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Health Care Reform

No need to do a verbal pirouette. Let’s state it outright without caveats: it is indeed a birthright for all Americans to have quality health care regardless of their station in society and circumstance of life. Anyone opposed to that should hang their heads in shame and not have the brass to attend a house of worship where principles of human dignity are in one way or other celebrated.

Thousands of years of social evolution, with all the gory sacrifices made unavoidable because of all manner of pig-headedness and false pride should have amounted by now to a more advanced civilization or at least a less nakedly greedy society. Yet radio hosts with one hundred million dollar contracts begrudge a worker laboring at two full-time floor-mopping jobs the means to obtain chemotherapy for her infant. Taxing them an extra dime would amount to redistribution of wealth and class envy, their two bugaboos of “socialism.”

And “socialized medicine” is to them treachery because it flies in the face of the free enterprise system that allows doctors to be more entrepreneur than healer. America is apple pie and their slice comes in portfolio form.

Let’s just called it “health care reform.” Many thousands of AFT members rallied on Capitol Hill recently to push for this moral imperative. The model has not been determined, but some kind of universal health care is vital. Hopefully it will be based on systems in place in democratic Europe.

Don’t believe the AMA’s false claims of inferior care in the “old world.” Longevity is higher, infant mortality is lower and in many other areas of comparison, the stats are more favorable to Europe. And if data-driven conclusions are accepted as measures for education and law enforcement, let them be relevant here too.

My friend’s wife had lung cancer and not a single doctor at Sloan-Kettering would accept his insurance, which is the most popular that civil servants have in NYC. And the insurance company reimbursed pennies on the dollar. He went broke and she died.

Anecdotal claims supporting all positions are available. But let me leave off by citing a typical situation that shows up the lie that in Britain, for instance, health care is rationed or denied to the elderly.

My 89 year old relative, who never worked and has no pension or significant assets, fell in her house, sustaining a fracture. She was in the hospital and then a facility where she got physical therapy and occupational training (!) for two months. Before her release, her house was evaluated and changes made to make it safer for her. She was issues an emergency pendant to summon first-responders. Twice each day she receives visitors from the National Health Service to check on her. One of them does her food shopping. The medical doctor pays house calls. Total charge: ZERO.

America has the wealth. There is no excuse. We do not have the best health care in the world by a long shot. We profess to value the life of all people but that value is calibrated to the depth of the money pocket. Let’s liquidate the hypocrisy, not the life’s savings of folks who have lived frugally and responsibly all their lives.

Support the AFT and all persons of good-will who are prevailing upon their legislators to enact, finally, a system that does honor to this nation’s legacy .


1 Comment:

  • 1 Matthew
    · Jul 29, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I can’t get deal with people right now that scream “Socialism!” My brother and I are dealing with a father that has no insurance. He is diabetic and just had a quadruple bypass. He had insurance years ago, but had to give it up when he closed his business. When he went to look for private insurance, he found out that they would not cover anything related to his diabetes because it is a “pre-existing condition.”

    Now we are trying to get him Medicaid and we are at the whims of the Medicaid caseworker. MEanwhile, the bills keep mounting.

    My father is a natural born American citizen who served in the Army during the Vietnam War and is being treated worse than a criminal.

    All Americans should want Health Care Reform so we as a nation can have the assurance that we can go to the doctor and we can be treated without having the possibility of Bankruptcy looming.

    Our Private-for-Profit Insurance system is seriously flawed and by getting Universal Health Care does not mean that this country is Socialist, it means we live up to the promise that America claims to be the land of opportunity.

    IF we stop fighting unecessary wars, just think of the money that can be poured into Health Care and Education. America can be that beacon once again.