Original follows, my comments after:
There is a move afoot in the nation -driven by the GOP - to repeal the new health care laws, to protect corporate interests, to defend against fear-mongering (and stupid) cries of "socialism!", and to ensure that people are forced to choose between keeping a roof over their heads or getting necessary health care.
This movement is killing people.
Think I'm overstating the fact?
Ask the friends and family of writer/reviewer Melissa Mia Hall, who died of a heart attack last week because she was so terrified of medical bills, she didn't go see a doctor who could have saved her life.
From another writer friend: One person. Not the only one. That could have been me. Yeah, I have access to insurance -- I live in New York City, which is freelancer-friendly, and have access to freelancer advocacy groups. Through them, I can pay over $400/month ($5,760/year) as a single, healthy woman, so that if I go to the hospital I'm not driven to bankruptcy. But a doctor's appointment - a routine physical - can still cost me several hundred dollars each visit. So unless something's terribly wrong? I won't go.
My husband worked for the government for 30 years. We have government employee (retired) insurance. It is the only thing of value he took away from that job. His pension is pitiful. He still works part time. My writing income has diminished drastically. Our combined income is now less than what it was before T retired fifteen years ago. Inflation has diminished it further. In the last 30 days I have racked up over $8000 in medical bills for tests and the beginning of treatment. Our co-pay is 20% after the deductible. And there is more to come. Our savings are already gone. I have the gold standard of insurance and I still can't pay all the medical bills.
Another friend lost her insurance when her husband lost his job. She couldn't afford medication and ended up bed ridden for three months at the end of over a year of no job and therefore no insurance until he found work again.
It's our responsibility. All of us, together. As a nation.
We're trying to get this to go viral. Pass it along.
Kengr added a codicil to the effect that no one was trying to kill the current insurance companies. I must respectfully disagree; if we succeed in getting the kind of universal health care we should have, we *WILL* put the insurance companies as they currently exist out of business. They will go from covering the majority of people (or rather, NOT covering them and saying they will) to covering small specialty groups.
I believe the only way to successfully get such a health care plan passed is -- put bluntly, honestly, and in as hard and cold a factual way as I can state it -- to bribe the insurance companies to die. Take everyone at the top -- the ones who have the power and influence to kill the bill -- and pay them a few hundred million each. Yes, that'll be several billions. Then for everyone who's worked for one of those companies for, say, 5 years or more -- people who apparently have set on a career dependent on that industry -- give them a guaranteed pension of a large fraction of their current salary, increasing with inflation.
Is this fair? Should the top people get paid to get out of the way and do the right thing? Probably not, but I think it's the only realistic way to keep this fight from dragging on and killing thousands more people. And the insurance industry will be gutted, and I see no reason to add to our problems by having a few hundred thousand people who HAD stable jobs suddenly out on the street with nothing, so I say give the current employees a good retirement since we're going to kill most of their industry.
I am an asthmatic. I've been one all my life. Without the insurance I have, and that I've had in one form or another for most of my life (and occasionally the assistance of other, much better-off members of my family), I'd have been dead, dead, dead many times over. If I had to worry about affording to go to the ER (well, I do, but not THAT much), I'd probably be dead again from diverticulitis or a few other things.
The ONLY thing that's keeping the whole family healthy is that New York State has a *GOOD* program for children, called Child Health Plus, that recognizes that even people making what would seem a very comfortable living could be pauperized by child healthcare if they have to address anything serious. All four of my children are taken care of under Child Health Plus, which basically pays **EVERYTHING** (well, I'm not SURE they'll pay for cosmetic surgery, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised). This costs me a quite trivial sum per month to maintain and saves me I have no idea how large a sum during a normal year -- because I have two children on medication constantly and each and every one of the four has been in for various operations, most notably the ear tubes.
Even with my insurance and Child Health Plus, I pay several hundred dollars per month in various health/medical expenses.
And I am one of the LUCKY ones.
This is unacceptable. We are the most powerful country on Earth. We can AFFORD to take care of our people, and we SHOULD.
This is not some form of corruptive socialism. This is ENLIGHTENED SELF INTEREST. When you allow people to get health care early and as they need it, overall you REDUCE COSTS . You don't have people waiting until their fever hits 104 and they have to be driven in via ambulance. You don' t have people trying to ignore that sore that won't go away. You don't have people, like queenoftheskies , who spend YEARS enduring pain and suffering from bad teeth and other health conditions because they're terrified of how much of their life they'll have to sign away at the hospital.
There ARE powerful, wealthy people out there who DO show some caring; despite the sneers levelled at Microsoft's products, Bill Gates has donated BILLIONS to various charities and is doing so at a rate that significantly impacts his personal wealth.
I challenge each and every member of Congress, each and every person who has enough money to live on for the rest of their lives, to remember that the powerful and strong have a RESPONSIBILITY to the weak. You want to be nobility? A true upper class? True nobles have DUTIES, and one of those duties is to take care of those below them.
In this case, it costs you NOTHING to vote it in, and the cost in taxes is -- properly enacted -- trivial. Not ONE of you will miss a meal -- even miss a meal of $100/lb Kobe beef, if that's your fancy. You'll still have your fancy stuff. You'll still be vastly better off than 99% of the rest of the nation. I, unlike some, DON'T CARE ABOUT THAT. I don't care if you're ludicrously wealthy.
I **DO** care that people I know and care about might DIE because they do not dare walk into a hospital to have chest pains attended to, don't have the money to afford simple medications that will keep them alive, and so on. And YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT THAT TOO. Congress, you are our ELECTED OFFICIALS. That means it IS YOUR JOB TO CARE.
So FIX THIS. FIX IT NOW.