Health Care Reform

I just read a Graphic Novel Health Care Reform,by Jonathan Gruber.  It was written to help people like me, and probably you, understand why we need health care reform.  It was a quick informative read, and I recommend it to everybody.  It explains how our system works now, and why it needs fixing.  It explains how the fix would work.

You may be in a place where I was 6 years ago, thinking that you don’t need insurance because you are perfectly healthy.  You, like me, live a very healthy life style, you walk a few miles a day, bike 10 miles a day, you do yoga, you grow your own produce organically, and the foods you have to purchase you get from organic growers.  You have never been overweight, or even had to be concerned about weight, because of the way you eat, and exercise.  You live in the middle of nowhere, far from pollution.  Why in the world would you ever need health insurance?   I have a lot of friends that feel this way.  I had insurance all along, it came out of my husband’s paycheck, it wasn’t a choice I had to make.

Then I got sick, suddenly, despite my intentionally healthy lifestyle and I was really grateful to have this insurance, because in the 3 years of extensive medical testing I had to go through to get my diagnosis my bills came to more than $200,000. .  The insurance paid those bills.   During the course of my testing my husband got laid off from his 20 year held job, but I was able to continue with the insurance paying the monthly premium through his ex employer.   After 2 years though I was no longer able to keep this insurance, because, well, some law saying I no longer could.  I could however purchase it privately.  Except that it was so much more expensive, more than 1/3 our income for just myself.  Or I could purchase it for my whole family of 3 for just about  the total of our income.  But I couldn’t.  Who could?   So we joined the ranks of the uninsured, and it’s a scary place.  We take our walks, eat our organic food and hope that things don’t get worse, but we know it’s beyond that.  It’s just the best we can do right now.

Still, when friends say,” I don’t have health insurance because I don’t need it, I live a healthy lifestyle…”  It feels like an insult, it feels like they are saying I am sick because of something I have done, which isn’t the case.   I wonder though, why it is that a lot of people who have had no brush with illness consider illness to be a choice.  Something that happens because we weren’t careful enough.  It must be a cultural mistake, to assume there is a personally caused reason for illness when it just ain’t so.  Yes there are a lot of things you can do to maintain health, and I do them all, always have! ,  and I would be much worse off if I didn’t, but I wouldn’t still be here without medical help.  Who can say this oddball thing won’t happen to you?



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