Monday, April 29, 2019
Extinction Level Stupidity
You've almost certainly seen these types of donation jars sitting on the counter of a convenience store or some other business. They're all pretty standard, these donation jars have a picture of the person in need, a brief but heart wrenching biography, and a plea for help in the form of asking for loose change or a couple of bucks. For me personally, when it involves kids I try to avoid looking at the picture or reading the story.
The world is incredibly cruel to children and if I think too much about it my thoughts go to unhappy and dark places. No, I'm not talking about hurting anyone or myself. My dark places are philosophical in nature with me wondering about human stupidity and other metaphysical ideas.
Without delving too deeply into my ruminations, one aspect that I find darkly hilarious involves how many of these people who deploy donation jars as a way to pay medical bills are totally against any form of government-run healthcare. When I write “these people” I naturally mean poor working class folks who either have crappy health insurance or none at all. It's strange world, so there might be an exception or two but rich folks don't have to deploy donation jars to pay medical bills.
Several years ago I watched a documentary about a nonprofit medical organization that went into poor towns in places like Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina to provided much needed health services. This organization went beyond basic checkups to include simple surgeries to making dentures and providing artificial limbs.
If this nonprofit organization was operating as a business then they would have been making money hand over fist. Because these good old country folks would stand in incredibly long lines for days for a chance to get the medical care they desperately needed. During this documentary the filmmakers showed several examples of folks who had traveled long distances to see a doctor or dentist because they had no other means to pay for those services back home.
Here's where my normal compassion and empathy breaks down. While this documentary was made five to ten years ago, the people in these regions voted overwhelmingly for that bastard Trump. We're also talking about folks who are overwhelmingly white and live off welfare or Social Security disability. These simple people – and I don't mean that in a good way – like to believe they are rugged individualist who mistrust, but more than likely outright hate, the federal government. Even when they depend on Uncle Sam for the money to run down to WalMart, Dollar General, or Family Dollar.
No, they cringe at the idea of the government being in charge of healthcare and the possibility some atheistic, liberal bureaucratic bean counter “death panel” might want to kill grandma because of her failing health. The nasty little secret these working class and even middle class conservatives refuse to understand is that for-profit health insurance companies regularly decided which patients get medical services and who doesn't. Contrary to the Alaskan Trailer Trash Mama (Sarah Palin for those who don't remember) her Death Panels are pure capitalistic affairs. She did at least get the bureaucratic bean counter part right.
But despite all the evidence that its better to have some form of government intervention to provide healthcare to everyone, these good old folks will continue to enlist the aid of convenience store donation jars and nonprofit organizations to get basic medical care. Because it's better to stick it to elitist liberals and suffer than even try what all the other developed nations have had for decades.