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Missing the Health Care Bus This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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The current U.S. health care system is comparable to a world where workers from certain companies get to take a free bus. The bus picks them up at their homes each morning, takes them to their workplace, and then drops them back home at the end of the day. Since employers provide their own buses which vary in size and condition. Some workers ride in fancy, high-end buses available whenever they want, and others only have access to basic ones that can pick them up during certain hours. If no one in a family works for an employer that provides bus service, they can either pay a pricey fee once a month to use the bus, or they must simply pay for a ride out of pocket each time they need it.

Since the people employed by companies with buses do not have to pay for rides, gas, or repairs, they save money. However, those who are unemployed can't afford to take the buses, and when they need a ride badly enough, they are charged unreasonable amounts. Even when they pay out of pocket for the bus, they cannot always depend on getting a ride. Sometimes, the buses are late, the drivers disrespectful, or the buses don't even come.

Like the buses in this example, reliable, affordable health care is only available to Americans with certain jobs, and the wealthy. Unfortunately, this means that many men, women, and children must live without medical care. I believe that health care should be universal because everyone should have equal opportunity to be cared for.

My experience with health care has helped shape my opinion about the importance of its availability for all. When I was young, my father's employer provided our family with health insurance. However, when he was laid off and then retired, our health insurance plan only covered my parents. To save money, my dad opted not to buy me a plan. Although I was (and still am) in good health, not having health insurance has made me much more careful in life.

I feel as though my parents and insured friends get to ride in the luxurious, safe, and accident-free bus while I am forced to ride my bike on the side of the freeway. I feel the need to “ride on the sidewalks” because I don't want my dad to have to pay out of his pocket for medical bills. Knowing that one wrong turn could send my family into bankruptcy puts significant pressure on me to be safe and make smart choices. I do my best to stay healthy, but I cannot always predict when an accident or illness is going to cross my path.

I learned the hard way that even a simple check-up can be costly. I remember one day in eighth grade when I went for a physical. The doctor examined me quickly. When we explained I no longer had health coverage, they looked at us as if we had said something offensive. “That will be $380,” the receptionist said. For a 20-minute physical, that seemed outrageous. As my dad wrote the check, I started to worry about what could happen if I had to be hospitalized for anything. Although nothing serious has happened, I still live cautiously, fearing that I could get knocked off my bike at any moment.

Since that expensive routine visit to the doctor's office, I have gone to the local clinic whenever I need medical attention. The clinic is the Walmart of doctor's offices: everything is more affordable, the lines are longer, and the employees are crankier. Also, all of the patients in the waiting room look as if they have some awful disease just waiting to pass along to me. I would much rather be able to see a regular physician than have to wait for an underpaid, under-appreciated nurse.

I understand that universal health care would result in a significant tax increase, but it would provide the less fortunate, and people like me, with the comfort of knowing that they can get care when they need it. Those who can afford to pay more in taxes should take pride in helping the less fortunate and providing them with the health care they lack. After all, we wouldn't want them to miss the bus just because they couldn't afford it.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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IntrepidRoseThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 11:36 am:

The problem with the United States is that health care is a business, not a public service. Americans seem to have a fear of socialism in any form. A degree of socialism is needed in society. (Public education is a form of it, as are government built roads). Think about this for a moment. The countries that rode out the recent recession the best have a high level of socialism involved. Think about Canada, for instance.

 

I'm all for Universal healthcare. Every country shoul... (more »)

 
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