Just Thinking

by James Glaser
May 20, 2003

I was thinking back to when I was going to Arizona State in Tempe, Arizona. I had recently returned from Vietnam, was married, and we had our first child, Nikohli. She was named Nikohli after an artist that came to the gallery that my wife was working at. That Nikohli had beautiful paintings and as all parents we thought our daughter was beautiful too, she was and is.

I was going to school under the Vocational Rehabilitation for Disabled American Veterans, which paid for my tuition and gave me $325.00 each month to live on. I could go to the VA for health care, but we were on our own for my wife and child.

I was thinking back on how we used that Doctor Spock book as our family physician. Real doctors cost too much and we were very lucky to have a healthy baby. As the years went on with two more children that Spock book became tattered and torn. We knew right where to look for a child with a fever, rashes, or colds. After I joined the Carpenters Union we had family coverage which was good. Then my wife got a job with the State Historical Society and we had perfect health care.

I don't know if we used doctors that much more, but the yearly physical for the kids gave us peace of mind The stress taken from us, worrying about what we would do if something did go wrong, was a real relief.

Right now in America there are millions of parents that are living each and every day with that stress that we had for years. Doctor Spock can only go so far and for those without insurance, there is a trip to the emergency room when things go bad. Every parent will lie about coverage just to get their child into the hospital if that is needed. I would not hesitate to write a bad check if the prescription costs were too high.

Later on, many parents tell the hospital that they will pay fifty or a hundred dollars a month, some times for ever, but when it comes right down to it, we all pay for those bills with higher medical costs.

Those in Washington that are leading our nation have read report after report that state without a doubt, preventative medicine saves us all money. Every election these same politicians tell us that something must be done for the forty plus million Americans without medical insurance. Everyone of these people running for office knows that Universal Health Care would cost a lot to implement, but they also know it would save our nation and every citizen money in the long run. Emergency Room care is the most expensive medical care there is, while Preventative Care costs the least.

Insurance Companies, Pharmaceutical Companies, and the whole medical industry lobbies Congress and the White House every day to stop any move to help all of these millions of Americans without coverage because of the money they might lose. Every year the Medical Industry raises the cost of care higher than inflation, because Washington lets them.

The uninsured are used as the scape goats that the Medical field can blame everything on. This is a crime that is causing untold suffering for millions of hard working, tax paying Americans.

Those in our Federal Government, like Congress and the executive branch have the very best medical coverage. In fact we keep a doctor right with the President and Vice President every day. All Federal, State, County and most city employees have coverage. All school teachers, those on welfare, most veterans, the armed forces, and the poor have great coverage and all of these millions and millions have their insurance paid with tax money.

Union people and workers for large corporations are covered, however many have co-pays. Also many have to pay for family coverage.

So who are the 40+ million without coverage? They are not government employees or the poor, nor do they belong to unions or work for large corporations. They are the working poor. People that make too much to fall under the guide lines that the government has set up to classify you as poor. They are the people that are struggling to get by with two parents working for a little above minimum wage, whose combined income puts them on paper above poverty. They are the people that have a small business, who don't make enough to afford coverage. They are the Americans that are too proud to sign up for government handouts. They are the people that don't understand how the system works and just maybe are too close to losing everything, so they can't take the time off to look for help.

Sad to say, they are the tens of thousands of Americans that after going to our public schools have neither the skill to read or fill out the forms needed to apply for assistance, even though they qualify.

Forty some million American Citizens of every age group living without the "Right" of free health care that every other industrial nation gives to their citizens.

Washington can write bad checks so that the rich won't have to pay tax on dividends. Those in Congress can give George Bush Hundreds of billions of dollars so that he can kill people all over this globe with wars on pitiful third world countries. We can pay for all the medical costs of Israel, Egypt, and many other countries that say they like us.

There is just nothing left for the millions of American children and their parents that through no fault of their own, don't fit into a job that covers them. So they all live in the stress of no medical coverage. Medical costs continue to rise faster than inflation and some get rich, but millions suffer.

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