I’m a nurse and health care is important to me. And funnilie enough it is important to a lot of people. It’s a big topic these days with the “repeal and replace” chant echoing around Washington.
And it comes down to this. Is health care a commodity or is it a moral imperative. And people fail to grasp what is inherent in the Affordable Care Act*. Which is that it is both.
Healthcare IS a commodity. I’m a nurse. I expect to be paid. I do not go into work to volunteer my time. I work because I need money to live, the same as anyone else. This is true of doctors, janitors, pharmacists, and physical therapists. These are people who got an education to perform a job and deserve to be paid, like everyone who works deserves to be paid, a living wage.
And here’s where we run into problems. Does the fact that I think I should be paid for my services mean that I think that those who can’t pay should do without?
I’m going to go off on a tangent about the American Dream right now. It’s a load of bullshit. The American Dream… if you work hard and do your best you will have the things you need to live. If you don’t have those things it because of a failing in yourself. That’s what it says. But the system is broken. Low wage workers are fired to be replaced with machines while they’re over salaried bosses are given bonuses. A pat on the back to salve their consciences. If you work hard you might still be unable to pay your medical bills, or buy a car, or put your kid through college. That is a fact.
And so… ABSOLUTELIE NOT!
Should poor people be punished because their labor is valued less? Should they lose thumbs, and productive hours, and their lives because they can’t afford those things with the job they have? Do you really believe that?
And the answer I get most frequently is that these people are living on the government’s dime and living well. Is it fair that they live so well when I work so hard to live so poorly? This lie was first told by a rich man. A man who could not conceive of living on what the average American makes, let alone what the government pays in meager handouts.
The average American on disability in 2017 received 1,171.65$ from Social Security.
A single parent of two children would receive about 7,000 in cash (583$ per month). They might receive an additional 6,000 in food stamps each year (500$ a month) and a possible addition of 1000 a year under WIC if they are pregnant, a new mother, or have children under 5. (83$ a month) They are also sometimes eligible for housing subsidies and healthcare subsidies. Notice the MIIGHTS? So 7,000 in cash help with the rent and health insurance. Can you live on that?
The answer is that no these people aren’t living high on the hog while you skimp and scrape to get by. But a rich man told you they are. And he did it so he could make more money.
It was a long tangent, but the point is this.
It benefits me to have healthy humans around me. It benefits me at my job because I wont be asked to cover for people who call out sick. It benefits me financially because i won’t incur hidden costs that are passed on by doctors and hospitals when they treat un or under insured people. It benefits me to see that peoples mental health is taken care of well and thoroughly so that I can live in a safer world. It benefits my future to see children grow up with glasses so they can learn to read and with good dental care so they can learn to talk and smile (it’s been proved by some study that if you smile you will actually FEEL happier). It benefits me to live in a world where I don’t think people deserve to suffer because they can’t afford not to.
People deserve to have healthcare. They deserve a doctors care and compassion. They deserve a nurse’s treatment and a counselor’s ear. And here’s the bigger thing… and the hardest thing.
A lot of people in this country voted for the very people who want to take these things away. And the people who did that voting NEED health care. AND they DESERVE it. They are poor and un or under educated and un or under insured. And they have caused a problem for a huge mass of humanity. But they don’t deserve to suffer for it.
They deserve what we all want. To be looked at like a human and treated with a minimum of trust and respect. And that’s hard for me, cause I’m angry and I do angry so much better than empathy, but apparentlie so does everyone.
So I’m here to ask you this, as one angrie human to another. Try to feel for the other guy. Even when he’s a dick, or factuallie inaccurate, or disagrees with you.
This are not this or that. Health care IS a commodity AND a moral imperative. And that is not a contradiction.
*The mandate portion of the Affordable Care act ensures that there are funds to pay for the healthcare that it insists be provided. People hate the mandate because it forces them to spend money they might not otherwise spend.
Pre mandate an uninsured person would go to the hospital and be treated and I, paying health insurance, would absorb that cost. (my insurance company would pay it. Then raise premiums because health care costs had risen, less people could then pay these premiums and would drop their healthcare, but go to the hospital when they needed care, thus further raising premiums). Healthcare will never be free. You will never be paying for just the healthcare you use.
Healthcare is extremely complex and baring a single payer system The Affordable Care Act was likely the best solution that Americans would (largelie) accept.