Strange to find myself easing back into employment after nearly a decade of retirement. As indicated in a previous post, now that we’ve settled in one place I began to realize I don’t seem to have quite enough to do – plus watching our retirement nest egg dwindle made the option of a paid job shine more brightly than a volunteer one.
After a few applications for part-time jobs advertised in the paper, I’d settled with myself that I would accept pretty much anything that seemed (at least marginally) worthwhile. Ah well. Three “Dear John” letters later I swallowed the fact that I’m over qualified and over age. Hmmmm. Interesting noticing how it feels to be rejected – I’ve been lucky enough in life not to have too much of that. Empathized with the currently laid off, and felt extremely grateful that (for me at least) it isn’t a bread-on-the-table issue. Then, by word of mouth, a job found its way to me. A good fit for my skills and values as well as (hopefully) for the organization. I started on Monday. Since I intend to continue skirting around occasional hot-button political issues on this blog, it’s best that I not say where. Better keep opinions and work separate.
So, skirting along, here’s my opinion on the current health care policy debate. A column in the Juneau Empire reminds us that in this country 31% of medical dollars are spent on administration (claims forms, insurance processing and profits.) The elephant in this living room is that the USA is the only country in the developed world where health care is a for-profit industry. Thus, the current debate is not about health care or health policy, it’s about profits. It’s about how to keep the health care dollar as a corporate goodie and stop its switch to a public benefit. Paul Krugman explains why the market doesn’t and can’t work for health care – unlike cars or TVs it’s not a market-type of commodity.
The line-up of corporations swilling at the health care trough is long and entrenched: pharmaceutical companies (we abolished advertising for cigarettes and booze on TV, why don’t we abolish advertising for drugs?); insurance companies (ditto); laboratories; for-profit hospitals; for-profit HMOs; for-profit nursing homes; for-profit doctor groups; equipment manufacturers; etc. They won’t give up their feed bags without a huge fight. It’s a classic case of the big guys against the little guys. Us little guys better get out there and do a little fighting – if we care that is. And this includes the individual people who make up corporations.