Today's Episode, in Which Heather Eats Pancakes Two Days in a Row
I ate pancakes two days in a row. Dear Readers who know me know that I normally will not eat pancakes at all, let alone two days in a row. What the hell is going on?
Well, it was all for a good cause, and provides a light on why the people who are most likely to oppose universal, single-payer health care are those who really need it the most.
Boxer and I went north for the holiday to visit with mia madre and various and sundry kinfolk. And on the day we left, we joined mia madre for a pancake breakfast benefit for a local small business owner who had a horrific illness, poor or no health insurance, and desperate need of funds to help her with her care. We could also have attend a pig roast earlier in the weekend for another individual in the same situation. And certainly, a health care fundraiser was held on behalf of my uncle and his family when he was dying from brain cancer.
This is what happens in these small, rural towns. When someone is sick and in need, everyone joins together. And everyone gives what they can. Because - for certainty - most do not have insurance. When people get sick in these areas, it is disaster. Homes are lost, families can be torn apart, and the debt just keep growing.
And yet, these are the same folks who would be ashamed to go on BadgerCare or any other publicly provided medical assistance - despite paying taxes. These are the same folks who think only "welfare queens" and "damn immigrants" can get access to public safety nets; yet they would never want to take advantage of those safety nets themselves, even when they can and should do so. Why? Because it admits to being poor, to having failed in some strange way at the grasping the American dream, because people and communities should take care of their own, because government is a bad thing?
So, individuals suffer. I imagine many die as a result of money to pay for health care or being forced to have substandard care because it is all they can afford. And, they continue to speak out against universal, single-payer health care despite the fact that it would dramatically improve their lives as well as the economic situation of their communities.
We often talk about the damage high medical bills and lack of insurance can have on the individual, and yet we don't often talk about the impact on communities. I cannot imagine how much money has come out of the community to pay for various medical fundraisers in recent years. In most cases, this was money individuals really could not afford to give, tottering on the edge of financial oblivion themselves.
It makes me wonder if the way to get single-payer health care passed in this country is to actually work on helping people understand that we are one big community. There are no people from Catawba, Wisconsin. There are no people from the state of California. We are all from the community of America, and our buying power - when put together - is way more powerful than it ever can be if we are all trying to buy a critical service in our own little worlds. If we work together, we can take care of everyone who is here, no matter what, so that everyone can have the basics of care needed to live healthy lives - not cut short by access to quality medical care.