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That helpless feeling.

Was chugging along at a pretty steady pace on that promised post when I got the news that my friend Dan J of Relatively Unrelated likely has lymphoma. He’s been getting the runaround from a clinic for the past two weeks in that country with “the greatest health care system in the world”, America. Naturally. The whole story threw me for a loop and is making me more and more upset as I chew over the situation.

So it’s like this: the United States does not have the best health care system in the world. Unless you’re willing to fork over money, hand over fist. If you’re poor, they aren’t lying, get sick and die. Every lie a right winger spouts about how great our health care is just goes to show they have no clue as to what people who don’t have money and live paycheck to paycheck go through.

The last several months we have been going round and round with a ‘clinic’ in town. It’s a sliding scale clinic for people who don’t have insurance or aren’t made of money. Now I understand, especially right now, that there is a demand for such a service and there are so many hours in the day to help people. If they actually helped people.

At the moment, my husband is in the hospital. I made him go there at 5 AM this morning after dropping me off at work 2 hours early. Seven hours later I finally heard from him. The hemoglobin counts are very low and he needs blood. They’re going to do a CAT scan on him and keep him overnight at least.

His wife blogged about Dan’s current status here.

I have a rant or two stored up about the fucking bullshit health care system the USA has set up right now where if you’re rich, you’ll survive everything short of a nuclear bomb, but if you’re a staggeringly intelligent but relatively poor chap like Dan, your health care plan is to die as quickly as possible.

Alan Greyson hit it right on the head.

I am so mad I could spit nails, and I feel totally helpless to boot. I think I have to go kill things on a video game for a while.

Comments

  1. says

    It’s true – I wish most of my countrymen would die in a vomit fire over the way health care is handled in this nation. Every last mouthbreathing Teabagger. Every last “Party of FAIL” GOP member. Every Gollum-like Libertarian. As Dara O’Briain would say, “Get in the fucking sack.”

    The US is a great country, a wealthy industrialized well-educated country, but one that is headed straight for the Third World due to plutocracy, craven politicians, and the thrall of anti-intellectualism.

    A few weeks ago, the podcast “Philosophy Bites” covered John Rawls and his notion of social justice; my understanding of it was that essentially the just policy is the one most people would choose if they did not know the circumstances they’d be born into, what Rawls called the veil of ignorance. Effectively, taking care of the least is the most just policy. Better to read Wikipedia than to trust my interpretation.

    The episode gave me pause because Rawls’ theory was new to me and it is so far removed from the public discourse as to put one in a deep depression.

    I’m about to go on some immunosuppressant drugs to treat the arthritis that restricts my mobility and keeps me in pain for most of the day. Diet, exercise, and clean living don’t ward off arthritis so there was fuck-all I could do to prevent this.

    I’m 44.

    I have insurance.

    Without insurance, the drugs cost about US$1200/month.

    I have no idea what the drugs will cost with insurance.

    The pharmacy is talking to the insurance company and will get back to me.

    You show me any other common consumer good or service that is sold in this nation where the person selling it to you cannot tell you the price. Find one as important as health care.

    My solution to the problem is to give insurers the choice of running as non-profits or be nationalized. Profit pulled out of the medical system is blood money, pure and simple. Any exec who wants to bitch about it can have his head put on a pike as a warning to others.

    Draconian? Hell yes. Pure merciless greed has put us where we are now; I see no reason to offer quarter to those who’ve offered none in this battle. Fuck ‘em.

  2. dartigen says

    I can barely understand all of this, living in Australia. In Australia, our version of Medicare offers better subsidies than most insurance companies, plus you get low-price prescriptions if needed. I’ve yet to hear of a hospital refusing to treat someone – at the worst, they might transfer you interstate to a hospital that has the specialist you need. Specialist consultations are expensive, but again – it’s all subsidized. Surgery and some vaccinations aren’t, so you have to pay up-front – but then all you have to do is present the paperwork to a Medicare office, and if it’s all correct and in order, you get the money back.
    Granted, Australia’s population is tiny compared to the United States – but so is our government’s budget, and (until recently, and the deficit is for totally unrelated reasons) they seem to do just fine on the money they have.

    America cannot call itself a first-world nation when it has people dying from easily-treated problems like pneumonia, appendicitis, gut blockages and even rotten teeth!
    IMO, the tea-baggers need to spend a year trying to live uninsured. Then they can come back and talk. Let’s see what tune they sing after spending a year frantically avoiding getting sick or injured, or having to choose between going bankrupt or suffering with painful, debilitating and potentially deadly health problems.

  3. says

    I was caught completely flat-footed. I have no idea what to feel. I can’t even seem to summon up the anger that I know I should feel at the disgusting hoax that is “the greatest health care system in the world”. I’m mostly just sad and hoping against hope that it’s not what they think it is. My friends are not supposed to get sick, dammit! I selfishly want it to happen to someone I don’t know. I know that sounds shitty, but there it is.

  4. says

    We can’t afford public health care because we have to fight the terrorists in Iraq instead, so we don’t have to fight them here.

    Friends of friends, as Dan is, are the reason that I give blood.

  5. says

    I honestly can’t fathom how the richest nation on the planet can, with a straight face, justify spending more than the entire rest of the planet combined on military, and let its people die of rotten fucking teeth. Among other things.

  6. khan says

    I have very good health insurance and even I have hoops to jump through concerning amounts and pre-approvals and PPOs.

    I have paid for people’s dental work.

    It is disgusting that people have to endure tooth problems.

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