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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Health Care Reform: Do or Die, Literally



Last night, Keith Olbermann dedicated his Special Comment section of his show to addressing America's Health Care debate through the personal experiences he's been having with his sick father. If you have a moment, please watch:


I was moved to tears watching this. Not sobbing and bawling, but to hear what the Olbermann family is going through really hit home for me, more than any other pundant or commentator ever has on this issue.

In the last four years, I have seen three very close relatives of mine pass away: my grandmother, my aunt, and my father. With the exception of my aunt, who had died unexpectedly in her sleep (we had later discovered that she had been sick, and hid this from everyone), my grandmother and my father struggled hard and long through their illnesses, and ultimately to their deaths.  Mr. Olbermann's comments regarding his father's plea for the pain to stop, even if it means ending his life...well, it broke my heart to hear that. It broke my heart because my grandmother literally did the EXACT SAME THING. She was struggling through the pain of dialysis to the point where she just wanted it to stop...all of it, to stop. And she knew what that meant.

My father fought colorectal cancer for four years. He fought it so hard that doctors were SHOCKED that he had lived as long as he had. Even at one point, after a couple of years of chemo, the cancer went into remission. Then it came back...and it came back HARD. To see what that disease did to him...it literally sucked him dry. And it got to a point where there were no more treatments to employ, no more drugs to try. And it got to a point where the pain was so severe, that he couldn't do it anymore. And he stopped fighting it. Two days later, he died.

All three of them had the best health care they could get. My father and grandmother were cared for by good hospitals, by decent medical professionals. Especially with my father-- at one point, maybe 2 months before his death, was given an option to use a certain medication that, even under his insurance, would cost him $3000 PER WEEK. You know what happened next? His doctor found a loophole, and exploited it...enabling my father to get the medication for $70. From $3000 to $70. And ONLY because the doctor knew how to game a broken system.

It makes me think of how lucky we were. It makes me think that there are others, MILLIONS OF OTHERS that are not that lucky. It is more than a goddamn shame that this country, that most would like to say is the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD...can't and won't take care of it's citizens. Do we have great doctors here? Yes we do. Do we have great hospitals here? Yes we do. But GREED is killing us all. What good are great doctors and great hospitals when people get turned away for no insurance...or if you have insurance, and get rejected for a multitude of reasons...or GO BANKRUPT when you have to give your life away so that YOU CAN LIVE?! Please tell me what sense that makes-- SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME why we live this way?!

Today, President Obama is meeting with Democrats and Republicans for a televised summit on health care in America. Anyone that has been paying attention to this discussion (and you SHOULD BE paying attention, because this is about ALL OF US), knows that politics has been getting in the way of anything substantive getting done. Politicians will bicker, bitch and moan about any and everything JUST so that they can save their jobs-- a lot of these people just seem to live from election cycle to election cycle. I don't care what political party you are affiliated with-- ultimately, political parties mean nothing to injuries or disease. This is important. We need to fix health care in this country. There are far too many people dying and going broke NEEDLESSLY. And that, in the long run, WILL ruin this country, if it hasn't already.

Say what you will about the President (and I have, believe me), but he is doing SOMETHING. Yeah, maybe he's not attacking his critics enough, maybe he hasn't brought in Health Care Legislation in the time he said he would...but I was not expecting him to walk on water. American government has been taken over by corporate interests. This has been going on for damn near 30-40 years. And it's not going to end over night; that's all their is to it. It's too ingrained, too embedded in our system...like a cancerous tumor. You just can't yank out a tumor...it has to be killed...bit by bit. And it's not just with health care, it's our education system too-- which leads to ALL OTHER ISSUES ON THE TABLE. We, the American people, need to be more educated about what is happening to our country. If you say you care, PROVE IT. We have all done our parts in voting against our interests. It's like with sports-- you may not watch it during the season, but we ALL WATCH during the big games. And like politics, most people just don't pay attention...until the BIG election. That's gotta stop.

Let's all pay attention to these people. And if they're not doing what is best for us, not for their jobs...we need to do OUR jobs, and get rid of them.

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