THE FIGHT FOR DECENT HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA

You need to know that I am an eighty-year-old retired public school teacher and everyone knows that public schools are an American socialized institution like the U.S. Post Office. I taught stuff to a lot of Americans in my career and I have to say that I also learned a lot while doing so.

Before I could become a socialized public school teacher, I had to work as a laborer in America’s private sector industry while attending college (college isn’t free) to earn a college degree that is necessary before you can become a public school teacher; I learned also from that experience.

Today my health care, by my own choice, is through Kaiser Permanente Health Insurance, a non-profit corporation. Kaiser has been my health provider for the last fifty years because although Kaiser is not socialized health insurance, as a non-profit corporation, my benefits are not based on whether or not Kaiser will make a profit in providing them for me.

Lately though, I have a problem with Kaiser, my health insurance provider. I need to see a specialist doctor about an ailment and I am being told that the earliest that a Kaiser specialist can see me is more than a month in the future. Being eighty years old, I am not at all certain I will still be alive next month regardless, and especially if I am unable to see a doctor in the meantime. At my age, I do not buy green bananas.

However, the Kaiser receptionist who schedules the specialist doctors tells me that the specialist doctors are busy seeing other patients for the next month; now this is where what I have learned becomes just as important as all the things that I as a teacher have taught in my lifetime.

Before I became a socialized public school teacher and I was still a laborer in the private sector industry, if there was more work than I could do in my eight hour day, I was required to work overtime and paid one and a half times my normal pay. But there is more.

When I became a socialized public school teacher, I actually taught school thirty hours per week but my work as a teacher required, on the average, thirty or more hours per week preparing to teach, evaluating students’ work, supervising student events, attending meetings, and other sundry tasks that took away from my private life and time with my family; I received no extra pay for this other work and my sixty-plus-hour week.

Later, I became a socialized public school administrator and I often, actually usually, worked a twenty-four-hour a-day job that provided for no overtime pay.

My whole point is that if a doctor cannot heal all of his or her patients that need healing in their normal business hours, perhaps they need to work overtime since healing those patients is essential to the patients’ health whether their physicians receives overtime pay or not and most assuredly physicians are the highest paid workers in America based on research about the pay of American workers’ vocations.

Regarding my own personal health needs, when I decided I had a health problem and needed health care, I immediately called my primary care physicians and I was told to come in and see her during her normal lunch hour; I truly appreciate my primary care doctor because I know that she cares about my health and me (God bless her). My primary care physician said that I needed to see a Kaiser specialist doctor and referred me for an appointment.

The receptionists for the Kaiser Specialist doctors informed we that I would have to wait more than a month so see one. It appears that the specialist doctors are insensitive to the urgency of their patients’ needs and have never heard of working overtime; these doctors have a lot to learn about the American work ethic and compassion for their patients, who employ them!

Recently, there has been a lot of concern by some Americans, about the American government being involved in regulating America’s health care; some citizens who learned to read and write in the socialized public schools have decried their American government involvement in health care, referring to this as socialized medicine. As a public school teacher, I am appalled by the fact that these complainers about socialized medicine were complaining about this because they learned the meaning of ‘socialism’ from a socialized public school teacher and thought that was a good thing, at that time but not as it relates to health care of Americans.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both who had something to do with making America what it is today, founded the socialized Post Office because they said communication was too important to leave to the private for-profit sector; these same men also provided for socialized public schools by enactment of the Northwest Ordinance of 1785, because they evidently believed education was important enough to require socialized public schools. Washington and Jefferson are not really bad men, even though they may be socialists when it comes to communication and education. This is what I taught my students in the public schools; however, those Americans who protest our government’s regulation of health care, evidently never learned that when they went to school.

Now about the difficulty in getting to see a physician in America, everyone should be aware that there is a shortage of physicians in America, one of the richest nations in the world. However, I am so old that I remember that the 1960’s, fifty years ago, when the President and Congress wanted to provide taxpayers’ money to create new medical schools in every State of the Union to create a lot more physicians for America, the American Medical Association, a union of physicians, objected to it because it was socialized medicine and so it never happened. Personally, I thought it was wrong for the doctors and the AMA to object because America desperately needed more doctors but they did and now I cannot get a doctor’s appointment when I need it. There’s more.

Though I have been retired for over twenty years now, I am going to try to teach (gratis) the Kaiser Permanente specialist doctors about overtime and longer work days when necessary; my bet is that I will succeed. I think I owe my American public that: socialized education, more than anything else is a public trust.

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