Who Are These People? Health Overhaul Musings

The decision begins on page 16 of the document.

Three cheers for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, that has dismissed cases brought by Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli and Liberty University in my home state, oops commonwealth, of Virginia. Read and listen to the NPR story at the Shots Blog. Read related articles in the New York Times and Washington Post.

Who are these people who make all sorts of claims about the evils of the health overhaul? Do none of these people have a relative who is going without health insurance? Do any of them go to a church that helps the poor or resettles refugees? Has none of them ever lost a job? Doesn’t anyone know someone who got cancer and lost health benefits?

Four recent experiences made me wonder  – more intensely – about what prism people are looking through when they consider the world of health care.

1. A relative complains that Medicare is not generous enough (and that “Obamacare” will make things worse).

2. A woman in the supermarket tells the cashier — an acquaintance — that she is excited she can use this week’s paycheck to buy her diabetes medication, because she’s had to skip the last several weeks.

3. A man I know with cancer lost his health benefits.

4. The immigrant family that my church has helped to resettle has NO health insurance despite that they all (two adults and three older children) hold jobs and work hard. (The dad worked in organizations that the United States helped to establish in Iraq, for heaven’s sake.)

And of course recent research published in the American Journal of Public Health, described in this Reuters article, found that 45,000 people die every single year due to lack of health insurance. Read the abstract.

The prism that people are using appears to blind them to the current distress of so many fellow Americans. Funny thing is, they don’t understand that a member of their family, or any of us, could suddenly be without health care. Our luck could run out — that’s the way the system works.

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