I'm going to do something today that I haven't done in the almost five years that I have been blogging. I am going to take a political stand. Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By asked that elder bloggers stand up and be counted about where they stand on health care. I am for health care reform for the following reasons
- It bothers me tremendously that 15% of Americans have NO health care coverage (cit.
census.gov). We spend more on health care than 191 other countries
studied and are ranked 72nd by overall level of health (cit. WHO).
These numbers are all related. We can do better. I hate that as a country we are so second class, actually 72nd class in this department. I hate that the French, The English, The Canadians etc can all look down their nose at us when it comes to health care.
- It bothers me that we ration health care today by how much money you make or we just let the insurance companies ration it. That just seems wrong to me. I unfortunately listen to Hannity and Limbaugh when I am in the car with my Dad. Both men rail against health care rationing as though the rationing we have today does not exist.
- It upsets me that my daughter who has diabetes probably would have a very hard time if her company went belly up. When my second daughter's company went out of business cobra coverage wasn't even available. How could either of my daughters possibly afford health insurance as an entreporeneur. They both have pre existing conditions.
- As my Dad has spent so much time in the hospital lately I have seen how wasteful our current system is and how it rewards the wrong things. For example Dad's doctor said he could be released from the hospital but they kept him and charged Medicare for another night because they couldn't arrange transportation to the rehab facility. I am convinced that the shortage of transportation was no accident.
- On the whole people with Medicare like it. My Dad who is a Rush Limbaugh Republican and who has Medicare and great cheap secondary insurance through his former employer has no complaints about Medicare. A lot of people think government can't possibly run an insurance program well but it seems to me that Medicare is proof that a public insurance program can work.
- People say we can't afford health care reform. Given how much health care costs today I don't see how we can afford not to change the current system.
- When Duke and I left California we had to give up Kaiser where your medical records were computerized. When you had a test at Kaiser it was in the system, when you had a prescription it was in the system. The system I deal with for my Dad where the only one who knows what meds he is on or what is medical history is or his history of tests is him is stupid.
My friend Myrna forwarded to me this email from David Axelrod. I think it makes the case much better than I have. I urge you to read it.
Ronni Bennett who launched today as elders for health care reform is collecting and listing on her site blogs from elders on this subject. I Like what she says about why we need to stand up and be counted. (I'm an over 50 elder even if I am too young for Medicare)
" It has already become a kneejerk reaction for reporters on
television, the internet and in print to preface their reports on town
hall meetings and other reform events by noting that participants are
mostly old people. Their references are sometimes snide and dismissive
as they point out the ignorance on display and the raucous nature of
I want to believe those elders are a tiny minority. Let's show the
internet world tomorrow why we believe all citizens should have
coverage at least as good as the Medicare we enjoy."
I have always believed that the private sector is more efficient and better at getting things done than the government but I now believe that in the case of health care other countries are right and we are wrong. We need to give the government responsibility for continuous improvement in the quality and cost of health care. Every American should have basic health insurance coverage. Our medical system can and should lead the world.