Overcoming the Threat to Health Care.
The threat to Obamacare stands in front of us like a ticking bomb. Unprepared for medical and drug expenses, millions of people are shuddering at the thought of returning to a time when the lack of good insurance could tip a family into financial disaster and psychological catastrophe. Not having financial reserves necessary for short or long term hospital stays, critical drugs, or repeated doctor visits, the person without health insurance panics: not visiting the doctor when there are warning signs, not going to the hospital until the pain is too great, and choosing a life of fear as the major alternaitive. Sadly, this condition, which may affect 30 million people next year, is too often the current conditions facing poor people in our community and country. Health care for the poor has been too little, too late, and too insulting. The poor are blamed for their illnesses, rebuked for costing the tax payer money when they attend the emergency room, and implicitly told that health care on any regular basis is not for them. And, Cincinnati is the cancer mortality capital in Ohio for minorities and the poor.
The poor do not really know that the US is the only major industrial power in the world that treats its people so shabbily. The middle class is waking up to the fact that the loss of their health insurance may plunge them into poverty and risky behavior. There are forces in our society, our community, and our nation that are working for health care of high quality for all, including the keeping of reasonably priced doctor, hospital, and drug insurance. My organization, the Cancer Justice Network is one of them. We have teamed up with over 20 social service agencies, two universities, medical students, nursing and social work students, and community organizers to offer free and high quality education about the steps to stop cancer in the lives of the poor. Over the past 3 months we have presented to over 500 people at dinners for the poor at Christ Church Cathedral, Madisonville Education and Assistance Center, and Churches Active in Northside. We have brought Navigators, trained volunteers, ready to take people to screenings at Crossroad Health Centers or the Cincinnati Health Departments clinics. Poor people have found their voice in terms of wanting to talk about their health concerns, rising questions and concerns to our Navigators about the steps to following through on exams, treatments, and surviving cancer. Thanks to many supporters, we will be expanding our efforts in the new year by visiting churches, schools, community centers, and agencies like the FreeStore Food Bank and St. Vincent de Paul. We are sending a clear message: "We are continuing to offer our services for high quality cancer care no matter what happens in Washington or Columbus. Your health is our priority."
We have found great and building support for our program of education and action. It shows us that, given a real chance, people can actively and responsibly join in better health care for all. Our volunteers have heard stories from people who are homeless, impoverished, and sick and also heard stories of people caring about their families, overcoming bad treatment from doctors and hospitals, to make a better life for their families. Learning about the resilience of people, seeing education lead to health-based action, and knowing that lives are being held in a compassionate embrace, has made us redouble our efforts. We know that the road to cancer care for the poor and minorities, in particular, is long. But we intend to navigate the surest and most caring way. For more information, please go to our website: cancerjusticenetwork.com
Read about the latest progress we are making as a Cancer Justice Network.