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Healthcare When Everybody Loses

Updated on August 29, 2009

America's Health Care Dillema

Why are Americans so ambivalent about health care, or more specifically, about who should pay for it? What about the seeming lack of leadership in reducing spiraling out of control costs and how to pay for care?

On the one hand we like to boast of our fine system and its inclusion of seniors, while on the other there is an underlying current of resentment toward them as a group. Throughout this dissent is the "protective" contingent, set up to protect seniors from "death panels,"(Palin, 2009),a term devised by the Palin camp to scare elderly into believing Obama would euthanize them at some point. When a political group must resort to outright deception and lies it is a good indication what side of the argument they are on. 

The paid character assassin from Alaska has quit her lucrative governorship to become the fly in the ointment  in American politics. In other words, she was chosen precisely for the purpose of creating derision between the two political parties.  These so called dirty politics of Richard Nixon et-el, still are not countered  very well by the democratic party, which works to the GOP advantage. 

Health care, or the lack of it for many, is a genuine dilemma. If you are poor, there may be no medical facility for you to go to. If you have no money you can expect long waits Doctors no longer decide with a patient the course of treatment or even its outcome. If you work you may have some form of health insurance which at least opens the door for treatment.

Corporations now decide who gets health care, how much and who is covered, and the cost to the consumer.  At the hight of the industrial revolution,  employee costs were cheap. Few employees had reached retirement age.  As corporations have matured so have benefit costs.
 As costs have escalated, employers are insisting employees pay more for their care. some employers no longer fund this benefit. Those who retired with a company health plan have found the costs prohibitive and in some cases have had to drop the policy altogether.

During the wait, however, there is nothing except friends and family to turn to. Until mostrecently,mental illness was ignored. A service person simply received an administrative discharge and was shown to the gate with no brass bands in attendance  

The administrative discharge guarantees no future claim to benefits such as education, health care, or mental health counseling. It also excludes the individual from a getting a decent job with benefits. In a case recently, a sergeant went off on an officer whom the sergeant claims "pushed him too far, once too often." The sergeant used his fist to pummel the officer around the head. for his troubles a court sentenced him to a dishonorable discharge, six months in the military stockade, and reduction in rank to private(e1), effectively making sure he left the service flat broke and unable to get any decent job in the future.

Mental illness resulting from the job is considered non-existent, even though many jobs are highly stressful and result in many unreported mental casualties. Tops on the list are policemen who are placed under as much stress from the job as almost any other profession you can name. Few would dispute that they deserve the best health care money can buy.

But there is a stigma that dictates an officer must see someone in house. Does it work? How many officer suicides, especially after retirement happen all over this great land of ours? The true numbers if known would shock the most hardened among us.  is this what we want for officers we supposedly support and respect?

The truth is that officers are required to devote an extraordinary amount of dedication and sacrifice to the job. Marriages don't hold up well and few officers mingle with anyone but other cops. Is this their choice or is it a corporate, unwritten mandate to keep the cops safe--that is under the corporate flag.

Tonight on the evening news an extraordinary video of a cop using a taser on a young housewife during what appeared to be a traffic stop was beamed into millions of homes. No doubt it will be seen all over the world by tomorrow morning. The woman was out of her car, in plain view with no sign of a weapon or overt aggression toward the officer. What is even more shocking is there were two small children in the car who observed it all.

As is customary in these cases, a review board will be summoned to find out the facts and issue a statement. Maybe the officer will be tried and held accountable unless it is shown he feared in some way his life was in danger. As more of these cases hit the headlines, there are calls for revenge, thundering rage, and high levels of frustration.

Why is it that no one ever asks if the officer was working under conditions of great stress? The act of tasering a woman half his size is not a typical reaction during a  working shift to a simple curse word or defiant gesture. Something else from another incident or traffic stop might have triggered an over-reaction that would not happen again under the same circumstances during a twenty year tour of police duty. Did the officer serve in a combat zone or come home and serve in one where gangs, drugs, and murder on the streets can change perceptions and normal reactions to perceived threats into a blur? n Each of us works under the same human principles of survival. the officer felt a threat to his life and responded just as he had been trained to do.

So what?  what's the point?  Not only is it time to pass a health care bill that helps those truly in need but recognizes mental health as a real illness that affects the worst and the best of us in society.  It would be wonderful if at the sound of a voice ordering us all to just snap out of it, all would be well and none of the bad things that follow out of control thinking would just go away.

It isn't that simple, however.  An individual who has never suffered from depression, anxiety, or any one of the other debilitating mental illnesses may find it easy to dismiss the struggles of those who are schizophrenic, for example.  We have lived far beyond the ages when the mentally ill were labeled as "crazy" and locked away with questionable treatment or nothing at all to ameliorate the suffering.  Yet, we continue to stigmatize even the simplest of mental disorders.   

Finally, the worst part we all fear the most. And that is, the devil is in the details.



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    • greatAmerican profile image


      9 years ago

      The point is when the Government has the right to decide the value of human life based upon the usefulness of any Human being we are in trouble. Today the elderly do cost more to keep healthy, there is no question about ObamaCare

      denying those they decide are too old or non producers.It may not amount to euthanasia, but denying health care that currently is available to the elderly is not the "change" most people wanted. It is at the very least, negligible Homicide.. If you open your eyes, you may see it is not about HEALTH CARE, It is about allowing Government to decide who is worth Keeping and who is just dead weight. For years the liberals have protected the rights of the poor but now for some reason the elderly are just disposable waste. Welfare has has helped dead weight and dead beats for 50 years, now those who supported and paid the bills are Garbage... Go figure...


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