Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Care... just saying

Okay. I have tried hard to NOT be political on my blog. That is why I sometimes talk about birds, or flowers. I know there are all kinds of SERIOUS opinions on politics, and not being an American I know I am not invested in a party or an ideology like some who read this. So I will try to be tender. I will try to just say what I see.

First of all, health care is not a sign of end times. It horrifies me to hear the kind of rhetoric being used to damn and condemn people and plans. Even leaders who have the ear of people are being unwise - Sarah Palin's blog - "time to reload" ...with gun site points on a map of America pointing out those who should be targeted.

Canada has had a socialist approach to health care for all of my life and we are not tipping into apocalypse. I know many people disparage health care in Canada, telling horror stories about waits and poor treatment. Those are the exception. Granted, our doctors don't have unlimited ability to inflate their incomes. Some go to the States because the income is more lucrative. I am not judging that - just saying I know it is a factor.

The reality is that universal health care (which the US is still FAR from having) gives us this:
- Every pregnant woman has the chance to have doctor's care
- No one is forced to suffer with a treatable disease
- A sick kid can be taken to a doctor without hesitation
- An injury does not need to go untreated
- The poorest sickest least contributing member of our society is treated with dignity and care equal to the most important person
- no Canadian has gone into bankruptcy because someone in their family became ill
- There is no such thing as 'previously diagnosed illness' preventing treatment

You might want to note that while American citizens are spitting at each other over providing some level of care to everyone, the biggest debate in Canada is over relaxing the laws that prohibit private health care that enables a rich person to 'buy' better more privileged health care. The prime minister uses the same health care as the unemployed farmer who lost his farm in the recession.

Here are my questions:
?Why do arguments about health care involve God? I understand health care as a public humanity concern - not a religious one.
?Why is it that people who share (relatively) similar views as mine on faith are some of the meanest, vilest, most fearful participants in this argument?
?Why do the Republicans and Democrats not both work together for the country they say they love? It seems to me that both parties would rather see the country die than lose their position of pride. Just saying.
?Why is it that some of the most vocal opponents of health care are the poor who need it? Who is feeding them such fear - lots of it is religious I hate to say - and making them the spokespersons for those who are protecting wealth and privilege? This is confusing to me.

We are haters. Very big haters. I am just saying what I see.

One more thing. I am the daughter of a steel worker. We lived in a three bedroom house, all eight of us, with one small bathroom. Not unlike other families in our city, we ate porridge at the end of the week, recycled clothes and shared one bike between six kids. But we went to the doctor when we were sick. And we were born in a hospital.

I remember every month a dental clinic that was set up about ten blocks from our home. Street urchins (like me) took a quarter with the face of the queen on it (yes, .25 cents) and stood in line, waiting to see the dentist. One by one we would hand over the sweaty quarter and climb into the chair to have the dentist peer into our little mouths and fix cavities.

Thank God for Tommy Douglas (a Canadian Ted Kennedy type) and one of the greatest Canadian Prime Ministers, Lester Pearson, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who brought in health care. Just saying.


Karen said...

As another Canadian, I am "just saying" that I agree totally with your assessment of what you're seeing both in Canada and the US. Many of us north of the 49th parallel truly do not understand what the fuss over health care is about. As a Canadian I do not understand why universality could be a bigger evil than having no health care at all. I am also saddened and sickened to hear Christian people talking about how much they hate Obama. I believe we are told to pray for our leaders, and I have found that it's pretty hard to hate somebody I'm praying for. Just saying.

Sandy & Rob said...

Amen Marilyn... I responded on Facebook the other day to a U.S. Christian friend who was spitting fire over the new healthcare plan. All I said was I didn't understand why it was such a big deal to take care of our brothers and sisters. The only thing my comment spawned was a splitting of hairs from several other Christians over who is "brother and sister" and who is "neighbour". Jesus would be so grieved. I wish it were different Marilyn, but you are a rarity.

Krissi said...

I'm not always the best at keeping comments to myself, but at Asbury, I keep pretty quiet about my views on health care here. I was really excited when it passed on Sunday. I'm more than relieved to know that within a few years, health care will be more afordable, that if I need to be treated for something, it won't later be seen as "pre-existing" and thus a reason to drop me, that if I get a terminal illness I won't be dropped, and that my brother, who has no health care at all, may just be able to afford it, too.

We still have a long way to go, but this is a HUGE step forward. I was proud of my country for the first tie in a LONG time when that passed. But that was quickly dissolved at the news stories that came out yesterday of the death threats and nasty voicemails being given to our congress members. I don't understand why we are such a hateful, hateful people. As a young person, it is horrifying to listen to.

Steve and Andrea LaMotte said...

Thanks for your comments! They are appreciated.

Leslie K. said...

Three weeks ago we could not take our son to the doctor because we could not afford the appointment. Our son "lost" his health insurance this year because he is no longer a full time student. Even though his doctors do not want him to attend full time my employer will not allow any exceptions. We could not afford the Cobra policy and since he has a preexisting condition we could not find a private policy that we could afford. I think the people who are yelling the loudest about the Health care bill have never been faced with not being able to take their child to the doctor. They also would never set foot in the Jessamine County Health Clinic. Praise God our Dr. is a caring man who trusted our description of the symptoms and called in meds. for our son.

I am baffled by the hatred Christians are showing towards each other and our leaders. Isn't God still in charge? Would Jesus treat people in this way? Is this really how the Holy Spirit is working in their lives? Aren't we told to go into the world and make disciples? Who would want to be a Christian if this is how we act?

Thanks for voicing such a thoughtful post. I find myself biting my tongue because I do not want to argue politics or religion with my fellow Christians. Life is too short for all this hate.

Myrna said...

Got to be honest Marilyn, I think you have lived out of Canada for far to long to accurately describe the health care system we have. The care aspect of it has deteriorated greatly in recent years. We have tremendously talented health professionals but the wait times are horrendous and are no exception even if you have been diagnosed with an imminently life threatening illness such as cancer. Some families have gone bankrupt because they could not get the treatment that works for their illness and had to go the United States for it. We are grateful for the care that we get and that we are not required to pay for it. The problem is that we are all in the same line for the one machine or operating room. Some of us would not mind paying a little extra to get out of that line and into one where we could actually get the care when it is needed.