I was much distressed, last night, by the 60 Minutes report, "On the Road With the Health Wagon." Not that I had been previously unaware, conceptually, of some states' rejection of federal money for health care in the form of the Medicaid extension offered by the Affordable Care Act. The hatred of Obama and his policies is apparently so great that Republican Governors and Republican state governments would rather see their constituents die than join in the effort to provide them with health care. The 60 Minutes report brought home that this was a literal--and by no means exaggerated--truth.
If you missed it, try that link. You can't fail but be awed by the spirit of the two young women who have chosen to dedicate their lives to bringing some minimal level of health care to those most in need in the poverty-stricken hills of Appalachia. This is America? Where our fellow human beings are allowed to suffer from disease and neglect, some of them to die unnecessarily at an early age, simply because politicians are too proud, too angry, too ideologically blinded to accept help on their behalf from a source that they, the politicians, despise? Where the costs of health care are compounded by the absence of simple, inexpensive preventative action? Where patients arrive, already "train wrecks", in the words of one of the two extraordinary women who drive the "health wagon" to even the most remote of areas and bring not only medical attention but also a good measure of concern and love.
There are those, I know, who will tout the Health Wagon as a fine example of the power of the "public sector." They should think again. Funded only to one-third of its costs by grants from public sources, the organization barely scrapes together what it needs to function on a shoestring. The "wagon" itself is a wreck--although the report indicated that enough money has been raised to purchase a new one. There are many people, many areas, surely, that still go unattended or underserved. Basic health care should not be a charity in a country where the wealthy flourish and build unseemly fortunes; it should be, as it is in every other advanced nation, a simple right.
In anticipation of our enlightenment as a nation, I hope you might consider joining me in making a donation here.