Tuesday, October 07, 2008

To Your Health

Well I had intended with all my heart to post a little something last night, having gotten home pretty late Sunday night and still sorting out all that I saw and heard for four days. It's always a little hard to adjust but overall good to be home.

Last night was kind of an irritating exercise in my technological shortcomings. Not me personally, but, the stuff I have, the technology I have, is kind of cobbled together. For some reason nothing, nothing was working right. On the way home from trying to work out a little, I was listening to this terrific Dan Tyminski song from Del McCoury's new Moneyland compilation, and I really wanted to get home so I could learn it and play it. This set off a chain of technical difficulties that should just not be possible in the home of a music lover like me. But, I have what I have. I found the cd and put it in my 5 year old cheap little RCA disc player/tuner/tape deck thingy, where it is still stuck because the CD component cannot skip past the first disc. It may be lodged there permanently; I decided that rather than take it out side and bust it open I would first allow my son to take the thing apart to see if he could get the disc stack out and retrieve whatever is in there before we set it out for the garbage pickers. And then, that's it, I won't have a stereo.

But I guess it's not that big a deal. There are lots of things I'd like to have -- a new dishwasher (the one I have has holes in the door that are getting bigger and now the thing is really not washing the dishes properly), new carpet (the stuff I have is very worn and stained and is depressing to look at), something to play music on that works (I knew this day was coming that the thing would finally poop out). But these aren't needs, something that Americans get all too confused with wants, which is one of the reasons why we have this unbelievable downspiraling of the economy. Now that I have to pay $40 or more every week to ten days to fill up my tank, a new mode of music broadcasting isn't all that crucial, nor is a dishwasher when I have two good hands, dish soap, and running water. I am getting a new furnace, which is more of a precaution; I just didn't want to tempt fate with a 27 year old furnace on a night when I have the kids and its 20 below zero. And it could well happen based on the last assessment I had done. So that's a need.

Yesterday at the office I turned on a little of the Congressional hearings on the economic debacle and the guy who ran Lehman Brothers was yapping. We stood around listening and determined that there really is no way to get back at these jerks for what they did. Worse, they are never going to feel it, never going to feel what it's like to not be able to just cover a mere 600 square feet with new carpet. I mean, it might be good for them if they did, and maybe next time, if they had a next time, they'd be more careful with other people's money (and spill things less, too).
Now, I spent the last three or so days with Joe Sixpack, maybe Joe Banjer, and I don't think McCain Palin has any damn idea what the hell they're talking about. I still don't have the hang of Palinese, that odd language in which a few nouns and participles and the occasional verb are kind of strung together anchored with words like "maverick!" and "Main Street!" and "You betcha!" And then there's batshit crazy, delusional War Hero McCain, the bad seed in an otherwise impressive lineage of military heroes, graduating 894 out of 899 in his Annapolis class. Neither one of them has really ever hung out with people like me, or people poorer than I am, because if they did and it mattered to them, they wouldn't say two thirds of the shit they do. And they continue to insult my intelligence and that of millions of Americans. I'm not a snob, but I'm sure not stupid and I won't pretend to be. And I will not go out with men who think it's cute to do so.

This weekend I heard some really terrific songs about what it's like to be poor or struggling with things and I decided I would put some of those tunes out there for you. I’m going to start things off with the number I so desperately wanted to hear last night, a tune called “Carry Me Across the Mountain” featuring Tyminski. It’s the story of a mountain family with a sick child, and what they do to ensure that child receives care to survive. I was so fortunate to hear Dan Tyminski in a workshop and then performing with his band (shown here; Tyminski on guitar and that's Adam Steffey to the far left on mando). He's such a talent and has a pretty handsome lineage himself in the bluegrass world, having most recently been a pretty big part of Alison Krauss's Union Station. And he has to be good if that crazy Adam Steffey plays mando for him.

This is the soundtrack for some background info I dug up on John McCain’s health plan. At the moment I am generally healthy and so thankfully are my children, and we are also insured. But about 47 million Americans are uninsured, and a lot of other Americans who are insured have crappy coverage. If the McCain Palin ticket is elected and McCain’s health care strategy goes through, employers will almost certainly throw scores of people off of group plans and into the open “free market” of choice with only $5,000 taxable dollars in their pockets to buy health coverage. The only people who will benefit from this are the folks behind the desks at the insurance companies. Here is a snippet from the Web on the subject:
Comments from Wall Street Journal onlin readers on the McCain plan:
“As a chronically ill patient, I am uninsurable on the private market. McCain wants people like me to use our state’s high-risk pool. I have priced the best high-risk pool plan for me in my state. It would require we spend over $29.000 out of pocket each year, not including prescriptions. This is not feasible, since it is over half our family’s gross income before deductions. Since I require ongoing health care to stay alive, i would choose to go on hospice and die rather than bankrupt our family. Losing all that we have, especially our home, for a few extra months of life is not worth it.”

“How does McCain’s plan address the needs of sole proprietors with no employees? Think of your mechanic, your bookkeeper, your landscaper, your freelancer. Insurers already work hard to keep individual subscribers blocked from enrollment–an issue that the government completely overlooks. (The dominant insurer in my region does not permit individual enrollment at all! Groups only.) I’m concerned that McCain’s plan will further restrain the start-up and growth of small business.”

From this article in the Wall Street Journal online:
“Overall, the Tax Policy Center predicts that the Obama plan would reduce the number of uninsured by 18 million people in the first year and by 34 million in 10 years.”

And this, from the Campaign for America’s Future:
Fortune Magazine quotes one of their experts on the impact of McCain's plan: “I predict that most companies would stop paying for health care in three to four years,” says Robert Laszewski, a consultant who works with corporate benefits managers.
Now keep this in mind: McCain and his corporate advisers don’t dispute this. The massive upheaval that would result – millions of families losing their health coverage on the job and then having to try to find an insurance company that would sell them a new policy that would cover their families—that’s not an unintended consequence of his proposal. That chaotic loss of health security is exactly what McCain intends to happen. He wants us all to buy insurance not as part of a group—like an employee group or a co-op—that can negotiate for better coverage at lower premiums, but as individuals, at the mercy of the private insurance companies.”

Obama’s plan mandates coverage for children. That’s what I care about. I’m not worried about my children, but for God’s sakes, America, what kind of country chooses not to take care of its kids? KIDS. What are they supposed to do, set up a lemonade stand to help their parents buy health insurance? There is no way that I will ever support anyone who isn’t willing to put a plan on the table that ensures that every child in America will have their health needs met, no matter how big or how small. Because a person who cannot put children and families first, all children and all families, is just not worthy of my vote.

So if you’re thinking of voting for McCain-Palin, think about whether you can make it between 50 and 65 on private insurance. Think about whether your son or daughter or grandchildren with chronic health problems as simple and treatable as asthma will be able to get coverage at all, or what it will cost them. Think about why, when a more standardized government subsidized form of health care exists in every other industrialized nation in the world, countries where people don’t have to worry about losing their homes if someone winds up with a brain tumor, we don’t have that here, in what at least used to be the richest country in the world.


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