Medicaid Expansion Needs Your Support…

Dear Editor,

I got one of those plastic bracelets yesterday. You know, the kind that gets you into fancy events and concerts, except mine granted me entrance to Grandstaff Veterans Hospital in Spokane. See, I’m a veteran (Korea, ’71-’72), and was really sick. I thought I had pneumonia. I decided to make the drive over to Spokane because our local Sandpoint V.A. Clinic is short-staffed, and I was afraid that I was only 12 hours away before I got to see what’s on the other side of this life. Turns out I just have a really bad cold.

I’m one of the lucky ones in Idaho who has healthcare. Many Idahoans can’t afford basic healthcare. I think that’s a crime. We can afford billions of dollars and trillions over several years to buy the most sophisticated weaponry, but neglect to provide a basic need: preventative healthcare.

I’m also a retired school teacher.  I’ve served as a K-12 special education teacher at Farmin-Stidwell Elem., Sagle Elem., SMS, SHS, Hope Elem., Priest River Jr. and Sr. High, Post Falls HS, Kootenai School (Children’s Psychiatric Unit at Kootenai Medical Center), Rocky Mtn. Academy, Elk Mtn. Academy and others. You can say that I’ve seen a ton of children of all ages in the past 30 years. Many, if not most of those kids, did not have healthcare because their parents were making enough money to eek out a living in  Idaho but not enough to afford healthcare. The disparity in income between the 1 percent and the 99 percent is most pronounced in children. I regularly roamed the halls during lunchtime looking for kids who weren’t eating and arranged resources for them to get food. Like food, I think healthcare is a basic need.

I think everybody’s parent told them growing up, “Life is not fair.” It seems to me that whether life’s fate sometimes seems fair or not, the basic human need of healthcare should be readily available to the citizens of the “richest nation on earth.”

If you agree and want to help put this question to the voters, sign the petition at Women’s Health Care at 1215 Michigan St Suite C, or Panhandle Glass Art at 514 Pine St. Visit to learn more.

George Rickert

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