by nyceve

It’s time once again to put some real faces, show the pain, grief, suffering and death, of our ongoing national healthcare shame.

We lose 45,000 Americans every year–they die, simply because they don’t have health insurance.

It’s unimaginable to me to be gravely ill.

I’ve been blessed with decent health, though I’m fully uninsurable (due to myriad pre-existing conditions) in any state other the the merciful states which  mandate  guaranteed issue and community rating. But to be facing a life threatening medical crisis and not have insurance, is beyond my pay grade to fathom.  But this is reality in our America.

Even when fully implemented, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will continue to leave millions of Americans  without the most basic access to health care.

So, until 2014 when we hope the ACA will be fully in place, millions of uninsured Americans will continue to needlessly die. Or the lucky ones, will only face financial ruin simply because they are citizens of a country which continues to construe healthcare as a commodity for the privileged, not a basic human right.

And as you read about these brave Americans, keep in mind that even the modest reforms of the ACA are under savage attack, with no guarantee at all about how the political circus enveloping healthcare will ultimately play out.

These are a few people who are very ill and uninsured. Imagine any one of them could be your brother, sister, best friend, aunt, uncle, mother or father.

Chad McCaslin is a Navy veteran with stage four brain cancer. He’s being treated at Dana Farber in Boston, his family will likely face financial ruin, unless the hospital can write off the costs of his care as a charity expense. His community is hosting a spaghetti fund raiser. Are we the only industrialized nation that requires its citizens to host pot luck suppers and bake sales to pay for the care of those of us unable to get insurance?

Here’s an absolutely devastating article about nine-year old Savannah LaVey uninsured, also battling battling brain cancer while her family battles for some state health benefits. Grim reading indeed.

Karen Hoppe has recurrent stage four breast cancer and no insurance. Her friends and neighbors are also trying to raise money to pay some of her medical bills.

Karen Hoppe and her husband, Hoppe, sat down a few days ago and expressed their gratitude for what the Spring Festival is doing for them.
“Yes, we are in financial straits,” Judy Hoppe said. “Having cancer can be very expensive when you don’t have any insurance,” she said. She had just returned from treatment and it was evident she was weak and somewhat tired.
Karen said she had breast cancer once before a few years ago and had had a mastectomy. With no insurance after leaving a job with Lee County, she wasn’t able to completely take all the medications meant to contain the cancer, but her health returned.

Have you heard about the rapper DJ Kool Herc? He’s uninsured, and has recently been quite ill.  Here’s what he had to say about our collapsed system.

Preach it, brother, tell the world about our shame.

“We live in one of the superpowers of the world!” Herc said in a statement to MTV News on Tuesday (February 1). ” ‘Give me your tired, your poor … ‘ and then you don’t take care of them? There should be no weak ants in the colony. There shouldn’t be anyone fighting for health care! This has been going on too damn long! We fought for 1520 Sedgwick to get landmark status, and in 2007, New York State officially recognized it as the ‘Birthplace of Hip Hop.’ Now we are fighting for health care not just for me, but for everyone. I see this situation as another quest for me to shine light on a sensitive issue for the community. I’m an instrument of God. I’m here for a purpose and I want to be here for the solution.”

Some Americans are choosing to voluntarily drop their wildly expensive coverage and go naked (euphemism for going without health insurance) for the six month period required by the ACA to be eligible for a state high risk pool.

We are so far from where we need to be despite the passage of the ACA, that one wonders how many more decades will it take for this country to join the rest of the civilized world in guaranteeing healthcare to all its citizens.

Here are a few things you can do if these stories (and there are so many more), fill you with anger and despair.

1. You can join or follow (just click the heart) the Daily Kos single payer group.

2. You can sign this petition supporting California OneCare and the fight for single payer in California.

3. You can make a contribution to California OneCare. The fight for healthcare justice in California belongs to all of us.

Does everyone know that in Canada, single payer began at the provincial level in Saskatchew­an and then, eventually, as more provinces embraced universal health care, the federal government got on board.  This is how it will happen in the United States, but it will take all of us.

Originally posted at the DailyKos.