Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On health...


I need to purge my mind…indulge me.

Years ago I was watching a documentary on the history of tanning.

There was a time when being tanned was seen as being a worker and being a worker was seen as lesser than equal. Tanned arms meant a person labored outdoors. Women of means trolled about with parasols to shield them from the sun least they catch some sun. Fascinating. But in the early 1900s, factories replaced toiling in the fields for many and vacations came into vogue for the few. The leisure class flipped the script on tans. Suddenly, having a tan meant you had the privilege of leisure time in the sun and that you weren’t locked in a factory all day or tied to a desk.

Tans are still the concert t-shirt of vacations – people return to work or school to show off freshly bronzed or burned skin as proof they got their vacation on in the sun. When someone is pale, folks sometimes tell him or her they’ve been working too hard. Fascinating.

I thought of that curious history when news came that yet another state, Texas this time, has moved to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate access to a key provider of low cost family planning and life saving cancer screenings for thousands of people.

And the chorus asks… “What the hell does tanning have to do with defunding Planned Parenthood?”

And a bitch replies… “My people call it privilege.”

Health is a privilege.

It shouldn’t be.

The ability to go to a health care center and get a yearly check-up, complete with Pap smear and breast exam, shouldn’t be the equivalent of being able to afford a vacation in the sun.

But that’s what many states are creating – a freakish new reality where access to life saving exams and tests is reserved for the few.

Some people can take a week off…fly off to some beach-based destination and lounge in the sun. 

Some people can access affordable health care…go the doctor and get checked out, tested and know that they are doing fine…or find out that something is wrong and take steps to address that.

Each state government that has moved to defund Planned Parenthood has done so without offering an alternative.

They have eliminated…not replaced.

The conservative lie that taxpayers are funding abortion has moved beyond damaging deliberately obtuse rhetoric…as policy, it is devastating.

Every day equals tests for cervical cancer that are not happening.

Every week equals another seven days that thousands are not screened for sexually transmitted diseases…are not able to afford birth control.

Every opportunity for prevention missed costs we the people money.

In county upon county found in state after state, people who once had access to life saving and cost saving health care are now left with nothing.

Nothing.

And yet so much more than the wistful longing for leisure time on a beach.

Health.

And I can’t help wondering how long it will take before simple wellness becomes a badge of prosperity.

Pause…consider…continue.

Truth be told, we’re already there.

And the chorus sighs as one… “Shame.”

Blink.

6 comments:

Perry said...

Brilliant! Unfortunately, there are lots of baby boomers (many without health insurance) who continue to mature, and who represent probably the last generation to spend unbridled summer hours outside without the benefit of skin protection. Who talked about sunscreen back in the 60s or 70s? Whose parents made them put on sun block before going out to play in the 60s and 70s? Mine didn't. Just when I turned 40, I was diagnosed with melanoma, and had to have a large place excised from my neck. Fortunately, I didn't need radiation or chemo. I'm sure there are others who will be finding out in their advancing years that they, likewise, have problems with skin and other cancers. This effort to defund PP is nothing short of barbarous!

Single-payer for all!

TheRYL1 said...

I was thinking the same thing when I heard about Texas' assault on Planned parenthood: So, if you're not well-off, you won't receive needed medical care? Wow! And with the cutting of Medicaid, doctors are turning away patients because the payments are so low.

I always think that many of the things we take for granted...education, health care, traveling (air & auto), adequate dwellings, etc....were only for the rich. Hmmm, I think some people want the 19th century back.

PAUSE...BLANK STARE...HUGE SIGH

SagaciousHillbilly said...

As an EMS worker, I see people without healthcare get second rate treatment on a regular basis. . . and I practice in a fairly affluent county. I can't imagine how it is for people in 100% rural environments or inner city locales.
We've GOT to get healthcare on the front of the minds of everyone and make then realize it's no longer a privilege but a necessity if we're going to have a century of progress.

Anonymous said...

So can you answer this question for me? Where do we think the money to pay for these programs comes from. It comes from us. I'm not well off or rich so do you think it is fair that I have to pay taxes for a program that someone is going to get for free? I pay for my families healthcare when i had insurance and when i didnt. So isnt it realistic to ask a women to pay $ 150 bucks a year or $12.50 a month to make sure they dont have cervical cancer along with a check up? Isnt their own health worth that to them?

DeusExMachina said...

@Anonymous: Your thinking is why this country is so screwed up because all you can think about is you and the little bubble of the corner of the world you live in. It sounds more like you're concerned about the freeloaders than the tax payers like yourself who do use these services. My friend pays taxes just like you. In fact she owns her own business. But just because she has a business doesn't mean she has enough to afford health insurance. So she goes to Planned Parenthood. She's paying her taxes. Why should she be denied this "free" service. And that's another thing that kills me. It's not free! For all of the tax paying women that use it, it is not free. Their taxes are funding the shit just as much as yours are.

Anonymous said...

@dues that is my point it's not free TINSTAFL (There is no such thing as a free lunch). She pays taxes so do I. My point is give us our tax dollars back and we will have the money to buy the services that we need including health care instead of letting the Government decide what is beat to spend your hard on money on.

When is the last time you looked up health insurance cost? Honestly you can find coverage that will have $25 office visits co-pays for $100 per month or $50 per pay period. If you didn't have to pay this in taxes then you could go to any physician and it wouldn't be a big deal about the planned parenthood funding.

In addition even if you where paying taxes you would be insured against catastrophic health issues like cancer and wouldn't be limited to medicaid providers.

People are so worried about not being to afford things they really need but will find ways to afford stuff they really want but dont need like new cars, tattoos, the club. They spend that money that would protect their health on unnecessary stuff and then beg the government to take they private property through taxation to help them.

It not about getting rid of freeloaders. I believe that we need to help the meek amongst us but it is about looking at the truth.

The country is screwed up because people are giving the government their money and letting beauracrates decide what is best for people they don't even know.