Friday, March 19, 2010

Shit Sandwich

So I find it hard to disagree with the President doing anything and everything he can to get this healthcare bill passed. I agree with many of the things in the bill despite a lack of many things I feel are quite necessary. I also disagree with a lot as well. For example, I think it's great that 75 billion or something is going to sex education, but I think it's bullshit that nearly that amount is also going to FAILED abstinence only programs.

Another problem concerns care itself. I don't really like the concept of mandated insurance. In fact, in my opinion, it should be the burden of the insurance companies to make insurance a reasonable choice for care, and it's not. Just because you have insurance doesn't mean you get care. And just because you get care doesn't mean it gets covered.

There's also this:
Poor credit history can keep you from buying a house. It can keep you from getting a car loan. It could make interest rates higher and credit limits lower.

One thing it should not do?

Prevent a pregnant woman from getting medical attention.

Listen to this story from a new report on maternal mortality in the U.S.:
Trina Bachtel, a 35-year-old white woman, was insured at the time of her pregnancy, but the local clinic had reportedly told her that it required a US$100 deposit to see her, because she had incurred a medical debt some years earlier – even though the debt had since been repaid. Trina Bachtel delayed seeking care, unable to afford the fee at the local clinic. She finally received medical attention in a hospital but her son was stillborn. She was later transferred to another hospital in Ohio where she died in August 2007, two weeks after the birth.

For a country that supposedly has the most innovative health care system in the world, we seem to suck at the basics.

Mothers dying in childbirth is skyrocketing in the U.S., according to a new report from Amnesty International USA. In 1987, there were 6.6 deaths for every 100,000 live births. Today, that’s more than doubled to 13.3 per 100,000.

This rise is happening for several different reasons. One is better data collection – we simply know more about what’s happening. Another is the rise of unnecessary medical interventions like Cesearean sections that put moms at risk for fatal complications.

But an enormous factor is poverty and systemic racism. If you’re a poor or black woman in America, you’re way more likely to die in childbirth. African-American women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than a white woman, a statistic that hasn’t changed in 20 years.

The same health care system that keeps people from going to the doctor when they have a cold keeps women from getting decent prenantal care. The stresses of living at the bottom of the economic ladder make it even worse.

Many women report not being able to go to the doctor because they risk being fired from their jobs for missing work. Medicaid can even be a barrier in itself – for Medicaid to cover a pregnancy, a woman first has to get a letter from her doctor confirming her pregnancy. How do you go to the doctor to get the letter if you don’t have health care?

Bottom line, we must do better. Birth is the beginning of life. If we can’t master that, all our advances in technology just add insult to injury for poor women and women of color in our country.

weighs in on this as well:
Even if you have insurance, and even if you can keep your insurance when you need your insurance, and even if there's a hospital within driving distance and even if your car works that day and even if you can get an appointment with a gynecologist to practice their love and even if that appointment doesn't cost anything, you're still mightily screwed if you can't take the day off work or if you get paid by the hour and can't afford rent if you take off the hours.

And the reason we don't consider shit like that in the debate we're having is ain't none of our congressional betters EVER about to be in that situation. No one leading the debate in this country has a job they can't ask off from, has a car they pray will start every morning, has a thousand miles to go before the nearest emergency room. If they did, we'd start seeing things in legislative form like mandating post-7 p.m. or pre-8 a.m. doctor's office hours, billions in give-aways for increasing public transportation to and from hospitals, and stronger laws protecting even part-time workers from punishment if they get sick.

The point is... it really doesn't matter if this bill passes or not, these issues aren't being dealt with PERIOD. The travesty in this country is that people at the top love to talk about how great our system is because they don't have the issues that lower income working folks do. And as mentioned above, there will never be a sitting Congressman or Senator that sees this perspective. To them it's a numbers game coupled with a popularity contest judged by the media.

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