Two Kinds of People and Bleedin’ Jane
February 26, 2010
Politically, I think there are two kinds of people: the people who care about other people and the people who don’t. . . . They absolutely don’t care at all about anybody other than themselves. Whatever they may say, their actions speak louder. And that’s the distinction between people. —Charles Grodin
Today, there was a summit meeting at Blair House in Washington, D.C.—an opportunity for Senate and House Democrats and Republicans to clear a path for health care reform, with the president serving as Mediator-in-Chief. While I watched on TV, I imagined a very sick person on the floor in the center space between the four tables. Let’s call her Bleedin’ Jane.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) made a polite appeal (the first of many from Republicans) to scrap the existing work done by the House and Senate on health care and “start over.”
Bleedin’ Jane sighed.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) responded to the appeal by stating that there is no time to start over; the people who are uninsured and under-insured and being suffocated by high premiums and staggering debt and life-threatening illnesses can’t wait any longer.
Jane weakly nodded.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) talked about how we need to stop segregating the sick, as we have stopped segregating other groups of people in America.
Jane tried to call out “Yes!’ but could only manage a dry cough.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) explained Medicare fraud and told how great it would be to have “undercover patients,” who could make our doctors honest!
Jane is an out-in-the-open patient; she dozed off during Coburn’s speech.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) expounded on the need for tort reform in malpractice suits, and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) fired back with some good hard facts about what a drop in the bucket malpractice is when you’re looking at the big picture of how health care affects our economy.
Jane, who might care about medical malpractice if she had a doctor, lapsed into a coma.
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) patted his stack of paper (the Senate bill—it’s big—that’s bad—get it??) and made reference to “people who are allegedly wronged by our health care system . . .”.
Sen. Coburn said that what everyone really needed to be talking about was how to “reconnect purchase and payment to get good value.”
But Bleedin’ Jane didn’t fall for that sentimental blather. “What the on earth is he talking about?” she thought, as her blood pressure dropped even lower.
And then Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) said that passing a health care reform bill was “a chance to serve the people,” and Jane’s vital signs perked up a bit.
Jane can hear all the people in the room, and she knows which ones care about her and which ones care about:
- insurance company profits
- maintaining the status quo
- upholding the illusion of saving money for their constituents
- making the Democrats look bad
- getting re-elected
The people whose actions show that they don’t care want Bleedin’ Jane to be a DNR. The people who do care want her to get better, go back to her job and/or her family, pay her taxes, and pursue her happiness.
The Blair house meeting is over now, but Jane’s still on the floor, waiting to find out whether she’s going to live or die.