Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Let's Have a Dialogue

One of my readers left a long answer about issues with health care and then deleted the comment. I received it anyway as an email.

I will respect the author's anonymity because I enjoy his/her blog and I am not out to make enemies. That's easy enough to do when you're not trying.

But I would like to make note of two of the writer's points.

One - Medicare (along with the insurance industry) is the real root of the problem. Medicare only pays a fraction of the actual cost of service, so charges must be made elsewhere to compensate.

Two - many people have no insurance and cannot pay. They fall under charity care because they haven't the funds to properly pay their medical bills.

These are critical issues but I think they go much deeper than just health care. This is a very wealthy country but there an amazing amount of people can barely scrap by. An amazing number of folks sleep on sidewalks or roam the streets of the city because they have nowhere else to go.

There are oodles of people living in substandard housing, living with a leaking roof and shivering in the cold because they can't pay their bills. I know because I have been in some of those homes.

The real issue, to me, isn't health care but this dual standard of living. We have the very rich and the middle class. Then there's this ghost poor who no one talks about and addresses accept to acknowledge that they are a drain on the system.

I think it's time we try to do something to help these people. What would this entail? Would we ask the churches to stop building larger buildings and instead tend to the needy? Would that become a mandate?

Would we increase the funds from Social Security and other government entitlement monies to increase the standard of living from barely there to maybe having a little something? If we do that, how do we pay for it? Do we stop fighting wars and train those funds on the poor? Do we stop paying for public education? Do we raise taxes on those who can pay? And then how do we define who can pay? Just folks making over XXX dollars? Folks who manage to live within their means?

This country needs a major conversation on very important issues just like what I've described above. We don't need to talk about who's daughter is pregnant, which church someone does or does not attend and what Britney Spears has had to drink today. None of that matters to the nation. It shouldn't matter to anyone but the parties involved.

How we handle our less fortunate has a big impact on the country. FDR managed to bring an entire class out of a state of drowning by creating jobs - upgrades to infrastructure that are now today badly in need of repair. In Virginia alone we need millions and millions of dollars of road work that the state is unwilling to pay for.

There are sewer lines to be laid and water lines to be put down. Bridges need repairing. If we put people back to work - real work - imagine how different it might be. Folks could pay their E.R. bill, maybe.

Instead of tossing out $600 stimulus checks that do little, why not set up another Civilian Conservation Corps? Why not let people have a little pride and go about helping their country while they are also economically sustaining it?

It's time for talking about this sort of thing, folks. We need a plan. And then we need action. We need to find our footing again so we can all stand up proud, healthy and strong - each and every one.


  1. Yeah, I thought the same way about those checks. Why borrow money from China to have us go buy things from China? Better to fix some bridges or help the health care system...

  2. Great post, Bluesong. What a pity these aren't the issues deciding votes in the November election. Another opportunity to really improve the quality of life for all Americans - gone with the wind. And not even any sign that a majority want to talk about this - they'd rather swap scurrilous gossip about sleazy rumours and twitter over hyped up scandals.

  3. So far unfortunately for all of us, this election has become a mud slinging competition. I really get sick of this every four years and would absolutely croak if someone talked about real issues affecting people. This gossipy trash on TV and speeches that do nothing, but evoke a broad range of emotions is doing nothing to hurry me off to the polls.

    Let's hear the candidates talk about the mortgage crisis (I tend to blame those people who bought their homes to "keep up with the Joneses," so I lack a lot of pity there). Let's talk about the fact that the number of uninsured in this country is growing. I've always kind of judged what's going on in Roanoke as things we could really change, and I've always found it very sad that we have homeless people. I also find the number of people who are on welfare astounding. Pay attention next time you're at Kroger or Wally World at the beginning of the month to those who are using their "Cardinal Cards." I bet you're going to notice fancy fingernails, styled hair and cell phones. My stance on this is if you can afford the extras then why am I buying your groceries? We need a program that forces welfare recipients to get a job and to work to help pay their way. They should not be allowed to receive Welfare/Medicaid etc for long periods of time. That is ridiculous and we've enabled this behavior by making it easy on people. Amercia has become a society of the lazy. Why work, when the government is going to hand you a check every month.

    Oh no, I'm hijacking your blog, so I'll shut up. I've said too much already probably. ;-)

  4. The insurance companies and their hasty approach to the healthcare industry are a major contributor to our failing economy.

    If we don't vote our conscience in November, when do we?

    It's soapbox time...

  5. Excellent post! A good start would be universal health care and paying a living wage. And, Jen, for what it's worth, most poor people I know are working people, some of whom make just over minimum wage. My family is one of the working class and we don't own a cell phone. And my fingernails are short with dirt from our vegetable garden under them. :-) And my hair? I go to the hair stylist an average of every ten months. We don't receive government assistance, but I wouldn't hesitate if I needed it to feed my children.

  6. Excellent post. Unfortunately, I doubt that those running this country will pay much attention. One topic that I'd like to investigate is that of single-payer insurance. I've heard a lot of talk that it is "socialism" but I think it is a lot more complicated than that. The single biggest thing that would help this country is for the powers-that-be to stop thinking that they can run the rest of the world. The British Empire came crashing down after WWII and I think that the days of the American Empire are numbered, indeed. The billions of dollars thrown away in Iraq could be put to much better use right here at home! .... Getting down off the soap box, now!

    Jen, I agree with you, mostly, but I do think that some struggling folks really need "fancy nails" to make them feel better about themselves. It's a self-esteem issue, I think.

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