I started to make a long, detailed argument, but tonight I'll make a plea instead. It's time we, as a nation, remembered that we are a nation, and not two opposing ideologies. In the last two hundred years technologies and the U.S. population have expanded in ways our founding fathers simply didn't imagine. It is way past the time when America should have had national comprehensive health care coverage, and the people who think we can't do that remind me of the historical arguments in favor of slavery as an economic necessity, for mass murder of the Indians, and against women's suffrage.
It's time and past to change the health care paradigm, and just as the rest of the civilized world had dropped slavery generations before the U.S. had a civil war over the issue, the rest of the first world has had comprehensive medical care for all of their citizens for some time. Perfect systems? No. But while we spend twice as much on medical care as our neighbors, we aren't any healthier. Fifteen percent of us don't have medical insurance because we can't afford it, and the 30% of our health care money that the insurance industry keeps, combined with the overhead caused by accounting for all of the arcana of excluding the undeserving from receiving health care, would easily pay for extending the benefits to everybody.
Let's treat healthcare as a right for all U.S. citizens. It hurts us as a nation when we search for reasons to exclude the poor from medical security, and none of the nations who have nationalized health care are going broke because of their health care policies. There are people who fear any sort of societal change, and label it with emotionally loaded terminology. They are in the wrong on this argument.
I want my son and daughter to have health care plans when they grow up, even if they aren't millionaires. Fifteen percent of us don't have health care plans now, and the costs continue to outstrip inflation. It's only a matter of time before we're forced to stop pretending that our poorest fifteen percent are lazy spendthrifts, and rediscover that they are our neighbors and friends. If we don't gain control of our spiraling health care system costs, then health care will be an option only for the wealthiest of us within a few decades.
The Affordable Care Act is only a bandage on the gaping wound that is our health care system, but it is a necessary one. It's the first time that either of our major political parties has made a good faith effort to stem those costs. It is not perfect. But the 1993 Clinton administration health care reform plan is the last serious effort to create a health care plan, back in the halcyon days when total percentage of GDP for health coverage was 13.4%. U.S. healthcare has gone up as percentage of GDP every year since 2000. As of 2011, health care coverage costs 17.8% of the gross domestic product. The top 1% of Americans went from taking home 11.3% of the GDP in 1986 to 22.8% in 2007. According to Huffington Post, that became 24% during 2010. Median household incomes have generally dropped each year since 1997. I only report these bits to show that the excessive protection of the rights of the very wealthy that has been popular for the last several years is probably a bit misplaced.
I'm begging everybody who sees this blog, vote by whatever means you can in favor of the Affordable Care Act, and then force your politicians to start fixing the healthcare mess in real ways. it isn't perfect, but if you've noticed that your income is flat over the last few years, you are probably being squeezed slowly out of the healthcare market. Health care is a right by the same exact value as bearing arms, freedom of the press, and personal liberty - because people are willing to fight for it as a right.
I had one friend who died of cancer, and had to ask for donations for an oxygen machine in his final days. He couldn't afford health insurance, and was sick for quite a while before he finally visited a doctor he couldn't afford. His pen-name was Ric Locke. He died a true believer. I donated to that cause, but he died before he got more than a few days of greater comfort.
I have one friend who fought very hard to get a GS job for which she was significantly over-qualified, because she couldn't afford the $1,800.00 per month for family medical care, since a couple members of her family had preexisting conditions. I know people who work full time and don't make $1,800.00 per month. So, insurance, or food and a place to live? Tough choice. That was 2011. Prior to Obamacare, she had been unable to find a willing provider at all. WebMD says that as of 2014, insurance companies will not be allowed to charge higher premiums or deny care for preexisting conditions. http://www.webmd.com/
health-insurance/. The Republican Party begs to differ, and will go to almost any lengths to scuttle the Affordable Care Act. The Republican Party knows that most of the 15% of Americans who don't have insurance will never add anything significant to Republican coffers. health-reform-insurance-for-pre -existing-conditions
I have several friends who have finally won the competition and become term instructors at UAA. All of them will lose their health insurance if the University decides to reduce the number of term instructors. One of them went without insurance for herself for several years before she got the term job. Her children were covered by her ex-husband's Tricare, but she was excluded. Was not having insurance her risk to take? Yes, but her kids might have wanted her to make a different choice, except for the whole "have health insurance or be able to eat" choice.
