More on Health Care

I can’t remember how I found out about the Fix It campaign recently. I do remember, though, that I sat up when I heard about it because it brings such a refreshing new angle to the whole health care debate in the United States: The angle of a businessman. Fix It is a documentary conceived and produced by Richard Master, “the founder and owner of MCS Industries, a world leader in the picture frame and decorative mirror business.” He brings to this debate his business experience – and is not crying about how a single-payer system might be anti-capitalist, anti-free market, putting guns to doctors’ heads (that last one, I really don’t get… if a single-payer system puts a gun to doctors’ heads how is the current multi-payer system preferable? Wouldn’t it put a whole arsenal to their heads?!).

The current sickness profiteering system we have in the US is creating an artificial middle layer that adds nothing to the delivery of health care, says Master. In addition, it makes health care delivery inefficient and much, much more expensive than it should be, thus unduly increasing insurance costs for businesses, making them less competitive internationally. And it flies in the face of long-term support for a capitalist economy (similar to ignoring climate disruption). For some reason, health insurance is not being viewed as an externality that should not be shouldered by businesses. If people don’t like forcing businesses to shoulder the true environmental and social costs of doing business, why is health an exception?

There is another aspect to this as well that Master has not addressed: The additional anxiety that our system creates in those of us who worry about what medical bills we’re facing when getting the care we need. There is quite a bit of evidence about the relationship between stress and illness, so creating a system that increases stress seems to contradict the supposed intent of health care. Clearly, we are not invested in prevention otherwise we’d address the distress caused by financial worries over health-related costs head on: By creating a system that is providing both health and care. It is rather ironic that our current system, which claims to be so focused on cost-reduction, has not caught onto this sickness creation. Or maybe it has: There’s more money to be made when we keep people stressed and in fear…


Two recent blog posts are coming together in my mind to form the idea of micro-singlism, the seemingly innocent forms of discrimination against singles that are all around us. Those messages that tell us we’re less than when we don’t have a lover can make it challenging to stay out of the shame trap.

The first article was a comic on micro-aggression, which demonstrates how they make us feel smaller and smaller. Then I read a post about Virginia’s state slogan “Virginia is for Lovers,” which pointed out that this is a subtle form of harassment.

There is a Lovers’ Lane in San Francisco’s Presidio. It’s in one of the most gorgeous areas of the Presidio, very romantically lined with lights (unlike most of the other trails). Clearly, this lane has been designed with couplemanic intentions: It’s supposed to attract lovers who promenade along the lane showing off their love.

I’ve always felt weird going down that lane – and now I know why: Its name and its design suggest to me that I don’t belong there for I don’t bring a lover. This then taps into my subconscious store of all the other singlist messages: There is something wrong with me for not having a lover and therefore I shouldn’t be on Lovers’ Lane. Just like Virginia’s state motto, the name of this lane reinforces singlism.

Following, Craig’s idea, how about renaming the lane: Presidio Lovers’ Lane! That would remove the couplemania. It would also be more appropriate as the lane is for those of us who love walking in the Presidio!

Open Letter to My Senators about Health Care

I wrote this letter at about 4 am during another night of insomnia… Hopefully, it makes sense…

Dear Senator,

You don’t know what it’s like to wake up at 4 am from a racing heart wondering if you have a serious health condition, scared if you do that you won’t be able to afford the care that you’ll need.

You don’t know what it’s like to call doctor after doctor only to hear “sorry, we don’t take your health insurance.”

You don’t know what it’s like when it’s starting to dawn on you that the health insurance you have has a mark and that doctors avoid it because it was bought through an exchange. Later you learn it’s actually the insurance companies who are gaming the system.

You don’t know what it’s like when you wonder if the supplements you are taking are doing more harm than good, supplements you are taking because your doctor doesn’t give you the treatment you need or you cannot afford that treatment.

You don’t know what it’s like when you know that a treatment would help your mental health and it would break your financial health.

You don’t know these things because you have what every citizen of the United States should have: You have good health insurance. You have health care that is top of the line.

I am sick and tired and don’t have access to any of this, like millions of others in the US. Isn’t it time to really create a health care system in the US replacing the sickness profiteering system we have right now? I urge you to restart the fight for a single payer system to align us with all the other modern nations in the world.

Couplemania in Therapy?

After writing about the luxury of mental health, I kept asking myself: Why do I want counseling? While I had been in a coupled relationship recently, I had trouble with emotional regulation, especially regulating anger. Now that I was no longer in that relationship, I haven’t raged. Krishnamurti’s quote kept bubbling up. Where these two related?

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

Was I trying to learn to adjust to a sick way of living?

As I was asking myself that question, I realized that this had never come up in counseling. Ever. None of the counselors I have ever worked with had checked to see if maybe I was single-at-heart and my distress came from being forced to be someone I am not. Although I am not convinced that this would explain everything, at least it was part of what I was struggling with: I couldn’t figure out how to get what I want in a way that suited me because there were no models.

Worse, the subtle message – that I was even giving myself! – was that I better fix myself so that I could live happily ever after in a coupled relationship. Whether that is a desirable goal for me was never questioned. Nor did I notice the confusion that had arisen in me: On the one hand, I was very much enjoying having companionship. On the other, there seemed to be something oppressive about it. Of course, all that was complicated by whom I was with, so who knows. My point here, though, is that questioning my desire was not even a part of the process! I was not guided toward exploring “what is the right way to live for me?” Instead, I made an assumption about that – and never questioned it because, you know, everybody couples. That’s couplemania.

Letter to my 20-year-old self

At the end of an article on HuffPo where a women now in her second marriage shares what she wished she had told herself on her first wedding day, is this invitation:

Want to share what you’d tell yourself on your wedding day now that you’re divorced?

My first thoughts were:
I’d just tell myself: DON’T DO IT! Run away as fast as you can from any ideas of marriage and fall passionately in love with yourself and your life!

Of course, then I went right on thinking (because that’s what I do) and so decided to put it all down, in part because I need to hear this now as I am grappling with readjusting after another coupled relationship hurt me deeply. Clearly, even a part-time version does not protect me from pain.

Dear bride,

DON’T DO IT! Run away as fast as you can from any ideas of marriage and fall passionately in love with yourself and your life!

Seriously! You are living in a world that is filled with sexism and singlism, which greatly decreases the chance of a marriage or even a coupled relationship being supportive and healthy for you. Add to this your tendency to be empathic and tolerant and you are particularly vulnerable to be targeted by someone who will use your beautiful traits to try to fill his empty cup. (These traits, by the way, this same culture enhances in women, which ought to make us pause.) It is not your responsibility to fill up his cup! And stop making it yours!

Instead of helping someone else live happily ever after, making his life better, throw that energy into your own life! Create a life that you love! Fall passionately in love with yourself (like nobody ever has) and dance away into the sunset happily ever after! Because you know deep down, you are happier when you do that, when you focus on yourself, on your life. Nobody can give you that. And don’t let anybody take that away from you!


Been-there-done-that and Not-Doing-It-Again