Everyone deserves access to health care

caines | 5/31/2012, 5:30 a.m.

An increasing number of Blacks in Miami and throughout the U.S. know what its like to live without health insurance so the numbers that emerged from a recently-released report, the 2012 Milliman Medical Index, were nothing new to us. Miami leads the nation in health care costs with a family of four paying over $24K in related fees. For some of us, thats equivalent to an entire years salary. For others, its the cost we pay each year to send our children to college or the dollars we need to pay the mortgage on our homes. Even preventive medicine is cost prohibitive these days. So we go without health insurance, keeping our fingers crossed and praying that nothing major comes up that an aspirin or a day in the bed wont cure. It stands to reason that more Blacks are opting out of health care programs provided by their employers. We simply cannot afford them not if we are going to pay for the other necessities of life. This is a travesty in a county that boasts about being the leader in the free world. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, has universal health care for all of its citizens. But here in the good old U.S.A., having health care has become a privilege of those with hefty incomes. It is no longer a right. The report points to several reasons why Miami has been at the top of annually-rising health care costs. But it does not offer solutions. Many have criticized President Barack Obama for insisting on health care as a requirement for all U.S. citizens. Republicans call it down right unconstitutional. But as more Blacks die prematurely from illnesses that could have been made manageable with the proper medication or turn to emergency rooms as their only source of private physicians, it is evident that something must be done and soon. Health care should be available for all citizens. And income should not be the factor that eliminates millions from the regular care of a physician, or longer lives.