Keeping Up with the Jonzee still at the right spot.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Why American's need Accessible and More Affordable Health Care

So, my stomachache turned out to be an ovarian cyst that I managed to burst by refusing to stop going to the gym though I was in pain. One pelvic exam, two ultrasounds, a blood test, an x-ray and four hours later I am home on bedrest. While I was sitting in the Urgent Care, I thought about how blessed I am to have such good health insurance--no visit co-pay and $10 for perscriptions. If I was not in school or was still slinging gin and burgers, I would have been without insurance. I would have been in the ER, where the cost of care would have been $300 just to sign in.

This brings me to why we, as nation, need to find a common ground that will allow us to develop a system that ensures regular access to health care and preventitive medicine as well as the importance of making regular doctor vists as important as remembering to take out the trash on trash day. The plight of the uninsured is a part and parcel of the so-called war on poverty. The conservatives of this country spew this fear of the "welfare state" and the continued use of welfare and other public assistance programs as wasting the tax payer dollar. While I do believe that throwing money at poverty is not the best use of resources without sufficient long-term strategy, I also feel that, we will, as a nation, pay for poverty one way or another. In the case of health care, if we dont design programs that not only promote healthy living but give people of all income levels access to the health facilities to insure health, we will pay for it as poor and unisured folk continue to visit ER's for everything from an earache to a heart surgery. The use of these facilities increases the overall cost of health care for all of us, because if the hospital absorbs the unpaid medical bills, you can best bet it is passed on to us.

As we all know, the gap between those at the top and those at the bottom is much greater than this country has ever seen.And I doubt, we will see a reversal of this fortune in any form in the coming years. The top 10% increased their wealth from $957,000 in 1990 to $1.75 Million in 2000. Those in the middle 20% lost 1.9% of their income. Those making less than $110,000 and more than $40,000 lost income as well. In a nutshell, everyone but the top 10% lost income. Everyone who is not rich is feeling the health care sqeeuze. American small businesses have become among the biggest employers in the country and they cannot afford to continue to provide health insurance. It is not just the poor who filling the ER's and avoiding health care in fear of the bill that may come.

We pay for health care, just as we do for poverty. We dont have a quality education system nor do we provide sufficient daycare to the growing number of single mothers who would like to work but cant afford the expense of day care. We will pay for it one way or another, as states like Michigan start busing women on welfare to jobs 50 miles away from home and cannot afford daycare to care for their children. We pay for it, when that mother's child is hurt or gets in trouble with the law and both the mother and the child end up in the penal system because of it. We pay for it one way or another when jail's become more important than schools, and this country does not have sufficient qualified youth in math and science.

We are certainly paying for it as obesity, asmtha, diabetes, high cholesteral, and heart disease kill more Americans year by year.


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