Why Isn't 122 Dead Americans Every Day a National Health Emergency?

Jenny - posted on 10/31/2009 ( 24 moms have responded )

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October 27th, 2009 5:50 PM

Why Isn't 122 Dead Americans Every Day a National Health Emergency?

By Donna Smith



Why does H1N1 call for a Presidential designation as a national emergency while the preventable deaths of 45,000 Americans every year (122 every day) is not?



Swine flu leads the news. You can die from swine flu, or should we say H1N1, even if you have no underlying health conditions. Young people have died, and pregnant women are at risk. People are lining up to be vaccinated. Health professionals are at risk due to poor preparations at some health facilities. As many as 1,000 deaths have occurred due to this flu outbreak. It's scary out there.



But the swine flu is no match for the killing going on at the hands of the for-profit healthcare system in these United States. We bury kids, pregnant moms, babies, teens, young fathers, mid-lifers and older folks too without even batting an eye in the chambers of power in this nation.



Some have termed it the spine flu as they say it is the failure of our leadership to stand up to the money interests promoting and protecting this system. But it is worse than simply failing to stand up to the for-profit insurance industry, the big pharmaceutical companies, the large hospital conglomerates, the medical equipment profiteers and the financial service industry salivating at the prospects of more suffering and more want for healthcare in this nation.



There is no lack of spinal fortitude in this lot of legislators or in the Oval Office. They stand up to the American people just fine. We voted for a man who told us he knows healthcare is a basic human right yet we have a President who is not willing to issue a cease fire in this profit-driven healthcare war upon his own citizens. We swept in with him large numbers of Congressional members who said they got it -- they would stop the carnage at the hands of the broken system.



But we are told to wait. It's hard -- they say -- to get their bipartisan reform done. Blue Dogs might be upset. The Republicans want to protect the free market of death-care, and the Democrats want to stay in office. So they all stand up all right, they stand up for their own self-interests and the death count rises ever higher each day.



Yet, they dribble and dawdle and bumble and act as though it's just too damned difficult to immediately stop the losses. Extend Medicare like coverage to all, right now, and then haggle about the details later boys and girls.



Issue an executive order, President Obama. Declare a national emergency. No one else denied care when it is available. Save the lives of as many as you can right now. It could be that simple. Really.



It is a national health emergency in this nation when pregnant 24-year-olds like Jenny Fritts of Indiana are turned away for appropriate care because she doesn't have a way to pay for it and she dies along with her baby. It is a national emergency when teenagers like Nataline Sarkisyan are denied lifesaving treatments until protests grow loud enough to pressure the insurance industry and she dies due to that delay and the need to protest.



So, if the hospital that killed Jenny Fritts had treated her (and her unborn child) and was then worried about the money to cover her care, is that something we can fix? That's an issue we have time to haggle over. But the time to save Jenny came and went. We allowed her to be killed. And because we all know these deaths are happening every single day in every single state in this nation, we are all to be held to account.



The media doesn't help either. They are leading the news with the swine flu fears but completely ignoring the kids and moms and dads and neighbors dying underfoot for a lack of healthcare of any kind when they need it. Shameful excuse for journalism in most cases, I'm afraid.



A public health emergency is defined as "an occurrence or imminent threat of an illness or health condition, caused by bioterrism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or novel and highly fatal infectious agent or biological toxin, that poses a substantial risk of a significant number of human fatalities or incidents of permanent or long-term disability. Such illness or health condition includes, but is not limited to, an illness or health condition resulting from a national disaster."



What do we not understand about the appropriate role of our elected and democratic government to protect us from such a threat killing 122 of us every day? As far as I am concerned, the whole lot of them is not fulfilling their legal duties to me or to the rest of the citizens of this nation. They are failing in the most fundamental way to protect for the common welfare and common good of this nation.



Declare the emergency, Mr. President. Back him up, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid. Treat the sick. There is time to fight the payment battle. Healthcare is a basic human right in America.



