Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How you can help

Posted by RB:

We're just getting started here, but hopefully we can gain some momentum, and show our elected leaders the paradox inherent in our healthcare system. Those who don't want it changed say we have the "greatest health care system in the world", yet there are increasing numbers of people who don't have insurance, can't afford insurance, or have a plan and have already maxed out the lifetime benefits.

How can you help? Pick one, or many:

1) Send us photos of any donation jars or donation notices in your area. Also, let us know at least what state the photo comes from, if not the city and state. If your GIMP skills are lacking, we will block out any last names in the photo. We'll also tag it with the state name, so elected officials can see a tally of how many of these are from their home state. I would also suggest leaving a donation, and perhaps a note pointing them to this blog.

2) Point as many people as you can to this blog, especially elected officials!

3) If there are people who are in this situation in your area, ask them if they'd like to come forward with their story. Since we cannot travel around the country doing this, we're relying on you to interview people, and submit the story to us. We'll then publish it on the blog.

4) Use the link from the previous post to contact your government officials, and ask them their thoughts on solving the problem of people not being able to afford healthcare. Submit the interviews to us, and we'll publish them.

Any and all photos, submissions, ideas, feedback, etc. can be sent to beggar.nation@gmail.com.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Share Beggar Nation's Stories With Your Elected Representatives!

Maybe you'd like to tell your Senator or Congressperson just what you think about spaghetti dinners, car washes, and jars and jugs on fast food counters as a default system of funding medical expenses for our nation's citizens. If so, this website will be helpful in locating just exactly the right person with whom you want to share your well-chosen remarks:

Contact Elected Officials at USA.gov

You can find state governors and legislators as well as U.S. Senators and Congresspersons. Though if you, like me, live in Pennsylvania, where after months of stupid arguing and stonewalling, they have just barely managed to get their act together and pass a budget, you might be inclined to wonder how much good it will actually do to contact your state legislators. Nevertheless, contact them anyway.

Health Care Signs of the Times (Or, Get Your Big Plastic Jug NOW!)

Reposted from the original at Thus Spake Zuska

In August I did some writing about health insurance, and in particular about the Pittsburgh shooting victim whose friends and family held a car wash to help raise funds to pay for her medical expenses. Change.org picked up on that post, and Robin Stelly commented on the Change.org post as follows:

Every person at birth should be issued a big plastic jug. When people become ill, they should tape their most endearing photos and a brief description of their illnesses to their plastic jugs. Then all they have to do is display the official containers at a local pizza shop - or something similar - and problem solved. More seriously ill people can apply to receive more big plastic jugs. I'm pretty sure that Sen. Coburn (R-OK) is planning to introduce this plan in response to "Obamacare" when the Senate returns from the district work period. I for one look forward to codifying our status as a nation of desperate beggers.

That comment really stuck with me. I'm sure we've all seen these types of containers at one place or another, and tossed some money into them here and there. After reading Robin's comment, I thought maybe I'd start photographing them whenever I run across them. Of course I'd need to have my camera with me - though now that I have a new iPhone (purchased as an MMD - Mom Management Device), it's much easier.

So herewith, my first offering of Big Plastic Jug Photos. If you are so inclined, take a photo of one in your neighborhood, and send it to me by email. Be sure to include a bit of info - general geographic location, what type of establishment it was found in.

My first field sighting was in my hometown, at the post office community bulletin board:

The next one came on another trip home. Just off the Bedford exit of the Pennsylvania turnpike is a combination gas station/conveniencestore/MdDonald's. It was on the counter of the MdDonald's that I found this big plastic jar.

The last one in the current batch of offerings was found in a small convenience store about halfway between my hometown and Point Marion, PA, that used to be known as the "9 to 9 store" because of its hours. I did not capture (entirely) in this photo the picture of the sweet little toddler with her lacy suncap and strawberry pink dress because I didn't have the heart to plaster her photo all over my blog. Nor did I have the heart to ask the person behind the counter exactly why we were being asked to purchase ribbons on poor Callie's behalf. I guessed cancer, or some similar devastating childhood misfortune, along with the usual story of parents working at low-wage jobs that did not provide insurance.

So there you have it. My first installment. I plan to keep taking pictures if I can, and I encourage you to as well. Even better, contact your senator and/or congressperson, and ask him or her if they think this is how those struggling on the margins of our society ought to be expected to get by when medical disaster strikes. Do we really want to be a Blanche DuBois nation, depending upon the kindness of strangers to pick up the tab for society's least fortunate?

I guess we do. The Big Plastic Jugs don't lie.