Health Care is a Right

I used to wear a button that said, ‘Health care is a right not a privilege’. I never expected to see Congress wearing it too.

WASHINGTON – House Democratic leaders, pledging to meet the president’s goal of health care legislation before their August break, are offering a $1.5 trillion plan that for the first time would make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans. Left to pick up most of the tab were medical providers, employers and the wealthy.

This might sound like a radical redefinition of what ‘rights’ are in our society, but actually we’re conflicted and have been for generations.

If your teenager is out with his friends and they get in a car accident and the rescue comes–the EMT goes through your kid’s pockets and finding no proof of insurance leaves him on the sidewalk… No, we’re not that kind of society. We help one another in emergencies. In fact, our former President had a brilliant idea for solving the health care crisis–send them all to the emergency room.

The rich, the poor, and all of us in between pay for this in some way. We are all paying for the time that nurses like me spend serving the needs of insurance companies, and we pay for the extra office hours that doctors need to fill out all the forms. We pay for disability for people who would not have been disabled if they had gotten care when they needed it. We pay for special education for children whose mothers had no access to prenatal care.

We’re paying for water damage because we didn’t plug the hole in the roof, and the floor guy is willing to give us a break on repairs by the square foot as long as we leave the roof alone.

Public Health. Primary. Preventive. Health Education. Responsible Behavior.

A ‘right and a responsibility’. We all have to contribute.

We are already paying for duct tape when we need a comprehensive repair. It will cost more up front but it’s necessary. The coming generation has enough to deal with, and we can’t afford to chuck millions of Americans overboard when jobs are insecure and health security and job mobility is the way out of this recession.

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11 responses

  1. I think in today’s society, it is a right.

    I’m always struck when I hear about a family that has to dive into poverty to pay for health care when a loved one is sick. And then when I mention Canada’s system, they say they wouldn’t want that because of the wait times that they hear about. Sigh. Those wait times are for non-emergency surgeries. While it would be great to not have wait times, I’d rather have them, than lose my house if my wife gets sick…

  2. From what I understand the wait times in canada and the UK are also sometimes applied to cancer treatment.Having been a cancer patient over a 28 year year period,I don’t think delayed treatment is ethical.
    I get my health care from the VA and sometimes you have to wait,but not in urgent matters.Those of us there paid up front and we’re not giving it up without a fight you wouldn’t want to think about.
    I’d like to see Sheldon Whitehouse and my wife both get the same health care.It will never happen,because the pigs in our Congress will be more equal as George Orwell said so damn accurately.Sheldon will step to the head of the line for hemorrhoid treatment while the regular person with let’s say….leukemia, will have to take a number.It never changes.

  3. Joe, you and millions of other veterans get government health care. I’m glad for that, and will gladly support the Veterans Administration with my tax dollars and votes.

  4. I know you do,and I appreciate it-I just barely survived Friday and spent 3 days in the VA Hospital being treated for acute hyperkalemia(7.5)-the place is almost like home for us who are treated there.Great docs and nurses and other providers!!
    I just would like those who make the laws live wtih the results like we do.
    I think in a country as advanced as ours,health care should be an entitlement so we’re not on opposite sides here-I just lack enough knowledge in the area to know what is best.
    I will try to check out your exhibit.
    My doctor was surprised I was still able to drive myself in to the hospital.
    The treatment ain’t fun,that’s for sure.In the interest of good taste,I’ll leave it at that.

  5. I’ll bet you had to drink something that tastes awful. I’m glad you’re better. I worked in AIDS clinical trials at RWMC for a few months and walked across the street to the VA to coordinate some vets who were participating in research. I had a very good impression of the people there.
    The feedback I get from my home care patients who are vets is mixed. Most of them are seeing some specialists or even a primary outside the system, but they like the pharmacy benefits and when you need something the Vets is a good provider.
    Americans can have better health care and provide care to everyone, but it will take a willingness to change how we do things. We have to be willing to pay for it, we citizens have to be responsible for taking care of our own health, and we have to de-worm the system of the parasites. I think the public option is a start.
    If the government run health care is that terrible, the insurance companies have nothing to fear. But I think in practice the competition will force them to offer a better deal.

