Friday, January 22, 2010

Dying for Health Care

What's the difference between the outpouring of support for the Haitians after the earthquake, and the inability of our Congress to support American citizens with a bill providing health care for all?

It's the video, stupid.

We are deluged with videos of Haitians dying on the streets of Port-Au-Prince, their screams heard around the world. We see bodies piled by the side of the road, and mass graves being dug by backhoes. In the midst of this, doctors talk about preventable deaths.

There are 46,000 preventable deaths each year in the US, too. When the US story is told, however, all we see is town hall meetings -- people talking in a hearing room, tearfully telling stories about how their mother, or brother, or daughter, died because they couldn't get health care. Yes, their emotion carries, but it does not have the gut wrenching impact that it would have if those deaths were seen.

What we need is uninsured people dying on the Capitol steps, both in Washington, DC and in every state capitol, as well as the Federal Buildings in New York City and Los Angeles, to shame our government into passing universal health care. We need brave people, who want their deaths to count for something, to volunteer to die in public. (I realize this may be thought macabre, but the idea was born more of desperation than anything else.)

We need their families there with them to tell their stories, because the dying probably can't.

We need videographers to document these deaths, and put them up on YouTube, because the corporate media won't carry these stories until they are shamed into it by the viral nature of the 'amateur' videos.

We need an attorney to write a statement for the dying to sign, that they are volunteering to die in public, of their own free will, in order to protect those supporting them from any prosecution. We will probably need other attorneys to support these families, in case they are arrested for their civil disobedience. (Though it's difficult to imagine the police arresting a dying woman.)

We need other volunteers to support these brave souls, to provide care for the dying, and to provide logistical assistance.

So, if you know someone who is dying because of their lack of health insurance, ask that person, "Do you want your death to count for something?" and get into action.

"If the people lead, the leaders will follow."
Mahatma Gandhi

[This vison was given to meby by guides a couple of years ago. I never mentioned it to anyone. A couple of days ago, I 'saw' it again, and this time, I told my husband, who suggested I write it. Please don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.]

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