Edgar Allen Beem’s recent opinion piece about health insurance struck a nerve. Recent events in my own life have shown me what shaky ground Americans are on when it comes to health care and our ability to pay for it.
Recently, a cancer diagnosis led me to major surgery, followed by two kinds of extensive (and expensive) therapies, one of which is ongoing.
I am very fortunate to be covered by my wife’s health-insurance plan. Had she lost her job (which she almost did, due to restructuring), things could have turned out pretty badly for us. This reality of living on the edge of losing our health coverage, therefore our ability to maintain our health, is the same reality that most Americans live with every day. And those are the lucky ones among us – the ones who have health insurance to worry about losing. There are, of course, many Americans who have no health insurance at all.
The system we have is crazy. And it is immoral. We have the money and the brains to provide health-care coverage for everyone. What we don’t seem to have is the will to stop listening to those who say that we can’t implement a fair and decent system.
There is no reason for not having universal coverage so that everyone can have a decent level of health-care coverage. We simply can’t afford not to do this. Its time has come.