Saturday, August 1, 2009

#136 Health-Care Reform and "the Poor"

Obama's come and gone from Raleigh, returning to D.C. in time for his beer-fest Thursday with new buddies Professor Gates and Officer Crowley. A bit precious, like a three-way hug, but a good thing--and I would point out the potent iconography of the triumvirate: one black, one white, and one both. Would that Obama (you can see this one coming) could get some folk together on health-care reform.

I've never liked the phrase "playing politics" because it's most often off-point and ad hominem. But the Blogman can offer no other explanation for the dilatory and downright obstructionist non-progress toward reform, on the part of our elected representatives. I've flogged this poor old hobble-horse before, but here's the simple question again: Who's gonna care for the poor, sick Americans among us?

Certainly not the well-scrubbed picketers outside Broughton High School on Wednesday, who hoisted signs proclaiming, "Our Health Care is Great" and "Hands off My Health Care" (with a big bloody palm-print on them--a confusing bit of iconography there). No surprise: they were all white, middle-aged, some with coat-and-tie despite the heat. The group in charge: "Americans for Prosperity"--believe it or not. A spokesman said they were planning bus-trips around the state, and maybe to Washington to protest their opposition to Obamacare. I will hold my breath. A cavalcade of Beemers and SUVs perhaps. I hardly need make the point: these people can afford adequate health insurance under the existing system--whether individual or employer-sponsored. Of course they want "hands-off." And their well-scrubbed, all-white, old-aged counterparts in congress--Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats with unlimited health coverage for life--want "hands off" too. No skin off their ass, and they can continue to keep Big-Med happy.

And by "poor" I mean all of the 47 million Americans without health insurance despite their income. These obviously include the jobless and homeless; but also those between jobs with no unemployment compensation; or starting jobs with a waiting period; or working at jobs with NO employee-sponsored insurance at all; or low-level hourly workers who can't afford it either way; etc., etc.

But how about the millions more no less "poor" laid-off workers who struggle to pay the high cost and only temporary coverage of COBRA? And the "poor" under-insured employees who can only afford a piece of the company's group coverage for their families? And, how about what I might call the "poor in spirit"--those who endure a job, fear losing a job, or are looking to change the job they've got, only because of "the benefits"?

You don't have to be a pauper to be poor. Or sick.


jdmiii said...

Hi There.

Here is a Libertarian approach that does not require income redistribution. It is not as good as universal health care, to which I am a reluctant but enthusiastic convert, but it is a lot better than what is floating around Washington right now:,0,718677.story

Dr. J.D. said...

To jdmiii---

Thanks for your comment. Have read article by "Colonel" Moran and main problem is,among others: he still would entrust life-and-death health-care coverage SOLELY to profit-driven insurance companies. Currently, one person EVERY SECOND goes bankrupt in this country due to medical costs, and 50% of those HAVE INSURANCE. We're talking major money monopolistic monolith here: tax breaks or "shopping across state-lines" will do little, I fear, to topple it.

But I want to talk more about this and also the specious "co-op" crapola floating around Washington in a regular post. I think the very next one. Watch for it.

As for the Libertarian angle, his piece is entitled "A capitalist approach ... " Related, but different. Anyway, based on Libertarian principles, I've sort of declared Universal Health Care a unique species, immune from basic Libertarian principles. See DM #122.