Affordable Care is a Right!

 

mlk-contemplative

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Martin Luther King Jr. in a speech to the Medical Committee for Human Rights, 1966

I have had it with a certain segment of the Grand Old Party using every trick in the book to defund the Affordable Care Act.

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Yes, this whole deal is contentious and divisive but the simple fact is that this country needs some sort of doable health care plan so we the people can be healthy and fit and not go broke doing it. Ya don’t like what we got then help fix it. Don’t try to subvert it.

Listen up folks! The Affordable Care Act is not a socialist plot or a nationalistic government takeover of health care that will rot the republic. For anyone wise enough to listen, the government is already neck deep in health care and the republic is still standing strong.

But it limits people’s choice! Really?

So, why in NY alone can a person choose from nine health plans offering five benefit packages which comes out to forty-five separate choices? Hmmm? My job gives me two choices: expensive and poor, and, very expensive and pitiful.

But, it will cost more for everyone!

Ok, let’s see, last I looked my health cost premiums have risen every year way before Obama ever got elected. The premiums, especially when you take into account tax credits, will average (again using NY) about 53% less than what was available to people without employer based coverage. Yeah, a real budget breaker there, huh?

Let’s face facts, the pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and, those in the medical professions, have no incentive to reign in costs for our medical needs. Their only interests are in making outrageous profits, regardless of what it means to the working and middle classes who, especially today, are having difficulties making ends meet. According to an analysis of corporate filings by Health Care for America Now (HCAN) (4/8/13) the eleven largest drug companies took $711.4 billion in profits over a 10-year period that ended in 2012.  HCAN also reported that in 2012 alone drug companies’ profits reached $83.9 billion, 62 percent higher than in 2003.

RXCoNetIncomes

Since 2005 it was reported by various media outlets, including the Baltimore Sun, NBC News and World News Report, that medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy.

In March 2009, PBS’ Frontline America in a program called “Sick Around America” said that many US citizens who filed for bankruptcy did so because of costs and debt associated with health care.

On June 4, 2009, a study, led by representatives from the Harvard Medical School (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), was published at amjmed.com (American Journal of Medicine) that said 62% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were linked to medical costs.

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The book “Uninsured in America” (Sered & Fernandopulle, authors; pub. University of California Press, 4/11/2005) said that the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States was unpaid medical bills.

medical-bankruptcy

Numbers for other countries are difficult to find but sources indicate that Canadian and Australian bankruptices, due to medical reasons, ran about 11%. And in Japan, according to “United Health Care One”, bankruptcy due to medical reasons is essentially nonexistent.

A World Health Report, “Consumer Overdebtedness and Health Care Costs”, said that in 2002 only 5% of the UK’s bankruptcies were due to medical reasons.

All of these countries’ systems have problems but the fact is people don’t lose their homes in most other industrialized countries due to health care costs. People don’t put off educations and the chance to follow their dreams. People don’t stay in bad marriages or bad jobs, or in some cases both, because they can’t afford to lose their present health care coverage. People don’t go into extreme debt, including use of high interest credit cards, because of a need to take care of their own, or a loved one’s, health.

I agree with Bill Clinton, as well as many others, that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but, as he says, let’s work within the system and fix what’s wrong. And, let’s get it done and without any pandering and catering to special interests.

But if some people are gonna be blinded by their own prejudices both politically and ethnically (there I done said it!) then we got ourselves a problem. It is time for our elected officials to lay aside the differences and do some good for us the people. In my opinion, quality affordable health care should be a right for every American.

I give you these words from a document that all Americans should know: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

original Declaration of independence

And, I leave you with this thought: How can anyone fulfill their unalienable rights if they ain’t got an even money chance to be healthy?

 

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