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.

Museum of Unnatural History

by David T. Bruce

Festival of art
Grants to patrons granted
Penalty paid with interest
Refuse to play?
Don’t look the other way

Keep a watchful eye for phonies
Facts are rarely represented faithfully
Homogenized canvas
The broadest stroke is used
Statues erected as visions crumble
Readings are rhetorical
Scripted spontaneity

National museum of relics
Carbon copies, misprints
Words of mass destruction
Mementos engraved with dreams of futures past
Symbols now our laurels
We live in yesterday

We preach a fierce morality
While we dance around the truth
The art of diplomacy carves a monument of hypocrisy
Watercolor dreams for our youth
Washed away by pious despots
A country cunningly annihilated

for more of David’s poetry, you can read RAGE, available exclusively on Kindle and free to borrow for Prime members.

If We Don’t Invest in Education, We Pay for Prisons

by David T. Bruce

Image courtesy of the NAACP; please click on the image to sign the NAACP petition to restore education funding
Image courtesy of the NAACP; please click on the image to sign the NAACP petition to restore education funding

Rick Santorum, as have many (if not most or all) Republican presidential candidates and elected officials, has strong opinions regarding the benefits of public education and higher education and the role of the federal government in the preservation and support of these institutions.  In particular, Santorum’s 2005 critique of the public schools in America continues to illustrate how the most economically and politically affluent citizens of this country are grossly ignorant of what it means to be a member of the lower- and middle-class in the United States.

Home schooling may certainly have benefits over a public school education, but a majority of Americans do not have the resources to effectively implement a home-school curriculum.  Public education services the majority, and indeed, public education needs an overhaul.  This does not mean, however, that our federal government should wash its hands of public education, leaving states to their own devices as they would like to do with medical programs.  If our states are truly united, then our education system should be united, a program implemented that provides uniform education to all students, not merely to those who live with families who can afford the very best education.

Santorum argues that the environment in which a uniform education is afforded provides an unrealistic image of “what life is like.”  I am unsure of what frame of reference Mr. Santorum has in regards to public education and “what life is like” for the majority of Americans, but many public schools are those in which various socioeconomic groups are represented, and few of them will ever realize “what life is like” for Santorum.

Over 1.2 million students drop out of school every year, according to research data provided by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.  Of those students, approximately half of them are African-American and Latino students.  This report illustrates what life is like for the 90% of American children who rely on public education, while their government leaders suggest that less intervention by the federal government is mandated.

Mr. Santorum speaks as poorly of higher education in America, citing the perceived rejection of religious faith by students who go into college.  Santorum and all of our state and federal representatives should be more concerned about the growing lack of faith in our leaders, our government, and in the promise that our nation will provide for the general welfare of its citizens.  Our federal government rarely wants to provide for anything or involve themselves in any program that involves spending money on its citizens, and our elected representatives endeavor to convince us that fending for ourselves is for our own good.

Our government seeks to cut federal spending on education, again placing the fiscal burden on individual states and citizens who are already strapped for cash.  The burden to our country can also be measured in collective dollars and cents, as research shows that among other detriments to society, “dropouts from the class of 2007 will cost our nations more than $300 billion dollars in lost wages, lost taxes and lost productivity.”  Money not spent on public schools and education will ultimately be spent on prisons and incarceration.

Our government can find certainly find the money (in excess of $700 billion) to bail out the banking and automobile industries for fear of how the foundation of our country and our economy would be affected by the collapse of those industries, but our government cannot find the money to bail out an industry that is shown to directly impact the success or failure of our nation today and for years to come?

Money does talk, and the actions (or inactions) or our government have demonstrated where our elected officials place their priorities.