Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Are There No Prisons? Are There No Workhouses?

Someone I met yesterday told me an interesting story. She and her husband have three kids, and they make less than three thousand dollars a month. One of the very few benefits of living on an income like that, apparently, is Medicaid. This is particularly helpful to them because they have a young daughter with leukemia. The treatment is brutal and it seems once they get through with one thing, they move onto another.

And somehow, even though Governor Paterson's cuts haven't been approved yet, Medicaid is paying less. I know a dentist who told me they've cut payments to the point where she can't even pay her supplier. And the woman with the sick child just got a bill for three thousand dollars her family doesn't have. Worse, it appears more may be coming.

A comment yesterday suggested the New York State plan that covers sick kids only works until the kids get really sick, and once that happens they're on their own. Just about every other industrialized country in the world covers its people. We, on the other hand, spend all our money fighting pointless wars and bailing out banks.

Here in the US, we have laws to protect credit card companies from losses when people go bankrupt. But we have none to protect people from losing all they own due to catastrophic medical emergency.

The guy in the picture might as well be running this country. I hope our new leader does better by us.
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