In Kansas City, a 14 year old boy has been told he needs a
heart transplant and that someone will have to come up with $500,000 to pay
for it because they don’t have insurance. One of the reasons he’s not insured
is because he’s an “illegal immigrant.” Five months ago, no one knew there was
anything wrong, and he was normal in all ways.
How can we consider ourselves a proud people when we put dollar values on
the lives of our people; especially our kids? Look over at your kids and ask
yourself how much they’re worth. And why should the people who are actually in
charge (that's us, folks – WE are in charge, not the government!) of what we like to
call the greatest country in the world have to resort to fundraisers and
begging to keep their kids alive?
But there’s something else to think about here. The
wingnuts constantly whine about the very concept of mandatory health care
coverage. But doesn’t this demonstrate that such a requirement is necessary? Think
about it; this kid was considered healthy this past summer; now he needs a
heart transplant worth $500,000. It’s not possible to know when you’ll need
health care; that’s why it’s essential that everyone carry a policy, if we’re
to reform the health insurance system properly.
In Richmond, youth fitness organization Improve Your Game
will hold their first annual Kid’s Fitness Challenge to raise money to pay the Holben
family's medical bills, because Brian Holben, the husband and father of three sons, aged 14, 9
and 6, was diagnosed with a brain tumor this past summer. He’s responded to
treatment thus far, but the bills are mounting and his insurance won’t cover the
bills for continued treatment.
Read the article
Again, the first question that comes to mind is, how
much is a family member worth, exactly? How about your spouse? If we actually aspire to
acknowledge a right to life in this country, then why should a family’s
fortunes be tied to their wealth.
I don’t know the details of the family’s insurance
policy, but the article does mention one. If they are paying the average
cost for a family policy (and again, it’s just an assumption), it’s not
unthinkable that the family has paid upwards of $60,000 for insurance over the
last five years. What good is paying so much for an insurance policy, if it
doesn’t cover treatment when you become ill?
And if there wasn’t someone around to help raise money
for the family, what’s to happen to them? Do they stop treatments because no
one is paying? Does the family go into bankruptcy? Do they liquidate everything
they own? And when it comes to government spending, which the far right seems to be so concerned about, what if they lose Brian? The kids will get Social Security and
quite possibly welfare. Plus, the bills they can’t pay will end up
being absorbed by people with insurance, anyway. In other words, someone always pays the bills whether or not we have universal health insurance, so it just makes sense to have absolutely universal insurance, have everyone pay into it, and cover every medical necessity.
There are so many reasons the
current state of our system is unacceptable, and this story points up quite a few
of them. Universal health insurance is not just a moral
imperative; it’s an investment that will save us loads of money in the long
In Concord, California, Piney Hollow Middle School
students raised $8000 for the family of fellow classmate, Jessica Bucher, who was
diagnosed with Juvenile
Onset Sandhoff Disease, which is extremely rare and has no known
Read the article
I admit it. I’m
a bleeding heart. I read these stories and I just think it’s insane that kids
in middle school should be raising money to pay a family’s medical bills. I
think it’s wonderful that these kids were able to raise $8000; that’s
absolutely awesome. But they should be raising money to send her to Disneyland
or Hawaii or buy her a PS3 or a big TV or something else designed to take her mind off her illness. But paying her MEDICAL BILLS? Why
is this okay?
There are so
many of these stories out there, and they all bring up one major question; what
kind of society do we want to be?
No other industrialized
nation on earth denies anyone health care based on the size of their bank
account. Every other industrialized nation in the world has decided to value
life more than money. Most nations would feel as if their society failed if
someone had to hold a bake sale in order to stay alive. Most nations would be
ashamed to find out that a family ended up on the street because one of its
breadwinners became ill.
(By the way, if you would like to help any of these folks
out, each article contains donation information.)