America In Denial?

   How is it, that after all the health care hoopla, the anger, the gnashing of teeth and months of Washington infighting, it is still impossible for a 24 year old woman to get affordable health insurance in America?   That appears to be the case.

I read on Facebook this morning the account of a well-known former colleague, telling the tale of his 24 year-old daughter who cannot rejoin his family health plan and is uninsurable for anything other than expensive catastrophic coverage.  She has a pre-existing condition and no one will take her he says, and her meds aren’t covered at all.

A friend of his then chimed in with the following:  “After working in the Health Insurance Industry SALES for 30 years, I now find myself (age 61) without any Health & Rx Insurance period….not eligible for any State or Federal care…..not young enough, not old enough, make way toooooo much money (13,000 annual)…trying to make it to (62) and hoping Medicare will be there, which I’m sure it will not be……Kudos to Obama Care and to the Have Nots!!”

I then went to the news and found the following.

– According to the recently completed census, 1 in 7 Americans now lives in poverty.

-The poverty rate for children is up for the third year in a row with some of the biggest gains right here in Los Angeles.

And yet, while some of our fellow citizens and their children go to bed hungry and others are forced to go without health care, we continue to pour, literally pour money into the military/industrial complex.   By one account, we have spent $1.9 trillion on Afghanistan and Iraq.

Then there’s the “Tarp” bailout.  According to PBS, the real cost will run around $12.8 trillion.  To the bankers.  For their bonuses and to buy other companies as they foreclose on our neighbor’s mortgages while siting on huge piles of our money instead of loaning it out to small businesses which is where new job growth needs to come from.

But we were talking about health insurance, weren’t we?  Our “better than nothing” health insurance reform, which left control of health insurance in the hands of those very same companies that stand to profit by our misfortune, while we continue paying as much as twice the world’s going rate for some medications?

Nevertheless, many (or most)  of us carry on as though everything is okay because the pain of reality is just too much to bear.  This is America, and this isn’t supposed to be happening.  Not again.

How can it be turned around?  Letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire, is a place to start.

Extending cuts for the wealthiest 2% will cost $830 billion over ten years.  According to the Associate Director for Tax and Budget Policy at the Center for American Progress, Michael Linden, “to put that figure in perspective, $830 billion is enough to pay for all veterans’ hospitals, doctors, and the rest of the Veteran’s Affairs health system, plus the United States Coast Guard, plus the Food and Drug Administration, plus the operation and maintenance of every single national park for the entire 10-year period — with more than $100 billion left over.”

$100 billion?  Golly, that might even be enough to do something for a 24 year-old woman with a pre-existing condition.

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