So health care reform is on its way, passing its first major test in our awful dysfunctional Senate. How's that working out for regular Americans? Ladies & gentlemen, I give you the Rude Pundit:
Jacqueline Kelly died yesterday in Jersey City, New Jersey, of ovarian cancer. She also had emphysema. She was 61 years-old, a woman who was a stay-at-home mom to her six kids and a supportive wife for 44 years to John Kelly. John, 68, worked for fifty years as a truck driver and was old enough to get on Medicare when he retired. His wife could not, since she was 61.
She was told she didn't qualify for Social Security disability benefits because she had never "worked." They didn't qualify for welfare assistance or Medicaid because John's pension checks were too high. So, instead, most of the money went to paying for Jacqueline's medical expenses, as much as they could, until it became a choice of chemotherapy or food. As John put it, "I worked all my life. She's being penalized for staying home and taking care of her kids." Kelly died because of a lack of health insurance, pure and simple, cause and effect.
Here's a local newspaper article about Jacqueline:
Kelly was a stay-at-home mother who raised her six children and went on to help raise her grandchildren, while her husband John worked as a truck driver for 50 years.
When John Kelly, 68, retired he was able to go on Medicare, but Kelly was not old enough.
With no private insurance, the couple was also told she didn’t qualify for social security disability because she had never worked.
When John Kelly went to Welfare, he was told his pension checks were too high for his wife to get benefits.
The family paid for Kelly’s treatments out-of-pocket until the costs recently became too much to bear.
She was treated at Christ Hospital in Jersey City through charity care and Compassionate Care Hospice treated her at home in recent weeks for free through its foundation.
Back to the Rude Pundit for analysis. I've taken his words almost completely because they need to be heard:
Think about that: John and Jacqueline Kelly were like apple pie, they fit so perfectly into the mold of ideal Americans that conservatives propagate. John was able to support his family doing a job that he stayed dedicated to. Jacqueline chose to stay at home and raise a large family. This is also death by sexism in that we live in a nation where full-time motherhood is not valued as a job and never has been. The myth of the American dream is always, always revealed as the lie it always was, and those who continue to foist it upon us are the ones least willing to make it be true. Where were all the alleged Christians, who are now so ready to kill health reform legislation? Where was the charity that's supposed to take care of such things? There was some, but not enough to get her the medical care that might have saved her.
You know who stepped up to help the Kelly family? Professional wrestlers. Yeah, Total Mayhem Pro Wrestling held a fundraiser for Jacqueline about a week ago, raising $4000 for medical expenses. That money will now be used for a funeral.
Pulls at your heartstrings, no? Really gets that lump in your throat going, this story of love and failure? Jacqueline Kelly was one of millions of Americans who would have qualified for help in just about any of the health care reform measures that actually seek to insure people. She'd have qualified for the public option. She'd have qualified for Medicare buy-in. In almost any other country in the developed world, and even in some in the undeveloped part, her care would not have even been an issue.
We are overwhelmed, yes, by tale upon tale of the sadness and horror brought on by this country's willful neglect of its citizens because we need to please some mad god of capitalism. And because we need to soothe the vanity of politicians, like Joe Lieberman.
We focus our rage on Lieberman out here in Left Blogsylvania not just because he is the kind of man who sucks his own cock in public and then grins, his semen-slicked teeth shining in the klieg lights, to the delight of Aetna and Wellpoint executives just before they shove his ass full of cash and tell him he can have it after he shits it back out. That would be enough. But it's that Lieberman actually takes pleasure in dicking over the Democratic caucus. Motherfucker said he supported the Medicare buy-in and then bailed? What kind of fuckery is that? That's just doing shit for the sake of doing shit. He's Shylock with less motivation. And that just makes us wanna go Berlusconi on his face. (Rhetorically, of course. Of course.)
But, if only to take a little power away from Lieberman, let's spread some blame around here for what is now a fairly worthless bill that is absent any control over insurance companies for jacking up prices in the wake of any new regulations. There's, of course, the Republicans, who never once negotiated in good faith (or bad faith, for that matter). There's Harry Reid, who took reconciliation off the table, thus shaking empty the compromise toolbox that had been dumped out when single payer wasn't even discussed. And there's the President, who demonstrated that if you are unwilling to say specifically what you want, then you will get nothing. Goddamnit, if Barack Obama had said he wouldn't sign a bill without a public option, if members of Congress knew he had their backs, his supporters would have rallied around the cause in a way that would have had the teabaggers grabbing their sacks in fear. He didn't, and you can't have a movement based on a vague hope that something might perhaps get done.
There's a couple of paths left now: revive reconciliation and/or try to salvage a bill that can be spun as a first step in a longer battle. The former is almost a must, because Lieberman has given anti-health care reform forces a boner for the final fucking. It might be a chance to get at least the Medicare buy-in or go back to the public option. The latter is close to surrender and is disgusting to contemplate, but there we are.
Lieberman's gotta be punished, or they gotta get rid of Reid. There's gotta be consequences for Lieberman. He's gotta lose his Homeland Security committee chair, maybe even be ejected from the caucus. He's gotta be publicly defiled. If there was any kind of justice right now, Lieberman should be locked in a glass room with the ghost of Lyndon Johnson. Motherfucker would be on his knees after five minutes, begging to give LBJ a rim job for mercy's sake.
Or, instead, Lieberman should be forced to eat the body of Jacqueline Kelly. He should have to taste her diseased organs and mutated cells. He should have to stare at her dead face as he ingests her faded skin and deteriorated muscle. And if he can't do it on his own, he should have her bones shoved down his throat until he fucking gags. Then maybe he'll understand that we're not talking about abstract numbers of people dying. We're talking about real corpses.
What's really sad, and makes a telling commentary on exactly how screwed up this country is politically, are some of the comments at the newspaper article. Talking about seeing trees rather than forest, or taking an ideology and bending it to fit the situation:
- This is so sad that an American woman can't get any type of medical coverage, but an illegal alien can get medicaid with no problem!
- if this was a woman from a foregn country she would have been flown here and treated for free so some hospital,doctor and politician would look good in the newspaper.my sympathy to her family.
- You are so right, Bayonne is under attack by immigrants and the governing bodies are addicted to serving them their free housing, their free medical, there free education, their free cell clothes, their free school uniforms, their free everything, Just so the local governing bodies and workers and County and State and Fed. employees can justify their existence and have a wonderful Christmas time....more pork please.....the employess need their bennies too.
And Bill Nelson, Joe Lieberman, and the rest of he conservadems wank hard about their petty issues.