Three times in the past week I have received letters or telephone calls from people pouring out tales of medical woe.
In each instance, the person involved was, or said he or she was, medically indigent and felt that he or she wasn't receiving adequate medical care under the auspices of the state and federal agencies they felt should be assisting them.
I'm not discounting their pain or unhappiness.
But I'm saying you can expect it to get worse before it gets better.
The truth is that your governments, with some healthy convincing from the medi-business lobby fast becoming one of the nation's most powerful, think that they are doing a hunky-dory job of providing a medical safety net for the increasingly large portion of the population that is unable to obtain medical insurance.
Government? Yeah, it's those guys who you elected to represent you in Congress and in the state Legislature. What's that? You say you didn't vote? Then what you were saying is that you were willing to take whatever your neighbors wanted in the way of medical care and other social services. And now you have it.
Think the person that handled your claim was stupid, uneducated and lacked an adequate knowledge base to assess the physician's orders or the social situation leading to your need?
Maybe that person went to schools in a district where public opinion was swayed by conspiracy theorists dragging anti-lottery red herrings and emotional challenges to administration salaries set by law _ and folks either decided that the state of educational affairs there was fine, or that it wasn't worth going to the polls about.
The taxes that the current congressional majorities say they will cut are in large part taxes like capital gains, which mean little to most of us unless we buy the old "trickle-down" argument that making our bosses richer will make them more generous toward us.
The services that they say we don't need and should be eliminated or drastically reduced are services like Medicare and Medicaid. When the executive arm of the government presented a plan aimed at guaranteeing adequate health care to people who can't afford it, the congressional majority rejected it.
That majority promised to come up with its own plan. That plan, apparently, is to cut the existing programs.
Want to take them to court and make them keep the promises they made all the years they took that money out of the paycheck? Hire a lawyer? Can't afford one? Oops! They want to cut legal aid funding, too.
One of the folks who called me had no idea who his congressional representative was. Another knew who hers was, but should probably be aware that that representative made very strong moves to the right in order to get elected last time out. A third thought her congressman was Mike Fasano, who is, in fact, a state representative.
I'm not exactly sure what the motivation is in calling a newspaper when these things come up. The motivations and intentions of the officials making these decisions have been clear from the start. They can't be exposed, they expose themselves, and expect us to applaud when they do.
I personally refuse to do columns soliciting funds in individual hardship cases because it casts me in the role of medical/welfare investigator without access to the records and files I would need to do it correctly, and, worse, it gives people the chance to write a check for five bucks toward a $1,500 trust fund against a $100,000 medical bill and then feel noble about themselves.
That self-esteem then allows them to go to the polls and elect or re-elect the people who assure them that things are just great and don't need any fixing, which they tend to believe until they find themselves in need.
Go ask your elected officials what's going on. Maybe between sneers about Hillary Clinton daring to become involved, snide cracks about bleeding heart liberals and the proud waving of a simplistic contract which made a convincing campaign gimmick but is proving a little embarrassing in its implementation _ they can explain.