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Healthcare is not just about numbers and statistics. It is about life and death and it is personal. Consider this from Donald Berwick, a senior fellow at The Institute For Healthcare Improvement.
"This gets personal fast. In March, my brother almost died. An overwhelming infection with Legionnaire’s disease shut down his lungs and his kidneys. For ten precarious days machines and medicines took over, orchestrated by a tireless team of a score or more intensive care unit doctors, nurses, and technicians. Today, he’s back at work.
Why did he survive? First, because he had health insurance that he can afford. He would be bankrupt right now without it. But he is a single childless adult, at age 61 not yet old enough for Medicare, and he has several preexisting conditions. If the Senate bill passes, millions of people like him could easily find themselves without insurance in states that cut back on Medicaid, or where the individual market would no longer cover the care needed by people with pre-existing conditions.
Second, he got top-notch care. Having spent most of my professional career as a student of health care quality, I saw that his care was virtually flawless. But I also know that that is not even close to the norm."
Healthcare is personal for me as well, as I suspect it is personal with everyone else. If any on us have not personally experienced the shortcomings of the healthcare system, we probably personally know people who have.
My father passed at the age of 39 in 1968, from colon cancer. When I grew up in the 60s I never heard of ANYONE visiting a doctor. Other than a physical I got each year in order to play football in high school, my first visit to a doctor for what I would consider as primary care, was when I enlisted in the Air Force at age 21.
Since my father died at 39 of colon cancer, I obviously have a family history of cancer. I have ten siblings, six brothers and four sisters. Most of us are over 60 years old now, but the only sibling we have lost is a brother who died of colon cancer at 39 years old, because he had no health insurance and received no screenings for colon cancer and wasn't diagnosed with it until it was in stage four. He died a little over a month after we discovered he had colon cancer.
My father and my brother are not the only people in the USA who die each year from diseases that could be treated and cured or prevented with adequate primary healthcare. I don't know that I believe healthcare is a right, but I do know that I believe the wealthiest nation in the world should be able to provide adequate basic healthcare for all of its people, regardless of their ability to pay. I don't care how that care is labeled. It can be called socialized medicine or voodoo economics or simply people looking out for each other, as long as the end result is treating and preventing curable diseases.
Cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and other treatable diseases that cause death, don't discriminate by ethnicity or income level or political ideology. And let's get real people, NO PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANY CAN COVER PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. And that IS simple math. The goal of for-profit businesses is to make profits, and no company and make a profit by providing healthcare to people who have serious illness at the moment they are covered for health insurance. The only entity that can do that is a government that has the ability to incur deficits if necessary, in order to provide adequate health care to its people. EVERY FIRST WOLRD NATION in the world EXCEPT the USA does this.
Additionally, most people under 65 years old probably do not realize that Medicare is NOT FREE, AND it doesn't cover everything. So even liberals who say they want Medicare for all, need to understand that elderly people with no income have to pay $134 per month for Medicare, which covers about 80% of their healthcare needs. For this reason, many elderly people don't even have Medicare.
The bottom line is this. I don't care what political party you support and why you support them. At some point in your life and the lives of people you love, YOU and they will need healthcare services that you cannot pay for on your own. We can all pitch in to help each other, or many of us can die an early death from treatable and curable diseases by continuing to play politics with how we fund healthcare. IT IS ALL UP TO YOU!