Note: The opinion expressed below is that of the author’s, and may or may not represent the views of Occupy Jackson Hole.
I’ve been asked repeatedly what Occupy Jackson Hole stands for (or against), and while this question is usually posed by someone who wants a one-sentence summary of everything that’s wrong with the world, I can understand the need to have the question answered.
Most Occupiers that I’ve spoken to agree that the biggest problem with our political system is that our government is now owned by (and operated for the benefit of) the rich and the corporations that they control.
And this really is the basic problem that we have in America today. There are all sorts of issues that we can debate, and many Occupiers recognize that we may have differing opinions on many of these issues, but we’ve realized that we can debate these issues all day long and in the end it makes no difference, because our opinions no longer matter.
So I’ve decided to write a series of posts here entitled “Imagine”, and I’m going to write about some issues that are important to me and to people I talk to, and imagine how things could be different if our choices weren’t limited to those that the 1% have decreed acceptable.
Today, I’d like to talk about heath care. It is, quite literally, a life-or-death issue for all of us, and yet it is an issue over which we have virtually no influence.
- Imagine living in a country where you were guaranteed health care. Period. No qualifications; just that simple guarantee.
- Imagine being able to leave your dead end job and go out and start a new business without losing your access to health care.
- Imagine waking up in the morning and not having to worry that today will be they day you need medical care that you can’t afford.
- Imagine not having to worry that your loved ones will get sick and be unable to afford treatment.
- Imagine not having to worry that you’ll lose your job and, with it, your access to health care.
- Imagine being able to take care of small health issues before they turn into big ones.
- Imagine being able to focus on running your business, instead of worrying about providing your employees the health care they need.
- Imagine being able to go to an actual doctor, instead of trying to treat yourself through the internet.
- Imagine getting your health care through a system that considers your health a priority, instead of profits.
- Imagine a health care system that costs half as much as our current system, yet delivers better results.
Sound like a pipe dream? Well, if you live in virtually any other advanced society, it would probably just seem like normal life, because the citizens of those countries have universal health care.
So, if it’s so great for everyone, why don’t Americans have it? Well, the truth is, it’s not great for everyone. Just 99% of us or so.
You see, it’s not great for the CEO’s and wealthy shareholders of health insurance companies, whose sole purpose in life is to discriminate between people based on how well their bodies work. And it’s not great for the CEO’s and rich shareholders of pharmaceutical companies, who have rigged the game to make us all pay tens or hundreds of times more than we should have to to get drugs that taxpayers often paid to develop. And it’s not better for the wealthy CEO’s and shareholders of hospital corporations, who make obscene amounts of money in a system in which selling unnecessary but profitable treatment is a considered a business plan.
These rich and greedy CEO’s and shareholders could care less whether you live or die, or are healthy or sick. They care about making money, because those yachts and corporate jets and tropical islands don’t buy themselves. So, naturally, they buy off whatever congressmen they need, or send however many flunkies it’ll take to go work for whatever agency is supposed to be regulating them, and they make sure that they keep on making money at your expense.
Here’s an interesting fact: 59% of Americans believe the US should provide national health insurance for all. In other words, we should have Medicare for everyone, not just seniors.
Read that again: Universal health care is supported by well over half of the population!
But what happened during the great health care debate of 2009? Was that option ever even considered by our government? Was it ever treated seriously by our corporate-owned media?
No. It was not.
We were offered a public option, which would have done little, and then even that was given away without even a fight by our corporately owned President, who was pretending to be negotiating on our side. What did we end up with?
We ended up (as usual) with a massive giveaway of taxpayer dollars to those who need it the least- this time to health insurance corporations, from whom all Americans will be forced to buy shitty and ever-more-expensive health insurance.
This is what happens when corporations and the rich are allowed to buy government. They spend vast amounts of money on propaganda to brainwash 1/4 of the country into believing that universal health care is fascism or communism or socialism (or all three!), and then they send their media lapdogs out to interview these people (and only these people!) so they can pretend that they are doing the “will of the people” by fighting against the “takeover of the health care system”, presumably by the poor and politically powerless, who, as Fox News likes to constantly remind us, are actually the people running this country.
Meanwhile, 59% of the public never even have their opinions considered, much less implemented as policy.
This is the state of democracy in the United States of America today. And this is what I, as an Occupier, want to change.
I hope you will join us here, at occupyjacksonhole.com. I hope you’ll join us on Facebook. And I hope that you will join us on the street for an hour each week. This may well be our last chance reclaim our voice and our control over our government, and few things are more important than that.
— Pete Muldoon