Every American deserves quality health care
I congratulate U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., on his recovery from a severe stroke.
My sister was hit by a drunken driver at 6 a.m. on a stretch of Ogden Avenue near Sandwich. The person who did this got a three-year sentence for driving under the influence and I am sure is probably free by now to live the rest of his life any way he chooses. He was not ordered to pay any sort of restitution at the time of conviction, while my sister is stuck in a wheelchair in a body that no longer functions.
Had my sister had the same opportunities afforded to Kirk, as a member of Congress, I know she would be better off today.
She is limited to 10 physical therapy visits per year as a Medicaid patient — not nearly enough to keep her body from the atrophy that she continues to battle. She was discharged twice from same rehabilitation institute that he had access to, because as a Medicaid patient, she had to make progress quickly or be evicted.
Unfortunately for our family, she didn’t progress as quickly as they demanded.
He is financially far better off than the average Illinois citizen. And even though he had what is considered excellent employer-sponsored health insurance, he had to dip into his savings and retirement fund to pay out-of-pocket costs for care.
I appreciate his promise to do something to help Illinois Medicaid enrollees who suffer strokes and are not allowed the rehabilitation services he received.
But we should also consider people with Medicare who face prohibitive co-pays or caps on therapy sessions; workers, including federal employees who cannot afford the premiums for decent coverage under the FEHBP that he had.
One reform, and one only, will serve these people and the millions of others who suffer premature death, permanent disability, homelessness, bankruptcy and other ills, because the United States is the only industrialized country in the world to rely on the for-profit health insurance industry for our health system financing.
I hope that he will join his colleagues in the House and Senate who support a single-payer health care system for the United States and work for passage of HR 676, or S915/HR 1200.
He has told stroke patients to not give up; I hope Americans will not give up — that they join me to fight until every person in the United States has access to all necessary health care — with no financial barriers or burdens, from birth to death.
Jacqueline Traynere is a
Will County Board member, sister of
Billie Irene Brendel and a voter.
She is a Bolingbrook resident.