25 August 2010

Entitlements - We've Earned them

Yesterday I partook of some socialized medicine at the Dallas, TX V.A. hospital.  I searched through the entire building for the "Death Panel" office but found none.  Which, I regard as a damned shame, since I have a few people I would have suggested they take under consideration.

It was a pleasant enough experience; no wait for more than twenty minutes within my appointment time and friendly, courteous, and caring front end staff, and bright intelligent doctors who quickly responded to my questions with clear and meaningful answers.  Altogether opposite the experiences I have had with some of the rude  and arrogant bozos in private practice here in East Texas. 

I mention this because my V.A eligibility is an "entitlement"!  I am entitled to it because I am an honorably discharged veteran of the Marine Corps who put his ass on the line and did all the hideous things expected of me with barely a whimper or objection and because I was told that if I did those things in an honorable way someday health care through the V.A would be mine.

But along the way, the damned Republicans rewrote the rules and rescinded that promise and applied "means testing" to my eligibility so that I am now saddled with some co-pays.  Minimal co-pays actually, but co-pays and not free, none-the-less.  And, the V.A. drug plan beats the living hell out of the Republican and drug company designed Medicare Part D.  But, never mind all that, it is an "entitlement" which I use and plan to continue using despite the nattering of right-wing politicians and corporate media.

I also draw monthly Social Security benefits--another entitlement.  And, I've got to tell you, a damned good one.  I and my employers have been paying into it since I "officially" began working at age 16 in 1955.  I say officially, because no one paid into it when I was about 14 and running around collecting numbers slips for my stepfather.  That is when I wasn't lugging beer cases up out of the basement of the bar where he worked.  So yeah, I'm entitled!  But, the point is this; I would be flat on my ass without it---my 401k took a beating in this recession, and every company that I worked for with the promise of a "pension" failed and folded their pension programs!  Yes, I have some savings, and what remains of my 401k, some equity, low expenses and overhead--but without social security, they would be whittled away in mere survival!

I am also entitled to be safe and secure in my home and protected against fire or flood.  I am entitled to those things through my willingness to sacrifice some of my earnings to pay taxes to support police, fire, EMT and other first responders.  I am also entitled to these things because I am a good citizen who stays informed, involved, and who votes and serves on juries and stands ready to help my neighbors when they need it.

I am also entitled to timely mail delivery at a reasonable cost.  That's because I am an American citizen and it's in the Constitution.  And, I am entitled to decent roads and highways in return for my prompt payment of taxes.  I am also entitled to see that my children and the children of others get a good, building for the future, public education free of any particular religion or other superstitious mumbo-jumbo or displays of uber-patriotism.

I am entitled to having my money safe and secure in well regulated banks and financial institutions and protected against loss if those entities should "fail".

Oh yeah, let's not forget, were it not for another "socialized medicine" entitlement; Medicare, I would have died of cancer or been made bankrupt by the expense of my treatment.  Which, by the way, is another plan that I and my employers paid into for most of my working years--hardly "welfare", just a very effective, well-managed health insurance option.

Entitlements? You damned straight skippy!  And I don't want to hear a stupid word against them.  I, and millions of others just like me, have earned them...we are entitled to them!

No comments: