America’s healthcare crisis is hardly a new issue. In fact, the phrase ‘America’s Healthcare Crisis’ has probably been uttered by everyone from Bill O’Reilly to Wolf Blitzer, it’s cliche. When a dire problem becomes a platitude, interest wanes. Nonetheless, it is something I have thought about a lot over my hiatus and I don’t think it should be forgotten.
You see, (This is where I take a deep breath because I am about to admit something that feels shameful to me even though I know that it’s not entirely my fault.) I don’t have health insurance. My children do, thanks to the government. We pay co-pays and premiums for their care, but they are far below what we would be paying in the private market. My husband and I are not covered. The corporation he works for does offer insurance, that isn’t the issue. We simply can’t afford it.
We’ve been fortunate enough to not get too sick. (I’m sickened by the fact that I’m thankful that I only ever wanted for antibiotics.) We were in a car wreck that left us with bills in the tens of thousands. Thankfully, everyone involved had car insurance. Seriously though, thousands of dollars for a trip to the hospital and being monitored for about an hour? They didn’t even pull the broken glass from our flesh. My story is not unique and it is not even close to the worst of the worst.
I’m sure that somewhere there are individuals completely content with their American insurance, but I haven’t met them. I know people and families from across the insurance spectrum: people with pre-existing conditions or diseases that require constant care, people that are generally healthy, and people facing stigmatized health conditions. All of them either pay too much for too little or pay nothing and hope against facts. The Affordable Care Act will leave a lot of people it aims to help in the donut hole. Still, it is a step in the right direction.
I don’t have a solution. It is simply clear to me that Americans are being betrayed and misinformed. We are being taught to find our lack of understanding amusing. It isn’t. We’re fighting over a woman’s reproductive rights and imaginary death panels while people suffer and die. Do we even know what we’re talking about anymore?
As per usual, John Green lays it out clearly:
Don’t let the buzzwords, never-ending news cycle, and juvenile disagreements stop you from demanding healthcare reform. Health may not be considered a constitutional right, but it should be. Thomas Jefferson promised us life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when this country was born. Americans cannot fully live when their choice is between sickness and destitution. Our citizens are not free when their desire to stay healthy ties them to a job. We cannot pursue happiness when our bodies are ill or our cupboards bare. If our nation’s promises cannot be kept without a prerequisite, than it is our duty to ensure that the requisite is met.