Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Commentary: Don't cut our (public) health care - CNN.com

Commentary: Don't cut our (public) health care - CNN.com

"We worked hard to get it and we're going to keep it," said Nancy Snyder, one of the protesters attending this summer's health care town meetings.... she was interviewed by Michel Martin on National Public Radio's "Tell Me More."

When asked how she had insurance coverage, Nancy explained that because her husband was a retired coal miner, they received insurance and care through the United Mine Workers. She attended the town hall because she said she had "had enough of the government interfering with our lives, after working hard all of our lives, especially to get the health care."

As employment declined and mining families struggled in the 1960s, mineworkers launched widespread protest demonstrations and traveled to Washington to lobby for federal support of UMW hospitals. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson responded with the Area Redevelopment Administration, the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act, the Appalachian Redevelopment Act, and of course, Medicare.

Government stabilized and expanded the miners' health system. Miners were proud beneficiaries of Johnson's Great Society -- today so much maligned by the conservative talk show hosts. Miners continued their pressure, leading to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, marshalling public force to protect their health in the private workplace.

If Nancy Snyder "did not pay one penny" for her husband's cancer treatment or her surgeries, it's because government subsidized that care since Robert's early days as a miner.

This is the story of thousands, if not millions (sorry idiot Michelle Malkin, it wasn't even close to millions who marched on Washington last weekend, and the ones who did represent a constituency not large enough to elect a small-town city council seat) who's lives depend on the balance of public and private programs. They are renentive enough to hold onto words shrieked by radio entertainers, yet don't apply critical thinking and accept the conclusions of these media shriekers as fact.

Let's help each other build a strong foundation of fact, so we can all understand the current situation with our healthcare system in the United States. Only from there can we together make a bold step towards high quality affordable healthcare for all.

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