The American public talks about health care like it's a controversial issue. We weigh the pros and cons, we take sides, we argue.
The truth is, everyone is better off when everyone is healthy. Especially those of us who have been dealt a rough hand -- people with conditions or diseases like cancer, diabetes, Crohn's, Alzheimer's, HIV, asthma or arthritis.
The insurance networks that control our doctor's offices, hospitals and emergency rooms have a more difficult time-sharing our pro-health perspective. Not because they're bad people, but because their focus is on profitability, and they haven't found a way to be as profitable off of the sick as they are off the healthy. Which is not to say they aren't profitable.
The insurance industry's structure left 129 million Americans -- including 17 million children -- at risk of being denied health insurance because they have a pre-existing medical condition. Millions of Americans tried to buy health care, but were turned away or charged more because they were sick (or had been sick), and therefore didn't look like a good risk. Millions more Americans were unable to afford insurance, or exceeded their lifetime treatment caps, or experienced other difficulties that left them uninsured and without access to affordable health care when they needed it most.
Business isn't a bad thing. But the business of health insurance hasn't been a good thing in America. Not for anyone with a chronic illness, or with a spouse who got sick and lost their job, or for a gravely ill child and his or her parents. President Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) recognized these shortcomings and rectified them. Obamacare does for health care what business could not or would not; it prohibits discrimination against those of us with pre-existing conditions. It ensures everyone, regardless of their employment status or health care situation, access to quality insurance and medical care. Everyone. Period.
We are a musician and a filmmaker who are also fathers and businessmen, who are living with chronic illnesses. We know firsthand of what we speak. We were also friends with the late Jennifer Jaff who, through her organization Advocacy for Patients, fought tirelessly with insurance companies on behalf of chronically ill patients who had been denied payments or coverage. Our friend Jennifer imagined a day when her services would no longer be needed, when health care for all Americans would be seen as both good business and good values. If you share this vision and these values, watch and share this little video we created as a tribute to Jennifer, and help elect a president this November who shares these values as well.
Jesse Dylan, Founder of Wondros, Filmmaker, inspired by his son's illness to found Lybba, at lybba.org, creating compassionate communities of care to redesign healthcare for good
Mike McCready, Pearl Jam, Guitarist, living with Crohn's disease
Follow Jesse Dylan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/wondros