Archive for March, 2010

An Open Letter To My Congressman

March 24, 2010

Congratulations on the passing of the healthcare bill. For all of its flaws, it’s at least a step in the right direction. But I’ll tell you what. I’m still not satisfied. But fortunately, I’ve recently read about HR 4789, the Public Option Act drafted by Rep. Alan Grayson. It’s the act that will allow any American of any age to buy into Medicare at cost. And I think this sounds like a fantastic bill. And what’s more, I think it’ll do more for healthcare reform in it’s succinct 4 pages than the entire 2000+page bill that just passed due to the competition it’ll create for the insurance corporations. Will you support this bill and do everything you can to get it to the House floor for a vote? And, naturally, vote yes for it?

Healthcare Passed. Yay… but is it enough?

March 24, 2010

Well, it’s done. Hurrah hurrah! Healthcare reform passed and now we can finally enslave conservatives and abort their babies with federal dollars so as to start our Socialist world order. Whew, it’s about time.

But to be fair, that’s not entirely accurate. Healthcare reform did pass, but everything after that is taken from bits and pieces of right wing fear-mongering talking points. So now that we’ve had a good laugh, let’s get real for a bit.

On the whole, I’d say that it’s a good thing this bill passed. People can no longer be turned down for having a pre-existing condition, and anyone who’s considered “at risk” is still able to get some sort of insurance. What’s more, the particular demographic that’s had the hardest time having a health policy (those who aren’t poor enough to have a government policy like Medicaid, and who aren’t rich enough to afford a private policy when their employer doesn’t offer it) will be able to have access to more programs because of subsidies.

And even though this is of less concern to the general public than the actual benefits created, our government spent the last year hammering through this thing. To ultimately end up with absolutely nothing would’ve been shameful at best. And to get even more superficial, for the Democrats to have failed at this attempt to make good on healthcare promises would’ve left them looking like a pile of incompetent fools who’d rather curry favors with the opposition party than to try to enact the will of their constituents (but since we’re being honest here, I think they’ve managed to do both fairly well).

But one of the big problems with this bill is that it’s called ‘reform.’ At best I’d call it a regulatory bill. All those benefits of the bill amount to the government telling private insurance companies that they can’t discriminate against the unhealthy. If you ask me, that’s just common sense. But there’s a reason why so many people for so long have called for reform, if not a complete overhaul, of the healthcare industry in this country: the whole thing is in the hands of a few corporations who make exorbitant amounts of money by paying as little as they can but charging as much as they can. This bill may help a great many people, but it doesn’t tackle the primary problem. The fact still remains that our health is still in the hands of people who will make more money if we die.

That may sound melodramatic or conspiratorial, but it’s really just the basic structure of corporate policy. By law, a corporation must do everything within its means to raise the bottom line. If you take money in on the promise of helping someone once they’re sick, you’ll make more money by finding any crack in the paperwork to pay as little as possible, if anything at all. And this bill actually assists that basic structure. We’re now mandated to have insurance.

A public option was kicked out of the bill a long time ago. If it remained, a mandate for insurance would seem like less of a burden, because there would be more options to choose from. A government run policy that would be nationwide, that you could take with you if you move or change jobs, that isn’t for profit so you wouldn’t have to worry about rates being raised so the CEOs of said corporation can afford their bonuses, is the type of policy that many Americans want. Before last year’s August recess, numerous polls showed that at least 60% of the population wanted a public option. But alas, all things must die.

Wait a minute! Government run policy that’s nationwide that isn’t for profit? Haven’t I heard of that before? More importantly, hasn’t Congressman Alan Grayson heard of that? Oh yeah, it’s called Medicare.

The original talk of a public option was about creating an entirely new entity, that would’ve cost billions of dollars to set up. In the long run, this program would’ve paid for itself and actually decreased the deficit, because people would pay into it. But there would’ve been an initial start up cost that many people were uncomfortable with in this time of economic strife.  But the congressman from Florida, Representative Grayson, has drafted a bill that would allow anyone, of any age, to buy into Medicare at cost. We’ve already spent billions of dollars creating this nationwide network so that people 65 and older have access to healthcare. The groundwork already exists. What Grayson’s bill will do is give every American a chance to have a public option, without any of the extra costs that the original public option would have.

