“You’d better get over here,” the school secretary said. “Something’s up with Katie.”
“Something” turned out to be a post-tonsillectomy bleed that began 11 days after surgery. It continued on and off for four days and included two ambulance rides, several long nights in the emergency department and eventually, a 3 a.m. emergency surgery, a blood transfusion and a week in the hospital to recover.
Most families would look back and recall kindergarten. We look back and remember “Katie’s tonsillectomy.”
That was 15 years ago. There have been countless episodes before then and since involving my four children that brought me into the health care system to varying degrees. As any parent will attest, most of us mark time with medical stories, as in, “that was the summer Jimmy had staples in his head” and “that was the year Betsy had a stress fracture and couldn’t run.”
There is perhaps no greater certainty as a parent than the sure knowledge that over the course of your children’s young lives, you will spend hours with them in the waiting room of the pediatrician’s office or an urgent care center or the hospital emergency room.
You’re likely to become “Dr. Mom” or “Dr. Dad” as you learn all you must know to make wise decisions about your child’s health. Ultimately, no parenting task is more important or more serious than to monitor and maintain the health of our children.
Protecting children’s health is one supposed selling point to reforming health care. On the face of it, with potentially up to 10 percent of America’s children uninsured, this is one of the best reasons to overhaul aspects of our medical delivery system.
But HR 3200, the bill currently under consideration in the House, doesn’t simply help parents find the resources to pay for their children’s health care. It includes intrusive mechanisms to decide what that care ought to be. And despite promises that those of us who are happy with our private insurance can keep it, the fine print in this bill forces even private insurers to alter the care we may choose for our children.
According to Dr. Devon Herrick, a health industry economist and fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, this health care overhaul will affect parents’ decision-making roles for their children.
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