As I told you yesterday, I have been a bit out of the political loop since the election ended. I do, however, know that Obama is working on the issue that is currently most important to me. Even before I paid attention to politics, I have had a fear of being without health insurance. Mark and I got married when I was 23 years old and after the ceremony I was officially dropped from my parents’ insurance. I was very aware that I would be uninsured until I found a job with benefits and that scared the crap out of me. Within a week after our wedding and moving to Columbus, Ohio, I started to get sick. It was strep throat, but I didn’t know it. I waited and waited to get better (thinking that without insurance there was no way for me to see a doctor), when finally the pain was unbearable. I had no choice but to find healthcare. I ended up at the public health clinic and since our income was only $800 a month, I qualified to see a doctor. He didn’t even need to swab me to see I had strep(though he did) and gave me antibiotics that knocked it out in a day. I started working a few weeks after that and haven’t been without health insurance since. But it remains one of the issues that drives me to vote.
A family member of mine has arthritis and has struggled with health issues because of it for years. He has always been insured but at various times has had to fight for his coverage with bills as large as 25K hanging over his head. Another family member lost her husband unexpectedly, which was a major shock. In the midst of mourning and trying to figure out how her life would go on without him, she also lost her health insurance (since he was the carrier). Her job does not offer benefits and she has had to go out and find her own insurance, which I am certain does not offer the coverage she had with her husband’s. Over the past couple of years my daughter has suffered from asthma-type symptoms. My biggest fear with getting the official diagnosis of “asthma” is that she’ll have a “pre-existing condition” on her record for life, so that when she gets new insurance anything that slightly resembles an asthma symptom could be refused coverage. Even the doctor decided it was better to watch her over the next few years before he would officially make that diagnosis.
But like I said yesterday, the two sides of politics feed on our fears. For me, I watch a movie like “Sicko” and decide that the insurance companies’ power over our healthcare system is scarier than that little girl crawling out of the TV in “The Ring, ” but my Republican friends might watch it and say that Michael Moore is a jackass and the whole movie is just propaganda. Listening to NPR this morning I heard a man say that a universal healthcare system would “give minorities better healthcare than whites.” I hear this and believe this man has been lied to and manipulated, but I know for a fact there are people in my life who probably believe and feel the same way as him.
Again, I don’t know the answer to this problem, if there is one. The power on this seems to be so far out of the hands of average citizens. I can honestly say that I have no idea what Obama’s plan is (remember from yesterday…head buried in sand). I do know that it is expensive and I could bet that it serves somebody or some business with money and power greater than mine. There is a quote I’ve read and heard before…something about judging a society by the way they treat the least among them. I hope one day our healthcare system will reflect that we are a great society!