Health Care & Bargaining-A Real Story

On Friday, March 25th, the Vermont House passed single payer health care. The Senate there is looking to follow suit, and the governor will sign it…making Vermont the first state in the country to have a program similar to Medicare for all its citizens. Even after this, they still have to get federal permission to put it into effect under ERISA before 2017- they have introduced and amendment in Congress to move the waiver date to 2014, which is endorsed by President Obama.


Contrast this to the Wisconsin situation where a law has just passed stripping government workers of collective bargaining rights.  While this really looks more and more like a blatant union-busting tactic, let’s say for the sake of argument that it really is just to cut costs.


To bring this down to the individual level, I offer my own story in a nutshell. Just about a year ago, I had to have major surgery…without which I would have a nasty cancer by now, and would be on the way to a lousy and slow demise. While the health insurance of my previous employer would have paid for surgery, they would have only paid for the old fashioned “crack your chest open” way…which the Chief Surgeon and Professor of Medicine I was seeing at UCSF Medical Center said would have worked, but cuts through the vocal chords. Since I use my voice for a living, that would have saved my life, but would have been a career-ender.


With the good UNION insurance I have through my present employer, a product of collective bargaining, I didn’t have to choose between a much shortened life and miserable slow death and ending my career and becoming homeless. I was able to have a type of “minimally invasive” surgery only performed at UCSF in San Francisco and a handful of other medical centers around the country.


For all our problems in this country, we are still the richest in the world, and our people shouldn’t have to make such choices! Think about that the next time you hear about “death panels!” Those already exist…they are the people that say “no” at insurance companies, in order to fatten their bottom line at the expense of peoples’ lives and quality of life. To me, profit at the expense of my life doesn’t seem like the American Way!


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