Most of you are aware that Dave and I can't stand the American health care system. You're probably also aware that approximately 50 million Americans have no health care coverage at all and tens of millions more are underinsured. The USA is the only developed (or industrialized, take your pick of terminology) nation in the world that does not provide basic health insurance for all of its citizens. Nevertheless, our president assures us that Americans enjoy the best health care in the world. That's easy for him to say since he doesn't live in the same America that most Americans inhabit.
Pull up a chair, grab a coffee, and let me tell you a sad story.
Two friends of mine recently moved to the DC area. They are a married couple in their 50s, both of whom have been working for all of their adult lives. They both have jobs here and are living in temporary housing until they can find a place of their own in which to live. Less than two weeks ago, they found a great place to rent. Their application was denied, however, because they are still paying off medical bills acquired when he had a heart attack several years ago. The lending agency is not confident that they will be able to pay their rent as long as they are still paying the medical bills. So, they're back out looking at houses every night after work. Will the next lender give them a break? Your guess is as good as mine.
This is outrageous. These are hard-working, tax-paying folks who simply want a decent place to live. But they're having difficulty because the "best health care system in the world" left them so deeply in debt that they can't even find a place to rent, let alone buy! Sad to say, stories like this are all too common in this country. People who endure catastrophic illnesses frequently move from physical survival to financial ruin (which, I suspect, isn't very promising for their long-term health prospects).
Health care probably will be one of the major issues in the 2008 elections - and it should be. Americans are paying dearly for the demise of Hillary-Care in the 90s. We cannot afford to lose this round of the battle because the "best health care system in the world" desperately needs triage.