Expat Dribble

Andrea Avery Jackley: An expat with lots of dribble to write about.

8.1.09

Birthers, bathing suits and Baptist kool-aid. Summer is poppin’ off; and just in time for the Dog Days of August, the House Energy and Commerce Committee goes and passes a watered-down version of Obama’s Health Care Reform bill, to which I say: Pooh.

According to Huffington Post’s Jeff Muskus, “With the aid of Obama administration officials, (Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry) Waxman …struck a deal Wednesday that delayed the full House vote past August, weakened the bill’s public health care option and cut $100 billion over 10 years, much of it in subsidies for uninsured members of the middle class who would be ineligible for the public plan. …The deal also slightly reduced the cost of premiums for the uninsured, from 12 percent of a household’s annual income to 11 percent.” 

While I risk being repetitive, as an American citizen living abroad and currently enjoying the uncomplicated benefits of a society with nationalized, and might I add high-quality, health care access; I’m beyond annoyed with the Democratic Party – whom I worked with so diligently to help not only during the last campaign, but several times in my life – bending over for a few zealot, pro-corporate dollar Republicans just to maintain the higher-ground image of “bipartisanship.”

A wonderful point, made by Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” (this week with Howard Dean): “The country overwhelmingly, as you know, wants a strong public option;” and that a vote against this would be a vote against the American people, and FOR big-money insurance companies. Nothing more, nothing less. 

So, in my own small, most likely insignificant way, I would like to strengthen the call for Democrats to grow a pair and finally, truly stand up for the vast majority of the American public. We elected the latest Administration for CHANGE; and change we demand. 

I briefly mentioned my recent run-in with the current heath care system in America in my last post, which may have more to do with my former Fortune 100 employer than the insurance company; but nonetheless resulted in more than $1,000 in bills of my own personal responsibility for nothing more than a fractured ankle and few immunizations. As I’m sure most of my friends, family and acquaintances would agree, $1,000 American constitutes a lifestyle-altering amount. Listen up, insurance companies: Like Doritos, it’s na-cho cheese!

On a lighter note, I forgot to write about my unfortunate-for-them encounter with a couple of Norwegian gentlemen during my last trip to Geojedo.  After a couple of beers at the bar with friends, I was talking a little break outside the bar when two men approached. As is my style, I greeted them with a smile and asked where they were from – seeing as Geoje attracts people from around the world with its giant Samsung shipyard. After discovering they were Scandinavians, I almost insisted they join us at our table, where I proceeded to regale them with tales of my Minnesotan/Scandinavian family. They responded by politely listening, adding that American-Scandinavians were more infinitely traditional than they were in many ways. In the end, while I potentially could have learned a thing or two from these good-natured fellows, the discussion was forcibly focused on my semi-intoxicated ramblings. Thank you for your indulgence.

I conclude, finally, by commenting on my receipt of a Korean/English Jehovah’s Witness’ newsletter in my mailbox the other day. Awhile back I was bombarded by a couple of well-dressed, attractive women on the street who were eager to talk to me. You must understand that, living in this mostly-homogenous country, I am fully adapted to strangers approaching me for all kinds of reasons. These two young ladies insisted they had a magnificent English-language newsletter for me, and I innocently gave them my address (a byproduct of living abroad, this increase in a mostly-forgotten instinct called “trust”). I must say, the spread of this movement is impressive; but I still have no desire to surrender my mind to reclusion and blind fellowship. I much prefer hedonism.

Oh, and a quick ode to a topic I’ve sadly missed in my ramblings: Farewell, Walter Cronkite. Myself and all those in my field of interest, indeed the country, owe you a great debt. We lost a good one this year.

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