The re­al­ity of health care is all around us, if law­mak­ers would bother to re­ally look

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - OUTLOOK - By Ruth SoRelle “All My Tri­als, Lord” — Joan Baez

“If liv­ing were a thing that money could buy, then the rich would live and the poor would die.”

In yel­low­ing fam­ily photos, my grand­fa­ther’s eyes dom­i­nate — dead, pained and hope­less. He could barely draw a breath, his hands shook and he stood only with pain. A mas­ter car­pen­ter, he had ac­cepted any kind of work to sup­port his four chil­dren and wife dur­ing the depths of the Great De­pres­sion, work that ex­posed him to tox­ins, saw­dust and tiny deadly flakes of as­bestos. As he and his fam­ily jour­neyed back and forth across the Texas-Louisiana bor­der, his lungs wore out. Em­phy­sema led to heart fail­ure and then mul­ti­or­gan fail­ure. Fi­nally, he died at age 72 in Char­ity Hos­pi­tal in Shreve­port, La.

His story was not un­usual for the 1950s and 1960s — the years dur­ing which he suf­fered with lit­tle med­i­cal treat­ment or pain con­trol and only the care his fam­ily could pro­vide. He died in 1962, three years be­fore Presi-

Suf­fer­ing chronic ill­ness while re­ceiv­ing lit­tle treat­ment is a story of health care’s past. It shouldn’t be part of our fu­ture.

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