When the choice people have is between their own death and the death of capitalism, I'm thinking the majority will choose for capitalism to die

by CynthiaYockey on July 20, 2009

I work in the bedroom next to my father’s so I heard him get up last Thursday morning, the clunk of his shoes as he got dressed, then the whir of the stair lift as he rode downstairs. Then I heard him open the door and go out for the newspaper and to sample the blueberries from bushes lining one side of the walkway. I knew he was coming back inside when I heard a little clatter of the lawn chair on the porch, which is only one step up, but it did not seem out of the ordinary. I didn’t hear him call for me, so I went back to my writing. It seemed a long while between the clatter of the chair and the sound of the front door opening and closing, but he could have been sitting on the porch admiring the lovely, clear day and watching the cardinals perched on the cages of the heirloom tomatoes in the front yard. (Shut up, it’s where the sun is.)

But Dad had fallen down trying to step onto the porch. I came down about 10 minutes later and he was sitting in his lift-recliner chair watching the Sotomayor hearing on CNN. He told me about the fall, in the interest of keeping me up-to-date since I am his care provider and make all his doctor’s appointments. I asked about his ankles, knees and hips. He said they were fine. Then I examined his wrists, which can easily break in a fall, and the left one was swollen.

I learned from taking care of my late life partner, Margaret Ardussi, who had multiple sclerosis and was quadriplegic the last 10 years of her life, that if you are going to have a health emergency, have it as early in the day as possible. If you do, you can get people on the phone for information and follow-up appointments, you can fill prescriptions, and a LOT more people are doing jobs that you need done during the day than in the middle of the night.

Rookies hope the problem will go away. But usually it gets progressively worse, and when they are in agony at midnight, THAT’S when the emergency they could have dealt with easily at noon has to be a red hot crisis.

No, no, no, no!

So, knowing that if there was swelling that quickly that Dad ought to get his wrist X-rayed, I called his gerontologist. He was on vacation, but one of his nurse practitioners agreed about the X-ray and suggested it would be better to go to an urgent care facility instead of the local hospital’s emergency department.

Hmmmm.

Urgent care facilities are a big gap in my caregiving expertise because if Margaret had a problem that we couldn’t get handled with a home nursing visit or a doctor’s appointment, then she was sick enough to go by ambulance to the emergency room. However, I took good care of her and she was rarely that ill — but these ER visits loom rather large in my memory because most of them were in the last year of her life — which is common for people who are dying of a chronic, progressive illness.

But Dad is ambulatory and urgent care facilities diagnose and treat broken bones, so that’s where we went. At first the doctor didn’t see the hairline fracture, but as he looked a second time to show me there was nothing, he saw it. So, he put Dad in a splint and referred us to an orthopedic surgeon, who saw Dad the next morning and said it was not a big deal although he doesn’t want Dad swimming until he’s better. He made Dad a more comfortable splint and had us make an appointment to check back with him in a week.

It felt wonderful to get my father prompt, expert care, which we were able to do because his health insurance is excellent. Obamacare would not be as good a deal for him, since at 93, Obamacare would rate him as “life unworthy of life.”*

But I have to admit that the current system isn’t working out as well for me. Under the current system, I feel like “life unworthy of life.”

I don’t have health insurance, so I asked for a price list at the urgent care place to see what problems I could afford to get treated. No deal. The administrative assistant said they do everything they think is needed, THEN I would find out what it cost. I have to say that doesn’t really work for me.

I probably qualify for Medicaid, but it is a means-tested program. I can’t stand the thought of having the loss of my health care be a disincentive for earning enough money to be able to afford private health insurance, which, if I could afford it, I could obtain through Maryland’s private insurance programs for companies of 1 to 50 employees. I know this means I’m saying I’d rather die than commit to being poor. Really, I would rather live. Health care would really help. So would health insurance. But that health insurance program is a pricey one — over $7,000 a year for someone my age, the last time I looked. Obtaining actual health care would be additional, of course, due to the co-pays.

One wasteful aspect of our current system is that people in my situation who do get sick and go on Medicaid can run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in care that may prolong life, but not save it, when the problem could have been cured cheaply if caught early. We don’t just lose the money — we lose a productive human being, too.

And I believe a news story I read recently of a woman who had to choose between buying food for her children and buying her blood pressure medication, who had a stroke due to her high blood pressure and died. Ironically, the money that will pay for her ER care — wherever it comes from — would have kept her in blood pressure medication for years. And her children are left without a provider — there are costs associated with that, too.

I do not support Obama’s healthcare reform, mostly because I think its purpose is to destroy our economy and repose power in a totalitarian bureaucracy. But I disagree with conservatives and Republicans defending the status quo. We have to figure out how more people can obtain health insurance and health care. And I do not see why health insurance should be provided through employers — when you get sick, and need your health insurance, you are most likely to lose your job and your health insurance. That is a crazy system.

I hope Obama’s healthcare reform fails so hard he never talks about it again. But for those of us who are Republicans and fiscal conservatives to oppose Obamacare by saying the current system is fine and does not need to change is just nuts. Not coming up with a better system to propose as our alterntive is the same as saying we are too stupid and selfish to figure out how we can preserve liberty and expand the number of people who can have access to affordable healthcare. It is an abdication of duty. It is an abdication of leadership. And because we have abdicated our duty and our leadership, people seem ready to follow a sociopathic pied piper perfectly prepared to tell them whatever they want to hear that will induce them to give up the system that gives them their freedom to make the most of themselves. That’s because, when people have to choose between the death of capitalism and their own death, I’m pretty sure the majority will choose to save themselves and let capitalism die.

