While I await the millions of dollars sure to momentarily leap into my bank account soon from being a journalist, I get sick from time to time. Sometimes I get really ill. The State of the American health care system and the status of the economy are so very real. Recently, I became dehydrated and had to go to the hospital. I don’t like to place the blame of anything to any one person or entity, so the following are the facts as it happened to me that night. You decide whether or not we need to fix our health care system.
I was feeling weak in my body. I mean, not incapable but I a feeling I knew once before. As the hours rolled, this lethargic feeling took over. I knew that I would be in the need of what is termed “medical attention.” Then I began to think, “this will be another bill!” I simply cannot afford another bill. (Am I on your street with that comment?) Bill Clinton was and is enough “Bill” that I can stomach at this point. Pun intended. However, my mother talked me into going to the hospital. She was concerned that more could go wrong if I don’t attack “the obvious.” If I had to consider going, then I probably should go. So I agreed. She took me to Atlanta’s famous hospital. Now, let me break here to tell you if you haven’t been to the place I am about to speak on, Thank God every day for that! For those who have an inkling of the place I am about to name, then you already know. So, I arrive at the infamous Grady Hospital. Go ahead. Click on the link! That’s right. The current-day Cook Hospital of Chicago from back in the day or Norfolk General Hospital (the name has since changed) of Norfolk, VA.
Before I continue I have to reveal some things about me to you – I am spoiled and a mama’s boy. To my defense, my mom is also spoiled by me. She receives all the love she gives to me back in the heaviest dosages humanly possible. My mom is also an advocate for excellent customer service and to top it off she doesn’t take any mess. Now that you know that get ready for the following events. We arrive around 7:30 – yeah, that’s a safe guess. Things actually move for the first two hours. Soon, we were registered we even started my blood work and everything. And now, the part where millions of Americans have to face the same thing. While in registration the lady asks, “Do you have insurance?” “No,” I replied. I just felt the energy change in that little room. Like a dark cloud came in and started raining on my head. That’s what I honestly felt. For the next 6 hours we waited and watched President Obama address congress. Finally, at 1:00 A.M., my mother was fed up. She became the black woman you don’t want to deal with, with the staff. She begins to ask questions as only a mama who cares does. She had to go off. She goes to speak with the Supervisor. The other hospital staff are just doing what they are told and, possibly what they think is right. After the Supervisor was forced to address an angry mom, I was seen and my health has since improved.
Now, the facts from the National Coalition on Healthcare:
- Nearly 46 million Americans, or 18 percent of the population under the age of 65, were without health insurance in 2007, the latest government data available.1
- The number of uninsured rose 2.2 million between 2005 and 2006 and has increased by almost 8 million people since 2000.1
- The large majority of the uninsured (80 percent) are native or naturalized citizens.2
- The increase in the number of uninsured in 2006 was focused among working age adults. The percentage of working adults (18 to 64) who had no health coverage climbed from 19.7 percent in 2005 to 20.2 percent in 2006.1 Nearly 1.3 million full-time workers lost their health insurance in 2006.
- Nearly 90 million people – about one-third of the population below the age of 65 spent a portion of either 2006 or 2007 without health coverage.3
- Over 8 in 10 uninsured people come from working families – almost 70 percent from families with one or more full-time workers and 11 percent from families with part-time workers.2
- The percentage of people (workers and dependents) with employment-based health insurance has dropped from 70 percent in 1987 to 62 percent in 2007. This is the lowest level of employment-based insurance coverage in more than a decade.4, 5
- In 2005, nearly 15 percent of employees had no employer-sponsored health coverage available to them, either through their own job or through a family member.6
- In 2007, 37 million workers were uninsured because not all businesses offer health benefits, not all workers qualify for coverage and many employees cannot afford their share of the health insurance premium even when coverage is at their fingertips.1
- The number of uninsured children in 2007 was 8.1 million – or 10.7 percent of all children in the U.S.1
- Young adults (18-to-24 years old) remained the least likely of any age group to have health insurance in 2007 – 28.1 percent of this group did not have health insurance.1
- The percentage and the number of uninsured Hispanics increased to 32.1 percent and 15 million in 2007.1
- Nearly 40 percent of the uninsured population reside in households that earn $50,000 or more.1 A growing number of middle-income families cannot afford health insurance payments even when coverage is offered by their employers.
How many of you lost your insurance when you lost your job? This affects you especially. If you have family. Especially if you have kids! Just because you don’t have insurance does not give the health care facilities to treat you like a second class citizen. It is their duty and your right to be seen and not wait or have a 6 hour plus wait just to get back to a certain place and then another 4 hours wait to see the doctor! When an injustice happens to you, I urge you to write you local media, congressman or woman, and also the hospital! We most no longer sit idly by while we allow this to happen. We must all stand up together. Your health care, Your life! NO health care, No life!
- DeNavas-Walt, C.B. Proctor, and J. Smith. Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007. U.S. Census Bureau., August 2008.
- The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The Uninsured: A Primer, Key Facts About Americans without Health Insurance. October 2006. http://www.kff.org/uninsured/
- Families USA. Wrong Direction: One Out of Three Americans are Uninsured. September 2007. http://familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/wrong-direction.pdf
- The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Employee Health Benefits: 2008 Annual Survey. September 2008. http://
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Number of Uninsured Americans is at an All-Time High. 29 August 2006 http://www.cbpp.org/8-29-06health.pdf.
- Clemens-Cope, Lisa, et al, Changes in Employees’ Health Insurance Coverage, 2001-2005, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, October 2006.