Tag Archives: Dave St. Germain

Obamacare– what’s in it for us?

My sense of why the Affordable Care Act failed to inspire the majority of the public is this–
America is hungry for a sane, decent health care system.
The Democrats say to America, “Here’s a nice plate of Spam. It’s a nutritious mix of things kind of mushed together into something you can eat.”
America says, “Yuck.”

The Republicans say, “Here’s a nice plate of smashed light bulbs. They’re the incandescent kind, that Grandma used. Eat up, it builds character. What? You can’t eat broken glass? Then here’s a big plate of nothing– you free-market dropout!”

We’d all rather have steak. I’d rather have a single-payer health care system yesterday, but the Affordable Care Act is a huge step forward toward building a real, sane and adequate health care system that protects Americans from financial ruin if they have accident or illness, and rewards doctors for helping their patients stay healthy. Incidentally– making it harder to profiteer off other people’s misfortune.

The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to keep administrative costs down and put the premiums into health services.

I was out with Mr.Green at Hope St. Pizza tonight and heard a bunch of guys at the next table talking about the Supremes. One of them was a nurse. I called out to them and did the fist pump and we all cheered.

My Mom listens to crazy radio. I’m waiting to hear her take on this. The ACA has benefits for people on Medicare that will save her from some co-pays and medication expenses. But she’ll tell me it’s a bad thing. Because Death Panels.

My sister-in-law is wondering if there’s going to be part-time Death Panel positions open. She’s a teacher, uses the Glare of Death to cow her students and has some time to pick up a summer job.

I am hugely relieved that we are not back to square one. My family benefits from the provision of the ACA that lets young adults stay on their parent’s insurance. I have been at meetings at the Department of Health where a blueprint for insuring all Rhode Islanders is being drawn up, and the ACA is crucial. It’s way better to be sitting comfortably inside our beautiful Statehouse, than to be standing out on the lawn waving a sign. I’ve done enough of that the past three years. I wish Dave St.Germain were alive to see this day.

Mother Jones has a list of ten things you get now that Obamacare is upheld…

1) Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime coverage limits on your insurance. Never again will you face the risk of getting really sick and then, a few months in, having your insurer tell you, “Sorry, you’ve ‘run out’ of coverage.” Almost everyone I’ve met knows someone who had insurance but got really, really sick (or had a kid get really sick) and ran into a lifetime cap.

See the other nine here.

You’ll say, “Well, duh. Any reasonable society would take these things for granted.”

But we came within a whisker of never getting the ACA passed in Congress, and the Supremes passed it in a 5-4. This is a day in History.

[the writer means no disrespect to Spam, or any of Hormel's fine canned meat products.]

Loved and Missed

A candlelight service was held last night at the State House for Dave St. Germain. It was the right place, Dave was such a presence there. It was a warm night with a gentle breeze, unlike the many bitter winter days we gathered for the causes that Dave devoted his life to.  His brother-in-law spoke and his family received condolences from his many friends. Dave’s life was a long and complicated story. We say the system failed him, and as his friend I regret not staying closer. I knew that he lived with pain, but not that he felt despair.

A system is made up of individuals, each one human and fallible. People usually want to do the right thing. In a more merciful world we would do it more often. Dave worked for that world, and that is what he leaves us.

Dave St. Germain

I can’t believe he’s gone. He was only 43, he seemed so on top of things.

Dave was a friend, he helped configure my computer. He talked a group of us at First Unitarian into cooking a hot meal for the homeless men living at Harrington Hall. He had a room at Crossroads for himself, but his life was never secure. He struggled to pay his monthly rent, a percentage of his disability check.

He was an activist, a leader, confident and well-spoken. He kept his pain to himself but walked with a limp and didn’t sleep well.

I wish with all my heart that he had found someone to take over his life when he was driven to such despair. I’m angry with him for eluding his dear friend’s best efforts to protect him. Today I met with people who were close to him, who really tried to get him help. I wish he had called someone, but he knew the system well and did not choose to go that way. Now we are missing a gifted and loved advocate for justice.

Dave was someone who helped solve other people’s problems. He had many friends. We will miss him. I wonder, and will always wonder, why he had to end his life that way.

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