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Middle class is going without insurance

By G. Michael Dobbs
Managing Editor
With all of the rhetoric floating about the airwaves, the net and the printed page about how the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives is going to dismantle "Obama Care," I find it distressing that once again, partisan politics is trumping solving a problem.
Consider the following report from Reuters: The Centers for Disease Control reported last week that nearly 59 million Americans went without health insurance for at least part of this year and that figure is an increase of four million people from the same time in 2008.
If you have someone in your family who is currently being treated for a condition, you know the frustration of getting referrals, making appointments weeks or months in advance with a specialist and having your insurance company dictate treatment to you, instead of following your doctor's recommendations.
From the Reuters story, "'Now, the data also allow us to debunk two myths about health care coverage,' Frieden [Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] added.
"'The first myth is that it's only the poor who are uninsured. In fact, half of the uninsured are over the poverty level and one in three adults under 65 in the middle income range -- defined arbitrarily here between $44,000 and $65,000 a year for a family of four -- were uninsured at some point in the year.
"And Frieden said many people argue that only the healthy risk going without health insurance.
"'In fact ... more than two out of five individuals who are uninsured at some point during the past year had one or more chronic diseases and this is based on just a partial list of chronic diseases,' he said."
This is very serious and we need solutions rather than sound bites, but are we going to get them? Isn't time for Ameri-cans to ask whether or not having affordable access to good healthcare is a right of citizenship?
***

As a political junkie I love making evaluation of the collection of signs clustered together on a person's lawn as sometimes the grouping reveals interesting political contradiction.
As someone who votes for the candidates rather than the party, I appreciate contradictions.
It leads to the discussion, though, of what exactly do people believe. I think the days are long gone for many Americans to embrace one way of thought, although there are certainly some people who do buy a party line.
So what do you believe? In the interest of full disclosure -- or at least partial disclosure -- here are a few things in which I believe:
  • Western Massachusetts would be better off as a part of another state or as a separate state.
  • The founding fathers never intended for elected office to be a career for anyone.
  • The people who send jobs overseas are not patriots. Short-term gain should never be more important than long-term development.
  • America's strength is in its diversity, but one language needs to link all of us.
  • Whether or not someone is homosexual is of no concern to me and their rights, as citizens, should not be abridged.
  • People who come here must be here legally.
  • People should be judged on their actions and no other criteria.
  • Our electoral process would be improved if people could only contribute money solely to candidates for whom they could vote. Keep outside and corporate money out of elections.
  • Organized labor should be supported.
  • Healthcare is a right.
    I also believe:
  • Shemp is vastly underrated.
  • Whatever most television weather forecasters make, they are overpaid.
  • Sexual content is less harmful to people than violent content.
  • The food is almost always better at a locally owned restaurant.
  • Mayors know of the problems communities face better than almost anyone else -- competent mayors, that is.
  • A neat desk is overrated.
  • Middle-aged newspaper editors should be allowed to smoke an occasional cigar and keep a bottle of bourbon in their desk.

Hey, agree with me? Disagree? Drop me a line at news@thereminder.com or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. And as always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.

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