Tuesday, February 19, 2008

a matter of life and death

I watched Michel Moore’s’ SICKO today. I admit I have put it off for some time, knowing it would make me angry. And really, who wants to go there deliberately? But I figured despite being aware of how our health care system works, I still might have something more to gain. My overall reaction was primarily sadness, albeit mixed with anger. As warned by my daughter, I cried...a lot.

And now I ask, what has our society become when one of the richest hospitals in the nation rids their beds of undesirables by literally dumping them onto the street, still in their hospital gowns? How can we allow a little girl to die of a fever because the hospital she was taken to refused care? Why did this happen? Because the hospital wasn’t a participant in the patients HMO plan. Despite a mother who begged them to treat her daughter, they refused and sent her to another hospital. By then it was too late. And then there was the young husband and father who died not because treatment wasn’t available, but because his insurance company denied approval of the treatment that would have saved his life.

These were just a few of the stories shared by the victims of our shamelessness. And why did these preventable tragedies happen? Because our health cares system is based on money rather than care. What’s startling is that had these people lived in any one of good number of other countries their deaths most likely would not have occurred.

People will tell you that socialized medicine is inferior. The statistics (and the residents) say different. People in both Cuba and France for instance have a lower mortality rate and live longer, healthier lives than we do here in this country. And I personally think even if, as we’ve been (mis)led to believe, the care were somewhat inferior, at least the people have access to care. This year there will be another 18,000 (or maybe more) unnecessary deaths in this country due to the lack of health insurance. This number is according to the Institute of Medicine, January 2004. Now I’m not sure if that number indicates just those without any coverage at all or includes those who have coverage, but die from refusal by their insurers to approve necessary procedures and treatments.

I could go on and on about this issue, how we’ve failed and how I feel and who I think has blood on their hands. But I won’t. I’ll simply urge you to educate yourself and watch SICKO if you haven’t yet. Even if you despise Michael Moore, the facts speak for themselves as do the victims. I urge you even more to contact your representatives and urge them to support H.R. 676 so that all individuals residing in the United States can receive high quality and affordable health care services. For 18,000 (or more) people in the U.S. it's a matter of life and death. You, I or a loved one could easily be one of those 18,000 at any given time.

To find out who your reps are, visit here.

To see if your reps support this, visit this link.

To learn more about what you can do, go here.

2 comments:

  1. I have not seen it for the same reason ... I know it will make me mad. Thanks for the round-up - interesting to read in smaller doses like this. As far as I have seen, the plans for "Universal Healthcare" are not much kinder than this.

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  2. I really encourage you to watch it despite the frustration you might feel. I hope every American sees it. Who knows, maybe if enough us us see it and we get angry enough, we'll be encouraged to take action and help bring about positive change.

    A proper health care system may take many years to iron out, but I feel H.R.676 is a good start and imho it appears to be far better than the alternative we're facing right now. Of course there's an intense amount of politics and politicians and corporations behind why things work (or more correctly, don't work)concerning health care in this country. To really change the health care system successfully we need to overhaul a whole lot more besides.

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I sure appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts. I may not always have time to respond or acknowledge them but I do read them all and highly value your presence here.

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