I’m a little surprised myself that to date, I haven’t dedicated a post solely to Universal Health Care. So here we go, reasons why I think you (and everyone you know) (and everyone you don’t) should have health care:
#1 Currently, in the United States, health care is treated as a commodity. Got money? You got health care. Got Broke? Got Divorced? Lost a Job? Graduated from College? You loose, or can’t afford health care. The fact that so many people are uninsured in America (45.7 million at the last census count), points to a serious flaw in the way our system works.
Now just in anticipation of those who dispute the 45.7 millon (but Kevin, you know a lot of those people are ILLEGAL ALIENS!!!), I would say: 1st- a full 8 million of those uninsured are children, 2nd- People are only “illegal” in this nation because of perspective. I say they aren’t illegal. As much as we like to try, we cannot own land, we cannot own the ocean, or the air, and making artificial demarcations of territory and saying if you were born on one side of an invisible line you are “legal” and if you were born on the other, well then shit you must be “illegal” out is purely ridiculous. If someone lives, works, and plays in the United States, they are AMERICAN. And the fact that 45.7 million AMERICANS can’t afford health care says something about our system.
What does it mean when I say we treat health care as a commodity? It means we treat it like a good, a product, something to be bought at the store, like cereal or soda. Why is it that we do this? Why do we allow our health to be relegated to a shelf in a superstore run by the likes of Aetna or Blue Cross?
To truly put this in perspective, imagine if when someone called 911 because their house was on fire, the operator asked what kind of fire insurance they had, and what their health insurance carrier number was, and put them on hold. Then after a few minutes the operator came back on the line, asked for their credit card number to process the co-pay, and then sent out a fire truck with only 1 firefighter because that was their coverage limit.
Or how about if someone called 911 because their house was being broken into, and the operator told them that they had already used their maximum police benefit for the year, and they would have to wait until the next coverage year started…
Sounds ridiculous eh? Of course it does, because humans generally believe that if someone needs help we should help them first, and ask questions later. But the health care insurance industry has got this question twisted around, and the results are dire: an estimated 18,000 people die each in America for lack of health care coverage.
We need a universal health care system that covers everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Otherwise, we are supporting an ideology that says people should live or die based on their pocketbook.
#2 Health Insurance today isn’t serving those who need it. Got Cancer? AIDS? Diabetes? A history of family illness? You better pray to god that you don’t, because there are hundreds of health conditions that will render you ineligible for insurance. They are called pre-existing conditions, and under United States law, health insurance companies can refuse to provide you coverage, or charge astronomical rates. To call a service health care insurance, and then deny it to the very ones who needs is so counter intuitive, the question begs when is someone going to tell the king he has no pants on? Even if you are lucky enough to purchase health care insurance when you are healthy, if you get seriously ill, YOUR INSURER CAN DROP YOU. To many people in America are blase about the health care debate because they believe they are protected.
When I lived in Connecticut, and did community organizing for health care, you wouldn’t believe how many doors were shut in my face because someone told me “they already had health care coverage“. As a decent human being, it was hard for me not to wish them a catastrophic illness or injury so that they would understand what millions of people are going through. Those American’s who oppose Universal Health Care because “they got theirs” represent the worst kind of self-centered, “me-first” thinking that has earned the U.S. its negative reputation around the world. What someone says the issue doesn’t effect them,what they are really saying is “sucks to be you“.
We need a universal health care system that puts the “care” back in health. Otherwise we are supporting a social darwinism ideology that says people should live or die based on their relative luck in the disease/illness lottery.
#3 Universal Health Care is a Moral Issue. I get so frustrated and angry when I think about this issue that it is hard for me not to rant, and it is equally annoying to look up and cite all the appropriate statistics/figures/studies that I have done before. The fact that there is even a debate over whether we should have universal health care from cradle to grave disgusts me. It gets added to the long list of questions in America that as a “progressive” society we should have answered long ago.
The reality is however, no amount of statistics, no amount of figures and studies will sway those who rigidly cling to a conservative ideology that prohibits them from using reason to approach an issue. Moral arguments might be most effective, so I have composed a short list of tasks that might help people break free of their inflexible ideologies:
–In your spare time, make a list of 12 of your closest family and friends. Choose 2 of them you think should loose their jobs and health care.
–The next time you go to church, ask Jesus if he were a claims representative Whom He Would Deny.
–Take a visit to your child’s elementary school. Pop into the classroom, and identify 5 children you think should die this year from an illness.
When you are done, I invite you to re-explain why you think everyone in America should not be guaranteed health care coverage. Really, I’d love to post an essay from you on this blog.
Filed under: Social Justice | Tagged: 911, Aetna, aids, Blue Cross, california, cancer, children, connecticut, health care insurance, illegal immigrants, Jesus, Single Payer health care, universal healthcare |