American Healthcare Held Hostage

by David T. Bruce

insurance_claim_formNeither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party as a whole gives a damn about the healthcare needs of the citizenry of the United States.  Other nations are criticized for their socialized medical healthcare plans.  England’s National Health Service and Canadian Health Care are two forms of socialized medicine that provide healthcare to all citizens, not just to those that can afford care or afford coverage.  While the systems certainly have their share of flaws and frustrations, the mentality suggests that a government body should logically and morally care for its citizens.

In the United States, many of the elderly cannot afford the privatized healthcare coverage offered to them, let alone can they afford a new heart.  Likewise, American citizens who are born disabled or find themselves disabled are unlikely to have sufficient coverage.  Like the elderly, their income level in general is not enough to afford them access to the level of healthcare required to meet their needs.  Furthermore, the economic instability that still prevails in the United States (regardless of the Wall Street or political spin to the contrary) increases the ranks of the underinsured or uninsured.  Gallup polls point out the state of healthcare in the United States as of 2011, illustrating that over 17 percent of Americans over age 18 do not have health insurance.

The majority of Americans are not asking for handouts; the majority of Americans are not resting on their laurels or sitting on their behinds, avoiding work in order to obtain free medical care.  The majority of Americans are victims of the power struggle that is running rampant in this country between the two major opposing political parties, who use large business companies as their chess pieces of highest rank.  We are merely pawns – very weak and very disposable.  For fear of losing power, our elected officials use their own form of domestic terrorism to make each of us fearful of our neighbors, engendering within each of us the fear that something we have earned will be taken away.

Both the Obama Administration and the Republican Party are missing the point.  Both sides are wrong.  We should not have to force Americans to buy health insurance.  Health insurance should not be for-profit, benefiting health insurance companies more than those receiving benefits.  The relationship between these two entities – the federal government and the health insurance companies – is not difficult to perceive.

The insurance companies lobby on Capitol Hill to benefit from the election of an official who will support the continued financial success of insurance companies.  That is what “for profit” means, and they are indeed very profitable.  These elected officials then seek to mandate that insurance companies benefit from the support for which they have lobbied.  Here we have a conflict of interest.

What should be of interest to all Americans is this: we either care about our citizens or we do not.  England and Canada may not have the best insurance programs, but they do at least give the impression that the wealth of a human being is not attached to their age or ability.  Given the rhetoric spewed from all branches of our federal government and the health insurance companies, the message is that healthcare for all Americans is not a priority.  The message is that if you are too old, too disabled, too poor, or too sick, you are on your own.

The Republicans Are After Your Money, Freedom, and Dignity

Especially if you are 50 or older, make less than $506,600 per year, or female.

by Shadra Bruce

2012-repugsThe Republican Party and Tea Party have declared an all-out war on Americans. In fact, it’s a bit ironic but most of their intended policies, legislation, and tax proposals would harm their own constituents as much as it would harm those who don’t swallow what they’re trying to peddle.

The three main attacks of their war are: Medicare, Taxes, and Healthcare, otherwise known as the war against the elderly, the poor, and women. Great way to protect their patriarchal, rich-man, corporations-are-people society, but bad for America.

The War Against Senior Citizens

As if it weren’t enough that Wisconsin is attempting to disenfranchise older voters and Missouri is trying to force the aged population to pay more taxes to provide additional cuts to corporations, but the Republican/Tea Party in general has targeted senior citizens – the same group who overwhelmingly voted them into power in 2010. First, Republicans voted down the $250 to adjust for no cost of living increase. Then, they started after Medicare – you know, that “entitlement” program that Republicans detest but that working Americans paid into for 20-30 years,  making false claims about the cost of the program and the savings provided under Obama’s healthcare plan. Their newest goal is to increase the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 and, in bed with for-profit insurance companies who would benefit from the plan, privatize the program.

The War Against the Poor

Cain, Perry, and other Republican hopefuls are all touting their flat tax plan. But according the Tax Policy Center, the biggest losers of a flat tax plan are the poor. Once again, the burden would be squarely placed on the backs of the poorest, hardest working Americans, while the rich would – you guessed it – get richer.

“Under the flat tax, low-income households would lose because they now pay no income tax and are eligible for a refundable EITC of up to $3,370. Although the flat tax is more progressive than a VAT, it is more regressive than the current system. A flat tax would provide huge gains for high-income households, both because their marginal tax rate would fall and because they consume relatively less of their income than do low-income households. As a result, if a flat tax were to raise as much revenue as the current one, the tax burden for the middle class would have to rise.”

