Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Health Care "Industry" ISN'T An Industry

My father came home from rehab in a nursing home yesterday. He had pneumonia in January and needed physical therapy to reverse the damage weeks in bed had done. My father is 88 (89 in April) and has a host of medical problems ranging from COPD to congenital heart failure. He has a defibrillator in his chest. His medicines give him side effects including skin rashes and other such fun. But he is here with us, clear minded as ever and still possessing that wonderful, sarcastic Jewish sense of humor he's passed on to me and to my daughters. Dad had his first heart attack back in the 1970s. He was a self employed optometrist working in a Jersey town whose prosperity was fading rapidly as local factories closed. My mother had been a teacher but had been a SAHM for some years, as most middle class moms of the time were. We had health insurance through an HMO and I assume that's what covered the bills. Now he has Medicaid and supplementary insurance because Mom went back to teaching once we were older. His many medications are covered through government and Mom's union plans. Their medical bills are covered. But I can't help thinking what if Dad was that 55 year old independent eye doctor right now and had a serious medical condition? Our family would be in dire straits. Every time I hear the phrase "Health Care INDUSTRY" I want to SCREAM! It is NOT an industry and it's time we stopped calling it that. We need a public option. We need single payer insurance.We need to drive the health care "industry" out of business and get back to health care professionals working with patients to make decisions not based on profit but on what's right for the patient. It's my father's life. And your father's. And everyone's father. And everyone's mother and children and spouses and brothers and sisters. It's the right thing to do for us all.

No comments: