A place most Senators will never see.
A quick tour of Highland Park Apartments
This otherwise nondescript setting is introduced here primarily because it is the Galactic Nerve Center of MeanMesa. The place stretches out to include eighty two-bedroom apartments. There are spacious grassy courtyards where the children play. A few giant trees from a better time in the past provide welcome shade during hot New Mexico summers.
The high desert winter finds most apartments with plastic sheeting covering the inside of the aging casement windows and residents wrapped warmly in sweat shirts and long underwear even when they are at home. MeanMesa's neighbors here are mostly concerned with jobs, schools and immigration matters. Apartments rent for $600 to $700 a month, depending on whether they have one outrageously small bathroom or two.
Highland Park is in Precinct 384. Intensive campaigning during the months prior to the 2008 election effectively delivered Highland Park votes to the Democrats and President Obama. People here do not usually rush home after work to watch the national news and most of them do not have inter net service in their homes. Almost every family is aware -- generally -- of the effort to reform health care insurance, but most Highland Park residents can't afford it and work in jobs which do not provide it.
Predictably, what the residents experience with their health care problems reflects a "survival mode" approach much more than some sort of "picky" debate about details. As a community, we are too busy to be the proletariat hordes of Les Miserable. We are also, probably, too poor.
Senate Health Care and Highland Park Apartments
So, does the "dump job" masquerading as the Senate bill puzzle us? Hardly. We're quite accustomed to being either ignored or screwed by the moneyed class of bought off Senators. In fact, opinions around here are now hoping for "ignored" over "screwed."
We've known all along that we were simply not rich enough to expect much relief. The part which remains on the table as a rather gloomy threat is the possibility that we will be forced to buy health insurance which doesn't really work from parasitic insurance corporations under some form of the new law. We couldn't afford it before, and we won't be able to afford it after, either.
MeanMesa made an informal, unscientific poll of what the neighbors were thinking. You know, a quick question or two at the dumpster or in the laundry room. We asked, "Where are we going on health care reform?"
Chuckling, they answered stoically, "We're going nowhere."
As is probably the case with millions of Americans in our income bracket, we are fairly well accustomed to being gang raped. We know that the choices are to have a "date" with an insurance company or a Doctor we can't afford. This dream isn't over, it never started.
Our New Mexico Senators -- both good Democrats -- have done everything they could to get this dead pony back on its feet, but we're a poor state filled with poor people. They know that we're a durable bunch, used to pretty much second class treatment. The way this is turning out is nothing new to us.
The "rich boys" like Lieberman and the other crooks on the Republican side of the aisle are killing 45,000 of us every year they are able to delay -- that's about ten times the number of citizens who were killed on 9/11, about ten times the number of service men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan so far. Stories about health care in Highland Park unscientifically substantiate this Harvard research number of 45,000 dead per year due to lack of health care insurance.
Here at MeanMesa headquarters, we have purchased the last prescription of an expensive (for us) drug for the year. Although we could probably get through the $55 per month co-pay, the thing grabs an additional $250 per month from our Medicare Part D plan. If we took it as prescribed, that is, all year round, it would tank our "doughnut hole," making all the other, cheaper prescriptions we take go to a "cash basis."
So, we take a "drug vacation" every year from January to July. We can handle this. Other folks around here have it lots worse. Oh, by the way. MeanMesa's Part D was not paid for by screaming neo-con ninnies. MeanMesa dutifully paid those premiums for years before retirement.
Highland Park's Conclusions about the Senate Bill
We are actually pretty understanding of the "difficult negotiations" going on behind closed doors in the Senate.
Democrats "negotiated" single payer down to "public option" and wound up with nothing.
Then they "negotiated" public option down to a modest increase in Medicare and wound up with nothing.
Then they "negotiated" Medicare changes into no changes and wound up with nothing.
Now, finally, they have "negotiated" nothing down to a law which will deliver us, whether we can afford it or not, into the hands of the health insurance gangsters.
We get it.
It would be inaccurate to say that folks like Highland Park residents are upset about what's happening to them.
We are infuriated. If anyone from the Senate is visiting MeanMesa, pay attention.
We are WHITE HOT!
We will, most likely, remember this.
See you at the polls.