On Tuesday, President Obama addressed students across the nation. He admonished them stay in school, to work hard, and overcome any adversity to gain an education. This is important not only on a personal level, but a national level. Our country has fallen woefully behind other countries in education and the dropout rate is unacceptable.
In spite of the generic content of the speech, usually given every year by every principal in every school, conservatives were up in arms about President Obama brainwashing their children (as if they aren’t doing a bang-up job of that themselves) and kept children at home. That’s a good example. If you don’t like what is being taught, you don’t have to go to school. Obviously these parents haven’t observed kids closely or they would know they have the attention span of a gnat, and although they may have been sitting quietly, that doesn’t mean they were paying attention. They probably only actually listened to a small part of the speech.
And if they have such distain for public schools, why not send their kids to private school? Oh, they can’t afford private school? Exactly.
On Wednesday, President Obama addressed the joint houses of Congress about health care. We all know how that turned out. President Obama was forceful, as well as graceful, under fire. He took back the reins on health care reform and said the time for games, and lies, had come to an end.
The GOP on the other hand booed, heckled, text, waved signs and acted like juvenal delinquents. It was embarrassing to see this behavior and total lack of decorum from elected officials as the whole world watched. These so-called adults could learn something from school kids who at least listened quietly and politely.
While President Obama stated that immigrants would not receive medical coverage, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) yelled, “You lie!”
Besides the fact that he is white man from a southern state screaming at the first black president, that it is unconscionably rude and obnoxious, against all rules of decorum in the halls of Congress, what part of “no” doesn’t he understand?
His apology was lame at best, apologizing only for his behavior, not for what he said, and that he was wrong.
Ironically, while all this was playing out, I was caught up in the circus of being sick without health care.
First let me explain, why, for the first time in my life, I have no health insurance. Eighteen months ago I fell at work. As a result of no mat where there should have been one, I slipped on water, falling straight down on both knees, actually breaking one kneecap. Both knees required surgery and countless hours of physical therapy. I was not allowed to work, and my company health insurance was dropped after six months. I could not afford Cobra, which is over-priced and over-rated, and with not much coming from workman’s comp, I hunkered down into survival mode.
I am in a Catch 22. I can no longer get health insurance from the company, but neither can I get a different job, to get insurance, until my case is settled. The doctor has given me the green light to go back to work, but the company says “no”; too many restrictions, too great a chance of further injury to the knees. I do not qualify for disability, which is in itself is a random decision, nor am I old enough yet for Medicare. Where does that leave me? A 60 year old, single woman, fallen through the cracks.
This was all fine until this week – when I got sick. After being doubled over with pain, headaches and nausea for two days, I relented and forked over cash to see my doctor, hoping for a quick diagnosis and a prescription. No such luck. She wasn’t convinced it was the food I had eaten at the Mission Fiesta (it seemed like a good idea at the time) and felt it was something more serious requiring, of course, lab work and an ultrasound. No cash for that. She sent me to the LA County-USC Hospital Emergency room.
I lasted through 8 hours, 2 evaluations and 2 Motrin’s, and when I was told it would be another 24 hours before I would even see a doctor, I called my son to pick me up. Because, had I finally seen a doctor, and needed tests, the entire merry-go-round would begin again. I went home to bed, self-medicated and prayed.
Now, I must qualify, that after hearing horror stories about county hospitals, it was not an entirely bad experience. It is a nice facility. The staff was all very professional and pleasant, treating everyone with respect and working very quickly. That being said, they are woefully unable to handle the sheer number of people – all ages, races, injuries and illnesses - constantly streaming through those emergency room doors because they have no insurance.
Is this anyway to treat American citizens? If I had been in any other industrial country in the world, I could have walked into my doctor’s office, gotten the necessary treatment, including tests, at an affordable cost, and gone home in a few hours. Right now, the only ones benefiting from our poor health care system are insurance and pharmaceutical companies and the politicians who answer to them.
We, all American citizens, deserve the dignity of proper health care. If you do not say that is true, then you – YOU – are the liar.
Personal Note: Thanks to my son’s help, I am on the mend. After coming home, I slept for several hours and found I still had a refill for an antibiotic. That, with rest, a heating pad, Tylenol and lots of liquids I have gradually improved. After five days, the nausea, headaches and pain have subsided (meaning I am no longer in a fetal position), although the plumbing is still a bit out of whack. I could have saved the money I gave the doctor.
Cheri Cabot, Politics Correspondent
Cheri’s column, “Personal About Politics,” published every week, will reflect on how the life of a 60 year-old, middle class woman is affected by politics, policy and the current state of the nation - a look at the personal aspects of politics. Her column is part of Gather Essentials.
Cheri is a freelance writer, living in Southern California. She has two grown children and is the proud grandmother of three.
You can find all of Cheri’s columns on Personal About Politics at www.personalpolitcs.gather.com, The Obama Watch at theobamawatch.gather.com or her home page here, www.ccabot.gather.com.