  6. Yeah,the insurance companies are certainly to blame,and the “parasites” you mentioned-the equivalent of the $900 toilet seat of years back-I can’t believe the non-direct care expenses that are added on to everything.
    I don’t begrudge a medical provider a good income at all-doctors and nurses give a lot out of their lives-some people like neurosurgeons have a 7 year residency and they still make much less than a guy who can throw a curve or dunk backwards.
    What gets me is the 4200 box of bandaids and that stuff.Drugs are a little different-drug companies have to make a profit if they are to develope new drugs.
    My prediction is that this reform bill will go nowhere because Obama is kind of referring to the Senate as a minor inconvenience in this context and they don’t take to that attitude well.Not even a lot of Democrats there.There are too many little satrapies existing in the health care world to allow a comprehensive solution in the near term.
    Well,at least we have the Sotomayor circus to keep us busy.All the players get to prance around for their supporters.
    As a nurse,can you figure out why Sotomayor,who has Type 1 diabetes for 44 years would even want all this pressure?It’s not like that illness improves over time.I have Type 2 and it’s a bummer,but not as volatile as Type 1.

  7. I meant $200 box of bandaids.

  8. Well, it’s kind of like asking if Steven Hawking is qualified to have an opinion on physics, seeing as he has a disease that renders him unable to move or speak.
    My guess is that about 10% of the US population has diabetes or pre-diabetes. Unless you think human nature has changed in a generation you will look at our environment for factors that are making us vulnerable to this disease.
    If anyone wants to stigmatize any person for diabetes, they should be advised that they are going to offend all the Americans who are living with diabetes and their relatives and friends.
    Sonia Sotomayor’s type of diabetes demands that she practice stringent self-discipline. Type II is no fun, but Type I can put you in the hospital or the grave real fast if you don’t stick to the program.
    Imagine a Supreme Court filled by judges who have never suffered adversity. Would you trust them to make good judgements to people who come before them with real life problems. Empathy is not a handicap. If it were, we should ditch the Supreme Court and put Robojudge in charge.

  9. I have had Type 2 for over 20 years,and unlike most Type 2′s.I’ve always been on insulin,so I know something about hypoglycemia.Matter of fact,it made being a street agent pretty difficult at times.I left when I could.That’s my point.It’s not that her disease could make her do the job less competently,but the job itself could negatively impact her health.The Supreme Court in reality is more than just a step above the Appeals Court.It’s the bumper at the end of the train line.
    Actually the terms Type 1 and 2 are a little misleading because they are really different illnesses.
    So,yes,I know about working in a high pressure job with a disability.It sucked,but I had to pay the bills.I never would have left in the minimum time if I hadn’t gotten that illness.
    You know,if you take insulin they won’t give you a CDL or a pilot’s license,but as I understand it you can operate a train.
    BTW Stephen Hawking’s thoughts and decisions don’t change millions of lives overnight-that is a big weight to carry.
    I expect Federal judges get the best health care,like members of Congress.How nice.
    At a mimimum,no one under 18 should lack access to health care.

  10. A large percentage of people who declare bankruptcy do so because of medical expenses.

    Of these, 80% had “insurance” when they got sick or injured.

    Under today’s system, most of us fork over increasingly large chunks of our income for health insurance, only to find that we really don’t have any as soon as we get sick.

    IOW, the insurance companies are eager to take our money, but don’t want to pay it out in claims. That’s kind of the point of insurance.

    I recently read someone who said that US health coverage is like having an umbrella that melts in the rain.

    And, the crap about wait times in Canada and the UK is just that: crap. It’s another Rush Limbaugh talking point that he uses to scare the unread. It’s also a lie, on a number of levels.

    And, rationing exists in this country at this very moment. Yes, right here in River City. And anyone who denies that is simply lying.

    1. Just once could you make a point without invoking Rush Limbaugh?
      I didn’t hear about the wait times in the UK and Canada on talk radio.
      As far as the UK,I’ve heard it from UK ctizens directly.Can’t say that for Canada,but a lot of Canadians come here for treatment.I think Canada has a better deal on drugs,but where did you get the info that there aren’t unreasonable wait times?

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