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Jim James on Health Care

Jim James / Photo by Danny Clinch

The most important topic to me in this election is healthcare. Everyone, regardless of race, age, creed, or economic standing in this country should be well taken care of. Period. End of story. It makes me so sad to think of homeless citizens on the street in dire need of good medical care — be it physical or mental — with no access. I cry tears of rage for families ripped apart by debt when a loved one falls ill or suffers an accident while uninsured. To think that something so out of one’s control could wreak physical, spiritual, and totally unnecessary financial havoc on one’s life and livelihood is just insane. Everyone knows that illness, injury, or disease in and of themselves are a massive battle for anyone to fight, but individuals and families should be free to fight these battles without worrying about the financial side.

The arguments that come from opponents of universal healthcare or so-called socialist “ObamaCare” are senseless and cruel, and are conveniently spewn forth from the mouths of those in bed with big insurance greed, who are already well taken care of and who have no idea what it means to struggle. There are so many ways to put a public option in place and still leave plenty of choices for those who desire them — that’s why it’s called an option. There is no force involved. Providing a good level of care for all while always keeping the option open to stay with one’s current provider or any provider they choose. There are plenty of choices for everyone. I’m just trying to look at it from any angle to talk sense into those who see it as forcing big government or socialism, and to get health care into the lives of those who need it but cannot afford it. It’s a complex issue and I’m no political scientist or master of the medical universe, but people are in desperate need of care and do not deserve to be denied or have their lives ripped apart financially as a result of illness. That’s the most important thing. That’s the bottom line.

And that’s just the extremist viewpoint of looking at it in a “dire consequences” sort of way. People also need and deserve good and affordable access to routine care: from simple doctor visits and checkups, to eye and dental care, to affordable maintenance of treatable issues like diabetes. Not to mention the freedom for a woman to make choices about her own body as well as various natural birthing options available, some of which, in states like Kentucky where I live, people are still fighting to legalize, properly regulate, and have as viable and sensible options. Since the dawn of humanity humans have given birth to other humans in their homes. Why that is such a crazy thing to some folks now is a mystery to me. But it needs to be looked at and welcomed back in a realistic way to the current menu of options available to a woman preparing to giving birth.

I am fortunate to have healthcare. What a crazy sentence if you really think about it. Fortunate to have healthcare?! The idea is insane. One should not have to be “fortunate” to have healthcare. Once I decided to pursue music full-time away from college and was dropped off my parents’ plan, I went for four-to-five years without healthcare. And I have plenty of friends who still live that way today — day-by-day just hoping and praying they won’t get injured or fall ill. Because if they do, what happens to them? Will they make ends meet? Will they make it through? That is a worry no one should ever have to face.

It is criminal that we are a country that does not take care of its own, and allows its own citizens to die helplessly in the streets or sink into financial ruin when a health care crisis strikes. We need to take a stand now and say it loud and clear that every single person matters and deserves to be treated equally and taken care of, regardless of race, creed, gender, or economic standing. It’s time we make that happen. Healthcare for all. It isn’t socialism. It isn’t big government. It’s simply about love. Let’s look out for each other. Especially when we need it most.