“America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” -Walter Cronkite

America’s healthcare crisis is hardly a new issue. In fact, the phrase ‘America’s Healthcare Crisis’ has probably been uttered by everyone from Bill O’Reilly to Wolf Blitzer, it’s cliche. When a dire problem becomes a platitude, interest wanes. Nonetheless, it is something I have thought about a lot over my hiatus and I don’t think it should be forgotten.


You see, (This is where I take a deep breath because I am about to admit something that feels shameful to me even though I know that it’s not entirely my fault.) I don’t have health insurance. My children do, thanks to the government. We pay co-pays and premiums for their care, but they are far below what we would be paying in the private market. My husband and I are not covered. The corporation he works for does offer insurance, that isn’t the issue. We simply can’t afford it.

We’ve been fortunate enough to not get too sick. (I’m sickened by the fact that I’m thankful that I only ever wanted for antibiotics.) We were in a car wreck that left us with bills in the tens of thousands. Thankfully, everyone involved had car insurance. Seriously though, thousands of dollars for a trip to the hospital and being monitored for about an hour? They didn’t even pull the broken glass from our flesh. My story is not unique and it is not even close to the worst of the worst.

I’m sure that somewhere there are individuals completely content with their American insurance, but I haven’t met them. I know people and families from across the insurance spectrum: people with pre-existing conditions or diseases that require constant care, people that are generally healthy, and people facing stigmatized health conditions. All of them either pay too much for too little or pay nothing and hope against facts. The Affordable Care Act will leave a lot of people it aims to help in the donut hole. Still, it is a step in the right direction.

I don’t have a solution. It is simply clear to me that Americans are being betrayed and misinformed. We are being taught to find our lack of understanding amusing. It isn’t. We’re fighting over a woman’s reproductive rights and imaginary death panels while people suffer and die. Do we even know what we’re talking about anymore?

Apparently not.

As per usual, John Green lays it out clearly:

Don’t let the buzzwords, never-ending news cycle, and juvenile disagreements stop you from demanding healthcare reform. Health may not be considered a constitutional right, but it should be. Thomas Jefferson promised us life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when this country was born. Americans cannot fully live when their choice is between sickness and destitution. Our citizens are not free when their desire to stay healthy ties them to a job. We cannot pursue happiness when our bodies are ill or our cupboards bare. If our nation’s promises cannot be kept without a prerequisite, than it is our duty to ensure that the requisite is met.

11 thoughts on ““America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” -Walter Cronkite

  1. You are definitely back. (That’s a good thing.)

    The health care issue is one that’s near and dear to my heart. I agree that Affordable Care represents a good step but should not be considered the final solution. While it is not technically a Constitutional right, surely we can derive a right to health from the same place we get the “right to life” (since it’s another side of the same issue). I do NOT understand how the same folks can be so adamant about the welfare of the unborn and not apparently give a crap about the welfare of the living. It seems to me that good health has to be considered a part of the whole “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” thing (as you said).

    As long as my health is someone else’s commodity, I’m kinda screwed. So, universal health care and socialized medicine for all, folks! I really don’t see another solution to the problem. Otherwise, there will always be loopholes and some jackass lawyer to exploit them…

    1. I’m similarly confounded by the nonsensical desires of the pro-life.

      Healthcare simply shouldn’t be a business. When people are products, humanity flies out the window in favor of greed. People here are so afraid of socialism when in reality, many of our most successful government programs are socialist.

  2. How on earth the richest nation the world has ever known does not have universal care is beyond me. With education it’s the very thing all civilised countries enacted the moment they had the resources to do so.

  3. Muggle, I read your post not long after you published, but I didn’t have time to properly respond at the time. What really stood out was that you felt ashamed that you didn’t have health insurance. It pisses me off that the system projects shame onto its citizens and devalues them in the process. It’s the $ystem that should be ashamed. How is any of this partially your fault? What a money-making racket.

    I’ll share briefly what I’ve experienced. For most of my life, I’ve had health insurance. The companies I worked for made it much more affordable than being covered independently. Then, in the late 90’s I ventured into small business — my own business. When I went to apply for health insurance, I was declined. Then, I received notification that this would go on my record for 10 years, alerting all insurance companies that I was ‘risk’ material because I had a preexisting condition.

    What was that preexisting condition? Adverse side-effects from an antidepressant. Prozac. I had been experiencing situational depression. When I told my doctor about the negative side effects — I was prescribed another med, but was advised to remain on Prozac. The combo did me in — drug interaction.

    I was ICU for a week, then therapy for close to a year. I wasn’t expected to make it through the night when I was admitted. Little did I know that this would come back to haunt me. What pisses me off even more is that Prozac is the 3rd most prescribed antidepressant in America, despite its negative side-effects. Quote:

    “The onset of Serotonin Syndrome, a condition in which too much of the mood elevator is present in the brain, can occur within minutes, producing high blood pressure, hyperthermia, high body temperature and an increased heart rate that can lead to shock. Serotonin Syndrome can arise when SSRIs act alone or in conjunction with other medications.” http://www.drugwatch.com/prozac/

    1. You know, for me, the shame comes from feeling like I can’t take care of myself, feeling like I’m not responsible enough. I try to remember that it is amazing that uninsured people get much of anything done. Accomplishments are easily hindered be ailing health.

      I am all too familiar with the pre-existing condition game. It’s makes a mockery of true healthcare, of basic human decency! I didn’t realize side effects would trigger that though. The scummy depths thay greed leads people and companies to astounds me.

      I felt insane the night we got into the car wreck. I was telling all the EMTs and cops not to take me to the hospital because I couldn’t afford it. Nobody responded or tried to soothe me. That’s what our ‘healthcare system’ does, it puts most everyone screaming in a crowded room and no one even asks what’s wrong. They ignore you and pickpocket you while you flail.

      Thank you for sharing your story. It makes me all the more convinced that this is not something we can be silent about.

      1. Madalyn, I appreciate this response. After posting my rant, I was concerned that I came across at being against antidepressants. I’m not. The doctor who subscribes the meds to me was a OBGYN. I had gone there because I had a lump in my breast. In both prescriptions, the doctor prescribed meds that had to be ‘special’ ordered by the pharmacy because they didn’t carry them in that strength. IMO, an OBGYN has no business doling out such meds and without followup, monitoring. Total irresponsibility.

        I could so relate to what you were sharing about your accident. After my daughter finished college, she was without medical insurance. She slipped, fell down and hit her head. When all was said and done, she ended up with a medical bill over $30,000. They found nothing wrong except for a bump on her head. They ran every damn test you could imagine. Now she’s got the creditors on her ass, and it’s harmed her credit. Next thing you know, they will be jailing people for not paying their medical bills. After all, they’ve got to keep 90% occupancy in private prisons to keep their investors and CEO’s fat and happy. Pathetic. Don’t even get me started.

        I agree, this is an area we should not keep be silent about.

  4. I spoke too soon.

    “(MoneyWatch) How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn’t pay a medical bill — one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn’t owe. “She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn’t have to pay it,” The Associated Press reports. “But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs.”

    Although the U.S. abolished debtors’ prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don’t pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans.

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