Thursday, March 13, 2008

Universal Health Care

Why is this concept feared so much? Other countries do it quite successfully. The right wants to keep health care privatized. Well, we see what that's done for us, haven't we?

Just the other day, Dennis Irwin (a jazz bassist in New York) died of cancer. He did not have health insurance because he couldn't afford it. A benefit was held by several prominent jazz artists to help raise funds to cover his medical expenses. A few weeks ago, before he died, someone posted a note about him on a bass player's email list to which I belong. He closed the note by suggesting people vote Democrat so we can get some heath care for people who need it. For several days after, the list was bombarded with arguments for and against universal health care. I was astonished by one person in particular who suggested it was his own fault for choosing a profession (musician) that does not pay enough.

In this global economy, jobs are getting outsourced on a daily basis. I personally have taken an interest in identifying jobs that cannot be outsourced. Quite often these are service industry jobs. Hairdresser, for instance, cannot be outsourced. It's a valid and necessary profession that must be performed on location. Does a hairdresser make enough money to afford health insurance? Probably not. Does the shop in which the hairdresser works pay for insurance for its employees? Doubtful. So, unless the hairdresser can get coverage under their spouse, they're out of luck. And what of those who are single either by choice or because the law will not allow them to marry due to their sexual orientation?

I know of a person who is currently working three jobs, yet works 60 hours a week. She does not have a degree beyond high school (face it, not everyone is college bound), so her job choices are limited. Because each of her jobs is a part-time position, she does not have health insurance. As such, she was sidelined recently by a mere urinary tract infection, which she treated herself by drinking gallons of cranberry juice.

Are we all so self centered and non-caring as to let our friends and neighbors endure illness and massive health care bills just because it might cost us a couple of pennies?

I saw someone on The Daily Show recently who suggested that the government's only job should be to protect us from harm and that it should keep out of everything else (except our bedrooms, no doubt). He insisted that even trash pick-up should be privatized. Of course, if this were so, would the people with those jobs make enough? Would their companies buy insurance for them? I'm sure he would agree that anyone who can't afford to buy health insurance just shouldn't have it. I wonder who cuts his hair.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Politics?!? Really?!?

First, let me apologize to my loyal readers (both of you) for removing my old blog, "Random Thoughts." It's interesting to see what stupid thing depression can make you do.

Now, politics. Earlier this week, Ohio played the wonderful roll of helping to keep Hilary in the race for the Democratic nomination. I am proud to have played a part in it, and even more proud to finally be presented with the choice of selecting the woman or the black man on the ballot.

I like both of them. I find them to be very similar and would be surprised at this point if, in the end, both of their names aren't on the ticket. I like Hilary just a little bit more, which is why I voted for her. Former President Clinton was, in my opinion, the best president this country has had in my lifetime. Having Senator Clinton serve would hopefully bring this country back from the depths of hell to which the current administration has subjected us.

I do have some reservations about her though. First, I don't like that she followed the pack and voted to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq back in 2002. But I can look past that. People make mistakes. A bigger concern for me is that, with Hilary on the ticket, Republicans will come out in droves to vote not for McCain, but to keep her out. People don't like her. A lot of people don't like her. I don't know why this is. Is it just because she's married to Bill? Is it because she's strong? I just don't get it.

I've been really torn over the last few years. I don't like the fact that ours is really a two-party system. If I were to vote with my heart, I'd vote (and have in the past) Green Party, because they really speak to my ideals. But everyone knows that a third party candidate will not be elected. I have used my vote to try to send a message, thinking that if enough people do so, we might gain some notice. So far, no one has noticed.

For now, I'm just happy to be able to vote for someone rather than against someone.