Covid Tests, Sick Leave, and More: This Country Has Lost Its Ability to Give a Shit About You

It's sadly fucking hilarious and hilariously fucking sad how the Biden administration is rolling out its at-home COVID-19 tests. Sure, 500 million will be available for free, but, for most of us, we've learned that our health insurance will be forced to cover the price of any we buy at the local Walgreen's. Which means, likely, we'll have to fill out forms, upload receipts, deal with fuckups, deal with denied claims, and handle the usual fuckery that is part and parcel of the insanity of our health care "system," all in the name of some kind of perverse version of "freedom." Just give the fucking tests away. Just make them available to everyone. Why the hell should everyone have to go through this just to see if they have Covid before they visit their parents? Why the hell should anyone who can't afford them have to rely on going to wait in line at a clinic or testing site? Easily-available testing helps everyone. This isn't vaguely up for discussion.

President Biden could have flooded the country with tests by now, and that no one has thought to do this bespeaks a reality about living in this United States. The country doesn't act like it gives a shit about you when it comes to health care (and many other things, but let's just stick to health care right now). Oh, it talks a good game (and there are amazing people working in health care), but the official actions of our state and federal governments are bound up in ideologies that can't help but hurt people. 

Jesus, it's like being in a relationship with an intense sadist when you're not into BDSM: "Wait, we can't just fuck for once? We gotta break out the whips and nipple clamps and ball crushers and spiked spanking gloves? Can't we just fuck and enjoy it? Why does everything have to be complicated and painful? My sphincter just healed from last time." But, no, your partner wants to cuff you and beat you before you're allowed to get off, and, well, shit, fuck, sometimes it's just easier to take it than to fight about it. Otherwise, you have to break-up, move out, and who's got the time. "Fine. Fist me."

That's not the way it should be. Mutually-consensual BDSM is a beautiful thing, filled with love and pleasure. (No kink-shaming here.) But if it's not mutual, it's just abuse. And the United States has gotten really good at caning our asses whether we like it or not, with Covid making the blows sharper and more frequent.

What this pandemic has starkly revealed just how failed so many of the policies we've been forced to live under have been. 

We were warned early in the pandemic that the lack of paid sick leave for workers was going to fuck us over. While there was an actual effort to provide for this during the lockdown period of the pandemic, now, as Omicron has its viral way with us, the fact that most workers get little or no paid sick leave has led to, well, sick people going to work (if they aren't forced to by their employers), which leads to more sick people, including people who are too sick to work, which depletes the work force and makes it so no one can work. Or is that math too fucking hard? As in so many things, the US is an outlier as one of only 11 countries where there is no national paid sick leave law. In other words, our selfish capitalism is freedoming us to death.

Even worse, there's the lack of any or of decent health insurance in this country. I personally know people who refuse to get help for their obviously symptomatic Covid because they are afraid of how much it will cost if they end up in the hospital. This has been one of the brute realities for Americans, and even with Obamacare and expanded Medicaid (not to mention Medicare for the many elderly who are sick), the out-of-pocket cost can go into the thousands and thousands of dollars and, fuck it, that's not worth it unless you might die. How much undiagnosed Covid is out there? How much untreated? 

Fuck, I'm not even getting into the lack of support for parents whose children have to stay home from schools.

Think of the stress all this causes, stress that's added to the stress of the pandemic. Our country is doing that to us. Our leaders, especially Republicans, are doing it. But, honestly, Biden has broad powers that he could draw on right now in a crisis that we're two goddamned years into. Could he say that government is going to cover all Covid-related medical expenditures, creating a de facto Medicare for all? (Maybe, but then the savage dickbeasts on the Supreme Court would tell everyone to fuck off and die.) I remember when President Obama decided to make health care his major first-term goal, and many wondered why that in particular, why not go for a greater economic and infrastructure package to build on the Recovery and Reinvestment Act? But Obama knew that health care insecurity was overwhelming for many Americans. Of course, what we got was severely compromised and has been undermined by Republicans at every turn, at every level, so that, while an improvement, the Affordable Care Act is still a fucking sieve of a program.

Fuck, I'm not even getting into the PTSD everyone is going to have to deal with for the next few decades. I'm not even getting into the absolutely unforgivable burden we've put on health care workers repeatedly, breaking many of them. 

It's not working, this way of existing without caring about each other on a national basis. Yet what can you say about a nation that allows this to happen and a people that don't rise up and demand something better other than that we have lost our ability to care about each other (not you, of course, not you personally, unless it is you, in which case, go fuck yourself). Instead of doing the things that would make us better, our leaders keep things the same, even in the face of a genuine catastrophe, even when one easy thing, free at-home Covid testing, would ease some of the burden of this sadistic time we're damned to live through and allow us to at least pretend we care.

(Note: This isn't about anti-vaxxers or anti-maskers because fuck them always.)