Why We Need Universal Health Care

Spring            New Moon (Flower)

A word for the ones in silent despair, hiding behind doors and well-kept lawns, all those in trouble.

A while back I mentioned a neighbor whose life turned upside down over a week-end.  He went from  a productive, active guy to a suicidal victim of a progressive form of multiple sclerosis.  After his diagnosis and subsequent treatment brought little relief he tried to end his life, bringing paramedics and the blue and white Allina ambulance to his door.  He did this  while his wife talked with us about our new orchard.

Now, six months or so later, their bank account is empty.  They are putting necessities on credit cards and the “disabilty insurance” they have is not insurance, but a loan, a loan they have to repay.  Their lawn is neat, the flower beds tended and ready for plants.  The small evergreens they planted when they moved in some years back have grown into mid-size trees.  The American flag flutters from their flag-pole, lit with lights.

He built an observatory a few years back, I may have mentioned this.  It now sits there, a white dome with a go-to Celestron telescope, abandoned by its maker.  His MS is advanced stage 2, of which, when I asked Kate about it, she said, “It’s not good.”

Vulnerable people have had their vulnerability magnified by the economic crisis.  That’s what this has driven home to me.  Imagine being in a situation where a medical condition threatens not only your retirement, but your house, your family.  Now imagine all that in a situation where the economic eats up what little cash you already have.

Their situation is an argument, the argument, for universal health care and a safety net for persons with debilitating illness, a safety adequate to maintain gains they have made over ther course of a working career.  I’m not talking here about pleasure boats, expensive vacations and country club memberships; I’m talking about a house, food, health care and family security.

This cries out for justice.

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