Wade Stooksberry, brother of 9th Congressional candidate Wilson Stooksberry, discusses his recent illness and his opinion of what will happen if Obamacare prevails.
Two months ago, doctors diagnosed me with stage four brain cancer. Needless to say this was a game changer, not only for myself but for my family as well. This has brought into even sharper focus the importance of the healthcare system that we have in the United States today and how it needs to change.
Additionally, it is the reason that I wanted to share a little of my story with you on behalf of my brother, Wilson Stooksberry, who is the only candidate in the TN-D9 race that is leading the fight for real, and common sense, healthcare reform.
There are many valid, and intelligent reasons to dislike the Patient Care and Affordable Care Act (or the legislation more commonly known as “Obamacare”) that is scheduled to fully go into effect in 2013: The corruption surrounding its passage; The fact that the bill has already shown to increase healthcare costs (not lower them); it creates a huge expense that our nation can’t afford; it contains mandates of purchase; and the fact that it has acted as an albatross around the neck of this nation’s economy. All are important reasons for our continued effort to overturn this inept piece of legislation.
But one part of the Heathcare bill that is often overlooked in the Obamacare debate is the actual quality of “care” that we would receive under this system of healthcare. It is not overlooked in our family. As for me, it is something I think about every day.
The day that I received my diagnosis started on an unusually cool Sunday morning in April, when I went to the Methodist Minor Medical Center near my Midtown home to have what I thought would be a routine examination for headaches. A series of tests, examinations, and scans ultimately lead me to the Methodist Central Emergency Room, where a doctor informed me that they had found something “abnormal” in the results of my MRI scan that was taken moments after I arrived. She stated that I needed to be admitted to the hospital “right away.”
My response was, “Okay, well let me run home and take a shower first and get a few things.” I was pretty insistent on this point as I recall. Then she went on to explain that because of what they found, I had to be admitted to the ICU immediately, and that literally every second counted.
It was probably the most scared I have ever been in my entire life.
Almost before I was able to process all of what was going on, I found myself being wheeled back to the operating room, where I had to have surgery to remove a tumor the size of lemon from my brain. That tumor would later be confirmed to be malignant and very aggressive.
As devastating as this news was to hear, it is not lost on me how lucky I am. Had I not been able to detect this tumor in its early stages, or receive the level of care at the hospital that day, it is doubtful that I would be here with you today. One of the many things that this experience has taught me is just how fortunate I am to live in a country that has the healthcare that we currently have here.
My uncle on my wife’s side, Randy Myers, was not as fortunate as I was. You may have read about him in Fortune Magazine in 2005, where he was named one of the “top 10 people to watch who are changing the world” due to the groundbreaking work he was conducting in Canada that was saving the fish populations in the North Atlantic oceans.
Not long after that article was written, he began experiencing symptoms similar to those I was experiencing, namely headaches with growing intensity. In his initial consult, he received the same direction from his physician that I did: that he needed to have an MRI scan and some tests done. The difference, however, was that his work in marine biology had taken him to Canada, and under Canada’s socialized medical care system, an ”immediate” MRI takes months- not the minutes that it took in my case. By the time he received his MRI confirming he had a brain tumor, it was too late. It had grown to the point that it was inoperable. He passed away shortly thereafter.
One can’t help but think of what a man of his intelligence, and dedication to his field, could have accomplished had his time not been cut short? Nearly everyone else on that list in Fortune went on to live up to their promise of “influencing the world around them” in profound ways- Including, in an almost sadly ironic way, the name directly above Randy’s, little known (at the time) freshmen senator, Barack Obama.
I am not arguing that our healthcare system is perfect. In fact, it is far from it. There needs to be broad, and sweeping reforms in our healthcare system in order to make it accessible and affordable to everyone. We need to attack the root causes of the HealthCare problems in America today, namely higher HealthCare costs that create a lack of access for all Americans. Addressing these problems will save lives, and billions of taxpayer dollars.
Having said that, a government takeover of healthcare is not the answer. It only takes the problems we have now, such cost of care, and compounds them, while reducing the level of care and services. Only in Washington would this idea have lasted more than an hour.
I find it remarkable that one of the few things that both parties have agreed on is that we need to take measures to reduce the cost of Healthcare, and yet we just passed a 2700 page bill that does not contain one measure of reducing costs. How is this possible?
I haven’t seen anyone’s campaign platform that deals with how to fix our healthcare system as extensively as Wilson’s does. His plan was designed by a team of Healthcare professionals at every level of the system. These ideas aren’t the only reforms needed, but they are a great place to start.
(You can read more on these reforms here: http://votestooks.com/?page_id=286)
We have to all come together as fellow citizens, and put our best ideas forward toward healthcare reform, while repealing the existing legislation that is devoid of any common sense.
It’s not political hyperbole to say that your life may one day depend on it. I firmly believe mine does.