A man living in the United States is diagnosed with throat cancer. He works in a factory and as a result, has medical insurance provided in large part by his employer.
His doctor advises him to see a specialist who operates and surgically removes the tumor. Following this procedure, he receives six months of radiation treatments as a measure against recurrence. Two years later, at a regular checkup, his doctor announces that there has been no recurrence of his throat cancer and declares the man cancer-free.
Some time later, as a result of American jobs being shipped overseas by corporate forces encouraged to a considerable extent by the fallacy of the trickle-down economics of the Bush administration, the man is laid off his job. However, he had a small part-time business as a photographer, so he quickly builds that up to a full time job to support himself. Heâ€™s not making a ton of money, but he can support himself if heâ€™s frugal about his spending.
Shortly after doing so, he notices a lump in his neck again. His old medical insurance has run out, but nevertheless he goes to his doctor who diagnoses a return of his cancer. Immediately surgery and radiation treatment are called for but are very, very expensive and without health insurance, he canâ€™t get it. He buys health insurance, even though he really canâ€™t afford it, but the insurance company wonâ€™t cover a pre-existing condition.
He fights the decision of the health insurance company and ultimately it relents, paying for an operation to remove the tumor and for the post-operative radiation. But in the year of delay, the cancer has spread to his liver and his lungs. The man is now terminal. He will die before his time because of the broken profit-driven health care system of the richest nation on Earth, the USA.
If the same man lived in a country like Sweden, he would have received necessary treatment when he needed it. Period. His life would not have been shortened because of corporate greed policy, endorsed by conservative political principals.
How is it that in the richest nation in the world, the nation which touts its commitment to the highest ideals of freedom, liberty, equality, opportunity, safety and security, the nation that claims to be the beacon of hope to the rest of the world, how is it that a man, a citizen, a taxpayer can be allowed to have his life shortened because of corporate greed and political dogma?
Those Americans who never go anywhere may have no way of knowing how the USA looks to other countries and other peoples around the world. Events such as these make us look selfish, self-centered, greedy, and insensitive to human suffering. If we donâ€™t even respect the lives of our own citizens enough to save them, how can we be expected to respect the lives of anyone else?
As the race for the presidency heats up here in the US, pay close attention to the details regarding plans for health care reform of each of the candidates.
Note that regardless of how itâ€™s done, the republicans still want the insurance companies to make all the decisions for you.
Do you really want some penny-counting bureaucrat deciding whether you should receive treatment and just how much you should receive, or should that decision be left solely between you and your doctor?
Being healthy should be a basic human right. After all, the U.S. Declaration of Independence itself states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, That all men are created equal, That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
If life and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights, and you canâ€™t exercise them if youâ€™re sick or dead, then it stands to reason that universally provided health care is a prerequisite means to those rights, doesnâ€™t it?