"Mama Might Be Better Off Dead": The Failure of Health Care Urban America

Essay by iamagirl June 2007

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According to one of the videos which had compared the United States health care system to that of other countries such as France and Canada, we are ranked a whopping 37th in the nation when it comes to our health care system. I think it would be fair to say that that sounds pretty accurate considering that there are 47 million people uninsured in the United States, but that is not something to be proud about. However, if you have money in the United States or are just simply insured, then there is no other country that could possibly provide you with better health care opportunities. Sadly, this is not an option for families like the Banes.

When your employers lack any form of health coverage, when you are living in a neighborhood that is considered “the newest and poorest ghetto,” when you are denied any rights to health care unless you are damn near death and you are left to care for people who continue suffering from not just one, but rather several health disparities, you are surely guaranteed a rough life.

Jackie Banes is living proof of this as she cares for her husband Robert whose kidney’s failed, her grandmother Cora Jackson who has to cope with chronic conditions like high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease, and diabetes which eventually leads to the amputation of both of her legs, her father Tommy who is left with disabilities from a stroke, and her three children, one of which failed to get immunization for the measles.

Health care is treated as a commodity available to those who can afford it, rather than a public good like education (Abraham 12). Robert Banes avoided getting preventive care until his kidneys had reached the point of no return simply because he could...