What is Left?

Last night, for about the millionth time I stood with a small group freezing our garbanzos in front of the State House at the ‘Cost of Delay’ vigil sponsored by Moveon.org. There were about forty of us, some doctors, nurses, business owners, parents. We were standing up for, essentially, universal health care. We were standing up for something better than the current mess that excludes so many Americans from access to lifesaving medical care. A FUBAR system that is heavy on technology, profit-driven, deficient in staffing and in the human touch. I adore computers, but if they’re used to keep things limping along while essential workers are laid off there will be no savings of life or even money in the long run.

We held candles, that was pretty. I always love looking at the city lights downtown. A brand new building dominated the skyline. Blue Cross/ Blue Shield. The corporate logo, while not exactly the Eye of Mordor, radiated power. It was visible from both the front and the back of the State House, our legislators can’t miss it.

We held candles. We vote.

In Louisville, Kentucky, where my in-laws live, Humana has a tower even higher than Blue Cross. Money flows in this direction. On the floors, at Rhode Island, or Roger Williams, or Miriam or Memorial, people walk fast, multitask, try to keep everyone safe, get everything done. In the natural course of things, it helps profit to cut the payroll. We hate government intervention, but we love our lawsuits. So corners are cut until someone sues.

I wish that the death of the public option was some sort of sleight of hand. Maybe I’ll wake up and everyone will be able to buy into Medicare at a cost based on income. We’d all give a little, and everyone would have access.

Maybe I’ll look at the ProJo and see that Congress has passed a Star Spangled Keep America Healthy and Strong Act. Who could vote against that?

I’m fine with not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. But are we settling for the mediocre? Are we letting fear of backlash kill all the energy and daring that could have really reformed health care? Are we going to pay a series of middlemen for a roll of duct tape, and let Americans continue to die unnecessarily?

The only remedy for the stagnation and despair we are feeling is to show a better way. A bandaid is not going to do it.

Is there a ray of hope? Is there a chance of a program– minus the odious ‘public’ label, or the liberal folly of giving people an ‘option’– might make affordable health care attainable for ordinary working people?

Does sausage taste better if you call it tube steak? Is this sausage wholesome? Some think so at the Washington Post.

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2 thoughts on “What is Left?

  1. Don’t despair. It has been pointed out recently that Social Security, as initially passed, was very skeletal. Not very secure.

    IMHO, getting something signed into law, even if it’s less than perfect, really matters. It’s the necessary first step. Get that one done. Then expand.

    That’s why the GOP and their corporate masters (Sauron) is fighting this thing tooth and nail. They know there’s no getting the toothpaste back in the tube.

  2. Klaus, I hope you are right. We need to stop this awful spiral of expanding cost, diminishing returns and shrinking access. We need good national health care if we are going to continue to have a middle class. Otherwise, let’s just say that Bob Crachit made bad choices and what happened to Tiny Tim was God’s will.

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