Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why do I support health care reform?

The short answer: because I strongly believe health care reform is urgently needed.

I have been reading about and experiencing health care problems for many years. I could tell you what I have seen among my friends and family: a two year old who died in his mothers arms on the 25 mile trip to a hospital that would accept an uninsured patient; the midddle aged woman who walks with a permanant limp because she broke her foot and decided to tough it out because she had no insurance; the well insured middle-class family whose child was born with a devastating illness and reached her "lifetime" cap before she reached 12....

I could tell you about my own battles with insurance company bureaucrats who make the real decisions about what kind of health care we get, when, and how often.

But those are just stories. Take a look at some facts. How does our present system treat the weakest and most vulnerable among us: the very young and the old?

INFANT MORTALITY RATE - This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country. It tracks the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year. The United States rank is 46. We're right there between Cuba and Croatia. Who else is ahead of the United States, besides Croatia? Almost everybody, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany, Japan, etc. Why is it, if we have the best health care system in the world - that we can't keep our babies alive?

LIFE EXPECTANCY - The United States ranks 49. That means there are 48 other countries where a native born citizen can xpect to live longer than we do! What does that say for our health care system?

Oh - there is one statistic where we get a high number: percentage of LIFE LIVED IN ILL HEALTH. We are right up there with that one - number 9. We don't live as long, and more of the time we do live, we are too sick to enjoy life. Look around you. You know that one is true.

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