2011 Contest Winner Submissions

Adric Kimbrough

My Family Needs Healthcare

If my family didn’t have healthcare, we would not get well. One time my sister had a problem with her arm. We had to take her to the hospital. Another time my mom, my sister, and I were very sick. We did not have enough money to go to the doctor, so we stayed at home sick. We would have been better if we had healthcare. Once my mom had a bad asthma attack and had to go to the pharmacy. The man would not give her the thing she needed to get better until she showed him her card and gave him money. The man should have given my mom the healthcare she needed. If my family had the healthcare we needed, we would not have to worry about paying to go to the doctor and would always know we could get help to get better. We all should have healthcare.

Caroline Turner

Is your nose running?  Do you have a sore throat?  Well you may not be sick now but you have been before, everyone has.  Could you imagine not being able to get to the doctor when you are sick because of lack of health insurance.  Here are three reasons why people need healthcare people deserve it, some illnesses are life-threatening, and times are hard.

People should have health care.  When you are sick, usually you are contagious.  Other people can catch your illness and they can become sick also.  In schools viruses spread very quickly and usually if one person gets sick someone else will too and they get other people sick.  When you keep people healthy the community will be healthy also.

Some illnesses, without treatment, are deadly.  Approximately 18,000 people die a year due to lack of health insurance.  About 10 million children in the United States do not have health insurance.  Uninsured people that have colon or breast cancer have a fifty percent higher death rate.  People die every year from illnesses that, in some cases, are treatable.

Times are hard these days.  Some people have lost their jobs or taken a paycut.  If your insurance is through your employer and you are laid off, or the business shuts down; you are going to have to pay for your insurance or lose it.  Most people cannot afford insurance once their income stops.  That results in their families potentially losing their insurance also.  They cannot help losing their insurance, it is not their choice.

Insurance plays a big role in people’s lives.  People need insurance, and they deserve it, sometimes die without it, and cannot help but lose it in certain situations.  Insurance is the key to staying healthy.  Doctors treat you differently when you do not have health insurance.  People are in need of insurance to live their lives.

Drustin Cole

Why everyone should have healthcare

What is healthcare?  Healthcare is the treatment or prevention of illnesses and injuries.  In many cases it can mean the difference between life and death.  However, as the years have gone by, more and more people have been having more and more difficulty accessing healthcare.  Why should everyone have healthcare?  There are several reasons why.  Healthcare is important, a lot of people are in need of healthcare, and there are ways that we can help.

Why is healthcare important?  Healthcare is important because without it the risk of death is forty percent higher than normal.  However some people do not have healthcare, which usually covers hospital bills and injuries. These people usually live sicker lives and die younger.  America’s healthcare system is based mostly on profit, which makes it difficult for some people to get healthcare.  People lose when they are fired, or laid off from there jobs as well.

How many people are in need of healthcare?  The percentage in need of healthcare in America is shocking.  In 2006 the percentage of Americans without healthcare was 15.8%, that is 47 million people!  There are also 1,800 needless deaths each year.  The reasons why some people are uninsured are simple: they could be laid off, or fired, they could not afford healthcare, or are turned away.  Something must be done.

What can we do to help?  There is one thing we can do.  Did you know that America is the only industrialized country to not have a universal healthcare plan?  Canada switched to one and even though their economy is not as good as ours, they still save alot more money then we do on our healthcare system.  A possible universal healthcare system would help our economy, and it would probably be a lot more moral than the system we have right now.

Healthcare is something that should not be taken for granted.  The current system of healthcare just does not seem to be that great.  A universal healthcare system so far seems to be the most economical, and ethical healthcare system we could have.  It might help those who are in need and it would probably be a lot fairer.  That is why healthcare should be for everyone.

Elizabeth Kimbrough

Healthcare is a Human Right: A Letter to Senator Thelma Harper

Dear Senator Thelma Harper:

On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day my mother took my brother and me to see Julian Bond at Vanderbilt University. On the way to hear him speak, I started breathing really hard. My mother told me to take deep breaths so that it could clear up. This had never happened to me before. When we left that evening, I started breathing hard again, and it would not go away. Although we were parked in the lot of the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, my mother called my pediatrician to see if they could see me, because we could not afford to go to Vanderbilt. My mother has insurance, but she could not afford the bill after the insurance. Fortunately, my pediatrician could see me, and my mother rushed me there. My condition turned out to be something minor. But what if my mother did not have insurance even to see my doctor or what if I had died on my way to the doctor? My mother or any other parent should not have to make life and death decisions on seeking medical help because of money problems or lack of health insurance. I believe that every human being should have healthcare benefits.

There are over 86.7 million Americans who have become uninsured in the past two years. My brother and I were among these statistics until my mother was able to get insurance on us. No person should be uninsured. Healthcare should be available to someone who is rich and who is poor. Healthcare should be available to all races and genders. Healthcare, in my opinion, is a human right, and every family should have opportunity to have it.

