Dear Blue Cross, Congress, President Obama and the American People (and anyone else who will listen),
I am a frustrated woman this morning. Can any of you do something–anything–to help the 36-46 million Americans who are waking up without health insurance today? Who cannot afford to get sick, go to the doctor, have a necessary operation?
Yesterday one of my good friends, one of the most hard-working women I know, shared the news. Her full-time job no longer exists; she is now without health insurance.
“What will you do?” I asked. Her husband has heart problems which need medical attention.
“Thirteen hundred dollars a month,” she replied. Her eyes stared dully at me. “What else can we do?”
Thirteen hundred dollars a month! For a family that makes between $30,000-40,000 a year? (I’m estimating. Heck it could be a lot less.) How in the world are they going to be able to afford this?
I wanted to weep with the indignity of it, the pain of it.
“At least I still have a part-time job,” my friend said, concentrating on gratitude for her reduced income.
She is one of the “lucky” ones who will somehow scrape together $1,300 per month–for how long?–instead of joining the 36-46 million Americans who have no health insurance.
Barry and I are one of the “lucky” ones, too. We still have Blue Cross insurance, at least for this year. However, our deductible is now $6,000 per year. I have been trying to wrap my mind around losing $6,000 every year we might need a surgery or knee operation or, heaven forbid, one of us gets cancer or has a heart attack or suffers a stroke or contracts a debilitating disease.
Goodbye, retirement. Goodbye, savings. It was nice to know you after a lifetime of working. Goodbye…
But we’re one of the “rich” Americans with our very modest income. We at least have enough in the bank to cover a deductible or two. What about the millions who don’t have enough saved? What about our young people who can’t get jobs with decent health insurance?
Don’t we live in one of the richest countries in the world? Can’t we do something–anything–to help our people? And not just a stop-gap political band-aid that will only ease symptoms rather than dealing with the cause of this terrible crisis.
I must admit I don’t know a lot about President Obama’s health care plan. You read a little bit about it, you listen to other people talk, you try to figure out what it means. But I still feel confused and unenlightened about it. Everyone still seems to be fighting about it. Some say it won’t work; others are cautiously optimist. I am waiting impatiently to see if it will do some good; if it will be a move in the right direction to provide basic care for our populace.
People are always tossing around the term “socialist” to describe national health care. I simply cannot understand the fuss. What is wrong with providing health care for our people? We provide education for our children. Is this not “socialist?” Instead of bantering terms like this–can’t we simply offer our people the basic human right of health care, in the same way we offer education?
I don’t know much about health care systems in other countries, but many folks keep warning, “Well, we don’t want a health care system where you have to wait months and months for basic health care.”
If we truly are one of the greatest countries in the world–let’s find a way to provide health insurance for our people–and do it in a way that our citizens don’t have to wait endlessly for health care. I’m sure we have some bright-minded folks who can devise a national health care plan that works for our people, unlike the broken system which exists today that serves only those fortunate enough to have insurance-paying jobs or wealth.
Thank you for listening to my heartbroken plea this morning. Thank you for figuring out a way to take constructive action. Thank you for caring for all our people today.