Each and every one of us through differing circumstances can find ourselves without medical insurance. This is no small matter especially if you are one of the over 47 million presently going without. Using myself as an example, I am presently covered, but if for some reason I find myself without, it would have a devastating effect on me personally. The reason it would is because of a medical condition I have which is epilepsy. Having this condition, I need monitoring through a neurologist and will be on medications for the rest of my life. One of the medications I am on is quite costly. Having this condition, the neurologist from time-to-time will order expensive tests such as an MRI which costs, $1,500 for the test. So, when I do hear the concerns of others presently going without, the phrase, “There but for the grace of God, go I” is one that I do think of.
While in a non-political AOL chat room today, this discussion came up and I was surprised, but not really the many people stating they presently do not have health insurance. Some put aside money for a rainy day just in case they need to go to a doctor. But, it leaves me wondering: what about if a person finds themselves in a hospital for any number of reasons? A few years ago, I was in the hospital for pneumonia and for a three-and-a-half-day stay it cost over $10,000 dollars. Heaven forbid if I did not have medical insurance at that time. But, this is what millions of Americans face every single day of the year. How many of these uninsured Americans die as a result?
We have so many in the political realm railing against socialized medicine, but heaven forbid any of these nay-Sayers find themselves without; they would surely welcome our government paying for their medical expenses. Yes, I understand the libertarian frame of mind which is to keep government out of our business, but not everyone can pull themselves up from their boot straps. I would like to ask those who believe that if they are covered. While they debate a political belief, they must realize the reality of those living without health insurance. For them, it is not a political debate, but one of sheer terror if they do get sick.
I have written previously of the sheer terror some parents may find themselves in if a child of theirs comes down with a cold and they cannot afford to take their child to the doctor. I have written of seniors either having to choose between eating and taking medications. Imagine their terror?
With the 2008 presidential campaign underway, candidates on both sides have their own ideas in how to cover millions of Americans presently uninsured, but they will use private health insurance companies to fill this need. Let me remind all that these companies are in the business of providing health care at a profit. One must delve into each of these candidate’s health care proposals to see exactly what will be covered and what will not. Will one receive prescription medicines where some are quite expensive? What about chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer patients? They too are expensive. What about other conditions that are just as costly to treat? What about preventative care such as normal ob/gyn care? How much do mammograms, pap smears and other tests cost? All of these are on the minds of those presently going without health insurance. How many uninsured women come down with breast cancer because they could not afford a mammogram or cervical cancer because they could not afford a pap smear?
What this country needs is universal health care for all of its citizens. We Americans pay exorbitant taxes and what do we receive back? We receive war funding, ear marks and an American embassy built in Baghdad which cost all of us over $700 billion dollars. This opulent embassy is also a fire-trap as was recently reported. Through our taxes, politicians receive perks and are beholden to special interest groups at our expense.
Like him or hate him, the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez does provide health care for all Venezuelans with the profits made off of the sale of CITGO oil. Imagine that? These profits are being used to benefit people instead of corporate masters. Whether or not you are an expectant mom, a child, a senior citizen or an epileptic like me, the citizens of Venezuela do receive medical care from their government. Do you still feel like attacking their president? At least he has done more for the citizens of Venezuela than our esteemed politicians. I would like all of us to challenge these presidential candidates to give us what Venezuelan’s enjoy and that is peace of mind should any of us get sick the health care we deserve as citizens.
Just try putting yourselves into the shoes of those who go without health insurance. Do you feel the terror? Hey, even if you have the best health insurance package as I presently do, it can be taken away under any circumstance and then you are left without. At that moment in time, a trip to a doctor, any doctor may be something out of reach.
Lastly as you look upon our presidential candidates and who they are receiving donations from, question the ones who are benefiting from donations which come from HMOs or others within the health insurance industry. Ask yourself, if they will actually do anything to benefit ordinary Americans or are looking out for the insurance industries bottom line? Those who are currently going without health insurance do not see this as a right vs. left issue, a conservative vs. liberal issue; they do see it as a human rights issue. Every citizen of this country deserves quality health insurance. But, the sad and angering fact is that these politicians do not see it as we do. With the snap of a finger, you may be the next to go without health insurance. Do you feel the terror yet?
Author’s email address is, firstname.lastname@example.org