Saturday, March 20, 2010

Never thought I'd see the day...

I don't normally post about political issues on this blog, but this is a subject I feel strongly about. If you don't agree with me, please move on. I have no desire to engage in mud-slinging.

Tomorrow the House votes on the health care bill. I never thought we'd get here. I thought for sure that something would happen to derail the bill somewhere along this tedious, drawn-out process we've all been watching over the past year. I still shake my head over the thought that there are people out there who are against this bill. Last night I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher, and they showed a news clip from one of the tea party rallies. A man crippled with Parkinson's had shown up to protest. But he wasn't making himself obnoxious. He simply sat on the ground holding a sign calling for the passage of the bill. The tea partiers, however, started hurling insults at him. "No free handouts here! Move along, you fucking freeloader!" One guy threw dollar bills at him, as if he were a street beggar.

So this is what it's come down to - a fight between those who believe that health care is a basic human right, and those who think it's a handout to the poor. And in the conservative mindset, poor = lazy, shiftless and worthy of contempt. If you can't pay for it out of your own pocket, you don't deserve it.

Except I don't know anyone who can afford health care in this country at today's prices. The insurance companies have priced themselves out of reach of the average American - and that's just for those healthy enough to qualify. I'm a fifty-year-old widow with arthritis in both knees and a chronic skin condition. I have no safety net. I can't find an affordable plan that will cover everything I need it to cover. So I go without, paying for my doctor visits out of pocket, praying I don't come down with cancer or something else that could impoverish me within a matter of months.

It's not a perfect bill. I'd hoped somehow, some way, they'd manage to work in a public option. But there's time to do that later. This is the right thing to do, at a time when we all most desperately need it. It is a moral imperative.

I pity those small-minded people who think that caring for those less fortunate than themselves is something to be ashamed of. But when I see them ridiculing a sick man, I am ashamed - of them.

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