Friday, August 12, 2011


I normally wouldn't write about someone's family, but I received an e mail as part of a mass mailing from a rightwing Tea Partyer about one of his children having a health problem and how a medical procedure fixed it. As I read it I was overwhelmed with compassion for the child, her mother and siblings, and her father, sending prayers and positive thoughts to all of them.

But then I read the PS, where the rightwinger said he "shudders" to think what the outcome would have been if his family lived in Massachusetts or Canada or the UK! I felt sucker punched. This person uses his child's health problem to score some imaginary points against not just places that are more compassionate about EVERYONE'S NEED for good and affordable healthcare, but also the rightwing ideological mindset he shares with unfortunately so many others is so deeply entrenched that even in situations that would normally generate compassion it instead reaches conclusions based on ignorance and selfishness (and thinks it's clever for doing it!).

As anyone knows who reads or listens to anything other than rightwing propaganda, the issue isn't the quality of healthcare (though that too is an issue in many places in the U.S., though not Massachusetts!), it's the availability and affordability. My daughter-in-law is a Canadian citizen and has extended family in a remote part of Canada. Not only are her relatives treated for all kinds of emergency and chronic health problems FOR FREE(!), they are medivacked by helicopter when necessary, also for free.

She also happens to live with her family in Massachusetts, where healthcare for her and her immediate family is also readily available and affordable. We've all seen news stories about the free temporary health clinics that travel around this country and people travel hundreds of miles to go to because they haven't been able to afford to see a doctor or dentist for years.

A personal example is one of my dearest friends who lives near me in Jersey. She can't afford the more expensive health insurance but recently suffered chest pains and her doctor called an ambulance to take her to the hospital immediately—where I met her. Afterwards she was billed several thousand dollars(!!!?!) for that ambulance ride, which her insurance won't pay, so she's now in debt for the ride and the hospital expenses her insurance also won't pay.

The rightwingers who think like the one who sent me the email are ignorant because they ignore the fact that the U.S. scores very low in healthcare among other developed countries and even in comparison with some developing countries. That it is health costs  in this country that have contributed so much to our financial problems as they've risen faster and higher than most other countries because we have a "for profit" business in which customers are guaranteed since we all need doctors and procedures now and then, and because they don't seem aware that the places this particular rightwinger cites have better health results than the U.S. (Massachusetts not only is one of the most "liberal" states with healthcare for all, it also has the lowest divorce rate and is having a hard time filling its great number of high tech jobs with US citizens because universal quality education in this country has also been a victim of rightwing policies and propaganda).

[Rightwing ideologue Texas Governor Perry likes to brag about all the jobs that have been "created" in Texas in recent years, but he doesn't point out that most of them are service jobs at the lowest wages, at Walmart, MacDonald's et. al.—just as he also never mentions that he's basically bankrupted his state which had a surplus before he started the kinds of spending cuts the rightwing loves, et-endlessl-cetera.]

And these rightwing ideologues are selfish and self-centered because their perspective is that because they can afford good health insurance (or in many instances rely on federal programs to pay for them, like Medicare and yet still disparage the government!) others who can't afford it can be ignored or abandoned or left to fend for themselves.

It is dismaying to see the level of greed and self-interest that has become the norm in countries where rightwing ideology has had an impact, i.e. in Britain and our own country ever since Thatcher's and Reagan's impact, including the dismantling of unions while serving the interests of the wealthiest creating the greatest gap between the rich and the rest of us since before The Great Depression (and one of the leading causes of it).


JIm said...

From the right winger:

I received an email back from one of my doctor clients who has praticed medicine in New Zealand, which has a government run system. He confirmed that the McKenna family were indeed fortunate not to have had their Shannon treated there. The wait for treatment, according to him, would have been months.

PS Lally, thank you for kind and thoughtful characterization. After a very difficult first night where Loyeen and I stayed with Shannon at the hospital, she is doing nicely. Many of her softball teammates have wanted to visit her. Instead Loyeen, Shannon and I will be cooking hotdogs for them after practice tonight at the field. Shannon has been cleared to play on Monday.

Anonymous said...

my doctor for over 40 years

trying to find a new GP ....

so far have gotten 3 "the doctor doesn't take Medicare"

and 2 "the doctor doesn't take new patients, not even those recommended to him."

this health care situation (and everything else) is only going to get worse....

as farr as "the gap" hell, 51 % voted that morons rule the other 49 %

let s riot and start with those MORONS who debated last night.... Gingrich is now looking like the best of the lot ands we all KNOW what he is !!!!!

no matter who is "driving the bus"

Jamie Rose said...

Great post Lals.

And Jim. Sending good thoughts to your Shannon.

JIm said...

Our family thanks you Jamie Rose.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

Jim, I join Michael and Jamie Rose in wishing Shannon good health and all of you peace of mind.

Robert Z.

tell her it's coming from the photographer of all three Transformers movies and both National Treasures.

JIm said...

Thank you Robert. I can not speak for the Transformer movies but the National Treasure movies were great fun.