Daily prompt: Off topic again


Last night, my daughters staged a coup.

As mentioned before, my sister had major abdominal surgery last month. She spent three weeks in hospital and came home last Friday, since when she has been getting weaker rather than stronger. She is due to see the General Practitioner tomorrow, but my daughters (two in Sydney, one 500 km away) picked up on my concern, decided this wasn’t good enough and put their telephonic heads together.

The details and machinations of the process (irrelevant here) resulted in D3 (full time job as lawyer, mother of two small children) turning up on my sister’s doorstep at about 8.30 pm to offer support and enforce their decision, namely that we would call the medical service that provides doctors’ home visits after hours.

We did. The doctor arrived at about 10.45, and while there was no immediate pill-type solution, we were immensely reassured that my sister was basically stable, that he would communicate with tomorrow’s GP and that the reasons for her shattering fatigue could be dealt with.

There are two points to this story. The first is that my children are just the best.

The second is that there is absolutely no excuse for the inhuman, diabolical shambles that is America’s healthcare system. If we in Australia with a country of similar size and a mere fraction of the wealth can provide major surgery, lengthy hospital care and an out-of-hours primary-physician medical service all for free, the only thing stopping America providing similar services is the overweening greed and self-interest of big money and the stranglehold they have on government.

I can well understand how hard it must be for American people to their heads around this. What you live with is your reality – your normal – and it’s almost impossible, after so long, to understand fully that other people don’t live like this: that other developed countries see accessible healthcare as one of their primary responsibilities.

I also understand that you don’t want an alien upstart like me criticising your country, and I sympathise. I really do. But the combination of recent experience and Trump’s attacks on healthcare have pushed me beyond polite. You deserve a healthcare system that actually cares about your health. In the richest country in the world – a country that prides itself on telling the rest of us how to behave – it is just plain sick that your own citizens die because they can’t afford the care or the medication so readily available to those who can pay for it.

Please, please don’t resign yourselves to third-world standards of care. Please fight for what you deserve and what your country can well afford if it stops pandering to the rich.


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15 Responses to Daily prompt: Off topic again

  1. I stand with you, Helen.

  2. We’re fighting but there are a lot of citizens in this country — and they don’t have money — who think it’s “freedom” not to have centralized anything. And remember; our population is roughly 10x that of Australia’s. I truly believe that complicates matters… Greed is the enemy, for sure. Health insurance companies don’t want to go out of business AND they want to make gigantic profits… I dunno… 😦 There was better health care in the Peoples Republic of China in 1982 than we have here.

    • Yes, the size of the population does complicate matters for sure, but it also means you’ve got 10x the tax base – and you are, after all, the wealthiest country in the world!
      As for the the ‘freedom’ thing – taken to its final implication, would Americans rather die than than accept universal healthcare?
      Australians aren’t too happy about giving up freedoms either, and we regard politicians and governments with a cynical irreverence that I suspect would shock the socks of most Americans, so maybe it has to do with the Doctrine of the Elite you mentioned before. Wouldn’t cut any ice here. Forget ‘elite’ unless you prove you’re a good bloke as well.

      • Yes. Some Americans would rather die than have the government involved in their health care. Some Americans don’t believe the government would do a good job administering health care. Some Americans believe in the free market so passionately (even though it screws them over constantly) that they don’t want universal health care. There’s a stupid romantic notion about fighting for what you “believe” in rather than fighting for what works and is good for you. People are notoriously resistant to change. BUT remember; 75% of this population did NOT vote for Trump. And Bernie Sanders who says that health care is a right was and is extremely popular across a very wide range of Americans. We’re very far from a homogenous population.

    • I guess those you’re talking about don’t realise there’s a difference between providing universal healthcare and forcing you to use it. Doesn’t leave much wriggle room for the rest of you.
      You can still take out private health cover here if you want. Or die, if your beliefs require it.

      • That’s exactly what they don’t get, that it’s one more choice and the irony is that in their (little?) minds choice = freedom.

        When I almost lost my vision in 1996, and had no health insurance but fortunately had a doctor who was angry at the “system” and actually called my boss and told him he was a shit for not covering his employees, I decided that whatever happened, I’d get health care for myself and I got a clerical job at the college where I taught so I would have health insurance.

        It used to be that a person could buy “Holy Shit!” health care at a pretty reasonable price, but many insurance companies have phased that out. My brother — who did not deserve any health care — got two hip replacements, several hospital stays, surgery for throat cancer and more because he was indigent. The stupid ass people who don’t want universal health care don’t seem to realize they’ve already been paying the bills for people like my brother who gave NOTHING to society and paid no taxes. It’s really a joke, in a way.

  3. jonbur says:

    We are not resigned, Helen, believe me. And I love you for saying those things in your post, and you’re absolutely right, but at the same time I again get this sinking feeling that all we got to do is make up our minds and vote “correctly” the next time and our healthcare woes will be over. That’s far from the truth, though it is imaginable that if this country were run by a horde of golden retrievers instead of politicians of any stripe we would fare better than we are now.
    People living in saner places like Australia, Canada, Europe, do not understand how this system we have here works. Even Americans who live here but don’t follow politics don’t realize what the hell is going on. The hold conservatives have is an iron vise and has been building for a long time.

    • I think what we mainly see from here is that the system doesn’t work for more people than seems fair or necessary. Thank you for accepting what I said despite my alien status. I try to keep quiet, but sometimes it seems so unfair that anger overcomes discretion!

  4. lwbut says:

    Hope your sis recovers soon and is quickly back to her good self!

    I’m thankful i live in Aus – there are some seriously worse places i might have ended up!

    Even if our pollies are doing their best to show themselves to be as clueless and as easily corrupted as any other.

    Why can we not all see who the real enemy is here? Who buys off the pollies and misleads them via that most wicked concept – the Lobbyist?

    Who makes record levels of profit year after year while the average citizen (who’s taxes bailed them all out in the GFC) gets the pointy end of the pineapple you-know-where??

    Time we united and took a stand againt the true enemy of the people.


    • I don’t have much time for pollies of any flavour. Every government as its own agenda and every opposition seems to think it’s their job to oppose even if the proposal has merit. But I do think we’re better off than most – possibly due to the innate cynicism and irreverence for authority of the Australian voter! Don’t push us too far, mate, or you’ll be out on your ear!

  5. Aunt Beulah says:

    You are correct, Helen. Your sentence “…the only thing stopping America providing similar services is the overweening greed and self-interest of big money and the stranglehold they have on government,” says it all. But here’s the thing. I have excellent health care. It’s called medicare; I have been on it for ten years now and have had the finest of care from my primary care physician and specialists for some unique health problems with nary a hitch. How I wish the wise (?) ones in Washington had expanded the system already in place that works.

  6. I completely agree. I think MOST people in the U.S. agree too. But this has become a big political thing that has nothing to do with reality. It’s a nightmare. Total nightmare.

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