Not Just a River in Eqypt

Sometimes people’s differing views tell the whole story of our rotten health care system. It isn’t just that some people are happy with the status quo, they’re tenaciously ignorant about it, barricaded by denial in a fortress of delusion. Rep. Heath Shuler, Mr. Revenue Neutral, is hearing all about it from folks in Asheville, where his sudden insistence on fiscal responsibility is decidedly not the right answer for some constituents. The Citizen-Times reported today on recent rallies for and against the health reform measure making its way through the House.

The Asheville vigil featured speakers, including Leslie Boyd, who runs the nonprofit organization Life o’ Mike. The group is named for her son, Mike Danforth, who died on April 1, 2008, because he was unable to get needed diagnostic tests until his colon cancer was too advanced.”

You have to hand it to anyone who can even get out of bed after something like that, much less advocate for much-needed social programs. Here’s the beautiful part, though, the next quote shared comes from a Hendersonville woman, Vivian Armstrong, who has rallied against reform.

‘We believe the free market can handle those things much more effectively than the government, and history proves that,’ Armstrong said. ‘We need tort reform, there are just a lot of free market things that could go a long way in improving the system we have.’

Armstrong said there is no one in the United States who can’t get health care at clinics or emergency rooms.

‘If anybody dies in this country for lack of health care, it’s simply because they can’t get themselves to a place to get help,’ Armstrong said.”

Well, gee, lady, I’m pretty sure the son who died because he wasn’t diagnosed in time couldn’t have gotten his CANCER CURED BY SHOWING UP AT THE EMERGENCY ROOM in a timely fashion. Or maybe he was just lazy that way, the way some people are when they’re being devoured by disease but they’re too dumb or slack to do something about it. Maybe she has a point, huh? I guess that covers the where people – who aren’t stupid or indolent – can get all the excellent care this nation has to offer, though it doesn’t explain how people are going to be able to pay for health insurance premiums as they double over the coming decade. What’s the what on that point? Tort reform will not touch health insurance premiums. Even if you truly, truly believe that people can get all the care they need under our current system (which is not at all the case), you have to face the fact that fewer and fewer people can afford it. More insured people are going bankrupt every year because of health related expenses. What makes anyone think that is tenable? As Nicholas Kristof (among many others) has pointed out, our free market health insurance system kills more people than any federal death panel ever could, and, as a bonus, it’s also pretty good at ruining the living. How can anyone care enough to go to their congressman’s office on an issue and yet be so utterly ignorant? How is there anyone willing to defend the health care status quo at all? That I’ll never understand.


  1. Kimberly

    September 3, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Unbelievable! I’m uninsured and have been extremely sick for a year and a half. I was fortunate enough to meet the wonderful folks at Volunteers in Medicine last month who then agreed to let me see their doctor and they even helped me see a Neurologist that donates his time. Just getting that far took a year and a half of begging for help and speaking out for Health Reform wherever and when ever possible. Now an MRI has been ordered to see if it is MS that is actually killing me slowly but I can’t afford it. So if Ms. Armstrong, and folks like her, think that access to care is so great then someone please tell me where I can get an MRI that will not require pre-payment or take money from our limited food budget? Someone please tell me why I have been suffering for a year and a half without access to medical care? Someone please tell me who is going to pay the medical bills that I ran up to just get a preliminary diagnosis? Someone please tell me who will pay for my continued medical care if the only resource I have found can’t find an answer as to why my body goes into hypothermia every day, I live in severe chronic pain that would put most in the hospital, and my autonomic nervous system is failing? I can’t afford it and I don’t qualify for any public assistance because I am self employed and have 5 children, 3 of which have Cystic Fibrosis and 1 has a Brain Injury and Epilepsy. If access to care was as simple as just going to any clinic or doctors without having to find the money to pay for it up front then I would have already been there and received treatment instead of being told by a major area hospital that since I am uninsured, don’t qualify for public assistance, and I don’t have the money to pay for health care then there was nothing more that they can do for me.

  2. Kimberly

    September 3, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Free clinics are not free to everyone nor are they completely free to even those that qualify with income guidelines. Free Clinic income guidelines range from 100% to 200% Federal Poverty Rate which means that individuals that earn less than that can obtain some, not all, medical care at a greatly reduced cost and anyone who earns more than that do not qualify. There are some fantastic Free Clinics such as Volunteers in Medicine that have the compassion for special situations to help others but even then it is not entirely free. Free Clinics have a definite purpose and they are a fantastic resource but they are not funded enough nor equipped enough to help every individual that needs medical care but can’t afford to pay for it and are uninsured. People that earn more than the 200% Federal Poverty Rate, who are sick with any illness, who are uninsured, and who can’t afford to pay for health care are either having to go without health care or they are running up bills through the hospital ER’s that will eventually come back to haunt them via collections. The ONLY way that we will ever have equality in access to care and guarantee that every citizen has access to medical care is to reform our current health care system and to pass Health Care Reform that includes a Public Health Plan that is subsidized to assist those who can’t afford it.

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