Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Let Them Eat Cake
We were worried, yesterday, about George. The dog, that is. He had been squealing a bit, the night before, when I touched his ear and he woke up definitely out of his usual sorts. He did manage his usual hearty breakfast, but otherwise he seemed listless and that ear was still clearly bothering him. Anyway, we called the vet and had an appointment for him that very morning (not as it is for we humans, Bush, as Ellie pointed out. At least those of us with HMOs--who have to wait days or weeks for an appointment with our doctor). Well, a very healthy number of dollars later, George emerged from his doctor's visit with three medications, count 'em, two pills, one vial of ear drops, and spent the day feeling pretty much sorry for himself.
Coincidentally, though, both Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert chose to write about health care insurance yesterday. For humans, of course. Krugamn was deploring your latest let-them-eat-cake approach to solve the growing problem of the unavailability of health insurance for those most in need ot it: the poor, who can't afford it; and those who are already sick, and excluded from coverage by insurance companies who are in it for the profit and are disinclined to cover those who might actually cost them money. Your proposal for providing tax deductions for those probably too poor to be paying taxes anyway is absurd to the point of cruelty. And your "incentives" do nothing for those who are rejected from the system in advance. Herbert highlights the growing problem of those reduced to using credit card debt to cover essential health care costs.
I'm glad that Hillary Clinton put this out at the top of her agenda, and I hope that it will become a central topic in the coming campaign. "Coming"! It's already in high gear. But no matter how much the political hopefuls talk, there will still be people out there for the next couple of years facing life-and-death medical decisions in a system designed to benefit the insurance companies rather than the sick. I've talked about this national disgrace in the past, Bush. I understand you plan to talk about it tonight. If you say what Paul Krugman suggests you're going to say, your proposal is lamentably lacking in the "compassion" you once touted to convince the American people that you were the right man for that job that you hold onto with increasing futility and desperation.
I'll be holding my nose as I listen to the State of the Union speech. So will countless others. Too many of us in desperation, too. It's a depressing thought that George the dog could get the medical attention he needed right away--for no better reason than that his owners were in a position to afford it. Ellie says we're infatuated with this creature. She says he should run for President. Which prompts the thought that he wouldn't be the first dog in the White House, Bush.