This morning I'm proud to be an American. This morning, I've set aside the feelings of anger and frustration I've felt toward my elected representatives who were called n*ggers, f*ggots, and c*nts, and spat upon yesterday, as they made their way to debate, then vote for an historic piece of legislation.
This morning, I know, perhaps for the first time, that I did enough, I fulfilled my role as a citizen in this self-governing nation. This morning we proved that if we work together, we can defeat corrosive corporate influence.
This morning, I fully understand how hard we have to work to make even incremental changes in this country.
This fight for health care reform in America has been ongoing for at least 100 years. Teddy Roosevelt first took it up in his first run for the Presidency in 1912, and failed. FDR took it up, and failed. Truman took it up, and failed. Johnson finally won the first important victory when he helped enact the legislation that brought us Medicare. And he did so against the same kinds emotional, fact-challenged arguments, fear-mongering, and name-calling that are being used today, and against, in many cases, the very same opponents. Carter and Clinton failed.
This morning, I see that there weren't actually any failures, but rather demonstrations of the kind of tenacity and perseverance required to overcome entrenched corporate interests. This morning I see that we have to keep coming back at them again and again if we are going to succeed. Maybe it shouldn't be so hard to enact the will of the people, but it is, and after this morning of celebration, I am prepared to fight just has hard, and push my representatives just as hard, for the next baby step forward.
I still find it abhorrent that we allow corporations to reap profits off the the pain and suffering of sick people. I still find it abhorrent that I will be forced to rely on these corporations that profit not from helping people get healthy, but from paying out as little as possible toward medical care. And because of the rapaciousness of this amoral drive toward profit and ridiculous executive compensation, I'm nervous about the time between this morning and the full enactment of the legislation. I do not trust them. Most of the provisions of the bill won't take effect until 2014, although some important parts of the bill are scheduled to be in effect within the next 6 months.
Still . . .
. . . for the next 6 months for-profit "health" insurance companies in America will refuse to insure sick children. If parents want to have their uninsured child's medical bills paid, they will still be forced to spend their life savings, go into debt and possibly declare bankruptcy.
. . . for the next 6 months for-profit "health" insurance companies will refuse to continue to pay the medical bills of sick children because they reach an arbitrary "lifetime" or "annual" limit, whatever the status of that child's health.
. . . for the next 6 months for-profit "health" insurance companies will simply drop coverage for children when they get sick, even if their families have been paying premiums for years.
. . . for the next 6 months for-profit "health" insurance companies will require families to rely exclusively on their own "internal" appeals process if they believe a mistake has been made, an onerous, time-sucking processes that rarely finds in favor of the patient. A parent's only access to an "independent" appeals process will be to try to sue a multi-billion dollar corporation.
. . . for the next 6 months for-profit "health" insurance companies will kick children off of their parent's health plans on their 18th birthday, even if they continue to rely on their parents economically as they finish their high school and college education.
Today I celebrate, tomorrow I get back to work.
Alan Watts: Life Is Not a Journey
6 hours ago