Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Voice for the Uninsured

I am still on the fence about who I want to vote for in the election in November but there is one topic that is near to my heart.This isn't a polictical blog post but I just want to express my opinions for what they are worth about a topic of great importance to me. Again ,it is only my opinion and as with any discussion of this magnitude lively debate and compromise by all parties is what sparks change in the end.So I thank you for sharing your opinions and thoughts on the matter. I find that I learn much more in this life from those I meet on a day to day basis than from politicians and the like.

I have been a nurse for 24 years this May which is over half my life. I have an intimate knowledge of the health care system from the inside and outside and it is broken.
On Sunday night 60 Minutes did a story on an organization doing exceptional work for the nations working poor for a budget of $250,000 a year. The founder takes no salary and lives in an apt with no shower so that all the money can be funneled back into the orgazination to help the people they serve. The organization is called RAM(Remote Area Medical) and it started its work with the indigenous people of the Amazon but is now doing most of its work with the working poor of the USA.In the story that they did on RAM the organization held a two day clinic in Knoxville, TN of which the services , MD's,Optometrists,Dentists and other health care workers donated their time. The people started showing up 24 hours ahead of time and at the end of the weekend they had to turn 400+ people away.These people are not homeless they are the working poor or underinsured of which there are 47,000,000 or 1-7 Americans -which is also the number of women who will diagnosed with breast cancer each year .They work jobs but aren't paid enough or because of family obligations just don't have the money to meet the deductibles on their insurance.

I have been in this place as has my husband before. It is partly the reason my mother and father are no longer living. In their lives they never made over $30,000/yr combined but both worked one or two jobs to pay the bills and not easy jobs but hard back breaking work (factory worker,maid,lumbermen and farming) so it very often meant that either we ate that week and had a roof over our head or we went to the doctor. This is a choice so many Americans face everyday and it shouldn't be like that here. THERE SHOULD BE AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL AMERICANS.

I wish those in the running for the president in November could answer these questions instead of always skating around the topic.

I also encourage each of you to go to the 60 minutes website and read the article and visit Voice for the Uninsured.If you go to this site go to the side bar and read the stories about the uninsured this could be any of us or those we love.
“In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” – Flora Edwards
Thanks for taking to the time to listen and stop by.I started not to post this topic but sometimes you just have to stand true to what you believe and always keep an open mind.


kate said...

Should say upfront I mean no disrespect to the U.S. in my comments here, I am commenting as an outsider and it's only my perspective.

As a Canadian I find the American health system baffling. Ours is not perfect, there are wait lists, etc, but it is there for everyone.
After watching the movie Sicko, I realize how our system is being affected by the American system rather than the more compatible European systems. Proximity and all that.
I feel for anyone who is denied health care, it should be a universal right.

Becca said...

I am one of the uninsured in America, but I do not view it as a hardship. Although I feel all people should have access to health care, I do not want the government to be in charge of doling out the services. I would rather see more private, beneficent groups step forward.

Kerstin said...

My husband and I also watched this program on 60 minutes. His reaction: "See, you don't need the government to help those in need." My reaction: very similar to yours.

Ironically my husband is also a healthcare professional, he worked as a respitory therapist for 17 years before moving into medical devices. But he is dead against paying even more taxes, and let's be honest, who will pay for a healthcare system that can provide for everyone if not the tax payer? My husband is a very knowledgeable and fair man whose opinions I greatly respect, but this is one area where we disagree.

Before coming to the US I always took it for granted that there was a healthcare system that provided for me if needed. In Germany, where I grew up, health insurance is decentralized and mandatory, while in the UK, where I lived for 15 years, it is centralized and paid through the national insurance tax. The downside? In Germany taxes are very high, both income (up to 55%) and sales tax (19%), but health care is generally excellent. Not so much in the UK where there is little preventive care, long waiting lists and old hospitals with old equipment. Whoever can afford it has private health insurance in the UK. But at least there IS a basic service, and clinics and cases such as the ones in the documentary would never be seen.

Like my husband I want as little government as possible, but I am not sure how that is feasible in the areas of health care and education. Because this is a very broken system that needs more than the goodwill of a few amazing individuals.

jessamyn said...

thanks for the informative links in this post...I'm going to check it all out.
And, thank you for visiting me today and leaving behind such thoughtfulness!

SandyCarlson said...

Great post. Insurance is a big issue. People change jobs frequently and often lose the money they invested. Into whose pockets does THAT go?

Have a look at glassbooth dot org for a good, accurate way to find out where the candidates stand on this issue. It's a good site. I learned about it from a friend who sent me an email link.

Thanks for bringing this to light. God bless.

Mary said...


It is my belief that EVERY person living in America or Canada should have access to free medical care, either by a qualified medical professional or by a hospital.

I am also Canadian. I certainly agree with Kate's statement. I grew up in the 50s when the people of Ontario had no medical benefits. At that time a doctor's visit was $3.00 and Dad only made about that much a day. So to pay for a doctor was a hardship. He and his generation fought to get medical coverage and now it is slowly being taken away. It's very sad indeed.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my post. I always enjoy your visits.


Mary Isabella said...

