Class, Cherries, and Cooperation

While I strongly prefer to eat in season and support local farmers, more often that I care to admit I purchase off season from the supermarket to indulge in what de Tocqueville might have referred to as the American need for bodily comfort. At the end of last summer, I purchased some cherries at my local grocery store a few weeks after the local season had passed.

I almost placed a cherry into my mouth when I noticed that there was a long, black hair wrapped around its stem.  After a short moment of disgust, I felt a strong sense of connection to the people who work so hard to plant and harvest the food we (middle class Americans) eat. Too often, we take for granted the accessibility of a variety of relatively inexpensive food without considering where it comes from. America is still dependent on slavery and miserable working conditions, even though much (but certainly not all) of it takes place outside of our borders. The economic system, and its commercial branch with which we interact on a daily basis, is designed to pit those who have a genuine need to minimize expenses against those who are truly destitute by limiting our options and manipulating the truth.

And why? It should be unnecessary in a world where global cooperation is possible. Cooperation that leads to sharing, rather than commoditizing, hoarding, and overconsumption. Cooperation that leads to harmony, rather than discord. Cooperation that leads to environmental reverence, rather than degradation. Cooperation that leads to love and peace, rather than hatred and war.

Obamacare Omits

When I left my full time job to focus on The Fruition Coalition full time, I was shocked to be denied health insurance by several providers. I was denied due to three pre-existing conditions: a mental health diagnosis, a high BMI, and a vascular malformation in my brain.

I think this situation is an unintended consequence of the recent federal health care reform law. A few years ago, I shopped my health insurance plan (as an individual) and was not denied coverage at that time. I believe this is a reaction to the new regulations facing health insurance companies.

I was eligible to purchase a Guaranteed Issue plan, but that would have cost me over $700 per month. My other option was to remain uninsured for six months and then apply for PA Fair Care, which costs just under $300 per month. I chose the latter out of financial necessity.

I am now uninsured and will be through the end of this calendar year. Every time I get a cut, bump into something, get behind the wheel of my car, or walk across the street I hold my breath and hope that I am not injured to the extent that medical attention is required.

Unlike those who criticize this new law, I think it is a step in the right direction. I don’t think additional regulations are the answer to our insurance and healthcare crisis; we need total and complete reform. A single payer system would improve the quality of our healthcare system and equalize access to it, saving costs – and lives – over time. Healthcare policy should also be aligned with other federal policy. We should subsidize sustainable agriculture instead of factory farming, and renewable energy instead of fracking and oil. In fact, if companies are not prevented from destroying our planet – and the health of people thereof — through policy, they should be taxed for doing so as both a reparation and as a disincentive.

In the meantime, I pray for our good health.