Someone accused me over on Facebook of being too "emotional" about my argument. Damn straight. People forget the human cost. I have a second cousin, who I think more of as a niece, who's father died when she was around the age of 2. I remember that fateful day like it was yesterday. My mother and some of my family members, including my then-toddler cousin, were visiting the old Christmas house in Peabody -- a former local tourist destination in the holiday season.
I can't remember exactly how, but word came in that my much-older cousin's husband died, while we were walking back to the car. I think an aunt may have come to meet us there, to tell my aunt who was the mother of the at-that-point widow. He had died for something that would have been easily found if he had been given a test he had requested, but his insurance company denied.
It was a very tough period for the entire family. My older cousin was not the same for a very long time. My second cousin/niece had to grow up without a father. My older cousin took the insurance company to court, but it was fought and fought for so long, that my cousin couldn't take it anymore, so she just dropped it, to move on with her life.
On the other hand, my older brother, who had insurance through my dad, a teacher with a strong union, suffered through a heart valve transplant after battling strep in his heart for the better part of a year. It was in the early 90s, when the surgery he had was exceptionally expiramental. A lot of insurance companies at the time never would have covered it, but my dad had exceptional coverage.
Most people aren't in that situation, especially in this day in age, after decades of serious cost increases and benefit cuts. However, we easily have the resources to have affordable, universal coverage for every person in America. We spend 5% more of our GDP per capita than any other country in the world for our health care, yet have results for that great expense that are middling at best. There is absolutely no reason why we can't cover everyone with quality care and do so at a smaller cost, but that's not going to happen with the private insurance industry we have now.
The public option is key to getting there over the long haul -- and we should be arguing passionately for it, as well as other key aspects to insurance reform, with the exact furor we've felt when we lost a loved one who should have lived, if not for their lousy insurance, or the total lack of it; We must hold those who vote against a public option and health reform accountable, for they are then complicit in those 45,000 needless and inhumane deaths that happen every year.