Reviews

Summer Of Fear

Author: Paste Staff
03/27/2010 | Paste | www.pastemagazine.com | Feature
Last Sunday, after more than a year of superheated debate, the House of Representatives voted in favor of reconciling the House and Senate versions of H.R. 3962—known in various circles as "the healthcare reform bill," "Obamacare," and "a magnet for Rahm Emanuel's brass knuckles." And it ain't over yet: Even as the dust settles and the bipartisan bluster recedes to a dull roar, there's another battle brewing as the legislature prepares to dig through the bill to make piecemeal additions and subtractions. In the meantime, we took this opportunity to hit up some of our favorite musicians and sample their opinions on the state of the bill itself, the U.S. healthcare system and what else needs to be done:

Todd Snider:
"I think the health care bill is a good start. Now I'd like to see our soldiers come home, our schools taken seriously, our banks regulated and our Glenn Beck catapulted for laughs. Is this too much to ask? I think not."

Andy Ross of OK Go:
"Frankly, the health-care debate of the last year almost completely destroyed my faith that people and the government of the United States could still tackle big challenges. The misleading Republicans, cowardly Democrats, sensationalist media and ignorant populace combined in a perfect storm of frustration and anger. While the bill that has passed is disappointing (losing the public option hurts), it is a step in the right direction. Perhaps it will empower Democrats to fight for the next round of real reform in health care (and beyond). Most importantly, Sunday's vote will save peoples lives. Our system of government is still hopelessly broken, but this bill's passage ensures I'm not giving up on it just yet."

Owen Pallett, formerly known as Final Fantasy:
"Go team go! Take care of your brother. We are rooting for you."

Kimya Dawson:
"When I got my first check from Juno, I paid for health insurance for me and my daughter. I hadn't been able to afford regular coverage in almost 15 years. Washington State Assistance had paid for my mental healthcare, my drug/alcohol rehabilitation, my pregnancy and my daughter's birth. I was one of the lucky ones who was eligible for assistance during a difficult time. There was a one-month lapse between the expiration of my medical coupons and when I could afford to pay for a policy. During that time, I took my daughter to the emergency room in the middle of the night for a high fever. They gave her a spinal tap, a chest x-ray, and put her on IV antibiotics. They never came up with a diagnosis, but held her even after her fever had gone down. This four-day visit cost us $20,000+. Luckily, I was able to pay it off soon afterward, but these kinds of expenses can devastate families. My parents are seniors and can't afford their necessary prescriptions. It is unacceptable that people suffer and die because of the cost of healthcare. Everyone should be taken care of. Victims of rape, people who are already sick or injured, transgendered people…EVERYONE. This bill is not perfect, but it is a very important start. VERY IMPORTANT."

K'NAAN:
"Health care is humanity's way of collective parenting. If the concept of 'it takes a village to raise a child' is applied to it, it becomes unthinkable to abandon an entire generation to orphanhood."

Craig Wedren:
"It's incredible to me that a sensible, non-partisan issue like basic health-care coverage should be such a governmental mastodon, and be SO difficult to move forward. Having said that, given the predictable (and nation-crippling) sports-team mentality of politics (Us vs Them!), the bureaucratic bloat in Government, and folks' mass-hysterical fear of change, I am AMAZED that anything passed at all. It's heartening that an issue with constructive intentions (healthcare, as opposed to something like, say, war) can live to see the light of day in 21st Century, too-big America. I say all of this not as a cynic, but as a citizen and an artist who believes that individuals of every stripe can easily make the weird experiment that is the U.S.A. work better and better for more and more people. Here's hoping this is a small step in that direction.

Fingers (and eyes) crossed,
Craig Wedren of Shudder to Think"

Nellie McKay:
"Well, it's something. We need a public option. We don't need mandatory payments to some of the worst corporations on Earth. The President's support of abortion restrictions is deceptively benign; Obama, why is it always poor women who pay the price? Reform represents a hard-won step in the right direction. But to quote Dave Chappelle, 'Where would a black man be without his paranoia?' We are right to be paranoid when something like health care is in the hands of people who are only motivated by profit."

Elijah Jones of The Constellations:
"When I first got diabetes, I had no insurance and couldn't afford the medication I needed to stay healthy. I resorted to using my needles over and over again and testing my blood sugar once a day instead of the four times my doctor recomended. Now that I'm a full-time musician, I find myself in the same spot only now when I applied for personal insurance I was told over and over that companies won't cover me or I have to pay crazy amounts of money for basic covarage because of my condition. The richest country in the world where I've payed taxes all my life can't even give me the one right I need the most: the right to live. This bill that has passed may be flawed, but I feel it's a step in the right direction. If we really are a free country, we should, at the very least, adopt a health-care system that isn't based on the bottom line. I'll settle for being able to go to the doctor and get well without having to go bankrupt."

