Wednesday, my Uncle G was in a car wreck. He declined to go to the hospital, in part because he didn't want to have to worry about a hospital bill even though he had health insurance and worked full time as a truck driver. Over the course of the next 36 hours, my Uncle G was in a lot of pain. His sister told him he really needed to go to the hospital. With his back and abdomen hurting more and more as the hours passed, he finally decided to go. He told his sister he needed to get dressed first. About that time, his abdomen began to swell. He looked at his sister and said, "Don't be mad at me." As he got up to get ready, blood poured from his nose and mouth, his knees buckled, and he fell to the ground. His sister ran to call 911. My Uncle G starred at her husband as he died by choking on his own blood.
Friday, my father called me to tell me he had passed out a few times while doing landscaping, but was home now and taking it easy. About 30 minutes later, he called me to tell me he wasn't feeling very well, and wanted to know if it was okay if he passed out as long as he was laying in his bed. I firmly told him to go unlock the door and call 911. My father called me from his hospital room Sunday to ask me if I had heard back from the financial aid for my sister since shes starting college. Instead of relaxing and getting the medical help he needs, he's worry about being able to pay for his two day stay in the hospital, even though he's insured.
Why should we care about Healthcare Reform? We should care because the health care industry shouldn't be a for-profit industry. It's a conflict of interest. There shouldn't be someone sitting in a cubicle deciding who is worthy and who is not, based on how many Doritos they've had in their lifetime or how lucky they were in the gene pool. Health care shouldn't only be for the very rich, very poor, seniors, children, military, or government. It's a human right. It should be for everyone.
Not only is it a human right, but it should be affordable. Although there may be nearly 50 million uninsured Americans, there are many Americans who have health insurance, but are afraid about how big their bill will be if they use it. If you're worthy of getting health insurance, they rape you with the premiums even before you step foot into a doctor's office. What good is health insurance if you have to decide between paying your mortgage, sending your kid to college, or taking the risk of dying?
Today, my Uncle's cold dead body will be placed into the ground and my father will wake up early to go landscape again because he knows the hospital bill will be in the mailbox before the end of the week and his daughter's tuition bill won't be far behind. For all of you who are out there protesting the Healthcare Reform or don't care about the right to affordable health care, please go to sleep tonight with the image of my uncle choking on his blood as he died because he was worried about a hospital bill. I hope all of the chanting and childish screaming in the townhall meetings are worth it because my family sure doesn't think 51 years was long enough with him in our lives.