Saturday, November 14, 2009

Health Care Reform: Is Health Care a Right or Privilege

An American without access to health care is an American deprived of the pursuit of happiness. When people become ill and are denied health care, their dreams are not deferred but smothered. (Nordette Adams's 2 cents as she signed a health care reform petition)
I'm sick, possibly not worthy of a doctor visit kind of sick, but I am home with a bad head cold. My daughter's had it and so has my son. Naturally, the first thought was is it swine flu? Since no one had a fever and each is recovering well, I think we can scratch H1N1 off the list.

However, in the bed I've been thinking about the reasons I haven't had a mammogram and why I haven't reported to take another test my doctor strongly suggested. The reason is I fear a big bill that would be shoved on me despite my paying more than $500 per month for health insurance. Why should I have this fear? Well, in the spring I had routine blood work which included a hormone check. Not an unreasonable test for a woman pushing 50.

My health insurance company bombarded me with paper work. Its underwriters are on the hunt for a pre-existing condition that would allow them to not pay the testing bill. I suspect what they're really after is a way to kick me off the insurance, even though I've made few claims.

Last year I went through this with another insurance company. They got a $6,000 hospital bill, denied paying it, didn't follow-up to see if I had a pre-existing condition, but still sent letters to doctors saying they refused to pay for that reason. I should have gone to the Louisiana State insurance board and complained. Perhaps I should have sued them for fraud, but my mother was ill and she died during that period. My mind was not on those sons of bitches at the health insurance company.

Given my life experience, when I saw GottaLaff's tweet to sign a petition with the title Health Care is a Right Not a Privilege, I clicked the link. The question of whether health care is a right has crept into my mind often lately, and I wrote my thoughts into the blank of the petition. I've been thinking that conservatives confuse the right to health care with the promise of a cure.

No, we are not all guaranteed health and no one may be guaranteed a healing, at least not from the spiritual standpoint of fate, but it seems basic health care--cholesterol checks, flu shots, tests to ensure we don't have a problem that could be cured if we caught it in time, preventive health measures advice. How can anyone achieve the American dream without basic health care?
An American without access to health care is an American deprived of the pursuit of happiness. When people become ill and are denied health care, their dreams are not deferred but smothered. (Nordette Adams's 2 cents as she signed a health care reform petition)
And I mean that.


RiPPa said...

In the richest country in the world it should be seen as a right and not a damn privilege! But then again, I suspect that's how we became the richest country in the world.

Vérité Parlant said...

You know, interesting you say that because I think the health care debate is showing us how pure capitalism is sometimes in direct opposition to so-called American Christian values or anything that resembles compassion. It promotes a dog-eat-dog expectation for how we live our lives rather than a Good Samaritan ideal.

Vérité Parlant said...

Oh, and lest the right wing fanatics drop by, I mean PURE, unbridled capitalism with no checks to help anyone but those who already are wealthy.

le0pard13 said...

You got it absolutely correct, Nordette. The current heath care system works just fine, if you're wealthy and can afford it. Even if you're working and have health insurance, it works as long as you don't have a chronic illness or an acute affliction. Hit those issues and you'll fast discover the limits of your coverage. Have a heart attack, expect to pay $20K as your out of pocket costs.

It's no wonder 1 million American file bankruptcy each year due to healthcare expenses. The current system does not work for more and more Americans, regardless what the conservatives say. It will reach a state of non-affordability for more and more citizens (let alone businesses), if we don't make changes. All of the politicians yelling about the recent moves to cover the uncovered are only protecting their contributors, the insurance companies. Thanks for bringing this up, Nordette.

lilalia said...

One of the odd things about the US health reform debate that you mentioned, is that health insurance is not about quality of health care and, certainly, not about getting cured. It is only about allowing everyone the access to health services. As someone who has had social health insurance for the last 27 years, you would never be paying 500 dollars a month for health insurance here. You would be more likely to pay between 250-350 dollars; depending on your income. With that sum of money, you would receive FULL dental and medical coverage, including any diagnostic or therapeutic treatment by specialists. Everyone, with our without pre-conditions, receives insurance. Children under 18 or those over 18 but still in school would be insured for FREE under your policy. This is the sort of health insurance your politicians and private insurance companies want to keep from you and many others in your country.