Donna Smith is a community organizer for the California Nurses Association and National Co-Chair for the Progressive Democrats of America Healthcare Not Warfare campaign.

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Amie - posted on 11/05/2009

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Quoting Jenny:

Chrisitan beleive in a (imaginary) god. That's it. It is not descriptive of their character AT ALL. You call yourself a Christian yet are willing to deny health care to people because of money. Where's the Christian values there exactly? Jesus would be disappointed.


Jenny I've watched you post numerous times about how God is imaginary. It is very rude of you to do so. If you want anyone to take your words seriously you need to stop doing that.



To Christians and any one who does believe in God your replies are offensive. There is no need for them. We all know where you stand but you do not need to debase yourself by being insulting.



You do not know either that Jesus would be disappointed. A relationship with Jesus/God is a personal one. If Jesus is ever disappointed in any of his worshippers they will know it, just as they know in their hearts that he exists.

Amie - posted on 11/03/2009

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Countries that have UHC systems though are paying for health care. We are just paying for it through our tax dollars. Which btw aren't killing us or breaking our bank accounts.

It is a right for all, just as is fire, police, etc. services. It is a slippery slope when you start defining services that are not rights but only for those that can afford it.

Before anyone suggests that fire, police, etc. are not the same think about it. They are there to protect the people at large, as is health care. Health care should be about regular care and check ups to catch anything that is possibly deadly and catch it sooner so it doesn't become overly costly. Fire and Police services work much the same way. They patrol to keep the neighborhoods safe. There are still crimes but it would be much worse if they were not there. There are still fires but there would be more that ran out of control or burned down someone's lively hood or home beyond repair if not for Fire services. Health care is just as important and can be equally compared. If you have access to health care you are more likely to have a healthier life because you are getting regular check ups and preventative care.

It shouldn't be about who can pay the most. If we did that with all public services a lot of people would be hooped. That's not fair or just. If a person can have access to regular check ups instead of just going in when they think something is wrong quality of life and length of life would go up. Canadians on average live 2 years longer than Americans. We do so because we all have access to health care. We aren't a reactive health care system. Our costs are lower our people are healthier because we ALL have access to health care without driving us to the poor house.

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Jenny - posted on 11/05/2009

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I'll try to word things nicer Amie. Although if someone can speak about god as a fact when making a point, I don't see how saying god is imaginary is offensive.



"Frankly if the world was filled with TRUE Christians there would be no need for the government period, but that's not going to happen."



Christa, you should have said then if th world was filled with good people, not Christians. I found it offensive and responded in kind. I do not ever want to try to be Christian and many other people don't either. As I said before, good and Christian are not synonyms. There was no reason to bring it up in the first place.

Amie - posted on 11/05/2009

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Quoting Christa:



Quoting Amie:




Quoting Christa:

Oh Jenny, I know there are good people out there, but this world is also filled with evil people. Frankly if the world was filled with TRUE Christians there would be no need for the government period, but that's not going to happen. So spare me the Canadians are good people and Americans are just selfish a-holes bit.







Nowhere in Jenny's post did I see her say Canadians are good people and Americans are not.








Also just because a person is a true Christian also does not automatically mean they are good people. Every person has a definition of what they think a true Christian is, it is not always a good answer. Religion has been tried before as a way to keep people in check. It didn't work then, I can't see it working in the modern age either.









 






That is why I said TRUE Christians.  TRUE Christians are all good people, though obviously not perfect. 






 






"Religion has been tried before as a way to keep people in check. It didn't work then, I can't see it working in the modern age either."






 






You want to know why it doesn't work? Because of Satan, he is here to tempt those away from God and he does a damn fine job.  That is why I said that ideal would never happen.






 






As far as Jenny's intent her rebuttal proved my point.  I know exactly what she meant






 





Her rebuttal was posted at the exact same time mine was so I had no way of reading it. Unless you think be psychic.



