Not the Belly of the Beast

locked-outThis week, I re-enter the Canadian national health system for tests to see if my cancer returned since the last round of treatment ended six months ago.

For those of you in the States who might be starting to believe the Republican noise machine, be assured that I’ve not been on a waiting list or pleading my case before a death panel and, regardless of the outcome, I won’t be handed a staggering bill on my way out the door. The only inconvenience – besides waiting anxiously to learn the results – is that I couldn’t get an appointment when I wanted. I’d asked for Monday morning but am stuck with midday on Thursday.

Hardly a journey into the belly of the beast – apologies to Jack Abbott and Norman Mailer – as right wing lunatics keep insisting is the only possible outcome of a government-sponsored public option.

Yes, it’s personally unnerving and thoroughly unpleasant but at least I don’t have to worry about an insurance company pulling the rug out from under me because I’m denting its bottom line, forcing me into bankruptcy. Nor do I have to fret that whoever represents my riding in Parliament is a complete idiot like the grotesquely insensitive Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA). At a town hall meeting recently, he told a constituent suffering from years of clinical depression but can’t afford health insurance to pay for a psychiatrist to “go to an emergency room.”

Actually, the man did go to an emergency room – after he tried committing suicide.

As Georgia Liberal so aptly noted on Thursday, “Treating major depression is not a one-shot deal. That is like saying cancer patients should get treatment one night in the ER and it is all better.”

If only.

charley-james.jpgOh, and in case Broun The Knuckledragger didn’t notice, people receive a bill for going to the ER. It ain’t free in the US, which is why hospitals hire collection agencies and sue patients who can’t pay, forcing sick people who are hapless victims of an awful system into bankruptcy.

Thanks Max Baucus and the ObstructaDems and the GOP and Fox and the medico-insurance complex. You’ve really done a number on America. The question for the rest of us is: Why are we sitting at home reading this instead of storming Washington demanding the change we voted for?

Charley James
The Progressive Curmudgeon

Published by the LA Progressive on October 5, 2009
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About Charley James

If you are born in Milwaukee, chances are you're born a Democrat. So, I gravitated naturally to liberal politics as an activist and a journalist. I've been writing since I was eight and, after working in newsrooms for far too long, I have devoted much of the past decade as an independent investigtative jouralist. For much of the past year, I've been writing about homelessness - America's immorality play.