One of the things I love about my current job is how it has introduced me to people and lifestyles very different from my own. I get to work with approximately 8-10 various nonprofits–all of which are doing incredible work for our communities. Several of these nonprofits are health based, exposing me to various opinions on healthcare reform, as well as the many health disparities that exist between myself (an educated, white woman) and those in low income communities (who typically have less education, and are often minorities).
What I’ve come to realize: it’s not easy to stay healthy when you live a 15 minute bus ride from the nearest grocery store. And, its even harder to stay healthy when you’re relying on a food bank to supplement your meals; and that food bank mostly gives out food that’s high in starch, sugar and preservatives. And, it’s even harder to get preventative care when you’re working two part time jobs that don’t offer health insurance.
Organizations like the Health Education Council (my client) are doing their best to improve overall health in low income communities. They’ve implemented farm stands at HeadStart pre-school sites around the county, allowing parents the option to use food stamps/EBT cards. You can read and hear more about this program here. But while great organizations like the HEC are doing what they can to prevent issues like obesity, how do we solve the issue of hundreds of thousands of kids in California who don’t have health insurance while still insuring that everyone has access to high quality care, choice, and affordability?
Today, I’m arguing that we need health care reform because it’s a moral issue. What I don’t know is how to reform health care so that is works for everyone. Is it even possible?
Several quotes that particularly stand out to me are from a toolkit from Sojourners, which you can download here.
“The faith community has a vital role to play in reminding our elected officials that health care is not just about dollars and cents, but is a profound moral issue of life and death. It is fundamentally about whether we are a community that values the life of each person—poor, rich, or middle class.”
“In a nation as prosperous as ours, all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. Reasonable people may differ on how best to accomplish this goal, and I welcome a rigorous policy debate about it, but it should be a moral priority for all of us. We must work together to find common ground that will provide quality, affordable health care to all Americans,” excerpt from Sojourners Health Care Toolkit.
What is common ground? Do you agree? Disagree? What’s been your own experience with the healthcare system? Positive? Negative?
To come: health care rationing and my own experience with health insurance.