Sunday, January 06, 2013

On The Subject Of Health

Veteran comics, film and TV writer Peter David suffered a stroke a few days ago and has started the long struggle back.  You can follow his journey, chronicled by his exceptionally together wife, at his website:

Peter's wife suggests buying some of his books (especially the online ones, which I suspect pay him a much larger royalty than his Marvel work) to help them get through this difficult time. Evidently the family has health insurance, but there are still co-pays and all the stuff that insurance refuses to cover.  Anyhow, you should check out their blog and consider buying a book or two.

But Peter's predicament brought to mind the entire debate over health care and "Obamacare" and the rest. Having had my own share of health issues over the last couple years, I am grateful for the existence of the Writer's Guild and the (excellent) coverage I get through their offices. As a freelance writer turned producer, I've worked for dozens of companies over the years, but my insurance remains constant.  It is one (of the few) things I have not had to worry about since I joined the Guild 23 years ago.

When I hear people lamenting the idea of a national health care system, suggesting such a system could somehow bankrupt and destroy the American economy, I get frustrated.  Because the current mercurial, expensive and inefficient insurance system often traps people in jobs they hate simply because they need the insurance and can't risk switching because of pre-existing conditions or other issues.  Imagine how the American economy might flourish if these conscientious people, determined to keep themselves and their families covered and not become a drain on the system, were freed from being beholden to a job for insurance?  How many small businesses and entrepreneurial ventures might arise if people could follow their dreams as opposed to being chained to some dead-end job?  Having coverage has certainly liberated me and made it possible to follow my so-called dream. 

I spent almost six months in Canada last year, and socialized medicine doesn't appear to have turned that country into a post apocalyptic wasteland. Quite the opposite, actually.  We need something similar here.


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