Saturday, March 22, 2008

"What's a deductible?"

Bear with me for a second.

While it's easy to paint the face of America's uninsured as aged pensioners or the lowly masses toiling at the bottom of the labor chain, those without access to health care are people like Ms. K -- young, educated, and in professions that don't offer coverage. Or rather in her case, self employed. (New York Magazine wrote an excellent article a year ago about this.)

Ms. K ranks as one of the 47 million Americans who do not have health care. That's 47 million, or twice the population of Australia. This is a scandal. No, this is a fucking scandal. While other countries have managed to get it together and provide nationalized health care, we are the geniuses who value the dollar over alleviating the suffering of millions.

So what is it like to be an uninsured American? The cost of Ms. K's asthma medicine is $300 a month, not to mention the cost of pills to relieve her allergy to my cats. When she slipped on some ice recently and injured herself quite a bit, the mending was left to me as a trip to the emergency room was definitely out of the budget. (Let's hope that stabbing pain in her right rib cage goes away.) When she was horribly sick a couple months ago and staving off pneumonia, I came up with some creative ways to use my insurance to get her access to antibiotics and I let her use up an old prescription for Pseudovent.

To me health care was always something I took for granted because, well, I have it. When I recently spent nineteen hours at the hospital, the final bill came to $5,130.50. I paid nothing.

But what is it like to be gay and have a partner who is uninsured? Not that I'm looking to run off to Vegas with Ms. K, but what if we were to marry? That wouldn't solve the problem because not all health care companies offer domestic partner benefits. This is also a fucking scandal.

So there you go, both the uninsured and the gays are second class citizens in this country. Time to move to Canada.


Anonymous said...

I, too, am one of the 47 million. And I couldn't agree with you more!

EnnuiHerself said...

Preach on, sister!

While not uninsured, I do fall into the category of underinsured. I have a short list of minor medical needs which need attending to but are simply not in the budget.

MLC said...

I agree as well. And while self employed do pay for insurance -- I found a plan through Aetna that was affordable for me. Still it's a big expense and certainly we can afford reform.

Sicko by Michael Moore is a terrific film about these issues.