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This made the rounds on my morning Facebook roll.  Putting aside whether or not this is 'real', in terms of objectively real, or the opinions of Starner Jones, M.D., the attitudes and sentiments expressed here are very real.

Dear Mr. President:

During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive Shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive
Brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone.

While glancing over her Patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as "Medicaid"! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.

And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman's health care?

I contend that our nation's "health care crisis" is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a "crisis of culture", a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.

It is a culture based on the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me". Once you fix this "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear.


The vast majority of people on Medicaid are disabled, or truly going through hard times.  This is one person in a crowd of, literally, millions. Her circumstances are no proof that she is exploiting the system, that she is lazy, or unwilling to work, or has not earned what she has.
Further, if she is on Medicaid she has a genuine issue in some way, shape, or form requiring government aid.
How do I know this? Look at the federal requirements for Medicaid.
"There is currently no federal requirement that states provide health coverage to adults without dependent children."
We do have Medicaid provided to pregnant women.
"Medicaid plays a key role in child and maternal health, financing 40% of all births in the United States. Medicaid coverage for pregnant women includes prenatal care through the pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and for 60 days postpartum as well as other pregnancy-related care."
She may also have a hidden disability that she has lived with long term, or that has cropped and, in spite of it, she wants to live her life as she wishes to live it. We do take care of individuals with disabilities under Medicaid.
"Medicaid provides health coverage to over 8.8 million non-elderly individuals with disabilities, including those who are working or who want to work. Federal statute provides for both mandatory and optional coverage for individuals with disabilities."
I not only expect this woman's health care to be paid I demand it. This MD has little to no idea of the background that she comes out of, or if she has hit a wall. Having volunteered in a crisis center for some time, there are many 'normal' looking people, or those who, on the outside, look like they're living the high life in their fancy clothes or have a good car.  Yet they are struggling to find a place to live because of some disaster, whether an illness, a poor choice, a circumstance thrust upon them, or being unable to shake a life of poverty, among the many ways people come to these points.

I know for myself I sometimes have brand clothes, but I wear these till they wear out. I cannot afford to do otherwise.  The clothes I wear generally are gifts or second-hand; I cannot afford anything else.  I use a cell phone with texting on it, but I don't have the latest and greatest. Because I was unemployed for 4 years I had to live, by and large, off of other people because employers could not be bothered to give me a break and let me get my foot in the door.

I wasn't just going for high paying jobs, either. I was going for anything I could get. Retail, food, custodial work, you name it. When people hit rock bottom, I'd rather there be a cushion there that a very FEW people exploit (look at the statistics; actual fraud and cases where services are exploited are rare, especially as it is harder and harder to qualify for services) and a great many more benefit from in hard times.

I did not qualify for unemployment, for Medicaid, or any other kind of government assistance during my four years of unemployment. I fell through the cracks. I was a burden to my family, but I was lucky that I had loving, supportive family to be a burden to.

I have privilege.  I am a white male.  My sexual orientation is not obvious from my choice of partner (I am pansexual with a female partner).  I am lucky that I live in an area where I can buy from Goodwill or Plato's Closet or little shops in and around the Ypsi-Arbor area that are low-cost or gently used secondhand clothes. I am lucky that I have access to good food, a loving and supportive family. I am lucky that I have a job, now, at all.

The faces of poverty are many and one of them is mine. Another is a black woman who smokes cigarettes and has a golden tooth who has hit rock bottom. This man, whose profession is about healing, has the audacity, with all of the privilege he has and maintains due to his station in life behind him, is going to judge someone who did not have the same opportunities he has had? Taking nothing away from the fact that making it to M.D. in a highly competitive field like medicine IS an accomplishment and has been done by both poor and wealthy (far easier by the latter), he has boatloads of privilege as a white male, and therefore has, on the whole, had many more opportunities to improve his circumstances in life, than what a black woman who, from his description is poor, has had.  If he was not raised in a middle to upper middle class home he certainly has that position now.

Our nation's culture crisis IS that we do not embrace responsibility.

We, as a nation, do not embrace responsibility for our fellow human beings. For the environments we grow up in. For the state of hunger, of poverty, of class, race, and sexual orientation discrimination, for the privation and starvation and destruction of indigenous people and minorities for centuries, for wars conducted with billions of dollars that is protected as if all hinges upon it while 1/3 of all the homeless are veterans. We pay for the wholesale destruction of nations as people starve in ours.  

We do have a crisis of responsibility, and it starts with the most well off dropping their weight, landing it on the heads and backs of the poor and oppressed. It continues from there, with the those who, in the middle class, stand upon the shoulders of the poor while looking down upon them, just one disaster or one more crisis from joining them.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    "You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind." -Morpheus, The Matrix

    by Sarenth on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:22:23 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary, Sarenth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Evidently this physician would like poor people to look the part, and act appropriately deferential. Perhaps this patient was doing very well back in the day, then found their circumstances changed through job loss, divorce, foreclosure, medical (including mental health) challenges, or other forces. Now they're supposed to have the dentist remove the gold tooth, and then spend thousands on laser tattoo removal?

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:04:14 AM PST

  •  Orignal Author Dr. Starner Jones 2009 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paulitics, Hastur

    Yet another regurgitation of Reagan's legendary welfare queen.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:23:22 AM PST

    •  Thank You (0+ / 0-)

      I was wondering how genuine it was.  I'm sad to see that a person in any helping professional holds this backward attitude towards their patients.

      Reagan's 'welfare queen' is a poison.

      "You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind." -Morpheus, The Matrix

      by Sarenth on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:38:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Also notice this came out of Mississippi, (0+ / 0-)

        which is still rejecting entry into the 20th century, let alone the 21st. It's also the last remaining state that includes a Confederate battle banner in its flag design.

        Not saying the letter writer IS a bigot, just that based on location he is more likely than not to be one.

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:54:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Old news, but Dr. Roger Starner Jones has writ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    more on this, according to snopes (which won't let me copy and paste so I got this off  About.Com.)

       America is Still the Land of Opportunity - For Everyone

        Starner Jones, M.D.
        Jackson, MS
        January 11, 2010

        I continue to receive numerous phone calls, letters, emails and face-to-face comments about my letter ("Why Pay For the Care of the Careless") which appeared in your newspaper a few months ago.

        Most people express highest approval for the opinion set forth. Indeed, the truth has an illuminating quality all its own.

        However, a few have disagreed and all of them falsely assume that a person who holds the views which I espouse must have been raised in a privileged home. Nothing could be further from the truth.

        I grew up in a lower middle class, single parent home in the rural hill country of Pontotoc, Mississippi. While attending public schools, I paid attention in class and did my homework. I ran with the right crowd and stayed out of trouble. My dedication in school resulted in a full-paid scholarship to the prestigious University of the South in Sewanee, TN. After college, I left to go to medical school with everything I owned in three bags. The rest is history.

        Motivation, not entitlement, is the key to personal success and happiness in life.

    As best I can tell, Dr. Jones has made no further public statements on the matter.

    Probably be a good thing if nobody ever HAD to see this judgmental alleged Doctor ever again. The Hippocratic oath starts with, "First, do no harm." Somebody as hateful as this doctor wouldn't know how to obey that oath even if they did mean it when they swore it.

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 12:06:15 PM PST

    •  Considering... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That Michigan just passed 'conscience' laws for health professionals, this health professional, and those of his ilk has a real opportunity to deeply harm those they should be helping.  Because helping LGBTQI people, Muslims, Pagans, etc. may be something they object to.

      "You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind." -Morpheus, The Matrix

      by Sarenth on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 01:14:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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