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November 9th, 2009
12:18 PM ET

The Wall and health care

By Miriam Falco
CNN Medical News Managing Editor

20 years ago today, the Berlin Wall began to come down. I vividly remember standing in the CNN newsroom with tears rolling down my cheeks, watching images of people crawling on top of the wall. It was something I never imagined I would see, having spent the first half of my life growing up in West Berlin. Now a lot has happened in the past two decades – on both sides of the pond. But one of the things that sticks in my mind as a person, as the journalist in me continues to cover health reform in the U.S., is that growing up as a child in West Germany, I always had health insurance. Now it wasn't the upper-echelon, "you'll get a private room in the hospital" kind of coverage. But if my siblings or I were sick, we went to the doctor – it was as simple as that. Not so in the United States, where over 45 million Americans lack any kind of health insurance and many million more may be covered, but are one major illness away from bankruptcy.

The reunification of Germany didn't come cheap and the German government is facing fiscal crises too, including a health care system that is going broke. But as the years have gone by my friends in Deutschland who needed treatment for cancer or multiple sclerosis or the common cold – got it, no matter if they had a job or not. Now the U.S. Senate has been tossed the health reform hot potato, after the House of Representatives narrowly passed its health care bill this weekend. We’ll see what happens next.

Do you think every American has a right to health coverage? Or does the ongoing political battle cause your eyes to glaze over? Tell us what you think.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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