The problem I have with a Christian rule is not only that it won't work as a ruling system but it completely and utterly denies all other people the right to their own religion. That's not right, that's not Christian, it's wrong to force people to join a religion, it is wrong to tout that you know best because you are Christian. There are many religions, many have a God and a Satan, some don't believe in anything, some believe in only God and that Satan is a myth. A religion based system to keep people in check would never work. There is not and will never be enough people to agree on a certain religion for it to work.



Christianity alone has so many sects it'd be a battle just figuring out which one should rule. THAT is why I said everyone has their own definition of what a true Christian is.  It is not just who follows the bible but the fact that there are many bibles used in Christianity and many interpretations of even the same bible.

Jenny - posted on 11/05/2009

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Chrisitan beleive in a (imaginary) god. That's it. It is not descriptive of their character AT ALL. You call yourself a Christian yet are willing to deny health care to people because of money. Where's the Christian values there exactly? Jesus would be disappointed.

Amie - posted on 11/05/2009

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Quoting Christa:

If that's how it works for you good. But our liberal leaders have NEVER been called fiscally responsible and our current leaders are the worst. :-)


What about Clinton? Ya he's a whore but he was a good President on the whole.

Amie - posted on 11/05/2009

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Quoting Christa:

Oh Jenny, I know there are good people out there, but this world is also filled with evil people. Frankly if the world was filled with TRUE Christians there would be no need for the government period, but that's not going to happen. So spare me the Canadians are good people and Americans are just selfish a-holes bit.


Nowhere in Jenny's post did I see her say Canadians are good people and Americans are not.



Also just because a person is a true Christian also does not automatically mean they are good people. Every person has a definition of what they think a true Christian is, it is not always a good answer. Religion has been tried before as a way to keep people in check. It didn't work then, I can't see it working in the modern age either.

Jenny - posted on 11/05/2009

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Well then prove it. Treat your citizens as equals and stop referring to (the majority of) them as fat, lazy, system abusers.



And of course, Christian is not a synonym for good person.

Amie - posted on 11/05/2009

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Um you entirely missed the point of the doctors comment. But that's ok. I've come to accept you can't see things the way I do but at least we can debate civilly, mostly.

Our fiscally responsible people too are, again on the whole, the liberal side. Our conservatives I'm not a huge fan of. Especially in my province. Seems to go in cycles though, last time they were in office was 20-25ish years ago and they made a fiasco of our systems then too.

Jenny - posted on 11/05/2009

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I think it's hard for some people to comprehend that there are good people out there who don't have any ulterior motives. We live in a very jaded society. Sad.

Amie - posted on 11/05/2009

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Christa just because our government and nation has the mentality of helping thy neighbor does not mean we all have the entitlement attitude. Some do but as I've said a few times before, you can't please everybody.

Population is not the issue. Most of our governmental issues are funded federally and dealt with provincially. So while our federal tax dollars are being spent they come back to the provinces and each province doles it out how it's needed. That's on top of our provincial taxes we pay. Plus there's our municipal taxes that our cities use as well as provincial money. It's actually quite complex but it works. I'm not saying it happened over night either. It's taken years to get this far and we're still working on it. The amount of our citizens that don't pay taxes (or get refunded for what they did pay through out the year) is roughly 32%.

We don't live a life of mediocrity either. I'd be willing to bet that my husband and I, our friends and family are better off than many Americans who make the same that we do. We have less out of pocket expense though. We get taxed and through all the tax dollars collected it gets funneled through the varying systems. We have more disposable income because a lot of our basic needs are taken care of for us. The roughly 68% who pay into it help everyone.

It's not just our social programs either, all of our employees, all of our election costs, our tax dollars go towards a lot of things. We elect, on the whole, fiscally responsible people so that plays in hugely to how our system works and continues to work.

As for the doctors it's not just the old who go to work overseas. I've had to switch to a new family doctor twice because my relatively young (30's) doctor went over seas. There have also been instances in my hometown of one clinic running on only one doctor because the rest of her doctors in her practice went overseas. But hey.. they're all out for the money right? That's why they go there and then come back to Canada when they are done their work there.

