Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vets, Health Care, Socialism, and Community

It figures that my last post was over 4 months ago. It's not that I've had nothing to write about, but I've just been doing stuff and not blogging about it. I'm just not cut out to be a blogger, it seems. Some may read the following blog post and wish I would stay at my current posting volume, yet others may wish to see more from me.

But just last night I had a good long talk with some relatives I haven't touched bases with for a while. It was great to hear they are doing well. I mentioned some of the things I was doing, including community service, mostly amateur radio related through ARES & RACES, and likened it to serving in the US Air Force.

Well, that lead to a discussion of health care, and my uncle (also a vet), mentioned that as vets, we can get health care at VA medical facilities, an option available to me, someone without any other form of health care. There are plenty of examples of the experiences Gulf War vets have received from the underfunded VA medical system to see that it is not what it can and should be. Although a vet, my uncle is retired from the airline industry and gets health care that way.

I mentioned the potential of "universal health care" helping to solve many of the health care (including Medicaid & Medicare) issues in the US, but my uncle was afraid that it sounded like socialism. He mentioned the typical right-wing stories of Canadians coming to the US for health care, presumably because they just can't wait (can afford to travel tho? just can't wait to get that hang nail fixed?) Those politicians that tell tales of waiting to see a doctor haven't sat in an emergency room in the US.

Whatever the "new and improved US health care system" is called, whether "single payer" , "universal", or something else, as I explained to my uncle, the "yankee ingenuity" of the US should be able to create a suitable alternative while providing acceptable, if not envious, health care for all. I mentioned the AMA-created artificial doctor shortage no longer able to support a doctor in every small town or doctors making house calls. We both agreed that professionals wanting to make 6-7 figure incomes should become lawyers, those wishing to provide quality health care to the country's citizens should become doctors (or other healthcare professionals). Whatever the system, it should be neither a government bureaucracy nor capitalist multinational pharmaceutical or insurance corporate welfare system.

Socialism, and other isms, in my opinion, are becoming rapidly obsolete. I mentioned that the (Eisenhower) Interstate Highway System is a socialist creation - everyone pitching in to provide for the greater good. Could military service be considered participation a socialist or even communist entity supporting "democracy"? I was certainly reminded on several occations that the military was not a democracy.

As a vet of the "Cold War", from Dec 1984 to Jan 1989, (yes, I mentioned Hillary's proposal to give such vets real "war vet" satus), I am a believer that one's service to one's community should not stop there, nor should it give one some kind of exemption to continue supporting one's community. Such service, in fact, should have instilled enough of a sense of duty to recognize that community service should be part of a healthy civil society. Many times I've heard statements along the lines of "I've served my country, so I have the right to... (sit on my ass in front of the TV?)" to which an apt reply and paraphrased song lyric would be "What have you done for us lately?"

If we are waiting for answers to life's problems to come from "above", whether from government or corporations, we're asking for 20th century -isms some of us just love to hate. Communities, cooperating within societies, on "grass roots" levels, can provide in the 21st century, although it will probably mean an end to our current corporate oligarchy.

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