Sunday is probably one of the most pivotal moments in this health reform debate. The debate is scheduled to begin at about 1pm to determine whether this massive legislation will move forward. However, don’t expect a vote to occur until several hours afterward.
There has been a lot of pressure on the Hill to kill the bill with protesters active outside the Capitol today. But many organizations in support of the legislation have been mobilizing to urge legislators to vote, “Yes.” No matter what either side says, in truth either way the final votes fall, it is going to be close.
I posted previously as to why I believed health reform was necessary but think that it is worth a short recap:
A woman in her thirties with uncontrolled diabetes and her two children lived with a relative in South Carolina. She did not qualify for Medicaid under South Carolina's guidelines because she had not yet been found disabled by the Social Security Administration. Since she had no treating physician, every time her blood sugar went too high or too low, she went to the local emergency room (ER) for treatment. She continually complained to the ER staff that she had a sore on her right foot that would not heal. No one evaluated her for this because they were concerned with getting her blood sugar under control. Every ER visit had notations of her unhealing sores but provided no treatment.
Eventually, she insisted that the doctor look at the worsening sores on her foot. Once the doctor saw her foot, she was immediately admitted and the next day her leg was amputated below the knee. The surgeon could not remove all of the leg that needed to be removed and wanted to wait a few days because it would be too much of a shock to her system. The sores were so bad that even with the amputation, osteomyelitis had set in and before the next surgery could be performed, she died.
Prior to her death, there was a record of 52 ER visits and 14 inpatient visits in 18 months! Neither the hospitals nor the surgeon will be paid for their services, because there was no Medicaid coverage before her death. Access to affordable health care would have enabled her to manage her diabetes, would have saved her life and two children would their mother.
The legislation isn’t perfect, the system isn’t perfect and this may not solve all of our health care issues but this isn’t about legislation or systems or “issues”…it is about people. It is about people who are dying. And I’m willing to accept a partially right “answer” than no answer at all. But that is a decision that each person will have to make for themselves.
Don’t listen to the pundits and experts and legislators, or even me. Make your own decision. Read the bill and call your legislator.