Vote for Better Health

October 2nd, 2008

An election is upon us!  (Apologies to readers outside the U.S. but I know our national obsession is big news everywhere these days.) The purpose of this blog is not to take sides politically, so I won’t be pushing a platform. I do want to urge all U.S. citizens to get out and vote!

If you aren’t registered, the deadlines are coming up.  They vary state by state.  To get electoral information for your state, check out: Rock the Vote.  Rock the Vote even has voter registration forms you can download and mail in!  How cool is that?!  In Alaska you must be registered by this Sunday, October 5th.  Several states have deadlines this coming Monday, October 6th.  Most others have deadlines sometime between October 14th and 20th, although Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, and Wyoming permit registration at the polls on Election Day.  A big round of applause to those states for actually making it easier to exercise the franchise!  But please remember lines can be long on Election Day, and register ahead if you can.

If you are afraid you might not be able to make it out to the polls, get an absentee ballot.  Check with your
local Board of Elections, you usually have to request one a few weeks ahead, and in most places you can use it if necessary, or show up and vote if you’re able.  Some states have early voting, so you can vote while you feel well in case the migraine monster strikes on Election Day!  You have lots of options, so please exercise them, stand up and be counted!

What does this have to do with healthcare? Well, I know I’m not alone in thinking our healthcare system is seriously broken. How about you? Do you have health insurance? Even if you do – Are your premiums affordable? How is your coverage? How high are your deductibles? How good is the care available under your plan? How much are you paying for prescriptions? How much of your total income is going to healthcare each year? Personally, as a self-employed person, my healthcare costs (premiums, deductibles, and co-pays) are second only in my budget to housing costs, ahead of food and transportation costs! I believe we need a new President with a commitment to real change in our healthcare system, and a Congress to help pass the laws that will give us that change.

Please get informed. Don’t vote based on commercials or sound-bites or looks or popularity – look at the issues that matter to you. Do some reading, look below the surface. It doesn’t have to take long. If healthcare is important, as I’m sure it is to most of us, you can start by taking a look at this tool from Health Central: Healthcare ’08 PoliGraph.  You can use it to compare where you stand on various aspects of healthcare with where the presidential candidates stand. Get informed and then get out and vote. Thanks!

- Megan Oltman

Ballot box image courtesy of Just-us-3.

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