Health, and the care of it, says a lot about a country

Leaky boat
Leaky boat

Seeing any person checking out garbage cans on the street for anything left behind diminishes us as human beings. No one is born a loser, although many are born into desperate circumstances. Others take that pitiful road because of a string of bad choices or bad luck. No matter how they got there, and whether we acknowledge it or not, the suffering of others affects us as well. A lot of people are looking down the barrel of bad luck and bad choices now.

As the health care debate frustrates our entire nation, do you wonder why Congress has not investigated the health insurance industry? Hmm… That must be one powerful lobby! Unconscionable Math presents a fascinating and disturbing explanation of rescinding, the practice of denying coverage just when someone actually needs it.

This debate is not about health. It’s about money. Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times that 18,000 people die each year because they lack health insurance. A Harvard medical study pegged that number at 45,000 people per year.

Nicholas Kristof also cited a case where a woman had to file for divorce due to her husband’s early onset dementia.The trajectory of his care would wipe out all of their assets, including her 401K, leaving her destitute. Her attorney advised that divorce was her only logical option. So much for family values.

If we can’t meet the baseline needs of housing, food and access to health care for everyone, what kind of country have we become? Doesn’t limiting health care industry executives compensation to $200,000, or even $500,00, a year and distributing the savings to provide coverage to people who’s lives depend on it sound reasonable? How about covering everyone and saving the billions of dollars now spent denying coverage? I’m for that!

For many, hanging on to the middle class rung is getting harder and the safety net is concrete. Creating solutions to strengthen individuals and families so that they have a decent place to live, nourishing food and  a shot at an education, and no one has to dig through garbage cans, is a worthy goal. It’s achievable too.

Many people are facing survival issues. Given that the world has fundamentally changed, the likelihood of returning to pre-collapse full employment, world dominance and cheap oil is remote. No collection of government programs robust or immediate enough to meet our pressing needs is on the horizon. Therefore, it is up to us to create new models that work for all of us. We can make headway on this at the community level when we “get” that we are all in the same leaky boat, so we may as well grab those buckets and bail together. Gathering as communities to solve our universal problems is a start.

New Community Vision is committed to the notion that we can create nurturing healthy, supportive communities by gathering monthly to brainstorm for solutions to our universal problems. The desired outcome is to get to know others, to discover common areas of interest and resources that, when tapped, lead to easier, more satisfying, abundant lives for all members. Our goal is to facilitate the gatherings in partnership with local community groups. Please contact us to infuse your neighborhood with community spirit and satisfaction. Comments are welcome.

Thanks to Brian at Drop the World for the photo of the leaky boat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *