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Bush Legacy on Health Care Non-Existent

Barack Obama had promised to put an end to the war in Iraq and suffering of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Yet 47 million Americans will continue to suffer due to a lack of adequate health insurance. This is true tragedy of the George W. Bush administration.

What Obama needs to do immediately after his swearing in on January 20, 2009, is fix this frightening situation. He has the potential to put people at ease if he acts now.

This December I volunteered at a local hospital as a greeter. A woman, from Germany, came into the emergency room a little distraught. She was here on a green card and uninsured. She was turned down by every medical office in the city and told to report to the ER. She was five weeks pregnant and bleeding. It was only her child’s life at stake, but she was uninsured and not seen.

How can we accept that? How can we as American people let our fellow Americans suffer, go bankrupt, and even die because of this? Immigrants, residents, the poor, and middle class people make up the people who are uninsured. But also 9 million children are uninsured. According to the Census, 70 percent of those children come from a family with at least one full-time working parent. By hindering a child’s ability to even be properly cared for and treated we are ruining their futures. How did we let this happen?

A woman, from Germany, came into the emergency room a little distraught. She was here on a green card and uninsured. She was turned down by every medical office in the city and told to report to the ER. She was five weeks pregnant and bleeding.

What we need is a healthcare system like those of most of our allies. A system where people can be treated equally. No American citizen or visitor should ever fear what may happen if they become sick. We all should have the comfort of knowing we will get the best treatment anyone can afford.

I’m not looking for an instant solution to the healthcare system, but I’m looking for an instant start, starting on the 20th. The United States is supposedly the best country in the world, yet the National Academy of Sciences notes that we are the only wealthy, industrialized country that lacks universal health care. Canada, England, Germany, and countless others have converted to a system that still keeps their doctors well paid and happy. Why can’t we follow in their footsteps?

I am grateful that I live in a country with so many freedoms, but I can’t imagine being turned down by every doctor in town because I’m just out of college, deep in debt, and uninsured. Is my life less valuable than someone else’s? Imagine the security of knowing that a respected medical professional will be there when I need her. Instead, I must rely on the charity of doctors to meet my healthcare needs.

Throughout these next four years I’m wondering what will become of our healthcare system? Will Obama live up to his talk of change and rescue millions of Americans from this horrible situation? Because the longer this system is left unchanged, the larger the number of uninsured Americans becomes.

The faith in Obama is something I could feel in D.C. from the first day I got here. The pressure is on him. In my own way I plan to put pressures on him too. I know that he alone cannot fix the system. And starting on January 20, I’m hoping change happens.

Universal healthcare is not something that could finish in one term and probably not two. It’s something Obama can start and we can finish. Obama’s healthcare plan that he had during his campaign is not the best, but it’s a start. If he truly intends to change and help he has to start with the one thing we all need, the insurance of prolonging our lives.

It’s something that we truly need to strive together for in order to have healthy, better people. Our plummeting healthcare statistics make us look ridiculous as an industrialized nation.

How can we possibly be okay with the fact that little, helpless children are uninsured for something they cannot control? How can we be okay with millions being turned away from being helped? How is it that we, a country so advanced, are so behind in the field that we all will use at one point in our lives?

Tiereney Miller is a student at Juniata College from Altoona, Pa.