Now go outside and look at the sky.
Taking Care of the Elderly
If you want to measure how advanced a civilization is, you should check on how the weak members of society are treated. Are the poor taken care of? Are the elderly living without fear and in comfort?
These are the really important questions, because every single one of us aspires to become part of the senior citizen's club.
Every one of us wants to become old and we all worry about what it will be like. We all hope to be healthy, but we'll all need more medications than when we were 20 or 30 years old. And those medications are more important, too - gone are the muscle toners and breath refreshers, and in are the heart medication and the anti-seizure medicine. Important stuff, whithout which one could die instantly.
It sounds reasonable to assume that a civilized government would not screw around with the medications for its old people...
...and then there are people like the Republicans in the US Congress.
In what can only be called a blatant example of government corruption, the Republican majority passed Medicare Part D late in 2005. This new law leads to many changes in the drug distribution for the elderly as of the beginning of 2006 and the first two weeks have already shown that this will go down as a major disaster in the history of the US.
In California alone in the first two weeks, more than 200,000 elderly citizens have gone without their necessary medications. Already in twelve states, a Medical State of Emergency has been declared, and others are sure to follow.
Low-income older people are now suddenly looking at monthly one hundred or more dollars in additional medical expenses and many of these people will have to make a very simple decision at the end of each month for the rest of their lifes:
Medicine or Dinner.
These are the people who have made the United States great. They fought and won the Second World War. They worked hard through the 1950s and 60s. They literally flew to the moon.
And now as a final gesture, a mindless, heartless and thankless government is destroying their lifes, one pill at a time.
The new drug plans are so complicated that even many nurses and pharmacists do not know how to sign up for their elderly patients. Some of the new plans require trips to pharmacies further away, while others work in local pharmacies but do not offer all the drugs that the patient requires. What are these people supposed to do? Go with their walker on a Greyhound bus? Skip their heart medication?
Some cheaper drug classes like barbiturates have been excluded from the new plans completely and replacements may only come in new and expensive brand name drugs, if at all.
This is a scandal that will go unnoticed until the day we start hearing about all the dead old people the police is suddenly pulling out of apartments all over the country.
This new law has direct and ultimate impact on many lifes in this country and the Republicans forced this measure through to enrich the pharma industry without a second thought for the senior citizens who will have to deal with this mess.
This is the Republican world of small government, of free markets and no social safety net.
This is the world where you are ok if you are a millionaire and you've paid off your politicians.
The rest of us can go to hell.