I am not a genius, and I don't know much about political anythings. I do know that you can't see Russia from Alaska, so in some circles that makes me more qualified for Washington than former vice presidential candidates, but still... I don't profess to be an expert on anything (although I did really well in debate the year our topic was universal health care so that must mean something, right???). However, I don't think it takes a genius to see that health care in this country is in the pooper. I don't think you need a masters in political science or a background in constitutional law to see that the status quo ain't good. There is no life, liberty and pursuit of happiness if you are dead, dying and pursuing crap medical care because you can't afford the treatment that you really need. And all men are certainly not created equally when the folks with the moolah get the meds and the poor folk get to wait in overcrowded emergency rooms waiting for someone to see their sick kid only to find out that their medications will cost too much out of pocket and they leave with nothing. But, here's what I do know...
I know that my son has had ear tubes twice, with one more set coming on Friday. I know that my insurance requires us to pay a $3,000 family deductible and the last two times Will had this surgery we were billed about $900 out of pocket... each time. I know that while that is an extreme hardship on my middle class, single income family.... we are lucky enough to be able to pay it. I know that another mother, in another town whose husband doesn't have the mediocre insurance that we have, would not be able to pay. I know that woman has to sit up with her son while he suffers the inconsolable pain of chronic ear infections and eventually that woman's son will have permanent hearing damage from the fluid festering in her son's ears. I know that is happening all over this country, and that is why I know our system sucks.
I know that there is a man in Delaware in desperate need of a lung transplant. I know that he is a former United States Marine and has been employed and insured his entire adult life. I know that the transplant he needs to survive is covered by his insurance. I know that the aftercare required to keep those lungs functioning is not. I know that the transplant gods who divvy up the organs will not give a dying man a set of lungs that he cannot keep alive. And I know that this man will die without them. So, this man is physically an excellent candidate for a transplant, his insurance will pay for the surgery, but at the same time, it makes it impossible for him to qualify for it. I know that his four children think this is unfair and it appears to be a form of corporate sponsored murder, and that is why I know our system sucks.
I know that a good friend of mine was laid off from her job after 10 years at the same company. I know that she decided to try starting her own dream business, something she was previously too afraid to do. I know that she tried to get medical insurance privately, and a surgery she had a couple years earlier was considered a pre-existing condition and she was rejected. The only insurance she could get would have cost a fortune and covered virtually nothing. By the grace of God, my friend didn't suffer any medical misfortune while she was without medical coverage, but that could have been different. One appendix rupture or one severely broken bone and she could be in serious, long term debt exceeding even her college student loans. I know that it sucks to avoid minor check ups at the doctor just because you know you don't have the cash to cover it that week, and I know that is why our system sucks.
I don't know if President Obama's plan is the right one. I know it is expensive and I know change is scary... but I can't understand why doing nothing seems like a better alternative. I know that Australia, England and Canada have all managed to provide quality health care to their citizens (all of them!!!) and those three countries have managed to continue to exist thereafter. Amazingly, their entire infrastructure didn't crumble just because they actually treat all their citizens equally. I know that this system sucks, and I find it hard to believe anyone out there can't agree on that. As far as the current plan of action goes... if you don't like it, propose another one. Don't cry about mandating insurance being unconstitutional.... cry about the people who die without it. Don't scream about the price of the plan... scream about the tax money already going toward the uninsureds' crappy care in emergency rooms. And don't accept a system that sucks just because you fear the unknown. We are a country who makes changes for the better in the search for equality. Why would that stop at medicine?