Are You Like Me?

In an effort to put a face on the healthcare crisis in this country, someone has come up with a wristband. Yes, I know that it was a fashion fad several years ago to wear a writstband and it got way, way overdone. But, this spoke to me.

The people wearing the uninsured wristband are spreading a personal message:

"I'm uninsured, you may not know why, but now you know my face. Maybe I look like you or someone you love. I'm uninsured and scared of being without health insurance in this country. Maybe my health is already suffering from lack of health care. Today it's me, tomorrow it could be you."

The state of America's healthcare system is a medical emergency.
This was taken from The Political Carnival. I am embarrassed to admit I don't remember where I first saw this wristband, but I ordered one. And, I let them know at Uninsured Wristband that I lived on $8K a year so I didn't want to pay the $3.99. The wristband came to me in the mail and I am wearing it.

I grieve that most Americans - who rely on broadcast irritainment or corporate print new don't really know what is going on in the big healthcare fight in our country. Dennis Kucinich just proposed a wonderful amendment in the House of Representatives that would give States the right to create single payer healthcare - since the administration and the congressional leaders took universal, single payer healthcare off the table and out of the debate. On Democracy Now a whistleblower from Cigna has come forward and spelled out the corruption in the insurance, pharma industries and the collusion of the senators and representatives in keeping real reform away from the legislature. He has said the Michael Moore hit the nail on the head with Sicko. And, Bernie Sanders, I - VT has been direct in his appeal to Congressional Democrats. Citations maybe later . . I have got to go on a walk.

Update: Even though John Conyers' single payer legislation has been virtually killed, yesterday's news from Dennis Kucinich about this new amendment means single payer is alive. Check out more information at the Kucinich website.

Update 2: I should have mentioned that I hold very little faith that healthcare reform will come to this country in my lifetime. I believe the bill in congress is pathetic as the begrudged 'public' option will be very, very limited. Still, it must start somewhere and the state amendment is still the best news. I do get excited when I hear Kucinich, Sanders and others with the real message. Just finding these voices, words despite the roaring of the fetid wasteland of US media is like a big fat kiss.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank goodness for amy goodman, eh? i too am a regular listener. the wendell potter interview was wonderful as was howard dean on friday. it's refreshing to hear the truth however i remain wiped out on hope for real reform. i think we're going to end up with a bill that is similar to the climate bill they just passed....so watered down as to be basically worthless. a writer on commondreams.org (her name escapes me) recently summed up my feelings of late. she wrote that she wanted a bumpersticker which reads..."don't blame me, i voted for change"...she planned to put it right over her current one..."obama for change". i understand our prez is trying to bring change to the most reform resistant city on the planet but i'm increasingly dismayed by his lack of leadership. we're down one big round already and i think we're headed for another with one arm tied behind our back. and that's not even going into the dealings with banksters. we're settling for compromise and coming away with nothing. i thought leadership had finally caught up with the rising tide of new vision amongst americans but it seems we are not yet there.
becky
ps- keep walking, kate! you're a huge dose of inspiration! (i've not been walking much lately but i've been putting in the miles on my bike.) in my mid fifties, i too am at the age where i live the truth in "use it or lose it"!

katecontinued said...

Becky, let me first say I hope to graduate to biking once I feel stronger and more balanced.

I didn't participate in the election because I knew this candidate wasn't going to bring change. As I have said somewhere (?) - we have an incredible spokesmodel for the owners of world finance, business. He is intelligent, charming, wonderfully verbal, essentially good - but completely unable to bite the hand that directs him.

Our only hope is that individuals come together after decades of individualism (programed) and start determining the future course. Becky, if you aren't familiar with the Transition Towns of Great Britain, check them out today. They are so far ahead of the US in this regard. If you are familiar with TT, will you tell me what you think?

I appreciate your comments and your encouragement. I am trying to keep my energy largely on my own conquest over sedentary living and my imbalances in body, mind, spirit by reconnected to the physical world.

daharja said...

I'm glad that in both Australia and New Zealand you don't need insurance. You can *choose* to have it, so you'll get in faster, get cover for optional surgeries, and get the doctor of your choice. But you'll be treated just fine without insurance in hospitals without cover.

For example, in NZ my son's speech therapy is 100% free, covered by public insurance. We get the same treatment we would get if we had private insurance. And we're not even citizens - just permanent residents. It's an excellent system here, really world-class.

The US system of health care is notoriously bad, I think it rates somewhere behind Zimbabwe on world rankings.

Whenever we've visited the US we've been warned to have full cover, the best you can get, because we've been told that you just won't get treated in a hospital in an emergency unless you pay, and that families are commonly bankrupted by their medical care.

