Sunday, August 16, 2009

Monster in the Closet


I had a little brother when I was growing up that delighted in building on all my fears. We don't talk anymore because I got tired of being belittled all the time but I think he must have grown up to be a Republican.

Hey, we are all scared of the unknown whether we admit it or not. When we are kids it is the beast under the bed or the monster in the closet at night. Hey, sometimes my closet still scares me. When we grow up and become adults we are scared of the unknown like where the money is coming for the car insurance payment. Or, heaven forbid, the car needing major repairs. Or needing major repairs ourselves.

And those opposed to medical insurance reform are praying on those fears like my brother did when I was a kid. They are telling us all sorts of horrible things about the monster in the closet. Stephen King in his non-fiction look at horror films and fiction - Danse Macabre - explains that the monster we cannot see is always more scary than the monster we can. And who can "see" all the details of their medical insurance or what horrible illness might lead to them confronting it.

We are told that the health care system we have at the moment is the best in the world. Wrong. We are actually about 49th or so. Though we lead in costs for that system. And only the haves can afford it. We are told that if Obama's system goes into effect there will be government panels telling the sick they cannot get coverage. And that is different from your HMO refusing to cover your latest bill how?

I just went through this with a friend. He ended up having half his foot amputated because the infection ran wild while his insurance company debated the costs of prescriptions doctors wanted to stem the spread of the bone eating bacteria he most likely picked up in a hospital being treated for pneumonia. And yet Republican Senators and Congressman with the best medical coverage in this country want you to believe Obama will ruin yours. Sarah Palin, who does not read any major papers, claims the plan includes "death panels" (tell me again why it is we listen to this woman to begin with).

The loyal opposition has us running scared like when we were kids cowering in the bed under the covers. But that is nothing new. They did that for the eight years of the Bush administration only then the monster was 9/11. They invoked its name everytime the polls showed lack of support for some new democracy crushing measure.

So get out from under the covers and turn on the light and open that closet door. Call your insurance company (if you have one) and ask if they approve hospice care. Ask if you need to purchase supplemental insurance to cover cancer treatment. Check on their "approval" process for "extreme" measures. And ask who owns them. (It could be the same people that have owned all your other insurance companies.) Hey, get a definition from them about what they consider extreme. I am betting you won't like their answers.

Could it be that our current health care system is the monster in the closet? The one we refuse to confront while whistling in the dark.