THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #48

In order to survive we must keep hope alive — William Parker

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HEALTH CARE: PART II
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In This Issue:

DAVID’S NOTES:

HEALTH CARE: PART II: YOUR RESPONSES TO JME #47
(Mostly from Canadians)

CONTRIBUTORS’ NOTES

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DAVID’S NOTES

I HADN’T PLANNED ON THIS 

I had not planned to do another issue on Health Care but your responses to JME #47 were many and excellent. I thought I should share with all of you what a few of you said. Thus the bulk of this brief issue is what I’ve gotten back about issue #47.

BRAIN DRAIN BECAUSE OF HEALTH CARE?

I want to mention specifically one contributor to this issue who is a recent immigrant to Canada who also recently found out she had cancer. She is an extraordinarily gifted actor and writer who is now afraid to return to the United States because of our Neanderthal health care system. In a recent phone conversation she allowed as how it would not be wise for her to return to the United States to live unless something drastic happens to America’s health care policies.

How many other Americans are there who went to Canada or France or England or Switzerland or somewhere else and are now afraid to come back here because of our health care system?

Does the American health care system contribute to a Brain Drain?



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SOME OF YOUR RESPONSES TO JME #47 

HOW FORTUNATE I AM TO BE IN CANADA

How fortunate I am to be in Canada, huh? Man oh man. The whole debate about health care in the U.S. has really changed my feelings about the possibility of moving back south of the border. Especially now that I’ve had cancer, I just don’t trust that I would be cared for if I lived there. And the fact that U.S. society can’t agree that the health and well being of its citizens should be a national priority is deeply disturbing to me. Rugged individualism gone wild, I guess. I pray that Obama will be able to get something reasonable passed, but I’m skeptical, and frankly, more concerned than ever about his safety.

Abby Paige
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Abby also sent us this link to a survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showing a large majority of physicians support a health plan with both private and public options: http://www.rwjf.org/healthreform/quality/product.jsp?id=48408

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VIBRANT MOVEMENT FOR SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE IN VERMONT

I want to let you know that health care reform at the federal level will leave our expensive for-profit health care system in place. At best, there will be a small public option that will cover only a small percentage of people.

But we do have a vibrant movement for single payer health care in Vermont. As Bernie Sanders has said, “The quickest route toward a national health care program will be when individual states go forward and demonstrate that universal and non-profit health care works, and that it is the cost-effective and moral thing to do.”

There are two bills presently before the Vermont House and Senate [H100 and S88], which would establish a single payer system in Vermont.  A short leaflet that explains the bills is available here.

You should email your state representatives and ask them to support H100 and S88.  Bernie Sanders is hoping we in Vermont can show the way, and I think we have a chance if we rally our forces together and make our voices heard.  We need to telephone our local representatives and ask them to support H100 and S88. And we should tell all our gubernatorial candidates that we want them to work for single payer in Vermont.

Ellen Oxfeld
Middlebury, VT

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NOT SOMETHING WE LIVE WITH HERE IN CANADA

Up here in Canada we hear about the debate and how divisive and absurd it is, but the anger and intensity of the debate I’m hearing from you and your contributors is not something we live with here in Canada. Thank god! In fact one thing I remember from my year in America is the intensity of the political dialogues around the dinner tables, on the dock, etc. Good thing you guys have your mountain retreat with all those nasty bugs and all that rain to keep your minds otherwise occupied!

Jan Kubanek
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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I BRISTLE

As a former Canadian citizen I always bristle when I hear the Canadian health care system criticized.

Judy Murphy
Bennington, VT

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RACE IS THEIR TRUMP CARD

Health Care for all and the Public Option are clearly being hit by the backward and the un-informed, and as in the election, race is their trump card; fortunately, John and Sarah lost, but they and the Republicans obviously haven’t given up. . . . I was pleased to see Jimmy Carter and Bill Cosby come out with the R word and call it as it is: Racism, pure and simple — along with a contempt for the middle class with people once again working against their own best interests in their blind fear of Socialism and People Who Are Different.

Kathy White
Beaufort, SC

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DROP THE LANGUAGE OF “RIGHTS”

An interesting and diverse assortment of views. I especially liked Miriam Schubert’s piece: it’s so simple and so real. [See it again at: http://www.davidbudbill.com/jme47.html#cansys]

I find myself getting stuck when people talk about a “right” to health care, just as I get stuck at that quote about how we’re endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable “rights” . . . .

The problem with asserting “rights,” it seems to me, is that people get awfully self-righteous about them: how, after all, can you deny anyone their “rights” unless you’re a bad person? . . . .

Instead, the health care debate might become more fluid. That probably requires dropping the language of “rights” and seeing instead where generosity in the electorate can be enlarged and fearfulness assuaged. . . . Obama’s concluding rap in his health care speech about our national character was wonderfully pertinent in this regard: he didn’t ask us to respond to somebody’s assertion of “rights”; instead, he asked that we tap into that part of our character that cares about the distress of others. (He’s also pretty respectful of the fact that there are a lot of different ways to care about the world, and that differences of view deserve respect.) “Rights” freeze dialogue and leave it nowhere to go; “character” and respect for other views leave things more fluid . . . .

It’s not just the conservatives who get locked into self-“rights”eousness. That language on all sides can destroy rather than create.

Schubert ends her piece saying, “Civil society means caring for one another, the healthy caring for the sick and the young for the old”: that’s creative language in the context of this debate. May there be more of it!

David French
Shelburne, VT

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MYSTIFIED WHY THERE IS ALL THIS DEBATE

Thanks for your superb selections on the (sickening) health care debate. We do know the strengths and failings of the Canadian system, but no government would dare take it down or revise it down. Overall, we are happy with it and don’t have to worry about losing coverage through cancellation by an HMO, or losing coverage due to job loss.

We are mystified why there is all this debate on an issue that was sorted out to almost everyone’s satisfaction so long ago in Europe and Canada.

George Kubanek
Montreal, Quebec, Canada


 

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CONTRIBUTORS’ NOTES

Abby Paige is an actor and writer who lives in Montreal.

Ellen Oxfeld is a Professor of Anthropology at Middlebury College who specializes in the anthropology of China.

Jan Kubanek is currently an architect and amateur singer, formerly a carpenter and tile maker and future who-knows-what.

Judy Murphy was for 11 years a senior reporter at Sports Illustrated Magazine. She first came to the United States after marrying a New York Times reporter in 1959.

Kathy White is a former high school English & writing teacher, a left-wing snowbird from South Carolina, intent on biking and Yoga, and focused on 4 grandchildren under the age of 8.

David French is a former toiler in international development organizations who now concentrates on email and Buddhism.

George Kubanek is a Canadian who spends several months a year in the USA. He retired 10 years ago from the forest products industry where he worked on research and development.

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