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As some of you are aware, about the middle of February I developed a case of strep throat that, well, turned into something vastly worse than your usual case of strep - a form that started from the tonsils and swiftly worked down into not just my lungs but my heart as well.

I have been in the hospital for over 30 days straight. I have had operations I did not even know existed. I have had multiple abscesses drained, drained and drained.

And all the doctors agree on one thing - this is uncharted territory. It was just plain strange. That, and the complications were very fast-moving.

I have the luxury of being part of a good group plan for a major multinational corporation.

I am convinced that the only reason people are sending flowers and cards to my hospital room and not my grave site is this one thing - I have health care.

And it's not been a great year in my line of work - the financial services sector.

I could just as easily have had nothing at all.

And then we'd be back to discussing funeral arrangements for me, not arranging dinner delivery and after school care for my kids.

The difference - I still have a job with health care benefits.

That is the only reason why my wife still has a husband and my children still have a father.

Perhaps you feel as a matter of conscience that the assignment of life or death is best handled by market forces.

From where I am sitting, that is the same as saying - Leave it to chance. It's not my problem and I am not about to let anyone make it my problem.

Under the current health care regime, my fate would have been sealed by not having a job or having to cut corners and curb health care benefits.

There simply are no alternatives to the intensive care and very close attention by a team of specialists that I received. Anything but this level of care would have produced a wide range of bad outcomes, many of them fatal for yours truly.

Lucky me. Market forces abided my continued existence.

But seriously - in what way is this right?

So, I sit here, pecking away at my first diary in weeks, marveling at my ability to do this very thing at all. And I am grateful.

And I look over at my wife, mkkendrick, who is pecking away on her own wireless laptop, who has been the foundation and rock and inspiration and every good thing to keep our little household going during this hard and frightening time for us all. And I am grateful beyond words.

And I think of all the support she - and we - have received from many persons, many Kossacks among them. And I am grateful to tears.

But all would be for naught, save for one thing -

I have access to the best care, because in our society, if you have the right kind of job with the right kind of company - your continued existence is abided.

But a few rolls of the dice - all highly ethical, morally-informed turns of market forces, of course - and I would have had no access at all...with all that implies.

So, if you think 'NO' is the way to go on HCR, remember this: markets are casinos by any other name.

Do you really want to be assigning life and death - not just to strangers but in time to yourself and your own loved ones - on crap dice?

I appreciate my fortunate situation...but fortune and chance are unacceptable bases for making life and death decisions.

And claiming that crap dice are they way we should decide who gets care and who does not, who lives and who dies, makes a mockery of any claim we as a society make to care about life, of any age, of any kind.

I am alive to write this diary because I have health care. I get this.

Given the volatility of the past year's markets? It could just as easily have gone the other way.

Originally posted to cskendrick on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 07:59 AM PDT.

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