The wild-eyed, paranoid ranting of the Obama-is-an-agent-of-an-alien-government-bent-on-destroying-America crowd has become so shrill that, lacking anything rational to say, they have fallen back on that old standby: calling your opponent a Nazi. They have thereby invoked Godwin’s Law, and by the rules of civility should now stand down.
Today I want to address one of the few points made about the health care issue that is not dripping with pure partisan hyperbole or outright deception.
Many of the people living without health insurance in the US are young, healthy individuals who have chosen not to carry insurance. This true fact is often held up as proof that health care reform is unnecessary. But let’s look a little closer.
I was just such an individual in my early twenties. Fresh out of college, working a crappy job, I earned $5.00 per hour, which was slightly more than the minimum wage at the time. My employer offered me the opportunity to purchase health insurance. My paltry $800 per month left me no room for luxuries like insurance, and so I declined.
Some choices, as Stephen Colbert might say, are choicier than others. I didn’t like forgoing insurance coverage. I recognized it as the risk that it was, given the many uncertainties of life. I would have purchased insurance had it been affordable. So, while it is technically true (or perhaps, truthy) that some young, healthy people choose not to carry health insurance, it in no way suggests that reform would not be beneficial to them.
As a young woman, my primary health care needs were regular women’s health check-ups (including pap smears) and prescription contraceptives. I obtained these services at the local Planned Parenthood clinic, which offered a sliding-fee scale. Patients paid what they could afford. As a result of one of those check-ups, I was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition. I received treatment at the same clinic, at little or no cost, and have been clear ever since.
I believe I can truthfully say that Planned Parenthood saved my life. Since I had no insurance, had the P.P. clinic not been available to me, I would’ve skipped those exams. I would’ve missed the early diagnosis and treatment, and might well have developed cervical cancer.
Now consider this: many of the very same people that are frothing rabidly at the mouth over Obama’s health care plan would also dearly love to shut down every Planned Parenthood clinic in the country, thereby leaving thousands of low-income women with no place to turn for their critically important, routine care. Unconscionable.
I leave you with this piece, in which British columnist Johann Hari explains that the Republican party has become a cult.