Medical pros and patients rally for realistic medical care
"Health insurance is a lie, they don't care if people die," was the
rallying cry last Thursday at a protest held by a local group pushing
for health-care reform in front of the Humana Insurance building.
The San Antonio HealthCare-Now Coalition was participating in a nationwide
protest directed at lobbyist group America's Health Insurance Plans'
annual meeting in San Francisco. The city's chapter of the protest
brought out doctors, nurses, and patients, all rallying for a bill in
Congress that would extend Medicare benefits to the entire country.
The bill, H.R. 676, is currently stalled in a subcommittee. It calls
for the removal of health insurance, taking out the middleman and
having the government directly fund discounts and support health care
through income and sales taxes. The bill is not technically socialized
health care because the government does not own or control the
hospitals or drug companies, but rather funnels public money through
them. It proposes to save money, rather than increase costs, by
removing billions in administrative costs.
Also known as the United States National Health Insurance act, the bill
seeks to rectify what protester Vibeke Mendonca-Lee calls a
"health-care crisis." She said many people with pre-existing health
conditions like diabetes are ineligible for health insurance and
therefore cannot receive the care they need.
"Our health-care decisions need to be made between doctor and patient,"
Mendonca-Lee said. "We don't need insurance executives to decide that
we can't afford this. We're not saying that everyone should have
everything they want, that's not reasonable, but we want that decision
to be up to doctors."
For protestor Diane Kilby, the struggle hits close to home. Kilby, who
carried her oxygen tank along with a bright orange protest sign, said
she has been on a lung transplant list since 2006. Because of the
income she receives from social security for her disabilities, Kilby
doesn't qualify for Texas's Medicaid and is uninsured.
"The way that it's going, insurance companies take 30 percent of all
our health-care dollars," Kibly said. "We have got to get people to
understand that you don't have to keep being abused by the system. If
we stand up for ourselves we can make a difference."
A local resident doctor at University Health Care Hospital, who
declined to give his name, said the system is in shambles and as a
health-care provider it is frustrating.
"A lot of people here, in Bexar County, are basically the working
uninsured," the doctor said as he adjusted his picket sign against his
scrubs. "They would like to have health coverage, but they can't afford
it. The premiums are just too expensive. Health insurance is supposed
to be a way to help people, but instead it has morphed into this