I am enjoying lunch in the park today whilst listening to a lively debate on the primary topic of discussion on the radio these days in the United States, that topic being Health Care Reform.

I feel the subject warrants capital letters.

One of the things that boggles my mind is that there is a school of thought that says that you should have to work for basic health care, meaning if you don’t work at all you’re not entitled to getting any sort of health care whatsoever. Yes, I believe that the successful individual is the person that contributes to society and I do not believe that those of us that do our best to contribute to the experience should tow the line of those that don’t. I also FIRMLY believe that you will be a healthier person if you work at something, no matter what you are doing. When you _live_, you’re _alive_, when you sit like a bump on a log, you merely exist and your body shuts down. However, if you are living then you surely deserve to keep on living and if that involves some sort of health care to move things along, then you should be entitled to it.

There is a part of me that wants everyone to be healthy and free and happy and just one step short of a circle singing “Kumbaya”, but that is not reality. The reality is is that there are some people that won’t or can’t work for whatever reason. Honestly, I don’t believe that my taxes should go up and I firmly believe that my quality of health care should not go down because of the choices others have made with their life. Do I have an answer for all of this? No, I don’t. If I did I could probably be the first openly gay bear President in the United States.

Our health care system is broken. I know that and it is very apparent for many that I know. Earl was recently in the emergency room. He has good health insurance. Early in his visit when it was determined that there was nothing critically wrong with him, he asked about being discharged from the emergency room. They said they couldn’t do that because if he dropped dead his family would sue the hospital and try to make a lot of money. (We probably wouldn’t do that as I don’t believe in the ways of the litigious society we have become, and I heartily thank my parents for that attitude). Therefore, they kept Earl for a few more hours. His health insurance didn’t really cover much because yesterday we got a bill in the mail for nearly $2,000. We are fortunate in that we’ll be able to pay that bill sooner or later. I know a lot of people who would find that bill devastating. I don’t believe that the health insurance companies have the right to determine what gets paid and what doesn’t nor do I believe they have the right to second guess the medical professionals. I believe THAT is where Health Care Reform is most needed. I have seen people have both knees replaced and then have their insurance company deny them the prescribed physical therapy after the fact, forcing the recipient of the new knees to figure out how the damn things work on their own. I myself have removed my own catheter a week after surgery down there in those parts because my health insurance company thought they knew better than my urologist. I find the health insurance companies to be evil and I know that I’m not alone and I know that I have extremely limited experience on the subject.

Do I believe in socialised medicine; a “one size fits all” approach to Health Care Reform in the U.S.? I don’t. I believe the government should provide a basic plan that isn’t going to bankrupt an individual if they do anything further than ponder a parking spot in the emergency room car park. Some argue that you can walk into any emergency room and they’ll take care of you no matter what. Good luck with that. First of all, the emergency room isn’t designed to treat the common cold and when used as such it screws it up for everyone else and secondly, the hospital will nag you so bad for payment afterwards that you’ll seriously consider death to be the more peaceful option of recovery.

I hope this debate comes to an end soon and I hope that the right folks realise that everyone needs the basics of health care, regardless of their gender, nationality and socio-economic status.

Right now I just have my fingers crossed.


  1. It is, indeed, broken. But I’m not sure that a working person is the only person who should be eligible for insurance — I’m thinking about stay-at-home mothers/fathers who would not be eligible, children without parents, elderly who don’t work, and those too sick to work….among other groups. I’m just not sure about that. Somehow, everyone has to have some level of access to some particular level of care. I mean, this is the good old US of A, for god’s sake…..it’s not a 3rd world nation….we have more $$$ than anybody in the world. Something is not right. I’ll keep my fingers crossed too.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about Earl. I didn’t know. Please send him my best.

    I believe in noblesse oblige, the noble obligation. I believe the privileged “Haves” have a moral obligation to the less fortunate “Have nots” to be honorable, benevolent, kind, and generous. An obligation not to support them, but also not to trample on them. And what I’m seeing in this country now is a whole lot of trampling going on.

    The greed shown by the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations and their boards staggers and saddens me. I cannot contemplate a solution to this problem but I know the Obama plan is at least a step in the right direction. I pray the greed of the “Haves” doesn’t destroy it.

  3. Larry, Thanks for the well wishes. I am perfectly fine, the chest tightness and pains I had were from a stress related anxiety attack. I didn’t have the heart attack until yesterday when I found out that my insurance company determined that my “non-emergency” was not covered to the tune of $2000. Had I actually suffered a heart attack, I would have only been billed for my $500 ER deductible. Of course this was only for the ER. The cardiologist and lab & technician bills will be coming in over the next couple of days. My guess is that my failure to properly diagnose my condition is going to cost my close to $3000.
    All of this demonstrates the problem and confusion about health care reform. The health insurance which I and my employer pay for jointly (my share is over $300/month) has decided what care I was entitled to – after the fact.
    As one of the “haves,” I agree with you Larry. I accept my moral and ethical obligation to the less fortunate. Unfortunately, the insurance companies do not have that same moral or ethical obligation. Insurance companies are companies. And just like the board of directors of any other publicly traded company, they have one primary goal – to increase shareholder value (MAKE MONEY). They do not serve patients, they sell a product to consumers. And the consumers are getting ripped off. I applaud Obama’s efforts — I hope the public can see through all the opposition’s propaganda and support the President’s efforts.

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