I just got an email--as many others did, no doubt--from Chris Dodd, announcing that he's been diagnosed with an early form of prostate cancer.
And that he'll be having it tended to, very soon, and that the prognosis is very good, and that he'll be back at work and....
Below is my letter in reply.
I'm really sorry to hear that you have prostate cancer.
I'm delighted that you're fortunate enough to have caught it at an early stage... and that the prognosis is so good.
That is, as I'm sure that you're aware, largely a result of having health care--good health care--which you receive as a member of the US Congress. I'm glad that We The People provide you that benefit.
I sincerely hope that this makes you very aware of just how important it is that similar quality care is available to every person in America, because without it... well, you're in a perfect position to see what it would mean for the tens of millions of us who have no health care at all. When we find out we have prostate cancer, it may be when it's at a late stage, and we're in an emergency room, and it's metastasized, and there's nothing that anyone can do to cure it. Or we may be one of the tens of millions more who have very sketchy insurance that won't cover much, and will be taken away if and when we get tested and find we have cancer... so we don't bother to check, since the fear of being without insurance is even worse than the fear that maybe we might have something... that we really ought to check for.
It's this simple, Chris.
We need health care. Not insurance. Not "access" to insurance. We need health care--for each and every one of us.
It's a matter of life.
We don't need options that the insurance companies are willing to compete with. We need options that give us--tomorrow--real health care. The truth is that MOST of us can't afford the average (dubious) health insurance policy available now. It's already 25% (or more) of the average family income. Food, housing, utilities, transportation and taxes... those devour most of the average American's income. There isn't 25% to give to insurers.
There's only one real way to solve this.
I sincerely hope that your surgery goes perfectly and that you make a quick recovery.
As you go through this process, please, please, remember all those of us who don't have the level of care you have--or any care at all, until it's too late or almost too late.
We need health care.