Fuel on the Fear Fire

The recent American Motorcyclist Association alert regarding healthcare reform sparked a heated debate over at Hell For Leather recently that is worth checking out.

I managed to assemble and post a respectable comment on the topic as well:

"I wrote about the AMA warning in my own blog and was amazed to hear that the largest organization in the country for motorcyclists rights won't take a stand on the issue of healthcare one way or another, BUT, the AMA has no problem throwing more fuel on the fire of fear.

The AMA needs to take a stand on this issue and stand behind motorcyclists who are constantly being denied health care coverage based on the fact that they ride a motorcycle and/or have have been to the ER room one too many times as a result of a crash either on the street or on the track.

The AMA promotes, sanctions and sponsors professional and amateur racing, and rider safety, for American citizens that cannot afford to have comprehensive insurance. We all know of professional and amateur racers who have survived their crashes, only to be hit with impossible health care bills that they end up spending the rest of their lives paying out of their own pockets. You can only have so many donation web sites where racers ask for donations from fans to help pay for their medical bills after they have had a debilitating crash and they are stuck in a rehab for the rest of their lives.

I own a motorcycle accessories store where I cannot afford to pay my employees' health coverage and nor can they afford it. I have friends who have been in accidents, who, instead of being able to help pay for a college education, waste their dreams away paying down their medical bills. I have customers and friends in the industry telling me they are being refused health coverage from their employer's group plans and when the DO eventually get coverage they get it only by keeping their motorcycle riding a secret. That works, as long as they never find out.

Employers today use the Internet to determine whether or not an employee is worthy of a job. I imagine a day in the future - perhaps it's already taking place - where health insurance companies will look you up on the web and find out what type of activities you engage in on your free time. Run a motorcycle blog? Forget it, you're high risk.

Motorcyclists need health care reform and they need it now and in a big way. They don't need another lobby group getting in the way of reform, as the AMA is doing.

The Democrats' ideas, though only a start in the right direction, are the way to go now. Achieving reform will bring more riders into the sport. I support a public option for all citizens. Bringing health care costs down means consumers have more dollars to spend on motorcycle related goods and services and it keeps riders and racers in the sport instead of hanging up their helmets because they simply cannot afford to participate in a high risk and perfectly legal activity.

Joe Witherspoon


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