2009-07-03 / Letters

Sad But Not Shocked

Dear Editor,

I was, sadly, not shocked reading in the Wave editorial (6/12/09) about seniors of the Rockaways having to make a terrible choice between food and medicine. This is a continuing horror, and it makes my blood boil— as I hope it does all of us!

My husband was born in the Rockaways and he and I love to spend summers here every year. I agree the "donut hole" has to be closed, and absolutely, as your editorial said, healthcare providers need to be able to negotiate lower prices with drug manufacturers.

Meanwhile, all of us need to think about this fact: Drug companies make enormous profits and they claim they need those profits for research. Some people suggest that some of these profits could be given up. I say that the entire idea of making profit off of the pain and ill-health of another is WRONG.

Why shouldn't our nation be able to take care of every one of its citizens— especially its seniors? Isn't health a right for every American, provided for by our Constitution, as written in the Preamble: "provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare…."?

The making of profit off of the distress of another is not only unnecessary in such a rich country as ours, but it's actually contempt for people. Eli Siegel, poet and critic and founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism, explained in many years of teaching that contempt is the "addition to self through the lessening of something else." That "lessening," includes the making money from illness. In The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, Ellen Reiss, the Class Chairman of Aesthetic Realism, wrote the following:

"The profit motive as such is sheer contempt. When your motivating interest is how much money you can make from someone, you can't be too interested in what that person feels and deserves: it will cramp your ability to make profit from him or her....Never was there more fury at drug companies. Americans know that these companies use people's need for medicine to charge exorbitant prices. Because pharmacy is based on profit, many men, women, and children cannot get the medication they need. And senior citizens can go without sufficient food in order to pay for medicine. There is in Americans a real hate for the fact that what one needs for health is tied in with profit."

Yes, and people are beginning to wake up and be furious that this kind of pain for seniors is in America. We need to work for the solution whereby there is healthcare for all of us.

DEVORAH TARROW

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