Amie - posted on 11/05/2009

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Our loan forgiveness programs have been in effect since the mid 90's. It's not put a strain on anything. The liberal party was even able to run us on a surplus for years in the late 90's early 2000's. That's not only with this but all of our social programs that help out our citizens. They managed to lower our taxes too whilst doing this.

The teachers get paid through the Universities. I'm not sure where you were going with that thought Christa. They still get paid by the university. The University's were still getting paid tuition. It's after the fact that loan forgiveness is worked out with the government. Some are automatically enrolled, some apply. Not everyone gets it but it's there.

Also if money was the sole issue with many doctors Canada would be in a really tight spot. As it is we have issues in rural areas, which I've posted about before in DM, but that's mostly because they are undesirable areas as Jenny mentioned. Not only that but there are literally hoards of doctors and professionals who go over seas to third world countries to help out there. The mentality of money being a big motivator is an American thing. It's the American dream that gets purported everywhere. Never mind that it's not a sustainable dream, never mind that the majority of American born won't even be able to achieve that dream but droves of people go for it so let 'em. I'll stay up here in our socialist/capitalist blended country and be happy with what I have. Not only through my own hard work but by the help of neighbors, family, friends and our nation at large. Our dream is for all people to get along and help one another. I'd much rather have that then scores of cash. Even at that Canada has it's fair share of wealthy people too.

Jenny - posted on 11/04/2009

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It's not idealistic at all. There are traits a doctor should have that cannot be taught. I would never be a good doctor no matter how much homework I did or how much I paid for schooling. Doctors/surgeons should be the single highest paid career in the world IMO but I don't think ANYONE needs millions per year. 150K a year is more than reasonable. I also think all post secondary education should be free. I want the most qualified doctors, not the ones who could make the financing work.



Us taxpayers foot the bill to ensure everyone in our country has access to care. We are the largest country in the world but a population of only 30 million so sometimes you have to give extra incentive to ensure the needs of all the citizens are met.

Jenny - posted on 11/04/2009

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I don't know about you but I don't want a doctor who's in it for the money. I suspect my doctor would still healing if she wasn't being paid at all.

I think if salaries were fairly consistant within geographical areas such as North America then you would not have the "brain drain" that occurs. One thing our government does is offers a 25% loan forgiveness per year of service in "undesirable" areas such as the far north. 4 years of work to be debt free is pretty good I think.

Jenny - posted on 11/04/2009

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You know the more I read on this healthcare stuff I keep thinking that Americans must not like each other very much. I do not think of people in dollars and cents. I think of them as fellow animals and I think every human on the planet deserves the right to access health care services. I don't care if you are a consuming, lazy, fat pig (although I don't refer to people this way). I don't care if you are a skydiver, smoker, drug user etc. I mean I have a huge risk of cancer and stroke in my family, should I pay more too? I just want everyone to have access to treatment.



I also want increased education campaigs to curb unhealthy lifestyles. Our government has started issuing tax credits for things like bus passes, bicycles, gym memberships, kids' soccer clubs etc. We have banned smoking everywhere except for your home pretty much, not even allowed in a vehicle if there is a minor inside. I think there are better ways to get people to live healthy than to deny them health care.

Jenny - posted on 11/04/2009

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I agree on the over prescribing being a huge issue. I think though if you ar epaying out of pocket to see a doctor you will not be pleased if their advice is to excercise. You want to leave the office with something physical so you feel you have you rmoney's worth.



I had rheumatic fever when I was 12 and would get deathly ill a few times a year after that. 104 degree fever for a week kind of ill. Every time I went to my doctor she would prescribe antibiotics. I got fed up and requested my tonsils out. After much demanding she finally agreed. I got them out at 16 and haven't been ill like that since.



I've had another doctor though prescribe St' John's Wort when I was experiencing a bout of insomnia. That, excercise and a glass of warm milk before bed. I'm very happy with my current doctor and respect that she gives me a wide variety of treatment options and not just what the drug reps are pushing.



Oh and on the payscale front I found this link with some averages: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/0... Canadian doctors were around 115K/year average. I do not consider that to be a low wage even with the schooling involved.

