Democrats, Elections, Health insurance, politics, Single Payer, Uncategorized

Requiem

For Pat from Paducah, who left too soon.

A few years ago I met a man who lived down in Paducah — it took us a long time to get to know each other. He felt I was too high strung and wound up, and I felt he was just another pompous ass; but we stayed in touch nonetheless.

I visited him just this past Martin Luther King day. He was upbeat and funny, between jobs, but still keeping up with his various contacts. He limped a little and said that his leg was swollen… but if he slept with it propped up, the swelling went down.

We got along great this time, he felt I was more relaxed and I found out he had a wicked sense of humor.

Life being what it is, some weeks went by and we didn’t chat, so I reached out to him.

And reached out.

And reached out.

Finally, I called, and his number was not working (okay, maybe he lost his phone again). The only thing left that I could do at this point was message his daughter via Facebook.

Pat died in his home February 25.

I can’t help but think that if we were a single payer health insurance nation, he might have gone into a doctor or urgent care, and had that leg looked at, but being between jobs, he was without insurance.

I’ve been “between jobs” and without insurance — you walk on eggshells because if you become sick or injured, you could incur doctor or hospital bills that could take years to pay down.

It’s time to seriously look at single payer health insurance for the United States. Physicians for a National Health Program defines single payer as “a single public or quasi-public agency [that] organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands.”

Additionally, “all residents of the U.S. would be covered for all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs.”

What this means is that even if you’re between jobs, or working part-time, you can still go to the doctor, or the hospital, or get new glasses. You don’t have to risk your life because you don’t have health insurance.

If H.R. 676 is not passed by the time I get to Congress, I’m going to re-introduce it. We have been world leaders before, but we’ve fallen sadly behind. It’s time to be a kinder nation, starting at home.

There’s plenty for all of us.

Democratic National Committee, Democrats, Elections, politics, Uncategorized

Brand New Congress

 

I joined an online group called “Brand New Congress” whose premise is to literally elect new people to Congress. I had decided to run for 1st Congressional Missouri before I joined them, but I thought it would be an interesting adjunct in my quest for knowledge.

I was nominated.

I was not chosen.

The woman Brand New Congress wants to “draft” has an interesting biography that I’ve been thinking about. She’s a mental health nurse, a minister, a mother, and an activist; she primaried against Jason Kander in the 2016 state senate race.

I posted on Brand New Congress’s page that I wish her the best of luck because that’s the seat I’m going to campaign for, and a woman asked what my background was. I answered, “I work in a HUD subsidized low income community; my dad was third generation printer, second generation Union; my mother is an immigrant; lifelong wage-slave; rape survivor.” The woman answered, “Oh wow.”

The “draftee” says, “I am the people I represent,” which is a kind of cool slogan, but what does it mean?

My curiosity led me to Google “What is the average salary for a mental health nurse?”, to which Google quoted NurseJournal.org that said mental health nurses can make in excess of $94,000.00 per year.

Now I know, the possibility of making $94k a year doesn’t mean she actually makes $94k a year, but $43 per hour wages is a hell of a lot more than my $16.71 an hour, which is closer to the wages my tenants make. Even police officers don’t make close to $43 an hour.

That brings me to my next question: Who do you really want to represent you in Congress?

In my last blog, I pointed out that if I’m elected to Congress to represent my neighbors, it will be my only job.

I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a nurse, I’m not a minister — if I fail to do the work my neighbors send me to do, I’m out of a job when I come home.

Regardless of where you live, all 425 seats of the US House of Representatives are up for election in November 2018. Start looking now, start questioning now. This link will take you to the entire 2017 Congressional Calendar, so you can see when your Representative is supposed to be be back in your district.

Call him or her up, meet with them. See what they have to say — they work for you!

 

 

 

 

 

Democrats, politics, Uncategorized

Let’s Talk

The other day, when I realized I really, really do want to run for the US House of Representatives, an old schoolmate asked me how popular am I?

I don’t know.

I’ve never been the person who got invited to the “cool” parties. I wasn’t in the “cool” cliques. I didn’t matter to me then. It doesn’t matter to me now.

What does matter to me is that this election cycle, like no other in my lifetime, overwhelmed my feelings —  I’ve felt frustrated, I’ve felt frightened, I’ve felt powerless. Worst of all, I’ve felt hopeless and helpless. I know I’m not the only one who’s felt this way — regardless whom you voted for.

I don’t understand feeling hopeless and helpless, even though I have felt these emotions, and my way of dealing with these particular feelings is action. I have to do something.

I readily admit I’m a novice at politics, but I’m a quick study. I’ve been working with low-income people for the last few years (and frankly, most of us are dangerously close to meeting the area median income). I work for an hourly wage, I’m taxed, and I live paycheck-to-paycheck.

I have a car note. A couple of credit cards. A personal loan. I’ve been married. I’ve been divorced. I like ice cream and road trips.

I’m a lot like you.

The American middle-class is the lifeblood of this country, and yet it has been deliberately and methodically, exsanguinated. My goal is to stop the bleeding.

My action plan right now, is to meet with people, in coffee shops, small groups, book clubs, wherever, and fact-find.

What do you need that your current representatives are not providing? Do you feel that the billions of dollars in tax money collected are mismanaged? Do you feel that tax collecting is done under implied threat of violence?

I want to hear from you!

Let’s talk!

 

 

 

Democratic National Committee, Democrats, politics, Uncategorized

What’s in a Word?

Last week, I attended a meeting of the Hadley-Lincoln Township Democratic Club.

One of the speakers was Stephen Webber, who was recently elected to head up the Missouri Democratic Party. Stephen served two tours in Iraq as a Marine, and represented the 46th District in the Missouri House of Representatives for 4 terms. He is 34 years old, which means I was out of high school for two years when he was born.

His task is to bring the national Democratic message to Missouri and disseminate that message to the committees and clubs throughout the state.

What is the Democratic message?

I wish for the life of me I knew — because we’re “for” lots of different things, and our lots of things have us running in different directions.

One word I’ve heard associated with Democrats is “progressive,” and, frankly, that word feels mildly uncomfortable to me; it feels too fast, even though the definition is that of a gradual change. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t like change to come as quickly as it used to, but do I want change so the lives of my step-daughter and her sons will be better.

Despite an obstructionist Republican House and Senate,  it was progressive thinking of the Democrats to implement the ACA, so that more Americans are covered by health insurance and eligible to receive care than ever before in our history.  While it is not a perfect system, the imperfections can be worked on and corrected without gutting the whole thing

It would be a huge step backward to take it away from us without a replacement.

It would be — dare I say it?? — regressive.

Oh, sure we could go back to paying cash-out-of-pocket for services, but who has $80 or $90 sitting around for blood tests to find out what’s wrong? “Yeah, sure, Doc, whatever you need to do, as long as it doesn’t cost $125.00. That’s all I have in my bank account.”

So maybe being progressive isn’t such a bad thing and we could be like Hill Valley’s Mayor Goldie Wilson — “Progress is his middle name.”

.