Exene Cervenka of X:
"The health care bill is just another in a long line of political disappointments. People in the U.S. are sick, suffering and dying, and the government hands out our money to the insurance companies instead of helping us. Of course, everyone in congress has health care, so maybe they don't understand. Or maybe they are just selfish, sadistic and corrupt."

Joseph Arthur:
"I feel sorry for people that need healthcare now, but it's a start of the moral recovery of our country. At least a step in that direction. This issue seems to separate the loons from the nearly sane. Maybe it will kick off the revolution and maybe the revolution will be televised after all."

Beth Tacular of Bowerbirds:
"I think that's good they're spreading it. I personally would rather there would be socialized health care like in France where you pay your taxes and they could tax things that are really bad for you, like cigarettes and alcohol and junk food, and then that's how they could make money to pay for health care. I think that would be a better way to do it, to have it all socialized so you're not paying some random company that's making a big profit; your government would do it without making a profit. But this is a positive step. I've been afraid. I don't have health insurance, so I've been afraid to go to the doctor, because if they find out I have cancer I won't be able to get health insurance. So I've been waiting to go to the doctor until I can afford good health insurance."

Ben Knox Miller of The Low Anthem:
"I've been following this debate with unhealthy obsession. It's a common-sense bill that protects basic human dignities. I am incensed with the scared republican obstructionists that have been fomenting idiocy rather than participating in building this landmark legislation. Shame on the media for lending credibility to their pathetic antics. Thankfully, they are on the wrong side of history. Kudos to Obama and Pelosi for sticking there necks out."

John Dragonetti of The Submarines:
"In the words of VP Biden, 'This is a big fucking deal.' A great start, for sure. Historically and politically it's an awesome victory (sans the Bart Stupak provision). But it's not 'radical' enough, in my opinion. We deserve a single-payer system that covers absolutely everyone. Have some socialism for breakfast, Tea Party loons!"

Blake Hazard of The Submarines:
"It's thrilling that we're finally seeing this movement toward true health-care accessibility for everyone. We still have to hold out hope that the bill will pass through the Senate unscathed and will make its way successfully into practice.

I now have a big politi-crush on Nancy Pelosi after seeing her speech before the final vote in the House. I love how feminine and powerful she is, and that she spoke about about how we need to get beyond seeing being a woman as a pre-existing condition. I had to fight hard to get health insurance as a person with a pre-existing condition, in addition to being a woman (haha), and I'm so excited to think that others won't have to go through that battle. And yes, I'm willing to pay a little more for it, as long as I can."

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson:
"When I was twelve, my body decided my pancreas was a hostile virus and killed it. Since then, I have depended on intravenous injections of insulin several times a day to survive. I have lived in fear of losing my health insurance since I was sixteen. I have kept jobs, deferred ambitions, and even accrued crippling amounts of student-loan debt (I was able to keep my mother's insurance while I was enrolled) for fear of being without insurance. Although I hope a true public option will be one day be added (my discovery of Medicaid was one of the most liberating of my life), I hope this is at least a step away from the culture of egregiously wasted human potential that caulked the seams of the previous system."

Glen Phillips:
"The new bill is a great first step towards restoring balance to the health-care system. Ultimately, I believe single payer is the most reasonable solution for a medical system, but this legislation will help to take us one step away from our current miasma. The greatest triumph of this was to see cool heads and rational thought win out over the din of hot-headed misinformation. I hope that this will be a milestone in the return to populist values and the move away from the worship of the unregulated free market which has caused so much destruction over the past few decades. I also hope that is serves as a reminder to those who continue to deal in sensationalism and division that we are tired of their diversions, and helps us come nearer to a culture where journalists actually report news, and politicians actually govern. More simply: Our children will thank us for this, and wonder how it could ever have been that people were dropped through rescission when they became ill, or were denied for pre-existing conditions."

Becky Stark of The Living Sisters:
"I am so happy that our country is moving in the direction of cultivating the public good. I hope that one day our governmental system will fully support the active creation of health. People shouldn't have to live with so much fear of illness. This is characteristic of a very repressive society. Hopefully one day with a more stable and supportive healthcare system people in our country will be more free."

Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie:
"All of the noise that we've heard for months and months about healthcare has been all about politics. It's been either from the left trying to sell the bill, make it seem palatable, and then from the right trying to disparage the bill and tear it down and exaggerate all the things that aren't going to happen. Each side has been trying to make their case for months. In all of this, we have largely lost sight of the fact that this is a bill that's going to help tens of millions of Americans in some really significant ways really quickly. Pretty immediately, your insurer will not be able to drop you for some reason that they don't have to justify. You can no longer be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. Even if those were the only two things that the bill did, that would be a huge step forward. To me that's vital; that affects people that are right in the middle of my life. Healthcare is totally a rock 'n' roll issue. When any band starts touring, you just quit whatever job you have and jump in a van and have to figure out where your next meal is coming from. So healthcare is way down on the list. So the subsidies are really significant and all the consumer protections that are going to be enacted are pretty remarkable.

The idealist in me is a little bit disappointed that there's not a comprehensive public plan and that we are not yet all the way to a single-pay system. There are few people on the left that have been really vocal about their disappointment in the bill—sort of the idea that this is worse than status quo. I disagree. I think holding out for a more progressive bill in this climate, when we've got the most progressive president and house speaker that we have had in generations, possibly ever, I think if you can't realize that this is really literally the biggest thing that we could've pushed through and everything else that follows… From here we have a foundation on which we can build the house that is comprehensive healthcare reform. So I guess I have a little bit of—I'm a little weirded out by some of the rhetoric that's coming from my left, and I'm pretty far left, I guess."

Carnivores:
"We're glad we don't have to turn into the monopoly man when considering a doctor visit. It's nice to not have to choose between our health and electricity at home!"

Franz Nicolay, formerly of The Hold Steady:
"The iconic moment in most musicians' careers, whether or not it actually comes to pass, is quitting the day job. And since in this country, that usually means leaving your health plan too, it's not just an economic gamble on your music, but a very real one with your health, one that's likely to last for years of hard travel and a wearing lifestyle. If this health reform achieves nothing else—and it does achieve a great deal else—it will enable that many more practically-minded musicians to take that leap of faith and get on the road. Along with readily-available recording and distribution, it's another tool that, in our time, lowers the barriers to entry into the music life (for good or ill). Now if I could just get my crooked teeth fixed…"

Bettye LaVette:
"I, for one, am thrilled about this tremendous first step. I am basically in favor of single payer, but as they say, the longest journey begins with the first step."

Paul Mahern of Zero Boys:
"Thank GOD, I have been waiting for months to get this abortion… I am glad to know that we will be happy and healthy to toil in the field another day. Does this mean I get my ayurvedic panchakarma treatments for free? Is the AMA going to recognize rife tone technology as the cure for all disease? Love is the Drug that I'm Thinking Of."

Pete Harper of Harper Blynn:
"I think we're all really excited, because it's gonna do a lot of great things for a lot of people and help a lot of people, especially musicians, I would say. But also, it's cool to be a part of a historic moment like that. I think it's basically the biggest piece of legislation since civil rights. I mean, it's been a total shit show for about a year to get this thing passed."

Sage Francis:
"Assuming I am like most people in America, I'm too overworked to fully digest exactly what is happening with Health Care right now. However, by judging who is most upset by the bill Obama just signed, it seems like this is a good thing. That's my uneducated and unresearched opinion on such matters. I really like when old white people get up in arms. Since I'm already white, maybe one day I will be old enough to get up in arms about all citizens sharing in the spoils of a 'first world' country."

Logan Kroeber of The Dodos:
"On the local R&B station here in San Francisco, two morning DJs were joking how the new bill would increase the number of 'scrubs' by extending dependent coverage to age 26. When they said 'scrubs,' I immediately thought, 'kids making music in their parents' basements,' and that can only be a good thing, right? They'll have more money for guitar strings!"

Victoria Williams:
"I don't know enough about what they passed and it seems I hear things about it that are good (I.E.: insurance companies can't deny you for pre-existing conditions), but then again, why must there even be an insurance agency involved? I also heard that they are going to force people to buy insurance and I think this is wrong! I think that our taxes should pay for health care instead of wars! I was just at a Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart show and they told me how he got sick and was hospitalized in Spain and had to be fed intravenously and it sounds like a similar thing that happened to Mark Olson once when we were there. Neither of them, after having spent an entire day in the hospital, were given a bill, but were given instructions of how to care for themselves when they got out. Sounds like Spain is the place to live. This country has fallen to worshipping money. There is only greed driving this government. Shame… We could start by instituting a siesta which would make people calmer."
Summer Of Fear

Summer Of Fear

LP / CD / MP3




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Summer of Fear

Summer of Fear

LP / CD / MP3