I just visited a high school friend who has worked almost thirty years delivering health care. She’s been on TDI and COBRA for almost the last year, slowly recovering from disabling health problems of her own.
She’s trying to figure out how to navigate the insurance maze that confronts her as the COBRA runs out.
Although health reform means that she cannot be denied for a pre-existing condition, the insurance she could buy is unaffordable. She was always sensible with money when she was working, but a year with no paycheck has put her in a crisis.
These kind of problems burden people with endless paperwork and errands to run when they are sick, and unforseen expenses when they can’t work.
She said that a relative of hers has a similar illness, and they compare treatment. He is getting good care, similar to hers. He has government health care. He lives in Hungary.
If she were just a few years older, she’d be on Medicare. If her military service fell into the right category, she’d be able to use the Veteran’s Administration.
Right now, she needs professional help. Not just to treat her illness, but to find out how to pay her medical expenses.
She’s one of the many people who would use a public option, Medicare for all, a single payer system that our parents use.
It’s not cheap or easy, but neither is it cheap and easy to bring a child into the world, raise and educate them, benefit from their skilled labor in the workplace, and depend on their support as a citizen.
I heard people at the Health Care Reform Town Hall’s say that we have no choice but to discard people and let them die when they run out of private insurance and saved cash. Austerity feels so bracing when it’s someone else making the sacrifice.
I don’t know what’s Hungarian for ‘yes we can’, but if they can, we can.