Posted by: johnhourihan | August 12, 2012

Health Care Law a necessity, even if it’s not perfect

The slide of health care perennially downhill had to stop. The president did something in getting his Universal Health  Care bill passed into law, and those picking it apart now by saying there is one perfect way to stop the slide and this isn’t it are morons.
Ask yourself this: When has the government, either party, ever done anything perfectly?
That’s right, and it isn’t perfect this time, either. This law has promise and it has faults and most likely will have to be fixed down the road. But repeal of the first valid attempt to give the people of the United States a basic need, along with housing and food, that of access to medical attention, is just a horrible partisan political ploy. The American people be damned.
We have rampant rising premiums; seniors held hostage by pre-existing conditions; insurance companies telling doctors what pills they can prescribe and what tests can be run; the ranks of primary care physicians dwindling because they make about half what a specialist makes; tens of millions of uninsured people clogging the emergency rooms; and families going broke because someone got sick.
Perfection or not, something had to be done.
This all reminds me of a sweltering summer Saturday night, junior year of high school, when Rev Miller and I found that road grader unattended at the top of Silver Hill Road.
Now, Miller could drive anything. He could power into town in his ’53 Plymouth, downshift, cut the wheel, pop the clutch, and spin the sedan all the way around and sometimes even slide it into a parking space on the opposite side of the street.
Like I said, he could drive anything, and he was proud of it.
This summer night, after a drive and a few Narragansett GIQs we happened on a road grader parked near the woods off the back roads of town.
The town was getting ready to pave the steep gravel hill.
At the bottom of the mile-long incline was the house of the principal of the high school. Nice white colonial with a perfect front lawn, surrounded by a painted white, split-rail fence.
Miller pulled the Plymouth over behind the grader and got out. I followed, carrying the refreshments.
He climbed up into the cab by stepping on the huge blade at the near middle of the multi-ton piece of heavy yellow equipment.
I climbed up and hung on beside him.
He played with a few things to no avail, but then after a few more shoves and kicks, the huge wheels of the road grader began to crunch the gravel an inch at a time, then a foot at a time, then it began to roll. He had somehow released the brake.
We looked at each other in surprise, then we looked at the bottom of the hill and the principal’s house.
First we smiled, but then about a quarter of the way down, I suggested between swigs, “Maybe you want to stop it, don’t you think?”
“Can’t find the brake.”
“You released it.”
“I released a lot of stuff. I don’t know which one was the brake.”
Now we were half-way down the hill, picking up speed and Miller was frantically pulling and pushing everything he could and we were beginning to panic.
“We’re going to hit the house, you know,” I said.
“I know, I’m trying to stop it.”
“What’s that thing?” I asked.
There was a lever, the squeeze handle was worn smooth and it glinted at us in the dark.
He pulled it. It wasn’t the brake, but suddenly the blade dropped to the ground and began scraping up the road. We were still rolling, inertia being what it is, and the blade began to push a growing pile of gravel and dirt in front of it.
We were slowing, but we rolled right up to the end of the street, pushed, as if in slow motion, through the fence. It cracked in the night and echoed off the trees. We graded up the front lawn and deposited everything right up against the pristine colonial home of the principal of the town’s high school.
It surely wasn’t the most perfect way to stop, but at least we had stopped.
The people sleeping inside the house were safe — very angry, wide awake, but safe.
We, of course, jumped to the ground and sprinted for the car.
Now, I know this was not the best way to stop the damn thing, but it did prevent the worst possibility from happening. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do when you have to do it.
And although the health reform plan recently passed by the Democrats is not the most perfect thing, and the Republicans can get points by citing the obvious — that human beings have never done much perfect in the history of the universe, and the Democrats don’t have the perfect answer this time  — we really had to do something.
Even if we have to fix it later.
And Romneyites who smugly threaten to storm into the White House and repeal the health care law are playing stupid political games that can only be a detriment to our future.




    • Me too, Neil. As a very wise man (Charlie Curci) once said, People should have the basics, a roof over their heads, food and access to health care.

  2. John, I can’t say I disagree but I have to question the “very wise man” thing if I find myself agreeing with an inebriated road grader.

    • but a wicked smaht inebriated road grader

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