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Please MediCARE

Liz Devany | Monday, March 29, 2010

As an only child of senior citizen parents, I also have a unique perspective on the health care debate, like cancer survivor Aidan Fitzgerald (“A plea to a mostly competent student body: True Reform,” March 24).
Being the daughter of “grandparents” can be fun — I’ve been the only employed family member since age 13 so they’re available to call whenever they can find the “talk” button. I’ll never need to stress about them having Facebooks. When I was six we skipped every line at Disney due to Mom’s wheelchair. I’m talented at finding hearing aids and fake teeth — and thus lucky pennies.
But elderly life consists of more than where-are-my-glasses games. Like many stereotypes, seniors get labeled hypertensive, arthritic and grouchy. It’s not unfounded — I’m not the one in the family who swears over spilt milk. I also know their treatment is expensive and it’d be a lot to ask for ObamaCare to help us more than Medicare already does. However, I want something a bill may never bring.
Last May, Dad had three strokes. He is diabetic (genetically). The hospital’s physicians kept testing him for heart disease — tests he’s had so many times, all proving his heart is as good as mine. His diabetes was outright ignored. They fed him sugar. His blood glucose shot up to near-coma levels. Many Medicare patients don’t receive the care someone with “real” insurance does, because Medicare doesn’t pay as much. It’s my hope that attempting to equalize healthcare may equalize how much attention doctors pay to their patients.
Also, as a biology major, I’d like to ask all applying to medical school to pick your ObamaCare battles wisely. The only negative argument I’ve heard so far is “Will my salary pay for med school?” Of course it will — you’ll be a Notre Dame grad and a doctor. If money is your priority, do something else. I’m not supporting or condemning the bill, but please criticize constructively. I understand med school is your main concern — my main concern is Dad being at graduation. Please remember your future patients, too.

Liz Devany
McGlinn Hall
March 26