Thank -you so much for this post. My husband and I have insurance but we have to pay a large amount for our share of the cost each week. Even if there are five weeks in a month. Then there are copays for the doctor and the meds. As he is a heart patient and has other problems this takes a large portion of our income. We have been where your parents were and have had to make some hard decisions sometimes. Thanks again...Mary

Willow said...

Being from Southern CA, I also see the effects of illegal immigrants using the health care system. That bothers me because I think people should respect the laws of our country. But on the other hand, my sense of compassion causes me to see the plight of the poor both in the US and across the border.

I tend to agree that the government is not the entity to deal with healthcare, but the government is and should be the entity to enforce US laws AND encourage our neighboring countries to improve economic life for their citizens.

Catch 22, huh?

Moanna said...

Excellent posting. You have a very strong voice that needs to be heard. Keep on speaking out.

Thank you, by the way, for visiting my blog today. I'll be back soon to see what else you have to say.

ladybug said...

Thank you for this amazing post and for giving voice to your beliefs and your hopes. All of us should take the time to do the same, and often with our friends as well as our neighbors. It's through sharing our hopes and our dreams of creating a better system and demanding a better future for our kids and our neighbor's kids that change can and will happen.

I couldn't agree more with you on this topic.


Karen said...

I believe in national healthcare--pure and simple. I would much rather pay higher taxes, and have guaranteed healthcare for all.

We're supposed to be a great nation? How can we be great if we have no compassion for others? It's all "what's in it for me?"

Carver said...

I am so glad that you brought this topic up. I think it is a national disgrace that health care isn't guaranteed to all Americans. I have thought about this topic a great deal but haven't known exactly what to say about it. At a personal level, even with excellent insurance through my job, the co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles are almost more than I can handle. If I were laid off, I wouldn't be able to afford Cobra and it would be almost impossible for me to get private insurance if I had a break in insurance.

I am one of the lucky ones. My insurance through work pays out so much money annually for me that it's mind blowing. I am not even in active treatment now. But the cost of scans, being followed by 5 specialists, blood work, etc. is incredible. I want to say again, I am one of the lucky ones but can still barely afford my portion of the bills. It makes me all to aware of what it would be like if I didn't have insurance. Thank you for bringing this topic up and I am deeply sorry about your parents. It is a disgrace that this nation of ours can't do better.

storyteller said...

I appreciate your thoughtful and informative post on this important issue. Thank you.
Hugs and blessings,

meggie said...

I am a New Zealander, living in Australia. NZ lead the world for health care at one stage. Now I would say our system in Australia is better than NZ. We have medicare, which provides realistic care for everyone. The Hospital systems are breaking down, as they are not being maintained or upgraded, & waiting lists for surgery are long. I think in general the health support systems around the world are breaking down.

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

Yolanda, thanks for your brave post on this topic. Health care is a human right, but many Americans do not see it this way. I am not sure which solution would be best, such as Canadian-style Medicare, or mandatory insurance with pools for high-risk patients, or ? However, the time has come when this issue must be addressed, and I think most Americans are going to demand change, because it is very evident that the system is broken.

Tammy said...

I wish we had a canidate with a clear cut solution but we don't. It's all about the money being made.

Amen to speaking up!

Mrs. G. said...


For me, this election is all about ending the war and health care.

Medical (and dental) care should not be a luxury.

Minnesota Matron said...

Once more, I find myself with the venerable Mrs. G: health care and the war. We spend $680 a month on health insurance AND have a (hold on, honeys) $6,400 annual deductible! Which means -- we can't afford this anymore. So I'm teaching full time as an adjunct, largely for health benefits. We have many many friends who go without health insurance. They're one broken arm away from ruin. It's a shame that we can spend BILLIONS of dollars on war but that people die here because they don't have the $ to go to the doctor. !!

Marcia (MeeAugraphie) said...

Not posting this would have been a crying shame. I am 100 percent with you. I grew up with more than enough and then barely got by until I was an adult. I have great medical and actually feel guilty at times that I was so lucky to choose a job that offered it. It is not fair. Medical care should be for all, not the privileged few and it is becoming few.... It is not like asking for $150 tennis shoes for all... it is asking for a human being to have the opportunity to be healthy.

Sharon Lynne said...

My husband is self-employed and I work part-time. We have to buy our own health insurance. We pay $1000 per month and we have a $4,000 deductible on each member of the family. (We have individual plans...and dental is included.)

I have to think twice before going to the doctor. The insurance doesn't cover perscriptions and we have to buy insulin every month...and my son's adhd med is $120/per month.

Don't say we should get another plan. I've shopped and shopped and this is the best I can do.

His Girl Friday said...

I work with people from various countries, and there are no perfect systems. I see here in the US every work day, people who have no jobs, people who are probably illegal using the system but not paying into it. This frustrates me to no end because I have hardworking friends who make too much to afford Medical, but who don't make enough to purchase private insurance. Yes, something needs to be done, and this is obviously no easy task, but I somehow think giving it to the government to tax and manage is not the best option.

SisterJulia said...

This issue is heart breaking to me...I live in the UK and the thought of serious illness, or my children being ill is horrifying enough without adding the question of finances...The thought of people being turned down healthcare because of lack of money/insurance...or because your insurance wont cover you seems awful. I don't know if it's possible for the US to find a way back to less profit from illness and healthcare, but I'm wishing it for you very strongly.