This letter is in memory of my brother, who had a pre-existing condition and died after he was unable to receive care because of lack of health insurance.
I worked in health care for close to 50 years before I retired. I learned early on that when an illness attacks us it doesn’t care anything about us, not our race, religion, gender or politics.
The hope of recovering from one’s illness was easily found because, up until 12 years ago, medicine was about ethics and the healing of body, as well as mind. When St. Francis, Mercy, Braddock and many small community hospitals closed their doors or were bought out by huge health care systems, I saw with my own eyes and I knew, through my broken heart, that medicine had changed. Ethics were simply thrown away and healing was replaced with profit. When that happens, the hope of recovering from one’s illness depends on whether the person has a health insurance card in his or her pocket.
If I were a betting woman I would take the bet that the banker has one of those cards but not so much the baker, the candlestick maker or the pizza delivery driver (the working poor) — folks too rich to be enrolled in Medicaid, as we know it today, and too poor to qualify for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. This means hundreds of thousands of working poor Pennsylvanians and their children will remain uninsured, and that is not acceptable.
The time is now for Gov. Tom Corbett to open his eyes so he can see that Medicaid expansion is the morally right thing to do for the citizens of Pennsylvania, for within Medicaid expansion is hope.