Health care is a problem to deal with

By Kevin Lyons

National health care was a huge issue in last year’s presidential election, especially after 12 years of trickle-down economics put a good number of Americans out of work.

No job, no insurance, no dice is the policy in many American hospitals. That’s a comforting thought for someone in need of medical attention, as if having no income wasn’t bad enough.

Here’s hoping this issue gets attention immediately. So far, special interest groups have got Bill Clinton preparing an immediate attack on another national scourge early on—unborn children. Let’s deal with the real problems first. Sometimes we don’t hear the cries of the real victims and those with the clout get served first.

I talked to a guy over the semester break and he shared his thoughts on health care in the good ‘ol U.S.A.

I’ll call him Chris because that’s his name. Chris was abandoned at age four. He spent the next 14 years of his life in and out of state institutions and orphanages, but he’s not bitter about the tragedies in his life.

Chris will soon be 20. He’s had a problem with his stomach since he was 13. He developed ulcers during his adolescence, and they’ve been tearing up his insides ever since. He was eligible for medical treatment until he turned 18. As a ward of the state, the government paid for his medical expenses, but now that Chris is over 18 he’s on his own.

Chris lives in a small industrial town in Indiana. Times are tough in this town, as they are in hundreds of towns just like it all over the country.

He was able to get on his feet for a while by starting up a power washing business. Chris got a few contracts with the Amoco refinery down the street. After a nasty turn of events he lost the business. Now, he’s staying with a friend spending most of his days in bed battling stomach pains.

Chris has no insurance so he has to grin and bear the pain of his illness. He hasn’t been able to eat, sometimes not for a few days. Chris figures it would cost about $13,000 to take care of his medical problem.

He said the only way he can get help is if he starts vomiting blood and gets admitted into an emergency room.

That situation happened about a year ago. A doctor had to cauterize about one-third of his stomach.

Boo-hoo, right? Maybe. I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of being a bleeding heart and I’m far from a liberal, but this health care thing is a lot more than politics. It seems like a simple question of basic human dignity.

“Sorry kid, you’re on your own. Welcome to the U.S.A. Maybe, you’ll get lucky and start hackin’ up blood again.” What else are you supposed to say to this guy?

Chris isn’t a shiftless lazy bum, a criminal, a loafer or any other label we can tag on someone so we can ignore them. He’s a kid who needs a doctor and can’t get help.

I’m pretty sure if you dig way back about 200 years that this country was founded on a few fundamental Christian principles. It’s pretty tough to tell anymore.

I think that by looking at the way a society treats its children, its poor and its afflicted that you should get a pretty good picture of that society. How do you think we’re doing?

It’s a moral imperative that national health care be addressed now instead of figuring out ways to make it easier for folks to kill unborn babies.