How would you like it if you didn’t have health insurance? How would you feel if you couldn’t get the health care you needed because you couldn’t afford it? Although most of us have health insurance and can get the care we need, it is estimated that almost 50 million Americans have no health insurance at all. Put yourself in their shoes!
In a country as rich as ours, why should any Americans go without health care simply because they cannot afford insurance? Many people who don’t have health insurance have jobs and work hard, but their employers don’t provide health insurance as a benefit. What about the people who have health insurance and lose their job through no fault of their own?
Buying health insurance on your own is simply not affordable for most people. If they become seriously ill and need expensive medical treatment, what should they do? It can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes over $1 million, just to battle a disease like cancer. Think about it! People don’t choose to become seriously ill, but many do.
What about people who have health insurance who get sick and then the insurance company drops them? What about people who have been or are seriously ill, but can’t get health insurance because the insurance companies will not sell policies to them?
There are those who say government should not be involved in health care. Why not? One of the goals of our nation’s Constitution is to “promote the general welfare.” The government has the right, under our Constitution, to provide programs that benefit the citizens of our nation. We have public education, public roads for transportation and programs to make sure our food is safe. We even have some public health care programs now – like Medicaid for people who are economically depressed and Medicare for elderly people. Why should some people be left out?
My family is very fortunate to have great health insurance. Just because we are fortunate doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about people who aren’t. Almost every industrialized nation in the world has some form of universal health care. Here are a few: Norway, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg, France, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, South Korea, Iceland and Israel.
Why don’t we? It’s simply a matter of fairness and caring about our less fortunate fellow citizens. Put yourself in their shoes!
Jennifer Bowles is a seventh-grader at Academy of the Holy Names