“America’s healthcare system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” ~ Walter Cronkite

“You know, when we see a good idea from another country, we grab it. If they build a better car, we drive it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. So if they’ve come up with a better way to treat the sick, to teach their kids, to take care of their babies, to simply be good to each other, then what’s our problem? Why can’t we do that?” ~ Michael Moore in Sicko 

On tonight’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” I watched a Special Comment section that brought me to tears. Olbermann’s father has been in the hospital for six months, and now Olbermann finds himself facing a life decision.  

I am reposting Olbermann’s segment for several reasons: First, I have faced this same decision, not once, but twice. I understand completely what he is saying. I have felt his fear and his helplessness. I know that deep place from which he beseeches in his attempt to find answers. 

But aside from that, and perhaps more importantly in the general sense, I believe that Olbermann’s comment, as personal and impassioned as it is, speaks to the very heart of the the current healthcare debate. It puts a face on the perversely-labeled “death panels” (yes you, Palin, you maroon). It makes human some of the issues that are being bandied about so carelessly by those we have elected to represent us, to serve us, to make decisions that will help the quality of our lives.  

Healthcare in America has been reduced to statistics, skewed facts, sound bytes, and partisan bickering. The men and women who are going to Blair House tomorrow for the health care summit have forgotten about the important things: the quality of life, the quality of death, the access to care, the ever-increasing cost of coverage, the continually-escalating insinuation of obstacles into the physician’s ability to make decisions regarding treatment, the ability to make informed decisions not based upon what a family can afford. The politicians, the lobbyists, and the companies the lobbyists represent do not view this issue as being about people. And that, my friends, is precisely the problem. 

The bottom line here should not be the profits made by the healthcare industry. The bottom line should be what the American people need, what they have spent generations working for, what they deserve: Affordable, quality health care, comparable to that found in all of the other industrialized nations in the world. 

I contend once again that at such time the members of Congress begin to pay for their own healthcare and that provided at no cost for their families, only then do they deserve the right to makes decisions about what the rest of us are entitled to when it comes to affordable premiums, coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, and all of the other terminology that is used to obfuscate, complicate, and adumbrate the real issues related to national healthcare. 

If you care at all about this issue, please telephone, write, or e-mail your Senators and Representatives, and let them know exactly how you feel. Click on this link to find the contact information for your elected officials.  


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To read a transcript of Olbermann’s full segment, go to Keith Olbermann at Daily Kos. 


More later. Peace.


4 thoughts on ““America’s healthcare system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” ~ Walter Cronkite

  1. Hi Lita,
    For an industrialised nation, it never ceases to amaze me that the US has not introduced a national health scheme. Sure, it’s not the be all and end all but it is better than nothing at all. Here one may have to wait for non urgent surgery but on the other hand, if one requires immediate treatment it is free of charge through the public system. Here it has just been announced that the private health insurers have been given the green light to increase their premiums again, which is a major concern for us. We struggle to pay the premiums, so in the event that we actually need to have access to a hospital for non urgent surgery, we can. It’s a personal choice and it means that we pay twice, through taxes for the national system and the premiums for private but we are happy to do that if it gives everyone access to medical care.

    1. Maureen,
      I completely agree. I wish that the premium that I am currently paying were going for coverage not just for me. I know that I’m a liberal, but I believe in social services. I believe in providing for those who cannot otherwise provide for themselves. I don’t see that as being naive. I see that as being a human being.

  2. I am on the fence with the healthcare issue. I cannot fathom a Government that cannot run public schools ( large daycare centers in my opinion) or Social Security could possibly manage healthcare. I feel for people who cannot afford it BUT I have absolutely NO empathy for the folks who are on Medicaid, live in public housing ( rents are usually $90 a month) ,get food stamps and have 5 kids by the time they”re 29. The system is skewed, I do agree. I say that if you are on Medicaid and are NOT physically disabled you should be forced to pay some of the cost-period. You can drive a $30,000 car, you can pay for health insurance. I’ve seen folks who reaped the benefits of all that Social Services offers and plopped into a fully loaded Ford Explorer to the tune of $600 a month in payments. I did auto collections for many years and I can tell you, people have their priorities wrong. You do NOT need a cell,loaded car, big screen tv and expect ME to pay for your healthcare. The elderly should have first dibs- period. Anyone over 60-I support healthcare for. My ex son-in-law is getting Medicaid- he’s a coke head, has a herion addiction and is addicted to other opiates. Sorry, people like that do not deserve help.I don’t by it’s a disease. You know what it is when you pick it up.

    I think we should have local clinics. Let the Doctors volunteer and give them a break on their taxes or school loan. Everyone should pay- something. Be it $10 or $100. People will abuse the system less if they are made more responsible. It’s a hard issue but an issue we do need to work on getting corrected.

    1. Sarah,
      I really feel that we need nationalized healthcare of some kind. It’s ridiculous that people have to pay so much for health insurance. It’s ridiculous that pre-existing conditions can keep people from getting affordable health insurance. It’s ridiculous that Canada has managed to have national healthcare for years, as has Great Britain, France, and countless other countries, none of which are socialized. The U.S. has abominable statistics as far as infant mortality. I cannot fathom that. We have a system that allows health care corporations to make huge profits while people such as me have to pay over $400 a month for healthcare, and some of my friends cannot even afford any health insurance. Our family makes too much money to qualify for assistance, which is a joke. We don’t have a huge care payment or any luxuries. All of our money goes to pay for the house, my health insurance, and then we get food and whatever else we can afford to pay.

      Yes, there are people who abuse the system. There will always be people who abuse the system. That includes everyone in Congress who can afford healthcare but gets it for free. How is that fair. Our country prides itself on taking care of its own and in taking care of veterans, but veterans keep getting their care reduced, and VA hospitals are a joke. We do not take care of our own. We take care of some, and I’m sick and tired of it. I’m sick and tired of people like Sarah Palin making up crap about death squads to throw a ratchet in the works, which results in an inability to have an intelligent discussion on the issues. The whole process has become a joke. We didn’t get an overhaul under Clinton because people didn’t like Hillary Clinton–that makes sense. We won’t get the overhaul we need now because too many Republicans are out to show that they can exert power in Congress instead of listening to what their constituents want. Too many Democrats won’t make the hard decisions. And no one wants to be seen as supporting socialized medicine, which is not what National healthcare is.

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