I've made a point of not commenting much on the health care reform issue.  Its so much more complicated than whether your mother will be allowed to die or if immigrants get medicaid.  The really scary thing is, those who consider themselves "anti-reform"  don't "see" those that are affected by the current system and will be affected by a change in the system.  Reform of the health care system in the United States is about poverty and who remains below the federal poverty line.  Its about why they get to stay there and how, even while there, they are the "bread and butter" of health insurance companies.

I ran across this article this morning... The real anti-reform cost: Two women die every day giving birth in America and it caused me to reconsider my quiet observation. Being a woman and having given birth twice in my life, I do know the cost of prenatal care and delivery.  Now, I will admit, its been more than 18 years since I last had this experience, but as I read about the cost of delivery alone in the U.S. now, I was shocked. How do women give birth without some sort of insurance? How?

Medicaid and other insurance sources are an important component in the health of our children, even before they are born.  The same segment of society that decries the notion of having an abortion appears, on the surface, to be the same segment that doesn't believe those who don't abort should be afforded assistance in the prenatal care of the fetus.  This is also the same bunch that isn't real big on sex ed in schools, and probably are scared to death to say penis and vagina in the presence of their children.  These are the people who think those who get big diseases with little names "deserve" what they've gotten because they have no self control and are pawns of satan. These people probably have health insurance, they're saintly and highly favored before God, so its all good, I suppose.

Women who become pregnant have to go through so many changes in order to even get on Medicaid that they don't bother.  Why do you have to prove you're pregnant?  Hello?  Look at me, I'm 6 months along and the kid is kicking his foot out at you!  No, its NOT a tumor!  They don't receive the education they need to eat correctly, get enough vitamins, exercise or anything else.  They give birth to underweight children with physical and mental deficiencies, who, because of these deficiencies, now qualify for Medicaid. (Ain't that some irony on a stick for ya!)  The children, in turn, if not placed in the system (it happens), end up not receiving the vaccinations, etc, they need to be healthy.

Some of the children I teach children are receipents of public health insurance.  Children currently on Medicaid, who, if they break a bone, can only get it temporarily set at the local hospital, and then, in order to use the Medicaid services, must drive to Indianapolis (2.5 hours from here) to see a doctor, get a proper diagnosis and then have the bone set.  This, of course, means, the parent must miss a day of work (hourly pay) and the child misses a day of school (they're already behind academically) At the end of it all, they lose time and money again to have the doctor at the Children's Hospital in Indianapolis say the bone is healed and remove the cast. 

The parent can't get on the insurance plan at work because s/he works less than 40 hours a week.  If they're lucky enough to work 40+ hours a week, the cost of the insurance is so much per pay that they opt out of getting it.  Afterall, that's $80 a month that can pay the water bill or gas bill or buy a new pair of uniform pants... or liquor/drugs to drown their pain and sorrow and frustrations in.

Speaking as a woman who has been fortunate enough to have health insurance and simply wouldn't know what to do without it, is emphathic to the frustrations of women without insurance who are trying to raise children without insurance. This past winter, as my daughter fought off an infection that simply wouldn't go away, we spent money on co pays and things not covered and even at one point an ambulance (that bill made me sit and stare out the window for an hour) so, yes, I KNOW what is out there for those without.

Children who become ill, break bones, have issues that require medical attention.  Women who want birth control but can't get it because it costs way too much out of pocket.  People who want to do the right thing for themselves, to lift themselves up and have what others have, yet are being treated as if they simply don't exist (until, of course, one of their kids becomes a statistic of some sort later in their lives).

Health care reform is about more than having insurance.  Its about having dignity, being able to take go to the doctor of your choice, when you need to go and know it will be paid for, because you have the insurance to pay for it.  Its about giving birth to healthy children and not having to sacrifice in other areas to keep them healthy. Its about being able to function in society the same way people who do have insurance.  Its about classism, sexism, wealth vs. poverty and control of the masses.  This is about changing the rules of the game.  Its about time, don't you think?