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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 12, 2009 / 16 Adar 5769

Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more

By Michael Smerconish


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I have a renewed appreciation of my access to health care after witnessing the passing of a loved one last month. She outlasted most survival curves because of the financial resources available for her care, the competency of her medical providers, and the corresponding availability of her medication.

The laminated card in my wallet tells me those things are available to me, too. But they remain out of reach for more than 45 million Americans. There is something seriously out of whack where she got what many Americans cannot.

My memories are more raw than reflective. We did so many things together over so many years, but the fact that she enjoyed a full life is still of little consolation. All that seems to matter now is that she's gone. I know in time that I'll reflect on the pictures, videos, and jpegs with fond memory, but not yet. Instead, I'm paralyzed by decisions like whether to remove the bed in which she steadily declined for months. For now, it remains untouched.

In the end, she just ran out of steam. A combination of old age, kidney dysfunction, and the residual harm from an environmental disease took their toll. She couldn't keep food down, dropped lots of weight, and ultimately lost large clumps of her hair. Then came the end.

She was never provided health insurance early in life, and by the time she was an adult, her medical course made it cost prohibitive. Still, money was not a factor because of my availability to directly provide for her. I would sooner have mortgaged the house than let money stand in the way of obtaining her care. Which made her unique in the current climate.

Those resources afforded her tremendous medical attention. Dr. Matthias Genser, her primary caregiver, is old school - hands on, unhurried, and legitimately concerned. (Even his name is straight out of Mayberry.) She underwent emergency treatment after a fall close to Christmas. During a 10-day hospitalization, she received a full workup from both an orthopedist and a neurologist. All of which improved her quality of life and extended her time to the equivalent of 98 years.

Only now do I realize how lucky I was to have her around for that long. There are too many people in this country who wouldn't have the resources to take the measures I did. Forget caring for a best friend. They wouldn't be able to afford the right medical treatment for themselves. I can't imagine having that kind of uncertainty and helplessness always hovering just around the corner.

My experience reminded me of an exchange between Barack Obama and John McCain during the second presidential debate last fall. Tom Brokaw asked each whether health care in America is a privilege, a right, or a responsibility. McCain deemed it a responsibility - one assumed by employers and small businesses. He then explained his aversion to government-mandated health care.

Obama differed: "Well, I think it should be a right for every American. In a country as wealthy as ours, for us to have people who are going bankrupt because they can't pay their medical bills - for my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they're saying that this may be a preexisting condition and they don't have to pay for her treatment - there's something fundamentally wrong about that."

Right or responsibility? I'm still not sure where I fall in that regard. But I can better appreciate why health-care reform will play such a significant role in President Obama's budget plan.

During his recent address to the joint session of Congress, the president made several references to the "crushing cost of health care." His words dealt mostly with the financial. Left to run rampant, he said, the rising cost of health care now causes a bankruptcy every 30 seconds. Millions could lose their homes. Millions have already been priced out of their coverage.

And now I know this: All that doesn't even begin to explain what else the uninsured stand to lose when they can't afford medical care.

In the end, no sum could provide my friend what she required. Saturday night was our last together. We snuggled on the sofa and watched TV in front of a simmering fire. Last Sunday, she took a turn for the worse, and by Monday I was sure she let me know she'd lost her fight. She wasn't speaking, but her eyes told me it was time. She wanted rest of the permanent kind.

Yes, she's gone. And like Hall and Oates once sang, I'd pay the devil to replace her. Even though they weren't referring to a Labrador.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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Previously:

02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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