It's about our community and our spirituality!

Only Nobodies Want Universal Healthcare

Broken Egg

On Sunday morning I usually watch This Week with George Stephanopolous and catch up on the political flavor of the week from various political pundit perspectives. The show usually features George Will and Cokey Roberts. Sam Donaldson and Robert Reich are regulars among a long list of others. Yesterday I watched these people discuss the ramifications of universal healthcare and how President Barack Obama is wasting political clout on a fruitless attempt to get a public healthcare option for the masses who continue to do without.

At one point, in order to drive home his argument, the conservative Mr. Will pulled out his Medicare card and told the story of how he presented it to his doctor and his doctor said that it was great that Mr. Will’s children was going to pay their father’s bill. Some of the people around the table laughed. Mr. Will made the statement that no one wanted universal healthcare. I thought that was a stupid thing to say. I would like to see universal healthcare. Mr. Reich was arguing for universal healthcare. There are about fifty million Americans without any kind of healthcare who more than likely would like to see kind of universal healthcare.

All of the political experts around the table with Mr. Stephanopolous had healthcare. They all had high dollar jobs getting paid to express their opinion and help shape the public’s political perspectives. No one at the table felt a desperate need for healthcare. Somebody at the table called the American healthcare system the best healthcare system in the world. They didn’t add the fact that it’s only the best for those people who have healthcare benefits. Otherwise, the people who don’t have coverage or who may have a preexisting condition, the system sucks.

About a year and a half ago, there was one morning I was getting dressed for work. My partner and I were acting silly the way fairly new couples do. She was getting baby boy ready to leave the house for a few errands. She got the baby dressed and turned her back towards him. The baby was sitting in the middle of the bed. He was kind of cranky and wanted his mother’s attention. He suddenly threw himself back and simultaneously kicked his legs up ready to throw a tantrum. Although he was in the middle of the queen sized bed, when he went back, his head was over the edge of the bed. The physical makeup of toddlers is such that something like ninety three percent of their body weight is above their neck. When he thrust his body back and simultaneously lifted his legs, the momentum was enough for gravity to grab hold of his head and pulled him over the edge of the bed head first like a real life Humpty Dumpty.

Talk about time slowing to a crawl. My body took a totally useless adrenaline dump. There was no way given the physics of this universe I could reach him in time. The mother was standing in between us with her back turned away from the baby. My partner could only see the horror in my face. She turned around just in time to see the baby’s feet disappear with the rest of his body. We both waited for the sound of the baby’s head hitting the hardwood pine floors. But instead of the thud indicating head to floor contact, our ears heard the sound of feet hitting the floor. The mother ran around the bed. I braced myself waiting to hear the wail of a baby in serious pain. But instead we heard the cry of a baby frightened and frustrated. As best as we could figure out, when he kicked his feet up and gave his body the momentum to go over the edge of the bed, that same momentum managed to flip him totally over and he somersaulted before he hit the floor. The baby was fine. We laughed. We were both relieved.

As a first time father I saw my baby’s ten months of life flash across my eyes. I thought about our brand new healthcare and thought how fortunate we were that I had a job that afforded us coverage. If the baby was injured we had some protection. But what about all the people that suffer serious injuries from the occasional accidents that are bound to happen when people make the mistake of taking a moment to be less vigilant than they should be?

Even though we are protected the issue of healthcare for others remains an area of deep concern for me. I’d like to think that this concern comes from a sincere interest in the welfare of my fellowman. But I can’t help but think that as a black man living here in America and unwilling to completely conform to the standards of behavior for black people as dictated by the corporate culture that is dominated so completely by a mindset skewed to protect white privilege, it is only a matter of time before I may find myself unemployed and without adequate healthcare once again. Some noble sentiment may sound nice and community oriented. But my concern for the unemployed may just as well be a selfish one based on the possibility of future events.

For the moment my family and I are doing well. I have a job that allowed us to pay back the people that helped us during our leanest of times and buy a house. We are weathering this storm and appear to be coming through the other side after waiting for what appeared to us to be the longest of time. I hope and pray for the wisdom that we never forget the experience of being among the less fortunate people. By no means are we out of the woods just yet. I won’t be retiring from working anytime soon. But we are definitely doing a lot better than a lot of the people who live around us. We are not black community Rockefellers but we are beginning to develop options for the future that many black people in our neighborhood do not.

However, just because we are doing well now and for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean that the issue isn’t still an important one. There are people who need help. As a supposedly civilized culture we should not allow ourselves to develop the false sense of security to think that it is okay to leave such a large chunk of our community unprotected. And more often than not the unprotected part of the community that is most susceptible will be comprised of the lower class that is overly represented by black people.

All too often people want to label people who call for true universal healthcare as irrelevant. No one wants universal coverage except for the cry babies looking for a handout. But the issue remains the same. There are way too many people who don’t have healthcare. There will be parents who will be distracted for just a second and their baby will be injured. There will always be people who will suffer accidents. These people will need medical help. But instead of us acting as a civilization working to help the weakest amongst us we will scold them and discard them for being part of the group of unfortunates unable to help themselves. We are quick to dismiss those who can’t afford healthcare. They are the nobodies who want universal healthcare and who wants to listen to them?

