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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Expanded Comment

I feel that this is something I can identify with more than most anything Olbermann has discussed.

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Last night I missed this, as I was having issues with the cable. That aside, I later saw it over at The Political Carnival and posted a response. After re-reading it, I noticed my fistful of grammatical errors and realized that I really must center myself before attempting to initiate a passionate response.

Be that as it may, I wanted to expand on what I wrote there - please read and leave comments, as Laffy and Paddy have a great forum and excellent topics to discuss.

Yesterday afternoon I was listening to NPR, as I do most afternoons while coming home from work, and I heard a Wellpoint executive attempting to excuse the companies decision to raise rates a blasphemous 39% to a Congressional panel. And this was on the heels of an equally absurd increase last year. Her rationale was the it was due to the fact that the economy had soured and many healthy people were opting out of coverage in order to save money. In essence, her argument was that they needed more money because people wanted to save money.

Now, it can be stated that this was also due to the fact that people were making claims and the company had to compensate - though it would be interesting to see exactly how much compensation was distributed as well as how many people were purged from the system - but one conservative talking point came back to me when I heard this.

The "mandate" in healthcare reform is something that conservatives have railed against, and even distorted, because it serves as a further catalyst to the narrative that "big government" is telling you what to do with your body. But let's think about this. If an insurance company has to increase their rates because people are abandoning their coverage, doesn't it stand to reason that the more people that are in the pool, the lower rates will have to be? It makes sense, but this doesn't help people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity frighten people. They can't make a career out of telling people the truth.

This same Wellpoint executive was asked how much she was compensated through a given fiscal year and her response of millions plus stock options and bonuses would make any free thinking person flinch. I asked myself aloud - how can someone sleep comfortably at night knowing full well that they are literally and metaphorically raping the American public each and every day. But this is what "Capitalism" is all about, isn't it.

I have chosen not to have healthcare coverage, simply because it is unaffordable at this point in my life. I had employer provided insurance some years ago, but that was only because I was lucky enough to work in a place that had a fantastic plan. Or, at least I was lead to believe it did. After changing jobs, my new employer presented their plan and I did what I should have done years ago - actually read the damned thing.

After sifting through the percentages, the legal/medical jargon and making phone-calls to the intended provider, I realized that had I signed onto this new program ( which is more than likely the same as many companies ) I would have been signing a document that was designed and intended to fuck me as often as possible. The rates for a single person were just barely palatable, but it was the "family rate" and the vague nature of how the rate structure would maintain or not maintain itself that caught my attention.

For a family, the cost is more than I pay for my mortgage. How is this even reasoned out? How is this justified? What does the perspective patient get in return for have to pay is amount each week?

I am not a "rich" person, financially speaking, so the cost of virtually everything is constantly at my attention. So after listening to a representative of Wellpoint tell congress that her company's rates, and her own salary, are justifiable, even though they are predicated on a system that is gamed in their favour. It's unaffordable to many and the more people that opt out or are purged, the more the rates go up and the more her salary and compensation likely increases. It's a system that is designed to benefit one group of people only - the corporation.

One has to ask why conservatives are so willing to kowtow to these types of businesses. Certainly they have their precious ideology to uphold, but at what cost? Do they think they are above the laws of fate, that they won't get cancer or heart disease, or any other debilitating disorder that requires extensive pain management, medication, repeated visits to specialist, or even a variety of surgeries? Do they fancy themselves so indestructible that they are willing to bet against their own self-interest in the name of socio-political posturing?

Make no mistake, wealth and social status does afford one a certain among of luxury. From Rush Limbaugh getting a personal escort to the hospital while having "chest pains", to Dick Cheney surviving multiple heart issues when most men his age and in his condition would have been dead already, it numbs the mind to hear people cite these examples of how wonderful our healthcare system is.

It's not the "care" that is ultimately the issue, it's the cost of it. This is what the modern conservative doesn't understand. But it is with cost, those able to and not able to pay, where care is adjusted and sometimes denied.

Many, if not most, within the conservative realm will toss Olbermann's comment aside as mere fabrication and exaggeration - a statement made in order for his detractors to seem cold, uncaring, and wretched. They refuse to hear or even attempt to understand these words simply because of who they are coming from. This does not surprise me in the least. After all, conservatives will deny anything that shows how wrong-headed their message is until it is too late. But this is something that they can't afford to be "late" on.

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