By Russell Mokhiber in CounterPunch, 1/27/11:
All throughout the Arab world, the despots are on the run.
Fueled by Facebook and Twitter, the Arab street is aflame.
In the United States, instead of fueling the resistance, social media is like a hypnotic drug.
A young Arab in Tunisia gets slapped around – the story goes – by a police officer.
He lights himself on fire.
And the whole Arab world is engaged.
Here in the United States, we get slapped around daily by the corporate elite.
And we take it sitting down in front of our computers.
Case in point.
Ronald Flanagan is a Vietnam Vet in Thornton, Colorado.
Ronald and his wife Frances have health insurance from Ceridian Cobra Services.
Their month premium – $328.69.
Frances went on line to pay their monthly premium.
By accident, she types in $328.67.
Two cents short.
Guess what our pals at Ceridian did?
Dropped the policy.
It came at a bad time for the Flanagans.
And a good time for Ceridian.
Ron has been fighting multiple myeloma – a cancer of the bone marrow – since September 2008.
“The nurses were just getting ready to do the biopsy when my wife popped into the office and told them, ‘Stop. We don’t have any insurance,’” Ron told ABC News 7 in Denver.
“And that’s when they let me know that we no longer had insurance on account of the two cents, and they canceled us,” Frances said. “Since then, I’ve been depressed. I haven’t been able to hardly do anything. As you can see, we still have our Christmas decorations up. So it’s been hard on me.”
Because of the two-cent mistake, Ceridian Cobra Services will not pay for the procedure.
We know that Ron is not alone.
We know that 45,000 Americans die every year due to lack of health insurance.
We know a person in our community in West Virginia who was diagnosed recently with a life threatening illness.
This person was six months away from being eligible for Medicare.
This person had no health insurance.
So, this person waited until reaching Medicare eligibility – 65 – before beginning treatment.
Apparently there are thousands of Americans between 60 and 65 in this dilemma.
And many of them die as a result.