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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

You Have Yours? That's Nice

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A week ago I blogged about the death of writer and reviewer Melissa Mia Hall, a woman who had apparently achieved the American Dream, but could not afford health insurance.

If you haven't read this post from suricattus at LJ, please do. She apparently has a plan that covers catastrophic diseases, but does not cover routine visits or physicals, which can run into the hundreds of dollars. It's far less expensive to find and treat a disease early than to let it get to the catastrophic stage. I know. I've been there. I have friends who have been there. And thanks to decent health insurance plans we were able to get early treatment. I manage my asthma thanks to health insurance.

I look at the comments on our local newspaper web site and see what essentially "I've got mine, so f**** off" posts. Yes, you work hard. You have your health insurance. And I hope you never lose your job, particularly if you are over 50. You will likely lose your health insurance and watch your retirement savings dwindle as you try to make ends meet.

You have yours, but those ever-escalating premiums are paying for the people who can't afford care. How do you think the hospitals make up the cost? All those unpaid bills get folded back into the cost of doing business, which drives prices up.

We're paying for it one way or another.

Well, you say, it's better than the British health system. See this (via Jay Lake) from another LJ user, mevennen, who talks about the realities of the system over there. In a nutshell, it's not perfect, but her family members get the same level of cancer treatment that insured people get over here. Quite possibly, it's better. Yes, the waits are longer for non life-threatening procedures, but people also have the option of taking out private insurance that can reduce those waits.

Read the preamble to our Constitution. Does not health care fall under "...promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to our selves and our Posterity?" Shouldn't any person who works hard to make a living at least have access to basic health care? Every day people have to choose between food, medicine, and a roof over their heads. And don't tell me the answer is "get a job." Ever wonder what that middle aged woman checking ringing up your purchase at the store or the 50-something guy making your sandwich did just a year ago? Chances are pretty good they had a job that paid the bills and provided health coverage. They're not too proud to take these jobs so they can stay off of public assistance. But what happens if she finds a lump in her breast? What if he has chest pains?

You have yours, you say? Next year, that could be you, working through the pain because you can't afford a visit to the doctor.

Tags: Life Politics

Filed under: Life   Politics         
2/8/2011 8:56:05 AM
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