Wednesday, April 29, 2009

SWINE FLU AND OTHER BUGS THAT NEED A CURE

That poor little boy in Texas. Two years old, from Mexico. I feel awful for his grieving parents, for his grieving and frightened community. What a tragedy.

With Swine Flu possibly sweeping the globe, his fate - and the fates of everyone else potentially infected - is in the forefronts of our minds. The spread of Swine Flu not only brings up the vulnerability we have as human beings who can catch disease from each other, it also brings up a glitch in our current health care system.

A couple springs ago I wrote an essay that aired on the radio, about a life-threatening experience we had with Aubrey in the hospital. With her health and welfare hanging in the balance, and no money in the bank to afford medical bills, we were able to get free emergency and hospital care, thanks to our government.

That experience taught me that I believe all children - and really, all people - deserve access to health care, without the fear that they'll be sent into financial ruin.

That experience helped me personally understand these significant glitches in our current system:

*Studies show that when people wait to see if they can get by without paying a doctor, waiting and hoping the health condition will blow over, they actually end up spending more of their money - or the public's - by using the Emergency Room when the condition worsens. All people need to be able to see a doctor without fearing financial ruin.

*50% of all employed Americans don't have sick days. That means a lot of people are going to work while they're sick, and spreading infections. All people need "sick days" so this sad and ridiculous practice can end.

I just found out that insurance companies are backing a conservative push to avoid nationalized health care. I think this is a huge mistake. I'm not picking on conservatives here, I'm actually furious that insurance companies are pulling the strings -- I'm asking that conservatives look at how our current health care system still leaves poor people poor and without access to a basic human right to seek and obtain health care for the ailing; it also leaves the middle class in a bind, paying out of pocket or going into debt beyond their means.

I know for a fact that most dental student families while we were at UoP utilized California's health care benefits for their children and for pregnant mothers -- where would they have been without this?

Our government is seeking solutions to a crazy problem in America, and to let insurance companies set the tone seems ridiculous to me. We need to take care of each other. We need to care. We need to make sure everyone gets a fair shake - at least in the area of health care, a basic human need.

And, if that's not self-focused enough, people should at least look at it in terms of self-interest: do we really want co-workers coming to work with a fever, or food-handlers serving meals with a cold, or cashiers handing out change if they're at work because they can't take a sick day?

The current national health care dilemma hasn't been adequately resolved. Why don't we give this administration a chance to put the brightest minds, the most experienced people on it? Why kowtow to insurance companies? Why not try a solution that gives everyone access to the health care they deserve - regardless of economic or other status?

5 comments:

KUrlie said...

Great op ed piece Anj - perhaps you should send it around a bit????? Shop it, if you will???

Kari Quaas said...

Well said, Anjie.

Anonymous said...

Like your comments on The Music Man which I think should be sent to the producer, your recent thoughts on health care for all should get more notice than your blog. You've a gift of speaking your mind that others need to hear- you've that voice who speaks from the heart.

Lovingly,
JJJ

Cyrus and Annie said...

While I am against socialized medicine (because the federal government underfunds and over-regulates everything) I think that both sides need to fix this. The truth is Obama's plan isn't socialized medicine at all--it is a good plan requiring responsibility of individuals. The tricky part will be keeping the government out of the doctor's way and letting them make decisions. Congress has the mistaken idea that they are experts on everything!!! The government requires insurance on our cars, why not our kids--that is all Obama is advocating. Thanks for sharing!!!

anjie said...

Thanks for your comments everybody - Annie in particular. I think you nailed the big concern that people have about freedom of care once they've got the option not to pay for it. I look forward to seeing the changes implemented - and seeing how the big brains work out the new "bugs" that come along.