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There are two pieces featured in today's email from the Washington Post related to health care.

In Richmond’s hell-no Republicans the P{ost editorial board takes to task the Republicans in Virginia's House of Delegates for their refusal to seriously address the issue of uninsured, refusing to take $$ from the federal government to fund Medicaid expansion.  They offer a pittance of $81 million to reimburse hospitals while refusing to accept $7 billion in federal funds already paid for by Virginia's taxpayers, even insisting that pittance be funded by the taxpayers.

Meanwhile, in Greece, whose medical system was bloated and inefficient, rather than addressing those issues, the austerity in a nation with over 1/4 of its people now unemployed has resulted in increasing number of people unable to pay their nominal health insurance premiums, while a hiring freeze in  hospitals means they must depend upon relatives and friends for such basic tasks as cleaning beds and patients and feeding them them, as you can read in Greece’s prescription for a health-care crisis.

To this I want to add one additional fact:   undocumented aliens are precluded from receiving benefits under the affordable care act.

Having provided the links, I will not quote from either Post piece.

Let me offer a very few thoughts of my own perhaps somewhat distorted thinking.

I described the thinking I am going to apply here as "perhaps somewhat distorted" above the fold.

That is because I consider things beyond short-term economic issues.

That is because I consider concern and responsibility for my fellow humans as of greater importance than purity in political ideology.

That is because I do not believe you can have a system of effective public health when you exclude a significant portion of our population from basic medical coverage, whether for economic or ideological reasons - you thereby increase the risks to the rest of us of epidemic or pandemic spreads.

Untreated illness and injury bears with it great economic costs, not merely in loss of wages to those who are untreated because they are uninsured, but to the rest of us in the loss of the spending they would otherwise do from the wages they have lost, but in lost productivity.

As a teacher, I already see the risk of thirty or more students in one room as a vector for the spread of illness.  That risk is increased at least geometrically when some portion of those students have no meaningful access to medical treatment until it reaches a crisis such that they are entitled to be stabilized (but no more) in a hospital emergency room (at an excessive cost to the rest of us, since those unreimbursed costs are passed on in the form of higher charges to those able to pay either by insurance or directly).

Further, as a teacher, ill students do not learn as well or as much, whether because they stay home from school or because they cannot focus as well when they attend.

If the Affordable Care Act succeeds, if Obama succeeds, then some who have opposed both with vitriol and hatred will suffer politically, and they know it.   But they did not have to be in such a position.  That they are willing to double down on their opposition is immoral because of the risks - economic as well as medical - they are imposing upon society as a whole.

This is NOT an impassioned response on my part.

It comes from a place of deep reflection.

It comes from the understanding that my wife might now have a broken back or not even  be alive had we not had superb medical insurance through her employment by the Legislative branch of the Federal government.

It comes from observing patterns of illness and absence among my students.

it comes from my volunteering at free medical and dental fairs in Southwest Virginia.

It comes from reading what is readily available to anyone who is not willfully blind on such topics.

That some make billions while others suffer from the inability to meet basic needs is immoral in all of the world's great religious traditions - those who would seek to interpret those traditions in other fashions, say through the likes of the "Prosperity Gospel." are distorting the traditions they are claiming for the justification of their own selfishness and inhumanity.

"Austerity" does not exist if it does not apply to all:

-  to the rentier class
-  to the corporate class
-  to the financial sector

If we ask for sacrifice that is not fair and shared, all we do is privatize our wealth while we socialize the pain, only it is not true socialization, for rather than excluding from the affects of the pain those least able to bear it we instead exclude the wealthy and powerful whom it would not hurt in any meaningful way.

Meanwhile we allow them to use that wealth and power to further distort our economy, our politics, our social welfare.

Consider this if you must a screed.  Perhaps it is.

I consider it a statement of basic morality.

Anyone who seeks a position of political leadership and authority who does not acknowledge the truths contained herein, as badly stated as they may be, is not worthy nor qualified for such a position - s/he puts us all at risk, economically and medically.

I read.

I ponder.

I observe.

I ponder some more.

Then occasionally I write.

This morning I reached the point of writing.

Make of this what you will.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

    by teacherken on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:02:57 AM PST

  •  Healthcare = basic human right (4+ / 0-)

    In a society with wealth such as ours, the denial of access to health care of any human living here should be seen as a basic violation of human rights.

    As a fellow educator, and using a selfish frame of reference, I share you pain on the needless absenteeism that arises from lack of universal health care access for students. The additional work created via student absenteeism takes away from so many more meaningful tasks in which I could engage to better teach my students.

  •  Well done, Ken, and thanks for taking the time (0+ / 0-)

    With a single exception I agree with you wholeheartedly and appreciate your effort.  The opponents "who have opposed both with vitriol and hatred will suffer politically, and they know it."  There seems never to be a price exacted from those people.  Would that there were.

  •  Do you have any idea how many people (0+ / 0-)

    would come to this country to simply enroll in ACA if we let them?

    If I lived south of the border, or lived in a Middle East country, or even in eastern Europe with a very nasty illness, why wouldn't I "visit" the U.S. and enroll in ACA?

    ACA was probably the poorest alternative out of all the options President Obama and Congress had at the time.  And, one of its biggest flaws is that there is no guarantee of basic medical services for all.  

    There should be a guarantee.. but setting up a system of private insurers that is costly and provides no actual health care was not the way to accomplish that.  The astronomical co-pays and deductibles built in to ACA plans put a covered family in the same boat as an uninsured one.  The basic care still comes out of their own pocket.

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