Thursday, August 20, 2009

"I've Got Your Head in a F-in' Vise, Here."

Nobody cares what I might say about health care reform, even less than they might about anything else I'd write. I should go to bed, I should organize my daughter's school clothes, I should read a book.

1. Corporate health insurance companies are death panels.

2. Conservative Republicans such as Dick Armey and Tommy Thompson have been making decisions for me about my health care all my life. Congress, administration, corporate health insurance board positions, for-profit hospital lobbyists, lather, rinse, repeat.

3. And as long as corporate health insurance companies can keep picking up the skim, the whole lot of them of any party would be fools not to take what they can get. Everyone gets their cut and it's been pretty peaceful, but you know how it is, people start getting greedy.

4. “People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.” This quote from the Investors Business Daily editorial offends most not because it's so way wrong--Hawking is British and actually spoke up for the NHS--nor because it perpetuates the lie about "death panels," but because of its infantilization of people with disabilities. From the sobby "This brrrrillllliant man" language to the Google I Feel Lucky selection of a poster child to the assumption that Hawking himself couldn't possibly have an opinion in the matter or care about how his views might be characterized in an international publication--it's just grotesque. But I know they only got carried away because they care, so, so deeply.

5. Republicans advocate giving "extra points" to those who take steps to maintain good health. What nanny will be responsible for counting the number of pushups Rush Limbaugh does daily? I fear some of our friends on the right will be quite deep in the hole, what with their cigars and steaks and painkiller addictions and alcoholism and hearing problems and obesity.

6. I don't have any moral problems about helping to pick up the tab for an abortion for a young woman in New Mexico, say, for whatever reason she might want one, or the Viagra for an old man in Iowa, for whatever reason he might give. Being sexual is healthy.

7. I find it morally repugnant to help pick up the tab for a corporate health insurance executive's liposuction or her child's private school tuition, for that matter. In countries with national health plans, some parents get up to two months of post-birth midwife visits. That would save the lives, health and/or sanity of countless women and infants. The US still has an appalling infant mortality rate.

8. It's not costing us more because they're giving us more care, or better care, or giving immigrants care, or because doctors are charging more. It's costing more because corporate insurance executives are taking a bigger skim.

9. They're taking a bigger skim not only because they want it, but because their stockholders, who may be you and me, want a bigger skim.

10. If I believe people are allowed to do as they please with their bodies, that liberty must extend not only to their sexual lives but to their diets, habits and more. If it's none of my business, it's none of my business.

11. Some get angry thinking about having to "pay the freight" for people who are "out of shape" (what, octagonal?) and "don't take care of themselves." People who know me know my diet and exercise habits. Last week I was in a trail race and did a face plant onto a rock. Just bruises and scrapes, from my cheekbone to my kneecap, but what if it had been worse? No one seems to be proposing I pay extra for my selfish, potentially dangerous "lifestyle" of fitness.

12. They say if they give us health care we'll just start going to doctors all the time, like it's going out of style, surgery here, shots there, tra la la, cause you know we can't be trusted to handle the stuff the rich people get and our kind will just take advantage. Cause hospitals are so cool and everyone wants a piece of what's behind that velvet rope.

13. I have no moral objection to giving up my piece of the skim in perpetuity in order to establish a national health system, even if it helps pay for dialysis for a stinky old racist piece of trash who never took care of his body one damn day in North Dakota, because he is a human and like me a parasitic growth on a planet struggling to stay alive, a parasite suffering like me from viruses such as language and auto-immune disorders such as love, at least once in his life if only for his dog, and we are all, after all, ending up in the same place.

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