Universal Health Care: The Health and Wellness of Our Entire Country Is At Stake. What are you going to do about it?

BlogHer Original Post

I'm a little frustrated about not hearing more concrete answers from the presidential candidates on the health-care crisis in America. Let me clarify that; I am hearing a lot about how bad the "crisis" is, what I'm not hearing is how we are going to "fix" it. Why is that?

Statistics from the NCHC...

Forty-seven million Americans, or 16% of our population is uninsured.

Over 8 out of every 10 uninsured person is from a working family. (70% of those are from families where one or more are working a full-time job, and 11% from families working part-time jobs). These are NOT lazy people who just want a "free ride", these are hard working American families.

John Edwards explains this well in a speech he made yesterday in New Hampshire...

For more than 20 years, Democrats have talked about universal health care. And for more than 20 years, we've gotten nowhere, because lobbyists for the big insurance companies, drug companies and HMOs spent millions to block real reform. Instead, they've grudgingly allowed incremental measures that do nothing but tinker around the edges -- or worse, they've hijacked reform to improve their own bottom line. So today, more Americans go without health care than ever before. Instead of prescription drug reform that brought down the cost of drugs, the lobbyists for the big drug companies got us a prescription drug bill that boosts drug company profits but doesn't cut patient costs.

And then he continues his speech, with his plan...

I have a bold plan to finally guarantee true universal health care for every single American and cut health care costs for everyone. My plan will require everyone -- business, government and individuals -- to contribute something to reach universal coverage. And I am honest about the cost: $90 to $120 billion a year, and I'll pay for it by repealing the Bush tax cuts for families above $200,000. If we end the game in Washington, we can finally have a health care system that treats the health of all our people with equal worth.

Personally, I give John Edwards a lot of credit for being honest, and not trying to "sugarcoat" the reality of this situation. I give him credit for telling the "truth", a word many politicians have become greatly unfamiliar with.

I wonder though...Is the real problem whether or not politicians can "tell" the truth, or whether or not the American people can "handle" the truth? I don't mean that in a negative way, what I mean is...Will we be able to "handle" it all the way to the voting booth? Words are a wonderful thing, but action is what is needed here. And how many people still don't even vote in this country?

Here are some interesting statistics about women voters, from an article titled "Why Millions of Women Don't Vote"...

In the last presidential election, 8 million women registered but did not vote; another 36 million potential female voters were not registered at all, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Unmarried women are the fastest growing major demographic group and represent the largest potential group of new voters, according to "The State of Unmarried America," an annual report released on June 29 by Washington-based Women's Voices Women Vote.

But many of their votes aren't there to be counted. Of the 49.5 million single, separated, divorced or widowed women in the United States, 18 million are unregistered and 5 million are registered but don't vote.

If women could just harness their collective voting power, they could be the majority in our government, they could be the third party of this country.

I know, I know, I'm a BlogHer Health & Wellness contributing editor...Why am I going all "political" on you? Just indulge me for a moment. It's because, the Health and Wellness of our entire country is at stake here, and no amount of political wrangling (even truthful, honest wrangling) is going to change that. So, who CAN change that? The answer is simple...YOU CAN. Get to know the candidates, and vote for the one YOU think will be best for our country. (For the record...I'm in no way promoting John Edwards, I simply used his speech as an example for this post).

"Politics is boring, frustrating, and gives me high blood pressure", you say? I know, me too. But even if we ignore it, it won't go away. So, if you can't beat-em, join-em. There is a great little site that has made it so much easier for us to compare the candidates, and understand the issues. It's called ExpertVoter.org - A video guide to the 2008 presidential candidates. Each candidate (republican and democrat) is listed down the side of the page, and each issue across the top. All you need to do is click and watch the video of the candidate in their own words talking about what his/her policy will be on that issue if elected. See how easy that is? Really...Go try it.

So where was I? Oh yes...Universal Health Care, we've also heard it referred to as "socialized medicine" -- The truth is, it doesn't matter what we call it, but 47 million people are uninsured in this country, and something has got to be done about it. I don't pretend to have the answers, but I know we will never find the answers if we just put our collective heads in the sand.

Now for my plan, simple yet effective...Catherine's three step program to voting in the 2008 presidential election:

1. CARE

2. GET INFORMED

3. VOTE

And, if you're up to it...

4. Spread the word to your friends and family, and tell them how important the 2008 election is to our country. Let's not drop the ball on this one.

Let's check in with other BlogHers blogging about this important issue...

Contributing editor Kim Pearson wrote about the health care crisis...

BlogHer '07 closing keynote speaker Elizabeth Edwards talked about the power of stories in the blogosphere and in public discourse. There are some powerful stories on the BlogHer media rolls that not only demonstrate the need for health-care reform, but also the need to question the way in which health-care stories are framed in public policy and the media.

Political contributing editor Morra Aarons wrote about "Our Broken Health Care System"...

As we all get ready to start our New Year's diets and vow to live healthier, it's important to think about how America's health care system figures into our nation's health. Echidne of the Snakes has an excellent post highlighting our gluttonous, bloated, in-need- of-a-detox healthcare system.

Our other BlogHer contributing editor Dana Tuszke wrote about health care as a "hot button" issue for the 2008 election...

Health care is potentially the number one problem and concern in our country. Millions of families and children and elderly, are without basic health insurance.

The plan created by Hillary Clinton in 1993 seemed like a sure thing, able to pass through the Democratic-controlled Congress, but conservatives and libertarians, and the insurance industry criticzed Clinton's "Health Security" plan, claiming it was overly bureaucratic and restricted patient choice.

Health and Wellness contributing editor Denise wrote about uninsured children...

Last week I discovered my daughter no longer had dental insurance. I discovered this when what I thought was her insurance company denied a $600 claim for dental work this year.

Denise also did "State of the Union: Healthcare"...

I am not a political blogger, let's just get that out of the way right now. However, I do know a political topic that people are passionate about when I see one.

I found a good bit of passion when I went looking for women who blogged about the healthcare initiatives addressed in President Bush's State of the Union address.

Kay from Covering Florida wrote...

Imagine the great healthcare our politicians receive. Somehow I do not think a single one of them would be happy about spending a ridiculous amount of time to get an insurance company’s approval for acne medication. Imagine what the healthcare system will be like in another 5 years.

And check out PunditMom on political influence...

I know you might be thinking that making a donation of $27 to a candidate isn't going to have much sway when it comes to getting our voices heard on health care and other issues we care about. But if we band together and select candidates we want to support and give in a "bundle," that's where we can start to have some clout.

Are you blogging about this issue also? Or do you have an opinion about the health care crisis in our country? I hope you'll tell me in comments, thanks.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
also at Women 4 Hope and Informed Voters

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