Posts Tagged 'People without coverage'

Shame on us

I was rowing yesterday.  Not on Lake Casitas.  In the house on the rowing machine in front of the TV.  It’s a chore that’s made bearable when there’s something good on the screen.  Like news that’s actually news or a movie that I haven’t seen three or four hundred times.

I often wonder why people keep paying the cable companies outrageous fees for the privilege of seeing the same flick run over and over and over again.  And then I remember that I’m one of those fools.

Luckily, I stumbled on The Girl in the Cafe.  A 2005 made-for-TV movie starring one of my favorite actors, Bill Nighy.  Not a household name, but an actor whose versatility is extraordinary.  Whether as the vicious, overpowering chief vampire in Underworld or, as an introverted, somewhat pathetic bureaucrat in The Girl in the Cafe, Nighy tends to steal the screen whenever he appears.

In Cafe, Nighy is a third level bean-counter attending a G8 conference in Iceland.  As a result of a chance encounter, he is accompanied by a young woman, played by Kelly Macdonald, whose background is a bit hazy.  At the conference, the G8 wrestles with the tragedy that afflicts millions of African children who die needlessly from malnutrition.  The conferees agree that something must be done. But they are reluctant to negatively impact their own economies by providing financial aid to the suffering masses.

It’s the apolitical Macdonald who Nighy squired to the conference, who gives us a lesson in humanity and saves the day.  She interrupts and quietly disagrees with a dinner speech by the British prime minister.  As part of her lesson, given at a table laden with delicacies, she snaps her fingers every three seconds.  Every three seconds someone in the world dies of malnutrition.  Every three seconds.

At the end of the movie and before the credits roll, a Nelson Mandela quote flashes on the screen…Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.

It seemed an appropriate quote for what’s going on in the great health care debate.  Nearly 50 million people without coverage and a lot more that are under-insured.  Alongside the rest of us.  Us with Medicare, Companion Care and Who Gives a Care.

To compound and abet the selfishness, misinformation is a co-conspirator.  For example, Paul Krugman’s column in the NY Times highlights what the Party-of-No propaganda has accomplished…

At a recent town hall meeting, a man stood up and told Representative Bob Inglis to “keep your government hands off my Medicare.” The congressman, a Republican from South Carolina, tried to explain that Medicare is already a government program — but the voter, Mr. Inglis said, “wasn’t having any of it.”

We hate the idea of government-run health care…oh, except Medicare.  People like me and the other bozo from South Carolina love it.  You’d have to rip it from our cold dead hands.  But mention “government option” and alarms go off.  It’ll be just like the Post Office. You’ll be found comatose in the dead letter file.

Or…It’ll be the end of private insurance.  You know, the kind that denies care, cancels you retroactively, increases your premium twice a year, and spends more than the government does administering similar programs.

But all that pales when one out of seven of your neighbors have no, zero, nada coverage.  We agonize over whether we can afford it.  Can we afford to roll those 50 million in with the rest of us?  Wait, you say.  It’s too expensive.  I’ll have to pay higher taxes.  And the biggest objection of all…My own care will be compromised.  It’ll be rationed.  I’ll have to wait in line.  I’ll die.  Woe is me.  Leave me alone.  I’m happy.  This, in a country where eight of ten people call themselves  religious.

Maybe we’re not the great generation that Mandela spoke of.  If so, shame on us.



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