Cartoon: The Power of Prevention
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This was loosely inspired by a real woman who called into NPR (I think it was the Brian Lehrer show?) to rage against health care reform and a public option. At first she went on some typical rant about how the evil socialists wanted to force everyone to pay for health care for sick, lazy and old people. She followed up with a sanctimonious self-congratulatory bit about how wonderfully healthy SHE was due to her yoga and consumption of organic and local food and how she didn't need health insurance due to her pure diet.
In other words, for her, sick people were lazy and immoral, and getting cancer was their own damn fault. It's not just this random radio caller, either -- I've increasingly heard that argument elsewhere (especially in talk over the "obesity epidemic").
Sure, yoga is awesome, and local and organic food are fabulous, but they aren't marks of moral superiority or magical wards against disease and illness is not a moral failing. (And isn't the local/sustainable/organic food movement supposed to be about building community and protecting the environment and improving worker conditions for everyone... not just an individualistic way of keeping impurities out of your own special body?)
I wanted to scream through the radio. "Lady, ANYBODY can get sick or injured, no matter their age or diet or yoga skill level!" (Anybody can, say, trip inside their apartment, break their foot, have complications, and need six months of tests and treatments and therapy--lucky me I have health insurance!) Also, EVERYBODY ages.
We need affordable, comprehensive universal health care that doesn't discriminate on health conditions, in which everyone shares the risks—and reaps the rewards when they need it.