Tuesday, September 04, 2007
The Uninsured, the Poor and Struggling Middle Class.
It seems as if this topic just keeps coming in to my life. Having gone through the pain and suffering my self, of going for several years without health insurance, to having a recent experience as an EMT with an uninsured patient it just keeps on coming up. Has the nation become numb to the crisis? Do people just not care any more?
An article in today's Washington Post, by columnist E.J. Dionne, raises the question, are we just more interested in sensational articles about Michael Vick and Leona Helmsley than the number of uninsured children in this country. Well, based upon the amount of news air time that these topics receive it seems as if, as Dionne points out,".... the poor - and for that matter, the struggling middle class too - disappear in the media, barricaded behind our fixation on celebrity, our titillation over personal sin and public shame, our fascination with every detail of every divorce and affair of every movie star, rock idol and sports phenom."
He points out the sensational media coverage of the entire Michael Vick debacle. Yet there was hardly any attention on a recent Census Bureau finding that the number of Americans without health insurance has risen by 2.2 million, to a total of 47 million. The number of Americans under 18 without health insurance rose to 8.7 million.
The only reason that I currently labor at the coffee mega giant is due to the health program that they offer, otherwise we could not even afford my husbands crappy insurance. You have to pay the first 2300.00 out of pocket before anything is covered!! Who can afford that? They actually pay us a 300.00 stipend monthly to NOT use their insurance!!
A few weeks ago we responded to a call of bee stings with an allergic reaction. The man was a landscaper. About 15 times he had been stung. They came up out of the ground and chased him in to another yard. His reaction was swift. He had vomited right away, got light headed and had a very large and immediate rash. His breathing had become somewhat labored. He was 44 years old and also a diabetic. It was just he and his son doing this work and as soon as he heard that the hospital wanted us to transport him he refused and got very freaked out because he told us that he had no health insurance. I could see and feel the mans reluctance. I recognized the reactions. They were some of the same feeling I had had when we were also uninsured and my son had chipped his tooth and we had to figure out how to get it fixed, by a dentist and how to pay for it. He was very adamant about not going to the hospital and so we had no choice but to give him directions for his own care and release him. He felt awkward as did I. It is terrible how you must have to admit to other folks that you do not even have the basics of health care in an emergency. I am sure that people have had to deal with far more deadly situations because they do not have health care. It is one of the saddest statements about this country. Especially when it comes to children.