Bottoms Up

here’s looking at you 
by Antone P. Braga

The new code word this year is “change.” Well hallelujah! Other than getting sick of the word, we very much hunger for what it can bring. I had a brief conversation yesterday with the man who made my heating oil delivery. I started things out by saying we need to get off oil. He agreed, “We can’t depend for our energy on people who hate us.” He blames the liberals for opposing new drilling. Seems simple enough. However, much is left out of the equation, including the obvious: oil is not the answer. It takes political will to stop sucking at the oil teat. If Iceland can do it, we can do it.

If capitalism has only one defect it is a major one. We are increasingly a for-profit-society even when it comes to necessities. As time goes on it shows itself to be more stark. Take health care for instance. My significant other has insurance through her work. She is protected by a workers union that has caved to employers’ demands over the years for itself to survive. As a result she has a $250 deductible and higher co-payments because of course the insurance company must make money as a result of the public’s health care. She recently had health concerns that brought about medical tests, and $600 in bills she now owes as her share. Mind you, that is for medical tests, not medical treatment. She is a person who works very hard for her pay and does not have $600 in wait. Is this health care? More like health stress.

I am fortunate to have medical care through the Veteran’s Administration. It is not the most convenient method of delivering medical services. However, I have no complaints. I am very grateful for this simple system of low co-payments, no deductibles and decent care. The VA medical center that I travel to for treatment is a rather large building. However, I found that much of the building is not in use and yet a lot of the medical care is outsourced to private medical facilities. Now here’s an idea. How about turning the underutilized government buildings into medical clinics. As a result of base closings and for other reasons, the government has available space. Give people the option to travel distance to the closest VA clinic for treatment. That is not to say private insurance/medical care is not available to those who prefer it, and can afford to pay.

But, where can the government possibly get doctors and nurses to work for government wages? The same place it gets it’s doctors and nurses to treat military personnel—government payroll. There are some things that we can not do without, and at the top of that list is energy and medical care. Those should be government sponsored as an option for those who have no other affordable option. Surely the public is entitled to at least the same level of care that public funds already provide the government’s “own.”

Now, we must break the chain that allows our leaders to be in bed with corporations that have public funds as the currency plundered. Medical care and energy are our intrinsic right not to have manipulated, notwithstanding today’s proposal of forcing people by law to buy medical insurance, making criminal to buy other than domestic prescription medicine, and allowing the manipulators of the new gold—oil, to crush the competition and leverage clean energy null and void. In any case, here’s looking at you to think about options for “change.”