Throughout the fighting, cursing and war over health care reform, I have been asking myself Why is this a political issue? Why are we so divided? The Democrats believe in health care reform and the Republicans are adamantly opposed to it. Here are the sobering facts that should wake up any human with a heartbeat and realize our current healthcare system is detrimental to both Democrats and Republicans:
* Over 1,000,000 Americans file for bankruptcy every year due to medical bills – AND 80% OF THESE PEOPLE HAD HEALTH INSURANCE AT THE ONSET OF THEIR ILLNESS. Yes, the people affected are both Republicans and Democrats. It is an outrage that millions of people are “covered” by medical insurance at the time of an accident or illness – but still end up bankrupt. Do Republicans think that these situations cannot or will not happen to them or that they will “have everything covered”? Just ask the hundreds of people I meet every year while selling cancer insurance (mostly Republicans – I live in Texas!) who have shared their stories about how they skipped chemotherapy treatments because they couldn’t afford the co-pays any longer, or the family who had to sell their house to pay for their deductibles, or the family whose son broke his arm at school but waited 2 months to have him seen by a doctor in fear of the medical bills they would face. If any one of these families could turn back the clock and have not skipped chemotherapy treatments due to money, not had to sell their house to pay their medical bills, or taken their son immediately to a doctor because money wouldn’t have been an issue – which way do you think they would have had it? Of course they would have wanted a reformed health care system. Cancer doesn’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat. You can and will lose your job, your health care benefits, your savings and max-out every credit card you have with one simple bout with cancer – regardless of who you voted for in the last election.
* I have interviewed hundreds of people to be hired as an insurance agent. We are self-employed so we pay for our own health insurance. I cannot tell you how many fantastic, outgoing and talented candidates I have hired over the years who are thrilled for a job opportunity (especially in our down economy) but when they discover that they cannot get on a group health insurance plan they are heartbroken. “My daughter has seizures, my son is diabetic, my wife had cancer 8 years ago, my daughter has a heart condition…” I have heard it all. No insurance company will take their phone calls unless they skirt in on a group plan. A person should never have to choose a job based on the fact that their family will be protected medically or not. Everyone should be eligible for coverage whether you are self-employed, unemployed or work for the largest employer in town.
* In Germany, Sweden, France and the rest of the developed world who have successful socialized medical systems, the citizens pay a higher tax rate than we do in the US. GASP! I said the forbidden words: Higher – Tax- Rate. I have interviewed people in over a dozen socialized countries, and the one thing they all have in common? Not ONE person complained about paying higher taxes. Not ONE! Here’s why
1. Their mentality is that they are investing in their future. They pay today to have protection later. Just like we do in the US for life insurance – pay today, reap the benefits later.
2. A socialized system pays much more than medical bills. In Germany, the higher taxes pays 100% of your medical bills, disability, travel expenses to and from the doctors, PAID maternity leave for one year and 100% coverage for the elderly. This would be the equivalent of every tax-paying US citizen having 100% health care coverage no matter what, 100% disability coverage, 100% supplemental insurance for out-of-pocket expenses, 100% coverage for Medicare and Medicaid AND 1 year paid leave for mothers or fathers to stay home with their children and give them adequate time and attention. Why are Americans so opposed to this? Instead, we want every penny from our paychecks today in order to pay for our McMansions and SUVs – and gamble our lives away on cancer, heart disease and car accidents – and enroll our infants in daycare 10 hours per day in order to pay for the McMansion and SUV which we will all lose anyways when the medical time bomb explodes.
I wish every socialized health care-hater would move to Germany for a year, pay a bit more in taxes, give birth to your next child there, experience the level of care the doctors and nurses give you and then collect a full salary while you stay home with your baby. Then come back to the US and report how horrible it was – or not.
Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!