*”Life unworthy of life” is the expression the Nazis used to justify their eugenics program of killing the disabled.

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  • First let me say that I said a little prayer for your Dad. He should live to be a hundred and four, then die instantly and painlessly, shot by the jealous husband of his choice.

    Seriously, though, Republicans do have plans for health insurance for the poor. They have had such plans forever. The Democrats cannot stand the Republican’s plans so they screech at the top of their lungs “the Republicans have no plan!!!11!!!elventy!!!11”

    The reason the Democrats hate the Republican plan is simple, Republicans believe in simply paying part, or all, of a poor person’s private health insurance. Since this plan gives too much liberty to ordinary people, plus (gasp!) means that private companies might make a profit, Democrats hate the plan and their media minions help them trumpet “Republicans have no plan!!!!”

    The only argument among Republicans has been over how poor and what percentage of the insurance premiums each income level would get. The Republicans have been talking about this since Ronald Reagan’s Presidency. Even if we paid all the premiums for good health insurance for every uninsured citizen and legal resident in the country, with a plan with low co-pays it would cost less than this Obamacare. Probably less than those state run plans, which only reach a percentage of the people.

    You, Cynthia, have good instincts but sometime it shows how new your conservatism is. Actually, I think you have always lived a conservative life, you just haven’t paid attention to conservatism.
    .-= Peter´s last blog ..Bacon And Prewash For The Dishwasher =-.

    • Peter,

      Thanks for the education. But I really have been paying attention to the news for 40-some years now and this is the first I’ve heard of a Republican plan for universal health care that was an improvement on, “I’ve got mine, suckah, if you were thrifty like me then it would not suck to be you.” Certainly John McCain never advocated the program you mention. Where can I find it described by its modern advocates?

      You’ll notice that my plan is to create my own income as an entrepreneur in order to pay for my health insurance and health care. So I am not positioning myself to choose the death of capitalism over my own. However, I raise the point because I think a lot of people ARE willing to sell their capitalistic birthright for the porridge of the promise, true or not, that they won’t be financially destroyed by an illness or accident. I do not think Republicans and conservatives are paying enough attention to the number of people weighing those options and starting to wonder if the devil they know really is better than the one they don’t.

      Thank you for your prayers for my father. What a coincidence that for decades now he has been warning about being shot by a jealous husband! 😉

      Cynthia

  • Let’s see if my mad computer skillz are up to the task. Here is <a hrefhttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB124286548605041517.html Wall Street Journal story. Note, please that the main part of the plan is a tax credit for those buying insurance. Somewhat buried is the part where it says that folks who happen to be poor (like me) (and you) get actual money to help with the insurance. Anyhow, I hope this works.

  • Well, it sorta worked, just non’t mouse over the href part and you’ll get to the article, it’s one of many. The trouble is when I googled the “Republican Health Care Plans I mostly got things from the Huffington Post, etc.

    There is a lot of talk but actually the Republican plan is very simple. We start with tax credits. This helps the middle class types like you hope to be. Since you aren’t there yet, the plan offers cash for a percentage of those premiums, the poorer you are, the higher the percentage. So, let’s say you have an income of seven cents a week, the Republican plan pays the whole premium. As your income increases eventually the percentage goes down, say you make it to something approaching Official Poverty Level plus ten percent, the Republican plan starts paying 90%. Eventually your income increases to where the plan pays 0% and the tax credits pay for all or most of your insurance premiums.

    Republicans do not say ” I got mine suckah”. Please note that it is a Democrat President and Congress that are trying to curtail the tax deductions for charity gifts. Just for fun, look up the amounts that George Bush gives versus Obama. Or Gore. Or Biden. Now look up the wealthy Republican of your choice.
    Democrats like to help the poor. As long as they can do it with someone else’s money. And as long as the poor will stay poor. Republicans mostly like to help the poor become better off.

  • apodoca

    Prayers for your dad’s swift recovery, Cynthia.

    Obamacare is going to put me in a hole with the IRS. I don’t have medical coverage and haven’t had it for years. I consider it paying money for something I am not likely to use; so, to my mind, a MSA system which allows pay as you go works for me.

    To remain healthy, I’ve amassed a number of books on herbal health remedies, and I’ve found them to be singularly effective for serious medical problems as stroke and diabetes. My stepmother, who had had a stroke and had BP the docs were having trouble stabilizing, was up and running on an anti-BP diet (with food and drink) in no time. Today, her BP is at 140/90 which isn’t bad for her age but could be better and is a far cry from where it was when she had the twisted face and slurry speech of the stroke. My mother who also has BP and some diabetes issues takes the same route. She no longer bothers with the doctor’s prescriptions for diabetes because of the negative impact on her kidneys. Both women are in their 80’s and benefit from using foods that are available at a vegetable stand, grocery store, and health food store.

    With the right herbs, careful measurement of health indicators, and regular doctor’s examinations a person can remain quite healthy at low cost. Yet, Obama would make me pay a penalty for not buying into the crap he’s selling.

    Government isn’t the source of my rights; my right to health care, if such exists, is something I am free to exercise in the way I see fit. Obama has no right to limit my freedom in this unconstitutional way.

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