I don't go political too much, but I have been hearing so much about healthcare reform, etc. lately. I have a lot to say about it, not as an employee but as a wife, mother, and daughter... as a woman, as a human.
No, health care is not a "right" per se, but in a country that wants to be one of the greatest, people should be able to access the necessary healthcare no matter their income. We have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If we have the right to life that means we have the right to do what's necessary to avoid death. Being ill can often feel like imprisonment, the opposite of liberty. One can be happy in poor health, but it's not easy. I have no problem with working to pay for my health insurance. The rock star and I always have. I also have no problem with my tax dollars helping people who truly cannot work to pay for their health insurance. For example, my mom had stage IV cancer and worked as a "cafeteria lady" far longer than most people in her condition would have because long-term disability wouldn't pay enough to maintain her coverage. She got a type of state-funded insurance, which she had previously when she was working in a job that did not provide insurance. Her doctor became angry when she changed coverage, but she had little choice if she wanted to buy food and have running water and electricity. Someone I knew years ago was paralyzed on a motorcycle. He has since passed, but he couldn't work. He was in his early 20s. Could you look him in the eye and tell him he didn't deserve healthcare???
I read an article where a man said that people who lived right don't have pre-existing conditions. The writer specifically mentioned strokes, heart problems, and birth defects. The rock star had a stroke at age 4 (yes, four) because of a birth defect - a heart problem. Not only that, but my grandmother had a stroke at age six. I'm not kidding. Personally, I am INSULTED that I would be blamed for my child having a birth defect. Yes, I had one of those too. I still have him! I did not smoke or do drugs when I was pregnant. I had a cold and had to take some medicine early on, which was okayed by my doctor. I don't want to say I'm a victim, but I don't think it was my fault. Nor do I blame my father-in-law for becoming the father of the rock star ten months after coming home from Vietnam where he was often exposed to Agent Orange... he didn't get drafted, he enlisted... but no, it was not his fault that his son was born with a life-threatening heart defect. I read someone's comment that Jimmy Kimmel's child was born with a heart defect because it was "karma" because he made jokes about Donald Trump. I disagree. Besides, what did that tiny baby do to deserve that?
I have a pre-existing condition, though i wasn't born with it. I'll take responsibility for my Type 2 diabetes. I ate my way into it. I'm sure all those low-fat, high-carb foods I ate in attempts to lose weight and maintain it in my 20s and 30s didn't have anything to do with my body becoming insulin resistant. I had inherited a predisposition to blood sugar issues. And my mom's cancer? She didn't smoke, seldom drank, tried to eat right and maintain a healthy weight, and exercised regularly most of her adult life. So why did she get cancer? Oh, that was probably hereditary too. What do you think about people whose genetic profiles show predisposition to diseases? Should we deny coverage to those people because we know it's going to cost more to take care of them? You going to look me in the eye and tell me no? And the young but now deceased motorcyclist? What if I told you he was driving too fast and was at fault? Would you look him in the eye and deny him coverage after that?
I have a problem with people who think it's ok to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Even though our insurance pays for those, our dental insurance would NOT cover needed dental implants for our child who was born with a cleft palate, and had teeth that did not form enamel properly (a condition that also affected my brother, though his lip and palate were fine). He had two root canals that had broken in the growth and surgical process. He had one tooth I jokingly called a "bubba tooth" - he laughed at it too - but it really wasn't funny, it was only about half a tooth. This after nine years of braces, 12 years of dental appliances... in his (then) 18 years of life.
If my brothers, uncle, and I had not just sold my mother's house, I'd planned to refinance my car to borrow that money. We're talking five digits worth of money, and that's not counting the numbers on the right of the decimal. I felt like we were lucky. I'd rather have had my mom living in that house, but I felt she would have approved of the money being spent that way.
I agree that the ACA - "Obamacare," as it is so frequently called, is not really its name - needs work and maybe even replacement. I want to see pre-existing conditions left in. I say we do not need caps on coverage. My sweet rock star and son might have had to do without healthcare... and who knows when we'd have had to start doing without. My mom's insurance company re-analyzed several medicines over the years. I think they were surprised that someone who had been through all she had was still alive, so they didn't realize they had to keep paying for those drugs!
When I was a new nuclear medicine tech back in the early 90s, occasionally I would see kids who had been born with cystic fibrosis (CF). Back then, a kid born with CF had a life expectancy of maybe 20 years. Now, babies born with the disease have a much longer life expectancy as more and more patients are living into their 40s and even beyond. If you put a cap on their benefits, some of those kids would not survive that long because they sometimes spend a lot of time in the hospital. I care, and that's because one of my childhood friends has a child with the disease. I don't know for certain but I would be beyond shocked if I learned that they had done anything at all during pregnancy to "deserve" a child with such a condition. No, that, like so many other things, is a GENETIC issue.
If you are healthy and have lived a "good" lifestyle, you are LUCKY. You won the genetic lottery. You may be taking good care of yourself and for that, you should be proud, but you should not judge others, for you do not know their stories. Can you honestly say you've never overeaten, or had too much ice cream, or just once, slept instead of working out? Can you truly say you've never broken the speed limit? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. As the saying goes, Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. (source unknown; attributed to Plato)