Universal Health Care in the U.S.

By Clete Delvaux, Green Bay

Here are some sobering thoughts gathered from the introduction of T. R. Reid’s 2009 book The Healing of America.

“Government and academic studies report that more than 20,000 die in the prime of life each year from medical problems that could be treated, because they can’t afford to see a doctor…. That doesn’t happen in any other developed country. Hundreds of thousands of Americans go bankrupt every year because of medical bills. That doesn’t happen in any other developed country either.” Now you might say that 2009 was more than ten years ago. Do you think things have changed in 2020? Not on your life!

Another source says that in the United States system of health care, 160 million or roughly half the population receives their medical insurance through their job. The Covid 19 pandemic has resulted in a tidal wave of job layoffs which could mean that up to 43 million workers could lose their health insurance. That won’t happen in any other developed country either, for they all have some form of universal health insurance. Reid in his ensuing chapters looks at the health care systems of these other developed countries. They all differ in what they offer their citizens, but every citizen is guaranteed health care.

Reid continues, “Efforts to change the [U.S. health] system tend to be derailed by arguments about ‘big government’ or ‘free enterprise’ or ‘socialism.’” Another factor I see in the run-up to this year’s presidential election is cost. Even Democrat presidential contender Joe Biden says that we cannot afford a universal health system! How is it that the acclaimed richest country in the world cannot afford to provide universal health care for its citizens when the other developed countries on earth do provide medical care for any one of its citizens who gets sick?

The answer is that the other developed countries have answered a basic moral question: Should they guarantee medical treatment to everyone who needs it? Do their citizens have a right to health care? The U.S. has so far ignored this moral question. It’s time for the U.S. to come down on the side of health care for all its citizens.

Top 10 reasons to fill out an Absentee Ballot request and Vote By Mail

By Dr John Warren

 1. It is SAFER with the pandemic around. 

 2. It is easy to have an absentee ballot mailed to your house. (go to https://MyVote.wi.gov/)

 3. You do not have to worry about long lines, bad weather and same day voting hassles. (Think April only worse)

 4. It IS safer with the pandemic around.

 5. You and a friend can witness each other’s ballots and send them in prior to the election.

 6. You do not need to wake up early on election day, shave or put makeup on, or find a parking space.

 7. It is safer with COVID-19 around. 

 8. You do not need to worry about rushing after a long day of work to get to polling place on time to vote

 9. You do not need to be worried about being kicked off the registered voter lists.

10. It IS SAFER with the PANDEMIC around!

One doctor’s perspective on COVID-19

By Dr. John Warren, Green Bay

We are all very tired of hearing and worrying about COVID-19 and are ready to have our lives return to normal as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we cannot wish this virus away. No one can predict the future, however physicians and scientists expect this virus to be around until an effective vaccine is developed. It clearly is not a “flu” virus as noted by the already 100,000+ deaths from this virus. 

The death rate is dropping, which is good. Medical doctors are getting better at treating this virus.  The infection rate is variable, obviously helped by the social distancing we all are doing. However, the basic facts persist.  This virus is still active throughout the USA and remains more deadly to older people and those with multiple health issues but may be lethal for anyone, regardless of age and health. 

Choosing lower risk activities when those options are available is the best choice for everyone.  This will be especially important this winter when we all congregate indoors again. No one expects the virus to disappear this winter. Voting absentee (Voting By Mail) is clearly a safer, lower risk, option for everyone.  We are fortunate to have this option in our state.  Please use it. 

Dr. John Warren

Generation of Opportunity

Generation of Opportunity

Paul Bartlett,  Allouez, WI

My wife and I are in our young 70’s and are fortunate to have been born into the generation of opportunity. With a little ambition, our futures were rosy. College tuition was generally well within reach; housing costs (own or rent) were affordable; unemployment was low; opportunity abounded.

We were not the generation of privilege, but the working class generation of opportunity. We were the children of the greatest generation. My dad and my wife’s dad served in WWII and made our futures possible.

How things have changed. The national economy and stock market have sucked-up all of this president’s attention and carved out my generation as non productive and marginally valuable.

Today, America’s seniors have become the expendable generation. Look no further than America’s senior group housing — a breeding ground for COVID19 — and a killing field. In many hospitals and nursing homes, senior COVID19 patients are separated and isolated, many left alone to die.

How sad. My generation created the opportunity for all that followed. This is a national disgrace. And the buck stops at The White House.

One story of why we need the ACA

From J. Brown, Green Bay, WI

I would like to take a moment to tell you about something that happened in my life recently and how a government program helped my family in the months since.

In December my mother suffered an aneurysm at the pre-school where she worked in North Carolina. She was rushed to the nearest hospital and then airlifted to a top-tier hospital in Charlotte. The medical professionals there performed surgeries and procedures in order to decrease the amount of blood on the brain and decrease the swelling. They provided the highest level of care to her for the next 7 days until my father made the difficult decision to allow her to move on from this world.

I was able to be there when she passed away and had the opportunity to speak about her life at her memorial. So many people who knew her showed their love to me. My mother’s passing left a void in our family and in the community. I’m taking it one day at a time and holding on to the many good memories that I have of her.

As you can imagine, the costs of the medical care my mother received were very high. She didn’t have health insurance through the church that ran the pre-school where she worked. My father is a self-employed tile installer and never had health insurance through his business.

My father is a conservative Republican and my mother voted the same way he did even though she was a registered Democrat. Neither one of them wanted to get health insurance through the government program created by the Affordable Care Act, which is often referred to as Obamacare.

However, they signed up in late 2017 in order to avoid the penalty. They paid a total of about $2.50 per month for coverage. Their decision to get coverage through the government saved my family from financial ruin. The costs of my mother’s hospitalization would’ve been around $150,000 without insurance. Instead, my father has been billed around $2,900. Donations from family and friends will be able to cover most of that.

Our family is all too familiar with how medical bills can burden a family. In 1996, my mother had thyroid cancer, which she overcame. My father is still paying off the bills that came while my mother was in the hospital back then. Those bills made it difficult for my parents to pay the mortgage, buy vehicles, put gas in the car, pay for food, and cover the many expenses that families have. Sending me and siblings to college was out of the question because the money just wasn’t there. Those bills made all of our lives much more difficult and put a lot of stress on my parents.

Without the health insurance that my parents got because of the Affordable Care Act the rest of my father’s life would’ve been much more difficult. He could’ve lost everything or spent the rest of his life deeply in debt because of the medical bills. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act my father will be able to move into the next phase of his life without the crushing debt he would’ve had without insurance.

For that reason and many more I will continue to support progressive candidates and causes. The policies that we as Democrats fight to advance are important and worth fighting for because of how they help improve this country and the lives of Americans from coast to coast.