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Millions of Americans With Socialized Medicine: We Call Them Soldiers

Most of my posts about the latest political goings-on have simply happened in my head, while I worked on some personal writing, taught myself more DocBook XML (really, every librarian should learn some XML schema; it’s quite pleasant, like tatting or needlepoint), etc.

But the  conversation about  health care has so far  ignored a highly successful experiment in socialized medicine, and I don’t mean Medicare or Medicaid: I mean health care for active-duty military. (Health care for veterans is a travesty, but that’s another story, if one that needs discussion even by the strongest advocates of health care reform.)

If socialized medicine is good enough for our men and women in the armed forces and their family members — and not as an option, but as a way of life — surely it’s good enough for us. And  something as mild as a “public option” isn’t going to turn us into a fascist state.

(While we’re on that subject, the other folks I’ve crossed off my Christmas fruitcake list are those who are  trivializing the Holocaust by comparing Obama’s administration to Nazi Germany.)

Health care in the armed forces allows military members and their families to do their jobs and live their lives — and be mobile and available for any job — without fear that they will lose coverage. For ANY reason.

Plus the public option will put much-needed pressure on the health-care corporations who can currently pull such stunts as denying people health coverage (even on “company plans”), charging usurious premiums, or arbitrarily  jacking up co-pays and deductibles for categories of the “insured.” (How I hate the phrase “health insurance”! Health CARE is what we all need — the more preventative care, the better.)

Our current health care system (if you can call it a system)  has its ripple effects. As a self-employed contractor in California in a distance-worker job, I enjoyed excellent coverage from Kaiser, with premiums that were at least survivable. When we moved to Florida, where I couldn’t be covered by Kaiser any longer, my options were few and horribly expensive — triple what I was paying, even as a single payer with no pre-existing conditions.  The absurdly high cost of health care premiums was the final death blow for keeping a job I really liked, and it has had a profound effect on my career decisions since then.

Of the few self-employed people I know in this area, most are not covered. One recently had basically a drive-through lumpectomy for her breast cancer. I hope she stays healthy, because she’ll never get coverage now, even if she could afford it.

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