Why I support universal healthcare
Posted by Rystefn on June 20, 2008
A lot of the people I know are in favor of it for a plethora of reasons: the millions of children who have to make do, the self-employed who can’t afford the non-group rates, the artificial inflation of pricing to the non-insured so that insurance companies can have the 90% discounts they demand, the forcing of people to have older, outdated procedures because they’re cheaper… I have a different reason.
I’ve always said our system was screwed up, and doubly so after my short stint working for a medical company… but it’s never really impacted me on the kind of direct level it did today. As many of you know, I’ve been semi-retired/semi-self-employed for quite a few years now, and as so often goes along with that, the stupidly high cost of individual health insurance became a barrier to me. Of course, as so often happens in these kinds of situations, unexpected medical expenses came along. Luckily, not more than I can afford at the moment, but, perhaps worse in some ways, more than can be readily absorbed by my expected income and still enough for what I wanted to do…
I’ve run the numbers, and rerun them, and then checked again and again. If absolutely nothing else unexpected comes along, and if I’m willing to lower my standard of living somewhat, I SHOULD still be able to make it… but it’s close enough that it scared the Hell out of me, and honestly, it still does. To be clear, I’m NOT asking for money, nor will I be. I’ve acquired a fair amount of rare and out of print books as well some more esoteric collectibles I could liquidate if I really need to. Yes, I know this is taking away from other people I was going to leave things to, and if it does end up affecting anyone reading this, I apologize in advance, but that is the way it will be.
Anyway, the point here is that I’ve been directly affected by this in one of the few areas in this life that I truly care about – my Dove. I’ve been a quiet supporter of socialized medicine for most of my life, and now I find myself wishing I’d been a vocal one. I guess spending as much time in other countries as I have, it never really impacted me very much, and I never expected it to. The random vagaries of chance can hit us at any time, and they often hit us crossways. This time, it hit me where it really hurts.
I’m the first to admit to an emotional streak – I’m a creature of passion, and I make no bones about it. It’s who I am. This, however, is the first time in my life that money has ever affected me like this. In my life, more than once, I’ve gone suddenly from reasonably well-off to quite poor (even completely broke), but I’ve never really been bothered terribly by it. I’m the sort to pick myself up, dust off, and fight on. This time, I won’t lie, I broke. I didn’t think I could make it at first, and it was more than I could handle. With the threat of hunger and homelessness hanging over my head, I was optimistic and unworried, but the threat of not being to able to purchase one completely unnecessary item for a woman I love utterly destroyed me. I was on the floor in tears.
I know there are people out there with truly heartrending stories of families suffering through illness and injury with minimal care, and I know that people unmoved by that couldn’t possibly be affected by cries of “but how can I afford diamond ear studs for my lovers’ birthday?” Even so, that is my sad tale of woe, and the first from me for many years. If it seems not such a terrible thing to you, I can understand, but if it helps you to understand what it means to me, I’ll leave you with this: I have every intention of making the last words I ever say a request that she wear them sometimes and remember that I loved her.