Revisiting the Ole Health Care Conundrum

When Obama addresses the nation tomorrow night I hope he comes at them in full force without compromise.

We, I hope this isn’t the royal “we,” don’t want to see him crash and burn, ala Hillary Clinton circa 1991,  or fail to see a golden opportunity right in front of him, like Sen. Ted Kennedy.

When expressing the need for real health care reform to skeptics (of which I know few it seems), I like to tell the story about how when my twin boys were born 9 weeks early and had to spend that time getting “well” and growing in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the bill when we checked out of the hospital was $1.5 million. We paid $5 for each child, took them home and never faced a doctor bill from that long, intense stay.

We were the lucky ones. Had we not had a stellar insurance plan through my work we would probably have had to sell all our possessions, move in with a parent, take out a major loan and hope that we would win the Lottery.

When a child is sick and needs care, they should not be denied. On the flip side, if a child is sick and is not denied care, they or their parents should not wind up buried alive in debt.

We are slaves to a system that bleeds us dry. We live unhealthy lives that make us prone to sedentary diseases, like diabetes and heart failure. Yet, we don’t want to go to the doctor because he or she may tell us to lose weight or stop smoking, and that is uncomfortable. So we wait until the situation becomes dire, and we end up in the emergency room—a more expensive and traumatic situation.

Affordable, accessible, quality health care should not be a luxury for the wealthy. Like in most other countries, it is considered a basic human need, like food, clothing and shelter. Why not in this country?

We are at a historical crossroads, now. And, I hope tomorrow we will see a leader come forth and explain a plan that would effect real change, not just shop talk that gets us one baby step closer to change.

When you are standing at the edge of a cliff, with your toes hanging over the edge and a bully running up behind you looking to push you off, do you step aside and let the bully fall off the cliff or do you sustain the blow and try to cling to whatever you have left?

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