The War Against Women

I’m not quite sure where to begin with this one. From attempting to defund Planned Parenthood to passing “personhood” laws that take away a woman’s choice by imposing a view that women are simply storage tanks for men’s babies to simply targeting women’s healthcare with outdated ideas and laws, the Republican Party and Tea Party have created a war against women that makes me wonder how any woman could choose to remain involved in the party.

While I’ve always been liberal, believing that all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – not just the elite and corporations – I’ve never leaned so far left as I do today. I’m not a Democrat; I’m an uber liberal progressive (often referred to by those scared by their absorption of Fox News as the word of their God as a pinko commie insert expletives here). I lean further and further left by the desire to balance the pendulum that is trying so hard to swing so far to the right that the America I love will soon resemble countries we more closely associate with being targets of our special brand of democratic intervention.

If you are older than 50, make less than $506,600 per year, or female you should be thinking long and hard about who you want to represent you in Congress in 2012. Because the only “people” being represented by the Republican Party have the last name Inc.

Occupy Wall Street – Reclaim Our Independence

Only in America Can 1% Be The Majority

by David T. Bruce

occupytogether_poster07A small group of students are responsible for launching a campaign against the practices of Wall Street and the United States government, the fiscally brutal corporate tag-team that has launched their own campaign against the poorest Americans. In an Associated Press article, the events of the past two weeks surrounding the Wall Street Protests have been summarized, giving voice to the hundreds of citizens who are taking the time to exercise their power of speech during a time when millions of Americans feel powerless to do anything else. While the Republicans and Democrats continue pointing fingers at each other and the President (regardless of who holds the office), our federal government as a whole is demonstrating to an increasing number of American citizens that their health and welfare, their life and liberty, and their happiness mean nothing.

While 14 percent of Americans are relying on the food stamp program to feed themselves, the Republican Party is proposing for the 2012 budget plan that this program should be curtailed and restructured much in the same was as they are proposing to restructure the Medicaid program. Subsidies would be eliminated, replaced by federal grants. Capitol Hill has been relentless in their less-than-bipartisan efforts to shave billions of dollars from the deficit by cutting back on “entitlement” programs from the Americans who need assistance the most.

I am not writing of the small group of Americans who indeed enjoy taking something for nothing. I am writing of the Americans who have worked hard to build a life and raise a family and now find themselves without a job, without a home, and without money for food and healthcare – primarily because of a system that favored corporate greed and Wall Street corruption that led to a broken economy.  It is appalling that the government is cutting back on programs that these people paid taxes to help support while continuing to support tax breaks and loopholes for corporations and big oil.  I am writing of the Americans that are trying to get ahead and improve their lives but are trapped in a system that almost forces people to make less or go hungry, as food prices continue to rise.

While the Associated Press suggests that a clear objective is not apparent, the rallying cry is clear enough: “Occupy Wall Street is [a] leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”

This objective seems clear enough.

It is blatantly clear that the 1% does not get it – or does not want to. The objective does not need to be detailed or obtuse. The plan does not need to have a laundry list of stake holders and varied implementation strategies. The United States Constitution is the governing plan for this country, and our current government officials have spent at least the past few decades manipulating and twisting the words of the Constitution to satisfy their (im)moral, corporate, and personal agendas.

We have a right to speak out against such corruption, and the protestors on Wall Street are doing just that. We must speak out with words, with votes, and with dollars that work in support of Americans, not for a political party.

We may not be at Liberty Square with the protestors right now, but we stand firmly with them in every way, as members of the 99% who will no longer tolerate the disintegration of America over the greed, hypocrisy, and the corruption of Wall Street, Congress, and corporations.

Every year, our government asks that we donate $3 to the Presidential election campaign.  The instructions for the 1040 form specifically state that “the fund reduces candidates’ dependence on large contributions from individuals and groups.”

Please.

Candidates do not just depend on these contributions. They thrive on them, and the companies and groups that make these large contributions thrive on the support that their candidate gives to their cause.

Our federal government, led by either party, has done little or nothing for us over the past few decades – and little or nothing to change what is broken within the system. What little they have done has been to further their own interests and that of the major companies that have been filling and continue to fill the coffers of our elected representatives.

