RICHARD BABB: Remember Medicare – and widows and orphans

By Richard Babb

My mother is a widow, my father having crossed the River Jordan on Veteran’s Day, 2009. He now reposes under the trees in the National Military Cemetery in Corinth. After his death, my mother informed – not asked – the three children that she would continue alone in her home. And she did, very well, until last December when she fell. In the annals of sickening sounds, it’s hard to find one more sickening than the “thud” of your aged mother hitting the hardwood floor.
Fracturing part of your pelvis at 89 is not a good thing. Not a good thing at any age. But after immediate treatment in the Corinth hospital, she was moved to Rehab in the Tupelo Hospital where under the thoughtful care of Dr. Max Taylor, the staff on the 4th floor and a short stint in the acute stroke unit (after she had faked a stroke), she eventually came home and began recovering under more earth angels, Peggy, Pam, Maureen and Margaret.
My mother was a nurse for 50 years, tending the sick in ways that only a good nurse knows to do. She never made much money doing that, but has reminded me that all of us are going to die penniless. And she has seen enough people die, so I reckon she’s an authority on that.
But she was able to recover because of Medicare. Without it, she now would be resting with my father. Certainly, giving shots and meds, propping people up, emptying bedpans or doing the million unheralded things that good nurses do, never paid her enough so she could accumulate great wealth to independently afford this kind of care. So, yeah, Medicare saved her life, just as she, in fact, personally saved the lives of some of her patients through the years. Like all good nurses do.
Recently, the House of Representatives passed a budget which blows up Medicare.
The latest glassy–eyed Republican Robot, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, was trotted out to persuade the masses that we have to kill the program to save it. Maybe we shouldn’t mention it – let’s do – but Paul Ryan partook of that social security network when he got payments when his father died.
Or maybe we shouldn’t mention it – but we will – that my Congressman, Alan Nunnellee voted to gut Medicare like a strung–up hog even though he said he would “honor the greatest generation by always protecting Social Security and Medicare.”
As the former District Chief and Legal Counsel for U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, I heard then Candidate Nunnellee promise over and over that he wouldn’t fool with Medicare. Two months in, he went at it like the stand in for Anthony Perkins in the movie, Psycho. Or maybe we shouldn’t mention it – but why don’t we – that the changes only effect people 55 and younger which means you got a few more years to save up an extra $182,000, the amount required to get the same coverage presently available
Thanks for that, Alan Nunnelee. I appreciate it, Bro.
Or maybe we shouldn’t mention it – but we should– that the Freshmen Republican class has now called on President Obama – that would be Obama of Obamacare – to call off the attack dogs about this issue because it is absolutely killing them in their home districts.
The hypocrisy is enough to make you sick, that is, if you have enough insurance to cover the illness.
Medicare is hugely popular among all political persuasions … now. But if you read history, at its inception in the 60’s, it was stringently opposed by self–styled conservatives. But then again, so was Social Security. But then again, so were Child labor laws. But then again, so was the New Deal which spawned TVA which helped push Tupelo past other cities in the state.
And now they want to gut Medicare because we can’t afford it.
Can’t afford it.
The Good Book is replete with so many stupefying judgments, it is hard to get a handle on them. Some I like. Some I don’t. I am particularly fond of the death penalty for partaking of shellfish. But one admonition is scattered through the whole panorama of the Bible: taking care of the widows ad orphans. That one you can’t get away from. It’ll haunt you like the midnight memory of an old, sultry girlfriend.
Can’t afford it. If the richest nation in the history of the world cannot devise a functional and compassionate system to take care of the elderly vulnerable among us, then we deserve every judgment the Grand Architect visits upon us. And we’ll get it.
Can’t afford it? Well, how about this: The life you save, just might end up being your own.

Contact Richard Babb, an attorney in Tupelo and commmunity columnist, at

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