Thursday, March 13, 2008

Universal Health Care

Why is this concept feared so much? Other countries do it quite successfully. The right wants to keep health care privatized. Well, we see what that's done for us, haven't we?

Just the other day, Dennis Irwin (a jazz bassist in New York) died of cancer. He did not have health insurance because he couldn't afford it. A benefit was held by several prominent jazz artists to help raise funds to cover his medical expenses. A few weeks ago, before he died, someone posted a note about him on a bass player's email list to which I belong. He closed the note by suggesting people vote Democrat so we can get some heath care for people who need it. For several days after, the list was bombarded with arguments for and against universal health care. I was astonished by one person in particular who suggested it was his own fault for choosing a profession (musician) that does not pay enough.

In this global economy, jobs are getting outsourced on a daily basis. I personally have taken an interest in identifying jobs that cannot be outsourced. Quite often these are service industry jobs. Hairdresser, for instance, cannot be outsourced. It's a valid and necessary profession that must be performed on location. Does a hairdresser make enough money to afford health insurance? Probably not. Does the shop in which the hairdresser works pay for insurance for its employees? Doubtful. So, unless the hairdresser can get coverage under their spouse, they're out of luck. And what of those who are single either by choice or because the law will not allow them to marry due to their sexual orientation?

I know of a person who is currently working three jobs, yet works 60 hours a week. She does not have a degree beyond high school (face it, not everyone is college bound), so her job choices are limited. Because each of her jobs is a part-time position, she does not have health insurance. As such, she was sidelined recently by a mere urinary tract infection, which she treated herself by drinking gallons of cranberry juice.

Are we all so self centered and non-caring as to let our friends and neighbors endure illness and massive health care bills just because it might cost us a couple of pennies?

I saw someone on The Daily Show recently who suggested that the government's only job should be to protect us from harm and that it should keep out of everything else (except our bedrooms, no doubt). He insisted that even trash pick-up should be privatized. Of course, if this were so, would the people with those jobs make enough? Would their companies buy insurance for them? I'm sure he would agree that anyone who can't afford to buy health insurance just shouldn't have it. I wonder who cuts his hair.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

Preach it!

Well said.