Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Draw the line!

Here in Massachusetts, home of the "Massachusetts Miracle" that Obama used as a model for the Health Care Bill, people with insurance are regularly being driven to bankruptcy by the out-of-pocket costs of a health emergency. People with insurance are regularly being denied needed surgeries and help, turned away because they can't afford the deductables and co-pays, can't put enough money up front.

Last year our friend, Cindy Chapman, was unable to find a personal physician who would take her as a patient for what Medicare pays. She was obviously very ill and in incredible pain, but was literally thrown out of the UMass Med ER by the campus police when she refused to leave until she was admitted. When we finally found a physician who would take her case she was diagnosed with Stage IV Cancer within hours. She was dead within two weeks.

Cindy had worked all her life, but had fallen off the last rung of the ladder and the system abandoned her. With proper medical care this wouldn't have happened.

Voting and politics aren't working. Our health care system is a disaster, and it is literally killing people like Khoury and Chapman. The injustice and cruelty of it has become unbearable.

This is beyond something that can be dealt with by bake sales and taking up collections. Are we to hold an event at Union Station for every victim who can't raise the down payment for their wife's operation?

It's out of control. It has to stop.

The time has come for determined people to draw a line. It's time to say that medical care is a human right. Time to say that no one should be ruined or left to die because of money. It's time to say, no business as usual until you fix this.

One victim at a time. Every time.

We just finished celebrating Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s holiday. King, who led us in putting our bodies on the line to confront racism and injustice. King, who declared health care a human right.

What would King have told us to do?
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