Tuesday, July 10, 2007

i sent a version of this to barack too

Dear Senator Clinton,

I recently saw Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko, in which you come across as a great healthcare hope who sold out to pharmaceutical companies. But I haven’t given up on you, and I hope you haven’t given up on implementing a national healthcare system.

Sicko, which details how private healthcare companies strive to provide customers with the least amount of medical attention in order to maximize profit, was eye-opening because of its intensity, but unfortunately it didn’t tell me much that I didn’t already know or suspect.

I could add plenty of my own anecdotes to the film’s healthcare horror stories. I’m a healthy, fit 30-year-old who has never even had stitches, but last year I was denied an HPV vaccine because my healthcare company deemed me too old, and a few years ago, when I did not have employer-provided healthcare, I was denied individual coverage because I’d seen a therapist after my mom died. To me, therapy is a form of preventative medicine—dealing with emotional issues before they get overwhelming—so it was like being punished for exercising too much.

Last month, my friend Jamie went to France, where she had a wonderful vacation and her boyfriend proposed. On that same giddy night, though, she tripped getting out of the bathtub at their hotel, injured her hand and broke two ribs. At the Paris emergency room, she cringed when asking what her bill might be, since she did not have traveler’s insurance. The bill was zero, the same as it would have been for a French citizen.

While I’m thankful that I have health insurance and hopeful that, if I seriously injure myself, it will be in France or England, there is much that we as Americans can and should do to improve our healthcare situation. In England, we learn in Sicko, doctors are paid more for providing more care—for example, they receive bonuses if their patients’ average blood pressure is low. Americans are terrified of socialism, but providing incentives for good work is the essence of capitalism. Paying doctors not to provide care (as private healthcare organizations do) smacks of communism.

After Jamie returned from France with bandaged ribs, she said, “In 2008, I’m voting for whoever has the best plan for healthcare reform.” I agreed with her, and I hope that person proves to be you.


Cheryl Klein


thelastnoel said...

Jaime is getting married? Cool. Broke two ribs? Not cool. I'm so dying to see sicko. I was disgusted at hearing about a woman who had breast cancer but couldn't get treatment, because it hadn't spread far enough. I guess she needs to be bedridden and near death first.

Cheryl said...

The first half of the movie was so depressing it was physically difficult to sit there and watch it, but once they start talking about healthcare in England, France, Canada, and Cuba, things get a lot more hopeful. You realize that if other countries can do it, so can we (if we get on our government's ass about it).