If any taxpayer is at all compelled to check the box that allows candidates to have any more money, please give the money to Occupy Wall Street or similar movements. Give $3 to a homeless person. Help feed a neighbor. Those people are the Americans that are fighting for the rights of all Americans, and they do so without massive contributions or media attention.

Take heed, Wall Street. Someday – perhaps soon – American citizens will have nothing left to lose and will gleefully sit by and watch while your economic empire crumbles.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. – Declaration of Independence

America’s Uninsured May Be Healthier Behind Bars

by Shadra Bruce

jailDid you read about the guy who robbed a bank so he could go to jail and get the medical care he needed? The story was covered by Diane Turbyfill of the Gaston Gazette, and every time I read about James Richard Verone, I have a hard time not crying.

What really gets me is that somebody had to do this here, in America. If this guy lived in Canada (or nearly any other truly civilized country), his medical needs would be taken care of without him having to commit a crime and go to jail to see a doctor.

The robbery was planned carefully – the man only took a dollar; enough to get arrested, but not enough to make the act a felony. He didn’t hurt anyone or carry a weapon or do anything else that would cost him too much freedom.

No, this guy did a cost-benefit analysis and decided a bit of time in jail with free medical care was less expensive than trying to pay for the care he needed. And it worked – he is in jail, has been seen by a nurse already, and is scheduled to see a doctor.

I don’t necessarily condone what this man did, but there’s a little part of me that’s saying, “Right on!” because deep down inside, I’m mad as hell that we don’t all have the health insurance we need, that health insurance is still a for-profit endeavor in this country, and that health is a benefit for the wealthy – and the lucky – only.

I wonder how long our Congress would put up with the health care system the rest of us live with if we stripped them of their precious health plan?

You see, I’m one of those people who falls through the cracks. I actively contribute to the economy, working full time, paying my ridiculously high taxes and buying locally when I can afford to.  But I’m self-employed. At last check, the cost of insuring my family would be $700-950 per month. That’s more than I can afford, but getting a corporate job with benefits wouldn’t pay as much as I can earn from home, especially when you add in commuting, care for our disabled child, and other associated costs of working outside the home.

Every time I read about Verone, I think of my dad, who is ready to retire but scared to because he doesn’t think he can afford the medical care. My dad has worked almost 45 years, 39 of it for the same company. That’s almost twice as long as any military veteran has to work to receive full medical benefits and about 30 years longer than any Congressman has to work to be pampered for life.

Right now, people in jail have access to better healthcare than most. (Apparently, the doctors think it’s a pretty good deal too). How much longer must hard-working American’s be denied at least minimal healthcare at an affordable cost, before more of us become as creative as the gentleman from North Carolina?  Unless the healthcare playing field is leveled relatively soon, I’m thinking Verone’s health plan might just catch on.

Why Abortion Must Remain Legal and Accessible

by David and Shadra Bruce

Mike Pence is anti-womenWe have put our support behind continuing to fund Planned Parenthood, and behind defeating H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” Regardless of anyone’s personal views on abortion, we remain firmly on the side of not having Congress legislate morality or interfere with a woman’s right to control her own body and her own life, and that is really what this bill and many of the others the Republican led House is pushing. We support the organization Stop the War on Women.

While the Republicans have removed the components from the bill (for now) that redefine rape [due to the enormous backlash] and back-pedaled on defunding Planned Parenthood, the Republicans are systematically making calculated moves to negate women’s rights by several decades. The only reason they are attacking Planned Parenthood because of 3% of their services are related to abortions and too many people are blindly repeating the rhetoric without even thinking about what this could mean to women’s rights, equality, and body control.

We are pleased to present this guest post that talks specifically to this issue.

Guest Contributor Corey Nasman

I’ll support Planned Parenthood especially because they offer that 3% service. There are plenty of situations where people are perfectly responsible but contraception is not perfect. There are also many situations involving rape where pregnancy is a result and NO woman should be forced to carry the child of the attacker. Even in cases where people are not safe, no one should be sentenced to something they aren’t ready for.

I know of too many situations where fetuses were kept and the lack of freedom to choose (mainly from overly zealous religious families or domineering boyfriends) resulted in women’s lives being, essentially ruined. Once the sperm leaves a man’s body he relinquishes his rights to anything resulting from it, so I am a firm believer that this is a fundamental right for a woman and what I see happening in this country saddens me.

