With all of the press and media coverage surrounding President Obama's plan for health care reform, I felt compelled to weigh in with my two cents. I will spare you all of the details as I'm sure many of you know of our plight but here are my feelings, as raw as they can be.
Over the past few years, we have had various health insurance providers from a private, specifically negotiated plan to a individually purchased policy. We went from having no medical debt to having debt equal to a year in a public higher education institution. In my eyes, this has happened because hospitals are willing to charge not only for the services provided for the doctor but for the use of the hospital and everything in it. I mean, it is really necessary to charge me $12 for a tube of diaper rash cream and then $63K for a procedure that lasted a whole 30 minutes(yes, we're talking about a shunt surgery here)?
That's not to say that I'm not grateful for the quality care that both myself and my family have received, but must it cost us so dearly?! Should a husband have to work 80+ hours a week? Should a family have to chose between eating or paying the mounting medical bills? Should a medical service provider be able to threaten financial harm to a family despite the fact that this family is doing everything they can to pay their bill on time? Should one have to forgo medical treatment because of the financial impact it will have? Must we live in fear of the "what ifs"...the fear of getting sick?
The way I see it, this shouldn't be allowed to happen in a country that prides itself on being industrialized, modern and forward-thinking. I totally support what President Obama is attempting to do--bring affordable health care to everyone citizen of our country. To end the privatization of health care which has lead to the rising costs and lower standard of care. To make sure that every child born in our country has the equal chance to grow up healthy. To make sure that no one dies because they couldn't afford simple or life-saving treatments or procedures.
For my family, personally, this would relieve us of a huge burden. We wouldn't live in fear of Cara needed a shunt revision or Caitlin needing to visit the ER. Ben & I could get the routine care that we desperately need without having to think about how it will effect our checkbook.
I have to admit that I am a bit naive as to exactly how President Obama plans to accomplish this but from where I stand, thousands of dollars in debt and living paycheck to paycheck, I can't imagine that it could be much worse than this.
One might say that due to the financial gain received from performing top-notch procedures and developing new drugs and treatments, American medicine far out-reaches its socialist counterparts. Without the competition and reward, our standard and expectation of cutting-edge medicine will be diminished. To this, I wonder, why can't the exploration of medicine just be for the betterment of mankind, for the victory over disease, and not for the financial gains or endorsements? We need to return medicine to its core--the want, desire and need to help others. Take away the monetary attachment and replace it with a feeling of charity, pride, empathy--whatever it takes to get people motivated to do something just because, simply put, it's the right thing to do, not because they have something to gain from it.
We have seen socialized medicine work successfully in other modernized countries. Surely, we have something to learn from them. When a tourist in a foreign country can obtain medical services for less than it would cost an American citizen here in this country, something is fundamentally wrong! Granted, no one wants to have to wait 6 months to have an ultrasound or to receive dialysis but no one wants to go into foreclosure on their home because such things cost them their livelihood. We must task ourselves with the job of finding that happy medium, so that it's not just a dream, an agenda but a reality.
I truly believe that our President has our country's best interest and well-being in mind as he approaches both the Congress and the American people with his plan for health care reform. While he may not have the perfect solution, at least he is moving this country, finally, in a direction to forever change the way we think about health care. It is a right, not a privilege! I have seen what the rising cost of health care can do to a family and it has to stop! It is my sincere hope that something is done, and soon, to fix this mess. I want better for my children.