Healthcare can have many different definitions for many different people. To me, healthcare means taking personal care for the body, making sure the body does not have any diseases, and being able to see a doctor in case the body gets sick. Healthcare can come from different sources. Healthcare can come in the form of personal responsibility. We can take care of our bodies by eating right, exercising, not smoking, and washing our hands regularly. Another example of healthcare is being able to see a doctor or get medicine to get better. Since the need for healthcare affects everybody, there should be nothing preventing anyone from receiving it. I believe that the Healthcare Reform Act can make this happen. This law provides health benefits for seniors, college students, children, the middle-class, the poor, and most of all parents like my mother who need help to pay health insurance payments for their children. Having healthcare is especially important to Tennessee families as our state is the 47th unhealthiest state in the nation.

Healthcare for every family and every human being means that a person with disabilities, diabetes, cancer, or HIV/AIDS should not have to worry about having to pay to get well, but only about getting well and being healed. It is not fair for my mother to struggle with whether to go to the hospital or the pediatrician to take care of an emergency health situation. It is not fair for the man I saw on the corner of 2nd Avenue North with a can in his hand only to have one crutch to support him. It is not fair that an uninsured cancer patient died because she had no access to chemo therapy treatment. Healthcare for all families is fair, and it is a right.

Will you make sure that Tennessee supports healthcare for all families, including a family like mine. Although we have health insurance, we can barely afford it. My mother, who is a preacher, talks about healthcare in her sermons. One of my favorite stories she preached about was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She was poor. She had spent all of her money on physicians, and they could not help her. One day Jesus came by, and she believed that touching the hem of his garment would make her well. While Jesus was passing through, a rich man told him that his daughter was sick, and he wanted Jesus to heal his daughter. Although the bleeding woman did not have a lot of money, Jesus took time to talk with her and heal her even though it delayed him from the getting to the young, rich girl. Even though the young girl had died by the time he arrived, Jesus brought her back to life. The story shows all of us that everyone deserves to be healed and all of us can be healed: women, men, children, rich, and poor.

If you are able, please make sure that healthcare continues to be available to all families.


Elizabeth Kimbrough

Colby Edwards

Some people are not fortunate enough to have healthcare. They might have lost their job and cannot afford healthcare. Some people who do not work and cannot afford it. People who don have healthcare are deeply worried about getting hurt, and they are not able to pay off the bills because they do not have healthcare. I am goin to tell you three reasons why all people need healthcare: hospitals turn them away, not treated fairly, and they are always worried.

In most cases of people not having healthcare hospitals have turned them away. They could be sick or in pain and be turned away. Then, if not treated, it can get worse. Sometimes the person could be seriously injured or killed by a sickness if they were not treated. Getting turned away from a hospital is a bad position to be in, that is one reason why people need healthcare.

If hospitals do accept them, they could be treated differently than people with healthcare. Doctors, in some cases, would barely look a the problem and they would not get any better. Doctors do that because they want their money, and since they do not have it better. If they were accepted in the hospital they would have a big bill. Then they would be in debt for a long time. People without healthcare need it badly. Just put yourself in heir shoes. How would you feel?

People without healthcare are always worried about getting sick or hurt. It would be scary to get hurt without heath care. They would not want to get checked out when they get hurt. That could cause someone to get really sick and get worse everyday. It could cause death.

These are some reasons why people need healthcare. People are getting sick and hurt, and will not go to the doctors because they do not have healthcare. It costs a lot money to have healthcare, especially if you do not have a job. Health care is needed for people who do not have it. These three reasons, people without healthcare are treated unfairly in hospitals, some hospitals do not accept hem, and they always worry about getting sick or hurt.

Samantha Bellamy

Do you have insurance? Well, unfortunately my dad does not. More than 15% of Americans last year did not have insurance, and 100,000 died. On Christmas Eve my dad was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. The causes of him going to the hospital was that he had a minor heart attack, he was denied to have more tests done, and my dad still to this day has the symptoms of a heart attack.

The 24th of December was a sad experience, my dad had a minor heart attack. I know you might be wondering how he had a minor heart attack, so here’s the story. My mom and I were baking some cookies for the next day, and my dad came in there and said “Why have you had a chip on your shoulder.” My mom just left it alone and then he got really mad at everyone and he fell to the floor holding his chest. And my uncle yelled “Help!” While my dad was on the floor he was telling everyone “Sorry” and “He loved us” and it scared us. I am so blessed my dad is okay from his heart attack.

When my dad was in the hospital they let him have the stress test done. My dad was really needing the other test done too, but when he had no insurance they denied him from all tests. The good thing about my dad is he is seeing if he has any blockage in his neck, heart, stomach, or leg on the 16th of February. My dad really needs the test done, because all his brothers and sisters had to have surgery on their heart also. Hopefully he will get disability for all the stuff he has been through, since we have been out there. People need insurance. They can get all the tests done they need.

My dad still has all the symptoms of a heart attack. The symptoms that my dad is having is high pulse rate, it runs from 105-125, and he breaks out into a sweat, chest pains, and constant heart burn. My dad could have a heart attack any day. They told him to not over do it because he can put himself back into the hospital. They’re trying to stop his symptoms so he does not have to have surgery.

