By Edwin Crayton/Opinion
When you’re lying on a bed sick, you’re not a Democrat or a Republican. You’re not a red state resident or blue state resident. You’re just a human being in need of good medical help. And that’s the way we as moral beings should see you. Neither race, nor politics or class or income, nor anything should determine whether you get the help you need. That is the promise of a free society: compassion for all. But it’s sadly, not the reality in America today.
The truth is your race, class and income do in fact determine the quality of healthcare you get or whether you get healthcare at all. Polls show in fact that one of the main reasons poor people—particularly poor minorities— tend to die of diseases like cancer is because they tend to see a doctor later than those who are better off and that means that by the time they seek medical help, it’s often too late. An article in the December 29, 2015 issue of the online version of the Washington Post said, “In the United States, access to primary care seems to be a matter of who can afford it. Poor children are much less likely than rich children to see a doctor or a dentist for outpatient treatment or checkups.” In short money is in fact determining who lives or dies in some cases. That kind of dreary fact is one of the things that drove concerned citizens nationwide and their political leaders to create affordable healthcare legislation.
Although I disagreed with President Obama on many moral issues such as his support for abortion and homosexuality marriage. ( I am pro-life, anti-abortion and as a Christian, I agree with the Bible that homosexuality is a sin and therefore should not be normalized, just as no sin should be.) However, I did agree with him on one moral issue: we in this country need affordable healthcare. I disagree with those who say it’s socialism to want to provide affordable healthcare for people. It’s not socialism to want to help people stay healthy and to want to make sure that who you are doesn’t determine whether you get decent healthcare or more drastically, whether you get to live or die. Not only is that Christian, but instead of being socialist, it’s as American as apple pie to me. Unfortunately, in Washington right now, there are many in both parties who don’t see it quite this way. The issue of healthcare reform is to them just another political football to kick around. And I believe both parties are guilty. When either party suggests something regarding healthcare, the other party seems determined to fight it. It’s almost as if they have agreed to oppose whatever idea the other suggests in order to spite them. The trouble with that kind of senseless strategy is that the public is paying for such nasty politics with its life, literally. Both parties need to calm down, realize the election is over and work on a good healthcare reform plan that works in a bipartisan way.
Healthcare is not about political issues. It’s about your mom getting a mammogram she needs. It’s about your husband or son getting a cancer exam that catches the problem in the earliest stage when it can be dealt with effectively. It’s about not losing a relative or friend simply because he or she could not afford to seek help. Denying people access to healthcare by denying real human beings the ability to afford medical help is criminal. That’s why as the Republicans come up with their version of healthcare reform it’s important that we as citizens give them input on what we expect this reform to look like. Write letters, attend public meetings, but make your voice heard. Whether we are on the right or left politically, we all need to get involved. Tell your political leader to work with the other party to create a good plan that works. Someone dying just because they don’t have money should never be acceptable to any of us. Healthcare reform should not be designed to win elections. It should be designed to heal people. All the people.
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