To the Editor: Health care system should value people over profits
Written by Heather Sloane   
Friday, 09 October 2009 08:34
I want to pay tribute to Ted Kennedy.  As a social worker in health care settings for many years, Kennedy's name was on every piece of legislation that I watched first-hand benefiting working families and the vulnerable.  
Health care meant so much to Kennedy because he knew how much it means to us, the regular folks just trying to get by.  Our neighbors can't afford premiums and the co-pays.  We don't stay home from work when we should because we are worried about bills.  
Hospitalization, even with insurance, causes months and years of debt.  It is time to make health care a right and not a privilege.   We shouldn't have to worry about how we are going to pay for the doctor, medicine and needed medical treatment.  It benefits us all to take care of each other.  Insurance will not stop you from getting swine flu but helping to provide good basic health care to your neighbor will. Illness is born out of neglect and doesn't stop at the wealthy man's door.
If profit is the motive in providing health care, it will always lead to denying needed services.  I want to know that the health care system values people over making money. I have been dismayed about the rhetoric about health care reform.  Exaggerated messages about "death panels/councils" have caused people to be so fearful.
I have spent a great deal of my career with people who are dying.   Most people want to die knowing they were loved, that they made an impact on others and their community, and they want to leave without pain and struggle. The only way this happens is with honest discussions with your medical team and your family about dying.  
Instead of frightening my neighbor about systems I don't understand, I would rather talk about the marred health care system we have and seriously start working to make it better.  
It isn't really an issue of conservative or liberal it is about being a good neighbor and protecting the health of the people we love.
Heather Sloane
Bowling Green

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