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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

watch it: the 9/12/09 weekly address from President Barack Obama

I wish more Americans understood that in every other industrialized nation, no one has to put up with the crap we have to put up with here: preexisting conditions, deductibles, copays, and the bullshit of having to fill out paperwork and worry about whether you’re covered or not when you’re sick or hurt. And for the privilege of putting up with crap and being denied the health care we’ve already paid for with our insurance (assuming you’re “lucky” enough to have a policy that pretends to cover you unless you actually get really badly sick or really badly hurt), we pay a helluva lot more than everyone else does.

It shouldn’t be that hard to sell the idea that Americans deserve everything the French, the Swedes, the British, the Canadians, the Japanese, the Australians, etc, etc, have, and that we could have it all for less than we pay today.

Our leaders don’t even have to lead when it comes to this issue. They just have to follow what the rest of the civilized world is doing. The fact that no one on the supposed left — from Obama on down — wants to do this suggests that they actually don’t want to do this, out of fear of pissing off the insurance companies. There’s simply no other explanation. And they’re able to get away with not doing this because the majority of Americans are too ignorant or too brainwashed to understand how fucked up our health care system is compared to rest of the world that they think we’re so much better than.

I’m so depressed about this.

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  • Keith

    Well said, MaryAnn.

  • Accounting Ninja

    There was a time when I was against universal healthcare, not too long ago. I believed all the lies about the “dangers” of socializing healthcare: lack of quality care, waiting lists, taxes so high it would drive struggling lower-middle class (like my family: fortunate enough to be working and making enough to pay our bills but still living pretty much paycheck to paycheck) into poverty. But a number of things have happened to shift me to the other side.

    I work for a small business right under the President. The insurance premiums are crippling to the company, even for the cheapest (and therefore crappiest) policy. Indeed, it drives the company President to pick the cheapest plan, regardless of what was covered or how high the deductibles are. During renewal time, I got a lot of complaints from the covered employees that now their medications weren’t covered and they would have to switch beloved doctors. Also, the weekly premiums for the employees end up being so high that only the most fortunate employees with the higher pay or who were already well off could afford it. It made me angry that the poorer people who work in our production plant have to go with out because they can’t afford it, but are too “rich” for welfare. There’s one woman with untreated diabetes there. Another had a pretty bad car wreck where she got bruised and she DIDN’T EVEN GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM! She was scared about the cost and she’s already struggling. She came to WORK with bruised up collar bone and bruises all over her!! Plus no car insurance, so she drove a damaged car with a smooshed up hood for months!!


    MAJ, I think it might have been you who said the one line that finally shifted me over for good. (Please correct me if I misquoted you). It was something like:
    Why can Americans have no problem paying taxes for things like police, firefighters or schools, but not the most important thing of all: healthcare for the bodies we live in? I mean, this makes so much sense. Whenever I hear a conservative family member say something like “dur I don’t wanna pay for THOSE people’s healthcare it’s not MY fault they don’t take care of themselves blah blah drug use abortion blah” (like the nice classist assumptions there? lol) I just wanna scream. Not everyone has kids, but we all contribute to public schools, right? Because well-educated children benefit ALL OF US, and make our society better to live in. Also true with our bodies: healthy bodies make for happier lives. We only get one body and one life. And it’s not important too??

    God this turned into a rant. :X

  • amanohyo

    The wackiest thing to me is the people who are absolutely convinced that the American way of life (whatever that means) is the absolute best in every possible way have, more often than not, never spent more than a month of their entire life in another country (not to say that a short vacation is always an educational, eye-opening experience).

    I currently work for the federal government in a small city in the northern midwest, and it’s a little scary how homogenous and closed-minded many people seem to be about anything unfamiliar. Most of the people at my office won’t even eat at a Chinese restaurant or a Taco Bell, and my boss talks about atheists as if they’re subhuman (I wisely stay out of those conversations). And traveling to Europe, Australia, or Japan? Forget about it. They don’t even want to visit New York or DC.

    The weirdest thing is that we’re pretty close to the Canadian border, but most people here (all relatively wealthy men) haven’t even been to Canada! The only thing that will inspire them to travel is the chance to shoot some animal that doesn’t live near here or play golf. And these are the people who consider themselves qualified to form an intelligent opinion on the relative quality of the health care system. There are plenty of nincompoops in big cities on the coasts too, but at least they’ve lived (or know someone who has lived) in other countries for an extended period of time.

    I wish someone impartial would round up a bunch of people who have lived in many different countries (patients, doctors, nurses, rich people, poor people), and interview them about their experiences with various healthcare systems. That would be more helpful to me than a million speeches and “debates.”

  • Victor Plenty

    Amanohyo, your wish has been very nearly granted. Check out the latest book by T.R. Reid, “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.”

    Reid perhaps didn’t survey quite as many people as you might have wished, but he actually did travel the world, interviewing doctors, patients, and policy makers in a wide variety of different health care systems that are all doing what the United States has thus far failed to do.

    He is also doing some great interviews about the book’s subject. Here’s one that’s very good if you can get past the first 10 seconds, which for some reason is nothing but a blank screen and silence.

    Trust me, it’s more than worth the wait.

  • amanohyo

    Thanks for the recommendation Victor! I saw Reid’s Frontline documentary last year, but I hadn’t heard about the book. I’ll hunt down a copy this weekend.

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