how did we get here?

I’m reminded of a Talking Heads song today thinking about the conversations I’ve had and read about and heard about from friends around Healthcare Reform in this country. I can’t remember the last time discussions involved this much fear and misinformation…oh, yes I do…the election.

At the end of the day where the election was concerned I just stopped speaking my opinion. I felt confident my candidate was 1)the man for the job and 2)would get the job…and Yes He Did.

My leaning right now is to do the same thing…walk away from discourse about Healthcare Reform. Not because 1)I think I’m right and 2)I think I’ll win…because frankly, I don’t think either of those things. I go into discussions wanting to hear good points, good research, good discourse. Somewhere along the lines though, when statements like, “This is just like what the Nazis did” come into the exchange I take issue.

Seriously? Really??

I don’t want to come across as naive…I GET the way the world has cycled through the scary stuff. I’ve puzzled about how in the freakin world Adolf Hitler could have possibly gotten away with killing (at least) 6 million Jews…how the people of that country could not have seen that coming. I get it. I do.

In light of having had those thoughts though, still, that’s just crazy talk. It just is, I’m sorry. It just is. I’ve read the passages that people point to and hem and haw and titter and gasp. I’m NOT seeing it there, folks…and I’m not stupid.

I don’t want to spend time arguing that point in discussions about Healthcare Reform. I’m with Barney Frank on that. And after having had several discussions that all go that way I have the desire to walk away from all discussion about it…just avoid it completely and spare myself the emotional handsprings required to even walk away friends with these people.

But, you know…here’s the thing. We can’t do that. We CANNOT stop having the discussions. We CANNOT stop offering grace in those moments and TRYING to move the conversation back to reality. I need affordable healthcare people. I do and I know an awful lot of people who do. This conversation needs to continue to happen whether the House bill is the one to pass or not. For the record, I’m not crazy about the House bill as it stands right now either, believe me…and yet we need to agree as a people that this is an important piece to keep on the table.

If you’re feeling apathetic about the discussion please do not give in to the temptation to walk away. Do this, though…engage in the practice of listening, of hearing…engage in the practice of offering grace….engage in the practice of calm in the face of the stormy topics and read, research, gain understanding from places of wisdom, not fear.

This is important. Unclench your hands from around your side of the issue and put it on the table….


4 thoughts on “how did we get here?

  1. Seriously. I could not have said it better myself. It is very sad to me that friends now treat me differently because I won’t discuss or spread the falsehoods they are believing.

    And I am trying hard not to judge them for not caring about those of us who DO need affordable healthcare, not to mention the 18,000+ people who DIE each year because they can’t afford proper medical care (in our country). It’s very hard.

  2. Thank you for saying it, we can’t stop talking!! I am fighting terminal cancer, and I am blessed with good insurance (the same stuff the talking heads in DC have), and it still costs me $5000 a year out of pocket. But I have friends in my support group that need to have tests and treatments done, have no insurance, and are selling things to stay alive – cars, wedding rings, etc. She has to wait 18 more months to quailfy for medicare. Very likely she’ll be dead by then. These ladies have been middle class working folks all their lives and are reduced to begging to stay alive.

    I’m a fundamental christian who is ashamed that the last scary administration had 8 years to do something, anything, and did absolutely nothing. We have to do something. This isn’t about a straight road, this is about people’s lives. Thanks you for being brave enough to say that!

  3. oh gosh, yes, yes.
    No plan will be perfect, but something has to be done. AND, I’m appalled that it’s christians that are continually spreading the lies. We, of all people, need to search for the true, compassionate, and good.

  4. Well said.

    As I understand it, the Hypochratic oath is about treating people when they are ill. I don’t recall anything about “but only if they can pay”. That’s why a lot of us smug British people regard the American Healthcare system as being a bit um… how can I put this politely… Dickensian. I remember being ill in the States on holiday and crapping myself about whether we’d need a second mortgage… luckily I escaped! No surgery required.

    Then again, we’re very cynical about insurance over here in the UK. It’s money for old rope and most of us haven’t ever claimed insurance for anything without the insurance company arguing or just downright refusing to pay. Health insurance probably isn’t like that but… but like most Brits, my view is tarnished.

    The NHS may be a bit cronky and broken but it’s done me proud. It’s probably why I’m here… and my son.

    There’s a very good book about what I believe being a man – or woman – of medicine actually means, it’s called The Oath by Khassan Baiev. It’s about a man who makes a lot of money as a plastic surgeon and then, when war comes to his country, spends every last penny on treatment for sick and injured people regardless what side they’re on in the war or whether they can afford to pay him. He ends up having to leave because he treats people on both sides.

    The book starts with him broke and in the States lying on a gurney with a bleeding ulcer which they won’t treat because he has no insurance. He is also unable to practise his profession because he is Russian trained, despite being a surgeon of world renown.

    I urge you to read it.



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