American health care needs improvement

Last fall I met a retired couple living nearby in an RV. Their daughter had contracted a debilitating disease requiring costly treatments. Although they had health insurance, their daughter did not. Out-of-pocket expenses devoured their savings, their possessions, and finally, their home.

Care for the daughter was available, but their insurance company would not approve it, and she passed away. In addition to their deep grief and dire financial suffering, the couple carried a sense of guilt, as if they had failed their child.

A uniquely American scenario.

In America, 62% of bankruptcies are due to medical bills. More than 1 million Americans go medically bankrupt each year, stacking financial ruin on top of suffering an often life-threatening illness.

These days we hear hard-hearted political discourse designed to protect corporate profiteers and no one else. Well-funded think tanks pump out anger-stoking messages against “socialist” medical policy, pretending that caring for “the least of these” — what Jesus stood for — is a bad thing. Many uninformed voters, understandably angry at poor health care, are ready to blame someone. This think-tank propaganda fools some voters into actually believing that we’re not all “the least of these.”

All other developed countries love their universal health care. In 2004, Canada overwhelmingly voted Tommy Douglas, the originator of Canada’s universal health-care system, as “The Greatest Canadian.”

America can also have a health-care system that covers everyone. By removing the profit motive from health care, National Improved Medicare for All will cover us all and for less than we’re paying now.



Pugliese must be planning to decline Medicare someday

So, Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese is pointedly campaigning against the “public option” insurance idea, which brings a sarcastic chuckle considering I and every citizen of this county is paying for not only her high wage, but her health care. And it’s always the same rhetoric about doctors refusing to participate and long waits, rationing of health services, and in her words, “In a nutshell: pay more, wait longer, receive less care.”

With that attitude, one supposes that when she reaches the age of Medicare, she will refuse it in order to pay grossly higher premiums for her premium care. After all, we on Medicare know there are doctors who don’t take Medicare, there are often long waits for those who do, and sometimes the 20% copay and other limits means less care. But just try to take it from us since we’ve already paid for it!


Grand Junction

Let’s recognize we’re all part of the same human family

In the light of the recent mass shootings, could I ask that we all just shut up, stop finger-pointing, and have a bit of respect for the victims and their families?

In perspective, only a small percentage of the mass killings in the world happen in our country. Most of the world’s rampage is simply not reported by our media outlets, and a lot of it goes on so continuously that it is almost old hat. Nearly every day, there is some kind of mass genocide, border war or tribal warfare that happens on the continent of Africa alone.

Bombings in marketplaces, religious hatred squabbles, and village carnage goes on in the Middle East daily. Add in communist government, violence doled out to those who dare to be individuals, the violent squashing of demonstrations recently in France, mass killings in Pakistan, hundreds of deaths in Hong Kong riots, the Boko Haram, the Iranian Guard, the Ukraine vs. Russia, eastern Spain, boatloads of refugees sinking in the Mediterranean, and the terrible treatment of women in the Muslim world, and you can see that we live in times filled with a lot of bad stuff.

Instead of pointing fingers at who is at fault for a mentally deranged person going haywire with a gun, can you just stop for a second and realize that we are all members of the family of mankind? A very violent, jealous, strong, and foolish species; capable of wondrous beauty, or terrible ugliness. We each choose our own path. When the ugliness happens it becomes news. Beauty seems to be passed over as not interesting.

In the small amount of time I have left on this planet, I vow to try to understand my neighbor, accept differences and just cool my jets when it comes to violence. We should all try to make the good in us stand out, before sensibility becomes a thing of the past too.



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