Monday, March 29, 2010
For the sake of explaining my thought process, I'm going to loosely define "middle-class" as having everything you need to live comfortably, and nothing more. You pay the bills, feed your kids, grow your savings and go to bed at night on sheets you got on sale at K-Mart (a small victory).
Never in life have I felt I didn't have the basics: food, clothes and my health. Until recently.
(This is going to sound like some big dramatic story, but it's not supposed to be. Bare with me.)
I recently had to see a doctor for chronic fatigue and a misbehaving heart. My seemingly imminent cure came in the form of a slew of appointments-- cardiologist, neurologist and a follow-up with the first doctor. I was so relieved that someone was going to be able to tell my why I had to sleep 12 hours every day in order to barely function.
And then my bouquet of balloons popped.
Of course I had to call Blue Cross New England to notify them of all this new medical stuff. After a web of phone calls between the insurance company, my mom and myself, turns out Blue Cross New England won't cover anything but an emergency room visit because the doctors here are outside the New England network.
So, tomorrow I'm canceling all those appointments. My parents had to pay the office visit fee of $170 up-front because my insurance would have nothing to do with it.
I can't do anything about my health problems until I'm on Elliot's health insurance in October.
I'm an American citizen who sought health care in the United States and I got the door shut in my face because I'm a full-time college student outside my insurance's network and I don't have thousands of dollars to get my heart and brain checked out. You can imagine how crappy my day was.
But I'm not writing a sob story about myself. If I'm pissed I can't do anything for six months, I can hardly imagine the lives of real-life, actually poor Americans who have never had insurance, health or dental. I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me after my relatively not-a-big-deal experience, and there are millions of other people in these 50 states who wouldn't even be able to afford that one office visit.
The recent health legislation apparently is going to cost a bunch of money. And apparently everyone is going to be taxed, and apparently it's going to help a lot of people and improve their quality of life.
People will be pissed for a few weeks and find something else to complain about. Probably something related to reality television. In the mean time, people across the country are rejoicing because finally, finally... their kids can have an annual check-up, they can get a mammogram, they can get their mom's diabetes checked. All without cringing as they hand over the cash, as they sign the check and without working overtime to barely be able to pay for it.