8.05.2007

Truth Tellers With Heart

Having been without a TeeVee for the past month or so, I was thinking about what I miss. The answer is not much! I would like to watch the latest episodes of South Park and I miss Comedy Central's "news" but that's about it. Why do I get my news from a comedy channel? It seems a lot more balanced--and honest-- than the major networks. On The Daily Show for example, I've seen interviews with Barry Sheck of The Innocence Project (see the October post From Siberia With Love), filmmaker Michael Moore, and a virtual fruit salad of folks both famous and infamous. Interesting people; people I've never seen on 20/20 or Larry King. No Paris Hilton interviews that I'm aware of.

Admittedly, I'm a news junkie, and always have been. Maybe that's why I majored in journalism. In my pre college days I watched 'em all: 20/20, Nightline, 48 Hours...but they often left me with the feeling something was missing, something was left out. Maybe that something was heart. Jimmy Breslin, (Pulitzer prize winner) former columnist for the New York Daily News was my inspiration. I still remember the time he set up his lawn chair with a portable typewriter on a New York City traffic island, where he proceeded to type his column, wherein he challenged Mayor Koch to evict him from the traffic island the way he'd evicted a homeless man from the same spot. In the newspaper columnist category, Carl Hiassen and Leonard Pitts also get my thumbs up for commentary with heart. Read Carl Hiassen's and Leonard Pitts' columns in the Miami Herald.

Less well known truth tellers with heart:
http://clapso.wordpress.com/
http://www.newunionparty.org/
http://www.budhibbs.com/
http://orlandofoodnotbombs.org/
http://www.iww.org/

I don't watch the network news programs anymore. I know they're gonna leave me unfulfilled, like something is missing: like peanut butter without jelly, like spaghetti without marinara sauce, a Florida car without air conditioning. Like Halloween without pumpkins and kids in costumes.

The Truth is more than just facts. It's a fact that most large employers provide some kind of health insurance coverage to their employees, and it's a fact that every state has some kind of health insurer for the poor. But the real truth--which came as a shock to me when I first heard it--was told to me by a member of the medical profession, a doctor well respected and sought after in his field. What he told me was this: "There is no health care (in this country). Real health care is only for the rich and powerful." When he made that remark, I did have health insurance, and I thought his statement was an exaggeration. Less than a year later, my employer suddenly changed--"hit and run" might be a better description for the switch-- our insurance plan to a Health Savings Account ( aka pay yer own damn bills account) and I found out a fairly routine dental service I needed was barely covered by insurance and I had to shell out a few hundred dollars to get it done. Around that time, two dentists I used to go to announced they would no longer accept the dental insurance that barely reimbursed them. I also learned that chiropractor visits wouldn't be covered anymore, so my back problems got worse and the pain got worse, and I quit my job. So the doctor's statement didn't sound so far fetched anymore. It sounded prophetic, and I'll always appreciate the fact he had enough respect for me and enough integrity to tell me the truth. This cutting edge doctor had more than a degree or two. He had heart. And vision.

There's a lot of scary talk about how health care in "socialized medicine" systems is rationed. Well, isn't rationing exactly what we have here? Health care is rationed in the U.S., according to how much money you have. Poor people with abcessed teeth get their teeth pulled, or they end up like one guy in a Florida hospital with the infection spreading from his tooth to his brain, and eventually killing him. The RN who worked there told me this horror story. I personally remember a co worker who spent 8 days in the hospital with an abcessed tooth. He lived, but was subsequently fired for missing too many days at work. Our job did not provide dental insurance, or sick days.

Rich people with cavities get tooth colored fillings, poor people get a mouth full of silver/mercury amalgams. If you don't want to consume mercury in your fish, why would you want it embedded in your head? If you really believe silver amalgam fillings are equal to tooth colored compostite fillings, do your own research.

Rich people with infected teeth --if things even get that far gone--get root canal therapy and restorations. Poor people get their teeth pulled. Poor people with periodontal disease get dentures. Rich people get gingival grafts. Poor people with bad backs get a prescription for pain pills that enriches the pharmaceutical corporations and dulls the pain sufferer's mind, while lightening his bank account. Rich people with back pain can choose from acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, and a host of other therapies the average working stiff has no access to.

Health care? As Homey said, "I don't think so." What we have here is more accurately termed wealth care.

1 comment:

ClapSo said...

You hit this issue right on the head. It's all about the money. It's not just health care either. This applies to everything. If you ahve the money, you go to harvard or yale. If you don't have the money...

Class is the primary determent as to what we get in our lives. The lower you are on the class ladder, the less you get of everything.

Thanks for the link.

The scientifically impossible I do right away
The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer