The economic and political news we are witness to lately is disheartening on so many levels.
The political mudslinging is ugly and serves only to distract attention from the real issues facing our country. The economic downturn has us deeply concerned about the huge losses to retirement accounts, plummeting home values, and inflation eating away at our stagnant wages. And we are still at war.
All this talk of a deepening recession and economic crisis has me wondering. Can I still carry on about what I consider to be a health care crisis? In the great scheme of things, is multiple sclerosis and its associated financial burden important anymore? Does the enormity of our country's financial freefall cancel out concerns about MS and other chronic diseases?
Wall Street and Main Street are interwoven into the fabric of life with MS. Try as I might, I cannot pull them apart and deal with them as separate entities.
I am just one of hundreds of thousands of people with MS. I'm fairly certain that we can expect our health care expenses, particularly insurance premiums on individual policies, to rise sharply very soon. With everything else that's going on, how long will it be before we can no longer carry the load?
How long will it be before the already exorbitantly priced MS medications are simply out of reach? Will the few programs that provide prescription assistance be able to pick up the slack? How about visits to primary care physicians and neurologists, MRIs, and other health-related expenses? How many people will fall between the cracks, and who will care?
One thing I know for sure. Now matter how bad things get, our representatives in congress will continue to receive their full salaries and benefit from the finest health care money can buy. Sure, they'll take a hit to the portfolio, but I'll shed no tears.
It seems I have answered my own question. The answer is yes. I can still carry on about the health care crisis. Yes, multiple sclerosis and the financial burden it places on families is still important. Perhaps even more so. People living with a chronic disease have a lot at stake.
More than ever, we need to state our case for health care reform. We must inform our representatives in Washington that we are not going away. We must continue to shout from the mountaintops that the financial burden of health care is part of the overall economic crisis. And by all means, we need to exercise our right to vote.
Now is not the time to fade silently into the background.
Published On: October 01, 2008