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Health care is an important subject to all people and it is particularly important to the clients I have represented in Hawaii over the years who have personal injuries or illnesses and must have medical care to get back on their feet and reestablish their lives. Although my clients often have special sources of health care funds like auto insurance or property insurance, the recent debate in Congress made me think about those times when someone needs to go to a doctor and can’t afford to do so. The debate focused a lot on the efficiency of various ways of providing health care, from totally government paid for health care, to just letting the private insurance companies run the program as it is now. I kept wondering how each system handles the person _ a real person with an immediate need for treatment _ who has no source of funds or insurance to pay for treatment. Kids are going untreated right now because of this situation. So as I followed the debate I saw the 31 million of people _ real people _ who had no health insurance and wondered how each plan would help them.

I am a big fan of Lance Armstrong and I follow his health initiatives at Livestrong. They recently posted the following list of reasons why the health insurance reform bill that Congress just passed matters:

Top 5 healthcare

The vast majority of people are not facing a health care crisis right now. It is easy to ignore problems when we don’t have them right now. But those problems will come to all of us and our families over our lives and when the health problems arise the pain and fear that comes is worse than any other crisis we face in life. Let’s look a little more closely at what Lance Armstrong thinks about the new bill that President Obama signed and is now implementing:

Do we agree with every provision? No. Did we fight for more in some places and less in others? Yes. But at the end of the day, I’m proud to say this bill will have an enormous positive impact on the lives of cancer survivors.

To drive this point home, our team drafted a list of the five elements of health care reform we can all be excited about that are now the law of the land. Will you take a quick look at the Survivor’s Top Five below and share it with your friends and family? It’s important that we all know what’s in this critical new law:

Survivor’s Top Five—Health Care Reform

  1. "Pre-existing" conditions are history. As soon as this year for kids, and for all individuals by 2014, no insurance plan can deny you because you’re fighting cancer or any other illness.
  2. You can’t lose your insurance when you need it most. Within six months, no person can be dropped from their insurance plan when they receive a diagnosis of cancer or any other disease.
  3. An end to "lifetime caps" on your benefits. You won’t have to worry about your benefits "running out" as you’re fighting to take care of yourself or a family member.
  4. More coverage for young adults. Beginning in six months, you can stay on your parents’ coverage up to the age of 26.
  5. Support for clinical trials. By 2014, the law will prohibit new health plans from dropping or limiting coverage just because an individual is enrolled in a clinical trial.

Passage of this bill is historic, but just the beginning. We’re going to continue our work as this law is implemented to push for policies that reduce the prevalence of cancer and support survivors. It’s not always easy or neat, but it’s important work. And with your help—like the more than 100,000 of you who supported our campaigns on health reform—we’ll keep pushing for victories that lead us to a world without cancer.

For parents of young children I can think of no issue that is more important to their future than this one: protecting their health in the future. With the shrinking of the middle class, the elimination of many benefit programs that employers used to offer, the uncertainty of future jobs as entire careers are eliminated frequently, what are the kids of today going to do in the next 50 years when illness and injury strikes? It certainly will strike. That is guaranteed?

I am curious about why the public doesn’t get more involved? It seems that the politicians are creating false protests like the Tea Parties that are populated by either paid or manipulated protesters. We see the polls but do they really reflect well informed opinions? I hope Americans will turn their attention on this very important issue as it is just at the beginning and the insurance industry, fearing a threat to its huge profits and its political dominance on our elected officials at all levels, is pumping billions of dollars into disinformation advertising campaigns to create fear in the public.

What do you think?

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Peter McCann

    Mr. Parsons,

    Your comment on Tea Parties indicates that you are both suffering from and propagating misinformation. I was in DC for the 9/12 protest, and I can tell you that neither I nor any one I spoke with that weekend was manipulated or paid by some imaginary evil force. We are typical citizens who are voicing our concern over the growing efforts of the federal government to control our lives and resources. One really must look no further than the governments abysmal track record of complete failure in entitlement programs to see that these concerns are well founded. The fact that this bill has a few bright spots that are completely overshadowed by the problems it will create is the reason it lacks grassroot support. Those who support government expansion and exponential deficit increases seem to live in fiscal la la land. Do you really believe the President when he claims this legislation will SAVE us a Trillion dollars? Ever stop to wonder why tort reform wasn't included? My wife and I have had conversations with 5 different doctors recently. They are bewildered at being excluded in this process. The fall in medical school applicants (and of the GPAs of the few that are enrolling) is already happening at an alarming rate. The unintended consequences of this train wreck of a bill will hurt us all. The sooner it is repealed and replaced with a bill that will produce positive, rather than negative overall results, the better. In the mean time, we are suspending further donations to LAF, pending more clearheaded leadership in the delegation of donated funds in that organization.

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