Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Believe We Need Health Care Reform Now

I believe health care reform is the critical issue of our generation. Now is our opportunity to take a stand for ourselves, our parents, our children and their children. I believe our current health system is not sustainable: costs are rising and people are losing their insurance at alarming rates. I believe that we need health care reform and we need it now.

And, guess what? I have great health insurance. Always have.

Growing up, money was tight in my family, but my dad worked for our town and was covered under our school district's health insurance plan. It was a great plan. My parents never had to decide between groceries and a visit to the doctor: when we were sick, we went to the doctor. I got new glasses when I needed them. My siblings and I all saw the dentist on a regular basis.

Other than a few month period when I had to pay the exorbitant COBRA rates to keep my health insurance, I've had jobs which provided good insurance. Since getting married, I've been on my husband's insurance. His company pays 100% of our premiums. I realize how rare this is and how lucky we are.

It really hit home last summer when I was hospitalized and underwent surgery. Bills totaling tens of thousands of dollars started rolling in and we were responsible only for the $75 emergency room co-pay. I can only imagine how that would have been different had we not had health insurance.

Would I have ignored my symptoms and not seen my primary care doctor? Maybe. Would I have not had the complete blood work up done that indicated that something was dangerously wrong? Maybe. My platelets (the body's clotting factor) were 3,000 parts per million instead of 300,000 parts per million. Would I have died from a simple cut or spondaneous internal bleeding? Maybe.

But, this isn't about me.

It is about the 150,000 residents of Prince George's County, MD--my home county and the wealthiest minority majority county in the country--who have no health insurance. It is about the Prince George's Hospital Center, less than 1 mile from my home, that has been struggling for years and has practically collapsed under the weight of the uninsured who use it daily as their primary care facility because they have no other option.

It is about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance, the millions more who are under-insured, and the millions beyond that who are struggling to afford rising premiums, deductibles and co-payments.

It is about each and every one of us.

And so even though I am pleased with my family's current health insurance. Even though my parents and siblings and best friends are lucky enough to have good health insurance as well, I believe that we need health insurance reform in our country and we need it now.

Because this is about us--ALL of us.

Original post to DC Metro Moms. Aimee Olivo considers political involvement to be her "me time." When she isn't working on issues as co-chair of her local progressive political organization, she's blogging about life as a mama at Smiling Mama and about great family-friendly activities at Out by Ten.

KC said...
I'm with you, sister. I think it's a defining point in our country. For better or worse.

Sue @ Laundry for Six said...
Excellent post!!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

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