On Passover, we free ourselves — and seek to free others — from slavery. Today, many are enslaved by inadequate health care. Passover calls on us to struggle for their freedom!
I had finally gotten into the endotontist’s chair after a night and half a day of intense pain. The staff prepped me, and the doctor made a cursory examination. “I’ll look further to confirm my diagnosis,” he said” but I think the tooth is cracked and will have to come out.” Then he gave me a most welcome injection of Novocain to numb the area, and ease the pain. The doctor said he would return in a few minutes after the Novocain took effect to examine the tooth thoroughly to see if it could be saved. During the “Novocain intermission” the dental assistant came in with a consent form. It indicated that if the tooth could be salvaged, the root canal procedure would cost $1300 and invited me to sign a treatment consent form acknowledging that fact.
What choice did I really have? With the pain that I had experienced during the previous 36 hours, I would have signed any form that offered a reasonable chance of relief.
Now, because I am the husband of a former Hartford City Public School teacher, my coverage includes “full dental” which made the $1300 charge moot. But even if I did not have coverage — even though I would feel a pinch — I could manage the $1300 without lasting damage to my family’s financial situation or lifestyle. Far too many others across our land, though, are not so blessed.
Was it my privilege to be relieved of my acute dental pain because I am financially solvent? Or should such relief be a basic right?There can be no doubt about the answer in this land of the free and home of the brave! Adequate health care should be the right of every man, woman and child!
Now we must find the way to make it happen. We must make the freedom of adequate health care available to all. From the standpoint of Jewish tradition, failure to do so because some lack the means is a sin (DT 15:9). But if we find a way to provide all of God’s children with this and other basic necessities of life then the Torah promises: “The Eternal One our God will bless us in all in all of our deeds and all our undertakings.” (Deuteronomy 15:10)
It is a wonderful blessing! It is a blessing we should strive unstintingly to achieve at Passover and throughout the year!