Here's a quiz for you: What's the worst threat to traditional families today?
a) gay marriage
b) the secular humanist establishment
c) medical bankruptcy -- the leading cause of bankruptcy in America, due largely to the increasing, and inevitable, failures of the private insurance system.
America's medical insurance system is a moral scandal dwarfing the obsesssions of the evangelical right. The current economic crisis is simply exposing the inevitable weaknesses of the system as it exists, as the New York Times reports today. There is hope; as evangelical groups like the NAE broaden their concerns to take on issues of environmental degradation and economic concern, perhaps it will be easier to build some consensus towards addressing the growing class inequality in health care access -- all the more so now that corporate America, suffering under the burden of privatized health care costs (see the index under "industry, auto"), is becoming an advocate for a more public system of health care. Perhaps, unlike 1994-95, "Harry and Louise" will be laughed off the screen this time.
ASHLAND, Ohio — As jobless numbers reach levels not seen in 25 years, another crisis is unfolding for millions of people who lost their health insurance along with their jobs, joining the ranks of the uninsured.
Jeffrey D. Austen was among the 275 people who worked at the factory, in Ashland, Ohio. Mr. Austen and several other former workers said they had decided to put off medical procedures.
The crisis is on display here. Starla D. Darling, 27, was pregnant when she learned that her insurance coverage was about to end. She rushed to the hospital, took a medication to induce labor and then had an emergency Caesarean section, in the hope that her Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan would pay for the delivery.
Wendy R. Carter, 41, who recently lost her job and her health benefits, is struggling to pay $12,942 in bills for a partial hysterectomy at a local hospital. Her daughter, Betsy A. Carter, 19, has pain in her lower right jaw, where a wisdom tooth is growing in. But she has not seen a dentist because she has no health insurance.
Ms. Darling and Wendy Carter are among 275 people who worked at an Archway cookie factory here in north central Ohio. The company provided excellent health benefits. But the plant shut down abruptly this fall, leaving workers without coverage, like millions of people battered by the worst economic crisis since the Depression.
About 10.3 million Americans were unemployed in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of unemployed has increased by 2.8 million, or 36 percent, since January of this year, and by 4.3 million, or 71 percent, since January 2001.
Most people are covered through the workplace, so when they lose their jobs, they lose their health benefits. On average, for each jobless worker who has lost insurance, at least one child or spouse covered under the same policy has also lost protection, public health experts said.
Read the rest here.