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Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

September 17th, 2013 3:48 PM

So the Floods Came, and Brought More Economic Injustice

This blog will be a departure from the usual as I have been flood-involved here in Colorado for the past several days. I felt terrible about not getting my daily blog done.  The health care dead and broke in the US kept mounting up as the waters and the floods came, and no one was reporting on the health  care crisis.  The floods were more evidently impacting a large number of people, and the attention went there.

So today, I begin with the dead and broke. In the past four days, 492 people in America died because they lacked public or private health coverage or the cash/credit to buy the care that might have saved their lives. That brought the total YTD health care dead in the US to 32,367.  Those who went bankrupt due to health care crisis and/or debt jumped too in the four days since I last blogged. Since September 13, another 7,912 went broke in the US for health care.  That made the 2013 YTD total health care broke 509,329. Staggering stuff.

During the floods here in Colorado as with every natural disaster I have seen in my 58 years, economic injustice also surges amidst the pain and suffering. Those who are property and home owners are always given deference in terms of news coverage and empathy while those, like me and my husband, who are renters are often hurt as badly or worse with uninsured losses yet no one really pays much heed.  We are expendables; we are the unseen damages.  And anyone who thinks our original sin of having gone broke due to health care did not contribute to the latest injustice are I'll-informed, ignorant, or cruel -- maybe all of these.

If we had a just society and really cared about one another in times of natural and health disaster, we would be teaching our children some critical values and resting in a less stressful, more humane nation.  Instead, we keep punishing and punishing those who can least afford more punishment and showering our concern on those most able to absorb the economic shock. Sadly, no matter who claims otherwise, Colorado is the same as every other US state in this reality.

Let's improve and expand Medicare for ll for life, and let's start showing equal concern for one another when life's calamity's strike. We cannot expect lives without struggle or pain, but we can truly help one another through in much more decent ways.

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