Tag Archive | "national health insurance"

Too Poor to Live – The Sal Padovano Story

Tags: , , , , ,


 

The greatness of a society is demonstrated by the way it treats the least of its citizens.  Perhaps nothing expresses how far America has fallen from its once lofty heights than the tragic story of Sal Padovano, a 54 year old resident of Harrison, New Jersey.

 

Once a union carpenter who was involved in the construction of many commercial structures in New Jersey, Sal is now homebound as a result of congestive heart failure of such an advanced state that even moving around his small apartment is a breath-draining chore.  According to his doctors, the only option permitting Sal to continue living is a heart transplant.  And medically, Padovano qualifies for a transplant according to the guidelines established by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the private, non-profit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system – including its waiting list – under contract with the federal government.

 

But, here’s the problem.  Sal has no medical insurance, and his wife Cecilia, who was providing medical insurance coverage through her job with the municipality of Harrison, lost her job due to budget cuts three years ago and has been unable to secure full-time employment with benefits since then.  And, the UNOS guidelines stipulate that those who receive transplants have “adequate insurance coverage that affords the patient all the life-long medications and treatments necessary to maintain the transplanted organ and avoid financial hardship.”

 

While provisions do exist to address insurance gaps and seek funding alternatives, it appears that, in Mr. Padovano’s case, no assistance is forthcoming.  Yet, should he receive a heart transplant, Sal would likely resume a largely normal life as a fully functioning, productive member of society.

 

Unlike Mickey Mantle who, despite being diagnosed with end-stage liver disease caused by hepatitis, liver cancer, and years of alcohol abuse, received a liver transplant and died two months later from the cancer, Sal has been told that his prognosis is good.  In 1995, the year in which Mantle received his transplant, 804 people on the waiting list behind him died.

 

The cases of Mickey Mantle and that of Sal Padovano, although dissimilar in many respects, serve as a stark reminder that, regardless of the public perception, our medical establishment rations its care – giving preference to the celebrated and wealthy over the poor and largely nameless.  And, the story of Sal Padovano is yet another cry for a national health insurance program that will ensure all of our nation’s citizens equal access to vital, life-saving care.  Only when America chooses to offer equal opportunity (including access to healthcare) to the least of its citizens will its greatness return.

 

 

Reflections on Independence Day

Tags: , , , , ,


Fireworks

July 4, 2009 marks the 233rd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, thus establishing the United States of America as a new nation.  The reason that the Thirteen Colonies determined to separate from the mother country was widespread disagreement with Great Britain’s “taxation without representation,” the practice of taxing the colonists without granting them a voice in Parliament.  Our Founding Fathers reacted to this tyranny with the first peaceful, anti-government demonstration conducted upon these shores.  Dumping carton after carton of tea (a major staple for the colonists) into the Boston Harbor in protest of taxes, the protestors took part in what came to be known as the Boston Tea Party.  The rest is history.

 

233 years later, America stands at another crossroads, deciding whether government will make certain choices for us or whether once again independent citizens will choose their own destinies.  These revolve around issues that include but are not limited to the proposal for a national health insurance plan, a major controversy.

 

It is my contention that the introduction of insurance into this county was the beginning of another round of taxation without representation.  Mandatory insurance coverage, as sanctioned by our legislators, was intended to protect us from the pitfalls of life.  However, insurance carriers are strangling us with premiums. AIG, the giant of the industry whose motto was “Never outlive your money” had to be bailed out by the citizens of this country to ensure that they could live up to their own motto!

 

As with auto insurance, legislators are considering bills that would make health coverage mandatory, at the risk of a hefty fine for violators.  Before the institution of mandatory insurance coverage — during the Great Depression, for example — the family doctor solved everyone’s medical needs.  He did not charge his patients co-pays and even made house calls at no extra charge.  And we all survived nicely.  Now with a national health insurance plan on the horizon, the cost for such an initiative will once again fall upon the shoulders of the already overburdened taxpayers.  If this is not taxation without representation, I don’t know what is.

 

As we celebrate the dream of our founding fathers on this 233rd Fourth of July, I wonder what they would say about the state of the union today.  Would they cry, “Give me liberty or give me death?”  Would they depend on the Constitution that they authored to protect the independence of our citizens?  Would they, recalling the Boston Tea Party, rise up in protest?  Almost one thing is certain about those men and women who were courageous enough to establish this country and fight for its independence.  They would not “go quietly into that good night;” they would not, meekly, like sheep, accept a governmental edict with which they did not agree.  They would, at the very least, make their voices heard. 

Site Sponsors

Site Sponsors

Site Sponsors










RSSLoading Feed...

Live Traffic Feed

RSSLoading Feed...