JK,OMGLOL – Healthcare Edition

Let’s talk irony, shall we?  Since we’re already in the mood.

Let’s say I was at work this past week, with a particular client that I see all the time, who happens to be in the healthcare industry.  I like this client very much, he is something like a friend to me but we still keep it formal, as is necessary because of the nature of our relationship.  Keep in mind, however, that even though I have great affection for this customer, we have already identified each others political leanings, and each of us has found the other wanting in that regard.  He is a classical conservative, whereas I am pretty much a modern liberal.  No worries, we leave all that at the door and have a good time anyway, which to me has always been a hopeful reminder that in America, even your worst political enemy can be a friend.

Well, anyway, the topic of healthcare came up as I knew it would eventually, being that this customer’s field is healthcare – let’s say he makes the widgets that connect to the sprockets on hospital beds.  Well, I was curious about his opinion of the appointment of Tom Daschle as Secretary of Heath & Human Services, figuring he would tell me the guy was a loser or whatever. Here’s our conversation in a nutshell:

“So, Tom Daschle, huh?  Remember him from the senate?”

“Sure, sure.  I think he’ll probably do a pretty good job of things.”


“Sure.  You know I voted for Obama this time around, and from what I can tell he…”

“You voted for Obama?”

“Well of course I did.   Look at what we do here – the current healthcare system is completely broken, especially here in our market.  I may not be for socialized medicine, but I tell you I have absolutely no problem with what Obama has been advancing – I see it as a win-win for businesses like ours, because even though our profit margin might recede, our market stands to increase far above whatever loss of profit we might encounter.”

What a cynical thing to say, right?  Well of course there was more to it than that.  As it turns out, this guy has had a bone to pick with private insurance for many years, and not just because of his shrinking “market”, but rather because he has found himself relegated by the insurance companies to be the bearer of bad news to patients when their healthcare provider decides to stop covering the services he provides to them, and it turns out that, wouldn’t you know it, that bothers a guy deep down inside after some years.  Well, good on him for having a heart, but there was still a whiff of irony in the air after we talked, and I think we both knew it.

See, it’s very simple:  Democrats and Republicans skate figure eights around each other on the concept of what constitutes compassionate policy-making.

Your poster-boy Republican has no time for the notion that God has no plan for the poor (of course He does!), because then he would have to admit that in fact this IS IN FACT a dog-eat-dog world, a world in which social programs might be necessary for those of us who have lost years of our lives and countless thousands of dollars to health issues.  So whereas it is PERCEIVED that the Democrats are a bunch of godless idiots just salivating at the prospect of wasting taxpayer dollars, the reality is that it is the Republicans who have always taken the more Darwinian policy approach, couched under mature-sounding terms such as “accountability” and “personal responsibility”.  No doubt their supposed espousal of free market principles speaks volumes about this as well.  And isn’t that ironic, too, that the rightmost wing of the party who would seek to limit our understanding of the way in which life unfolds (evolution), would also be the party that ultimately seeks to play that scenario out to its fullest extent?  I’ve always found one of the most courageous things about being a Democrat is that each of us is at some point forced to look at the world around us and say “You know, things are not exactly how I was taught when I was sitting in Sunday school class.” But democrats are the ones who cling hardest to that very vision, a sort of ideals-friendly world where nothing is perfect but everything is in process, and things are capable of changing if we take a stand.  That is the very reason I vote as I do.  Not to make government bigger, but to make wars less deadly, to make people less hungry, and to give everybody a fair chance at making something of themselves.  My fucking tax bracket has nothing to do with it, and it never will.

I have been studying for my MCSA exams for quite some time now, and you know, I don’t do it because it makes me happy.  I do it because I want to make more money, I want greater responsibility, and I want a chance to learn as much as I can, as I toil in the industry of my choosing (IT management).  I can make this happen, I know it, and as far as I can see, I know that one day very soon I will have that new certification, and even more besides.  But that is as far as I can go, that is the one variable I really control.  I don’t have healthcare insurance and I cannot will myself to be able to afford it, so I’m relying on luck, God’s grace, and the direction of the wind to make sure that nothing goes wrong on that front, whether it’s me, my wife or my kids.  It’s a gamble and a gamble I live in daily fear of losing.   I hate to think that because I waited to get health insurance, we were too late to find out that one of the kids has cancer, and he dies because of it, but what else is there to do for us?  We are not poor enough for Medicare, and we’re not rich enough for private insurance  These are just the pure, cold, hard, and yes, Darwinian facts of our lives.  As a Democrat I strive to lessen the encroachment of that coldness, and though it might be a losing battle, it’s one that is worth fighting.

The thing neither side really wants to admit is, we only have so much money to spend here, no matter what our goals are.  I personally would rather give my tax dollars to make sure that everyone in the country gets access to health and dentistry services, rather than continue to fund the monstrosity that is our military-industrial complex.  You may disagree with me on exactly HOW MUCH money should go to WHICH PART of the military, but no one can deny that the Boeings and Lockheeds of the world have far too much influence on our yearly budget.  Our budget should always be determined by our policy needs, not the need to reach some company’s bottom line projection, but that just isn’t the case right now, and really hasn’t been since the end of World War II.

One of my favorite Republicans, Dwight Eisenhower, had this to say about our rampant funding of the military:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

And perhaps the world’s first true liberal, Jesus Christ, had this to say about folks like me:

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”


1 Response to “JK,OMGLOL – Healthcare Edition”

  1. 1 Jeannie November 23, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    I think I love you. Will you marry me?

    I base this solely on this post, by the way.

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November 2008
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Currently Reading:

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame - Charles Bukowski

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