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September 26, 2007

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I think that you are absolutely correct. In a country where we consider education a basic human right, how can we say less of proper medical care, especially for children who are in many ways the least among us? I don't know what the answer to this problem is. There are people smarter than I am who struggle over the best solution. But I do know that sending sick children to the ER is nothing like an appropriate response.

I don't know if you know this, but my entire family are medical professionals and when he said that, I thought their collective heads were going to pop off. Even my father, who is very fiscally conservative, was shocked that Bush would suggest that the Emergency Room is the appropriate panacea to the lack of health care in this country.

I majored in health law at my law school, and we discussed this issue endlessly. At the end of the day, I agree that this system needs to be completely overhauled. I just don't know who will be the one to do it. I know you are Catholic, so I am treading very lightly here, but Republicans seem to be toeing the party line in a very religion oriented way. That's not to say that all of their policies are in line with their religion, but that many of their policies are at least seen as religion based. For the life of me, I cannot see how taking benefits away from the poor and needy is in ANY WAY in line with the teachings of Christ. I think you said as much in this post.

I know that, as a Catholic, you are pro-life and I respect your viewpoint, though I do not share it. I don't know how you vote, but I have often wondered whether Catholics/Christians who vote Republican on that single issue ever consider voting Democrat because of the myriad other issues that affect our society. When I say that, I'm thinking specifically of healthcare reform, campaign finance reform, welfare/other social services, the Iraq War, tax cuts for the rich, etc.

This next election scares the crap out of me. I don't know if people who have traditionally voted conservative will vote differently because they're tired of the administration. I don't know if the people the liberals are pushing to the forefront are going to be "electable."

What I do know is this: my husband and I want to have children soon. Our health benefits are derived from my job, and his does not offer any because it's a small non-profit. My law firm is also small, and doesn't have to comply with the FMLA. That means that they don't have to give me any maternity leave, paid or unpaid, and that even if they do give me leave, I have to return to work after six weeks in order to keep our health benefits.

This doesn't even touch on my desire to breastfeed, which is made much more difficult by my mandatory return to work. Sorry this got so long, but this is something that I think about regularly. I've never been without health coverage, but it's coming at a terrible price for our family. My husband doesn't mind staying home with our children, and I would be happy for him to do so, but I would like to at least have the option to do it, too.

As an RN (3 years in the ER before I moved to the ICU), I totally agree. Our healthcare system SUCKS and that is stating it nicely.

While this is a hugely important issue, I cannot help but be distracted by your lentil recipes. I love lentils and it's hard to find good recipes. Will you share?

A good post and much to comment on, but I'll just say this. I don't want to hear about how "Children are our future" from anyone who isn't willing to back that up with money and services. It's a political joke and I'm tired of it. It's an insult and a disgrace. I hear it over and over again and I see just the opposite in public schools, in health care ... in just about all things government. It makes me ill.

Found you via Ask Moxie...

The SCHIP battle is so hard. For those us in D.C. trying to win this battle and looking at a loss, it is heartbreaking.

I live in MD where you have to be abjectly poor to qualify for Medicaid. As in making less than the federal poverty line.

Besides writing your rep, one thing I'd recommend: Writing the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS - the folks who administer the SCHIP program). You can read why at my post on Free State (http://www.freestatepolitics.us/showDiary.do?diaryId=532), if you're interested.

I'd also encourage folks to write their local reps/senators to ask that the next temporary extension of SCHIP condemn or repeal the CMS rule. SCHIP's authorization expired September 30 but the continuing resolution (CR) that will continue to fund the federal government through Nov. 16 extends the program and adds $5b to keep it going until 11/16 or it is reauthorized, whichever comes first. Since it is highly unlikely that the program will be reauth'd by 11/16 (unless the veto is overriden), another extension will be required. That extension should include some sense of Congress that the new rule is harmful and violates current law or an outright repeal.

I doubt the CR will include an outright repeal since Bush might veto it and that'd cause the federal government to come to halt (not popular with all those seniors awaiting their SS checks). But, I think some sort of official condemnation has a chance and would certainly garner some press.

Hey CJ, I am asking this because I really respect your opinion, not because I want to start something. ;) The SCHIP bill calls for expansion of the program to provide coverage of 18-25 year olds, classifying them as "children." I just can't swallow that. When I was 18, I was out on my own, working three jobs and paying for my own health care...I can't quite wrap my mind around how I'm supposed to pay (as a taxpayer) for the health insurance of able-bodied adults. It seems to me that this kind of program would actually discourage people from taking care of themselves...but I would love to know what your take is.

Responding belatedly to a couple of things here: Ariella, I am constantly stewing about the inadequacies of the two-party system. No real solutions, though.

Julie, I hear you on the need for young adults to be responsible. It's harder than it used to be to get a job with benefits. For kids with pre-existing health issues, privately purchased health insurance is extremely costly or unavailable. It's certainly worth talking about the limits of a plan like this one. Fundamentally, though, I think we need a single-payor system.

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