August 19, 2009

Fear of the Unknown

This morning my husband and I were rudely awakened by a very loud rustling and movement zooming into our bedroom. The commotion stopped dead underneath the bed. As I shrieked, sure that some kind of creature the size of a racoon was surely about to attack me, I kind of halfway woke up. And then it was quiet.

A minute or two later, there was a zooming from underneath the bed to behind the bookcase - nothing has ever moved that fast in my life ever... I was a bit terrified.

Then there was nothing.

Two more minutes went by and as my husband assured me it was just the cats fighting, ZOOM! the ball of confusion split out of the bedroom, down the hall, to who knows where.

Our cat Turbo had gotten tangled in a grocery bag after he tried to get the garbage out of it. His midsection had squeezed through the handle, and now he couldn't get it off - and he was running for his life trying to escape the terrifying rustle of very thin plastic behind him.

The faster he ran, the more noise it made, the more he was scared and the faster he ran.

When we finally tracked him down, we lifted him from behind the tv stand in the basement and pulled the bag from him. And he cowered in fear and trembling.

not my cat, or a plastic bag - but you get the ideaNow - bear with me a minute - but I wonder if the current health care reform mess isn't a lot like that bag.

For whatever reason, the cat was curious about the bag - he wanted what was inside. But halfway through the process he got all tangled up in it, and not fully understanding what was happening, he became frightened of it.

As people who live in this country, we too are in this health care bag already. We got the government in the bag to regulate the health care industry, through the FDA, through Medicare for grandma. We got ourselves in the bag through our employeer based insurance, through not taking care of our bodies, through seeking a better quality of life for ourselves and our loved ones. Even those who don't have health care insurance are in the bag because they find themselves in life or death situations where they have to turn to hospitals and the rest of us pay. Our faith communites are in the bag because we have vital and important words from scriptures about what it means to care for the least of these and whole chapters in the gospels where Jesus goes around healing people without asking for their HMO card.

We're already in the bag. And the bag isn't working. It's tearing, it's pulling too tightly on some parts of us. It's broken and our relationship with the bag is broken.

So now the question is how to get out of this mess we are in. How do we make sure that people are taken care of? How do we provide quality affordable care?

So there was an initial rustle of movement - and all hell broke loose. And now we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off (or like cats stuck in a plastic bag) desperately afraid of what might happen, this bag attatched to us transformed into a crazed monster that is about to destroy the world.

Let's chill out people. Calm down. And let's gently figure out how to get the cat out of the bag.

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