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Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’

Socialist! Anarchist! Traitor!

The list of what I am (according to the Opposition) goes on, but those are the highlights. Frankly, I don’t see it, but what can I do?

One thing I can do is be up-front about what it is I want for America. If that paints me as an anarcho-socialist , I’ll have to own it.

So, here we go: one liberal’s manifesto, in 1,000 words.

Health Care

I want you to be able to go to the doctor when you’re ill. Simple as that. I want you to be able to see a physician whether or not you’re currently employed or can afford the cost. You shouldn’t suffer (or die) because you’re poor or because you don’t have a job. I want an alternative to employer-provided healthcare because (A) some employers are dicks and don’t provide healthcare or a wage high enough to afford it, (or both) and (B) if you get laid off or you’re too ill to work or, hell, I don’t know, there’s a pandemic and your businesses shuts down, I don’t want you to lose that healthcare.

There are many ways to achieve this, but this is the goal:

You should be able to go to the doctor when you’re sick.

Racial Justice

I want you to be treated equally, regardless of what you look like, what you worship, or who you love. And you certainly shouldn’t fear for your life whenever you interact with the law enforcement. Anything counter to that goal is counter to equality, which is counter to basic American tenets. Privately, you may harbor any prejudices and bigotries you want. You can even gather with like-minded friends and complain loud and long about the inferiority of others. You can even worship a god that encourages this bigotry. Go ahead. Knock yourself out. Just keep it in your basement, your garage, your private venue, because out here, in public, we should all be treated equally.

Again, many things must change to move us in this direction—policing reforms, help for historically disadvantaged communities, redrawing gerrymandered districts—but this is the goal:

You and I (and he and she and they) are all equal in our citizenship, and should be treated equally by government and by public businesses.

Economy

I want your job to pay you enough to live on. That means I think even an entry-level full-time job should pay you at least enough to cover food and shelter. It might be ramen and refritos in an apartment with a roommate (or two), but it should be enough. You shouldn’t have to apply for food stamps if you’re a full-time employee. You shouldn’t have choose between food, medications, or heat if you’re working full-time.

I want your job to be safe. That means businesses should treat employees, customers, and neighbors kindly, and not harm their health or financial well-being. Since business has proven that, given the chance, it’ll screw over anything, from employees to creditors to the environment, they need to be regulated. This does make it harder for businesses to turn profits, but profit should not cost human lives. If you can’t turn a profit without harming people, then I think we can live without what you’re selling.

There’s a lot packed into those paragraphs, but this is the goal:

Your job should (A) pay you a sufficient wage, and (B) not hurt you, your family, your town, or the world.

Science and Facts

I want you to know that government policies are based on facts. Climate change, pandemics, food safety, clean water and air, the policies on these topics need a strong foundation in science. Yes, scientific consensus is sometimes a moving target, especially as regards emerging threats, but it’s well-proven that ignoring science is a Bad Idea. And yes, there are other, non-science factors to be weighed, but if we’re clear on the facts, we can see the trade-offs that policy makers make. Denying scientific consensus, denying factual evidence, degrades our trust and encourages bad decisions that end up hurting us all.

This isn’t really a policy thing; it’s a people thing, in that it’s people who make policies, but this is the goal:

You should be able to trust that science-based policies are, in fact, based on science.

Taxes

I want you to know that everyone pays their fair share of taxes. We all rely on the same public works, from utilities to military to roads to schools and beyond. You may not have kids in school, but you rely on kids who went to school. You may never have had to call the fire department, but you sure as hell want them there if you need them. These are paid for with taxes, and whether you make minimum wage or you make millions, you rely on these things, so you should pay for them. How much? Well, at the low end, you may not be able to afford anything, as all your income goes to necessities. That’s okay, because there are lots of us who can afford it. But, most often, it’s those who can afford it most who pay the least, and this is neither fair nor just. The trickle-down economic theory that has justified this situation for decades has proven itself false and should be scrapped.

If anything, this is the part that will strike many as “socialism,” but this is the goal:

Your tax rate shouldn’t be higher than a billionaire’s.


That’s it. That’s my (brief) manifesto. For my life, I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t share these goals (except for billionaires who don’t like taxes . . . I get that part. Tough.). These aren’t “radical left” ideas. They’re ideas that have been around for a long time, many of which were actual Republican policy in past decades.

But, if after reading the goals above, you still think I’m some sort of anarcho-socialist monster out to destroy the suburbs and defile the American Way, I don’t think I’ll be comfortable with your goals, either.

k

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Yesterday was a big news day.

The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) both struck down and upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Chief Justice Roberts was the swing vote, and SCOTUS proved it was a deliberative body. It was also a big day for bookies in Vegas, as lots of people lost their bet (including me). What the Obama administration managed to do was to lose their argument, but win the case, with SCOTUS acting like a soft-hearted teacher, helpfully pointing out the answers the administration should have given on the exam.

All in all, big stuff, and important stuff. But what I can’t figure is: why were we even there?

By all I’ve read and heard, Americans favor and support just about everything in the ACA. Coverage for children to age 26? Great! No lifetime caps or pre-existing conditions? Brilliant! Assistance for rural hospitals, increased coverage mobility, greater access to preventive care? All these things get a big thumbs-up from the American public. And yet, a large faction of Americans are against the ACA? Why?

For some, of course, it’s because their party are against it. They’ve been whipped into a froth by demagogues using red-meat phrases like “socialism,” “redistribution of wealth,” and “death panels.” And, in this day of divisive, über-partisan politics, you cannot escape the Faithful Base gnashing their teeth, and for these folks there is no reasoning or logic.

But for others, the only part that sticks in their craw is the “individual mandate.” And this is the source of my mystification.

You, Mr/Ms ACA-Opponent, you work hard.  You go to work, you pay your taxes. You support your family, and you provide them with health care coverage so that when something unfortunate happens, you don’t go bankrupt to pay the hospital bills and end up on the street. But, over there is a guy who doesn’t want to buy health insurance; he’d rather spend his money on something else, because he knows that if he gets really sick, he can just go to the emergency room and the hospital can’t turn him away.

So, why do you, Mr/Ms ACA-Opponent, why do you want to pay for that guy?

k

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