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Universal Healthcare must be a priority for a Strong Healthy Nation

By       Message Lydia Kopere Patterson     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H3 12/30/08

Just like for Education, we must make healthcare accessible to All.  

UHC (Universal healthcare) should be a national responsibility for the worker, unemployed, disabled, young and old.  In short, in order to have a healthy population and prevent potential bankruptcy often related to health issues, Federal government must ensure that UHC package is part of social security foundation.

I suspect some may ask questions such as "what's in it for me?" and others may be more concerned about the challenge or the huge work to implement such a system and, also the cost involved in implementing a UHC. Before getting into the debate, let's look at the Health system in the USA compared to other Western countries.

Health care in the United States is provided by many separate legal entities. According to studies by different groups including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the US healthcare is the most expensive while the least effective among the six major industrialized countries.  For more details click here: http://www.prwatch.org/node/7986 or http://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jeclit/v36y1998i2p766-817.html for statitics on correlation between Health and Economic Development.  If we take countries like the United Kingdom, France, Belgium or Germany, the United States is the only country without universal healthcare system. Why? 

Who can afford Health care? Why US Healthcare is so expensive?

I think there are many reasons to the current status of US healthcare system, and it's time to open the discussion and ask ourselves:  How is it possible that the greatest and most advanced country in the world can't offer such a system?  While there is also misinformation, there is a great deal of lobbyists, special interest groups (SIG), medical professionals who benefit from the current system at the expense of the patients--often treated as "customers" by these groups.  Healthcare system is a "business" where only those customers, who can afford it receive the service -as opposed to those who can't.  Private health insurance companies are taking advantage of the system where, for the same treatment, a medical professional or doctor is sometimes paid more in private health environment than in national or public hospital depending on what he "decides to diagnose".  These professionals or special interest groups get all the power to choose their "customers" ignoring the less fortunate who are to be treated as PATIENTS to start with.

It seems to me that if you don't have money, you don't have the "right to live". And yes, US healthcare is a "life and death" issue. A dilemma faced by nearly 46 million Americans everyday.   Life should be precious to everyone, rich or poor but unfortunately "All patients are not created equal".  Therefore how can we empower them?  The answer is simple which means by NOT letting lobbyists or Special interest groups decide who has the right to enjoy a healthy living. This decision is the Government responsibility.

How can US government invest in so many other programs and not prioritize healthcare? Does it make sense to value Wealth over Health? What is more important than a good healthcare system?  A just system accessible to all? Is it fair that Government uses taxpayers' dollars towards war as priority and neglects healthcare? Have we ever asked questions such as what happens to a child with a toothache when  his/her parents can't afford a visit to the dentist? The father who can't have an MRI because he needs money to take care of his family? Or to the student who's already struggling with her loans and has no choice but ignore his/her migraine headaches? We only seem to be concerned about the economic aspect of the healthcare system.  Have we ever wondered how economical it would be it if the parents of the child, the family man or the student were to sick and - because of lack of insurance coverage - finally suffer serious conditions that would prevent them for studying, working or providing for their family? Have we thought about the potential cost to the Government would have to support, for example, the father who would become disabled due to a serious illness which could have been prevented if only detected earlier? And we had the worst case too: death. Yes, death.

This is not right, it's really shameful for an advanced society to let a child die because his parents can't afford dental treatment. Please click here for the story 12 year old Deamonte Drive's case according to Dayton Daily News: 

http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/12/07/ddn120708dentalinside.html

 

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I believe in "the unknown gives one the opportunity to grow" and, that "Attitude determines Altitude". There is no limitation but in one's own mind. My hero's leaders are Abraham Lincoln (the most influential American to my opinion), John F. (more...)
 

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