Sunday, February 16, 2014


I'd like to write a few words about euphemisms—the pleasant words we use as substitutes for unpleasant ones—you know, like saying “ladies room” or “mens room,” when we mean “toilet room.” Euphemisms lend comfort and gentility to our conversations and aren't a bad thing at all, generally, unless they are used by commercial industry, or worse, our own government, to brainwash us. Therein lies a problem, a big one.

Try this test. I'll write down two words, and just see where your mind takes you after you read them. Ready? The words are “health care.”

What happened just then—did the word “insurance” pop right into your mind? Have government and industry succeeded in their quest to make “health care” something provided to you by government or private industry? That was their plan, and it started many years ago. I watched it happen.

Hospitals wanted to disassociate themselves from the idea of sickness or illness, so they began to call themselves “health care facilities.” Insurance companies didn't like the sound of “hospitalization insurance” or “major medical” or “medical insurance” so they became “health care providers.” Doctors and nurses became “health care practitioners.” It all sounded so much more positive than the old way of speaking, and they all were hoping it would put a different image in your mind.

But let me tell you about the old health care, before the euphemisms got all fired up. Health care was your mother showing you how to use a handkerchief and to wash your hands afterward. She also made you scrub up those hands before you came to the table and to brush and floss after meals. Your father would yell out the window, “Don't play ball in the street, you could be hit by a car!” He'd also, along with Mom, always tell you to eat your vegetables because “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” Health and safety, Mom and Dad, the original health care practitioners and providers.

Before the Wordplay Games, we were all health care practitioners, or learning how to be. Now the new euphemisms are making the old positive self-images fade away, and we're starting to believe that health-care is something provided to us by government and industry, and we have to have it, we have to buy it or get it, somehow, or else we could lose our health! We have to be “covered.”

During all this time that the wordplay has gone on, people have become sicker and sicker. Alcoholism is a disease, for which we all must pay. Drug addiction is a disease, for which we all must pay. There's a treatment for every ill, real or newly invented, for which we all must pay.

It's breaking us.

The solution to the problem might be as simple as reversing a mindset. We become, once again, our own health care practitioners, our own health care providers; we do not give away these basic rights to either government or industry. If we need help with doctor and hospital bills, we ask our family and friends. In our turn, we offer to help others whenever we can. This might be the best possible “platinum plan.”

And how about this? Every substance abuser who breaks the law is incarcerated in an addict prison, where he makes license plates or hems sheets at minimum wage until he pays for his own “treatment and rehabilitation.” No exceptions: the wealthy can't use cash or plastic to avoid incarceration and laboring at minimum wage. Young or old, first violation, every violation, no bargaining or choice involved. Imagine how fast these “diseases” could be cured. And, government and industry could partner up in this venture. They could invent “Mandatory Impatient Substance Syndrome Health-Care Facilities,” and they could have health care providers and practitioners all over the place. They'd all be so busy they might just leave the rest of us alone.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Letter about Amish and insurance

America is supposed to be the land of equality, and so I think when we Americans find a situation that doesn’t hold up to that standard, we should work to make things better.

Something many people might not know about health insurance companies: they can make bargains with participating hospitals to hold down the prices you are charged.  “Great!” you might think, “I’m glad I have my insurance company!”

It’s not so great, though, for people whose religious beliefs do not allow them to buy insurance or to participate in insurance programs, for example, the Amish.  It is perfectly legal and frequently happens that a family without insurance must pay more, much more, to the hospital than a family with insurance must pay.  So, when an Amish child needs an appendectomy, the family might pay $20,000.  When an insured child needs an appendectomy, the charge might be half that, or less.  This is all perfectly alright in the land where all men are created equal.

An Amish family will always pay their bills, even if it means selling their farm and possessions to get the money.  So, more often than you or I would like to know about, a whole family with many children has to start over again, from the bottom.  And, they do not accept any public assistance under any circumstances.

When I saw this happening in the early 1990’s, I wrote to the ACLU and asked for their assistance.  They were not willing to help.  If my memory serves me well enough, the idea behind their refusal was that this was a religious issue, which they regarded as a matter of choice for the Amish, not a matter of discrimination by hospitals.

At around that same time we were made aware of a case in which the State of New York began a legal battle with an Amish family with an extremely ill baby.  The State wanted to force the issue of a liver transplant upon the baby and the family.

Transplants of organs from one human being into another is contrary to Amish beliefs, I was told by a social worker on the side of the Amish.  And, she reminded me, it is not as if, once a transplant is done, all is well, forever.  “That child would have to spend its lifetime taking anti-rejection medications, and probably would not live as full and happy a life as the siblings in the family.”

We became involved peripherally, in the preparation of documents and arguments for the issue.  Eventually, the representative for the Amish family won the case, and the child was allowed to come home to its mother and family.  Several days later, the child died peacefully in its mother’s arms and surrounded by a loving family, who had no doubt that the child went straight from the arms of its mother, into the arms of God.

I think the bills from the state-enforced hospitalization sent the rest of the family decidedly someplace else.

 I am no great fan of the State.  As a matter of fact, every time I use the word I think of the former Soviet Union.  I am ashamed that my country who touts equality all over the world, would force all Americans to pay insurance companies, private industries, for medical “protection,”  thereby making those of us who refuse to do so, law-breakers.  I have to do something about this now, I should have done something about this long ago.

So our family members are becoming law-breakers.  We are cancelling our medical insurance, and putting aside the $ 1,650 per month of protection money demanded by our insurance racket.

I would encourage you to act according to your informed conscience.  Who knows?  Maybe you might become a law-breaker, too!

Hello there!