Yes, to all of the people mourning the Supreme Court decision today:  it’s true, your liberty has died.  As someone who grew up under a universal health care system, I can tell you that it’s just complete tyranny.  They forced you to go to the hospital!  They forced you to take an ambulance!  Even if you weren’t sick!

Actually, no such thing happened, of course.  When we lived in Holland, we went to the doctor and got the same treatment for our problems as we do here, except that over there, we didn’t have to worry about the financial aspect of the situation.  The people we know in Europe who get a serious illness only have to stress about the illness, which is bad enough in itself.  They don’t also have to stress about going bankrupt.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve already mentioned all this in previous blogs, but it bears repeating, since people continue to tell fables about how in a single payer system, you will no longer have “freedom” when it comes to your health care.  The only loss of freedom which I will freely acknowledge happens under a single payer system is that you may end up paying higher taxes.  Speaking of which, I’m thinking of taking the train to the library tomorrow–yet more terrible impositions from my local government which I will have to suffer under.

On a small added note, I’m so glad I was wrong about how this decision went today.  For once, my pessimism was proven incorrect.  But I’m still feeling pessimistic about the election in Nov…hope I’m just as wrong about that one!

Okay, so that Plan B I had in case everything went to hell?  I hate to be a pessimist *again*, but it seems to have flown out the window and bounced out the door.  At least one aspect of it.

I was hoping that if we truly went to Hades in a conservative handbasket, I would be able to focus on local political action.  Specifically, I had imagined that if the Affordable Care Act was struck down by the Supremes, there would be ways for progressive activists to make universal health care happen here in Oregon.  We’re a liberal state, so it didn’t seem like a stretch.  Or I could finally give in to my mother’s nagging and move East, to Vermont or Massachusetts, one of the states that had a good health care system already in place.

Now I’m hearing from various places that if the individual mandate is rejected by the court, this will automatically make the individual mandate in these state programs unconstitutional as well, and it will mean that most of these plans will come to an end.  I’m hearing this from fellow liberals, not conservatives.

Is this true?  I really hope it isn’t.  If it is, there’s nowhere left to go.  Every place in America, even the places which would like to have universal coverage, will be stuck with the abuses of the status quo system.

There’s always the option of going overseas:  plenty of countries which not only have universal health care, but take it for granted and don’t have to deal with huge political fights about it.  But as I’ve said before, I just don’t see myself leaving this country.  I have too many friendships, people I care about—I have roots here now.  I’ve grown to love this place.

So, Plan C—if things are going down in flames and there’s not much I can do about it, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the bread and circuses, and the good company.  If we’re headed in the direction I think we are, and I end up living in the slums, at least I’ll be with my friends!

A couple years ago, my mother became one of the uninsured.  My father got a new job and his employer’s health care plan does not cover spouses or children. 

On a quest to find health care coverage that we could afford while paying our other bills, she applied for an individual insurance plan…only to be rejected because she had once been seen by a doctor for liver pain.  Mind you, no serious or ongoing liver problems, just a one-time visit.  Now, if she applies for any other individual insurance, her application will have to state that she has been previously rejected by another insurance company (there is a question on insurance applications which requires this), pretty much guaranteeing that no other plan will accept her. 

So, since paying the full premium for the employer coverage is not affordable for her, Mom claims she is fine with not having any insurance.  The thing that scares me the most is that I know perfectly well she is the kind of person who will pretend that she is doing great, even if she happens to be sick or in pain.  She doesn’t want anyone else to worry about her and will sacrifice herself before she does anything that would endanger her family’s financial future.

I hear a lot of people talking about how government health care will take away our liberty.  My question is this:  exactly what kind of liberty will it take away from my Mom?  The liberty not to get medical treatment?  The liberty to lose our house and everything we have if she gets seriously ill?  The liberty to live with the stress and worry of that?  Are those the exciting freedoms I have heard so much about?  What choices would single payer take away?  If I get sick under the current private health care system, I will go to the doctor and get treated for it (if I can afford it).  If I get sick under single payer, I will go to the doctor and get treated for it.  The health care system will make absolutely no difference in the choices I make, except that I won’t have to panic about the money side of things.  Are there really exotic treatment options that I’m not aware of that will disappear if government health care comes in?   

The solution which always gets trotted out in this country in response to desperate situations is that of private charity.  My mother’s answer to any such conversations is to snap, “I shouldn’t have to beg for my health care.”  And she’s right—she shouldn’t.

Thankfully, there is a real solution, and it’s a lifesaver for us.  My parents are both in their 60s, so the time when they will be able to get on Medicare is quickly approaching.  I am literally praying for the moment when Mom can have her Medicare, and praying that she doesn’t develop any life-threatening conditions in the meantime…there’s still a few years to go.

And to think, when she turns 65 she will lose all that “freedom”…poor thing!