I am one of the “young invincibles” you hear about so much in the debate over health care reform: Americans under 30 who supposedly aren’t concerned about creating an accessible, affordable health care system because we are strong and fit and can’t imagine ever needing medical attention. Neither I nor any contemporaries I know fit this distorted picture.
While it’s true the need for medical care does generally increase with age, plenty of young people fall ill and are injured in accidents every day. Many of us have already required substantial medical attention. Plus, if we don’t die first, we will grow older ourselves. Neither fact has escaped our notice.
Moreover, we all have parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members of varying ages we care about and for whom we may someday bear primary responsibility. For both compassionate and practical reasons we want them to have access to quality health care, now and in the future.
That’s why we want our congressional delegation to support substantial health care reform this year – reform that curbs the worst abuses of the current system, makes the insurance market more transparent and affordable, and includes a robust public insurance option. If they stand up for Maine families by backing such critical reform, they can be assured of the support of the “young invincibles” for many years to come.
Bleak future for kids
The prospects for many children in Maine to have a happy 2010 are bleak, thanks to deadbeat dads and our broken system on the brink of getting worse. The Maine Division of Support Enforcement and Recovery reports there are approximately 64,000 court orders for weekly child support, and about half of the recipients do not get regular payments if at all. Of those approximately 32,000, the federal DHHS will take approximately four cases from Maine to crack down on.
The state cannot process thousands of dollars worth of child support checks for almost a week during shutdown periods because cashiers are deemed nonessential. Child support checks collected Dec. 23 could not be processed until Dec. 28.
One in five children in Maine lives below the poverty level compared to the lower national average of one in seven. Cuts to the judiciary, university and the Division of Support are not the solution for a brighter future, but rather self-destruction for Maine.