POSTED ON JULY 8, 2009:
The Need for a Public Plan
Citizens need to step up and state their interest in America's healthcare dilemma
Everyone's opinion comes from their own unique perspective. This is mine.
Born in the U.K., I grew up with "Socialized health care." I didn't know that at the time, we just called it health care and took it for granted. I grew up in a country where anyone who needed medical treatment could get it. Not because of their job, income or status but just because they were human beings in need of care.
At the age of 28, I moved to the United States with my family and am now a citizen. So I have lived half my life with health care and half without. The difference in the quality of my life is tangible.
I'm now 56, a father and grandfather, happily self employed, and have no health insurance.
On one side of me in this debate is the medical establishment, doctors, hospitals, etc. We respect our doctors and we generally do what they tell us, but there is no denying that for every test they recommend, they make more money. There is some truth in saying that if they don't give all the tests then they could be sued. But still, for each MRI, CT scan, X-ray, blood test, etc., more money is made. What parent or spouse would not go into debt to make sure their loved one has every possible test and treatment recommended? Within the worry over money for more care lies the stress that creates more illness, more need for care, and more, more, more. Sometimes less is more.
On the other side of me are the insurance companies. These companies spend billions in advertising telling us to come join their happy family. That they will take good care of us. That is until we get sick, then their job is to deny us that care. It's not their fault. By law their role is to maximize profit for the stockholders using all the means at their disposal. They sell care but cannot afford to care. As soon as you get sick, you become a liability to their bottom line, so they tell the doctor that you have to leave the hospital sooner rather than later, that the approach is experimental and not covered, that the condition pre-existed, that the cost is too much and they won't pay it. You pay your premiums for coverage and when it comes to using it you have a fight on your hands.
So between these two powerful monoliths I start to feel like some not-quite-dead road kill. Trapped between their jaws, being pulled in both directions, offering me the illusion of care or a care I cannot afford. I feel like a human ATM trying to feed both animals. Then, when my money runs out and my credit runs dry they throw me in the ditch for dead and move on to their next meal.
That's why we need a public plan. Some say they don't want the government in charge of health care. But what do we have instead, some nameless person in an insurance company telling the doctors what is appropriate care, when their interest is in keeping their job, their health care, their bottom line, their bonus, their promotion? Is that who we want to be in charge of it?! Is this the best we can do?
I want the government to run a plan. They are a disinterested third party, they don't want to make money off my illness and they don't want to deny me care to profit stockholders. The public plan will change many things; just the mention of it has insurance companies offering to drop pre-existing condition clauses and lower rates.
What about the scary words like "rationing?" Well, me and over 50 million other Americans are already rationed down to zero. Our ration cannot get any smaller. The word rationing doesn't scare us. Spending your kids' college fund to pay your parents' hospital bill, going bankrupt, losing your home, is all scarier than the word rationing.
As for the "Socialized Medicine" ruse, it's no different than "Social" Security and Medicare. Making the delivery and affordability of health care more social, i.e. more beneficial to society's needs, is not a scary thing.
"Waiting lists." Yes, you may have to wait for non-emergency surgical treatment in the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Israel and many other democratic countries who supply their citizens with some form of "Socialized" medicine. But last year when my doctor thought I had a tumor behind my eye I had to wait seven weeks for an appointment to see a specialist. What's the difference?
Is not the primary responsibility of our federal government to protect its citizens? Well, I want them to protect me, my family, friends and neighbors right now. Not from invasion by Cuban communists or that crazy guy in North Korea, but from the corporate, profit-driven nightmare of our current out of control health care system. We as citizens are more in danger of that than any foreign invasion. Our health and well being is under attack right now, right here. We as citizens deserve better than what we are getting. We as citizens need to step up and state our interest in this discussion. By doing so, we can save this country from members of Congress whose entrenched resistance to a more humane health care system is getting in the way of this rare opportunity to enhance the life, liberty and happiness of over 50 million American citizens.
Finally, if you do not want to join the public plan, then don't.
URL for this story: http://www.urbantulsa.comhttp://www.urbantulsa.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A27477