I'm visiting my brother in Central Illinois. He is 69 and a Vietnam veteran. He has been diagnosed with Parkinson's. Because he had spent a year in Vietnam, all of his Parkinson's is paid for by the VA.
On Sunday, he came home after 90 days in a nursing home. His wife died a little over a year ago. It is clear that he can no longer take care of himself and is on the edge of having to be in a nursing home.
Because my wife and I were able to be here for this week, we are with him for 24/7 but that will end this weekend.
He now has home care workers coming two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.
Right now I'm listening to a nurse from a local hospital in charge of providing home health care provided by Medicare. After all, it will be much cheaper for him be at home than in a care facility. Perhaps, he will become more independent with this service.
The nurse explained all of the care that will be provided by Medicare: three nursing visits a week that will clean and bathe him and take vitals. They will regularly fill his medicine that he needs. It will provide supplies that he needs. There is the possibility of a social worker and she will visit regularly.
I don't live in the area and tried to remain very quiet. Finally, I couldn't take it and observed the services being offered was big government in action. (My brother is a Republican.)
I was shocked at what the nurse said when I made this point.
When I observed all of the home health services paid for by Medicare was exactly what this election was about. This is national health care and the Republicans hate it.
I pointed out that all of these services that my brother will be getting were exactly what the Republicans want to privatize. I was amazed that the nurse has NO idea what I was talking about.
(I just heard that the social worker can help my brother find a good home health care workers. He was unhappy about something that happened last night wants to look for a better service.)
So, here is the nurse, a person who happily tells people the services she is providing are all paid for by Bid Government, and she doesn't understand that the Republican is trying to end those services.
(She observed that the workers who will come have to fill out a notebook my brother will keep and she will look at. This is to prevent fraud. I didn't have the heart to point out the Obama Administration has cut a lot of Medicare fraud.)
The nurse talked about the freedoms we are losing: the government is snooping into our lives.
(I don't think she understood the crack that I made that even the head of the CIA can be caught by such snooping.)
I don't expect my Fox News-watching brother to understand let alone agree with what I was saying, but the nurse is someone whose job crucially depends on Medicare and doesn't understand the Republican Party is proposing.
Obviously, those who hang out here believe that if people understood what was at stake the Republican Party would die. However, when someone whose entire job depends on the government doesn't understand the issues, we know why people vote against their self-interest.