People have become obsessive and crazed over so many things that don’t concern them. If people focused more on themselves, this would be a much happier country to live in. Unfortunately, far too many take it upon themselves to dictate what is right and wrong for the whole of society based purely on a religious basis and that just isn’t fair. No one searches for understanding. I challenge you to find one woman who is happy to consider an abortion. Most are probably scared to death, but the alternative is worse regardless of circumstances. And worst yet is that a woman who does have an abortion will more than likely be labeled as careless/irresponsible/slut/murderer for the decision. Yet the guy who knocks someone up is a ‘stud’.

When you sit back and think about the difference between being a man and a woman and it’s f’ed up how men are put on pedestals and women get totally screwed, yet again, when it comes to law making, work environment, pay, etc…

In most work places if a man and a woman gave the exact same sales pitch I guarantee the man’s will be given more validity simply for the reason that he is a man. Though nothing I’ve said, as a man, will amount to a hill of beans to anyone else, I would urgently ask men to reconsider what right they have to tell a woman what she can/cannot do with her body. Boys, we already make 25-30% more than the ladies, isn’t it time we give them a break? Unless one is against women working too… If one isn’t, will one get in the picket line to get them equal pay? It may seem that I’ve gone off on a tangent, but trust me, it’s all very deeply intertwined and the way things are looking, the future doesn’t seem to bright if we continue on current trends.

Abortion is not a flippant decision or topic. The need to control women NEEDS to stop. Services provided by organizations such as planned parenthood are ABSOLUTELY necessary in this country and if a situation occurs that results in an unwanted pregnancy, and it doesn’t directly involve you or your partner, I would urge you to not take away someone else’s freedom for the sake of your own beliefs and values. And please think twice before labeling someone who has gone through an abortion. Until one has literally walked in their shoes with the same set of worries and fears in their minds, one has no right to judge. There is a serious and ever-growing need of empathy in this country.

If you are interested in contributing to Ethical Revolutionist, please contact Dave and Shadra Bruce at daveandshadra@yahoo.com

Domestic Nonlethal Assistance Repealed

by David T. Bruce

discretionary-spending-2011
Source: Mother Jones

As a society, we may have become numb to the reality that we have spent almost ten years in the Middle East, engaged in conflicts with Afghanistan and Iraq.  Now we find that we are compelled to join NATO in support of Libyan rebels.  To support our troops (an admirable incentive) and our habit, billions of dollars must be allocated for defense.

According to information provided by the National Journal, the Pentagon has requested $708.3 billion for this year, including $159.3 billion to continue our campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.  During the first day of operation in Libya, the United States spent approximately $100 million.  Following the initial attacks on the forces of Colonel Gaddifi, we have recently pledged additional military assistance by sending armed drone aircraft into Libya.  This amounts to an additional $25 million of “nonlethal” [really?] military assistance.

At the same time, our representatives want to eliminate $1 trillion from the Medicaid program over the next ten years, or $84 billion a year.  This suggests that much of the money once used for healthcare in the United States is to be reallocated to support the habits of the Pentagon.

We have money enough to send “nonlethal” assistance to foreign countries, while we simultaneously propose cutbacks in what our representatives call “entitlements.”  The result of denying the disabled, elderly, and low-income citizens of America from having these “entitlements” is indeed lethal.  Apparently, saving lives of citizens in other countries is humane, while saving the lives of Americans at home is an entitlement.  Yes, we need to make changes to the Medicaid (and Medicare) programs, but perhaps the fault of the misuse or abuse is less of an indictment against the patients.

It is remarkable and yet interesting to journey down Constitution Avenue in Washington D. C.  Observe and take note of the buildings that line either side of the street: the Federal Trade Commission, the National Archives, the Department of Justice, the National Museum of Natural History, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Commerce, the National Aquarium, the Federal Reserve, the Albert Einstein Memorial, and . . . the American Pharmaceutical Association? . . . yes, the American Pharmaceutical Association.

Is it possible that the problem is not abuse of the system by the patients and more of an abuse of the system by providers and pharmaceutical companies?  Many incidents may be cited in which service was provided for no reason other than the bill was covered by Medicaid.  The cost of medication is on the rise, and I question whether or not pressure is being put on the pharmaceutical companies to keep their costs down.  Instead, patients are targeted.  At some point, voters must realize that our elected representatives lobby for large businesses when they should be lobbying for their constituents.

