Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday prayers needed (again) and editorial....

This economy has taken its toll on many of our family members - in many different ways, but primarily in the employment realm. Jon and Chris both worked for the same company and were both laid off - Jon over a month ago and Chris just recently. Chris has decided to move to Japan to work, so he and the family will be living there for the next year or two. He was in the process of selling everything when the transmission went out on his truck. Of course this means he won't get the needed price for the truck (which has come in very handy in moving everyone as needed) so that is an added burden for him. He is always right there when any neighbor or family member needed anything transported, hauled, or if someone needed to be rescued on the road. This also makes it more difficult for him to move the things they are keeping to the storage shed. It WAS a nice truck with a nice shell...

It's a tough time for Jon to be out of work too. Karla has been quite ill and they are wondering if it may have been caused by a previous incidence of Lyme disease. She lived half her life on the east coast and it's pretty rampant there. Her blood work revealed that she has had it in the past and apparently there's some controversy over treating this latently. They're trying it because they can't seem to find other causes for the problems that plague her - cause her to be extremely tired, get sores on her skin, frequent headaches and even a couple of years ago had to be life-flighted due to stroke-like symptoms that caused 24 hours without intelligible speech and with other impaired functions. They were never able to determine the cause. And now, Madi is having health problems. She has not been growing properly (gained 7 ounces in 2 months when most babies are growing like weeds - she's the size of a three month old) and she is lagging developmentally. She will be seeing a pediatric physical therapist to try and help her. Meanwhile, please pray!

We have also recently learned of a family friend just diagnosed with breast cancer after being informed her position is being eliminated at work. Bad time to have to look for a new job because she must inform those interviewing her that she will be undergoing the extensive life-saving measures that may take a huge toll on her physically. And this is to say nothing of what it does to her health care coverage.

This is such a sorry state of affairs. By linking health insurance to employment we set people up for loss of coverage. It's a terrible cycle even if the job loss itself did not leave everyone vulnerable. Consider this - a person is diagnosed with cancer (or other illness/accident). They are too ill to work so they lose their job, then they lose their coverage, then they become more ill. This is in the case of someone with coverage to begin with. The leaders say, "Let them take Cobra." But when out of work, who can afford Cobra? And of course the small business person or self-employed never could afford it to begin with. Then, take it a step further - the stress of wondering how one is to pay for expensive treatments DECREASES their ability to heal because it INCREASES their stress. A person with cancer, etc. needs all their reserves to fight the disease. Our country adds to the burden of illness and health care costs as well as failure to restore or maintain health by creating a stressful environment simply due to lack of universal health care coverage.

For those who think universal coverage is bad, please examine countries where it is working - Japan, Taiwan, and many others. Our system is broken and adding more bandaids will not cure the problem. I hate too much government and would not want the government to be the administrator of this, but what we have now does not work at all - everyone is just one crisis away from financial ruin and of being placed in a worse environment for healing when coverage is inadequate or missing. In Utah IHC has 75% of the market share and they do a darn good job of managing to cover people. If this were extended to all and taxes were collected to pay the cost, which would be much less once we get rid of the gatekeepers and paperwork nightmare, the role of government could be minimized with private agencies providing the coverage, but without limitation to the uninsured. In urban areas hospitals would not have to compete for business, but could be in the business of healing most efficiently. One facility could specialize in one thing; another in a different area, rather than everyone buying the same expensive diagnostic machines.

Single payer universal healthcare is NOT socialized medicine, but until we get that idea out of our heads, we will never solve this problem. Huge lobbying agencies who stand to lose millions are keeping this from reality, but in truth it is no different than other social institutions that use the combined efforts to take care of all people (our utilities, school system, water distribution systems all use this principle and we don't call it socialized utilities). It just doesn't make sense for everyone in every community to have to have their own cesspool and clean their own drinking water to avoid governmental intervention.

If you get the chance to see PBS's Sick Around the World, or In Sickness and in Wealth series, or Michael Moore's Sicko (I'm not a fan of his but he brings out some important points), don't miss them. It is important to see firsthand the problems we are facing and how some countries are handling this crisis more effectively than the U.S. For being such a smart nation, we sure lag behind on this one. Apparently there is a book coming out by T.R. Reid of the Washington Post, We're Number 37 (the U.S. - not number one!). Here are some other sites to check if interested:

The Republicans are blamed for this not happening yet, but Democrats have been in control of Congress for two years now and what have they done? We are a republic and as such the senators and representatives should be acting; not just looking at the problem. Adding more money to CHIP or Medicaid will pick up a few pieces while contributing to the bureaucratic red-tape. This is not a single, presidential decision and waiting for one of the two candidates to make it happen is unlikely from what I have seen. It's going to take a grassroots, non-partisan determination. When the people say, "Enough!" we might make progress.


  1. "everyone is just one crisis away from financial ruin" ... don't I know it. Sorry your family is suffering as well. It's a terrible time for so many people.

  2. Chris can use my (smaller) truck anytime. Right now it's just sitting in my driveway and probably will until the next Scout Camp.

    Please have Jon send me his resume, I'll pass it around at work and a few other places, if he'd like me to.


This blog does not allow anonymous comments. Please identify yourself. Thanks!