Yesterday, I posted this as my facebook status: "No one should die because they cannot afford healthcare and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree post this as your status for the rest of the day." Many friends of mine had this posted as well... and a few commented on it... "You get what you pay for" etc. Yes- I can understand that view... you get what you pay for... STILL no one should DIE because they cannot afford healthcare and no one should go BROKE because they get sick...
Ok, I know views on healthcare can be a touchy topic. A lot of people are for universal healthcare, or a public option, and a lot of people are against it. A lot of people fear having the government run something so important- because we all know they don't always run things that well... people are worried the quality of healthcare will go down... worried that you will be put on a list and not be able to get the care you need... lots of worries. I understand these worries - change can be scary! BUT I really do think change needs to happen and this is why...
Take for example my parents. Both are PhD educated, both have worked hard their whole lives, have jobs they are great at that contribute to the world, raised a good family, and saved for retirement. They are pretty set financially and are only a few years away from completely owning a beautiful home in Colorado where they can spend their later years. They also have fantastic health insurance - which really came in handy when my mother needed brain surgery last December... because brain surgery is expensive and unexpected and even my parents savings could not have covered it. My dad is almost 62 - in a few years he will be 65 - he could retire and be eligible for medicare. The problem here is that my mother is 10 years younger than my dad - and her job has no health insurance. If my dad were to retire at 65, he would be eligible for medicare, but my mother would not. Because she now has a pre-existing condition- it would be close to impossible to find fairly priced health insurance for her. Seizure medication, EEG's, and another brain surgery would be impossible for my family to pay for without insurance if my mother ever needed it... If something happened where my dad could no longer work and my mother's health got worse, health bills could only be paid by selling the family house... Should my parents lose their house because of bad health and healthcare policies?
I recently met a woman who just became a single mom. She has four children under the age of four! She told me that she has to make less than $700 a month to qualify for Medicaid. She gets paid $1100 a month in child support... so that option is out. The cheapest health insurance she could find for her family is $900 a month. Of course that is out of the question for them. She is currently trying to find a job with health benefits - until then... let's hope everyone stays healthy- right?
I read a TIME magazine article about a man who got fired from his job and lost his health insurance. He was working a job without health benefits for 3 years. During those 3 years he had temporary health insurance in 6 month installments... he didn't buy better health insurance because he was hoping to again find a job that covered him. 2 and a half years into those 3 years his kidneys started to fail. He was covered for the next 6 months... when he tried to get another 6 month installment of health insurance he was viewed as a new customer by that company with a previous condition and was denied further coverage. He now has no health insurance- because no one would cover him- and can't work because of his rapidly declining health... what is he to do? He always had health insurance... but it's not doing him any good now.
Yes, all those concerns about universal healthcare are legitimate. BUT the current system is not working. You don't always get what you are paying for. No one should die because they can't afford healthcare, and no one should go broke because they get sick.
Period. Exclamation point.