December 2009

Do the right thing: Support universal health care

By Galen Larson

On Nov. 15, I attended a meeting about health care put on by a group of concerned citizens. I was disturbed by the poor turnout on such an important topic. The speaker, a doctor from out of state, gave his views on health-care reform. To be fair to him, he gave some positives and negatives, but mostly he spouted a lot of fear of government. I was under the impression that we the people are the government. If not, then we are in a lot more trouble than I realized.

After his comments on the danger of the people being involved in health care, I spoke up and told the group, “Thank you very much for my taxpayer- funded health care for which I pay nothing in premiums and under which I get prescription drugs with a low copay.” I then explained that I am a Korean War veteran. “Well, you deserve those benefits, then,” the doctor told me.

“Sure, I do,” I said, “but what about everyone else? What about the people who supported the war effort at home, built the munitions that we used, waited and worried for their loved ones to come back, even suffered the loss of a husband or son?” He had no answer.

He also told us how bad it would be if we the people used a centralized computer system to contain all of our medical history and such. He said this meant our problems would hang out there for all to see. Well, folks, my health care is on a computer network and I am extremely pleased. I can travel the 50 states and walk into any VA hospital, give them my last four numbers of my Social Security card, and the receptionist within a few minutes has my records. No filling out reams of paperwork at each station. I can get my prescription filled, see a doctor, nurse or specialist, get a prescription — whatever I need. All of this free, never to be canceled, no matter what ailment strikes me. I get all this from your tax dollars and have never heard an unkind remark from you, only praise and thanks for being a veteran. Well, thank you in return.

It is much stated that we veterans fought for freedom. Well, what do we mean by freedom? What kind? I am under the impression that freedom is many things — not only being independent of foreign control, but being free from starvation, abuse, and more. One of those criteria should be the freedom to not have to worry about how you are going to pay for desperately needed treatment for a catastrophic illness without losing your home, savings or peace of mind. That, to me, is part of the freedom I served my country for.

One gentleman at the meeting stated that we should all look in a mirror and see who is responsible. Well, he’s right. How can we look ourselves in the face and go on spending untold trillions for war and killing, and not as a Christian nation spend a paltry sum to bring health to our entire nation? Is this not hypocritical?

In this month of generous giving, dedicated to a modest person who cared about everyone (including the poor, diseased and homeless) and took time and effort to heal the sick, we should be able to throw off our fears and support Universal Health Care. He gave his life — you only have to come up with a few bucks — dollars that might well benefit you in the long run if you or your loved ones are ever sick.

Galen Larson writes from Montezuma County, Colo.