Democrats put universal health care on front burner for now
The issue of universal health care has finally been put on the front burner, thanks to the Democrat candidates running for president, although most of us realize there’s a good chance the powerful insurance business lobby will turn down the heat and try to keep the issue from even simmering.
But it’s going to take more than the Democrats to give universal health care a voice, and the Republicans aren’t about to play any tune except the big business shuffle. Not even one Republican candidate has enough gumption to stare down the insurance lobby.
Many Americans are held hostage by the insurance business already. We’re afraid to change jobs if we’ve ever been seriously ill because if we lose coverage, we can’t afford another policy due to the pre-existing conditions clause that most insurance companies use to make us either go without coverage or pay through the nose for the rest of our lives for even a sub-par policy. And most of those policies have such high deductibles that if you get sick, you’ll still have to come up with thousands of dollars up front, which few working Americans have anymore. When we go into the hospital, we only get the treatments that some insurance company bureaucrat in California or Virginia allows us to have, not necessarily what the doctors know we need.
A few weeks ago, a woman who works full time for a large retailer in Corydon contacted me about doing a story on her dilemma. She has health insurance at work, but it has a $5,000 deductible. She had to be hospitalized for several tests but couldn’t afford to pay the $5,000. She tried to work out something with the hospital, hoping to make payments that she could afford, but couldn’t satisfy them.
‘I was more than willing to pay on it every month,’ she told me. ‘But that wasn’t enough, so the hospital turned my account over to a collection company. They garnished my check, and now there’s just not enough left to live on.’
The woman, who has two children, could now lose her home, even though she’s always paid her bills and kept a job. When she tried to work something out with the collection company, she was told that if she was that bad off, then she should go on welfare and food stamps.
What’s wrong with this picture? And it makes you wonder how many hard-working Americans there are out there who are suffering the same fate. How will bankrupting people like her and putting them on public assistance make things better? The taxpayers pick up the bills then, and the hospitals, collection agencies and insurance companies have better profit margins because of it.
Lately, I’ve been totally disappointed in the Democrat-controlled Congress and Senate. We voted in the Democrats to make changes in Washington, but those changes haven’t happened. All a person has to do is look up the voting records of politicians like Indiana Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill to realize that we’ve been duped. There will be few changes, regardless of what the voters want. And each one of those politicians who support the present agenda in Washington has all the rhetoric and excuses down pat in order to pursue another term of duping us.
I’m really tired of all the misinformation that’s fed to us by the huge insurance lobby, through the people we’ve put in office. Until we throw that kind of interference and influence out of Washington, there will be lopsided decisions that affect our lives. And I’m tired of the ‘socialized medicine’ name tag that the Republicans have given universal health care. But if they are willing to be fair to every American, to allow us to have good health care, to be sure that the richest nation on earth is willing to take care of its own, they can call it anything they want.
Every industrialized nation on earth except the richest ‘ the United States ‘ has universal health care. A lot of politicians try to convince us that those systems aren’t working, but if you ask the people who are covered by those systems, like my friends who live in New Zealand, they’ll tell you real quick that it’s the one thing that gives them peace of mind, never having to worry about their family’s health care. Is it costly? Of course. But no more costly than the $600 my wife and I send to the insurance company every month for health insurance. And New Zealand will not allow Americans over the age of 46 to move there. They know that many older Americans would come there to take advantage of their health care coverage and possibly overload the system because the system here fails them or creates too much stress on older citizens.
So, many of us are realistic about what the future holds for the average working American, and it doesn’t look good. But that little glimmer of hope brought about by the Democrats for universal health care makes us believe that, even if we don’t make enough money, even if benefits are cut by the companies we work for, even if the hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical companies continue to make record profits, we’ll still get decent health care without losing everything we have.