I have lived on a very low income for most of my life, since leaving my family on Long Island in 1967. Through the late 60’s and into the next decade, I benefitted from free, quality health and dental care. Which of course I took for granted as a sort of birthright for every American. Then came the 80’s and Reaganomics. Until now, 2015, the social fabric that once had honored the poor, has been mostly eradicated. The final kibosh being Obamacare, which has betrayed the poorest among us.
For while I remain a blue-state resident here in California, and am regarded (at least on paper) as a fully-covered recipient of health care via Medicare and Medi-Cal, I am actually stripped of any and all medical services, due to Medi-Cal’s atrociously high share of cost. Which is, for example, $500 per month on a Social Security monthly income of $1,100. This means, of course, many of us receiving Medi-Cal can not even afford to see a doctor for preventative care, let alone emergency and maintenance.
Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid. I do not think that Medicaid in other states is much better…and probably much worse. President Obama’s mistake was to leave management (and even acceptance or rejection) of Medicaid up to each state. But is this truly an error, or intentional persecution of the poor in a grand plan to kill off all so-called “nonproductive” citizens?
I am not a Republican, nor ever will be. Yet this betrayal reflected in the Affordable Care Act, leaves a cold chill up my spine. At 65 years of age, I doubt that I will survive much longer than three years, without any sort of health care. But if I do, I will likely be blind and homeless by then. Yet not even the alternative media cares to cover this urgent topic…and obviously our government and mainstream press have swept it under the carpet.
How can one be truly proud to be an American under such diabolical circumstances? While the Democratic Party pats itself on the back over what a (so-called) miraculous success are Medicare and Medicaid, millions shall soon perish, including myself, that Barack Obama gain glory.
I walk the streets of San Francisco, passing by businesses that offer therapeutic massage, quality health clinics, dental services, sports medicine, psychological therapy, acupuncture, quality herbal extracts, organic health food, and vitamin supplements. You’d think we live in a cornucopia of maximum health for all residents, yet all of these services are well beyond my economic reach.
And that’s just the half of it. Being low income also means no real friendships or social circles, that make life enjoyable rather than merely survivable. Most of my friends, as a consequence, are poorer than myself, usually homeless. They are good people–very good people–and accept their lot in life with far more grace than I do my own. I do not want them to be without me; I do not want to die before my time. Yet that is the likely outcome.
Advertisements on television, radio, billboards and the Internet reach out to the financially comfortable, as if we all were blessed with expendable income. We–the poor, the disenfranchised, the homeless–are made invisible while all around us are the socially privileged going about their daily routine wrapped in a blanket of affluence. For we outcasts live in another world: a world of misery, illness, hardship, tragedy and loneliness.
Why can’t I taste the fruits of organic industry, or enjoy the comfort of a nice apartment with friends and family, celebrating our good lives? Why can’t I have beloved comrades who’ll always be here for me, rather than their passing through and struggling to survive that excludes forming long-term bonds? Why must those I love perish or disappear before I even have a chance to know them very well?
So this is my Declaration of Dignity, for which I will stand by unto my final breath. I have nothing to lose at this point, thus am ready to lay my life on the line for what I know is just…even unto war and revolution. I number among the Davids of society’s Goliath.
See also my “New Declaration of Independence,” released in 1997.