Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Demonstrators and Signs II

Bristol, CT

Bristol, CT

For foreign readers who aren't familiar with the system here, all Americans 65 years of age and over are enrolled in Medicare. It's a government-run, single-payer health care system. While not immune to abuse, it works well and is more cost effective than the private insurance sector, despite dealing with the elderly population which by definition needs more health services than the general population under 65. It's easy to see why those who profit from for-profit health care are against reform, but it's unclear why those already benefiting from a better system are opposed to extending something like it to the rest of the population.


amnesix said...

There is a question in the back of my head: how can you tell that a system works, (we're talking about health systems) when millions of people can't use it? This «debate», seen from Europe, is just ununderstandable. Maybe we miss a gene or something. :)

Carl said...

It's not just that some 47 million are uninsured. Many more are under-insured and don't know it. Most Americans with health insurance get it from their employer and may not know how good it is until they need it. The leading cause of personal bankruptcy here is catastrophic medical expense, and half of those *have* medical insurance--it just wasn't good enough to cover the expense of treating a serious illness. Most people who like their current insurance have probably been lucky enough never to put it to the test.

Dennis Allshouse said...

I have to ask: Did you ask the guy with the big NO sign if he's on Medicare? This is similar to people being vehemently against the so called "death" tax (ie inheritance tax) when there is no way they'll be libel for it.

Dennis Allshouse

Carl said...

Dennis, you are on the mark with your comparison to the meme of "death tax." But asking the guy if he is on Medicare would be rhetorical: of course he is. To extend the idea, asking him if he understands that he already enjoys government-run single-payer health care and why doesn't he think others should have the same benefit--would be aggressive and counter productive for my purpose. I want to document (and interpret) what is going on, primarily through photographs. When doing work like this I listen, but I don't ask leading questions. I also refuse to say "what side I'm on." The way I deal with that question is to say that if a group shows up across the street demonstrating for the other side, I will immediately begin to move back and forth and work with both groups, I won't publicly identify with either side because it would interfere with my ability to do the work.