Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

The Bottom Line About Healthcare

There’s a time and a place to remain quiet. Schools now have mandatory silent sustained reading time, where students cannot speak but are engaged in the pages of a book for 20 minutes. Movie theaters warn us to silence our cell phones when it’s time for the show to begin. Silence is indeed golden at times.

But of course, there are times when being silent is foolish – or even dangerous. We wouldn’t be silent if we noticed that same movie theater that just urged us to silence our cell phones was on fire. And I believe the healthcare crisis we’re on the brink of is of equal measure, preventing my ability to remain silent.

I’m not sure why the topic of healthcare has become so political. Is having access to medical care a right or a privilege? Is it not a requirement for us all? What can each of us, who care about our health and being able to pay for care, should we need it, do today? How can our voice be heard?

Regardless of political party, the lives of many depend on some safety net, and it terrifies me that a safety net for our most poor and disabled will go away. In the words of our former President, “Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”

In the arena of aging care, my personal niche, it’s a fact that care at home is, usually, a lower cost alternative. However, when pricing and comparing, we do not include the cost of maintaining the home. If one moves elsewhere, that cost is included in the cost of care. When you are really sick, the only thing you can think of is a) stopping the pain; and then b) getting better. Being unable to afford necessary care should never come into the equation.

I wish I had the answers, but I do know that healthcare should not be a partisan issue. We should, as a nation, and as polite and caring people, decide what is important to us, and then we should figure out a way to cover basics. All the rest should come after that.