Thursday, October 01, 2009

Sit-Ins at Aetna

Peaceful sit-ins such as the September 29 action at Aetna's New York office seem a fairly civilized and rational response, at a time when we are seeing the "health care reform" legislation evolve into an outrageous federal subsidy to the same abusive health insurance industry that has our country in a stranglehold. What an epic failure.

Footage of the sit-ins below.


Pam said...

Sad to say, there will be few winners (among us common folk)in this so-called health care reform, if you judge by the bills being proposed and slated to be voted on.

Insurance companies are lying, Congress (both sides) are heavily invested in health care industry big whigs, lies are being spewed like water on both sides of the issue.

The public is confused and outraged, just down right angry. I doubt we can expect to see any meaningful changes that will benefit most of us when the dust settles.

It's discouraging when you can't believe what any of our lawmakers say when it comes to issues that affect our lives in significant ways.

Algernon said...

There are solutions. Something can be done. What would you be willing to do?

Pam said...

What do you mean 'willing to do'? I can vote, write my Congressman.

As to the health care reform issues? Nothing I can do. I'm on Medicare so I have few options.

Medicare is no more perfect than my private insurance was. I don't see where the taxpayer, the average American comes out a winner in any proposed scenario.

What would you have me do?

Algernon said...

Depends on what you truly want, Pam.

Voting and writing to your Congressman are nice -- I do those things, too -- but they don't lead to reform. They never have.

The parties that do not want things to change, the parties that benefit enormously from things being just the way they are, are doing a hell of a lot more than voting and writing letters.

We did not win the 8-hour working day from voting and writing letters. Government and industry did not wake up one day and say, "Gee, working people 6-7 days a week for 14 or 16 hours seems a bit extreme, maybe we should lay back a bit." People struck, lost their jobs and their careers, were beaten up and killed.

I could list many more examples but I think you get my point.

Another point that needs to be made is that there was a time when the 8-hour day seemed impossible and "utopian" to those who considered themselves moderates. The same for racial integration -- some good-hearted and moderate people thought forcing integration would lead to riots and instability. They said to themselves, "Life can't be perfect," and they made their terms with the status quo.

We have a very expensive health care system that makes a few people very rich while bankrupting working Americans and leaving some without coverage. People are dying because of inadequate or non-existent access to health care, while corporations (and their shareholders) become very wealthy by denying claims.

That's bad enough for me. But others will make their peace with that, maybe shake their heads and grumble about lousy politicians, maybe write to their congressman. They have not yet felt moved to be part of a movement, to agitate, to be uncomfortable and push for change. They make their peace with the status quo.

How bad do things have to be before you do more, before you read the literature and look at the options and start demanding a solution that puts the welfare of people above the lust for profit? I don't know the answer to that question.

I am at peace with your choice, Pammy -- but it is a choice.

Pam said...

I'm still confused about what you think I should be willing to do?

I don't have the time or energy or the desire to protest. I don't belong to a union so I don't strike.

I'm trying really hard to keep a roof over my head and that of my grandsons.

I've read about the various choices, I see good things and not so good things about public vs. private.

My personal belief? Why not have a public option for those who can't get insurance? I have no problem with public being a part of the mix.

I don't have tunnel vision for either side. I think a one-size-fits all is not the way to go.

I've read material that shoots down my personal belief as to what might work best. Same goes for those who favor single payer and those who want no public option.

I guess you're right about 'choice'. My choice is to make sure I keep my family fed and the bills paid. It has to be my focus right now in this economy.

I live with 2 very high-maintenance children who suck the time and energy out of every day. I don't have time or money to go see a movie, much less protest. Between work and home the time left I choose to sleep.

I'm all for protests to demand a change. I've read the literature, looked at the options, see merit is all of them to some degree, as I've said. Demand a solution?? Protesting? That's great if you have the time. I don't have any spare hours. Sorry.

Algernon said...

As I wrote earlier, Pammy, the answer to your question depends on what it is you truly want. When you want it badly enough, you take the time to get involved because it is no longer an option -- you HAVE to do it.

You're not there yet.

Pam said...

From your point of view I guess you're right, Alg. From mine, all my time right now is going to paying the bills and taking care of 2 little boys. I have no spare time to protest or whatever you think I should be doing.

When I say I have no spare time, I mean that literally. I crawl into bed at 8 or 10 at night to sleep before getting back up at 5 am.

What I truly want in the way of health care for my daughter and boys are for them to have access to the medicines and treatment they have to have to function in life.

I have no say so in what Congress decides to do. I'm hoping they will include an option that will help my family. Even if they do it won't go into effect for a number of years.

So, to answer your question, my only option at this time of my life is to keep working and making sure they get fed and have a roof over our heads.

It's wonderful to be able to say what people should do on an intellectual or even emotional basis. But, real life is real life.

Day to day is my reality. I don't have the luxury to get involved or whatever you'd have all of us to do to force whatever you think or I think is the right way to go.

I can't produce more hours in the day. I have no time to myself other than here in front of my computer when I can grab a few minutes. I leave the house to work or run necessary errands.

Those are the things I HAVE to do.

I don't see that changing anytime soon so I guess I'll never get to whatever 'there' is.

I love your wonderful idealistic debates. I agree with many of your issues and point (not just on health care). As for me? I do what I can, when I can. It's all I can do at this juncture in my life.

Sometimes, Alg, it is what it is. I accept that and accept that there are just some things I have to live with or can't influence in any significant way.

There was a time when my circle of focus was much larger than it has to be right now. By necessity it has narrowed to my City, neighborhood and home. I do what I can for my grandsons and for the special needs children I work with in schools. That's where I can and do make a difference, for what it's worth.

I'm afraid I'll just have to leave the big question of health care for all for America to others. If that's not enough, it's the best I can do.

Algernon said...

Pammy - your responses are feeling steadily more defensive, and I don't understand why. No one has shaken their finger and said you need to be willing to do more.

You say you want health reform, great. I asked what you are willing to do about it. It wasn't an indictment.

I must point out, however, that the people in these videos (as one with people who have taken part in public demonstrations for their rights across your lifetime) don't look like ivory tower people who have nothing but leisure time on their hands. Like you, they have jobs, they have families, some of them have health problems. Some of them look like retirees, which means they are likely living on fixed incomes. They don't look like professional protesters to me, although they clearly have had some training from people experienced at social action.

They do it because they have to. They do it because the magnitude of the crisis has hit them personally, and they prioritize it accordingly. They have become, as we say, radicalized. They have to do something.

That's what social change requires.

And if you don't feel moved to do that, Pam, there will be no shaking of fingers here. You'll notice I haven't turned up in Las Cruces or Albuquerque demonstrating either -- I haven't even checked to see what's going on. So I'm not going to be the one telling you that you SHOULD be doing more.

I am suggesting to you that if you want to see health care reform, it will require social action. It might not happen; it might happen without your involvement; or it might happen with your involvement when you, too, feel that your busy life cannot go on as normal.

Algernon said...

P.S. But I WILL shake my finger at you for saying you can't influence it in any way. That, my friend, is a cop-out. The means are available, they just aren't easy. It isn't can't; it is won't.