We can fix health care if we want to

TRAVERSE CITY — A new survey says Americans borrowed $88 billion last year to pay for health care. One in four skipped treatment because they couldn’t afford it. And half of all Americans — half! — say bankruptcy is just one health emergency away. This should be the most biggest and most apolitical of all issues. Everyone gets sick or hurt. Everyone needs health care. Even people with good insurance through work worry that one big medical crisis could impoverish them. So why don’t we collectively do something about it? The rest of the world has. Why not us? That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is: Nothing changes because somebody is getting rich off the status quo and they don’t want anything to change so they pit us against one another. We exist in a state of permanent squabble while they keep hauling in the dough. Here’s an idea: Howzabout we stop doing that? We can fix health care if we want to.

– Just saw that Head East is playing at a casino in Michigan next month. You’re probably saying, “Who’s that?” Head East is the first rock band I ever saw in concert. It was in a metal pole barn at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba back in the ’70s. If you’re interested in what a rock concert in a pole barn sounds like, crank your iPhone speaker up to max, stick it in a Maxwell coffee can and place the can over your ear. Head East’s biggest and I think only hit was “Never Been Any Reason.” I loved it then. I love it now. Great guitar work, ridiculous synthesizer jams, plus a brief but most excellent cow bell solo. Duuude.

– Btw, have you noticed that guitars almost don’t exist in a lot of today’s pop songs? My kids hate it when I point that out.

– The headline said, “Pot-infused edibles ready to flood Michigan.” I’m not against Michigan’s legalization of pot, so why does the notion of pot edibles at 7-11 bother me?

– Is saying to someone “Are you tired, you look tired?” the worst thing you can say to someone or just somewhere in the Top 10?

– The Detroit Lions signing running back/bowling ball C.J. Anderson was (I can’t believe I’m going to say this) a great move.

– I want to start a gambling website where people bet on when the ginormous snow pile in their local Meijer or Walmart finally melts. Who’s with me? In my town, I’d put my money on June 15th.

– Emojis are a modern form of hieroglyphics.

– If I search for a local business online and visit their website and they don’t tell me their prices and instead want me to call or fill out a form, I’m gone. That’s the price they pay for wasting my time. If you have to hide your prices, they’re too high.

– You can help me with a future column. I’m writing about whether or not families with mixed political beliefs talk about or avoid politics at family gatherings. Shoot me a note at andrewhellercolumn@gmail.com. (Preview: My family begs me not to stir up my brothers. I do anyway.)

“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.” – Jane Austen

— — —

Andrew Heller, an award-winning newspaper columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Follow him at andrewheller.com and on Facebook and Twitter. Write to him via email at andrewhellercolumn@gmail.com.