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Quote: If a man does not/ did not work why should he be guaranteed insurance?
Frankly, I'm shocked that anyone in this forum would ask this question, Lon. So many people with AS can't work, some from a very young age, meaning they were not able to pay much into the Social Security system or build up any other kind of insurance equity. And you honestly feel people like that should not be guaranteed some kind of health insurance? Really? I'm sorry, that seems a rather callous attitude given what so many of us here go through and now about how big medicine works (or rather, doesn't). Why should someone who hasn't worked be guaranteed insurance? Quite simply because access to healthcare should be a right that is guaranteed to every human being in this country or any other, period. I find it shameful to view access to healthcare in any other way. And before you ask, no, I don't know how to make that happen, and I don't know if any plan out there right now is one that could achieve that goal in a way that makes sense. I do know that other countries have managed to make this happen and thus, there has to ultimately be a way to make it happen here in the United States.
Quote: For 35 years I have visited people in hospitals who have never had insurance, who have never paid their bills but are taken care of by our society. We have problems, but we have always taken care of our sick.
Again, I have to disagree with you here, Lon. I just do not feel this is true, or even close to true. In every region of our country today, be it an inner city neighborhood that has been devastated by the loss of manufacturing jobs, or a small Appalachian town where jobs have always been hard to come by, there are millions of people who have no meaningful access to the the healthcare they need to live truly healthy lives. I need only look to one of my best friends to know this. He used to manage a large bookstore and earned a near-six-figure salary. However, his store was downsized, and he suddenly lost that job. Since then, he has applied for dozens, if not hundreds, of retail jobs and managed to land only one, which lasted only six months before that store cut back staff. After almost a year unemployed--and with no healthcare coverage--he finally found a job as a security guard that pays $10 an hour with no insurance. Since losing the bookstore job, he has had several sinus infections, colds, and at least one bout of the flu; he also suffers from chronic back pain. Since he makes barely enough to live on--and would not make enough if he was not able to live rent-free at his parents home (he's in his 30s and is ashamed he has to do this)--and gives almost all the money he does make to provide for the care of his 2-year-old son, he can never afford to go to the doctor when he is sick. Well, I think he did go once when he was so sick he could barely function, and then he went just because it was the only way he could get a script for the antibiotics he knew he needed. Other than that, nothing. He can't afford it, period, and there are no free clinics that we know of in this area.
He has checked with the county-level social services agency and been told that he makes far too much money to qualify for their healthcare assistance programs--at $10 an hour!!--because most of those programs are designed to help those at the poverty level and below. In a nutshell, he is basically screwed because he has decided to work at a low-paying job that offers no insurance. In all honesty, he would be better off if he simply sat home and remained unemployed. Then he would be in that poverty zone and would qualify for a number of government programs. Of course, then he would be labeled a lazy, no-good freeloader who is content to live off of decent Americans hard-earned tax money (read this with dripping sarcasm to get the full effect) when he is completely able-bodied and able to hold down a job. I mean, what a leech, just sitting there living off the government dole.
Can you not see the absurdity of this situation? Can you not see how people like my friend, and millions like him working these $10 an hour or less) jobs, or even working two of these jobs at a time if they are "lucky" enough to make that happen, are being penalized by this ridiculous catch-22? Everything I've written here about my friend's situation is the truth and an exact representation of the absurdities he's encountered since losing his bookstore job. How can a system that actually rewards people for not working--when it comes to healthcare anyhow--not be completely broken and in need of massive changes? We absolutely are NOT "taking care of our sick," and there is not enough charity or generosity in the world to cover the healthcare costs of the millions of people caught in this working-poor trap. Free clinics are almost nonexistent here in metro Detroit, so few and far between that they cannot even remotely meet the needs of everyone who cannot afford to pay for even basic care. Yes, churches and other charities meet some of the burden, but that amount has dwindled to a tiny portion of the whole since the economy tanked. What these folks face has nothing to do with how generous a country we are, or how much charitable giving people can handle. Those people you've visited in the hospital for the past 35 years are the lucky ones, Lon, but more and more, they are the minority. What you aren't seeing in those hospitals are the increasingly overwhelming number of people who simply do not have access to the kind of charity care you encounter in your visits. Is there any rational way to say that those people do not deserve the exact same level of care as those who were lucky enough to receive the charitable assistance? Too many people are falling through the cracks today, cracks that have become Grand Canyon-sized craters. The system is broken at its most fundamental levels and needs to be fixed sooner, rather than later.
He who has a 'why' to live can bear with almost any 'how'. --Friedrich Nietzsche
Sounds like everything takes time, discipline, and patience, and those are seven things I don't have. --Jon Dore