Sunday, June 21, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, Life, Thoughts, Unemployment, Universal Healthcare


  1. I watched that show as well and felt the same thing. These people all have health insurance and therefore have no real concern whether or not health care changes.

    There are a LOT of people like you said that have no health insurance. And this is what we should be concerned with. Not whether or not “some” people have insurance.

    I thought they were pretty callous making jokes and having a good laugh while there are people out there right then and there dying due to the fact that they have NO health coverage in order to fix some stupid problem that they otherwise wouldn’t have to die from.

    George Will won’t be so smug when he loses his health coverage and his son who has autism will still require the heavy handed expensive care that no doubt he needs. He won’t find others laughing about his predicament as a joke or funny. He will be hurting and he will want that same handout he finds so disgusting right now.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Monday, June 22, 2009 | Reply

  2. While I agree that there does need to be reform in the healthcare industry, and cost cutting measures made in a responsible fashion, that makes coverage more affordable without compromising the services provided, I don’t feel that Universal Healthcare is the answer.

    Given the “horror stories” from other places with national healthcare plans, and the fact that we so far have been unable to even run the Medicare program in a responsible manner (consider its upcoming insolvency issues in the next 10 years or less), it seems a rather irresponsible decision to be made.

    I say this being one of those individuals who does not possess health coverage for myself, of my own free will and not out of lack of ability to obtain it. The few issues I have dealt with, I have been lucky enough to pay cash on, and often the doctor office has charged less than what they would normally charge an insurance company. And I have paid far less than I ever would have paid in premiums to said insurance company, nevermind the added co-pays and deductibles that accompany almost all plans.

    I realize that not everyone is lucky enough in this department as I have been.
    One of the things that have troubled me, I believe it was from the Presidents speech to the AMA, that the universal coverage would costs less, but would not consider capping malpractice costs. To me this says that doctors make less to begin with through such a plan, but all the expensive testing procedures will still be in play to avoid the malpractice angle, while paying high malpractice premiums, and the threat of malpractice, in the event of an accident still looms over their head. And the cost of educating these doctors won’t decrease at the same time.

    A big price on our medical system lies in the legalism (both from the private end and the government requirements)of the business these days, among many other things.

    This is obviously not an easy issue to tackle.

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Monday, June 22, 2009 | Reply

  3. Sooo. George Will is getting paid to be on these shows and he has a Medicare card? Why don’t he get with a good ole private insurance company instead of sucking on the government/taxpayer tit!!!!! The gall of these people.

    They don’t mention that it’s costing us any damn way when these uninsured folks go to the emergency room and WE flip the bill… It’s not only his son!!!
    So, if the doctor is so damn concerned with who’s flipping the bill why don’t he lower his damn fees? He’s gonna get paid!!!

    Comment by Damien | Monday, June 22, 2009 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the feedback Mike Lovell,

    But I have yet to hear any horror stores from other places that can top the horror stories I hear from the good ol’ USofA. People are routinely denied medical care until their health worsens to the point where their condition is irreversible and their medical care is the most expensive. Insurance companies deny people coverage based on technicalities like an alleged previously existing condition. And the number of people who are forced into bankruptcy, because they couldn’t obtain medical insurance continues to grow every single day.

    While no plan is perfect, I cannot believe that an insurance company that has every incentive to deny coverage for the sake of profits is the gatekeeper of our medical coverage does not make sense. Case in point, you said your self that your healthcare provider would much rather prefer to deal with you directly instead of dealing with an insurance company. The two of you are already doing what you can to eliminate the insurance companies. And the best way to eliminate insurance companies is to go to a single payer health plan.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, June 22, 2009 | Reply


    It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


    We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

    And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

    Progressive democrats and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and demand that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

    Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

    In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

    Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith – WORKING CLASS

    Comment by jacksmith | Monday, June 22, 2009 | Reply

  6. A comment on the George Will exchange with his doctor, I wonder how much of it was actually true, or if it was just some made up extension to support his argument. And I agree, that as much money as Mr Will makes, he should forgo the medicare participation. If I had that kind of money, and then actually agreed to go to the doctor (I told my wife I wasn’t going to the doctor until I was dead…the dentist is a different story), I’d just pay cash and be done with it.

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | Reply

  7. I am a 47yr old White woman and I agree with the comments made here. I have spent the majority of my life billing Healthcare insurance companies and working for one. The Ins. Co. do not care about people.They are in it for a large profit. As a christian I beleve all people should have access to medical treatment, not just those who have money. The rich Republicans would have you belive they are the moral majority but do not show it in their actions to fellow mankind. Instead they suport prolife and expect their judgement on others actions to make them moral. As a christian it is my duty to help my brother not pass judgement on them.

    Comment by 1peter1:22 | Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Reply

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