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August 4, 2019

Universal Healthcare is a Right: “What’s your Name & Where does it Hurt?”

 

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When people say they love their health insurance, what they’re actually saying is they love their healthcare.

They love the humane and compassionate care they receive from nurses, doctors, midwives, PAs, dentists, optometrists, and staff. Health insurance is an unnecessary burden and often hurdle, to receiving that practical, life-saving care.

Senator Warren and Senator Sanders, here are the talking points you were missing during last week’s debate:

Your Democratic colleagues on the debate stage had it all wrong.

Healthcare is a human right. It isn’t a privilege. It’s a fundamental aspect of our ability to pursue not only our lives, but our dreams.

My husband is fond of saying that if he was in charge of the healthcare system, the only two questions we would ever need to answer before receiving care are: “What’s your name and where does it hurt?”

I’ve experienced universal healthcare firsthand. The relief I felt from not having to fight with insurance to cover the care my husband needed brought me to tears. Those free-flowing cleansing sort of tears, the ones of the most profound relief.

So much of what is wrong with our current system is tied up in the devastating and debilitating stress of fighting for the care we not only need, but deserve. It’s not radical to say that a child with cancer should not be forced to crowd fund their treatment. I’m tired of spaghetti feeds and car washes to raise money to pay a for-profit (for-immorally-large-profit) health insurance company to say, “No.”

Under a universal healthcare plan, no one is going to lose healthcare. They may have to lose the absurd for-profit middlemen, and who doesn’t love to be on hold for 45 mins for the fifth time, only to be told that their medically necessary treatment is going to cost them thousands of dollars out-of-pocket? Good riddance.

I want my tax dollars to pay for a system that doesn’t have the potential to bankrupt me. Or to kill me, because I’m stressed about the ability to pay for the treatment I need. It would be a joy to pay a healthcare tax in exchange for our outrageous health insurance premiums and deductibles.

This isn’t just a thought experiment. I’m writing this from a recovery room after receiving life-saving emergency surgery just over 12 hours ago. While lying on the floor of my kitchen in excruciating pain, my husband and I debated the merits of hospitals based on our health insurance coverage and whether we could afford the cost (which would have been well over $1000 from previous experience) of an ambulance ride. Spoiler, we opted to drive ourselves while two liters of blood pooled inside my abdomen.

I’m one of the privileged lucky ones. My family is currently covered by a pretty good health insurance plan. But that could change tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the day after that. Health insurance shouldn’t marry us to our jobs or to dysfunctional relationships or to the absurd belief that nothing could or should change.

I’m ready for that change. Like, yesterday.

~

 

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author: Kenni Linden

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Editor: Julie Balsiger