Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An Open Letter on Health Care

To all of the elected officials of the United States,

I am writing this open letter to discuss the condition of health care in this country. I have recently had a couple of personal experiences that has prompted this letter.

A few weeks ago, I came down with appendicitis. I had to have a CAT scan, surgery, and a brief stay at the hospital before missing a week of work while I was recovering. Within the past year, the company I work for has handed me two pay cuts and effectively reduced the level of my health care insurance coverage. Due to all of this, I'm expecting to pay nearly $2,500 after my insurance coverage for this relatively routine procedure, and due to the fact that my recent pay cuts have reduced my ability to save for emergencies, I'm either going to have to put that all in a credit card or dip into my long term savings to pay for it.

...and I'm one of the lucky ones.

My brother recently had to have a cyst removed from his tailbone that was causing him back problems. This has required two complex surgeries and an extended recovery period. My brother has a near-minimum-wage job with no health coverage. And because his job requires driving and he cannot sit until he is fully recovered, he is out of a job for the foreseeable future. He is now without a penny in the world, and my parents are having to pay for his rent and his and medical bills, which are likely well over $10,000. Even worse, because he is expected to continue to have back problems, he now has a pre-existing condition and getting insurance in the future will be nearly impossible. If nothing changes, he will likely spend his life praying nothing else goes wrong because if it does, he will once again be thrown into poverty.

I'm not asking for help with our personal situations. It's a hardship, but we can handle it. What I am asking... no, imploring you to do is to do anything you can to support a single-payer health system in this country. Cries that this would put a bureaucrat between us and our doctors are silly; we already have them in the form of health insurance companies, and those bureaucrats financially benefit from denying us the help we need. I can't imagine what all the people with cancer, or AIDS, or any number of horrible diseases in this country are going through on top of their physical suffering. Many are in financial ruin, having become effective slaves to the insurers. No, this situation cannot stand. We are better than that.

Please, please support a single-payer system, or at the very least a strong, affordable public option. Such an option would not solve the problem, but at least it would be a start.

(I have sent this letter to my senators, my representative, and President Obama. I would urge anyone reading this to send letters as well.)

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