Monday, November 2, 2009

Health Care in Your Country

There was a sign on the house across the street that read "bank foreclosure auction, bid now."  I asked my Mother what that was all about.  She said "I think the wife got really sick and they (husband & wife) couldn't pay her bills.  It was very matter-of-factly and so I asked, "Didn't they have insurance?", her reply "yeah, I guess, just not enough."
This is a true story from literally across the street from where I was raised in a middle class town in New Jersey.  It is by no means an impoverished or blighted section of town.  Just regular.  My Mother said those words so matter of factly that I shook.  How is it that we, as an American people accept that our neighbors who we have known for 40 years LOSE THEIR HOMES because they cannot afford health care in this, the richest country in the world?
One other story.  My neighbor, became ill one week ago having trouble breathing with his heart rate racing.  His wife called the ambulance for help, and they stopped in front of our house, three doors down, after leaving his, before taking him to the hospital and worked on him for 15 minutes in front of our house, for fear that he would die before he got to the hospital.  They got him stabilized and took him.  I asked his wife later what happened.  She said "Oh, they gave him a pacemaker/defibrilator, really the Cadillac of them all,  and put it in his chest to make him better.  I said "Oh that's great, Medicare really took care of him."  She went on with some nonsense about AARP stop gap coverage and it was not medicare that paid for his heath care.  She didn't realize that it was a government run health care plan that saved her husbands life.
Just so happens that I need that same "Cadillac pacemaker/defibrilator put into my chest because of an irregular heartbeat and weak heart but they won't do it because I am not 65 years old and eligible for medicare and not quite dying enough for medicaide.  I lost my health insurance a year a half ago because my premiums skyrocketed in 7 years from $300 to $1000 per month and I could not afford the premiums.  He is 70 something, I am 40 something.
Is that personal enough for you?   Any wise words to to the contrary?

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