I have worked in health care most of my adult life. I am a Registered Nurse. My resume includes years in both acute care…. hospital, and home care. I have worked extensively with the elderly, and have some experience in the field with Public Health. What I am writing isn’t conjecture. I have seen it.
I’ve seen it, and I am angry. I am angry with those who control the purse-strings. I am angry with those who head Insurance Companies. I am angry with those State officials who make the laws that allow the insurance companies to reap what are sometimes obscene profits, often at the expense of those who cannot afford them. I am angry with the Pharmaceutical Houses that also gouge the sick and dying so that their “bottom line ” is more healthy than any of those who use their products.
Should anyone in the United States have to make the choice between feeding their families or buying the medicine? Should so many of our elderly have to make that same choice? Food or medicine. Should one starve or die by inches because the medications that have been prescribed to slow the advance of Congestive Heart Failure or some other progressive disease cannot be accessed?
Should a parent have to stand by and watch his or her child perish because there is not enough money to buy the life-saving surgery that will save the precious life that is being lost? The American Medical Association, , hospitals, medical equipment suppliers, pharmaceutical houses and insurance companies can all share in the guilt. The United States Government is certainly not exempt. Every Representative, every Senator and every President who has been lobbied and allowed their influence to be bought by the lobbyists from those groups who are opposed to the provision of Universal Health Care share in the guilt. None of them can escape the finger that history will point at them.
Those politicians, those providers and those third party payers who know the sorrow that is out there and who fight the remedy through charges that a Universal Health Care System is the first step to Socialism, and that government bargaining with drug manufacturers is un-American and damaging to our way of life are guilty of lying to their constituency and maintaining a grid-locked situation that is quite literally causing unnecessary suffering and death. They are all guilty, these men and women who are responsible for the laws that should work toward the benefit of all of us.
It is incumbent that these people in positions of power vote a system into being. Their constant maligning of the systems provided in the UK, Canada, Sweden, France, Germany and in many other countries is no better than calumny. Most of these countries, and with good reason, consider their health care program the jewel of their citizens rights. We would do well to emulate these countries and end some of the suffering and death caused by the profiteering in our own health system. (Actually health system in the United States is an oxymoron…. there is no system.)
We live in the richest Nation in the world…. maybe the richest Nation in the history of the world, it is “God’s Country” to many. Yet there are, within our borders, children who are never seen by a physician and are burdened with the swollen bellies of malnutrition, pregnant women who cannot afford an obstetrician, so-called street people who have fallen through the cracks, elderly people who are mired in poverty and who cannot afford medical care or the medications that might be prescribed. These people all exist, and if we do not see them it is because we just don’t look.
The richest Nation in the World and we are guilty of neglecting so many of our citizens and withholding what should be one of the basic birthrights accruing to citizens of this country: adequate health care.
If we could have the health care plan enjoyed by the members of that exclusive club called the U.S. Senate, then we would never have to be concerned about how we will provide care to ourselves and our families. But we cannot. Medicare is limited to acute illness for those who are over 65 and those who are disabled. Chronic illness is not covered and prescriptions can only be covered if the beneficiary is able to purchase a supplement to the basic Medicare. Many cannot. Prevention is not covered.
For the Working man or woman who loses employment, Cobra may be utilized. This allows the purchase of health insurance through the company he is leaving, for the same rate the company enjoys. For a man with a family, this may be as much as $1500.00 a month. A person obtaining $350.00 in unemployment compensation is asked to pay out $1500.00 for health insurance.
Pharmaceutical houses make much of the fact that a person can contact them if they cannot afford a drug that has been provided. The number of persons who can access this assistance is few, and the path toward access is narrow.
If we need more proof that health care in the U.S. is broken and needs to be fixed, access the statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) that tell us that the United States is first in health care expenditure. We are also first in Obesity. We are 47th in life expectancy, We are 35th in mortality of children under 5, we are 37th in over-all health care. We rank behind most of Europe, Canada and many third world nations. We should hang our heads!
It is time to insist that the cost of health care be reduced, and to insist further that a system be developed that will allow all people in the United States to have access to the benefits of adequate health care. The alternative may be to reinstitute a practice used by Alaskan natives many years ago. Members of the tribe who became old and infirm were placed on an ice flow, given water and a fish or two, and were floated out to sea. If things do not change, is this an option. my god people, THINK.