Thoughts From a Single Payer Campaign

oldman

“Old Man Remembering With a Bird on His Head” or “I Got the Moves Like Jagger” 2018. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20″

Three days of sound painting, dreaming and planning for an alternative campaign run for state senate. Self-doubt is heavy in the evenings, whereas delusion reigns supreme soon after coffee in the morning. I make it through the day with very little drama in the known dimension, but feel an always unease in the invisible others. On Wednesday my wife and I attended a NY health care forum at SUNY Oswego. We heard from a group of practicing citizens, an economist, and a cardiologist about the single payer bill passed in the Assembly three times, yet still held up by the Senate. Not a person in the room (about 50 attending) supported either the present bad system of “Lord, please gouge your sick serfs until death” insurance companies, nor the record profit accumulation of Big Pharma companies that vow to “treat the symptoms only for a fleet of private planes”.

The local senator and assemblyman were invited, but chose not to attend for fear, most likely, of heavy frowns and rotten fruit bombardment. I shall not go into the crux of the official presentations—all leaned toward a single payer system, that is, a health care plan paid by “us” the government, a simple fact on paper that people often forget. Government is “we the people”.  It cannot be otherwise (at least for long) unless totalitarian, or a complete laughing stock (both scenarios coming to a legislative chamber near you, and quite soon, I’m afraid).

Mr. Assemblyman and Ms. Senator pretend that they are “us” and use the moniker of elections to declare two sides to an important issue, which in the real world is rarely true. For instance, no one wants dirty air, but an elected republican might suggest that the majority wants to overturn a law on mandatory smokestack buffers. Who wants filters removed for more soot to smog the air?

Nobody. Unless somebody is poised to make a gob of money. Therefore it is not a majority opinion that sets bad policy, just minority propaganda from the vested interests who control the traditional parties.

Wedge issues declare which side of the aisle you belong to, so a single issue like gun control can make whole populations of wittingly uninformed peoples vote republican, which, aside from its ideological beginnings and a modest faction of abolitionists, is the big business class, anti-union, pro-corporate supporters of windowless cubicles for serfs to rot away in.

A man in the audience stated in the Q & A afterwards that all matters in the debate boil down to the question of “What kind of a world do we want to live in?”

Yes, exactly!

When the single issue voter votes republican or democrat, it is an active, practicing dereliction to the future. It wasn’t nuclear weapons, crony capitalism, outrageous co-pays that made the proud republican get on a bus to Albany to join a mass protest for the first time. It was that cursed New York Safe Act which spat in the face of psychopaths achieving more firepower in public venues, and he’s mad as hell about it. Hence the bus ride to Albany crying “foul” in the land of the free.

Now republican candidates can care less about guns in the hands of “law-abiding” citizens. Guns are always great so long as there are enough single issue voters to not see the irony of no concealed carry allowed on the floor of the legislature. The republican senator pretends to think she has the god-given right to stroke an AR-15 purring in her lap while that liberal, bed-wetting governor delivers his inevitable “tax and spend” State of the State. Still, she’ll refrain from openly talking too much talk about it, knowing darn well that guns are pretty dangerous anywhere, but more so in houses where differing opinions fly.

The Republican Party is the big business and big lobby party. Period. The present Democratic party is not much different, also tossing in a wedge issue from time to time, with much fanfare and usually crappy results.

For instance immigration. There is a legal process (probably discriminatory) for immigrants to petition for residency in the United States. There is also an illegal way. The only just way I can see breaking another nation’s law in order to enter it, is during a state of war, oppression, or just outright starvation/desperation situations under totalitarian regimes. Therefore refugees please come. Not all of you, but many please do. I welcome you because I hate fascists and despots any where. They’re little babies with lots of bullets. Take that Saudi Arabia and Israel!

So I want to herd sheep in New Zealand because New Zealanders are heading into more desirable jobs of middle management (to keep dry during the winter rains), and they have excellent health care. Why not? I’ll just sneak into Christchurch because I want to, and live underground on the outskirts as a shepherd. Sounds good to me. At least I won’t get shot by a single issue voter. New Zealand has sane gun laws.

See? Hypocrisy in the law is a horrible, horrible wedge issue to get behind. No one reading this expects to walk into France next autumn and say, “I demand to live here because I want to pick grapes,” and be allowed to do so. Illegal immigration is a flawed campaign issue because it is illegal. Why do the democrats pick insurmountable problems to set on the national stage?

Back to health care. I have two anecdotes to share, one from out of state and one hitting the solar plexus right here at home.

This week a close friend of mine who lives in Florida told me about a three month treatment necessary to slow down the eventual shut down of his liver via Hep C virus received in a blood transfusion during Leukemia treatments in the late 1980’s. The first month’s supply for this life preserving medication charges $25,000 for the uninsured. “Luckily” my friend is covered by Blue Cross® and his copay was “only” $3,000. A one month’s supply to stay alive! Thank you Glaxo-Smith Kline! You sweet son-of-a-guns! Thank you Florida state representatives for keeping YOUR serfs just alive enough to work. What a happy population out yahoo-ing on the Florida turnpike, fearing everything with eyes, and believing in that god-given mental beer can right to go crazy and shoot kids in a school!

Yahoo.

In New York if you’re a retired police officer for the City of Utica, you may live off your pension quite comfortably until you are unable to move because your hip joint has no cartilage to slide on. Unfortunately, you like alcohol and tobacco enough to become addicted, so your doctor and his fear of malpractice refuses to operate on you until you go cold turkey for 4 months. Then you fall down and are taken to the hospital with several injuries, and rehabilitation is not covered by the insurance plan. Still, you must remain under care and supervision. So your pension is compromised, food and housing cannot be afforded, and you end up in a for-profit nursing home with poop on the floor, three bad meals a day, and all of your money and assets taken away by the state to pay the for-profit nursing (un)care.

That is the true affordable health care story of my stepfather’s last days. New York’s single issue voters and their opportunist politicians, brought a good man down to the rock bottom via dereliction of duty as citizen and citizen’s representative.

That is my reality of the private insurance market, and the broken bureaucracy attached to it.

It sucks so bad. I wait to see all these single issue pensioners in their old age getting their big guns to house and feed their feeble bodies, to wipe their butts (ouch!), to push them in a wheelchair outside for a smoke and a day dream. These pretend Horatio Algers who can’t cook their own rice in a pot, yet think they’re independent with a damn F350 truck payment. Those super men who cry in their NFL pillow cases after their wives leave them because the latter are sick of bleaching their black powder underwear while doing everything else that matters in a lifetime.

So, obviously, I am all for a state, and preferably, national single payer health care system. It is not a wedge issue. It is a top, all-encompassing issue for a healthy society.

I learned more in one hour at that SUNY health care forum than I have in a lifetime of reasonable thinking. There are experts out there and I am not one of them. I am only a citizen who believes it is the responsibility of society to share the load for the weakest among us. Be careful Ron, you’re beginning to sound too Christian. Next you’ll be telling the people to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.

Taxes. Another wedge issue to contemplate for another day. It is a matter of political survival that these propagandists of the business class have their wedge issues cut from the same dystopian pie.