All photos provided by the author.
A letter to the editor by Kathleen Pulver of Medford, NJ
I write this as I sit in a waiting room to find out if my daughter’s cancer has returned for the fourth time.
Is there anything more important than health? Diseases and injuries have such an impact on our ability to enjoy life, to work and support ourselves and our loved ones. It determines if we can take an active role in our society. For families who have a sudden serious illness or injury or those who must deal with chronic illness, this can also cause a huge change in their financial well-being.
Four years ago, my daughter was fortunate to be able to sign up for Obamacare (ACA). Also 4 years ago, she went for medical care that she had been postponing because of the cost. A very large malignant tumor was discovered in her kidney, which led to removal of the kidney and eventual discovery of a rare, genetically caused type of cancer.
For now, she has health insurance. What happens if/when the ACA is totally savaged? Lifetime limits perhaps? Do you have any idea what CT scans, MRI’s and PET scans cost? She has to have them regularly for the rest of her life. She has had 3 surgeries so far. And what about insurance companies again being allowed to refuse coverage for pre-existing conditions? A genetic mutation will never go away. My other 2 adult children also have the genetic mutation, so they would also be out of luck.
ABOVE LEFT: Sarah Pulver, RIGHT: Kathleen Pulver
I am pleading for you all to be “health care” voters this fall. I live in NJ CD-3 and my Congressman Tom MacArthur has been trying to repeal and sabotage the ACA and he was the only representative from NJ to vote for the unfair tax plan that abolished the individual mandate, which will cut coverage from low-income people. (Yet they still somehow can “afford” massive corporate tax cuts.)
As predicted, cutting our healthcare will lead to increases in insurance premiums. Because of this, healthcare spending in New Jersey is in jeopardy. This not only includes direct spending for health insurance tax credits ($795 million), it also includes over $1 billion for hospitals, a half billion dollars for post-acute providers and $4.4 billion in Medicaid matching for the NJ state budget. A noticeable casualty to healthcare spending cuts could be lower medical staffing levels which would directly impact patient safety. Also, as reported by the Commonwealth Fund and the NJ Hospital Association, 86,000 jobs will be at stake: one third in the healthcare sector and two thirds in other fields including construction, real estate and insurance.
I am going to vote for Andy Kim this November because of his ideas about how to get everyone covered, lower Rx costs, protect those with pre-existing conditions, to invest in medical professionals, to expand care for veterans and to support community clinics. Please join me and other concerned citizens.
Editor’s note: The opinions in this letter are the author’s only.
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My only objection would be the implication that tax cuts are somehow tied to funding of healthcare delivery. This perpetuates the myth that everything the federal government spends for must be “paid for” with taxation or borrowing and makes any real progress toward an equitable system impossible.
The federal government is the monopoly issuer of a fiat currency that it can never run out of and without a pin of that currency to a commodity or fixed exchange it is only restrained by inflation, not revenue. That inflation factor is completely dependent upon the availability of real resources in the sector the spending is targeting, ie: doctors, hospitals, equipment, etc. Since a single payer system would free up large amounts of those resources it is unlikely that it would cause any inflation, and more likely would result in additional tax cuts in relation to the existing cost of premiums. There are only wins on the side of single payer, and those must be communicated.
Having lost my wife, and other family members, to cancer I can fully appreciate the emotional impetus for single payer, but it is important that we also take the high ground away from the opposition in finance as well. There is simply no defense for continuing this cruel and greed driven system except fear promoted by those who benefit from the status quo and their minion politicians. We are the last of modern economies hanging onto this horrible system of insurance in delivering what should be a right of simply being human, so we have multiple successes to emulate.