So, I’m really surprised that an issue like health care reform is turning into such a controversial issue. I mean, do people remember all of the issues to come out of the last administration? If I remember correctly there was a war, the economy began to meltdown, the president always seemed to be unsure of how to respond. Then we got a new guy in office, one who while running made it clear that he was going to take on health care and health insurance and yet judging by the past year’s worth of reaction … people seem really surprised and upset. How dare someone want to reform an industry and business sector known for abusing customers and patients and draining their wallets! I mean, the audacity of President Obama and others for wanting to make health care more affordable and reformed so that the system works for everyone so we won’t have to waste tax money trying to assist those denied coverage who end up in the emergency room! I mean, the U.S. health care system works so well already that people flock to the doctor and physicians for simple check-ups and preventive care. Yeah … you guessed it, this is sarcasm because the system is in desperate need of fixing.

Listen, I think part of the issue is that those against it simply haven’t had a real taste of our health care system. I’m 25; almost two years ago I had my gall bladder removed. My final bill, even after spending just 2-3 days in the hospital, was well into the thousands of dollars. With my health insurance it left me with a bill of $4,000. Now, to some that’s nothing. “Pssh, I’ve seen worse!” you may say. Well I’d just graduated from college; I’m a single guy who doesn’t make big bucks. I’m still paying off my bill that hopefully by the end of this year will be a thing of the past. My mother went through cancer: her bill is, as you can imagine, still lingering even though she’s been cancer free for years. These two examples are my experience with health care: a system that really favors physicians, hospitals and doctors while leaving the patients with massive bills that they can’t handle.

Now, do I think a reform bill needs to be pushed through congress right away? No – I’d rather see Obama and those in Washington taking their time – perhaps 2-3 years – to get everything right and put it into law during the later half of Obama’s first term. It’s just like homework or any other big project: you can rush to get it done but that doesn’t always mean you’re going to get it all right. Considering Obama is the first president to really take on this issue, I think our nation has a good chance to see this abusive system get a makeover that’ll benefit us all. I think making health care available to all is actually a good idea. It’s not socialism since (from what I’ve heard, read and seen) the goal is to make it affordable, not free, for all. Even those who aren’t covered who would be getting health care would be paying for it in some way. I think that’s better than leaving everything as is and having our tax money having to cover these people when they end up in the emergency room and can’t pay.

Keeping all of this in mind, knowing that the health care system is far from perfect and could be reworked and refined to benefit all … I’m really confused. I don’t understand this ‘Tea Bag’ movement and think it’s just showing the ugly side of America. First of all, I don’t know of any group that willingly wants to be known as ‘tea baggers’. Second, I notice that the Tea Bag movement looks really … well … Caucasian. Every now and then when they’re covering a tea bag rally on television I’ll spot a lone ethnic face in the crowd but not often. These people are usually carrying signs that read, “No-Hell No Obama!” and they’re spreading ridiculous facts and figures to make their case. Then when asked if they’re against Obama they shrink a bit and claim this isn’t about Obama, it’s about health care! Uh … RIGHT.

I’m getting really tired of seeing or hearing about a movement filled with people who don’t know what they’re talking about, seem to represent one small group within the diverse American society and are trying to make a point by stirring up patriotism via a movement that’s similar to the ‘No taxation without representation’ effort. Well, here’s how I see it. Tea Baggers are mostly Caucasian. The other group that seems really against health care reform are the Republicans … again, a mostly Caucasian group. If either of these groups really represent Americans and their opposition to health care reform, they need to be sure to find a way to bring in more voices and faces to their movements. Last I checked, the United States has a pretty diverse group of citizens. So why are these Tea Party and Tea Baggers so … well … white? I think there’s more of an issue with race playing into reform than facts and politics. I’m sorry Tea Baggers and Republicans but health care reform shouldn’t be a big scary issue. War on the other hand, should be. Remember us moving into Iraq because they had weapons of mass destruction? And how Afghanistan was suddenly a back-burner issue even though we were aware that the treat came from there? Yeah, see, those were issues that should have had everyone up in arms and protesting on television. Yet as a nation, we seemed to tweedle our thumbs and murmur about how things should have been for 8 years. Now comes a president who’s focusing on domestic issues, things that would attempt to better the life of Americans by fixing financially abusive systems like health care, and people are mad! They’re starting protest movements as if President Obama got us tangled up in a foreign war that’d cost us billions if not trillions of dollars in money because of a lack of planning or exit strategy! Oh wait, that did happen but I don’t think Obama made that mistake. Hm.

So, I think this matter proves a point that race is still an issue here in America. A lot of people seem to want to believe we’re beyond race and prejudice now that the U.S. elected its first black president. However, I don’t remember any president in the past two decades I’ve been in existence facing this level of anger or opposition for trying to fix broken domestic issues! Health care is not affordable to all. Even those who have it face issues like rising premiums or having to pay for procedures that are overpriced in the United States but affordable elsewhere in the world. And on the economy, things did not magically fall apart during Obama’s first year in office. The economy tanked during Bush and has probably been on the decline and road to ruins for the past few presidencies (yes, Republicans AND Democrats carry the blame).

I hope something gets done with health care and health insurance. It’d be nice not to face higher rates that aren’t explained or to spend a lifetime trying to get out of medical debt. For those Tea Baggers and health care reform opposers who don’t like the suggested reform … what’s your idea? We can’t afford this current system and at some point in your life, you’ll end up finding that you can’t afford health care, either. Health care shouldn’t be split along party lines when it affects everyone living in the U.S. It’s something we need to have figured out, tweaked and changed and made to work for all of us.

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