Don't let someone else fight for your health care

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 12:27 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The other day, I was listening to some older gentlemen talk about the way people had changed since World War II. They were in fact talking about health care reform. They were pointing out the fact that during World War II, even the people at home wanted to be part of the fight. They weren’t just sitting around waiting for the military to win the war. Even those who could do no more than plant a "Victory Garden" were willing to let everybody know where they stood on the matter. The men were basically complaining about the fact that so many seem willing to depend on the politicians to fight the health care battle.

One man contended rather loudly that if there were so many people without health insurance, why were we not hearing more from them? Shouldn’t they be protesting strongly in favor of health care reform?

I guess I inherited enough of that fighting spirit to agree with those men. I mean if you are one of the people satisfied with your treatment by your insurance company, I can understand your decision to remain silent. But if you’re one of those people who have to pay out of pocket every time you or a member of your family have to visit a doctor’s office, or if you are one of those denied coverage for a pre-existing condition and you are not e-mailing, snail mailing, telephoning or faxing somebody in a position to change things every spare minute, then you are probably operating under the misconception that someone else is going to fight your battle.

I really don’t know when we got into the thinking that somebody else was going to solve our problems. Maybe it started with support groups. Maybe when people began to band together to help individuals address their problems, individuals became less willing to take care of their problems without outside help. Support groups obviously were not intended to replace individual initiative.

People who read this column regularly know that I have been fed up with the two-party system for years. A long-time listener to the evening news can hear about the amount of money the health care industry puts into congressional campaigns. They should rest assured that this is whom some senators and representatives have a loyalty to. Over the last few months, the news has been filled with stories about the hundreds of millions of dollars that lobbyists are using to influence members of Congress to kill health care reform.

Frankly, I don’t know how anyone cannot favor reform in the way health care is delivered. To be indifferent to the care of the sick is inhumane. But to side with the insurance industry in this fight, seems to me, beyond belief.

At this time, it’s hard to believe that the two-party system will not keep our government tied up for centuries. It’s just remarkable the way some people are tied into a political party. No matter how corrupt the parties turn out to be, some people will hold onto them. The party has become a part of their personal identity. It seems like if they break from their party, they will have no reason to live.

Whatever happens with health care, I hope Americans will somehow come back to the point where they are willing to fight personally for what they believe in. This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people where sitting around on the sidelines is considered non-participatory. It is the health care of you and your family that’s at stake here. Are you truly willing to rely on someone else’s judgment in making this vital decision for you?

In this time of instant communication, when one can learn immediately what is going on in Washington D.C., there is no excuse for depending on other individuals to fight your fight. Surely, people have not forgotten what it's like to be the person who determines his or her own future. Have we become so married to a political party or political point of view that we are willing to have others decide for us what we need to live a life of quality and dignity?

If health care reform fails, many individuals have only to look in the mirror to find out who is responsible. Obviously, the two-party system is not going to get any better because we don’t demand any change in the manner in which the parties do business. If we as a people become as negligent as they are in taking care of our affairs, the future generations will have nothing in store for which to hope.

This is our battle; let us fight it as if our lives are at risk. Many already are.

Lest we forget.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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