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Majority of us are one illness from bankruptcy

Why do we as a nation need to reform our health care system? We only need to read the notices in the paper; Benefit for ... to help with medical bills. Many of these people have "good" insurance provided through their employer or union, or they may be retired living on Social Security and perhaps a small pension or savings.

The sad fact is in the United States of America, the vast majority of us are one illness away from becoming bankrupt. Even if you have a very good health plan, in order to keep the bills paid, you must continue to work. When you are no longer on the payroll your coverage ceases.

Where I work we are allowed to donate 12 hours of vacation time to fellow employees who have used up all of their sick leave and vacation. If enough of us donate hours, the individual continues to get their insurance coverage. Without the donations the person loses health coverage just when they need it the most.

I am all for neighbor helping neighbor, but when we as a society are forced to have bake sales and raffles so our friends and neighbors can get medical attention, something must be done. We must change how health care is delivered. Forget the talk about rationing, it is already being done by the insurance companies who tell our doctors what kind of treatments we will be allowed to have.

Have you tried to find a family doctor in Bemidji? When you do find one how many months do you wait to get a physical or other preventative care -- five months, six months? We need to get doctors back to being doctors and allow them to be the healers they went to school to be instead of bookkeepers for insurance companies.

Every one of us needs affordable, accessible health care and it will only happen if we reform our system. This is not a conservative or a liberal issue this is a problem everyone faces and we must get together as a nation to solve the problem. We don't need uninformed people spreading fear and playing the "what if" game. The real "what if" is that health care is sucking the life out of our economy and must be changed.

Ron Madson