HealthCentral's experts are writing about major health issues for the 2008 presidential election. Add your comments--and watch for more opportunities to come.
I've been very fortunate to have excellent health care during a lifetime of allergic asthma and environmental allergies. My parents had employers whose health insurance plans covered the entire family. I had consistent relationships with doctors who cared about my acute symptoms as well as my overall, long-term care. Finally, my family was able to afford the many monthly medications I needed to keep me as symptom free as possible.
I believe that I'm a healthy adult due, in part, to the excellent medical care, patient education and preventive medications I received in childhood. Currently, my allergic asthma is in remission. I take rescue medication rarely and only as needed and have been off inhaled steroids for over six months. Sure, it would be difficult to prove whether years of medication and access to high quality health care lessened my asthmatic condition over the years. However, I don't think years of 4-tablespoon doses, four times a day of Theophylline, often with a Chlor-Trimeton chaser did me harm.
What I can't believe is how my experience is NOT the norm but, in many instances, the exception.
Many Americans do not have their basic heath needs met and unless we demand a change in our federal government, overworked doctors, overrun Emergency Rooms, over-crowded public hospitals and fewer beds will become the norm.
I believe strongly that adequate universal health care and universal preventive medicine is a basic need that everyone living in this country should not merely have access to but should be guaranteed. I find it shocking, and embarrassing, that in our first world nation, we have MILLIONS without health care. In my home state of New York, we have 2.5 million uninsured citizens (according to the US Census Bureau, via PBS.org) PBS.org has an excellent site where you can compare the US healthcare system with other nation's systems and I believe we come up woefully, short.
Need more numbers? According to the NYTIMES.com, "In 2005, 44.8 million people - 15.3 percent of the population - were without health insurance, according to estimates released by the Census Bureau in March." And this just includes those people with an address -- the Census is limited that way. What about those who aren't citizens but live here, work here, have families and get sick here? These people, many of them families or sending money to their families back in their country, are part of the system once they step on our soil.
I believe that for the system to work, anyone who lives here should have access to health care.
It's simply not good enough, not nearly.
I want my tax dollars to go toward universal health care for everyone.
As someone with a long-term chronic illness, I want a preventive care system in place for everyone.
Published On: December 31, 2007