Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why Does Zach Wamp Hate Tennesseans

While reading this it would be helpful to remember that Rep. Zach Wamp has available to him and his family the same health insurance benefits available to other Congress Critters.

Zach Wamp says healthcare is a privilege, not a right -- except for some people:
WAMP: Listen, health care a privilege. […]

MSNBC: Well, it’s a privilege? Health care? I mean if you have cancer right now, do you see it as a privilege to get treatment?

WAMP: I was just about to say, for some people it’s a right. But for everyone, frankly, it’s not necessarily a right.

So it’s a privilege until you get really really sick, and then it’s a right?
He also seems to be saying that half of the country’s 46.6 million uninsured are that way by choice, not necessity:

WAMP: Some people choose not to pay.

MSNBC: Let’s break down the categories, who is it not a right for, to get healthcare?

WAMP: An employee that rejects the healthcare provided by their employer because they don’t want any of the money deducted from their ...

MSNBC: What number of people do that?

WAMP: Half the people that are uninsured today choose to remain uninsured. Half of ‘em don’t have any choice but half of ‘em choose to “go naked” and just take a risk of getting sick. They end up in the emergency room costing you and me more money.

If true, this sure sounds like an excellent justification for mandatory healthcare -- something the Republicans have always been against. But unfortunately it’s not true, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation:

Across all three surveys, more than half of the uninsured are in low-income families and about half are ethnic or racial minorities. The majority of uninsured adults are working, but their lack of education makes it more difficult for them to get jobs that offer employer-sponsored coverage.

So most uninsured people work in jobs that don’t provide healthcare. The rest are unable to afford it.

Here’s a dirty little secret which people like Zach Wamp don’t want to know, but any social worker or social justice advocate knows all too well: There are a lot of employers in this country (*cough*cough*WAL-MART*cough*cough*) who say they provide healthcare benefits, but never give people enough hours to become eligible. Other employers (*cough*cough*DELL*cough*cough*) fire employees just as they’re approaching the number of hours where they might become eligible for these benefits.

Being the kind of person who likes to think the best of everyone, I can’t imagine any employer enjoys playing these kinds of games with their workforce. I have to think it's out of necessity.

So why don’t we all band together and work out a healthcare solution that works for employers and employees? And not make the same mistake American auto manufacturers made 30 years ago which has left them in a fine pickle today. Chickens coming home to roost shit all over the front porch, peeps.