28 May 2013

I long for the day when what I’m writing about today becomes obsolete.

There are lots of changes coming with the further implementation of Obamacare. As you may have seen, there’s been big news out of California the past few days about how the program is not going to cost nearly as much as naysayers had expected. That's great news for everyone. 

I’m one of those folks who is for universal healthcare, so Obamacare doesn’t go far enough for me, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction... though I'm very aware that there are some folks reading this who are fundamentally opposed to Obamacare and I respect their right to disagree. 

I bring all this up because today I found out that a fellow freelance journalist, not one I know well, is in the hospital for complications due to diabetes. He has to have surgery due to these complications and he has no insurance. 

As so many of you know, if you’re self-employed, health insurance can simply be out of reach for you financially. It’s not that you don’t want it or are trying to be cavalier with your health or feel you’re immortal, but by the time you finish paying the bills for things like rent, car payments, utilities, etc., there is no money left over for something that you might need, but hope that you never do, so you play Russian roulette with your own health. 

Friends of Chuck’s have set up a paypal account to help defray his expenses, which are sure to be plentiful since they include an operation and a four-day hospital stay, at least. I’m sure a nice sum will be raised, but I doubt it will be nearly enough to cover his bills.

Health care has become such a politically charged issue for reasons I totally don’t understand, but I guess it comes down to you either believe that access to good health care is a right that everyone deserves or you feel it’s an entitlement meant for the small number who can afford it and that somehow being rich entitles you to better care.

Quite frankly, the thought of health care as an entitlement is a concept I can’t even fathom. I look at places like St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital-- no child ever pays for treatment there, every single person, regardless of income, race, gender, etc. is given the same level of care. Why should it be any different for anyone? 

I’m digressing a little, but I hope that someday in the near future, friends rushing to set up paypal accounts or benefit concerts for people who don’t have insurance will be a thing of the past. I know there will still be a need to help people because of loss of income or other general hardships associated with their illness but wouldn’t it be nice to know that they, at least, don’t have to worry about getting their basic needs met and coming out of the hospital to a pile of bills?  

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