I am one of those people who believes that access to health care is a human right and that everyone should be able to choose a doctor, see them when they want, and go to the hospital during emergencies without having the anxiety of massive medical bills upon discharge. I was an Americorps member for the last two years and at the end of my term became self-employed. My father categorizes me as one of those people who choose not to have health care. I feel that was not the choice I made, if given the choice to have health care or not I would choose to have it. My choice was to do the work that I want and need to do and that I feel is of benefit to me and others. Not having insurance is a consequence of that choice based on the way the system is organized. This is an important difference. Consequences to actions are something that are necessary, but should be measurable by the action. Having health care tied to employment and not having affordable, accessible or complete coverage for self-employed, small business, the unemployed, etc. makes the consequence of choosing employment outside of a 9-5 job or not being able to find employment not being covered. This is wrong. In a country that prides itself on the dream of being an entrepreneur, it does little to support the people that choose this route. And for those who make too little to buy into an insurance plan or who are unemployed not being able to get the health care necessary only adds to the stress in their lives, which only adds to health problems. Health and wellness should not be used as something to hold power over others. Using access to health care to punish those that choose a life different than the status quo or who even have just had a hard time finding work is not how this country should be run. Is it any different than more primitive means of punishment like stonings or beatings? Both direct physical abuse and blocking means to the things that keep us well harm people's physical bodies, break them down, torment them, cause them pain, fear and discomfort. Can we claim to be free so long as so many of our citizens are living in this state? Health care reform needs to address the motivation politicians and insurance companies are driven by, which is not health or well-being. How can we change the discussion to look at the choices people make and why and to acknowledge that not being covered is not an appropriate consequence to those choices?

There are good alternatives for the uninsured that help even if they do not cover everything. I will write about my experiences of these in another post, but I have been lucky in finding them and not everyone is so lucky. The conversation of health care reform currently happening in the government does not seem to really address the problems of health care in this country. We need to do more to take care of and support each other, not do more to create disparities in who is covered, what is covered and when. The current reform seems to me to be a restructuring of the barriers in health care, not a removal of barriers to access health care and this is a shame.