Health Care

I am well aware at this moment in time that this is a very touchy subject for most people.  If you are reading this analysis, I appreciate it and I hope that it will not make you angry or upset, but that it will simply help you to see a point of view.

Earlier on in the year, I had great confidence that this health care reform bill would pass quickly and with little problem (yes, naive).  At this point, I am not so sure.  I do not generally find myself saying prayers about politics but now I am – about this, at least.  I am afraid that we will not get what this country so badly needs.  The government does have a tendency to mess things up, but we are not  speaking here of a system that is not already messed up.  How much worse does this have to get before we finally let them intervene?

I am writing this as a person who is currently insured and insured very well.  My husband and child are also insured and we do not have many problems with our insurance company.  BUT this is because I happen to work for the state (another government entity by the way) and my employer contributions for my health insurance are amazing.  I am fairly certain that I was born on the Medicaid system, which was little burdensome to my mother.  And my father was in the military so I had great insurance up until I turned 22 and was out of college.

I went for 2 years without any type of insurance and thankfully did not have many illnesses during that time period but when I did, I could not see a doctor.  I got pink eye for the first and only time then.  And well, do you know what it’s like having pink eye and not getting treatment?  It sucked – it sucked REALLY bad.  Basically I had to wait it out while I tried a bout a million of my mom’s home remedies.  Thankfully the body can eventually recover itself from most things.  That was probably the worst that happened to me and it was minor in comparison.

Now I am watching many of my siblings with the same problem.  One of my sisters is a pre-school teacher trying to get through school.  She is uninsured because she can’t afford to buy health insurance from her employer.  She suffers from chronic tonsil problems (much like I did before I had my tonsils removed last winter), which leaves her sick and feeling pretty crappy most of the time.  This past time she caught strept throat and pink eye also and was forced to visit one of those stop n’ go clinics at Walgreens.  It cost her nearly $70 to be seen and receive medications that she needed.  Thank God the antibiotic was free at Publix.  But, for a single woman trying to get through school that $70 is crippling to her budget.  Whenever she has had emergencies, it’s a 12 hour trip to the emergency room because she is not required to pay.  However, those gracious hospitals will treat but ensure that she is billed for it later.  So the medical bills pile up.  I’m scared that she will be forced into bankruptcy like many other Americans have been.

I could go on and on for days about the uninsured, but what about those who are not insured very well?  Like me, Jose also faced a long time after college being uninsured.  When he got his new position at Zabatt, a small private company, he got insurance.  The first trip to the doctor proved that he was wasting a pretty big chunk of money on a bi-weekly basis.  The specialist saw him for a co-pay of $50 and scheduled a procedure.  Before that procedure was to be performed, on top of the co-pay, an additional cost would need to be paid for the procedure somewhere in the ballpark of $500.  For a couple just out of college with a child, again that $500 is not worth it for preventative care.  Now, of course, a $500 bill for what I guess you would call, reactive care, would leave us with no choice but to be “worth it”.  Again, personal story, but NOTHING in comparison to what others have had to go through with their insurance companies.

Back to my uncertainty.  Will we be able to do this?  Will people agree that this is what our country needs?  You know – all the ones who do have nice health insurance and think that anyone can get it if they want it (sorry for the undercut, I feel myself getting a little emotional as I type).

I have been reading MLK’s Strength to Love and I came across a very good excerpt about fear and the civil rights movement.  I’d like to cite that here because I think it really applies to this situation.  In this particular part, Dr. King is discussing a good Samaritan story that Jesus once told.  Basically a man was walking along a dangerous road and was robbed and a priest and a Levite both passed him by before the Samaritan.  He says this:

I imagine that the first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”  But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” The good Samaritan engaged in a dangerous altruism.

Dr. King further goes on to say:

Abraham Lincoln did not ask, “What will happen to me if I issue the Emancipation Proclamation and bring an end to chattel slavery?” but he asked, “What will happen to the Union and to millions of Negro people, if I fail to do it?”…The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.

Why can’t we do this?  Why is this so hard for people to agree on?  I wouldn’t think that this should require an act of dangerous altruism to get done but it seems that it will.  People are dying everyday because of resistance and hesitation.  Just because they don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happen.  But what if Lincoln never signed the Emancipation Proclamation because he was too overcome by his first question of what will happen to him?  Without change, we cannot achieve excellence.  I wish that more were concerned about what will happen if we don’t fix what’s broken for others.  I will end here so I can leave you with MLK’s great words:

“They know not what they do,” said Jesus.  Blindness was their besetting trouble.  And the crux of the matter lies here: we do need to be blind.  Unlike physical blindness that is usually inflicted upon individuals as a result of natural forces beyond their control, intellectual and moral blindness is a dilemma which man inflicts upon himself by his tragic misuse of freedom and his failure to use his mind to its fullest capacity.

Thank you for allowing me to share.

Leave a Reply