Amie - posted on 11/04/2009

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I realize that about the reform. /:) I was commenting on only the lawsuits if you didn't notice.

Their malpractice insurance is higher because of how often they (on the whole) get sued down there. Ours are also covered by Medical Protective Association while, by and large. yours are covered privately. Ours also pay hefty fees but are also partly covered by the provincial governments. So it less expense for them. Ours also have less complaints per year though.

If people would stop with the mentality of *I'll sue!* the costs would go down.

As for doctors over prescribing and over testing. They over prescribe because they do get kick backs from pharmaceutical companies for prescribing their drugs. Who gives a flying frig about the patient if I can make some more cash right? That is the mentality I see a lot coming from the states. It is all about the individual and the bottom dollar. It is also a big reason for the differences between what American doctors make versus other countries. There are other reasons as well, some people expect a pill to fix everything, some doctors just want you to shut up and go home, they want to get to the next patient as fast as possible so they make some more money. Not all doctors are like this but if even one is doing it then the next one doesn't matter. There is still over prescribing being done that doesn't need to be.

As for over testing again doctors are bogged down with patients. They want to get them in and out as fast as they can (laziness and bottom dollar at work). So instead of doing a proper medical history they order tests up to wazoo. It's reactive treatment instead of preventative. Most of the time the test could be foregone with just doing a complete history, something the majority of our doctors take the time to do. There are also some doctors who have a stake in the testing since they own the machines that they are prescribing for the patient to get tested on. It is also their fail safe should they get sued.

Amie - posted on 11/03/2009

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Christa it's about motivation. My provincial government has implemented in motion. 30 minutes a day for every citizen. They are not making anyone do this but they are making it easier for people who want to to get involved with others who also want to. It's a collective process. It's easier to work out and be active if you are doing it with others of a like mind. People are less apt to just give up with a support system. They've done that. It's promoted on our t.v., in our schools, our newspapers, over the radio, pretty much every avenue you can think of. Our eldest made up her own In Motion poster and has it hanging in her window for all the neighbors to see. It is not a bad thing for the government to motivate the public. Saying it is an individuals problem is setting a person up to fail. Without the proper support it's unlikely anyone will get anywhere. A person is taking responsibility for themselves by getting involved with like minded people. You can have all the people at home rooting for you and telling you what a good job you're doing. But it is much easier to actually do it and keep doing it if you are doing it along side someone.

Our programs work because we are constantly updating, auditing and watching them. If it doesn't work new plans are brought for to fix it. It is rarely left until it becomes a huge burden. Since you insist on talking about the abusers I want to see the federal statistics that prove it is the rule and not the exception. You may think it's the rule and not the exception but how often have you sat down and talked with every single person in that situation? How often have you looked at all the facts before deciding they are abusing the system?

Traci, about Tort reform. It is sorely needed but it is only a very small fraction of health care costs in the States and in Canada. In the States of all the money spent on health care .46% is spent on malpractice suits. While in Canada .27% is spent. The average per Canadian each year is $4 while in the states it's $16. Our settlements are generally higher BUT Americans file roughly 3 times the amount (on average) than Canadians do. The reform needed is getting people to stop suing for out right ridiculous things. I actually had to look up these statistics because, I'm not kidding, I've only heard of two lawsuits in my entire life in my province. I'm sure there are others but it is not a huge issue.

Amie - posted on 11/03/2009

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Our doctors don't make that little. Even our nurses are paid better than 60K a year. I have no idea where you are getting that number from.

I've said it before every Canadian has the same rights and privileges (in some cases more so) than Americans. The fact that as a nation you are lazy and have the mentality of instant gratification does not mean you should not have access to health care. Maybe if more did you would be able to combat it at a faster rate. More options could be given. It's not just health care though, it's a lot to do with capitalism. The best goods and services cost the most but not everyone can afford them. So they get stuck in a cycle and sometimes their next generation can break it, not always though. Canada has it's own obesity issues too btw. But at least our government is making the effort to deal with it.

