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Hepatitis C: A Plea for Affordable Health Care

Rarely do I blog about political issues, but today is an exception. Actually, I don’t consider this to be a political issue—it is a human rights issue. I am talking about health care, specifically today’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Health Care Act.

To me, access to health care is a basic right, no more debatable than slavery or voting rights. In general, I understand opposing views on most issues, but for me this one is non-negotiable. I believe that everyone should have the right to medical care. When insurance companies refuse to insure someone because of pre-existing medical conditions, they are turning their backs on the sick. When hospitals and other medical institutions have to choose between staying in business and caring for someone, something is desperately wrong.

This is personal for me, because hepatitis C has left me uninsurable. Fortunately, I have access to a wildly expensive, horrendously awful insurance policy through HIPAA. For roughly the cost of a high mortgage payment, I am insured. Add the high deductible and 30% copayment, and you can guess why I can’t wait until 2014 when it will no longer be legal to discriminate against those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Why this especially matters now is because of recent recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to test Baby Boomers for hepatitis C. It’s been speculated that those found to have hepatitis C may risk their medical insurance coverage, although how many this would actually affect is not known. What I do know is that hepatitis C is eating away at millions of livers and the time to stop this is now. No one should have to risk their insurance to find out if they have hepatitis C.

If you are on the fence about health care being a right, consider this: If people did not have fire insurance, should we let their houses burn down? If they didn’t pay taxes, let’s say because they were elderly and infirmed, would we deny them paramedic service? Then why, yes why, is medical insurance and medical service denied?

The Supreme Court got it right. The President got it right. Congress got it right. Now, let’s keep it right. There is talk to repealing the Affordable Health Care Act. Help to elect officials who believe that affordable health care is not a privilege, but a right.

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