Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation
Happy Halloween out there. Since it's the day for all things scary, keep this in mind. You could be just one illness away from the same sort of SiCKO financial collapse that my husband Larry and I experienced while carrying health insurance, disability insurance and a small health savings account.
Worse yet... if you know you have cancer, heart disease or some other serious illness, it will be a long torturous journey down the financial rabbit hole as medical providers/creditors deny you care, hound you for bill payments you cannot afford and generally make you wish you were dead. Our health care system thrives on fear tactics from the moment we are scared into purchasing health insurance coverage that may not cover us well at all to the moment when we are encouraged to have tests done and take medications we aren't at all sure will help us more than they will hurt us (though we know someone is making big money from us) and finally on to the times when the medical debt collectors call and threaten us if we do not come up with thousands of dollars we may not have to pay bills we never fully understood we would owe. And nothing in the Affordable Care Act is really going to offer us much protection from this ugly, scary system.
We just like to tell one another that we actually care about the trauma others are facing when in reality we are trained from an early age to simply make sure our own arses are covered and then look away from the suffering of others. Not all of us do that, but a lot do. That is part of what has made it so easy for the profiteers to do so much damage to our health care system and to our society.
We've been blessed to have our story told and to have been embraced by some the world's most intelligent, caring, and compassionate people. But few people have that chance in America. most must muddle through or suffer and die alone. We must achieve health care as a human right if we are to undo this terrifying mess of a system. And the ACA/Obamacare just doesn't get us there yet.
So we fight on. We fight for improved and expanded Medicare for all for life. That's a treat for all of us and not the trick that the current dysfunction dishes up on Halloween and every day.
October 31, 2013 -- Today's count of the health care dead and broke for profit in the U.S.:
The 2013, to date, U.S. medical-financial-
industrial -complex system dead: 37,779
The 2013, to date, U.S. health care system bankrupt: 596,424
** These figures are calculated based on the Harvard University studies on excess deaths in the U.S. due to lack of insurance coverage or the ability to pay for needed health care, and the Harvard University study that calculated the high percentage of personal bankruptcies attributable to medical crisis and debt in the U.S. 123 people die daily due to lack of coverage or cash to pay for care; 1,978 go bankrupt every day due to medical crisis and debt though the majority had insurance at the time their illness or injury occurred. This statistic is also based on the 1.2 million bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and calculating those medically-related bankruptcies from that number.http://www.healthcareforallcolorado.org/endorse_right_to_health_care
Follow Donna "American SiCKO" Smith's blog at: http://donnasicko.blogspot.com/
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