I am a self-confessed newspaper junkie and read it cover to cover every morning along with breakfast, coffee and my Bible Study. Hey, I have a two-year old so I’m up early and the mornings are loooong.
Lately the paper has been all doom and gloom but today it suddenly seemed like Pollyanna had joined The Oregonian’s staff. Hooray, the unemployment rate has stayed steady at 12% rather than rising! Our state budget is tight but hallelujah, we’re not cutting school days nor food stamps!
And the one I really liked? Kaiser Permanente is providing free health insurance for uninsured kids until they reach 18. It almost seems like a practical joke, too good to be true. Oregon used to cover most kids without insurance through our SCHIP program but that program has been scaled way back with the downturn in the economy. Now over 100,000 kids in Oregon lack health insurance. I want to praise, no hug, no kiss the people at Kaiser Permanente who decided to step up and do something about this travesty.
As great as this gift from Kaiser is to communities in Multnomah County, Beaverton and Salem (the areas where the coverage is being offered), it’s not enough nor, in my opinion, is it the private sector’s responsibility to make sure everyone is covered. Our government should make available affordable health insurance to every single child AND adult throughout the United States. We are the only Western nation not to do that and there’s no excuse for it. We deprive ourselves and our neighbors of the promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” when we allow something as basic as healthcare determine a family’s financial stability. I’m willing to pay for it and, as we get closer to the reality of universal coverage, I hope our nation steps up and others show their willingness to do so as well.