Because of my role as an educator and a writer of entertainment-based fiction, I’ve long tried to avoid airing my political views in public for fear of alienating both students and potential readers. However, with the current extreme partisanship over healthcare reform and the subsequent right-wing misinformation campaign, I cannot hold back right now. Let me say to begin, I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican, neither conservative nor liberal. I have always been a free-thinker, someone who looks at each issue as objectively as I can and follow my morals and intelligence when arriving at conclusions. In most respects, I’m part Civil Libertarian, part Moderate Conservative, part Progressive Reformist. In short, I’m pretty complex.
I keep hearing people say they don’t want government run healthcare, but what they fail to realize is that we already have that. On the Federal level, it’s called Medicare; on the state level here in Tennessee, it’s known as Tenncare. They are both systems of healthcare operated by the government to assist needy people with health coverage, and for the most part, both systems function fairly well, not perfectly, but well enough for those they serve. The problem is that because of current guidelines, nearly 47 million Americans do not qualify for coverage under these systems because they earn too much money, but these same people cannot afford private insurance because premiums have grown by over 119% in the last decade. Very few people have seen that kind of increase in their wages.
Personally, I’ve lived most of my adult life without health coverage for precisely this reason. I like to think I’m a productive member of society. Since I was 12, the longest I’ve gone without employment is about five weeks, and that was when I was coming out of my divorce and was so screwed up about not having my kids, I had to take some time off. Much of my life I’ve held two jobs to make ends meet because education pays so little, so I feel like I contribute to society. However, from all the greed and corruption and waste in our current system, I have been unable to get regular, basic healthcare, and now, in my mid-thirties, I’m starting to pay the price. Fortunately, I now have pretty good coverage with the state, but you as taxpayers spend over $1,000 a month on my premium. Thanks, by the way.
Our current system is completely broken, and our current president is trying to fix it. When I hear someone spew venom about that, I have to wonder what in the hell they are fighting to keep. Other than insurance and hospital executives, some doctors, and pharmaceutical companies, who is benefitting from the system? We’re the wealthiest nation on the planet, but nearly one sixth of our population cannot afford basic coverage, and many of us have had to file bankruptcy because of medical bills. That’s preposterous. My challenge to the people who are up at arms against the president is to stop watching only Fox News or listening to Rush Limbaugh’s insanity and start reading a few real news articles on the crisis. Maybe you could even try actually reading the proposed plans for yourself. You might be surprised to find that most doctors and most legitimate economists actually think that long-term it will be a good solution. Most people agree that it will have to be streamlined over the next few years and that this will be a long-term process, not a quick fix, but fundamentally, it’s a fairly sound plan that utilizes many of the current conventions of private insurance companies.