Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation
There is nothing very pretty about hurting for health care. And during this season that is supposed to bring so many of us together to celebrate the possibilities for peace and goodwill toward one another, it's almost harder to watch the numbers keep mounting as the U.S. health care system takes no breaks in causing death and financial destruction.
Last week, I had major surgery, and I'm now in the recuperative period. I have insurance so I was able to move forward with needed care, but at the same time I have tortured over the process of converting my coverage to more affordable premiums through the Colorado health insurance exchange set up as part of the Affordable care Act/Obamacare. I have just days left to have follow-up surgical care and needed medications before new coverage may cause delays that could well damage my health. I am frightened for myself, and I am still so sad about those who are losing people to the greed of the system. The whole thing is so very corrupt.
We have so far to go to get ourselves to the place where health care is granted as a matter of human right and public good. Yet, we must move more quickly to get to an improved and expanded Medicare for all for life system if we are to stem the tide of profiteering that threatens every one of us either directly with our own health concerns or indirectly in our extended families and circles of friends and colleagues.
I am so sorry that in the six days since my surgery the numbers kept rising of the health care dead and broke. And something about the whole mess made me think of the Robert Frost poem that forever reminds me of the miles we have yet to go.
As 2013 comes to a close and we'll top 45,000 health care dead as the result of greed and more than 700,000 bankrupt due to medical debt and medical crisis, we need to spend those moments in quiet reflection and then get on with it -- no matter what -- so that next year we can claim real progress with real reductions in these horrific numbers.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
BY ROBERT FROST
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
December 18, 2013 -- Today's count of the health care dead and broke for profit in the U.S.:
The 2013, to date, U.S. medical-financial-
industrial -complex system dead: 43,693
The 2013, to date, U.S. health care system bankrupt: 691,368
** These figures are calculated based on the Harvard University studies on excess deaths in the U.S. due to lack of insurance coverage or the ability to pay for needed health care, and the Harvard University study that calculated the high percentage of personal bankruptcies attributable to medical crisis and debt in the U.S. 123 people die daily due to lack of coverage or cash to pay for care; 1,978 go bankrupt every day due to medical crisis and debt though the majority had insurance at the time their illness or injury occurred. This statistic is also based on the 1.2 million bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and calculating those medically-related bankruptcies from that number.http://www.healthcareforallcolorado.org/endorse_right_to_health_care
Follow Donna "American SiCKO" Smith's blog: http://donnasicko.blogspot.com/
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