A number of political pundits on the left hand side of the ledger took great delight in referring to the last election as "the politics of resentment". Their point was that many of those people who were strongly for Mr. Trump were acting out of anger and resentment, that they saw the world in terms of THEM vs. US. Of course, the implication was that it all boiled down to racism, that the US was white and the THEM were people of color. There might be a tinge of class resentment there too, a case of the hard-working, tax-paying middle class versus the undeserving, lazy poor. And to be entirely honest, you'd have to be totally naive NOT to think there was at least SOME element of both race and class involved. There are people out there who ARE angry. They work hard. Pay their taxes. And yet they feel as if they get absolutely nothing for their time, energy and effort, hence the resentment.
I'm not such a bleeding heart liberal that I don't acknowledge the fact that there are some among our fellow citizens who are scamming the system. And undoubtedly, some of them are poor and some of them are people of color. But, by the same token, there are a great many wealthy white folks who take great delight in feeding at the government trough as well. But more often than not, our government treats its citizens with kindness and generosity. I know. I was one of them.
On January 28, 1980, I suffered a heart attack. I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and spent nineteen days being treated there. Some weeks later, my cardiologist at the time suggested I undergo an angiogram to discover just why I had had a heart attack at the tender age of 31. On May 17, 1980, I entered Loyola University Medical Center where the good doctors scoped out my heart, only to discover that all three of my coronary arteries were blocked somewhere between 95 and 97 percent. The only treatment available, of course, was by-pass surgery. And so it was that on August 12, 1980 I underwent the first of two such operations I was to have. The point?
At the time I was unemployed. I certainly didn't have the means to PAY for such expensive medical care. I was too old to be carried on my parents' health insurance. In other words, I was up a creek. Well, I WOULD have been but for Medicaid. Yes, THAT Medicaid. That government program picked up the tab for my entire medical bill. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that I wouldn't be here today if it hadn't been for Medicaid.
On March 30th of last year I was in an auto accident. Head-on collision. Car totaled. In spite of the severity of the accident, I didn't feel all THAT bad at first. In fact, I was prepared to walk away from the accident and go home. Good thing I didn't. You see, I was bleeding internally. In fact, I was in the process of losing nearly two liters of blood. Fortunately, I reconsidered my hasty first decision and agreed to go to the hospital. I spent ten days at Loyola again. While they were treating me for my internal injuries, they did some blood work which indicated I might have experienced a cardiac incident. So once again I underwent an angiogram. This time I needed an angioplasty and received two stents. The price tag for this encounter with the American health care system amounted to something in the neighborhood of $110,000. It would have represented a devastating financial blow to myself and my wife were it not for Medicare, which paid all but $1,400 of the total expenses. Yes, once again a government program not only was there for me but literally saved my life. The point?
Sometimes we ordinary, hard-working, tax-paying citizens actually benefit from the kindness and generosity of our government, which saw fit to provide us with programs that were designed to help us in our hour of need. But now there are forces out there who want to take away such programs, all in the name of a political philosophy. They believe that health care is a privilege for the fortunate few and that if you can't afford it, well then, you better be about the business of dying in order to "decrease the surplus population". That's what it amounts to. When you come right down to it, it's THEM versus US all right. And if THEY win, so much the worse for US!!
Filed under: Politics