I’ve always loved the holiday season. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are truly some of my favorite times of the year, but they bring about a curious blend of emotions. Whether it’s being thankful for what I have, the joy of sharing my good fortune with those less fortunate, the reflection on the past or the hope of the future, this season uniquely awakens my soul!
This year is unique for the country in many ways, as we haven’t been challenged like this for quite some time. We find ourselves with a troubled economy, a debt unprecedented in our country’s history and, even more troubling, serious questions about the future we face. We are a country at war in two different theatres, facing an enemy who looks just like any other person walking down the street! We have political leadership that is disappointing, all bent on their own ideologies rather than the good of the country! While we face potentially monumental changes to our way of life, I would like to focus on the health care debate.
One of the things I have learned in my time here on CG13 is that we all have differing beliefs, desires and goals for our country’s future. We may differ in our approaches, but I have never–not even for a second–doubted the love we all have for our country, that we all share a desire to see it continue as the beacon of freedom in the world. Many have shared a certain amount of personal information here, but I’ve been more cautious in what I shared. It isn’t so much concern that people would know things about me as it is the nature of who I am. The current health care debate has caused me to rethink my position, so I would like to share with you all my reason for opposing the current reform package.
I was eleven years old in 1967, when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. In retrospect, as much as I’d like to think I understood the ramifications of that diagnosis, I really didn’t have a clue! Back then, there were really no options for treatment for women with breast cancer. There was one treatment, a radical mastectomy and radiation treatments. For those of you who have never seen the results of such therapy, I hope with all of my heart you never in your life have to experience it. To make a not so long story short, two years later, my mother was admitted to the hospital … and she didn’t come out alive. We were informed straight up that she was not going to survive her battle with this dreaded disease! It was, to say the least, a dreadful experience! But as the three short weeks before her death progressed, the effects of the morphine they used to ease her pain made her oblivious to our presence! At the age of thirteen, I became indifferent to the daily trips to the hospital, since they were, as I came to realize, nothing more than a death watch. I still remember vividly the evening that we returned from a hospital visit and I received the phone call that my mother had passed away. I was told by my aunt, my mother’s sister, that I needed to call someone so they could be there when they called my father to inform him of my mother’s death. I really didn’t know who to call, so I phoned my mother’s best friends. In what I guess was a matter of fact tone I explained the situation and said that I needed them to come as soon as possible. It is amazing how little you reflect on someone else’s pain when you are thirteen! They came, and remained silent as my father received the call. I mean, really, what can you say at that point in time? I never shed a tear for my mother’s passing, and to this day the only explanation I can come up with is that her pain finally stopped, and that death finally put her at peace.
I want you to understand that I am not writing this as a plea for sympathy; I’ve gotten far past that stage in the last 40 years! The reason I am posting this is to allow you to understand why I am so vehemently opposed to this current reform package. You see, folks, I have watched through the years as technology and medicine have improved to the point that breast cancer is no longer a death sentence to women! As a matter of fact, pick any disease, from athlete’s foot to AIDS, and the results are often the same. We have come so far in our diagnostic and treatment regimens over the past forty years, and none of it would have been possible without the world’s greatest health care system–the one we currently enjoy! Does it have flaws? Of course it does! Nothing done by humans is without flaw. Can we do better? I believe we absolutely can, and this is due to my “glass half full” outlook on life! My biggest concern is that once we put a nameless, faceless bureaucrat in charge of our care, in the name of cost savings, the human face of health care will disappear! This fact has been borne out in many of the socialized systems around the world.
My question is: Will we continue down the path that assures us of the best hope for future cures, or will we simply settle for second best?
Thank you. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and may God bless you!