Someone sent me an e-mail telling me that Rep. Heath Shuler does not intend to support health-care-reform legislation. This is very hard to understand since nearly a quarter of the people in his district do not have insurance. Only two weeks ago, I talked to the wife of a 27-year-old who works part time as a grader (the only job he is able to find). He is uninsured and discovered that he was beginning to go blind from an early stage glaucoma. He lost one-third of the sight in his eye during the six weeks it took for him to find some way to receive the care he needed. If universal coverage had been available, he need not have lost any sight beyond the first evidence of symptoms.
Health-care reform is essential to the economic well-being and quality of life for our citizens. Those who want no change need to understand that this is not possible. "No Change" is not an option because costs are escalating … each year. Without reform, more and more employers will be unable to provide coverage and remain profitable. Medicare will run out of funds. Insurance premiums will continue to rise. More and more people will become uninsured.
Health-care reform must accomplish two things: It must provide universal coverage and it must reduce the escalating costs. The public option is the only viable alternative on the table for cost reduction. The nonsense about the government dictating health care is just that: nonsense. For example, Medicare, a government program, accepts everyone who is of a certain age. Insurance companies, which are for-profit entities, dictate health care by determining who can even be insured.
I urge everyone who believes that health care reform is essential to call Shuler as well as senators Hagan and Burr and let them know that it is time to get behind health-care reform. The failure to act responsibly at this critical time in our history is to sentence individuals to premature death and unnecessary chronic illnesses. And it represents a cowardly refusal to recognize that the economic health of this country depends on the control of runaway costs.
— Maxine Dalton