Pinky Pie

Share it to me & Me

Posted on: March 7, 2010

(Still on radiation countdown hiatus until Monday. Thus another topic today).

Sometimes I get a little crazy. I admit it. I make speeches, which my husband has heard before and before and before.

Lately it’s about healthcare. I don’t understand why we are the only industrialized nation without universal healthcare. I’m not a Christian, but it seems to be that Jesus talked about caring for the sick and poor.

Apparently not so in 2009 and 2010.

My parents were strong believers in a “don’t get mad; write a letter” philosophy of life. My dad was proud as he could be whenever his letter to the editor made it into the St. Louis Post Dispatch. When my mom was dissatisfied with a product or service, she wrote a letter to the company involved.

So I decided to write a guest editorial to the La Crosse Tribune about the health care reform effort from the perspective of a cancer patient.  I used a couple experiences from my son, Matt, when he was about three to describe “bipartisanship” as it is childishly presented today.

You can check it out at this address:

Don’t miss the “discussion” section of the online newspaper or what passes for discussion these days.

One message posted after my article on line was:

“I missed which clinic in Canada or England Ms. Hessel is receiving her care? Since single is the BEST, why not avail herself to their extra ordinary care and report back to us.

We also need to take the profit out of other services too.

Food, Shelter, Clothing, Transportation, those all should be non profit too.

Profit is evil.”

His comment was reminiscent of telling those opposed to the Vietnam War (or Iraq war for that matter) that they “should love it or leave it.”

What he wrote was not a discussion, but a bunch of slogans strung together.

I did not respond to him at the La Crosse Tribune website, but I’d like to give it here. First, I’m talking about the profit in the insurance industry, which makes its decisions on profits way too much. Losses are payments made to relieve someone’s suffering.

And I do have some experience with universal healthcare.

When my son had a bone marrow transplant at the University of Minnesota Hospital in 1986, there already were folks in the U.S. disclaiming the Canadian health system. We met a couple in Minnesota from Canada, whose child was getting a bone marrow transplant at the government’s expense and the parents continued to receive their full salaries.

(Our family was lucky enough then to have my husband’s salary paid while we were in Minneapolis. We saw many other U.S. fathers who were fired from their jobs because they either chose to be with their child during transplant or because of the impact of the healthcare on their insurance.)

A dozen or so years later, our daughter was in France on a school trip. She dislocated her kneecap at a disco. I know the pain she had because I’ve dislocated my kneecaps multiple times. It hurts a lot.

The French system sent a doctor with the ambulance to the disco. The doctor relieved her pain and stabilized her for transplant. The ambulance driver sang Elvis songs to relieve her anxiety.

I was most concerned about her but at the same time I worried about the costs of her care. Her teacher, who called me, said it shouldn’t be too bad and that she had put it on her credit card.

As it turned out, the total cost as about $245 and it included the ambulance, doctor at the scene, going to the hospital for x-rays, emergency department care, a splint for her leg and a visit to an orthopedic surgeon the next day for evaluation.

We spent more in one day of sports medicine in La Crosse than for all that treatment in France.

I keep saying it, but it should be repeated: Think about your family, friends, neighbors and even yourself because we are all at risk under the current healthcare system.


2 Responses to "Share it to me & Me"

C-Span is having a good health care day today. On their morning call in show, they had a number of guests, pro and con. I thought that the con made a fool of himself and so did most of the callers. Then, on Book-TV, they had T.R. Reid, whose recent book on comparative health care systems deserves everyone’s attention. He says that if Germany can do it, Canada can do it, Japan can do it, France can do it, Belgium can do it, etc., etc., then we can do it. Universal and affordable coverage. His main area of disbelief is how so much of the American public doesn’t understand this. But (and this is my main area of disbelief), somehow he seems to think that they will.

I am constantly amazed at how Americans will act against their own personal interest as well as the common interest.

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