Before we delve too far into today’s topic, please first take a few minutes and view this video of GOP candidate Ron Paul’s response to a question from Wolf Blitzer during one of the recent GOP debates. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
OK, good, you’re back now. So, to business. First things first, Ron Paul actually answered the question as it was asked. If a healthy young man making a good salary decides to forgo insurance, should the government be responsible for his health care if he becomes severely injured or disabled? Paul answered, as one might expect, that the government should not be responsible. If the young man made that choice, it is his responsibility to live with the consequences.
The problem actually was that Blitzer softballed the question. Perhaps a more accurate hypothetical might be to ask about a woman in her mid-40s who relies on medication to keep her chronic pain under control. Without insurance, the medication will cost $220 a month. The cheaper generic substitute no longer works.
If this woman cannot get her pain medication, she will end up in such excruciating pain that she would be unable to work, and thus would end up on disability.
So then, Dr. Paul, which costs less — providing health care coverage for this person or providing disability wages for the rest of their life? Should this person be “responsible” for a health condition that was never really their choice? Do they get the “suck it up, Cupcake” motivational speech, as was given to the hypothetical young man? Should their pain and suffering — over which they have little to no control — be something to cheer about?
That’s the question Blitzer should have posed. A question that more accurately reflects the reality for those of us with chronic pain.
Sadly, I suspect Paul would retort that such a case couldn’t have any basis in reality. Nobody here in this great land of ours is actually faced with such terrible choices!
And here’s where Paul (and his supporters) get it wrong. That woman? That’s me. Not some hypothetical. Those are the choices I have laid out before me.
The audience members who cheered were not cheering for some hypothetical person to be in terrible pain. They were cheering for ME to be in pain. They were cheering for anybody with chronic pain to suffer.
Maybe I am taking this too personally. It may well just be nothing more than bread and circuses. But if I am not going to be your teachable moment, I sure as hell won’t be your hypothetical.
(and a thanks to the fab ChronicBabe, for letting me guestblog for her with this. Please, go check out her site as well!)