Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Your Money Or Your Life

Lisa_JensenAs if we didn’t have enough to make us crazy, along comes Michael Moore’s Sicko, to remind us of yet another way in which corrupt U.S. politics of the last 40 years have failed to deliver on the once-cherished American Dream. You remember the American Dream; it used to be in all the movies. Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, Liberty and Justice for All. Baseball, apple pie, and a chicken in every pot. (Not to be confused with pot in every chick: that was the Aquarian Dream, but that’s another story.)

The current administration likes to bandy about words like “freedom” and “justice” as if it actually understood what they meant. (As in Operation Iraqi Freedom, code name for war of aggression, a grim piece of Newspeak that would flummox Noah Webster.) In our Constitution, a document ignored at best, but more often subverted by the present regime, laws are enacted to secure the access of we, the people, to what our Founding Fathers considered inalienable rights, among them the right to life and liberty. It’s this primary right, life, that underlies Sicko, the basic condition without which all other rights are moot.

Life can only be sustained by reasonably good health. But the health and welfare of hard-working citizens whose labor fuels the national economy and whose taxes keep politicians in Hummers and junkets to Cancun, the continuing health of we, the people, is not a high priority to our leaders. The health care system is left to privately owned drug companies, hospitals, and so-called health insurers. Their business is profits, not actual care, and nobody needs Moore to tell us what a big, thriving business it is. If you don’t believe it, just try getting sick.

Better yet, don’t get sick. It’s daunting enough trying to arrange basic coverage when you’re perfectly healthy, especially if, like Art Boy and me, you are self-employed and pay for your own insurance. Every year, we go through the same danse macabre. Our insurance company arbitrarily raises its rates. Art Boy sits down with the rate sheet and switches us to whatever plan offers the lowest rate increase, for the least heinous sacrifice of benefits. The company gets wise to our little game (or figures we’re wise to theirs), and, within six months, arbitrarily raises our rates again.

American health care only works as long as you stay healthy. (By “works,” I mean maintains the illusion that the person paying into the system may one day receive quality care and/or financial coverage for the exorbitant sums paid in every month.) Should you be unwise enough to suffer an actual illness or injury, you’ll find out just how uncovered you really are. Moore’s film is full of horror stories about Americans who paid for health insurance all their working lives, only to be denied payment for critical services as soon as they had the nerve to actually need them. How often do you read about fundraisers held for people stricken with catastrophic illness or injury whose families can’t otherwise afford the treatment to keep them alive? Like the bandidos of a thousand westerns, the system demands you choose between your money or your life.

And where is the U. S. government while the health/drug/ medical industry is cheerfully fleecing its citizens? Right where it always is, lining up for its share of the profits. (The present administration just can’t say “no” to a tall, rich and handsome corporation with a big portfolio.) There’s something alarmingly wrong with the moral compass of a government that makes health care a luxury for the few and punishes its own people for getting sick, treating them like guilty schoolchildren trying to get away with something. Maybe they expect us to practice faith-based health care. Or maybe they just don’t give a damn. It’s a big country, so what if a few thousand of us kick off now and then? There’s always more where we came from.

Once upon a time, we Americans were the plucky idealists who invited other, less compassionate nations to send us their tired, their poor, their huddled masses. Now we lag behind the many western nations (Canada, Britain, France, to name a few) that already provide universal health care to their citizens as a matter of common sense: freed from fear of crippling medical debts, people have a chance to fuel the economy with busier, more creative, and longer working lives.

No wonder the whole world is laughing at us. Our politics are ridiculous, our leaders are scoundrels, and we do nothing about it. Maybe we don’t even notice. We live in a culture that keeps us too doped up on American Idol, too plugged in to our iPhones, too paralyzed by crushing debt, and too terrified of everything else to ever poke our collective head out of the foxhole and sneak a peek at the rest of the world. That’s the way our leaders like us: scared, barefoot and ignorant.

Universal health care is possible if we pay attention and demand it: in the media, in the voting booth, in the streets. Until then, other, more enlightened countries will keep sniggering at us behind our backs. If laughter really was the best medicine, we’d all be cured.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location