Your Health Insurance Policy Doesn’t Cover Broken Promises

by David Bruce

insurance_claim_formTwo and one half years ago, we elected a man to the office of the President of the United States.  Today, I am as disgusted with his job performance as I was elated that he was elected office in the first place.  “Change,” a word often perceived as cliché, was a sigh of relief when President Obama took office.  The citizens of our country had been manipulated by a man and his cabinet who lead us into two wars (one under false pretenses), eroded a federal surplus, destroyed an economy, and raised the unemployment rate to levels which have yet to see any significant improvement.  President Obama boldly inherited a mess he vowed to clean up by uniting Republican and Democratic parties.  We wanted to believe that Obama would kick some collective, conservative ass.

We should not blame President Obama necessarily for his failure to clean up the mess left by his predecessor, nor should we blame him for being unsuccessful in uniting the two parties, who rarely agree on any policies or ideals anyway.  On the contrary, his efforts at the beginning of his term were admirable. What I do blame him for is his lack of ability to demand a consensus among our Representatives and Senators, and in lieu of that consensus, an ethical line should be drawn that does not get negotiated.

The most recent compromise made by the President has permitted extensions of tax cuts awarded by former President George W. Bush and the erosion of Medicaid and Medicare benefits for the poorest of America’s populace.  Instead of summarily rejecting the 2012 budget proposal, President Obama gave in on the threat of a government shut down.  President Obama is demonstrating that he is still running for office instead of fighting on behalf of the people that elected him to office on the promise of “change.”  This is not change; this is business as usual.

The time for compromise is over, and time wasted holding out for a consensus is over.  This is clearly a case of knowing what is right and what is wrong.  Additional tax beaks for companies that already benefit from a plethora of tax loop holes are wrong.  Risking the health coverage for elderly and disabled Americans is wrong.  Yes, tough decisions need to be made.  Taxes need to be raised.  We can afford an increase in taxes.  We have found a way to live with exorbitant gas prices, and we can do the same for health care.

Of course, our representatives will promise us that taxes should not and will not be raised; they want their jobs.  At the same time, these are the same representatives that categorically state that there is no free ride.  Well, there is if you are an American company with lobbyists and votes to spare.  Let the government shut down.  The government is broken, and isn’t doing anyone (but the wealthy) a damn bit of good.

Si j’étais Président… (If I were President)

Even if it requires an across the board tax increase, you do what you have to do to take care of the people. Of course, if we would stop launching Tomahawk missiles that cost $1.41 million into foreign soil to protect our oil interests, we wouldn’t even have to worry about the state of our social programs. It’s time to focus our resources on the home front.

America – A Dream to Some, A Nightmare to Others

by David T. Bruce

dc-3My family and I just returned to our small village after spending four days visiting Washington D.C.  During our visit, we enjoyed the exhibits of a few Smithsonian museums, and we toured the obligatory streets and malls of the district in which resided the various presidential monuments and federal buildings, to include the Capitol and the White House.

Admittedly, I felt a sense of awe as we entered the District of Columbia via the George Washington Memorial Parkway and saw the Washington Monument behind a screen of haze and setting sun.

During our stay, I rekindled fond memories of the Apollo lunar program, satisfied the child within by exploring decades-old pop culture artifacts, and explored the history of the area that is our nation’s capital.

As a parent, I patted myself on the back for fostering the development of my children, introducing them to a history they had only skimmed in a text book or glimpsed in a Hollywood movie.  At the same time, as a citizen, I became more cynical as each day passed.

While the architecture is beautiful, the streets are clean and well cared for, and the transportation system is exceptional, I became increasingly sensitive to the disparity between what the District of Columbia represented versus what the reality of America is for the better share of the population of this country. While our family toured a region of America symbolic of freedom and democracy, our Representatives and Senators, perpetually embroiled in a debate over how to spend tax payer dollars, were gridlocked to the point in which the government is at risk of being shut down.

As I conclude this writing, the two disparate halves of our government have somehow come to a consensus that allowed for the budget to be passed and the federal government to continue doing business. Of highest concern, however, are those items that contributed to the heated debate: budget cuts that most affected elderly, disabled, and low-income Americans.  At the same time I and my family contribute tourist dollars to the District of Columbia economy, as our elected representatives and their families enjoyed the luxury of private schools, exceptional transportation, and an environment in which money is obviously no object, at least half of our nations representatives had the impudence to propose cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and Planned Parenthood programs, directly affecting those who have little or no means to help themselves.

