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 But even I did not expect this--Congress has been replaced by Cirque du Soleil.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.
The Life Report: Frank H. Wheeler
1 year ago