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The need for health care reform

POSTED October 2, 2009 11:08 p.m.
Don’t let anyone try to convince you that universal health care won’t work in America. Most developed countries have better health care systems than we have.
I teach English-as-a-second language. My students come from all parts of the world. Many are absolutely shocked when they discover we do not have universal health care. They are then dismayed when they must attempt to deal with our inadequate and confusing health care systems.
Even Cuba has a better system than we do.
“What does Calvin know?” you might ask.
Calvin knows:
I knew two good people who died unnecessarily, both at age 57. They had no health care coverage. One was a small business owner, not successful enough to afford health insurance. He helped my family for 20 years. He was kind. He would sew-up my sandals and not charge me. When he got sick, he didn’t want to run up a big medical bill. He thought he had the flu. He didn’t. He died.
The other person was a business associate who went through a difficult divorce during her fifties. She decided to realize her dream, and went to school to become a chiropractor.
She earned her degree. She started her new career by contracting with established agencies who might need “on-call” help.
She had no extra funds for insurance. She contracted a bad strain of flu, the same one that most of us caught that year. She thought she could beat it on her own. She died at home in her bathtub. The flu had made her so weak that her heart had given out.
I have worked for three hospitals, established and managed medical offices, and owned many therapy clinics. I won’t bore you with hundreds of details as to how inadequate and inefficient our health care system is, but here are a few:
The system, as is, is failing. Profits are paramount. Capitalism compromises patient care at every level. People with the same medical conditions are routinely treated differently depending on their insurance plan. “Attorney-vultures” pluck and pick at the victims of our misguided health care system, which further serves to drive up the costs of health care. Health practitioners often will not refer you to the best practitioner available for your condition because: 1) They are “owned” by a certain health-care network and it would be against official, or unofficial, policy. 2) You are stuck in a certain health-care network, and/or 3) They simply won’t refer you to someone they view as a competitor regardless of the competitor’s qualifications.
And don’t listen to any stuff about “socialized medicine.” Fundamental services such as the library system, our firefighters and the post-office operate best when they are “socialized.”
Here’s a little history: Once upon a time we paid a fee to a local, privately-owned fire-brigade to protect our homes from fire. They gave you a metal plaque to mount on your house. No plaque, no service. Burn, baby, burn. Now, in today’s world, it’s the insurance card. No card, too bad. Die, baby, die.
As I mentioned above, part of my career was in the health field. I can assure you that people who are executives or owners of health-care organizations are very likely, on average, less mature and kind than your friends. These people have a vested monetary interest in the present health-care situation as it stands. For them to collectively work together for the betterment of the American people will not happen unless they are forced, through a new vision for health care, to do so. A vision carrying the full force of government reform is necessary, one of no less import than that of the woman’s suffrage movement or the abolition of slavery in our country.
— Calvin T. Yost, M. A.   

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