While the federal government proposes that funds be cut from the budget that, funds that support the elderly, disabled, and low-income citizens of America, and as the federal government proposes that states and the private industry (entities who are already in financial distress and have shown themselves to be incapable of providing adequate, affordable services) take over programs for the same, our government has exhibited little or no concern for these that have, as I say, no means to help themselves.  Those representatives that have raised their hand in support of such measure should be ashamed.

As an American and a father, I too feel shame, as I lead my children around a part of American they should be proud of.  Instead, these monuments and museums become mere shadows of what was and what could have been.  Today, there is to evident truth that all citizens are created equal.  Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are for those fortunate enough to be young, healthy, and God-fearing.  As a nation, we must come to grips with the reality that we will not survive as a nation divided.  At some point in time, we must all realize that “live and let live” means we must embrace our neighbors and offer a helping hand regardless of where they come from or where they are born.  Our government must begin to set the example by cutting the budget for everyone, by living within their means (as families do across the country), and by showing compassion for those who do not enjoy a fraction of the American dream that they do.  If America can spend in excess of $100 billion per year to take away lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, then perhaps they can spend at least that amount to help promote the health and welfare of America’s elderly, disabled, and low-income families.  The American dream is becoming a nightmare for many.

American Healthcare Debate Is Sickening

Good for you who have found a means to make the American dream work in your favor. Shame on you who would damn your neighbor for not having the same benefit. What do you care that someone else would prefer an affordable option for health care, which allows for preventative care and affordable prescriptions?

by David T. Bruce

dollar-1175293_1280It doesn’t seem to make sense that a government operation automatically has the advantage of putting a privately owned enterprise out of business.  If this were the case, then the U.S. Postal Service would not be struggling.  The post office struggles because consumers perceive that the postal service is not providing a service that is comparable to various competitors: UPS, DHL, the Internet, etc.  Similarly, a government run healthcare program does not automatically have an advantage over services provided by various privately owned insurance companies. If the government provides a better service at a better cost than privately owned companies, subsequently putting some privately owned companies out of business, so be it. Frankly, I am tired of watching our government bail out companies and CEOs who fail at their jobs.  It is about time that the government bails out citizens for a change.

Unlike those responsible for the financial collapse of the recent past, those citizens without health insurance are not looking for handouts.   The uninsured are not asking for funding to make amends for poor or reckless business practices.  The uninsured are asking for a health insurance option that is affordable and not a measurement of a person’s social status or a way to line the pockets of an insurance company’s board of directors.  How can a person earning minimum wage hope to afford the cost of insurance from a company that is focused on earning a profit?

Good for you who have found a means to make the American dream work in your favor.  Shame on you who would damn your neighbor for not having the same benefit.  What do you care that someone else would prefer an affordable option for health care, which allows for preventative care and affordable prescriptions?  Many Americans can no more afford private health insurance today than they could afford a new car or new clothes.  A person cannot find insurance policies on a Goodwill clothing rack.  For those that concern themselves with the fiscal ramifications of a government-owned healthcare program, I have news for you.  Medicaid is paid for by taxes, and over 20 percent of the country is already living with a government operated healthcare program.  We have socialized medicine.  Yes, the government already provides some health insurance coverage, and the government dictates who will provide health care.  Incidentally, some insurance company policies dictate the same.  Get over it, and let us move past that particular label that is designed to strike fear into the hearts of Americans everywhere.

Our nation as a whole can only benefit if the majority of the population is healthy.  If a health care system exists that excludes any Americans from even the most trifling of care because of socio-economic status, then that system is flawed.  Many of our nation’s leaders recognize that their constituents are of no use to themselves, their families, or their country if they do not receive regular medical care.  On the other hand, many of our nation’s leaders recognize that their bread is buttered by health insurance companies.  I suspect that many of the people who are currently offended by the possibility of government intervention in the health insurance industry had no problem accepting checks resulting from the government stimulus package two years ago or consenting to the government bailouts that prevented further deterioration of the United States economy.

In 2007 approximately 1 in 5 persons in the United States was enrolled in Medicaid, a government sponsored healthcare program.  We need to stop worrying about the labels associated with government assistance and begin concerning ourselves with why (according to the World Health Organization) we spend more for health care than any country in the world yet rank 37 out of 191 countries in health care performance.  Everyone deserves basic health care, and no one has the right to deny that care: not insurance companies and not those waiting for the next stimulus check.