Monday, August 24, 2009

A Healthy America?

"Quality health care is a fundamental right, not a privilege"
- Sen. Ted Kennedy

I am really puzzled by the health  care debate in this country. I question why there is a debate at all. There are so many friends of mine who don't have healthcare coverage. I worry about them. Why is it that we are the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide universal health care insurance for its entire population? When I was in Italy last summer, my boyfriend's sister was experiencing severe stomach pains. There was no question in anyone's mind that she should go directly to the hospital. If you are sick, you go see a doctor. No questions about the cost of seeking such medical help cloud this decision.  Of course being the only American in the room, the cost of going to a hospital was the first thought that ran through my mind. It shouldn't have been. In Italy, as well as most of Europe and Canada, there is no cost to the individual who seeks medical care. The cost is all covered by the national government. It's part of the country's social services. Like trash collection, road paving, tree triming, the sewage management system, etc. A country can still have a capitalistic ecomonic system and provide social services. The United States is no different from Europe in this respect. Why can't we add health care to our social services system? Especially, since the U.S. has a partial social sevice health care system all ready in place, Medicare, for our senior citizen population. Why are Americans so resistent to expand this system to the younger population?

We, as Americans, need to switch our way of thinking. As the greatest industrialized nation in the world, shouldn't we be taking care of our own. Isn't a question of humanity? If someone is sick, should we be able to help them? When there is a disaster somewhere in the world, whether it be a famine in Africa, or a tsunami in east Asia, aren't we the first country to send our military parachuting in medical aid and food? Yet, there are people in the house right next door who are unable to afford the medical help they need because they have an employer who doesn't provide medical insurance, or they are an independent contractor, or they have recently been laid off and can't afford private coverage. This is a humanitarian crisis right here in our own country. Let's step up and solve it.

Copyright 2009 Romy Schneider. All rights reserved.