. They are also incapable of recognizing that they may find themselves in the position of not being able to afford health care. They can't anticipate such a thing happening because they function under the misbegotten belief that such things only happen to the unworthy. Of course, they can't imagine themselves as ever being unworthy, therefore they can't imagine finding themselves in a position that they believe only befalls those who are lazy, shiftless, and worthless.
The level of ignorance would be laughable except that just because accusations and innuendo are without basis in fact does not mean that they are ineffective. I think back to the Clinton administration's attempt to enact similar reforms to our health care system; those efforts ultimately failed because too many people believed the outright lies that were propagated about the proposed changes.
Once again the lies abound, with stories about "death panels," about forcing everyone to give up their current plans and join the government plan, about huge tax increases on the middle class to pay for the plan, and the horrors of becoming a socialist country.
According to the evening news, most of the protesters admit that they haven't read the health care bill or any summaries of the bill. When did ignorance become so fashionable? How can you have a valid opinion on anything that you really don't understand?
Some 47 million people in this country have no health insurance. That number doesn't include the people who are under insured--they have insurance but not enough to cover a major illness. Insurance companies can deny coverage to an insured person who has paid premiums for years, alleging that a treatment is experimental. You can challenge it, but you may be dead by the time a decision is made in the case.
An insurer can refuse to insure an individual with a pre-existing condition unless you are part of a group policy through an employer or your state has a high risk pool plan. Of course, there may still be a waiting period before any treatment connected to your pre-existing condition is covered.
At one point, I was considering going into private practice, so I investigated how much I would have to invest in health insurance. After I dutifully applied online to Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, listing that I am a diabetic, have atrial fibrillation, sleep apnea, and congestive heart failure, BCBS informed me that I was classified as uninsurable, but if I was willing to pay $3700 per month, they would provide me with a minimalist insurance policy.
When I was done rolling on the floor and laughing hysterically, I politely declined the policy. In spite of all of my diagnosed problems, I haven't been hospitalized in 10 years. I take my meds, exercise, see my doctors regularly, and eat healthy most of the time (chocolate is health food of a sort). Without insurance, I wouldn't be able to afford my meds or see my doctors, and would certainly cost the system far more with visits to the emergency room. I'm fortunate. I had the choice of taking a state job with health insurance benefits.
However, I know that everyone isn't so fortunate and I do believe that is is my responsibility, our collective responsibility as a society, to ensure that everyone has access to preventive and maintenance health care. That's what the proposed health care reform plan is about. Those of us who understand this have to speak up and serve as a counterpoint to drown out the lies being spouted that threaten to derail this renewed effort to ensure that all of us have access to quality health care. There are people whose lives depend on us.