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Importance to Improve our Health Care System, Especially Regarding Stroke Care

Deanne Stein Health Guide May 19, 2008
  • Primary elections are going on all across the nation, both presidential and state.  The West Virginia Primary was last week and even though I voted, I'm still torn on many of the candidates both locally and on the national level.  It seems many of the candidates have similar platforms. We hear them talking about the same issues like lowering taxes, ending the war, strengthening the economy and, of course, improving healthcare.  Don't get me wrong, these are all important issues but sometimes you just get tired of "hearing" about it and want to see some action.
           
    I would love to see some tax relief, but more importantly, for me anyway, I'd like to see more improvement to our health care system, especially regarding stroke care.  According to the American Heart Association, families take a huge financial hit when dealing with stroke. I know this firsthand. The medical costs I racked up were incredible, from my hospital stay to my outpatient rehabilitation. I'm still spending money on check up visits to my doctor, monthly medications and lab tests. I'm just one person, so it's no surprise that stroke takes a financial toll on our country as a whole. In 2008 alone, the AHA reports that stroke will cost our nation an estimated $65 billion dollars in medical costs and lost productivity. The money aside, stroke can also take an emotional toll on survivors and their families. But, I think we are making great strides in getting the word out about stroke and how to prevent it, as well as discovering lifesaving breakthroughs for stroke patients. Now, I hope we can get the extra funding to get more of those treatments and breakthroughs to patients. The STOP Stroke Act would help. I know I've talked about it before, but if passed, it would ensure that stroke is more widely recognized by the public as a medical emergency and treated more effectively.


    Even though I'm a registered Republican, I have never voted a straight ticket during a general election. I tend to vote for whomever I believe is the best candidate. I didn't have any say in the Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama primary race.  But nevertheless, I've been reading up on both candidates because come November, I will have a say between one of them or John McCain. I’ve been paying special attention their health care platforms.
         
    I'll just go with ladies first here. Hillary Clinton. From what I've gathered, she mainly wants to lower the costs of health care, improve quality and give Americans a choice.  This is good for people who don't have health coverage or don't like the coverage they have. If you have a plan you like, you keep it. If you need it or don't like your coverage, you can choose from dozens of the same plans available to members of Congress or you can opt into a public plan option like Medicare. Working families will get tax credits to help pay their premiums. Clinton hasn't spoken on specific health problems like stroke, to my knowledge anyway.
            
    Barack Obama. He wants to advance the biomedical research field. As a result of biomedical research, Obama says the prevention, early detection and treatment of diseases such as cancer and heart disease is better today than any other time in history. As president, he says that he will strengthen funding for biomedical research and ensure scientific progress is used to improve approaches to disease prevention, early detection and therapy for all Americans. This does hit on specific diseases like cancer and heart disease. He also supports people with disabilities and wants to strengthen and better enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. This could help give people with disabilities, like many stroke survivors, more rights and opportunities.

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    John McCain wants to reform health care to make it easier for people and families to get. His plan is to use competition to improve the quality of health insurance. He also wants to give people more choices beyond their employer-based coverage. McCain's website says that chronic conditions account for three-quarters of the nation's annual health care bill. He also says that by emphasizing prevention, early intervention, healthy habits, and the use of information technology, we can reduce health care costs.
            
    None of the presidential hopefuls speak specifically about stroke care, but with their individual health care plans, it will no doubt help. Soon the campaigning will be over and the candidates chosen. Once that happens, I hope the elected officials hold true to what they said they were going to do.