Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Basic Healthcare:

The Right of Every "Working" American

I was once a Yuppie – or at least I thought I was. I was young, I had a good job with good benefits, my wife had a good job (at the Providence Journal) with good benefits, and we had a single child - a beautiful daughter. Life was good and getting better! I had every reason to believe that I, along with my new family, would have a better life that my father and mother had – at least materialistically and by virtue of increasingly better opportunities.

Here I am thirty years later wondering what the heck happened. Life happened…

Two more beautiful kids (one more girl and a little boy), and private school tuitions for all of them. I lived in Providence and had no choice but to send them to private school. Divorce. Inflation. College tuition. More inflation.

Hey, I’m not complaining – it’s been a wonderful ride. I just have to laugh at those of us regular people who think we’ve got it made. Working class people aren’t meant to “have it all”. It’s meant to be a struggle for us. Some victories and rewards, but few life-altering or generational-changing increases in our upward assault on the social class ladder.

It’s with this in mind that I’d like to call your attention to one of the tactics employed by our upper-class to keep us lower-to-middle-class imposters in our rightful places – self destruction. They set us up to turn on each other and fight from within our own ranks. Divide and conquer.
The upper-class is the richest 1% of the population who control most of our country’s wealth. You know, the ones that were taken care of by Bush on the federal level and Carcieri on the state level. These are the people (and companies) with all the power.

Consider our health care system...

I’ve been in many heated debates over the last few years with many different people of all(not) most income levels and all political and ethnic backgrounds defending my position on employer-paid healthcare. I’ve debated in the workplace, on the streets, in coffeehouses, on talk radio and in many different political blogs and forums. There are many people who are ready to resort to a physical confrontation because of their belief that anyone who has a smaller burden due to healthcare premiums than they do, are stealing from the rest of the hard working people who are paying larger amounts.

I’ve never, however, been in any debate, in any of these places with a single member of the 1% elitist club. Of course not. They are quite happy that some of us are demanding that other lower-to-middle-class workers pay a heftier share. This never ending debate, along with the extremely hard feelings it creates in the ranks of workers, keeps us (the true majority) from demanding that those who control, and profit from, the health insurance companies and drug companies to cut back on their record setting earnings.

CEO’s, Corporate Board Members and the majority share-holders are all among the 1%. Upper & middle management are not, but they are usually generously compensated by the 1% to dole out the company rhetoric. That is really their only function – a buffer zone between the 1% and the workers. This is part of the reason that middle management positions are the first to go when profits are down. They are expendable. So ask yourself, if middle management (and even much of upper management) are expendable, of what value is the line worker?

The 1% are a crafty bunch. They, and their ancestors, have perfected the manipulation of the system to the point that we, as working class people, can’t even think of reaching or affecting them. The real problem with the 1%, however, is that this latest generation of power players have gotten too greedy. They’ve pushed the envelope to the point of absurdity. Can you even imagine one of their grandfathers stating to a reporter that $4.00 plus p/gallon gasoline is beyond the company’s control the day after their company had posted a world-record quarterly profit?

It’s time for a working man’s revolt. Instead of angrily complaining that I receive relatively inexpensive health care benefits; angrily complain that you are being fleeced by the healthcare companies, the drug companies and your employer. Take your anger to your U.S. Senator and demand action and regulation on this absurdity. Take your anger to your U.S. Representative. Take it to your Governor. It’s time for all workers to demand affordable healthcare as a basic part of employment conditions.

It’s a true shame when “working” people are dying due to delayed diagnosis of serious disease because they can’t afford to see a doctor unless it’s an emergency. The political blogs were full of people up in arms recently over the death of a detainee for a similar type of delay. Is it any less an outrage when hard-working people are facing the same fate??

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