Monday, July 20, 2009

It's Not Just Political - It's Personal

I'm not a political blogger, nor do I pretend to be one. I am, however, a personal blogger. In between posting pictures and telling stories about family comes the occasional reflection upon implications and principles associated with political issues that hit close to home. I have learned over time that some of the very aspects of our country for which we should be most thankful are the very things that cause grave concern when threatened. Some of the very freedoms we have are the ones so often squandered...or they are the ones which our government tries to take from individuals and claim for themselves. Here's where the political becomes personal...
Last Wednesday was spent away from work and in Cincinnati where my husband and I met with the team of doctors at the Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic. This is the leading clinic in the world for TS patients, and just so happens to be less than two hours from where we currently live. I visit the clinic every two years for an evaluation by the doctors, which also includes updates on current research in the field. My husband and I paid the $40 co-pay required by my insurance company, and by the time we left that afternoon, we had seen five different doctors. Not only were we able to meet with five different doctors, but I also had the opportunity to participate in one of their current research studies. We were not rushed, but instead I felt completely comfortable as a patient under their care. My husband and I were able to ask plenty of questions pertaining to tuberous sclerosis, questions regarding how it affects us now and in the future. There are many other aspects of our time at the TS Clinic I would like to elaborate on, so hopefully that can come in a later post. For now, though, I shift to another personal story...
While watching Mike Huckabee's show on Fox News last night, my eyes brimmed with tears as I listened to one of his guests. This woman whom he invited to his show lives in Canada, and was invited to share her personal experience of dealing with the healthcare system in that country. She was diagnosed in her 20s with a rare condition involving her spinal cord, which required surgery for a spinal fusion. Not only did she have to wait for nine months to meet with a specialist, all the while being instructed to just stay on pain meds, but the surgery itself did not occur until two or three years after her original diagnosis. This young mother spent the better part of her late 20s addicted to morphine, using a walker, and unable to hold her own children. Her now 15-year-old son is being faced with the very same ordeal. While being told to continue taking medicine for the pain, he has yet to meet with a specialist. The mother has resolved to come to the U.S. in order to receive proper care and attention for this debilitating condition; the cost of travel is of more value than waiting. Along with this woman's personal testimony, there was also a doctor on Huckabee's program who currently practices in Canada. He is adamantly opposed to the healthcare system within which he works (a system he once fully supported), and is appalled by the stories of such individuals as this young woman who have to wait in a seemingly neverending line. His final word to Huckabee at the close of the segment, and really to any members of Congress who may listen, was this: "Slow down, read the bill, and be careful what you wish for."
Make no mistake - our healthcare system needs serious reform. From bureacracy to caps on medical malpractice to the simple receipt of a hospital bill that makes sense, the system needs major help. However, this does not mean that the government has the right to sweep in and take from those who have worked hard for what they have accomplished. The projected tax increases that will be placed on the wealthy if a more universal healthcare system is put in place is appalling. This also does not mean that someone who has squandered the system, someone who has skated by knowing that the government will bail them out, should get a free pass. The line between those truly in need and those who have taken advantage of the system has become increasingly more muddled. Those who honestly need the assistance should be able to receive such help, and those who have actually earned the medical benefits they receive should not be penalized.
As much as I may complain about insurance premiums going up every year, my circumstances could be so much worse. I waited for only ten minutes on Wednesday morning before being called back to see the first doctor. A citizen of the country just to our north was on a national news channel to voice her personal testimony as a warning to those who have it in their heads that a more universal, socialized system is the answer to the predicament. The current structure is certainly broken. Reform, not destruction, is what our healthcare system needs.


Anonymous said...

Well said!

Amber said...

I agree with Leslie, "AMEN, sister!" I could not agree with you more. And having read the first 800 pages of Atlas Shrugged and realizing how our country is heading in the direction so eloquently described by Ayn Rand in a fictional story, really scares me... Will the leaders of our country really allow "need" determine the basis for our healthcare system rather than reason and logic? (AKA, the fact that one is human rather than the fact that the human has worked a job to provide financial means to health insurance) I feel the great threat of the mentality that just because we're alive and human, we are owed a service/something/anything by other humans...

PandaMom said...

I was already going to say, "AMEN, sister!!" before I even clicked over here and saw Amber's. ; ) It is very scary that the force in control now seems to be blinded to the common sense of what actually works and what doesn't. Really good post. We're back from camp if you want to email about your doctor visits.

CelticEvie said...

I also watched this and was put
into a state of shock as I have
spinal problems since I was young!
In the last 7 yrs I started having bladder problems and have been blown
off, I just thought it was damage
because of gong through radiation,
finally got into a urologist and she
could not find anything and said to
consider myself lucky I could urinate, I am now stuck at home, mostly on the couch, it has gotten
that bad. After watching Huckabee,
I am now going to new doctors with
this info, I was diagnosed with
degenerate spine and juvenile arthritis in the beginning of my
twenties and now that I am 50 am
almost crippled, why had none of the doctors seen this! Well now
maybe I can get off the couch in the near future...