Monday, April 14, 2008

: Tale of Two Headlines :

by The Educated Eclectic @ 7:11 AM

Today's front page of section one of the New York Times had two very telling headlines. The first:

Co-Payments Go Way Up for Drugs with High Prices

Basically, more proof that health care in the United States - that's right, in the country still arguably the 'best place to live' - is more and more a privilege for the wealthy. Have MS? Rheumatoid arthritis? Some forms of cancer? The good news is that there are now some AMAZING drugs to help you beat or cope with these diseases. The bad news is that even if you have insurance, the usual co-pays ($10, $20, $30) are out the window - one patient with MS featured in the article saw her co-pay go from $20 to $325 per month. That is nearly rent for a lot of people, particularly in the midwest. And it is a lot more than a senior citizen on a fixed income of social security and a dwindling pension could afford.

No problem, though, for someone  like Mr. Lee Tachman, featured in the other headline article I reference:

Despite Tough Times, Ultrarich Keep Spending

He just treated his buddies to the ultimate in a male bonding getaway - spending about $50,000 on a "four-day jaunt to Miami for himself and three close friends." Yep, he popped for a private jet, helicopter, Hummer limousine, Ferraries,  Lamborghinis, the VIP room at the former Versace mansion on South Beach...

I imagine if he or his ever had a horrible disease it would be a mere drop in the bucket to pay for the drugs needed to cure or combat those diseases.

In this country someone like me is labeled by even members of my own family as a pinko commie (yes, decades after the Cold War, many in the midwest and even on the more progressive coastal areas still use those terms) for asking the simple question about the above two headlines:

What is wrong with this picture?

Why do conservatives have to hang on for dear life to the all-or-nothing, black-or-white, with-us-or-against-us mentality that if you question why some people have so much, while others (insured, hard-working, 40+hour-a-week jobholders) can't even afford medications for themselves or their families, you just have to be a communist or - at the very least - a socialist?

I am a self-employed writer, and I bust my a*s to pay my mortgage on time or early every month. I don't appreciate someone just "using" the system or living off what I earn and not working. However, our country has gone way, way, way off balance when even those with full time jobs cannot afford the basics that everyone - everyone - living in a country such as the United States should have.

We may call ourselves the "United" States, but the "every man for himself" mentality has certainly led to the destruction of the middle class. To those at the very top of the skyscrapers - literally and figuratively - the rest of the masses walking below are just ants.