Fix You

I have a friend, she calls me a Socialist. When she says it though it comes out like a dirty word. I suppose when I say Capitalist sometimes it comes out sounding like that too. I’m not a fan of labels, but if you have to then yes – I am a Liberal.

I think as an idea, Communism isn’t a bad thing. I don’t think it would work, and I know that when society has tried, it hasn’t. However, I believe that’s more down to human nature than the ideology though. At it’s simplest, a world where people give according to their means and take according to their needs – does it sounds so evil? I don’t think so.

Self-confessed Idealist. I know that there is enough food in the world that no one should writhe with hunger pains. I know that we have made the medical advances that certain diseases like malaria should not kill as many as it does. I know that we have the resources enough to provide a roof so that no one falls asleep on the street. All you need to do is listen to the words of ‘Imagine‘ in order to see what kind of world we could live in.

I know that some may try to tear my argument down with the statement, ‘We don’t live in an ideal world.’ Stick a ‘Why’ at the front of that sentence and a question mark at the end of it and you have my response to that.

You still can!

You still can!

My friend, who thinks I’m a dirty Socialist, and I are currently having a “heated discussion” about US healthcare reform. We’re discussing, not arguing. We have to make the distinction clear, despite the fact that she seems to have gone silent on me. She’s an American, a NYer at that so you know she has an opinion, who doesn’t believe that the health reform the President’s proposing should go through. I’m a Brit who’s never had to worry about the cost of getting fixed. I’ve always found it difficult to understand how healthcare isn’t universal, particularly in a country like the US. I’m sure there are reasons, I’m sure none of them are any good.

The US is not a third world country. It has the resources and the knowledge to provide its people – all of its people, with free healthcare. Yet it doesn’t. I admit that our healthcare system isn’t ideal. We have waiting lists. Some hospitals are better than others, as are some doctors. Sometimes things are missed. I don’t think that would change if we stopped having a national healthcare service. For all its faults, if you are broken – we will fix you. I have yet to hear an argument that convinces me we should do otherwise.

4yrs ago someone who is a part of me was diagnosed with a condition I still don’t understand. It wasn’t caused by anything she did. There is nothing about who she is that would make her more likely to catch this illness. We still don’t even know why she caught it. She just did. One moment she was fine and then the next thing we knew we had pretty much set up home in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

For 2yrs it wasn’t just her life that was put on hold, it was ours. As much as we tried to make everything just like it always had, at the back of our minds we always had to consider the limitations. There were certain things she couldn’t eat, we had to make sure she ate by a certain time, we had to be aware that she wasn’t getting too tired, we arranged things around her weekly hospital appointments, we watched every single action. It was never a burden to us, it is simply what we had to do to make sure that she was okay.

We would’ve continued like this, indefinitely if needs be. But then one of our friends did the most generous of acts and donated her kidney in order to fix her. So they both had the surgery and 2yrs down the road I am overjoyed to say that they are both doing fine. Of course we still keep a watchful eye, but you can see that she feels she has her life back. She is finally in control again.

If we had to pay for healthcare then it would’ve broken all of us financially to ensure she received the medical treatment she needed. Make no doubt we would have spent every single penny we had to help her, but I am immensely grateful that the cost of her care was never an issue. I don’t know how long our bank accounts would have lasted, I’d like to hope they would have lasted long enough but I can’t for certain.

I know that it’s complicated. The money has to be found, the systems set up, not to mention that drug companies in the US are big campaign contributors and with the recent changes I fear it is going to become all too easy to buy an election soon if the US is not careful. However, we set up our healthcare system after World War Two. The country had been ripped apart by the war, the economy was in turmoil, hundreds of thousands killed. Yet our government said, ‘We need to take care of our country.’ So they did, because it was the right thing to do.

What confuses me the most is that there are some people who don’t actually want universal healthcare. I’m baffled. Okay there are other pressing issues that need to be addressed, don’t get me started on education or equality (really the former Republican presidential candidate’s wife is a NoH8 advocate and the Democratic President still hasn’t sorted out DOMA?!?!), I realise that. We all have different priorities, but the fact that you can point blank ask someone whether they think there should be free healthcare (once whatever else they think is more important is fixed) and they can still say, ‘No.’ WTF is that about?!?!? Ugh. It just exasperates me.

If you are broken, they should fix you. How can you argue against something so fundamentally right?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Fix You

  1. Kat

    One of the main problems with this country is it’s vast size and its multitude of communities. People grow up believing certain things, and trust me, there are many places where the common wisdom hasn’t changed from the McCarthy anti-communist 50’s.

    A lot of it is just plain ignorance. Sure, there are those who really, truly believe that Obama is a big socialist and universal health care is just the first step in becoming the next Soviet Union. But for many, they really don’t know any better and have never been given the information or opportunity to learn anything different than what they already know and what they grew up with. Politicians feed into that.

    Health care reform probably isn’t going to happen any time soon in this country. For the government, it’s no longer about what the people want and need. For the conservative right, it’s about making Obama fail, just for the sake of making him a failure. They’ve come right out and said this. The common people who are ignorant are only a small part of the problem, the biggest is a corrupt political system that does not pay any attention to the will of the people, it’s only about who “wins” in the end.

    In short: Our country is way fucked up, and it’s not going to change any time soon.

    • Gem

      You’re right. Did you watch the video I tweeted yesterday? http://bit.ly/7-l It’s just sad, I guess that’s the only word. Politicians are more concerned with attacking the President rather than fixing the country.

      Why does ‘socialist’ have to be such a dirty word? I am truly finding it difficult to grasp how people can have the mindset that universal healthcare isn’t a good idea. I mean here elections are won on candidates promising to spend MORE on healthcare, not less. My gosh if someone came out and said, ‘We’re not going to give as much money as the last guy to healthcare’ they wouldn’t have a chance!

      I still have hope though, the world so often looks to the US to lead it, they have to start getting things right again soon. There are too many people with proper sense there, not least of all your President, and hopefully they’ll finally start to make a difference. I still believe in him, although I know a lot of people are becoming increasingly despondent over many issues.

      I know that money funds any political system, but the will of the people is the most powerful force on earth. It’s just trying to educate those people!

  2. Kat

    One of the big issues is that most Americans have health care in one way, either through private companies, or through public systems, namely Medicare and Medicaid. They’re covered, so everything’s pretty much okay. Medicare is for people over 65, and there have been talks that funding to Medicare would be cut, and not too many people are happy about that, despite the fact that it is so bloated and needs to be cut in order to sustain itself. But no one understands that their care will not change very much, if at all.

    Also, a lot of people don’t like change and the threat of new taxes, both of which health care reform would bring. America is a very interesting country in that we are all so fiercely independent and many are libertarian in a sense. Folks don’t like the government interfering with their lives, not one bit. And it’s incredibly disheartening to see so many people balk and protest at what could be a good thing (I have many issues with the current bill in Congress, but I do believe it’s better than doing nothing) just because they think it’s “socialist” or they don’t want bigger government. Many American’s are all for the smallest government humanly possible in order to sustain the country. Anything that goes against that is bad, bad, bad.

    Obama’s trying, but there’s still a lot of problems with him, his stance and relative lack of authority in dealing with this whole health care mess chief among them. It’s good to see him start to take a harder stance, but at the same time, he should have been doing that months ago. I’m not happy with him, but I see him as better than many of the alternatives.

    The best we can do right now is, as you said, educate as many people as possible and begin to organize on a more local level to affect change. Our national government right now is a joke, I think it’s now up to the common people to try and get things done.

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