My Friend Didn’t Die Because She Didn’t Have Health Insurance

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My friend didn’t die because she didn’t have Health Insurance. She died because she had cancer.

Her cancer went undiagnosed because she couldn’t afford to go to the doctor for routine check-ups that might have caught it early.

[smartads]

Her cancer went untreated when treatment might have worked because it wasn’t diagnosed. She wouldn’t have been able to afford the treatment anyway.

Her cancer went undiscovered and untreated until it was too late. Too late for anything but a futile attempt to give her more time. And then a desperate attempt to make her more comfortable in the time she had. And then a caring, human attempt to give her ugly, painful death some dignity.

But she didn’t suffer, and she suffered in a way that I hope never to see again, because she didn’t have Health Insurance. She didn’t die because she didn’t have Health Insurance.

She suffered and died because she didn’t have Health Care.

She didn’t have access to care she could afford. And if we’ve learned one thing from our experiment in relying on Private Insurance, it’s that Private Health Insurance is really bad at making Health Care affordable.

If my friend had had a low-cost Health Insurance plan, she still wouldn’t have been able to get regular check-ups, because she couldn’t afford the co-pays. She still wouldn’t have been able to afford treatment, because she couldn’t afford to pay the “patient’s portion” for hospital stays and chemotherapy and radiation and medication.

The problem isn’t that some people don’t have insurance. The problem is that all of us don’t have access to Health Care.

The problem is that all of us don’t have access to affordable, reliable, universal Health Care.

Insurance doesn’t solve that problem.

And it’s a problem that costs us all.

My friend’s community lost a voice in the church choir, lost a volunteer at events, lost a tasty dish at the potluck, lost a sympathetic ear and a heart open to anyone’s troubles. My friend’s family lost a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, a cousin. And I lost a friend.

It is a cost that is incalculable in human terms. It is a cost that is devastating in financial terms.

As a society are we willing to pay that cost, that cost in lives—a cost we pay every day, over and over again, a cost with faces we know, and names we’ve heard, and hands we’ve touched—are we willing to pay that cost any longer?

I’m not.

‘My friend didn’t die because she didn’t have Health Insurance’ was originally posted at democraticunderground.com by Blue State Blues


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