We'll soon enter week three of the government shutdown and among the many angered by the
inaction of U.S. leaders is guitarist Marc Ribot. To protest the government shutdown and Republican
opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act Ribot has shared a free
download of "Ain't Gonna Let Them Turn Us Round (aka Affordable Health Care Act song)"
from his band Ceramic Dog.
Ribot has issued a statement expressing his anger at the situation and telling a story
about his experience with the health care system in the U.K.:
"I never thought that much about ‘health care systems’ until my daughter was born on
England’s National Health Service. My partner and I had been living in NYC, but lacked
health insurance, and couldn’t get any because pregnancy was a ‘pre-existing condition’.
The cost- not including (pre-post natal care) at NYC hospitals was $16,000 “if everything
went perfectly”: we didn’t have it. My partner was from England, and her mom lived in
South London, so off we went.
Lewisham Hospital isn’t in a rich area, and it wasn’t as squeaky and new as some in the
US- but the care was great: they had a better licensed mid-wives program than any I’ve
seen. both midwives, nurses, (and even the doctor!!!) visited us at home both before and
after the birth. And it was all free.
My daughter was born at around 2am after a difficult labor, and the next day my partner
was having trouble sleeping in a room with other moms and babies. So, I asked if it would
be possible to get a private room. I misinterpreted the nurse’s quizzical expression, and
quickly added, ‘oh don’t worry, we can pay for it’... At which point she stiffened her
back and raised her chin in the way only an English nurse can, and, looking at me with a
combination of pity and disgust, replied: “ sir, we have no private rooms. We have single
rooms, and they’re available based on need, not ability to pay. If your wife needs a
single room, i’ll make sure your she gets one.”
When I thought about it, something clicked in my brain. How could we have ever even
thought of doing things differently?
The National Affordable Health Care Act is, unfortunately, no NHS. But I wonder if any of
the Republicans ranting about ‘socialism’ have any idea of what it is that they’re willing
to blow up the economy in order to avoid. And so I wrote this little tune. (even
libertarians can dig the rhythm section groove ;-)"