Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; these are the principles on which America was founded. All men (and now women) are entitled to these rights, and it is the duty of the U.S. government to not infringe upon but to maintain our ability to live, live freely and live happily. Otherwise, the government would be worthless, and perhaps it would have been better for us to remain within the British Empire.
Of course, there are limitations to these ‘rights’, but the threshold of limitation is set by us, the common society, and it is our collective say that sets the standard. In recent months (years if you count the campaigns for the presidential nominees) it has become apparent that healthcare is a ‘right’ Americans believe they are entitled to; it is your right to have affordable health insurance coverage, or to at least be able to see a doctor and seek treatment without indebting yourself up to your eyelids.
I know the pains of healthcare personally, even at the ripe young age of 24. I have not been insured for 2 years now and it has made me hesitate to go to dentist. I finally became covered by my employer after working for 6 months, and I promptly scheduled an appointment. The results of my examination were fairly good; only two cavities on my archaic wisdom teeth. The state of my gums, however, had deteriorated into full-blown periodontal disease. If I don’t receive a ‘deep cleaning’ (eek!) I would risk the possibility of slowly but surely losing my teeth as my gums continued to recede (double eek).
How much would the procedure cost? $1077.00. That’s a pretty penny there. Not quite a triple coronary bypass, but I don’t have money for that either. How much would my insurance pay? $588.00. That leaves me paying about $500 in the end, which my broke ass can handle, most likely from some kind of deferred payment plan. For other people, with no insurance and dependents and a number of other financial commitments, paying for this procedure may very well fall to the wayside, letting their health fail as opposed to taking on the cost of treatment.
Preventative healthcare is cheap. What advice would my dentist have given me 2 years ago? The same advice he gave me this year. “You need to floss and use a water pik daily, as well as continue to brush your teeth and use mouthwash.” This might be common sense, but we as human beings need a little prodding here and there, and the dentist or whatever practitioner for whatever ailment just so happens to be the person to whip your lazy conscious into shape. Water pik: $20.00. Stock of floss for 2 years: ~$20.00. Savings incurred from not getting expensive dental procedure: ~$1037.00.
Why don’t people take advantage of preventative healthcare? Because they don’t have the money or they don’t have the know-how. If everyone had health insurance (or if all healthcare was single-payer like the federally mandated Medicare program we’ve had for the past century) they would be able to get problems treated before they get worse and even more expensive. Are you sick? Go see a doctor. Take your medication now instead of saving it for later because you can’t afford to buy more.
The biggest obstacle to everyone having healthcare is: 1. Insurance companies (HMOs), 2. Pharmaceutical companies, and 3. Hospitals and doctors. Everyone of them stands to make much, much less money with mandated healthcare; they’d much rather buy off our politicians than reform the system at hand. With everyone receiving preventative healthcare, you don’t need to go see the doctor as often. You don’t need to have complicated procedures, and all the tests and X-rays and MRIs that go along with it. You don’t need to be overloaded with a drug-cocktail every day.
Right now, Congress is in the process of writing a bill reforming the healthcare systems in America, and they have mistakenly included the nefarious legions of greedy money-grubbers listed above into the equation and excluded the idea of having a ‘public option’ (a government insurance program that would be affordable and available to all). I don’t know what we are supposed to do. Write your congressperson I guess; just be sure to put a $10,000 check made out to his/her re-election campaign account in the envelope too. Needy complaints get lonely without a little cash.
Does it really matter who’s lording over us, a tyrant or an aristocracy, if they could care less about our well being?