Health care issues deeply personal for Lexingtonians
As a volunteer for Organizing for America, I canvassed people in their homes in support of health care reform. Regardless of their position, nearly everyone took time to answer questions and express personal concern, fear and hope over our current health care crisis.
Almost everyone expressed a strong feeling that things could not remain as they are. Most agreed that our current system works better for insurance companies than it does for the American people.
All thought that insurance companies should not be allowed to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, nor should they be allowed to arbitrarily weaken or drop coverage when we get sick.
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Most of the people I spent time with have some type of medical coverage. However, millions of Americans have no health insurance. I found more division in our community on how to address this issue than with the issue of insurance reform.
The dissemination of false and inflammatory rhetoric is the source of much confusion. Sen. Mitch McConnell and his party have made no effort to resolve this crisis in America. Others in the national and local media seek to incite community discord in the guise of freedom fighters.
I am encouraged when a local radio station, WLAP 630-AM, professes to have 100,000 daily listeners but its conservative commentator, Leland Conway, barely has 1,000 friends on Facebook.
Let's all keep compassion in Lexington by supporting health care reform. I also encourage everyone to befriend Conway ... compassionately.
Universal care need
I am an Ecuadorian-American and have lived in this great country for 45 years. I am happy with my private insurance and Medicare.
But I have seen with my own eyes hundreds of people who suffer and sometimes die because of no health care or inadequate coverage.
Most have worked hard all of their lives, only to find themselves with no jobs or in jobs with no health coverage, creating a financial disaster for their families.
I traveled for my job all over the world. I found the happiest people are in countries where their government participates in their well-being with health care coverage, including the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium.
I know President Barack Obama will provide quality coverage for the millions of poor and sick. And the public option is a must, because it will create the competition that will ensure all Americans an affordable choice in this wonderful country of ours.
Keep insurers honest
I find myself saying this a lot lately: President Barack Obama is right about health care.
Sorry about that, but not because I'm ashamed of my opinions. It's because the simpler world view of the other side of this issue is just so seductive. Let everything be controlled by the free market. Let them make whatever rules they like and the law of averages says that everything will work out.
Well, that's not how things work, especially in health insurance companies. If insurance companies don't have to act morally, and instead act solely to seek profit, it's not hard to do the basic math.
Insurance companies benefit most from people who pay into the system and don't get sick.
People with pre-existing conditions are certain to drain the system, so never let them in. Make people who get sick jump through so many hoops and put so many restrictions on their coverage that they'll never get payments. Insurance companies have no financial reason to help Americans receive health care and no moral obligation to do so, so they simply do not.
Obama's plan keeps them honest. They are required to do the basic things we need. No keeping out sick people. No watering-down of coverage when we get sick. No caps on needed care. This is not socialism. This is a shield for the common person against a health care regime that looks quite ready to do nothing at your hour of need.
Fear blocking reform
It is a shame that many politicians and the wealthy refuse to acknowledge that we have a health care problem. Many Americans do not have health care or can't afford it.
Health care reform has been a major issue for more than 40 years. When former President Bill Clinton tried to reform health care, big business blocked it because there's too much money to be made from the sick.
As Michael Jackson said in his music, "They don't care about us."
Too many people listen to the wrong people instead of researching the facts. Fear is being used to stop health care reform. Fear is the greatest tool that has been used to divide our nation.
It is a shame that a catastrophic event has to affect someone's family before the importance of health care reform with a public option can be understood.
In 1995, my wife was killed. If I didn't have military health care benefits, along with my wife's health care from her employer, I would have been financially ruined.
We can do it
A few years ago my husband was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes. The following months consisted of many hospital trips, chemotherapy, radiation and medicines. We had reasonable insurance at the time, so all of the expensive procedures did not break us, although a large deductible and many co-pays added up to a large out-of-pocket expense for us.
But I was still grateful that we had insurance. Without it, we could have lost our home or have had to file bankruptcy.
With the rising costs of health care and health insurance, many people are losing their homes because of health-related costs. Our health care costs are rising, but our salaries are not.
If other countries can make health care affordable to their citizens, I know America, as one of the richest nations, can do the same. One never knows when a catastrophe can happen to you.
Promises to keep
If President Barack Obama reads every line of the health care reform bill and rejects items that are not practical, as he promised; if taxes for the middle class are not raised, as he promised; if we can keep our present health care insurance, as he promised; if health care insurance companies are not run out of business, as he promised; if the health care bill is not a one-payer system run by the government — if Obama keeps his promises, I believe voters will support the health care reform bill and both sides of Congress will pass the bill.