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universal health care - 2. page

Now that Barack Obama has been elected, The political action group asked it’s 5 million members what the organizations next priority should be for 2009. Members were asked to pick their top three most important issues.

My top 3 were:

1. Universal health care
2. Build a green economy, stop climate change
3. Improve public schools

It should come as no surprise to those who know me that Universal Health Care would be at the top of my list. What was really surprising to me is that it is also on the top of the list for the majority of MoveOn members! Universal Health Care even came before economic recovery! But then if you really think about it, Universal Health Care will actually help the economy, probably more than billion dollar bale outs. If the Big 3 automakers didn’t have to provide health care for it’s employees, that alone would put them in the black. This would also be very helpful to struggling small businesses. More Americans go bankrupt every year due to medical bills than for any other reason.

Of course there are many more reasons that Universal Health Care is the right thing to do, but I’ll save those for another post. I was just pleasantly surprised that this issue ended up on the very top of the list of priorities. Interesting.

Below are the top 10 goals in the order of importance to MoveOn members:

1. Universal health care 64.9%
2. Economic recovery and job creation 62.1%
3. Build a green economy, stop climate change 49.6%
4. End the war in Iraq 48.3%
5. Improve public schools 21.6%
6. Restore civil liberties 16.8%
7. Hold the Bush Administration accountable 15.2%
8. Gay rights/LGBT equality 8.6%
9. Increase access to higher education 7.6%
10. Reform campaigns and elections 5.7%



Being an RN in the health care field and also having three children with disabilities, I’m well aware of the problems with our current health care system. I’m thankful to live in one of the better states where we have more resources and better health coverage. I’m able to get the help I need for my children, but only because I know how the system works. I spend a lot of time helping parents who are not-so-savvy to get the help they need for their children. But in some states, the help is just not there. I know parents in other states who can’t bring their kid home from the hospital, because they can’t get a Medicaid waiver. I know of parents who have had to quit their jobs and claim bankruptcy because they can’t get home nursing for their medically fragile children. And just about every parent of a child with a disability in the US has to cope with the red tape and hassles trying to deal with insurance companies and medical supply companies on top of all of the stress that naturally goes along with having a child with medical issues. We need a national health care plan so that everyone is covered regardless of what state they happen to live in, regardless of whether they are rich or poor, regardless of whether they are employed or unemployed and regardless of whether they are well or sick. I hope that Michael Moore’s new film “Sicko” will alert Americans to the problems with our health care system and that it will be a vehicle for much needed change.

Michael takes an interesting perspective in this documentary. Rather than focusing on the almost 50 million Americans without health care, he looks at the average American who thinks they have good coverage until something goes wrong. He also looks at how universal health care works in other countries such as Canada, the UK, France, and Cuba.

Some of the key points of the movie:

While 50 million Americans have no health insurance, others can’t even get insurance because of “pre-existing conditions”.

Those who do have coverage can go broke trying to pay co-pays with a catastrophic condition.

With our health-for-profit system, the insurance companies are making money, while Americans are denied health care.

The system has not changed because lobbyist for the big insurance companies control the government through campaign contributions.

It’s not only the insurance companies making lots of money; it’s also the pharmaceutical companies charging outrageous amounts for medications. Some elderly people have to work well beyond retirement age, just to pay for prescriptions and the poor who can’t pay for medications at all.

Bottom line? We are the riches country in the world and we have the most expensive health care system. Yet our health care system ranks #37 in the world according to the World Health Organization. We are the only country in the western world without free universal health care for all of our citizens. We need universal health care now. This will take a drastic change in our health care system, not just a few changes here and there. The system is broken and needs to be fixed. We need to cut out the middle man and go to a one-payer system. Health care should be free for all Americans, not for the profit of insurance companies. We can do better.