This was broacast on NPR by a dear, dear friend … and it is about moi! I will post the audio as soon as it becomes available.
Human kindness: In search of sanity
I have a friend who has problems with serious depression. The kind that twists external reality and destroys her inner peace of mind with a crushing sense of impending doom and helplessness … sort of like doing Gavin Newsome’s hair.
She has taken anti-depressants for years and is quite stable. But when she applies for a regular job, the blanks in her resume, the times she was unable to work, scare employers away. So she has to pay for her own health insurance.
A year ago her health insurance was cancelled. Now, if she was a company that insured Wall Street derivatives, she’d get 700 billion. She’s not… so she gets nada. So she finds another insurance policy for twice the premium and her medications alone still cost over $500. a month.
One day, she asks me to get married. We only see each other a few times a year and though this would actually guarantee a perfect marriage, I ask her if she’s lost her mind. She said it was just to get health insurance.
My first concern was … would that be dishonest? Then I remember that from Bush down and Wall Street up that term means nothing any more. Is it justified? I work for the State and it would pay her medical costs. In return the State can take out loans from Wall Street that profits from pharmaceutical companies. The pharmaceutical companies can in turn gouge obscene profits from the mentally ill. These profits are returned to State employees in their retirement investments… somehow, it still didn’t seem right.
Instead I joke that if she were a State prison inmate, the psych meds would be free. And the meds are free because incarcerated mentally ill prisoners have to be treated humanely. Does that mean that law-abiding citizens don’t need to be treated humanely?
None of this makes any sense. Clearly, the unregulated profiteering of health insurance and pharmaceutical companies is just as bad as any other unregulated profiteering on Wall Street and it’s time for it to stop.