Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Doing the Right Thing

Last night I listened to President Obama give a speech and answer questions on health care reform. I don't think that I have heard any one say it better or more completely. We have to make a change. We have one of the most expensive and least comprehensive health care systems in the world.

When I was sick in Nepal I paid $3 for the same antibiotics that cost me $70 in the US. While I lived in Japan, where I had nationalized health insurance, these same antibiotics cost me $5 and the doctor's visit $15. When I was sick in Tibet/China the visit to the hospital plus the antibiotics cost me $3, I had no health insurance while traveling.

We are not so different from each other. Every person is born and gets sick and will eventually need health care. The differences between us have to do with the circumstances into which we are born. We all need to contribute to health care and we should all have equal access. Anything less is immoral.

Health Care Tragedies I have experienced in the United States:

One of my friends gave up everything including her home and her profession so that she could receive medicaid for Myasthenia Gravis.

My 52 year young neighbor died of Breast Cancer because she didn't seek help quickly enough. Leaving her teenage children without their mother. Uninsured, she waited too long to seek help.

I ended up with no health insurance during my first pregnancy because my husband's employer let the insurance lapse during a financial downturn for his company. We didn't know that we were uninsured.

Our baby sitter had a catheter left in her for over a half year because she couldn't afford to have it removed. She had to spend all of the money she had saved for her son to go to college to take care of her kidney stone. The hospital put in the catheter in an emergency situation, but would not remove it until there was another emergency. She was told she was poor but not poor enough.


I don't know anyone who doesn't have a similar or much worse story to tell about the American Health care system. It is not that people can't get good health care, but they may have to lose everything, fight in court, and suffer a great deal of unnecessary pain to get treated. In the end, the public already pays for the uninsured, but they pay too much for this care and too late.
Let's do the right thing and get everyone the help they need now without the stress, fear, and the total destruction of their wealth and family well being.

Here is a link to Bonnie, a Canadian's first hand experience of universal health care. Also, you can visit Wikipedia's comparisons of different countries' health care systems.

(My brief moment on the soap box.)


  1. So appreciate your thoughts and examples above. So much unnecessary suffering. Thank you for the link to my epistle on health care in Canada. I have just inserted a link to this post in my post of today - having made the assumption that it is okay. If, perchance, you prefer otherwise - let me know and I'll remove it.

    You have packed a lot of living into your life and I enjoy reading about some of it in this blog. Thanks Butternut Squash!

  2. me again. Thanks for your comment and heads up that links were not working. I have fixed them. B.

  3. hello again - great great post - and sadly enough, you are correct that we each have stories of our own and know even more people with stories worse than our own family's - thanks for picking up the momentum - have a wonderful day! jenean

  4. Thank you....I'm going to put a link on my blog as well, unless you prefer otherwise.
    I have a friend who knows a woman who is most likely going to die because she has a heart problem and no insurance. I know of someone who has hep C but can't afford treatment. My daughter works for an optometrist all people on government health assistance programs over the age of 21 are no longer able to seek eye care.
    I heard a woman at the Republican National Convention say she is against any sort of health care program that is all inclusive because, 'if everyone has access to health care the lines will be to long'.

  5. Thanks for visiting. I am solidly middle class and yet if things remain the same, will we need to up root our lives by selling our home if we are to be able to continue paying our premiums. Or go without insurance. The sister of my cousin by marriage has emphysema. Her husband's company dropped coverage for dependents, leaving this very ill woman without insurance. They just had their home foreclosed. I know so many people without insurance or with outrageous deductibles that it boggles my mind.

  6. So true, we do all pay for it. And yes, we all have stories of people we know. It's sad that some people in this country don't see us little folks down here...

  7. This was so well said. Thank you, for so eloquently saying everything I'm thinking. It's time to loosen the death grip insurance companies have around the neck of America. And to extend to it's citizens the same level of care as the politicians enact for themselves!

  8. You always do the right thing for self at a given moment, even if you are unaware. Have faith.

  9. Here, here!

    Myasthenia Gravis is a very serious condition, but it's treatable, for those who can afford it.

    I'm sure you can imagine how many stories I've heard from clients about their run-ins with insurance companies. I have had no health insurance for 15 years. Once upon a time when I said that, people were shocked. Now they just shrug their shoulders.

    As a nation we should be ashamed that we don't care enough about our citizens to take care of them. It's very sad.

  10. BTW I love the pic with the cattle standing in gold water.

  11. I think education and healthcare are the most important. What a sad stories about your friends. Here in NZ people with a lower income get a community service card so the doctor is cheaper and the state hospital is free. In Holland everybody is compulsary insured it gets taken off your salary

  12. hello butternut, i live in canada and am privileged to be taken care of by a robust and inclusive health care system. i watched president obama - (i wonder if americans pay as much attention to politicians from other countries?!) speak on your health care system and was once again overjoyed to hear him take on another albatross that hangs around the commonplace experiencing of the people of america. i hope and pray that the necessary work (of which health care is a part) to bring all the people of your country into a place where they are valued regardless of any descriptor of their physical or pecuniary state is done as quickly as possible. have a lovely day. steven

  13. As human beings nurture an attitude of knowing they are healthy, then the perceived need for health care falls away. Esther and Jerry Hicks offer an intriguing perspective on this. Check out the Teachings of Abraham.

  14. I couldn't agree with you and Obama more. We need health care reform. I have my own stories-and what you say is completely true, everyone knows someone or has experienced personally a health care disaster caused by lack of insurance, not enough insurance, and often for the reason of being 'poor' but not 'poor enough'.

    It's a disgrace in a country that will spend trillions on a war- and it's completely unacceptable. (There's my soapbox speech!) <3