My story: My father is dying of Huntington's disease. Before he dies in 8 to 10 years, he will need anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and drugs that fight dementia and his tremors and convulsions. He'll need multiple brain scans and physical therapy sessions.
Current medical treatments can't save him, but they will give him a few more years before the slow death strips him of his memories, personality and control of his body.
There's a 50 percent chance the same slow motion death awaits me and each of my three siblings. If I ever lose my job I'll become uninsurable, permanently. My sister already lost her insurance.
That means whatever treatment is developed for Huntington's will be unavailable to us. There's simply no way we could afford it. Not only high tech gene therapies or other interventions, but the medications and treatments that exist now that would buy us enough time to see our kids' graduations or weddings, and would give them hope of not suffering their grandfather's fate.
There's a bill that would mean we'd never be rejected for health insurance or have it canceled. Health insurance that could ease our final years, or maybe even save us.
But liberals are refusing to support it. I know there are principles and politics at stake. I know people are tired of being told to shut up and take what's given to them. But in the end, there a thousands of people with Huntington's and millions of people with other serious or terminal illnesses who will never benefit from treatment because they are uninsured. Millions more who are otherwise healthy will die premature or unnecessary deaths because basic health care isn't affordable.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Why We Need Reform
With all the back and forth and frustration over feckless Democrats and obstructionist Republicans, it's easy to forget the ultimate goals of health care reform. One of my favorite political sites, Talking Points Memo, posted a reader's email that serves as a reminder. Here is the key portion, though the whole thing is worth reading.
I'm off to Nana's - it's been a couple weeks, and my laundry is piled up a bit. We'll cheer on the Colts and Saints today, though I suspect the NFL is hoping for a Jets/Vikings Superbowl.