The fact that we have this system in place that can only be used by a small percentage of the population seems incredibly wasteful. And ask any senior citizen out there; they LOVE Medicare. Why not let everyone else have a chance at it? This would be a real reform bill if it passes. Finally there would be some real competition for private insurers, who would be forced to lower costs in order to remain competitive. That is the basis of capitalism, right?

Pen: Apartment Items

March 21, 2010

It is used. (A happy writer sitting.)

Use it to look into tomorrow and subsequently

you won’t find it.

Use it to find the past and you won’t find it either, but only

because the past has always had the most brilliant tactics at hiding. Heh!

Don’t use it, oh, and it will always be there. You won’t even have

to look for it.

We listen in the night to its screams, and sleep…sleep…sleep.

Chair: Apartment Items

March 20, 2010

The green, cushy rocking chair is awesome.

My wife argues that it’s actually gold, but the lighting. It

was a heck of a find at the Salvation Army in

downtown Minneapolis. Amid the sea of formerly owned stuff,

I saw the potential of my own things living there

because their usefulness had dried up some time ago

if it ever existed at all. Where did it all come from?

The knick-knacks, the decorations, the useful placed

to look like it does more than it should. Amazing…

But when you live in it

you know that these things only do so much.

And there you have it and so do we.

Thank you.

Couch: Apartment Items

March 20, 2010

Is black. Vinyl. No armrests.

There are numerous decorative buttons

that have been slowly coming off

from some stress, such as being caught on the back pocket

of my jeans as I peal myself away from lazing about

in the half-hearted attempt of making myself

a productive member of a society that by all accounts

has been trying to flush itself down the toilet

for many years now, instead of simply laying back

and dreaming of an existence where

doing what I want is enough to make it by.

The couch is a negative entity, but I

love it so.

Vest

March 19, 2010

Today,

I’m wearing a vest.

And after a series of self questions

I’ve decided, and am fully devoted,

to becoming a vest person.

I’m only left with the issue

of deciding what a vest person is.

My friends, parents and grandparents

all agree it’s the best thing for me.

They know what it is,

but of course refuse to tell me.

I’ve come to believe

that it’s one of those things

we can’t be told,

like the secret to happiness.

To have made the decision

was a wise one for myself.

This I’m sure of.

The Murphy Bed: Apartment Items

March 19, 2010

is the whole reason we moved in.

It was shown to us. It was fully functional.

The mattress was thin, and old, presumably

from when the building was built.

But it pulled out of the wall just fine. No rust.

And apparently, our apartment was

one of the only units left that had

a fully functional Murphy Bed.

I thought a few times that if that bed could talk,

what bizarre details would it say, but

these buildings originally catered to men

who lived outside of the city who needed

a place to stay for the week while at work.

Away from their wives, these men probably

did what they needed to do to satisfy themselves.

You know, had professionals get involved.

And this is probably why most of the beds

are worn out & don’t function any more, which

would mean mine wouldn’t have as much to say

as some of the rest of them.

Dresser: Apartment Items

March 19, 2010

Personally sanded and refinished by

a dear ol’ grandmother. Housewarming gift,

so to speak, for the first-married.

It’s really too big and spends its time

in the living room as an oversized table

holding the fish tank at head height.

But it’s very handsome with its

dark-stain finish and bronze handles and

it holds my clothes.

I dress in the living room. Thank you.

The Bookcases: Apartment Items

March 18, 2010

are a source of animosity because they don’t match.

But as time went on, they naturally blended

in and became fixtures of the apartment,

seemingly inevitable, just another quirk.

But there are more books than fit on them now…

In the future I hope for a long row

of simple, non-aggressive book shelves.

The Bed: Apartment Items

March 18, 2010

(Insert poem here)