By Jonathan Stumpf
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
In advance of this Saturday’s Seattle march and rally for health-care reform, members of the Health Care for All – Washington (HCFA-WA) organization presented a community screening of the PBS documentary “Sick Around the World” Wednesday night at Fauntleroy Church (WSB sponsor).
The hour-long Frontline documentary, hosted by former Washington Post and NPR correspondent T.R. Reid, examines the successes and problems of health care systems in five countries, looking for alternatives to what many see as a failing health-care system in America.
Twenty West Seattle residents attended the event. The discussion afterward hosted by HCFA-WA board member Chuck Rogers and committee chairs Paul and Mary Margaret Pruitt (photo above) stirred up myriad issues and concerns among attendees, ranging from emergency rooms serving as clinics for the uninsured to some residents being disgusted with insurance company’s control over America’s health-care system.
In a Town Hall-styled discussion, Rogers gave attendees the opportunity to discuss their reasons for attending the event and reveal their personal experiences with health care. Accounts varied, but mostly the mood was pessimistic about America’s system. The residents — including some social workers, former medical-lab technicians and nurses — openly revealed how the system has personally affected their lives.
West Seattle resident Kevin McClintic is looking for work, but the main criteria for his job search isn’t what company or what industry: it is dependent on the size of the company so he can continue his COBRA coverage from his former employer and not face the threat of a new health insurance company and the subsequent health test. He’s worried his pre-existing condition will prevent him from obtaining insurance, a common problem in America’s health-care system, and with ongoing medical issues, he cannot afford to be without coverage.
Other attendees — most in the 55 and older demographic, as McClintic pointed out — said they are worried about health care for their children and grandchildren, and are concerned that most younger adults don’t care about health-care reform until it personally affects them.
Mary Margaret Pruitt said the best way for individuals to help with change to the health-care system is to contact your legislators. “Just make one phone call,” Pruitt said, mentioning that the 34th District representatives are great lawmakers to have on the good side of health reform.
For more information about the Saturday (May 30) 12:30 p.m. march and rally for health reform at Edwin Pratt Park, visit may30march.org. To find out more about Health Care for All – Washington, go to www.healthcareforallwa.org.