There are some good things in this bill. Parents will be able to keep their children on their policy until the kids turn 26. A few things like that. So, yes, pass that.
But don’t insult me and 300 million Americans by calling this “health care reform.” At least you’ve stopped calling it “universal health care.” We will not have universal health care or anything close to it. I wish the president and the Democratic leadership would just stand up and say, “We’re sorry, America. We didn’t get the job done you sent us here to do. We’re weak and scared and unable to communicate the simplest of messages to the American people. Therefore, our bill will guarantee that 12 million of you will still have NO health insurance. And that’s because we have decided to leave the greedy, private insurance industry in charge of our system. Forgive us for this and for continuing to allow profit to be the determining factor as to whether a patient gets the help she or he needs.”
Please, Democrats — just say that — then pass this poor excuse of a bill. Pass it because, if President Obama takes a fall on this one, I don’t know if he’ll be able to get back up. And then NOTHING will get done. We can’t have that. (And thank you Dennis Kucinich for hanging in there right up to the end and being the only one out of the 435 members to speak the awful truth.)
On the front page of yesterday’s New York Times, the dateline was, sadly, once again, “Flint, Michigan.” The story was about how doctors are no longer accepting Medicaid patients. Which means tens of thousands of poor can no longer go to the doctor. Last year, the State of Michigan also prohibited doctors from accepting Medicaid patients who had anything wrong with their vision, their hearing, their feet or their teeth. In a 16-county area northwest of Flint, there will soon be not one single hospital that will allow you to give birth there if you’re on Medicaid. The official unemployment rate in Flint is 27% (unofficially, closer to 40%).
This is an American tragedy. And, as I’ve warned you for years, this tsunami is heading your way — if it’s not there already.
I’ve just turned on my new iPhone and it informs me that it has “apps” it would like to suggest I buy. One is called “Scanner.” It will allow me to listen in on police scanners anywhere across the country. I buy the app. I see that the Flint police scanner is part of this. I turn it on out of curiosity. And this is what I hear, at one in the morning: A woman is being beaten by her husband… A home invasion is taking place (“16-year-old black male, wearing a white skull cap”)… A child has been missing since noon today… Another woman is being beaten by her boyfriend… A diabetic, obese man is having trouble breathing and needs to be rushed to the hospital (there will be three more of these obese diabetics in the hours to come; the entire town is ill)… One more woman calling, screaming for help, “officers urged to use caution…”
…And on and on and on. This is what I have listened to before going to bed. I am filled with despair and helplessness as I hear my former neighbors crying out for help. I hate it. I have to turn it off. I start to cry. Thank you, iPhone. Thank you, Democrats. I’ll sleep better knowing that you’re looking out for all of us.