In the last few months the Health Care Foundation has hosted several poverty simulations across the community. In less than two hours a person attending these simulations can feel the pain, heartbreak and despair felt by families every day who live in poverty without jobs and health insurance.
Attendance in these simulations has been high. It probably isn’t coincidental that as the economy worsens, interest in poverty grows. In today’s world many of the new jobless are folks who are experiencing poverty for the first time. With unemployment in our area at 8% it is not difficult for most of us to realize that if we lose our job we are only a few pay checks away from being in serious financial trouble and without health insurance.
As many of you know, I had the privilege of working with one of our community’s finest leaders – Mr. Ewing Kauffman. Mr. Kauffman often said that the best social program ever created was a good paying job with benefits. No question Mr. K was correct, but unfortunately not everyone who wants a job can find one in today’s economy.
No one knows how long these troubling times will last. As it continues, more and more of us will find ourselves among the ranks of the uninsured. Therefore it is important for legislative leaders in both political parties, insurance companies, advocates, hospitals, doctors, dentists, nonprofit providers, business leaders, clergy, consumers, and many other groups to figure out a way to provide physical and mental health care for all at a reasonable cost.
Contact your elected officials and let them know that you expect action on health reform this year. Now is the time and together we can assure universal health/mental coverage for everyone.