Sounds very third world to me - I don't see how a country can consider itself advanced if it can't even look after the health and wellbeing of its citizens.

I hope things improve soon, but from the reports we're getting of the economic collapse, it doesn't look likely :-(

Take care.

Rosa said...

The thing is, totally aside from the general problems in our media system - journalists OUGHT to be telling this story because so many of them are uninsured.

When I was still working at the newspaper there was alwyas a flyer up for someone who had gone freelance and then gotten sick or their family had gotten grievously ill and they needed $80,000 for chemo.

Anonymous said...

yes, Kate, i am acquainted with the transition town movement. on rough days it provides hope. also enjoyed reading about a small town in pittsboro, n.c. which i heard about first thru Democracy Now. i think Melinda also read this and mentioned it in her blog One Green Generation. it describes the start/stop/good/bad/success/fail/keep going, often messy approaches taken by a small town toward a more local economy- it's called Small is Possible by Lyle Estill. Not a TT but similar thinking.
i too am trying to overcome a fall, winter and spring of sedentary ways due to imbalances in body, mind and spirit. (i recently learned i have a thyroid problem.) currently, in the humidity and heat of so. florida, i don't have enough energy for walking- something i used to do alot and enjoy greatly, so i've started biking with the goal of a return to walking when cooler weather returns. (walking is better exercise really) so i'm riding, hoping to return to walking, while you are walking toward a goal of riding! (have you considered a three wheeler?) either mode provides a lot of return both in exercise and spirit as we move more naturally through the landscape. time to drink in the many shades of purple.
becky

katecontinued said...

@daharha: It is the expats who we should be hearing from all over the news. You who live it every day. How do you get permanent resident status? Did you apply for that from the get go?

@rosa: I've been thinking of you. Hope things are going well. Besides the media - good point by the way, thanks - I have been thinking about the insurance industry itself. It is filled to the brim with people just trying to make it. Unlike the chief PR whistleblower, Wendel Potter, I keep waiting for whole groups of those regular workers within the insurance industry to speak up. Is it because there is nobody to speak up to? By that I mean, were I a whistleblower and I decided to speak up, would I just drive to my local newspaper and hope there was someone who would see me, listen to me and write my story? Our local paper is a sorry example of journalism.

@becky: thanks, I will explore that source you recommend.

katecontinued said...

Seems weird, but blogger doesn't let me edit my own comment. Should be Wendell . . .

Rosa said...

The regular workers for the insurance companies - almost all of whom are women - are terrified of losing their jobs. I had a friend who worked at Cigna and she would call me and rant about their practices all the time. She actually quit - unrelatedly (aside from being part of her willingness to quit a bad job) she's currently uninsured and pregnant, and being heavily pressured by the public insurance system in her state to get married.

Sanctity of marriage my ass. half the married people i know got married for insurance purposes.

(I'm doing well. Been off the computer some - we went on a 3 day camping trip to Blue Mounds, MN this weekend.)

daharja said...

Hi Katecontinued - We're Australians, so we qualify for permanent residency in New Zealand.

But even if we weren't, my husband was offered a job here a year + ago, and we would have qualified under the skilled immigrants plan for residency.

New Zealand also has a policy of medical coverage for tourists when they are here, and for people here on short term stays. So, for example, if you were pregnant and visited NZ, and gave birth here, the birth would be covered by NZ health care and would be free, even though you're a US citizen.

And we have some of the best and most advanced health care in the world - New Zealand ranks well above the US on WHO stats and infant mortality stats etc. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_infant_mortality_rate). You'd also be automatically covered for any emergency care, for example if you were in a car crash or got the flu.

As permanent residents, we get free dental for the kids up to the age 18, free health for all of us, all script medicines are free or cost $3, most specialist care such as my son's speech therapy and other autism treatments, and so on. It's an excellent system - the best I've come across anywhere, and I've lived in half a dozen countries, including Hong Kong, the UK, the USA and Australia.

Senior citizens (retirees) and disabled people get everything covered for free, I think.

As a taxpayer, I'm glad to know our money is supporting our citizens, instead of going towards funding things like wars in Iraq and nuclear weaponry :-) New Zealand is nuclear-free :-) Best country in the world - the best decision we made in our lives was to move here (apart from getting married to my soul mate and having two wonderful kids, but I don't want to make you vomit!)

katecontinued said...

Ha! No vomit. I promise. Thank you for the details. I suspect I read some of that at your blog and then stored in the deep recesses of my mind. (Is anyone else suffering from TMI? I read so much that I am feeling a sort of underlying anxiety to do something more with what I learn. But, that isn't something I am interested in now.) Anyway, it sounds quite wonderful in New Zealand.