Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hoops and Health Care

This morning I saw a poll on CNN's website, asking which I would be following more closely this weekend: the progress on the Health Care Reform bill or NCAA basketball games. Health Care or Hoops?

I had to sit back and think about this for a minute. Ten years from now I'm probably going to remember more about the Health Care bill than the progress of my tournament brackets (aside from Butler's game, of course). So one would assume that I'd be paying more attention to health care. But I clicked on the "NCAA hoops" option on the poll.

I like college basketball a lot. But I care much more deeply about reforming the health care system in our country. This is not an abstract issue for me. I'm not a pro-big-government person, nor am I a socialist or whatever other label Glen Beck is applying to me today. This is a human issue to me. I've met too many people over the years who live on the margins of society, barely surviving because they don't have access to basic services, health care included.

So why did I click on the "hoops" option? Why am I so reluctant to even post this? It's because this health care debate has worn me out. There's so much yelling and so little substance that I simply don't have the energy to participate in the way I feel I should. Rarely do I have a conversation about this issue that doesn't quickly devolve into fear based rhetoric or general demonization of the other side (this includes those who support the bill). It seems like everyone has already made up their mind, even if they haven't bothered to look examine the issues for themselves.

So for my own sanity I choose to stay out of the fray, other than sending some emails to my congressional representatives (who are all far right ideologues, so they don't listen to me, anyway). I'll keep an eye on the vote tally, but I'll keep a closer eye on college basketball and my brackets, because it causes me significantly less stress. Is this bad? Probably. But it's where I'm at.

Actually, I will make one more contribution to the debate. I said earlier that this is not an abstract issue, that there are real people whose lives are affected by health care reform. I'll show you one of them.

This is a child that won't have any health insurance coverage if nothing changes. Her name is Becca.
She is the smallest premie ever born at Vanderbilt hospital to survive. She's thriving and doing very well, but she's a walking pre-existing condition, so she'll never be insurable under the status-quo.

You can read her parents' blog for more about her story.

Becca and many other people I've met throughout the years are the reason I support Health Care Reform. If you're someone who actively lobbies your representatives (or if you're in Congress, in which case, thanks for reading!), please consider the human face of this issue.

PS- On April 17, our family is participating in the March of Dimes "March for Babies" walk in Nashville to raise money for treatment for kids like Becca. Our goal is to raise $500. If you could like to contribute, click here to do so online. Thanks for your support.

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