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Did anyone catch exactly when the rhetoric went from “saving Medicare” to overhauling the entire American healthcare industry?
Throughout most of our married lives we have had health insurance. We enjoyed excellent care (despite the rumors to the contrary) while my husband, Mike, was in the military. We had two children born in military hospitals, one was born overseas. When we left the military Mike went to work in a factory; he held a union job and had full healthcare benefits.
We have also been on the other side. We’ve seen life threatening illness while uninsured.
In 2003, my husband worked for a small police department; a move that took a cut in pay and health insurance, but had promise of quick promotion. It was a gamble. The hope was that if we buckled down and made some sacrifices, it would pay off in the long run. We didn’t win the bet. After two years we faced a major health crisis uninsured.
It started with a knee injury. We paid out of pocket as much as we could afford. The first doctor had him off work and off his feet for several weeks. At the time we had no idea how dangerous this was.
After being off for several weeks, Mike returned to work. Within days of returning to work, he felt a tightening in his chest and began having difficulty breathing. Because he had been off for so long and had just returned, he refused to call in sick. This was a man who worked as a full time police officer and held two part time positions in neighboring towns.
Mike had been working the night shift and got up around two-thirty in the afternoon. He called me in from the other room. What I saw concerned me deeply. He sat on the couch trying to catch his breath after walking ten feet, from one room to the next.
I knew it was time to go to the hospital. But he was still a stubborn man, determined not to run up anymore medical bills nor take off anymore time from work.
Fortunately for him, he married a bossy lady who insisted we were going to the hospital. I gave him only two options; go by our car or go by ambulance–but he was going.
It didn’t take long for the emergency staff to diagnose the problem. He had a pulmonary embolism-blood clots had broken off in his leg and traveled to his lungs; he was suffocating, and, by this time, deteriorating rapidly.
By the grace of God and excellent doctors and staff, my husband was one of the few who survive.
Although we couldn’t afford health insurance at the time, we were treated with respect and had the best of care– life saving care.
At that point, we faced either accepting financial assistance, which was offered to us by the hospital, or financial ruin. We also were facing months of lost income.
Until then, we took care of ourselves and paid out of pocket, working toward a goal of a better income. At that time, I guess we were what the administration considers the “broken” part of the system.
But I ask you, why should we have taken government help years before we needed it? Did it cost taxpayers more for us to have it only when we really needed it? I don’t think so.
Should we have been fined for taking a job (as a police officer in a small community) that paid a mere 1,600.00 a month and couldn’t afford health insurance?
If this healthcare bill currently being considered passes, those who “fail” to pay (read can’t afford- but are demonized as failures) for insurance could be charged up to $25,000 by the Internal Revenue Service or face up to a year in jail. There is a mandate that would allow the IRS to take this kind of legal action.
Insurance companies would be required to adopt business decisions based on the government’s morality and social justice, not profit; Things like disregarding health history or premiums based on age would be put into effect–placing private insurance companies on track with Medicare, headed for bankruptcy.
If this passes, hard working Americans will be criminalized, while illegal immigrants will be socialized.