In the contentious health care reform debate that has raged on lo these many months, one of the cries of protest we’ve heard has centered around how we might be infringing upon the rights of young, healthy American citizens. Young healthy people don’t need to access the health care system the way old folks [who, we know, Obama wants to shovel in front of death panels] do! Young folks should not be forced to waste their precious dollars on health insurance premiums for coverage they don’t really need just because you libruls think that would help bring down the cost for everybody else! That’s SOCIALISM!!!!!!!!!! Next you’ll be wanting to take mah gunz away!
Yes, by all means, let’s talk about the relationship between guns and health insurance. Specifically, how available guns are for sick fucks who want to kill random women as punishment for the perceived sins of all women who have refused to date them. Versus, say, the lack of availability of health insurance for young women who have aged out of their parents’ insurance policy and who have the bad luck to be gunned down by sick fucks who want to kill random women as punishment for…etc.
My sister is a member of the fitness club where that shooting took place. It was just chance that she was not there, and not in that fitness class, the night the shooting took place. My gratefulness for her safety has been tempered by my sadness for the women who were killed and injured there.
Well, just imagine my thoughts today when I talked to my sister, and she let me know what was going on for one of the women who was shot at the fitness club. The young woman had recently graduated college and therefore had “aged out” of coverage on her parents’ health insurance. She did not have coverage provided through a job. I can’t tell you why she didn’t purchase coverage on the open market – because it was out of her financial reach, because she didn’t think she needed it (being young and healthy), who knows, maybe she had a pre-existing condition that made it impossible for her to get it (see my next post). Whatever, she didn’t have health insurance.
She is left with a hefty, hefty bill from the hospital due to the surgery and other treatment she needed because some sick fuck asshole came into her fitness club and shot her while she was minding her own business, exercising, trying to maintain her own health.
So her friends and family recently sponsored a friggin’ car wash to raise funds to pay her hospital bills. Yes. A car wash.
My sister asked: what’s the difference between throwing five or ten dollars into the can at the car wash to help this young woman out, versus what we might be doing if we all paid a bit in taxes to make sure that everyone had adequate health insurance coverage? If you are willing to help out at events like this, why don’t you want to help out with your taxes to make sure that people don’t have to go around begging for help to pay for their hospital bills? Why, she asked, can’t we all just acknowledge that we are all in this together, and that we need to take care of each other?
Here’s my guess: you throw ten bucks in the can at the young shooting victim’s car wash, and you feel virtuous; you feel you have helped someone who “deserves” your help. You are participating in the mythology of “we all take care of ourselves and we don’t depend on gov’mint handouts”. But, you pay taxes to insure that everyone has access to adequate health insurance coverage, and the rightwing nutjobs convince you that you are a dupe who has been made to fund the lazy, brown- and black-skinned no-good-niks who are destroying America as you know it, and who will thank you for your efforts by raping your daughters and looting your homes if given half a chance.
In my next posts I will talk more about the myth of young healthy people not needing insurance, and about the myth of “being able to take care of ourselves”.