Economy Shows Up At Emergency Room With No Health Insurance
While railing against the “legacy costs” of the US automakers, the Republican Senators from southern states do their best to keep the conversation focused on the sins of unions and their members as the sole reason for the problems that industry is facing in our country. Every time someone, like Michigan Governor Granholm, brings up the fact that the cost of providing health care coverage for autoworkers puts Detroit at a competitive disadvantage, the Republican senators are allowed to change the subject by the moderators. Today, the Mormon who would be King, Mitt Romney, cut Granholm off sharply stating that the US plants of foreign car manufacturers were not benefiting from government-sponsored health care for their workers.
Of course, technically, Romney is right. But the only part of the manufacturing of cars by those foreign corporations performed in the US is to assemble parts already manufactured in their homelands where the workers are covered by government health care, whereas in Detroit every part of the operation is being solely paid for by the corporation itself. We are restricting our automakers with “strict capitalism” while their competitors benefit from socialized medicine in their home countries, not to mention taxpayer support and subsidies at home and here in our country. I will wager a doughnut that those Southern Senators who are so rabidly going after the UAW and the Big Three will also be the first to stand strong against any attempt by President Obama and the Congressional Democrats to relieve this burden by instituting some sort of health care plan for the American people.
It is a statistical fact that the cost of patient care in an emergency room setting is astronomically higher than it would be in a doctor’s office or community clinic. Yet, in the State of Texas, where we have the greatest number of uninsured people in the US, the taxpayers at the county and state level are paying those costs every day as people with no insurance show up at hospital emergency rooms for minor health problems. Why don’t they go to the doctor? Because no doctor will treat them if they don’t have either the money to pay for services or health insurance. In short, they will be turned away. So, the poor and uninsured go to the nearest hospital emergency room for treatment, and the county government or state government picks up the tab. And, of course, the high cost of processing the mountainous paperwork required to get the reimbursements the hospitals have earned gets added to the already high emergency room bill.
This all could be avoided by a system that allowed everybody to go to the doctor’s office when they started having a problem instead of waiting until it’s an emergency. But Republican politicians in our state and other states scream bloody murder at the very idea of some sort of government- supported healthcare program. They use scare tactics to support their twisted logic. They tell the people of their states that some sort of government-supported healthcare plan would take away their right to choose their own doctor. Of course, for the vast majority of people who are already in an HMO provided by their employer, they have already forfeited that right. But more importantly for a large number of citizens, it is an argument based on a false premise, that they have any choice at all as to their doctor. They can’t go to any doctor at all, except the expensive doctor at the emergency room.
In a huge public irony, the same people who have blocked any attempt to take care of the real needs of ordinary people, have presided over a nation that is so sick that it has had to go to the proverbial emergency room, itself. The ideology of “wait until you’re too sick to put it off any longer,” treated the American people to the outrageous spectacle of thousands of people stranded in a flooded out city with no help on the way. And now the same government has stood back and watched the banking sector crash! Or should we call it what it is? They have stood idly by while their buddies have stolen all the money and come to the taxpayers for a very costly emergency treatment. And as if that weren’t enough, less than two months after the electorate rejected their vision of how to run a country, they stand in the way of a rescue loan to our manufacturing sector, instead demanding that the auto industry go straight to the emergency room. It is sure to cost the taxpayers of this country a huge amount of money to fix the problems that are sure to follow this cavalier move by our Southern Republican Senators.
Is it the plan of these Sons of the Confederacy to bring down the United States of America? They certainly are willing to roll the dice on an economy that is already on life support by pulling the plug on one of the support systems. They are willing to plunge millions of people into the already high unemployment pool. The entire thing strains any sense of logic, unless they really are intent on bringing down the nation because they don’t like the way the people voted in November.
I received a comment on my recent blog: “Japan & Germany Forge Alliance with Confederate States of America to Win World War II.” The comment was a short sentence followed by a link to a web site at UT Press which gave an overview of a book recently edited by Euan Hague, Heidi Beirich, and Edward H. Sebesta entitled “Neo-Confederacy, A Critical Introduction.” It chillingly confirmed my worst fears about my region and the politicians who represent it in Washington and run it in the Statehouses and County Courthouses. It documents the rise of a neo-Confederacy movement that is intent on seceding from the US and then resorting to ethnic cleansing tactics to return itself to what it claims will be the all-white conservative-based Christian nation it would have been had The South won the Civil War. It is stunning in its breadth and depth. The book documents a well-organized movement that is supported if not belonged to by many mainstream Republicans and political commentators, the likes of the acerbic George Will.
The foreword alone sent me into a fit of paranoia about my future in a new nation run by the kind of crazies that showed up at Sarah Palin rallies. Believe me, Hitler and the Nazis have nothing on these thugs. They are stacking school boards with people who will insist on textbooks that revise the truth about the Confederacy, such as erasing any reference to slavery, and depicting it as the fighter for the cause of Christian decency against the Godless forces of The North. Members showed up at the unveiling of a memorial in Richmond, Virginia of a monument to Abraham Lincoln with signs that read, “Lincoln was a War Criminal.” These are some very creepy folks, but the account at the website includes a list of prominent Republican elected officials who are members or supporters of these organizations. The website is absolutely a must read. And the site also allows purchase of the book. If you want to know what is really going on politically down here in The South, the book is also a must read. Go to: http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/excerpts/exhagneo.html.
The frustration I have is that while TV news can’t wait to have their buddies who are also journalists in Washington and New York on their shows to promote their latest book, I had to find this book and its authors over the internet. The biased filter of big corporate media outlets is concealing a lot of information that WE THE PEOPLE are entitled to know. They quickly brushed aside the outrageous behavior of those bigots that showed up for McCain and Palin, giving both a pass on the behavior of their supporters. But more importantly, they did nothing to investigate a growing racist, neo-Nazi and apparently neo-Confederacy movement that is working daily to destroy our democracy.
It all follows the basic pattern that I have observed since I took up the calling to keep an eye on television journalism – and I use the term loosely. The media in our nation are constantly misdirecting us with the use of sensationalism away from real problems and dangers that face us. More Light Than Heat rightly observed yesterday that we are being totally misguided by a media obsession with the wrongdoing of a state governor, while our economy is crashing all around us. Is it too much to ask that “journalists” follow in the illustrious footsteps of Benjamin Franklin, and use their lofty positions to look beyond the sensational and find the important so we will know not only what’s going on, but what to do about it? I think not.
Lately, I have been in a state of screaming outrage at the politicians of my region. Nothing has happened to change that. But I am still outraged at the lack of purpose that passes for journalism in our country. When I turn on the television to watch what passes for news programming, too often, all I see is the gossipy old women who sat around the living rooms of my childhood. They offered nothing constructive. They only destructively attacked their absent neighbors and relatives for their petty entertainment. I expect more from journalists. If that’s all they have to offer, then our Founding Fathers merely wasted their time and efforts when they afforded journalists protection so that they could act as honest observers of the government. The news organizations of today might as well move all their headquarters to Hollywood and tell us what Tom Cruise or Brittany Spears is doing today. Most of what they offer is of no greater importance to the national debate than gossip.
Okay! Okay! I guess by now you get it. I’M MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!
KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!