While the debate on health care reform ranges on, Democrats and Republicans are taking opposing sides. Democrats want a government-run health care while Republicans are for state-moderated health care policies. In between these two stances, we have one overdue reform that must be addressed if at all the founding American spirit is still alive. This singular reform requires no sides, no political will or economic back up. It only needs us to be human.
Americans with pre-existing conditions, especially of terminal diseases like cancer, diabetes, Aids, heart complications etc, have been bared from accessing medical coverage in the last three decades (George, 2007). The few insurance covers available for them are so expensive that, when coupled with their ever-rising and perpetual medical bills accrued when managing the conditions, the covers are impractical and exploitative. The very citizens, whose love for the nation endures, the ones we walk alongside on the streets, are being denied medical cover just because they were unlucky enough to get terminal diseases. This are our fathers, mothers, brother, sisters, sons and daughters.
It is time that Congress revoked the spirit of individualism, the spirit of the dead burying their dead, and revives the very spirit of unity that was the foundation on which our nation took shape. America is defined by unity, by nationalism and by virtues of equality. Congress should, as urgently as yesterday, concur in ending the barriers that deny coverage to terminally sick Americans who are in need of medical assistance.
This is not about costs of healthcare, it is not even about state control of a vibrant industry, it is not about doctors and health plans’ security, it is not about jobs and investments, it is about being human. A window surviving on a cent-worth salary to bring up her four children may never access medical coverage in her youthful life. However, when the children grow up, they may decide to reward her love and devotion with a medical cover, only that by that time she has already been diagnosed with cancer. Today, such a woman, a hero to the American economy, one who shares in the responsibility of building the nation, paying taxes and modeling the lives of American youths, is left by the sidelines because she was foolish enough not to get medical cover before developing cancerous cells. Is that Americanism? She represents a million and one patriots of this nation who cannot access medical cover because of preexisting conditions at the time when they can afford such a cover (George, 2007).
Congress can formulate genius policies to correct this injustice and inhuman situation. For instance one such policy can be formulated as, “The law shall deem any denial of medical cover to an interested party as discrimination. To cater for additional risks in covering persons with preexisting conditions, the premiums must not also be increased beyond those of persons without pre-existing conditions. It shall however be legal to reduce the amounts payable to claims made by persons with preexisting conditions”.
Teddy Roosevelt called for reforms because there was something innate in being American. Something brotherly, something borne of consciousness to do good, something that makes us the single greatest nation on earth. Almost all facets of US health care reform cannot wait, but this one must not wait. Abolishing the barriers that discriminate our sick loved ones from medical coverage is something American, irrespective of our Democrat or Republican orientation.