By Karl Robb
Before you read this you need to know that I believe as an advocate for people with Parkinson’s disease it is important to defend and speak for those who are unable to defend or speak for themselves. On the afternoon of Sunday, March 21, 2010, at around 1:30 PM, a reporter from the New York Post phoned me and asked me to write 400-500 words on the healthcare reform bill that is being voted on very soon. The following is what I originally submitted. This is the unedited copy:
There is no telling what President Obama’s healthcare bill will bring. I do know something has got to be done to help the millions that go uninsured and are without access to healthcare. As a small business owner and someone who has lived with the chronic illness of Parkinson’s disease for over 20 years, I have watched my insurance rates soar. I have been forced to increase my deductible and increase my co-pay to bear the increased cost.
I don’t know if a national healthcare plan will solve all of our nation’s health issues but I believe that it is a huge step in the right direction. I have friends struggling to pay for their medications, stressing on how they are going to pay the doctor bill, and know caregivers considering declaring bankruptcy to pay for nursing home assistance. People suffering from an illness have enough to stress about without worrying whether their life-saving drug or treatment is covered.
As much as this is an economic issue, from a patient’s perspective, I see this even more from a humanitarian point of view. If this bill just slightly reduces the suffering of those Americans facing the crucial decision of having to eat tonight or afford their medicines, then I think President Obama’s bill has merit. If this Bill helps someone with a pre-existing condition and who has no medical options but to suffer, how can this Bill be bad? If the Bill is going to help the National Institutes of Health (NIH) create more new grants for scientific discoveries, new drugs, and new therapies, I see great hope for ailing America.
I watched a disturbing video that showed those who were divided on this healthcare bill. In the video, a couple of irate men who were opposed to the Bill told a man with Parkinson’s disease that they weren’t paying for his healthcare or giving out “handouts”. They further belittled the gentleman by throwing a couple of dollar bills at him as if they could go any lower. Everyone is or will get ill at sometime in life. The most compassionate and rational solution to preserve our country and our workforce is to preserve it by keeping it healthy with some government assistance. It seems only right.