Who Are We?

I saw Michael Moore’s Sicko tonight, and it brought together for me some things I’ve been thinking about. I’ve seen Michael Moore movies before, and although they’re interesting and funny, they always leave out about half of the discussion. This time, I’d seen a discussion about the movie on Oprah, and I thought it was a bit melodramatic the way Oprah was carrying on about what our real, core beliefs are about who deserves health care.

Then the whole SCHIP story came to the forefront. I just cannot understand not funding healthcare for children. Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but it just doesn’t make sense to me that people can make too much money to have their children’s health care covered by the government.

I was also (and still am) uninsured when the debate came up. I thought about how difficult it would have been for me to buy health insurance for myself, despite very few expenses. Although I wasn’t paid much as a temp, I was paid above minimum wage, probably 1/3 more than a lot of people. While I was temping, I did get sick. It was minor, a sinus infection, but I waited to go to the doctor almost 2 weeks longer than I would have if there were insurance to cover the bill. I’m sure that decision would have been magnified ten fold if it was my child who needed to go to the doctor.

Also at the same time, I saw the film The Reckoning, a story of a number of Dutch Resistance members during the Holocaust. For me, the story of Diet Eman is one of, if not the reason to see the movie. I’ve been interested in her story since I heard her speak in my high school. I read parts of her book to my 8th graders when we studied Anne Frank. So when I heard her speak, after the film premier, I was listening with rapt attention as she answered questions. A friend sitting next to me thanked her for participating in the film, for telling her story so that others could pass it along. Diet’s response was determined, but sounded almost naive to my ears–she said you would’ve done the same thing. If I remember right, she said something like “I know you would have.” Diet seemed to know, without a shadow of a doubt what had to be done, and she was confident that others would unquestioningly do the same.

But I don’t know…I’m not trying to be melodramatic, but I look at these things…insurance, healthcare for children, resistance, and I’m not sure what we as a nation, individuals, actually believe and do. I’d like to blame it all on the Bush camp and the crazy conservatives, but I think it’s more about me, and the small choices. As much as I like Obama, I don’t think he’ll fix this. Politics will not give us the moral integrity to make some of these choices.

I don’t really have an end to these thoughts. I’m just thinking….

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Who Are We?

  1. It’s nice to hear your thoughts about these things, Bridget. I’ve been thinking a lot about SCHIP myself. But you do realize that President Bush has always planned to *raise* SCHIP funding, right? Not to cut it, nor to stop providing health care for children – but to increase SCHIP funding to attempt to maintain the current program status quo in keeping with the economy. (And that’s not Fox News or Rush Limbaugh’s take on it; the conservatives’ intent to increase funding is made plain by listening to congress debate the issue on CSPAN.)The problem as I see it with the Democrats’ SCHIP proposal is that there is no logical means by which the proposed cigarette vice tax that is supposed to fund the costs can pay for the massive program increases the Dems wanted to add (which, famously, would raise SCHIP coverage to lower-middle class families in many states, which is distinctly beyond the stated goals of SCHIP.) That’s why it was vetoed. Here’s the deal: if the Democrats wish to offer an overall government-sponsored children’s health care plan to the country, they should label it as so and let the chips fall as they may – not take a successful program to help truly needy kids, load it with costs it can’t possibly absorb, and then try to tag conservatives that wish to keep a handle on government spending as “not caring about kids’ health.”That’s my take on it – and that’s from someone who could very feasibly benefit from the Dems’ proposed SCHIP increases if, say, my wife were to decide she didn’t want to stay at her current employer for much longer.Hey – we missed you at our Halloween party!

  2. Thanks for your comments, Jeff. I think I actually mostly agree with you. I know that the disagreement was not about funding SCHIP, but how much more to raise the funding. And I think you’re right about calling things what they are. I would be totally in support of a gov’t sponsored children’s healthcare program. In fact, I’d be in support of universal healthcare for everyone. Thanks for helping me clarify!And I missed the Haloween party too…you’ll have to explain some of the costumes from the pictures you posted…like Brent?

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