Saturday, July 18, 2009

Health Care Reform

If you pay any attention to politics and current news items you have heard all of the debate that is going on about health care reform in the U.S. I do not pretend to be an expert in this, nor do I claim to know enough to tell you what you should do or think about it. I am listening and reading a lot. In general I am politically conservative, and there are very few politicians that I trust to be looking out for my best interests, even though that is what we elect them to do. I guess you could call me a conservative cynic. Although I know there are a lot of things that aren't working well in the way we manage the financial side of health care in our country, I have big doubts that the government increasing its involvement at any level will be beneficial. Given the current mode of government, however, I think that is what we're headed for. Just think about the government agencies you already have to deal with on a regular basis and how hard it is to get what you need from them when you need it. Still, we know about big hospital bills (our family frequented a local hospital for about 9 weeks around the birth of our twins, 5 weeks for me, one week off and then 3 weeks for the two babies); crazy insurance rules, applications, the pros and cons of COBRA, and pre-existing conditions...and this is where today's action post comes in.

Children with special needs will undoubtedly be affected by whatever decisions our elected officials make about health care reform. As a parent are you concerned? Do you know what is happening? There are steps you can take to get involved and make your voice heard. No matter what your political stance, I encourage you to take these actions at minimum:

1. Read, listen, or watch as much as you can in order to learn as much as you can about the health care reforms that are being considered by our elected officials. I've linked to two differing views below. Consider these a starting point for your investigations.
  • "The sick, special needs patients, and seniors – those most at risk when the government involves itself in these tough decisions – deserve better. Like it or not, once government-run health care is a fait accompli, government rationing becomes the logical endpoint."
  • "The status quo that is 50 million Americans not having health insurance, a system that has administrative waste and as a result drives up premiums so that it is unaffordable for many patients – that is just not acceptable."
2. Make some informed decisions about where you stand on the issues.
3. Contact your elected representatives and let them know your opinion.

There are also several specific actions that you can take if you find that the messages of these petitions and e-mails aligns with your own views. I'm sure there are others, these are just some I've come across in my own search for information.

  • Send a "fax" to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, asking her to watch the AutismVotes advertisement and to support health care reform that ends insurance discrimination against autism. ***Update: 7/29/09 - AutismVotes asked everyone to stop contacting Speaker Pelosi because her office entered "productive discussions" on this issue. I'll keep you posted if I hear any more on this. ***Update: 11/27/09 - The House version of the Health Care Reform legislation did include provisions to end insurance discrimination against autism. You can read more here. This shows that with enough voices concentrated on one objective we really can be heard!
  • Sign a petition to ask Michelle Obama to sit down with two parents of autistic children and two self-advocating autistic adults to discuss the formation of an Autism Corps.
  • Watch this video about the effects of the current health care reform proposal on the abortion issue. CitizenLink can help you contact your representative.


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