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Open Thread

C&L sends our best wishes to the family and friends of Martin Bosworth, who passed away yesterday. Martin was a strong and clear voice, gifted writ

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C&L sends our best wishes to the family and friends of Martin Bosworth, who passed away yesterday.

Martin was a strong and clear voice, gifted writer and valuable advocate in the progressive blogosphere. He was a founding member of Scholars&Rogues, Boztopia.com and the Managing Editor of ConsumerAffairs.com An official cause of death has not been announced, but it is believed he died of a heart attack. Martin was just 35.

Jason Rosenbaum at The Seminal and Elana Levin at Daily Kos honor Martin's memory. He will be missed by many.

One of Martin's more recent posts speak to the urgency of fixing our broken health care system after a health scare of his own pointed out its glaring deficiencies:

As my sister said, it’s 200-fucking-9 in the United States of America. We should not be afraid of getting medical help. We should not cower in fear and anxiety over paying our bills when all we want to do is focus on our health and getting well. A single incident can change your life forever. Trust me, I know–a week ago this time I was over the moon and loving life. Now I’m anxious, fearful, still not feeling well, and stressed beyond imagining. Is this what it means to be healthy in our system?

People say that Medicare’s excessive bureaucracy makes it a bad model for health care to follow. To that I say, how is that any different from what we have now in the slightest? Do we not still fill out dozens of forms, endure long lines and rows of faceless bureaucrats who don’t even know our names? Do we not still end up used and abused by an impersonal, inhuman system that views us as losses against a profit margin? How is our current, corporatized, for-profit system really any more efficient or less bureaucratic than the dreaded "government health care?"

The thing that has always swayed me in favor of public health care is that it frees you (for the most part) from fear. You don’t worry about paying the bill. You don’t worry about it being there or not. It’s there when you need it, and it encourages you to get well, as opposed to waiting until you’re sick just to get insured. True, it has more than its share of problems, but I’ve seen the VA system and Medicare help my parents through a host of ailments for many years now. I don’t know what they would have done without it.

There is a lot of positive news on this front. Both the House and Senate have released their versions of health care reform bills, and both have passed out of their first committee introductions, marking a huge step towards getting them voted on. I’m not cognizant enough of the technical details to give a really cogent analysis, but the general opinion is that they don’t suck. If you don’t have time to read or review the full bills, Matt Yglesias and health care mega-expert Ezra Klein have good takes on them. As their commenters note, not everything is peachy keen about the bills by a long shot, but they strike me as a very big step forward from the failures we have now. I’m no fool–I know there are a million ways this can get screwed up before it hits Obama’s desk (if it does at all), but I just have an instinct that says this time, the little guy really will win.

And let’s not forget, we have a rather formidable ally in our corner when it comes to health care reform in general and a public health plan in particular. It literally is a battle for the ages. On one side, a colossal bureaucracy with billions to spend in lobbying recalcitrant and weak-willed Congressmen to avert or avoid real reform. On the other, not only is the personal muscle of the President of the United States, but the organizing and activism machine that transformed politics like never before. Most of all, alongside them is the will of the American people to push for real reform–and after decades of horror stories, broken promises, and spiraling costs, that will has never been stronger.

What about me? Well, physically I’m almost 100 percent again. Whatever it was that felled me cleared up over the last 48 hours and I’ve been getting back to the gym, eating solid foods, etc. I talked to other people in the area, and many of them said they got sick in the same time span with no explanation. Was it swine flu? Bad food? Viral outbreak? Aliens? Who knows? The many bizarre and inexplicable maladies that our overindustrialized, overmedicated, unhealthy world exposes us to is a whole post in and of itself.

Financially, I’m still waiting to formally negotiate my bill down by a large chunk, but I am told my odds are very good. Plus my employer has graciously agreed to cover another large chunk of it. Even beyond that, I’m still looking at $6K in medical debt. To that end, I’ve added a PayPal donation button at the bottom of this page. I’ll also be setting up a special donation page while my wonderful sister works on adding a widget to the site. Loath though I am to ask anyone for assistance, this time I really need it. If I’ve ever done a solid for you for anything over the years–financially, professionally, personally, emotionally, or in any way, shape or form–think about that, and help a brother out. Any money I don’t use will be returned to the donor or given to a health care reform or health-related organization of your choosing–on that I give my word.

In the meantime, I will not wait another moment to add my voice to the call for a real public option for health care that will give the 47 million without insurance and millions more with little coverage a chance to free themselves from that fear. Disease is scary. Accidents are frightening. Your health care shouldn’t be.

Here’s what I am doing–and what you can do as well:

Throwing my support behind a robust public plan for health care.

Please, in Martin's memory, call your senators and demand that they support a public option through reconciliation.

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