Thursday, September 3, 2009

No one should die because they cannot afford...

No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.

That’s the “status meme” going around Facebook today. At first it was interesting and thought provoking. Then it became downright annoying as status after status was exactly the same.

Now being in something of a “ranty” mood today I posted this as my status:

Facebook is not Twitter people!!! Odds are most of your friends agree with your political views. The ones that don't aren't likely to be swayed by your facebook status. The general public is not seeing your status. It's not a "trending topic" on twitter. I read statuses to hear what's going on in people's lives or be amused. I don't need a political view that I already agree with shoved down my throat by 50 people.

Perhaps I needed to take a walk around the block or do some yoga or something as obviously I was a bit high strung earlier. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe debates among friends are exactly the way change is actually effected, but of all the statuses I saw only one had comments that didn’t amount to a mutual masturbation fest for having the same views. And even that one debate was by people one both sides of the argument who had specific personal and first-hand experiential reasons for their views that a debate in the comments section of facebook wasn’t going to change.

So was the meme worth it? Did it open up dialogue or change anyone’s views? Maybe it exposed two or three people to arguments they hadn’t considered. Mostly though I think it made people think they’d done something tangible about their beliefs when really they hadn’t. Post something in a public forum. Email your Congressman. Email the White House. Organize a demonstration. Actually get a group of your friends together who have different opinions on the subject and actually talk about it. But please don’t gum up my social networking fix with a pointless shout to the wind.


And in a move that I’m sure is breaking any number of “Terms of Service” rules, I’m going to repost the one remotely insightful discussion I saw result from the meme:

TL: No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.

EM: what is this/who is organizing this?

NT: I absolutely agree. I watched my parents drain all their savings and nearly lose their house & vehicles because my dad underwent 3 life threatening surgeries in 2007. Even with insurance he's met his lifetime benefits & has several hundreds of thousands in medical bills. It just isn't right.

EM: I am truely sorry to hear about your father. Can I, as someone who doesn't know you, as an ardent oponent of HR3200, and as apparently the only fiscal conservative on fb ask you two terrible questions?

NT: Sure. What do you want to know?

EM: What would you have done pursuant to a government run healthcare system if your father was put on a waiting list for any of his surgeries? What would he have done if he were told, pursuant to a government run system, that he did not qualify for the surgery?

NT: I honestly don't know; he would have died as a result. However, I am not one to have knee jerk reactions to speculations of government run healthcare. I have heard so many testimonials from my Canadian friends that I have to have faith that a goverment sponsored healthcare system can work. On the flipside, take into consideration hard working parents that don't have employer sponsored healthcare and can't afford it for their families & don't qualify for government aid. A single perscriptipn or trip to the ER could financially set them back for months. Hospitalization could lead to bankruptcy. Would you argue that these people don't deserve medical care?

KV: No where in TL's post or NT's personal story is there mention of government run healthcare. The point EM is reform. No one should die because they can't afford health care and no one should go broke because they get sick. Do you agree with this or not? Ironic about your hypothetical "what would you do..." My little sister who is insured but like NT's father has pre-existing conditions and a life threatening disease. She lost her job due to the recession over a year ago and despite a desperate search has not been able to get a job with adequate coverage. She now only has a few months left before coverage runs out. No one will cover her. She has been denied by insurance companies time and time again throughout her life for treatments. When you can relate to my parents, when your daughter is sick and denied coverage. We can debate your argument. Until then please understand how vital and personal this is for some people. My apologies TL for ranting on your wall...

MF: Hope I am not interjecting into a private conversation. Having grown up largely in Canada, which has had "socialized" health care for close to 50 years despite many efforts to privatize it in the name of lower taxes, it is interesting to follow the debate now taking place in this country about how to (or not to) improve health care here. One thing I keep hearing is the threat of waiting lists, with Canada often used as the example. My dad was on such a list for bypass surgery several years back. While still a couple of months away from surgery based on his position on the list, his conditioned suddenly worsened. This changed his priority status on the list and he went into surgery a day later. The point is that the waiting list was prioritized by need, as opposed to the ability to pay.

Canada's health statistics are not much better than the US's, but the percentage of people covered is certainly much higher, and the costs lower. Something to think about.

EM: All points taken. The original posts have to do with aspirational goals rather than any specific plans. I don't think that anyone disagrees with the sentiment. . . I am terrified of the potential means towards the aspirational ends. I too have a very personal story to tell about why I think the US system is better/best. My brother is alive today because of it wherein I believe he wouldn't be elsewhere. I'll spare you the rest of the details, though.


  1. Your friends may be of a mind with you, but friends of friends and friends of friends of et cetera might not, and they will see the message.

  2. I agree that the staus thing is a bit annoying... but I must disagree with you about friends' political views. I have friends from high school, college, theater, ren faire, revious employers, etc. They run the gamut of age, experience, class, and race. So do their political opinions. If all of the people you interact with are of the same cloth, then what is the point of ever talking at all?

  3. I have a handful of conservative facebook friends through the means you describe, but I know for a fact that status would not change their opinions. Especially considering one could oppose the proposed healthcare bill for a myriad of reasons but still agree with the sentiment of that meme the way it is phrased.

  4. i think that it is good that people are getting political on their facebook status as opposed to posting the most inane daily activities or moods (i.e. i am sleepy, can't wait til it's Friday). will a make a change? perhaps it will make a person or two think and get involved, or perhaps not, but it is good to show we are all agreeing on the same as I am having these types of discussion with my FB friends.

  5. Well hello to you Grouchy! Change your status on FB. A small act to counter the assumption that a vocal minority of lunatics raising heck at the health reform town halls speak for all of America. No harm in that at all...

  6. "But please don’t gum up my social networking fix with a pointless shout to the wind."

    Yes, by all means, don't harsh on my masturbatory activity with your masturbatory activity.

    Way to fight that good fight!!!

  7. From Alan Goy's profile: "Currently he blogs and works in the healthcare industry."

    What a suprise...

  8. Thank you! Glad to know I'm not the only one totally annoyed by that message.

    I've updated my status, stealing the quote from elsewhere on the net, "No one should die because they can't afford a Burrito Supreme, and no one should go broke because they get a Burrito Supreme. If you agree please post this as your status for the rest of the day."

  9. i wasn't going to do it until i saw that Barak Obama did it to in facebook! :) so i did it ...


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