As we move deeper into June and the death of rashly-laid plans, I had plotted out a potential redux of the erstwhile business, along with a per-day inventory deletion strategy and a nebulous decision to start going to dances and social gatherings again. All that may or may not happen before the end of the year, but this month? Sadly, this month may not be the month for me to inject organization and a social/entrepreneurial reboot into things.
However, something's crawled across the dash that forces all that to the side as being absolutely immaterial. Today, I want to talk about injustice, plain and simple, and a way you can help to ease pain and suffering along the way.
Every year around this time, the folks behind Dare Designs throw a skating party for a cat. (I'm not kidding, it's what they do. His name is Rupert.) It's a chance to get together and party with friends and interesting passers-by, a chance to challenge the physics system in Second Life not to do baffling and lag-inducing things, and of course the chance for Axi Kurmin to strut her stuph as DJ Bronxelf--her first career in SL.
This year, however, things are a little different.
This year, they want to turn Rupert's birthday party into a fundraiser. And they want your help to do it.
Turns out that a band they favor, Lost Signal (the stage name of musician Charles Rehill), has some serious medical debt involved from the recent birth of their son, born six and a half weeks too soon. Unbeknownst to them, literally minutes after he was born, his section of their insurance lapsed.
Think of this for a moment. You were there as your wife gave birth early, and you're scared, sure, and you're afraid for her and your child, but you are humbly, deeply grateful that the system is in place to care for him until he's strong enough to care for himself. You have a home, you have a job, you are providing for your family and paying the sometimes outrageous insurance fees (in their case, close to a thousand a month to retain COBRA coverage) that entails...but it's okay, because you are covered, and what's more important, that precious small life is covered, and is allowed to grow, and to grow stronger.
Only later does the horror set in, that every rush of breath, every drip of saline, every warmed blanket, every coo of every nurse who checked his vitals and counted his toes and tucked him in and kept him safe and functioning...came at thousands of dollars per hour.
They were lied to, plain and simple. And they're trying to fight it. But in the meantime, they're staggering under this sudden, savage, and wholly unpardonable debt. This is not equivalent to the cost of a new luxury car, or four years of college, or even a starter house in a good neighborhood.
They're being asked to pay $225,000.00. As Axi said, that's not a typo. That's what their hospital expects them to pay, because their coverage was gone nearly from the moment he was born. A quarter of a million dollars...and there is no justice, none in any world, where that kind of financial demand is anything less than abusive extortion.
There's something so insanely frustrating to me that every time this country gets close to a rational health care system, everyone who's covered stands up and freaks out. People, we get it, you don't want your rates to go up, dear gods, no. But think this through--keep killing nationalized health care, and we continue to stagger under suicidally high bills. And there's no reason for this, just no reason at all. Worse are the morons who say there's no reason for nationally supported health care, and then cite increasingly stupid arguments in support of that untenable position.
What about the fact that healthier people live longer, and thus can work longer? What about the fact that sick people take more sick days and are less productive? What about the fact that sick people who know they can just go to their doctors will be more relaxed about their potential illness, and potentially heal from it faster and easier, than people who are desperate to avoid going to the emergency room one more time for everything from bronchitis to cancer, and thus get sicker before they're seen?
And this is a child...What was their alternative? Seriously, now. Should they have ever had to let the thought of letting Eric die cross their minds, simply because it would be less financially devastating? Should any parent ever have to think that? And let's be very clear, here--very few of anyone reading this, or even me writing it, knows the principals involved personally--but I know this, to the heart and bone of me: the single greatest cause of relationships imploding is financial. If Rehill and his wife make it to the other side intact, together, and still able to breathe, it will be a fucking miracle.
I want to see that happen. So yes--help if you can. As a fist raised against insurance lies; as a thread of support from one human to another; as Rehill's wife Kristine says, anything will help, even a single dollar. They're begging.
And I, who've never met them, who've never heard their music before today, I'm begging too. You'll notice the widget that ties directly in to their ChipIn account on the sidebar. Because this is the heart and soul of wrong, this is something that should band us together against all differences, this is a societal plea to make things better, since the people who should have done so to start with won't.
On June 15th, you can help them out in world, too. There'll be more details coming on the Dare Designs blog, I'm sure, closer to the day.
(Just from a musical standpoint, if you've never heard Lost signal, they're worth a listen for any fan of electronic music of any stripe. To me, they're similar in tone to VNV Nation. Compare Lost Signal's Frozen, for example, to Further from VNV, or to Regret from Assemblage 23--who, interestingly, was part of producing some of Lost Signal's work. Some have called Lost Signal's work "futurepop", but I don't think that's accurate. I don't know that I'd agree with "pop" as an appellation for any of it, because most of Rehill's work plays with themes of immobility and strain, pain and loss, worry and resignation--and always with that deep, moving electronic thrum driving the music forward. It's good dance music, it's good music to fuel contemplation, and it's even good to write blog entries to. As it happens.)