"He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything."
I can only imagine what it must have been like, for millions of American families who depended on the children's health care bill, to see President Bush veto it. The bill would have expanded coverage to allow over 4 million children into the program, which would have been paid for by increasing the federal cigarette tax. Which to me, increasing that tax, makes all the sense in the world. It is an indisputable fact, that smoking causes harm, both to the smoker and to those in their immediate environment, through second hand smoke, and yet, Americans continue to light up. For smokers to subject themselves, and their loved ones to the toxins emitted by their smoke, is inconceivable to me. I can't understand it. I probably never will understand it. In fact, I have never quite figured out why smoking around children has never been deemed a form of child abuse, considering the rise of asthma among the nations youth. So, to me, to pay for the program by taxing one of the most environmentally destructive habits we Americans engage in, makes perfect sense. But President Bush quietly vetoed the plan yesterday, and in doing so, may have sealed it for big changes to come in 08.
Bush cited concerns about the bill leading to socialized medicine, and he felt the bill was too costly, but I have my doubts about that being behind his true reasoning. Bush has always catered to big business, and lets face it, the Tobacco companies probably would not appreciate one more tax levied against their product. On the other hand, would Bush want one more thing taking possible funding away from his Iraq war project? Right now, America is spending 10 Billion in Iraq each month, the Children's Health Insurance Plan requested just 7 billion per year, and offered incentives for states to cover the children in the lowest income households first, while allowing children of some middle class households, which earned under a certain amount per year, coverage. So, what would cause the president to turn his back on the health and well being on our children, especially when it was a bi-partisan bill? Could it be... politics? His lame duckness? His love of big business? Does he simply not care about these children? Is it that he felt the bill gave the democrats too much glory?
Sometimes I think he does things like this, because he has never had to live through any catastrophic medical emergencies. He has never had to worry about where his next meal is coming from. He has never had to work two jobs, just so his children had health coverage, he has never had to struggle, and face having to decided between paying the bills and putting a decent meal on the table for his family. He has never had to face the sometimes overwhelming financial and emotional burden of caring for an aged parent. He has never had to face the kinds of hardships most folks go through. The loss of a loved one, who couldn't afford health coverage is devastating enough, now imagine the pain of losing a child this way.
Type 2 diabetes can strike at any age. Yesterday, I was waiting in line at my HMO's pharmacy, while I was watching coverage of the presidential veto. I was waiting for the first refill of my diabetic testing supplies, since I was diagnosed with Type 2 last July. At that time, I was given a OneTouch Ultra2 blood Glucose kit, which included the meter, the pencil lancing device, a 200 count box of lancets, and a 200 count box of test strips. The kit was free, I didn't even have to pay my usual co-payment, so I had no idea how much the refills were going to be. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out yesterday, that my refills are covered 100 percent under my plan. I didn't have to pay anything. But just out of curiosity, I asked for an itemized receipt just the same. I found out that my health care plan had saved me over $120. What would I do if Alan suddenly lost his job? I would have to face not being able to manage my diabetes, and the very real possibility of my eventual death from complications of diabetes.
OneTouch Ultra Test Strips - $99.00
OneTouch Ultra Ultra Soft Lancets - $22.00
I check my blood about 6 times per day. When I get up each morning, before and after each meal, and before I go to bed, but that's just me. It's different for each person, depending on their own individual diabetic needs, so can you imagine what it must be like for a family with a child with no health care coverage, to have to face paying full price for their diabetic supplies each month? I wonder how many children in America right now, are going to be with cancer, or diabetes or some other potentially devastating illness, because their parents can't afford to take them to the doctor for a routine physical. There are 43 million Americans living without health coverage, and of that number, 6 million are children. How long will we continue to let down the most vulnerable among us? Some republicans expressed concern that Bush's veto would make it more difficult for them in the 08 national election, you know what, they should be concerned! Does the path to doing the right thing, get any more clearer then this?
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