Degrees of Separation

Do you know someone in Door County who rolls the dice rather than buying health insurance? A family who finds the cost of insurance so prohibitive that they’ll risk a health crisis and bite the bullet if it occurs?

Maybe you know someone who purchases health insurance but to keep the cost reasonable opts for a deductible so high that the policy is only useful for a catastrophic health event.

Can you give the name of anyone who has done battle with an insurance company over coverage, and ultimately lost?

Or can you come up with the name of someone without insurance because they were laid off from their job?

Perhaps you know someone whose family doctor is an emergency room, as they can’t afford health insurance and can’t afford to pay for a visit to a doctor’s office.

Do you know of anyone who has declared bankruptcy because of a major health problem that ultimately caused their insurance company to cancel their policy?

Maybe you know of someone with cancer but without insurance. To help out, friends held a benefit to raise money. Maybe you have attended one of these events.

Some people travel to Canada or Mexico to save money filling pharmaceutical prescriptions. Do you know any of them?

And some people who face major surgery travel abroad because then the procedure is more affordable, even considering travel expenses. Do you know anyone who has taken such a trip?

But equally important, do you know anyone from Canada?

We are warned by pharmaceutical companies, HMOs, the AMA, and by politicians who solicit campaign donations, that national healthcare in this country will result in long waits and arbitrarily assigned physicians.

If you know someone who lives in Canada, ask them about their healthcare.

I did. One of my relatives has a special friend who for many years was married to a Canadian and lived in that country. When I asked about her experience as a mother with children dealing with the system, she said that her family received excellent medical care. She had no problems with long waits or with incompetent physicians.

Do those families in this country without insurance, those families who have to rely on emergency rooms for healthcare, worry that they might have long waits or that they may be unable to hand pick their physician, if our country adopts national healthcare?

I know Kevin Bacon. Not the famous Kevin Bacon, but one who was an educator, like me, and who had good heath insurance as a benefit. Because of the Qualified Economic Offer law in Wisconsin, public school teachers here during past years have found that most of the allowable cost of living pay increase that they received never appears on their paycheck because it is absorbed by increased insurance costs.

United States Senators and Representatives, the ones who can move our country in the direction of national healthcare, have excellent insurance as a benefit also. But they don’t have to worry about a QEO; their concern is re-election and campaign contributions.

The famous Kevin Bacon probably doesn’t worry about insurance either. He makes a great deal more money the Kevin Bacon that I know.

I wonder how many people in Door County can count the degrees of separation between their present good health and the medical disaster that might befall them, because we are a nation that fails to provide all of its citizens with affordable healthcare. I wonder how many people in this county are intimately acquainted with someone who has no health insurance, because every time they look into a mirror they see that person.