The system as it is sucks for a lot of individuals. I know some of them personally. Am I an outlier with a bunch of undeserving friends? I don't think so. I think that most of the Americans who want Obamacare scuttled are thinking about theory, and forgetting what happens if they personally face a major health crisis, forgetting about friends who lost the bet. Virtually all of them would start gaming the system any way they could, if they lost their current insurance and had a health crisis.
That's a point that is worth considering, if you're satisfied with your health care plan. What happens if the Republican repeal of health care, medicare, medicaid wins out, and then you get downsized out of your current employment? I know that my father's health care plan with Boeing was written to end when he became medicare eligible. What's in your plan?
Here's one: http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/harvard-medical-study-links-lack-of-insurance-to-45000-us-deaths-a-year/?_r=0
There are lots of them. It isn't a question of whether the Democrats or Republicans have the morale high ground. It's a matter of making sure that my children can have a health care plan even when they don't turn out to be millionaires. About 15% of Americans have no comprehensive health care, and the percentage climes each year. We start fixing it with this generation, or it will be 30% of us without a plan in the next generation.
And the politicians who tell you that it can't be done, or that it will bankrupt the country, or that the time isn't right, are either lying or just plain wrong. It can be done, and it can be done by this generation.
It may be time to hire somebody to set my online course a little more accurately.
I wanted to talk about how I would rule the world, if I was in charge, but I can't even get my blogs to link up. So when I get a brainstorm about things to write about, I can't decide where to start.
I like it to be billswears.com because that would be branding. But I'm really not sure I can get my subcategories (Like the Zook Country section) to play well with the general blog conversation.
Anyway, I went back to Star Trek Into the Dark with Teri and the kids last night.
Just got back from Star Trek Into the Dark. It was the only thing the four of us could agree we wanted to watch. Still a lot of fun, and still, IMO, pulls off the recollection of Revenge of Khan pretty well. Pretty damn well.
But I'm not as satisfied with the whole Martian Flat Cat thing, or the "you have to bring Khan back alive," when there are like, 72 other corpsicles to to pick from, if you need a sample.
Still, it's pretty high entertainment. I'm gonna give J.J. a passing grade on this, but I hope he gets a better continuity editor for next time.
So, Tax season drove me from the web for a time. I'm back, and feeling that taxes are sufficiently annoying to account for significant situational depression.
Two Zook Countryish things have happened to me in the last few days, so I should talk about them.
First, I’ve sold a few copies in the Anchorage area, and the book is now available in brick and mortar book stores here. You can buy a copy at Metro Music and Books
on Benson, opposite the Sears mall, or at Fireside books in Palmer. Fireside Books is a really need independent bookstore at:
720 S. Alaska St.
Palmer, AK 99645
fireside (at) goodbooksbadcoffee.com
I mentioned the other day that F&SF is where my passion lies in writing. It's true, and it's where my passion lies in reading. Don't get me wrong. I've read plenty of other areas, but rereading for the love of the story seems to be limited to that body of stories that ignites something intrinsic within me. Sitting at my desk, I'm looking at a shelf with Clifford Simak's City, Wilbur Smith's Men of Men, Leon Uris's Topaz, Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife, nine Silverbergs, ten Rick Shelleys, half a dozen Kim Stanley Robinsons, three of my five John Scalzis, and etc. ninety percent or more are F&SF, the majority of those are science fiction.
Teri and I have been married for over thirty years, together since September of 1978. Some of those old paperbacks have been with me for far longer. I bought City in a used book store in Albuquerque. The store opened to the back of a strip mall fairly near my local library. I paid a dime and an even older paperback, or perhaps $0.50 and didn't have to give up anything. It sold new for $0.60.
Does this mean that I have passion, or that I'm a pack-rat? I think, yes. Do other people love their books more? Probably so. If you want to get into a competition about who wants to stroke their paperback's spine and mutter "Precious," then I will grant you the victory. I've never made a direct inventory of all my literary possessions, and I have a stack of two hundred or so books to read, so I'm not compulsive in either of those directions. I don't have the newest David Weber, or all of anybody at all. I've read all of Robert Heinlein's fiction, as far as I know, but about thirty years ago I stumbled on The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, and then The Puppet Masters in quick succession, so I'm ripe and ready to be surprised again. I had a moment of excitement this evening when I looked up _All You Zombies_, but then I read about it and wrote that as brand new fiction only a few months ago. I don't know where he got it.
Anyway, I love my books, I love reading and writing speculative fiction, and I'd love to read and write a lot more. But tonight, I'm going to bed, so that I can get up in the morning and hurry off to file many records at my day job. I did type 3000 words of fiction today, which has made my left hand hurt. There may be something significant about that.