Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012

To the editor:
There’s a video clip – going viral at the moment – of the president of Ireland unleashing his fury on a Tea Party member.  Everything he said was enlightening, but one thing just resonated with me, and that was the issue of health care.
In a recent letter to the editor, Frances Flynn eloquently outlined some of her thoughts on the matter.  Her subjects were elderly relatives and someone who was stricken with polio at an early age, and how they have all received the support and care they need without having to worry about whether or not they can afford the care.
I was delighted to become a grandmother three years ago, and would like to outline the services my family members, who live in London, received free of charge:
• Full pre-natal care, including scans, regular check-ups, blood work, classes on the birth experience, breastfeeding and parenting
• Orientation visits at three hospitals in the area so the family could choose one for the delivery
• Full hospital stay, including emergency C-section and all that it entails
• Post-natal care, including post-Caesarean recovery, and midwife visits at home to monitor mother and baby
• Monthly clinic visits to weigh and monitor the newborn and access to a doctor or nurse for advice on anything from feeding to post-natal depression
• Free dental care for the mother while pregnant and free medication if needed
On one of the home midwife visits, it was determined that my grandson was losing weight because of a feeding problem and he was hospitalized for two days until the problem was remedied.  Again, no charge.
All children under 16 and older than 60 receive free medication. Anyone over 16 – or under the age of 60 – pays the nominal fee of roughly $11 for a prescription, although recent National Health Service figures determined that 88 percent of the population receive medication free of charge because of certain exemptions. My son, who has epilepsy, and couldn’t get re-insured in the U.S. once he lost his job and his COBRA coverage expired, gets his medication free.  Oh, and by the way – all doctor visits are free. And if you don’t like what you’re getting and you can afford it, you can buy additional private coverage and decide when and if you want to use it.
It does sound like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? Every American’s dream? Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a perfect system and things fall through the cracks and you may have to wait for non-emergency surgery.
But getting back to the video and the part that is still resonating with me: Michael Higgins, president of Ireland, related that he’d lived in the mid-west many years ago and… “Frankly, the idea that a person would not have one job, but two jobs, but three jobs and work all the light hours that are there and still not be entitled to the basic protection of fundamental care is so outrageous.”
He went on to say that he didn’t necessarily agree with everything President Obama is doing, but he did agree on this most basic issue.
“The idea of there being a social floor below which people wouldn’t fall – that’s the future,” he said. “I think that even the poorest people in the great country that is the United States should be entitled to basic health care.” (To see the full video clip, visit http://upwr.me/PfoWwi.)
Obamacare is headed in the right direction – and would have been further into building that social floor if the president hadn’t been stymied at every turn by his opponents. But we’ve made a little progress. Let’s keep moving forward.
– Monica Jones, Tryon

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