If ObamaCare passes, you can kiss your private health insurance goodbye… maybe your doctor, too… and you can certainly say adios to the best health care system the world has ever known.
What country are they living in?
The other day I asked my mother about what kind of health coverage she and dad had to cover us when we were children. Nothing. Nada. Four children. Dad had a steady job with the same company through my childhood (in the 60s) and the company didn’t cover anything, yet the out of pocket expenses of keeping a family of 6 healthy did not kill them. I had my adenoids out. Mom had 5 kids and stayed in the hospital more than a day, and there was no worry about where the money would come from or what would be covered. They paid for it out of my father the salesman’s salary. Plenty of dental, eye care, regular check ups, we had it all. There was never any question about whether we could afford medical care. One salary, no insurance. And I don’t think we were unusual.
Then it all changed. It was thanks to Nixon and the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973. To be fair, the left pushed for it because it seemed like a good idea to pool resources for good care. Unfortunately, it was another lesson in no regulation running amok. The insurance companies that were supposed to make care cheaper used their profits to invest in real estate in the 80s and then when the market tanked, they had to make up the difference, first by starting to deny care, then by raising rates. Then pharmaceutical companies, hospital corporations and medical device manufacturers got in line for the big profits. And so we are where we are now. With what the Republicans are saying is ” best health care system the world has ever known.”
I got out of bed early today and took a ride over to Tennessee with a friend to see what is happening out there for the common American when it comes to health care. An organization called Remote Area Medical (RAM) out of Knoxville was conducting a free medical clinic in the Cocke County High School for all comers. When we arrived around 8:45 they were still letting people in. By 9:00 they were turning people away, telling them to come back tomorrow. People who began arriving 2 days ago were already inside availing themselves of free dentistry, eye exams, glasses and medicals. Walking through the parking lot on the way in, we saw signs that people had been and were still sleeping in their cars. Doctors, dentist, and nurses from all over the US donate their time through this organization to give care where it is needed to folks who would otherwise get none. When I asked about volunteering, they said that they were full up for next weekend, which I take as a good sign. People are willing to take care of each other.
The dentists’ nurse told me that the majority of their cases are pulling teeth. In other words, people are not getting preventive care, just coming in when they are in pain. A young mother with one child in a stroller and five more at home was there with her husband who does not have a job or insurance. Her school bus driver job covers only her and if they wanted to cover the whole family it would be $1000 they don’t have.
One of the nurses I met there was from Canada, though she works in the US, and laughed about the notion that socialized medicine was the bugaboo it has been made out to be. She and some of the other nurses have treated the Mountain Dew kids in Appalachia and are totally behind a real reform of the medical system here. Of course they are; they see people at their most vulnerable, the ones who have no insurance, the ones who fell through the cracks, the children who may not get the nutrition they need to form a great brain because they are dirt poor, the out of work and no insurance people like me. I could find myself there but for the grace of God and a mom with a checkbook.
I have no doubt that free clinics like this one are seeing more and more people these days and that is a scary proposition. It had the feeling of a M*A*S*H unit. One of the volunteers said they would treat about 480 people today and half again as many tomorrow because of church and the doctors’ schedules. This was a small town. And they will have treated about 700 people in 2 days. Extrapolated out, how many people in the country are in need of basic health care and are not getting any?