There are people who do not pay into our tax system though. Mostly those on welfare or those who do work but are low income. The taxes are taken off each check but they get it all refunded at the end of the year. It's to help THEM so THEIR quality of life is better as is there children. Why is that a bad thing? Why should those who fall on hard times be penalized? I don't want this to turn into a people abuse the system garbage though so please refrain from that. I am not talking about those people, there are those people in EVERY system. Ours here though is getting better with weeding them out. More programs have been created and if you are able bodied you are not put on welfare you are put into the T program. Other provinces may have this system implemented too, I don't know. I don't ask often.

As for the OP has anyone taken into consideration that he declared it an emergency for the simple fact that as declared an emergency you can then go outside the states to get vaccine? You can buy it from other countries then and not have to solely rely on what your own country is able to produce?

Traci - posted on 11/03/2009

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Quoting Christa:

Well I disagree about the national emergency. Those people are dying from all sorts of illnesses, it's their illnesses that are killing them NOT the insurance industries. I don't think healthcare is a right it's a privilege. It is a service that needs to be paid for. Do you think we'd have people going to Med school if when they get out they only made 60K a year. NO! We already have nurse shortage, if legislation isn’t passed correctly we are going to have a doctor shortage, which frankly we already have in General Practice. Someone has to pay these people for all their years of education and service. Healthcare is NOT free and we need to quit expecting it to be so. People need to realize if this is something you want you are going to have to pay for it. Now we can lower those costs, but you can't just force insurance companies to go bankrupt because the president signs an executive order saying they have to treat every illness.

Come on! Many of these people who are dying, did so to themselves. They were obese, or did drugs, or smoked, etc. There are plenty of people out there who are sick by their own doing and now they expect everyone to drop everything and fix them. What happened to personal responsibility? If you don't care enough about your body to take care of it, why the hell should we then bend over backwards to fix YOUR mess?

Now I know there are people out there who are truly sick through no fault of their own and they don't have health insurance because of circumstances that really weren't their fault and THOSE are the people we need to focus on helping. We need to lower the costs and allow people to take care of themselves.

P.S. I don't agree with the swine flu being declared a national emergency either. It has killed less then the seasonal flu does every year.



I'd also like to add that there is a major shortage in OBGYNs in America.  In IL, for example, the OBGYNS are leaving in droves.  They can't afford the malpractice insurance.  You would think that would be a concern in this debate...ridiculous lawsuits and tort reform.  But, it's not....not when the trial lawyers are instrumental in funding the DNC and their canidates.



 



http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/200...



 



They've taken care of the unions, now it's time to take care of their other buddies who elected them, the trial lawyers.  So much for change.



 



 



 

Jenny - posted on 11/03/2009

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I fully agree Dana. If you don't have access to health care you can DIE. That is what I would call a right.



The fact that the US is the only first world country to not provide access to health care for all of it's citizens is shameful. It's time to stop being so damn selfish and take care of your fellow citizens.

Dana - posted on 11/03/2009

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I just can't honestly believe that anyone would call healthcare a privilege and not a right. Seriously Christa, as a christian, could you really say something like that in front of Jesus?



As far as saying that insurance companies may go bankrupt because they would have to treat every illness. I pay tons of money into insurance, I DAMN well better get EVERY ailment treated. That's the point of having insurance. I'm also curious, do you eat all organic, do you eat processed foods? Or do you make everything from scratch with organic foods? Do you exercise daily? If not then you and your family contribute to the sickness in society also. We can't start picking apart everyone's lifestyle. We would ALL fail.



I'm not trying to attack you, I'm just honestly surprised by these statements.

Dana - posted on 11/03/2009

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Thank you, Jenny for posting this. It's exactly how I feel. I don't understand the hold up from ANY side. All we're getting is crap so far.

ME - posted on 11/01/2009

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I've been wondering the same thing for a few years now! I would really love to have the president declare the health care situation a national emergency! Not for political reasons, but because it IS!!!!!

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