I just read about the results of an AARP study showing that half of Hispanics in New Jersey have to pay full price for their prescription drugs because they lack insurance. To make matters worse, 43% earn less than $20,000 year. I was going to talk about the moral and economic issues of allowing a significant portion of our population to go without health care, but then I read the comments some people had left in the article.
“And just how many of that 50% are here legally?”
“Good…now maybe they’ll go back home and obey our laws.”
“That’s odd, because they sell 80% of the drugs”
“NONE OF THEM EVEN WORK!!!!! IT’S GREAT TO LIVE IN THIS COUNTRY IF YOUR A FOREIGNER!!”
“Most hispanics get free medical paid for by the state. Come to Newark and see all the freebies they get. From free medical to free food, free rent even free bus passes. So I dont want to hear it.”
“All they want is free free free—-they don’t think they should pay for anything. Close our borders”
Xenophobia, racism, and pure unadulterated hate. The common thread: “brown/poor people are lazy, selfish, and don’t belong here.”
My wife is a pharmacist, and while I don’t usually like to bring her into things here, her experience is instructive. It completely contradicts the comments you read above.
Customers with insurance frequently complain that their $10, $26 or $40 copays are too expensive and should be, say, $5 instead (that’s a whole discussion for another day). But at least in my wife’s several years of experience, whenever an uninsured customer has come in – often for post-operation antibiotics – nobody has ever complained for having to pay for a prescription. They either pay full price in cash or if they can’t afford it, just walk away quietly. A few will shell out several hundred dollars at a time for cholesterol medicine, but for most that’s completely out of the question.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that these are real people with real dignity and they should be treated as such. Unfortunately, there are those, like the anonymous clowns in the comments, who will project their sense of entitlement onto those they view as inferior to them. And there are those who turn their legitimate frustrations with the health care system into unjust scapegoating of people who are different from them. If we’re still trying to get over these hurdles, we’ve got a long way to go.