17th September 2007

Health Care Reform needs your Support

MedicineAlthough most of the people in my closest circle of family and friends support Hillary Clinton, I do know a few “Hillary Haters”, so it was with those few that I recently picked a fight opened a discussion regarding her recently announced plan to provide universal health care.

Whatever you think of Hillary, it’s difficult to argue against the fact that our health care system is desperately in need of reform – too many people are either uninsured or under-insured, health care providers are overworked and underpaid, a large number of folks can’t afford the medications that they need, and Medicare is just a quagmire of complexity, red tape, and fraud.

We are constantly being reminded that we live in the wealthiest nation on earth. That our country has the best medical care available. If this is true, why are so many Americans unable to afford adequate care? Why are some forced to risk their lives because they can’t afford health insurance? Or can’t afford the drugs they need? Or can’t afford the life-saving operation or cancer treatment?

Most of my Hillary-Hater-friends agreed something needs to be done, but they dislike anything that appears to be socialized medicine. Yet our “capitalistic” medicine isn’t working. It isn’t that health care costs have skyrocketed, but rather that insurance costs have skyrocketed. Many small businesses can no longer afford to offer free insurance to employees, and individuals can’t afford the high cost of insurance on their own. So with everyone who is struggling over this issue, who’s making money?

Insurance companies and Pharmaceutical companies, that’s who. Looked at a recent benefits statement from your insurance company lately? Your doctor or other health care provider is lucky to get reimbursed a small fraction of what they should be paid for the care they provide. Which means that they have to take on an overload of patients in order to stay afloat. Which is why it’s so hard to get an appointment, or be seen on time when you show up.

To be clear, I support Capitalism over Socialism, but if a small group of companies was controlling all of the water in our country, as well as any potential imported water, such that it was so expensive to take a drink that some of us could not afford to, wouldn’t we all be screaming for government intervention? Why then do we allow some companies to make billions of dollars while failing to adequately provide a product that is equally necessary?

Past attempts at reforming our health care system were met with massive attacks from lobbying groups representing the giant insurance and pharmaceutical companies (the primary reason Hillary’s previous efforts – during her tenure as First Lady – failed). Things were bad then (we needed that overhaul that didn’t happen) and they are worse now.

We – the people – need to let our elected representatives know that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. We need to tell them to NOT listen to the lobbyists, but to listed to US. And then we need to listen to the candidates explain their plans to reform the system (if they have a plan). And if a candidate doesn’t have a viable, logical plan, one that can actually be implemented, then they shouldn’t get our vote.

Serious health care reform will only come when we make it happen, at the voting booth.

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