Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Health Care IS Emergency Preperation

Recently I came down with a sinus infection. Actually, it wasn't that recently, it has actually been months. But I until recently I didn't have health insurance or a regular doctor, so I have developed a bad habit of ignoring my health problems to see if they'll just go away on their own. This one didn't, and by this morning, it was pretty bad (and kinda gross). So I went down to the Country Doctor Health Clinic on Capitol Hill, and luckily they got me in quick and prescribed a bottle of antibiotics.

On the campaign trail for County Executive last year, I was asked quite frequently about things like pandemic flu, SARS, and other infectious diseases that could be considered security risks to the region. Now I have to admit that Eric Holdeman, director of the King County Office of Emergency Management, is by all accounts doing a bang-up job on preparing the King County Region for possible disasters, but there's a deeper problem here. With so many uninsured Americans, if a flu pandemic were to arise, how many of the uninsured would do like me and wait days, weeks, perhaps months to see a doctor, or go to the emergency room? How many more people will be infected with some deadly disease because of this?

Countries with universal health care are far more prepared for pandemics than the US will ever be until we can figure out how to cover the uninsured. All the money pouring into disaster preparation in the post 911 word will do nothing to counter this problem. Universal Health care is about more than helping the poor, it's about security for the Nation.

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