Showing posts with label Third World America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Third World America. Show all posts

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thousands of Americans with no health coverage attend
free health clinics for much needed medical care


The 47 Million Americans
With NO Health Care At All...
Like A Third World Country

By Greg Jones
National Director

As the debate over heath care reform continues to rachet up, I can't help but sense an omission of what the primary goal of health care reform was meant to be. We're hearing the heated back and forth regarding whether there will be a single-payer plan or a competitive Public Option Plan or even some sort of a so-called Co-Op plan. We're hearing about pre-existing conditions being covered in the new bill as well as possible lower prices for prescriptions.

We're hearing about how insurance companies will no longer be able to place an arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime. Also how a limit will be placed on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses because no one in America should be broke when they get sick. We're hearing how insurance companies will be required to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies, because that saves money and that saves lives.

That's all well and very good. But the one thing we are NOT the primary reason for health care reform. That is, how the 47 million Americans who currently have NO health coverage at all will finally get the much needed coverage. THAT is the main question....but there has been an eerie silence on that vitally important subject.

There are many questions on this issue but very few answers. EXACTLY how will the 47 million be able to receive the basic necessity of life...the ability to go to the doctor when one is sick. For those millions of you who have coverage, you have absolutely NO CLUE what life is like without that simple ability. That simple right. How absolutely frightening a simple cough or headache can be, hoping that it doesn't turn into something that needs professional medical care. Or when you get a severe toothache, but you can't go to the dentist so you fight through the agonizing pain, resorting to asking friends if they have any penicillin pills that you can take....forced to serve as your own doctor.

Or yet, a worse but not uncommon scenario. The wife who is forced to watch her husband suffer daily while his body is eaten alive by cancer, but there is nowhere they can go for medical help because they have no health care coverage at all, so he just slowly dies away as his family helplessly watches . Some claim the uninsured can simply go to emergency for care but this family finds out the hard way that you can not go to emergency for health care needed to be cured of cancer.

Remote Area Medical, aka RAM, an aid outfit that got its start helping villagers in the Amazon Rainforest, ran a free, eight-day-long clinic in Los Angeles for people in need. Hundreds of people started lining up Monday for a chance to get their teeth fixed, eyes checked and various other maladies cared for at the clinic, which opened Tuesday.

NPR's Howard Berkes reported last month on the group's tenth annual clinic in Wise, Va., where 2,700 people were treated over three days. Keep in mind, this is an organization (RAM) which got it's start helping villagers in the Amazon...and now they're here, right here in America giving much needed health care to neglected Americans as if THIS were a third world country !

And no. These people are not whom society would label the derelicts of society. These are not the so-called 'bums' or drunks or druggies. These are everyday, average, decent Americans, mothers and fathers, most of whom do in fact have jobs and work hard for a living everyday. These are people that work at your neighborhood cleaners, your pizza shops, your handyman, your cleaning women, window washers, the car wash, grocery store, cashiers at America's largest box store and the list goes on. These are good, average, hard working tax-paying Americans. And it is absolutely pathetic that our great country would be so selfish-minded and lackadaisical that we would except as normalcy the fact that 1 out of every 6 Americans are being treated like this is a third world country. It is hard to fathom the reality that Mexico, Cuba and even North Korea treat their citizens far more caringly than America when it comes to health care coverage for all.

We hear lofty catch phrases like " health care will be affordable for all " ! In fact, President Obama wrote in a recent op-ed piece " if you don’t have health insurance, you will finally have quality, affordable options once we pass reform ". What does that mean exactly ? The 47 million hard working people without coverage are struggling through life without the simple basic right to see a doctor when ill because of the fact that they simply can not afford it ! If they could...they'd have it already ! Although they work hard everyday, millions of the uncovered are barely able to make ends meet now while living paycheck to paycheck.

So to say with such simplicity that any plan will be affordable is simply not automatically true. Combine all of this with the fact that legislators are now leaning toward a mandate that could basically make it a law that everyone must purchase their own health coverage or be penalized, thus potentially resulting in not only 47 million people still uncovered due to unaffordability, but now this very group, already struggling in so many ways, would fall into the classification of 'lawbreakers' ! And if there is a mandate will there be some kind of government subsidies or financial aid to truly make the coverage 'affordable' ?

It is now time to re-focus. Remember, the initial mission of health care reform was always to supply the much needed health care to the 47 million uncovered while simultaneously resolving this American embarrassment. The 47 million, plus (the numbers are actually growing with continuous job losses) who are suffering with no health coverage at all, now represent our government's new Katrina. Will our government turn their they did with Katrina victims....or will they actually correct this third-world-like American disgrace ? That is THE question ! It is up to We The People to force the right answers. And remember...Yes WE Can !

Greg Jones