August 19, 2009: Health care is our problem

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To The Editor:
I’m writing about health care. I don’t want the angry mobs to steal this debate. We moved here from the UK, a country where I had fabulous care, even had two house calls from two different doctors, during our seven years there. (Can anyone remember their last house call? Perhaps here it’s more recent than most but in most parts of the U.S. that service was over in the 50s.)
There, a single payer option saved costs and served all. Here I’ve calculated how much of our annual income goes to health coverage in our household. It’s nearly a quarter of what we earn — which is one reason why we’re in such an economic pickle.
Half of all bankruptcies in this country are due to health care costs, and many foreclosures have come in the wake of unexpected and unaffordable health care costs where insurance wouldn’t cover enough. And then, here in the Catskills, are so many people who can’t afford health care at all.
Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. We can’t afford to postpone health care reform.
It’s not just someone out there’s problem, but ours and our neighbors’.

Jennifer Kabat,
Margaretville