El Cabrero is having minor heart-related surgery today.
(Minor is anything that does not involve a catheter.)
The purpose of the surgery is to install a device to shock the heart in the event it decides to have a conversation with Minos and Rhadamanthus in the nether regions before the rest of me gets a chance to pack.
If it works, I'm hoping to be able to jump start cars with just a touch.
(Feel no fret: the Goat Rope, like the U.S. Postal Service, will go on...)
This seems like as good an occasion as any to rant about health care policy.
Although I can think of several other things I'd rather do today, I feel pretty lucky. Aside from the whole catheter thing, unlike roughly 322,000 of my fellow West Virginians and 46.6 million Americans, I have health insurance.
This has been yet another area un-benignly neglected by the Bush administration. The number of uninsured Americans has increased every year since 2000.
The reality is that the only way this crisis can be addressed is through public policy. We've all heard right wing rants about "socialized medicine," but in fact the main kind of health care millions of Americans receive right now comes through public programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
In El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia, for most people, publicly provided programs, which also include the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Public Employees Insurance Agency, are the only game in town. According to the Associated Press article linked above, there are
roughly 800,000 of the state's 1.8 million residents who rely on either the state or federal government for their health care. Combined with the roughly 322,000 West Virginians the U.S. Census Bureau estimates are without health insurance, that means a minority of state residents are covered by private insurance plans.
And don't be surprised if the number of people covered, or covered adequately, by private insurance continues to decline.
In the long run, the only solution will be public policies that guarantee universal health care.
That's no shock.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELECTRIC