Saturday, October 31, 2009

The need for health care reform hits close to home.

The arguments against our current health care system -- if you can call it a “system” -- are just overwhelming. Every other industrialized country does it better. Every damn one.

Let me give you one example of how our system fails people.

A young woman has been working in one of the local restaurants here. The owner of the place pays her partly in cash to fudge the number of hours she works. And that’s done so the cheap bastard doesn't have to pay for the girl's health insurance.

But the girl didn’t really care. What the hell: she’s young, she’s single, she’s healthy, and she’s living on Maui. Life is good.

But a week or so ago, she got an infection … scratched herself on something and just didn’t give it much thought. Then she developed a fever. Probably just the flu, she thought … no need to see a doctor … especially with no health insurance.

A day later she was worse, much worse, and was finally taken to the emergency room. They did all they could, but the infection had spread throughout her body. She turned critical and ended up being flown to Honolulu where she had surgery to replace a couple of valves in her heart.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are in lock step opposing any real health care reform. Forcing people to buy insurance is bad. Raising costs to small business is bad. Could mean higher taxes, and taxes are bad. It's all just bad, bad, bad!

Well, guess who’s going to pay for this young girl’s medical expenses? We all are … through higher hospital bills, which ultimately mean higher insurance premiums and reduced benefits.

The last I heard she was still alive, but just barely. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

What I don’t understand is, how do all those people – John Boehner and Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham and all the rest of those selfish, cold-hearted ideologues -- how do they sleep at night?


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