16 November 2011

Waesuck Wednesday: Occupy Healthcare Edition

When the NYPD army surrounded Zucotti Park at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, I was awake. I'm not even sure who the tweet came from that announced the raid. There was a link to a live feed. I clicked it, and for the next two hours my attention was rapt. Frankly, I haven't much followed the Occupy Wall Street movement. There's been too much disconnect, and I agree with many of the critics who have said that a message with a million tiny points is too diluted to be effective in begetting change. Change is good. But the answer to "what do you want to change" can not be "everything." Also, I fail to see how sleeping in a park is going to prompt the bankers who line their wallets with ill-gotten gains to give up any of their greed—the homeless have been doing it for decades (without tents and libraries and food carts and smart phones, I might add) and nothing has come of that, not even a solution to homelessness much less corporate overhaul. That said, I do wish the protesters well if for no other reason than caring enough about something to stand up to the status quo is admirable. Their methods may not be entirely well-directed, they may not be entirely effective, but complacency and complicity is a far greater crime.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has spawned other Occupy movements, notably Occupy Healthcare. Most anyone who has dealt with our current health care system or who has not been able to deal with our system due to an inability to pay for care would agree that the system is flawed. The OHC movement reports that two out of three bankruptcies in the United States originate from medical bills. Those organizing the movement don't pretend to have all the answers, but their goal is to foster a dialogue about how to improve the system and ultimately improve patient care. OHC leaders pose an important question on the movement's website, "How can we, the community, have our moment to influence and impact healthcare? Or, as the Occupy Wall Street movement has shown, how can we, the community, rise up and demand more for 'the 99%'?" Visit occupyhealthcare.com to give your answer or to get involved. 

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