Everyone in the United States should have insurance, why you might ask. Well, there are too many wrecks and health issues for them to not have the insurance free. My dad had a minor heart attack. He was also denied for other tests done. My dad still has all the symptoms of a heart attack. That’s why they should have insurance for everyone.

Maya Swift

Health care is one of the top economic problems facing Americans today. I strongly agree that everyone should be provided with health insurance. Reason being, it could destroy you financially if you had to pay out of your pocket. Also health insurance should be regulated by your income so it’s affordable to all families and the elderly. Additionally, it’s important that we have a healthier community.

To start, without health insurance it could really cause financial trouble. Whether it’s a doctor visit or a serious medical problem, being covered will help tremendously. Having insurance will allow you not to pay out of pocket, so that is a less burden on you and your family. By families being uninsured, it could cause more health problems. So instead of being sent a full hospital bill, having health insurance will eliminate that from happening.

Secondly, a family’s health insurance should be regulated by their income. That way getting health insurance will be more affordable. For instance, if one family made $100,000 a year, it would be easier for them to pay for insurance; contrast to a family that only makes about $25,000 a year. My family has low income, so in my opinion, the cost of our insurance should be determined by that. Why should someone have better health care just because they make more money? Everyone needs the same treatment.

Lastly, it’s important that we have a healthier society. Healthy people mean a better community. Having health care can allow people to know what’s going on with their body and if they knew, that would decrease the spread of diseases. Institute of Medicine (IOM) statistics estimated people without health insurance with certain chronic diseases could lead to at least 18,000 more deaths per year. A person without health care can lead to poorer health outcomes.

All in all, from small families to big families, young to elderly, or men to women everyone should have coverage. Each person should have equal health care no matter if their income is low. How can the government say that they are “by the people, of the people, for the people” and continue to let people die or be sick just because they can’t afford the proper health insurance? I don’t understand why someone would go against helping someone else in dire need. Healthy people will make a stronger America.

Jared Williams

Health care is important to me for three reasons. First, everyone should have health care no matter what their income may be. Two, with universal health care you would be able to be covered no matter what. Third it should not be a choice between life and death.

One, no one should decide that you can get health care based on your income. Being sick does not discriminate based on your wealth. What if you had a good paying job and you get fired? If you could not pay for health care, you would be stuck with a big hospital bill on top of other bills you have to pay. What about young parents, where do they fit in all of this? I was watching an episode of “House” where an eighteen year old had two younger siblings that he had to take care of after his parents died. He was working at a minimum wage job and they were running a lot of tests on him. I kept wondering throughout the show how he was going to pay the bills. Although his parents left him money, that will not last forever. Some people are not blessed to have parents that can leave behind money for them.

Another problem with some health care providers, they do not cover everything and you find that out at the wrong time. For instance you are in a car accident with a truck and the health care will not pay for the hospital bill. Then you are sitting in a hospital bed wondering how you will pay for the bill instead of focusing on getting better.  The health care provider leaves you to pay an enormous bill and they do not feel any guilt about it!

Finally, some people have to choose health or house payment. It should not be like that. With affordable health care it should not ever come down to life or death decisions. If you had to make the choice between health care or house payment you would probably choose house payment. If you chose house payment and couple of months later you find out you have cancer. So now you are stuck with a hasty decision you made. If you had affordable health care you could have gotten treatment and maybe the difference between picking out Christmas cards or picking out caskets.

In conclusion, health care is a very serious and important matter. It makes me sad that some people may be living in pain because they are unable to afford health care. Really what’s sad is that government has not sat down and figured out a solution to this problem. In other countries, they have universal health care. That leaves me to wonder why we do not have it. Not that I am putting down the other countries, I am simply saying we should have gotten together with the other countries and see what they did.

James Dodson

Governor Bill Haslam/State Representatives:

My name is James Dodson and I am a student of Northeast Prep Academy. I believe that health insurance should be free to every citizen, especially those who are terminally ill. The medical bills for their treatment are highly expensive; paying for prescription drugs can be overwhelming when you know you cannot afford it.

I have a friend that is terminally ill with cancer. His name is Jason Hopps. He was diagnosed at age seven with spinal cancer. I was shocked and sympathetic when he told me. His parents work full-time jobs yet they are unable to afford health care. The constant medical bills can be overwhelming at times especially when they cannot afford them. After Jason’s family is done paying their medical bills they barely have money for food and their house payment. Jason is mostly bed ridden most of the time feeling guilty that his parents are struggling because of his illness. Jason feels anger in his heart knowing that people all around the world are struggling just like him.

The truth is that there are kids out there looking out their windows asking, “Why did this happen to me?” Free health care is mandatory. The money that is going into the pockets of the rich should be going to the people that are sick and can’t pay their bills.

Governor Haslam and State Representatives please find it in your hearts to give free health care to thousands of kids just like Jason that are struggling because their lives depend on it.


James Dodson