Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Healthcare Debate

At the risk of any sort of discord, I am just going to say it: I think the new Healthcare plan is going to be great. (Note: that I did not say perfect.) I am having a hard time relating to the other side of this argument. To me it seems a bit selfish to think that healthcare should be available to only those who can afford it. That healthcare can be discriminating.

I want to tell you a story.

I used to work at a bank a few years back and I would take care of IRA rollovers and distributions. Anyway, there was a nice lady who was not quite at her retirement age who came into the bank to take money out of her IRA. Of course she would be penalized for it because she was a little less than a year away from the penalty-free withdraw. I was afraid to ask her why she wasn't waiting because it was certainly none of my business but I did make a point to tell her that if she could wait just a few more months the withdraws would be penalty-free. Well, I opened up a floodgate and the tears began pouring from her face. I handed her my box of tissues as she started to explain... She didn't have enough money to keep up with the prescriptions she needed and she had no one to help her and no other way to pay for the drugs. She had no family to help her because they had all passed on and she didn't have any kids. Now I could feel a stinging in my eyes. I somehow managed to hold it together while I listened to her. She had no choice. She couldn't afford better healthcare which would cover the drugs she needed (I think she said she was on medicare). She needed the drugs. She was in a lot of pain. And using the IRA money to pay for the drugs was cheaper than getting a better healthcare plan.

All I heard was - cut off my foot now or cut off my foot later. It was incredibly sad. I had no answers for her. I left the office in a pretty somber mood that day. This was about 5 years ago but I still hear her sweet voice and I still see the tears. My eyes still sting when I think about it. I wonder what ever happened to her. I wonder if things could possibly have gotten better for her as the economy got worse. I don't want to think about the alternative.

People need healthcare. America needs healthcare. It is not something to be debated about. Not everyone can afford healthcare, but are we to ignore them? Whatever happened to humanity? I don't completely understand what this will do with the power of government, but something had to be done about the healthcare of this country. We can worry about the checks and balances later, can't we?

A quote from Vice President Biden: "This is a big f***ing deal." I concur.

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