Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Well, falling off a bit on the posting every day thing, but I mean to work harder at it.

Well, falling off a bit on the posting every day thing, but I mean to work harder at it.

Today has been 'NPR' day. I decided to listen to some of the archives in addition to the regular broadcast. I actively sought the broadcast that covered Tom Anthony and his book about the song, "House of the Rising Sun." I remembered this because I found the story fascinating. I actually don't think I have heard all of the versions of the song. Yesterday I heard and saw finally in its entirety the Animals version of the "House of the Rising Sun". I saw the original tv tape and the 2006 concert with a much older Eric Burdon. I think that older Eric gave the song a rawness that was missing in his younger incarnation. It was said that the Animals version of the song held an "allure" and I would agree with that. The "allure" was missing in the older Burdon's performance. It makes you wonder about the fantasies of youth where something like a song of ruin and reckless can be attractive and of age where once older is now wiser and the skull is seen beneath the skin.

I also heard today on On Point about disparity in divorce rates in classes, a rough report card on day care, a review of the movies '300' and 'Sicko' and 'How Doctors Think.'

Divorce rates and class: Maybe. I found it curious that they did not look at a class of people that want to get married but cannot in any state in this country except Massachusetts. I suppose that's another story.

'300': I saw the movie and liked it for the entertainment that it was. A strong memory for me regarding this was a girl named Marin who brought along a copy of Thucydides' version of the event that was published by Oxford, which is always awesome in providing maps, timelines and commentary. I thought it was curious that mention was made by the Iranian guests and host Tom Ashbrook about the darkness of the Persians' skins and the whiteness (Ashbrook said Aryan) of the heroes. Actually, I found it curious that the Iranians were so upset and adamant about the fact that their characters had dark skin and one went as far as to claim that the Greeks were actually the dark skinned ones as if being dark skinned was a despicable thing-even more than Xerxes being portrayed as an immoral "drag queen" that does not value his people or family values.

'How Doctors Think': I think that the idea that you need to be your own best advocate was reinforced. Women especially need to do this-damn the 'b--tch' perception and full steam ahead.

'Sicko': I saw 'Sicko' finally at MIT yesterday. I was upset by it because I am still hopping mad over Massachusetts' mandatory healthcare reform program that only benefits the health insurance companies and not the people. This documentary only reinforced what I already knew. I am also upset at the Phoenix because you know, it's real easy to portray young people (20s and 30s) as careless, selfish and thoughless-we have a society that hammers that home all the time with cartoon character media portrayals. To say that they are all these things because they see the Emperor doesn't have any clothes (the fact that they are paying for health insurance that over time with certain jobs, will almost certainly insure that they will be behind-but they will be covered-kinda) points out that the writer and the experts advocating for this really don't see this for the racket that it is. I also find it a bitter taste in my mouth that many of us will still pay Medicare taxes and then be asked to carry a policy.

I understand that as an employee of a company, you would need to pay this anyway and of course the larger the company, the better it is in terms of what portion you pay (usually).

My problem is with being made to take a policy or risk getting fined by the state.

The argument that most make for this measure is the fact that most people who are uninsured only get medical attention in the Emergency Room which equals huge expenses and well then they don't pay their bills to the hospitals that treated them and they wouldn't have been there anyway had they gone for regular checkups with a regular doctor.

It seems to me that proponents seem to forget a few things:

A) People don't get regular checkups and/or don't go for treatment at a clinic not because they can't afford to take the time off from their job. All of the proponents of this "healthcare reform" assume that everyone has these dreamlike employers that will not give them grief about taking part of a day or a whole day off to have the checkup. They forget that particulary for the groups of people that they are seeking to put on the rolls, this more often than not is the exception and not the rule-particularly when it comes to those with children. In some cases, you will not get paid for this time that you take off.

I know that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure and losing a half a day's wages is worth it when the alternative is more lost wages or death. My larger point is that we live in one of the most expensive states to live in for everyone, where choices are made all the time between paying the rent or eating two meals vs. three meals. It is easy for those who don't have those worries to think that it is all so very easy to do-this go to the doctor's on your time (which is usually company time).

B) The assumption that now that everyone is covered by health insurance that there will be this rash of people going to their doctors and not going to emergency rooms to receive care. See A.

C) Choice. Many managed care plans offer choice and as 'Sicko' illustrated in one poignant story, a person may not have a choice where they can get emergency treatment, which makes no sense at all.

I don't think that the countries Michael Moore profiled are the magic bullets per se but I think that we as country may need to let go of our hubris and revisit the BIG PICTURE and look at the fact that if we don't solve our problem with health care in a meaningful way that respects all of our citizens and not just the ones that make a buck on it, then we can't cry about the results.

I found this quote from one of my favorite all time authors:

"We must still do our own thinking and act upon it, for even though we make mistakes, experience is still the best teacher, and thinking and experimenting develop character."

- Laura Ingalls Wilder -

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