Friday, September 04, 2009

Obama's Speech to Students


Obama is the leader of this country, homegrown like my vegetables, and elected by a clear majority. He is not a foreign power or running for office. A lot of kids look up to him, as they should. As I did to Eisenhower and Kennedy when I was growing up. I didn't know about the President's politics, I just knew he was an important guy and if he took time out to talk to us, that was special. Heck, when the towers fell on 911 Bush was in a classroom talking to kids. Nobody insisted on reviewing his words in advance.

And to those worried about a socialist agenda, guess what? You already live in a country with socialized fire departments, roadways, police departments, medicare, educational systems and we are protected by a socialized military. Socialized means society chips in to pay for common programs that benefit citizens and that are chosen by our elected representatives. It is the antithesis of being dominated by a culture of personality, which would be a dictatorship.

The only human services function that is NOT socialized in this country is medical care and that is sinking us both as individuals and corporations, which are struggling to compete in a world economy where the USA stands alone insisting that large companies bear the burden of health care expenses.

I can't imagine in my childhood being asked to support Kennedy or Eisenhower and people objecting. Supporting the president means to support the country. People need stop all this hate speak and suspicion before a lot of people get hurt.

You know that poem that begins: First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me." attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)?

I have not spoken up about all the hate email I've been copied on since Obama's inauguration. The whackjobs who call themselves birthers. I've not spoken about health care, as I have been one of those left out in the current system. I didn't say anything about the outrageous lies perpetuated by the media. I've not spoken about the mean-spiritedness and media's over coverage of the violent, ignorant few. And I meant to write about Obama's speech, but it took a conversation with Kelly and reading her blog to realize how upsetting all this hate talk and suspicion is.

So, let's start here. Here is a true health care story, not dramatic except to me. I am self-employed and too young for medicare and old enough that insurers don't want anything to do with me. I currently have a $5000 deductible for which I pay $4000 per annum. I have a pre-existing condition (who doesn't) so most companies legally can turn me down. Kaiser has one month of the year, mandated by the state, (unpublished, unadvertised, you have to know someone inside the company to find out that it is October, and that person will swear you to secrecy because they could lose their job if they tell) during which they would sign me up with the pre-existing condition, for better coverage (not great, but better) -- the price tag on that is $16,000 per year. My current coverage does not pay for mammograms or any other tests and I pay an amount for prescriptions and tests that is four times (4) what insured people pay since I do not qualify for the "insurance negotiated amount" until I satisfy my deductible. If I fall ill, Kaiser can cancel me at any time.

I know from when my mom was deathly ill, under insured, and almost but not quite broke at 61, that in order to qualify for medicaid, you have to have no resources for a period of three months before you can apply. Longer until it kicks in. That means if I ever got seriously ill, after I sold my house and all possessions, there would be a three month period before I would qualify for any assistance. This is the kind of thing that would keep me up every night if I thought about it, so I don't. I pay my premiums, eat healthy, exercise, and hope for the best.

And for me, the best would be a public option. For those who oppose or feel threatened by that, I say, what part of option do you not understand? We already pay for the very poor to get healthcare through taxes, it is just the middle class under-insured and uninsured who are vulnerable. Public option would mean that people like me who are willing and able to pay would be paying into the system.

As far as I'm concerned, Medicare is guilty of age discrimination. Fine for those over 65, but what about those who are 50+. Why can't we buy into medicare? That's what public option means to me, any of us being able to buy into medicare. As an option.

So, maybe the controversy over the Obama speech has a good side. Maybe it will motivate more people like me who have been trundling along, shaking our heads, to say something. So, there. I'm saying something. And the something is, ENOUGH.

Enough with the hate. We are all in this together. And kids, listen to your president. Stay in school. The previous generation is leaving you a big mess to clean up. You need all the skills you can garner.

11 comments:

professornana said...

I have been itching to write something. Now I do not have to since you have done it so eloquently. I am "sick" and tired of all this hostility and the lengths opponents will go to prevent health care from being available to all.

I am willing to pay more to help those who do not have insurance. I am fortunate enough to work for a large enough entity that I do have adequate care (at least right now). I know growing up that others helped my mom with our health care. Now, it is my turn.

evaort said...

I totally agree with everything you say here! And being a citizen of Sweden, a country with public health care (as I prefer to call it) I would NEVER EVER want to change it for something else!! Of course there are flaws here and there, like in any system, but it sure is better than the alternative of not having it. I really wish you could have the option of getting a better health care system than the present, a system where you don´t have to fear that people should die because they can't afford health care and go broke because they get sick. Such a system is simply immoral!

Eva

Liz1971 said...

awesome, sara!! good for you for saying something-

enough is enough.

Jill said...

As ever, your ways of seeing and being in this world -- your ways of thinking about this world -- your ways of speaking about this world -- make me proud to have shared a part of this world with you.

Kelly W. said...

Beautifully said mom, and with much more grace than my post where I called that Jim Greer a jackass. :)

He is our President. I never objected when Bush addressed our students and I don't agree with Bush's politics. But as a parent and a citizen there are times when we need to put our political differences aside and teach to respect the elected person in charge.

Steve said...

You hit the nail on the head, Sara.

Getting seriously ill now scares the bejeezus out of me. My 1 hour shoulder surgery cost over $24K. If not for my pitiful school-district insurance I would have had to sell a kidney (ANOTHER costly surgery, I suppose).

I am so frustrated and disappointed in those who are choosing to obfuscate the issue of caring for the least among us with scary words like socialism and death panels. If we can get Sara Holbrook in and out of George W. Bush's Oval Office without mooning anyone, why can't there be a civil discussion Obama's plan?

MamaD said...

Brava, brava, brava!!! I love everything you said, and you said it so beautifully. I feel like I am afraid to speak out anymore since people are so divided, but I am sick of hiding from the bullies out there. I too will shortly be in a position to have no insurance and would sure like some options. I want to link this on my FB page if that's okay, and my blog too...

mrsj said...

THANK YOU! Beautifully put. I am glad that my district is requesting that we show the video live Tuesday. The whole controversy over this non-issue is making me crazy.

Lee Ann Spillane: said...

Well said. Thank you! You might like John Green's video on the health care debates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NevFL1rGeew

lynn said...

Enough if right....thanks for putting a voice to my thoughts, Sara. I am so tired of the pointing fingers by those who only have their selfish selves to think about and I am really tired of listening to those who would turn their backs on the President of the United States.....

Jyl said...

Thank you!!!! I will pass it on as my way of saying "Enough"! You (and your family) has such a gift for articulating what others feel so elegantly! Thanks again!