It's Sunday, politics day on my blog. I've been out of town, and while I was away I watched no TV, read no newspapers, and tried to steer my eyes away from the on line headlines. I believe I successfully lowered my blood pressure as a direct result. But now I'm back, and in my pile of accumulated mail was a nifty letter telling me that my health insurance premium is about to increase...again.
I can tell you that since I first began my individual policy after being laid off from a job immediately after 9/11 which provided insurance benefits, my premiums have almost tripled. TRIPLED!!!! But my benefits have not increased. And here's the kicker - if I want to change my deductable and out of pocket expenses so that I can afford the premiums, it will be like applying for a new policy and there will be a pre-existing condition waiting period of one year during which time the care I actually need for things will not be covered.
I realize that I'm one of the lucky ones, the ones who have health insurance, but as my premium inches toward the same amount that I pay for rent, I have to wonder if I will reach a breaking point, a point at which I will have to roll the dice like so many others and opt for the roof over my head and not the insurance.
While I've broached this subject in other political blogs and expounded on the idea that healthcare can not be fixed while it remains a for profit business - particularly on the part of the insurance companies and drug companies, I would like to broach this from another vantage point - that of patriotism.
From the time I was a little girl I was told and believed that this was the greatest country on earth. We hear it day in and day out, but you want to know what we're not greatest in? Life expectancy. That's right. And though the number is debatable (between 37-49 countries ahead of us, depending on what you read), at the very least the citizens of 37 countries live longer than we do. And from the discourse in Washington about healthcare reform, I can see why. And it doesn't seem to matter what form of government a country has either. Cuba is ahead of us. So is Britain. So while Congress is having a big whining pity party about how tough it is to fix this, and where we're going to get the money, at least 37 other countries have figured it out...leaving me less than optimistic about how great we are after all. We would let the mother of three small children die from cancer that could have been detected with preventative screeinings, or an elderly grandfather wither away because he had to choose between the medication he needed or food. Is this who we want to be as Americans? Is this the kind of country that we can take pride in? What happens to the least of us happens to all of us eventually, and now is that moment.
I'm going to cut this blog short because I am going to go do something that I'd love for each of you to do - contact your representatives. And I don't just mean one person. I mean your senators, congressmen (and women), and the President. Let's flood the mailboxes, real and virtual, as well as the phone lines. Let's act on the responsibility incumbent upon us and the opportunities afforded us as American citizens and hold our representatives accountable. They themselves have the best healthcare, and the rest of us deserve no less. Most of us are never called upon to serve our country in any way except for jury duty. Isn't this the critical moment? It's a matter of life and death. Here's the info:
Thanks for stopping by. Here's to living longer and excellent healthcare for us all.