Sunday, October 11, 2009

Health Insurance Reform: Heading for the Bridge to Nowhere?

Pericles, Eucleides and all the Athenians who founded democracy must be cringing. The last 6 months in Washington could not possibly be what they had in mind.

On the day I was born, the doctors told my father I could not live 24 hours. That was how my interest began in health insurance and its impact on our society. Today, more than 50 years later, I continue to lead a full, productive life. But during all of that time I have had to scrap and struggle for health coverage and have had to live half my adult life outside the US to get that sensible, single-payer national insurance coverage.

My story makes me a virtual poster child for that kind of well-established health care approach. Having paid in tens (hundreds?) of thousands to FICA and corporate health insurers during my decades as a senior executive, I am now "ineligible" for any coverage in the US. Nonetheless I decided to return home last year to try to play a role in promoting a 21st century policy. But even I did not expect this--Congress has been replaced by Cirque du Soleil.

In short, I'm playing Russian roulette with my own health and my family's financial stability for the sake of a country in which the lobbyists for virtually every nook and cranny of the for-profit industry have already gotten Congressional commitments to keep their "share of the pie". (NY Times, 11 October)

If I fall down in the street today, I pray no one takes me to a hospital--it would bankrupt my loved ones. That is the nightmare 47 million Americans now live with. If Americans believe there is a right to life, there must also be a right to health care sans bankruptcy. It is an intrinsic corollary.

After decades of personal frustration, I've now had to endure with all of you months of calculated propaganda--false to the last word. There has been less debate than what you can get by reading a box of Cocoa Puffs.

Can we all at least agree on one thing? That every American should, at a minimum, have the health care rights on paper afforded the citizens of Vanuatu and Uganda. Even if only to appease ancient Athenian spirits.


  1. Thank you for weighing in on the health care issue with such a moving set of observations. Yes, indeed, we Americans should at least have the same access to health care than the folks in Vanuatu and Uganda. For now, stay health!

  2. Appreciate your weighing in as well. The debate is moot, regarding our right to health care. The issue is clear. The government places you and over 55 million others at risk each day it continues to ignore its responsibility to provide its citizens access to universal health care as a signatory to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.