I think I picked the craziest week in recent history to take a week off from work. “Take a week off,” my brain told me. “It’ll be relaxing! Just you wait and see!” Well, no. That just hasn’t happened.
One reason to take a breath of relief today is the death of the American Health Care Act, better known as AHCA or Ryan/Trump Care. As someone who may be taking a position with a company that requires me to be a 1099 (Independent Contractor) employee, I’d be purchasing my own healthcare. I say it with a grain of salt when I state that I don’t make a lot of money. The only thing I’ll say is that I am below the mean income for my county in my state. I make too much to get any sort of subsidy, but i don’t make enough to have health care be something I don’t worry about. I don’t have major health problems, but I do have a few smaller issues that require me to see my doctor every few months. The job I would be taking would have me travelling a lot. I want insurance I can count on. Period.
A different angle for my desire for a single-payer or similar healthcare system is provided by my childhood. Thankfully, I was not a very outdoorsy kid. No broken bones or anything like that. However, I was a “late in life” baby for my parents, particularly my father. Both of my grandfathers were already dead and my grandmothers were both elderly. One was stricken with dementia when I was probably not even ten years old. Friends of my older siblings died of things like car accidents and cancer. Add to this the uncles and aunts that died of heart problems, cancer, and other health problems. Cousins that died due to suicide. By the time I was a teenager, I was well-acquainted with the problems that come from sickness and being very poor. I was keen on the hopeless and striking fear that could be brought on by a trip to the hospital. I can’t tell you that having affordable universal healthcare would have saved all of these members of my family, but it would have presented one less major obstacle to them receiving care that might have saved them.
Fast forward to today. The United States is pulling up the rear in the developed world regarding universal health care for its citizens. When I researched this, I was amazed to discover what countries have universal healthcare. Check out a list for yourself. That list simply blows me away. So many countries that we are (or should be) on par with are not only light years ahead of us, but have been for decades. The system we have is incredibly convuluted. Untangling this ball of yarn may take years, but I have hope that it can be done. I have hope that the foundation for better and more accessible healthcare will eventually be built upon. As someone who is only technically lower-middle class, and snowballing toward middle age, I have my eyes and hopes set on the decades to come. I hope that I can be saved from the decision between food for a week or a trip to the doctor. Hope. What choice do I have?