Sunday, June 28, 2009

Open Letter to President Obama and Members of Congress re U.S. Health Care Reform

I am a United States citizen currently a legal resident of Ireland. In order to achieve residency I had to live here one-year and give proof of my income (currently just under the U.S. poverty level for a single person--pension & SSI). Once residency was granted (eight-years ago), the only restriction was that I may not seek or accept employment here. However, as a resident of Ireland, I am entitled to all the benefits provided its retired citizens -- free health care, free prescriptions, free dental care, free eye exam and glasses, a travel pass that allows me to travel free all over the island by bus or rail. And, due to my low-income, I receive a rent subsidy.

Two-years ago, I needed orthopedic surgery to replace my right knee. Once diagnosed, I waited only two-months for the operation. When completed I was in hospital for ten-days then went to a resident nursing facility for one-week where I received daily physical therapy. One-year ago, I was diagnosed as having pulmonary embolisms in both lungs and was hospitalized for twelve-days. The cost to me of these hospital stays, nursing facility, therapy and administered medication, was zero.

I currently am taking several prescribed medications but have no idea what they cost as I obtain them free from my local pharmacy. Appointments at my local clinic to see the physician of my choice are also free.

Sadly, the end result of having all the benefits I receive in Ireland renders it financially impossible for me to even consider moving back to the U.S. Needless to say, I do not intend to become an economic burden on my family who, themselves, have had difficulty maintaining their own heads above the financial flood of these past few years. Therefore, unless there is resolution of the health care crisis in the U.S., including remedying the paucity of the current Medicare Program, a move back to California in 2012 when I turn eighty is near impossible.

At minimum, one would hope that the United States, which has a GNP/GDP immensely greater than that of Ireland, would at least provide its retired citizens the free medical and prescription benefits I enjoy here.

My question to you is: Why am I denied the free medical care and prescription medication in my own country that I am provided by my resident country?

Best wishes,
Margie Bernard

1 comment:

Umberto Tosi said...

Great open letter: Answer: Americans here don't know that it's their government. Traditionally they've ceded control of their country to a tiny, extremely wealthy, self-serving elite who extract every penny they can from the working classes and continually suck the blood out of the U.S. economy before much of it can flow to other sectors of it beyond their own.

Most Americans have relinquished political power to this elite because of either fear, ignorance or laziness - or all three in varying combinations. The elite spend modest sums, by their own standards, to get tens of millions of the most ignorant Americans to fear and loathe their own government, and thus give up any opportunity to counterbalance the overreaching power of the corporations run by these elites.

Along with that, they give up the kind of benefits all citizens of other developed countries around the world take for granted -- like universal health care, economic safety nets for workers, adequate help for the elderly, functional schools, functional public transportation, and so forth. The elites get folks to abdicate their rights and even vote against their own interests by pumping up a mythology about "self-reliance" and fears of "socialism," and by using pseudo-religion to scapegoat minorities - (with a revolving smorgasbord of folks offered up as targets: Blacks, Latinos, Jews, Arabs and now, especially, gays.)

Yes, the elites in Europe use those same tactics going back to Fascism and before, but the general populations don't buy into to it to such a degree that they give up their power totally and forfeit the obvious benefits of Social Democracy as practiced there.

Mental laziness distinguishes American electorates from Europeans, Japanese, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and so forth. America's anti-intellectual pop culture and chronically beleaguered, underfunded educational systems make it okay for younger people especially to lapse into a shallow, uninformed cynicism that precludes any participation in politics.

The 2008 national election that propelled Barak Obama to the White House and installed Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress broke with that past. Obama's supporters rode a wave of disgust at the stunning ineptitude, corruption and excesses of Bush-Cheney neo-con Republican rule that left the country in shambles after eight years.

The problem now is that people think it's Obama who can save them instead of staying organized, fighting and continuing to apply pressure against the powers that be that still hold Washington and Wall Street in their grip. People spoke with their wallets, pocketbooks and feet to elect Obama,

Now they much finish the job and run any resistant, bought-off Democrats and remaining Republicans who are capable of stalling and gaming the system out of office -- and do it quickly before the inevitable ultra-collapse and chaos wrought by prolonging the status quo kicks in completely. Then there will be little chance of real progressive populist reform and relief. Extremism will become too tempting a quick answer and the laziness and ignorance still with us will once again drive politics, install and perpetuate the corrupt and destroy all chance of change.

Yes, WE can, not just Obama. He's not the man on the white horse. Power to the people.