The Health Care Debate: It’s a Matter of Life or Death, But Do We Even Care?

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Harvey D. Kart

As the publisher of a print and online medical business publication, I have witnessed the health care reform debate from all points of views, from the consumers and health care organizations to the legislators and insurance companies.

So I consider myself above average in being aware of these industry issues. I’m also fairly aware of the latest current events. Although the landmark health care reform act was passed last year, the country remains divided on this issue. In fact, now we’re seeing instances where some state judiciaries have declared it unconstitutional.

However, as a human being, I’m having some great difficulty understanding why, we as a society, can’t find it in our hearts and souls to be willing to help our fellow man. There seems to be a disconnect there that I’m struggling to figure out.

Everyday, we hear about someone who was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Or we may know someone who was involved in a catastrophic incident like a car accident. Many of us have the health insurance to cover our medical care if anything like this happens. But there are some–maybe even those we are close to–who don’t have insurance. Many of the men and women in positions of power, namely the legislators, will never have the experience of not having insurance to take care of their health. They have insurance and will have it for life when they retire. The taxpayers are continuing to help pay for their insurance as a perk of being in office. But for others, this is an issue of life or death.

I wonder how many of these legislators and those people who want to deny others of coverage have pre-existing conditions themselves. How many of their children, spouses, siblings and parents? What if they were rejected for health insurance? What if their insurance denied them of coverage?

To me, this doesn’t seem fair and right. I’ve heard the arguments. I’ve heard people on one side of the table asking who says it had to be fair? Let those people ask their family or friends for help. It’s their fault they’re in this situation to begin with. Since the country is still recovering from a recession, you can’t even tell them to go on Medicaid because there are no funds there either.

What really bothers me is that this issue has become really politicized, as opposed to everyone trying to figure this out and making this work together as a society. I was talking to some friends last week and asked where they stood on this issue. They said their feeling is that the “haves” in society have to suck it up and pay more so those who “don’t have” can get the coverage they need. Almost immediately, though, you can find others who say they don’t want to fund it and let those people fend for themselves.

I just shake my head sometimes when I think of how, in today’s society, we have become so divided against each other. A majority of Americans have some religious belief. When you go to church on Sunday or synagogue on Saturday, they talk about caring for your fellow man. Let’s set aside spirituality…didn’t we all grow up with the values of helping others less fortunate than us. What happened to that caring? What happened to our humanity? How did we get to this point?

As a nation, we freaked out over the charges of Michael Vick’s dog fighting operations, but we’re not as passionate when it comes to human beings. It has all come down to putting a price tag on life. I can’t figure out why we can’t work together on this important issue. How can some of us sit through those Saturday or Sunday services? Or is it just on those days that we pretend to care?

I want to hear from you.

What is your opinion on the health care reform act and the repeals of the law that is taking place in some states? Where do you stand on this debate? Whether you agree or disagree with me, we’d like to put your comments online. If requested, we will post your comments anonymously..

2 COMMENTS

  1. Your article on the Health Care Debate was very enlightening to me. There is a serious disconnect in this country in regards to health care reform. I think everyone can agree that health care is too expensive in our country – but after that statement – little else is universally agreed upon. In debates such as this one, I think we need to examine our values and make the best decision that we can without compromising our integrity.

  2. I asked my extremely conservative son one day why he was so opposed to healthcare reform and if he knew why he had never been without health insurance. He said, “I work!”.

    I reminded him that his father provided healthcare for him before he died and that because we were left the means to do so, I paid for his health insurance from the time he was twelve until he became employed after he graduated from college. And the reason he was able to go to college was because I worked at a state university and he benefited from my tuition discount. He, therefore, graduated with a BA degree and NO DEBT! His BA degree, in turn, enabled him to secure a good job because the job market was good back then-he is now 38 years old. Sometimes I think he just doesn’t get it!

    (I was a lifelong Republican – although I never felt the obligation to vote Republican) and changed parties during the last presidential election because I wanted the ability to vote Democratic during the primary.)

    I knew the frightening reality of being without health insurance when my husband died and I was solely responsible for a 12 year old and a 10 year old. I lost healthcare again when my kids were teens and I was “downsized” at the university. So I don’t look at healthcare the same way as my son. I have friends in Scotland (she is a retired nurse) and she told me once she just doesn’t understand why everyone is so frightened of socialized medicine here in the US. She saw socialized medicine from the inside out so perhaps she knows something we don’t.

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