I was supposed to finish college in four years but being the smart and witty gal that I am I decided to stay for five years... to party, YO. I am wacky like that. I would have been 21 had I finished in four years and it seemed too young. I was too young. They should have held me back in freaking kindergarten but whatevs. That is how things ended up. I held myself back at 21.
Another thing I did at that point was tell my Dad thanks for all that you have done. You have guided me financially through 21 years of my life. And I truly appreciate it but Dude you are still paying spousal support to someone you divorced over a decade ago and basically supporting my 30 year old sister and her small child. Moving on. So I went out and got myself my very own student loan. I paid for my fifth year of university myself. Stupidly, I was given a shit load oh money for that loan. And rather than just taking what I needed I took it all and lived off of it. Yo yo. I is smart.
Well, my dear old Dad was insuring me till that time as well. I went and got myself some crap ass insurance for that last year of school and never used it. I paid some student rate for it and it sucked. After I turned 22 in 1995 until I had my first real job at Sigma Kappa in 2000 I was uninsured. I was poor as hell. I did not have car insurance the entire time either. Safe, right? I had my very own student loan albeit small-ish, my very own credit card debt, a shitty no good boyfriend who leached every last extra penny I earned for drugs and alcohol and I was dirt ass poor.
I went back to get my Master's degree in 1997 and lucked into a kick ass graduate student position in Fundraising which paid for my entire Master's degree. Shocker here but I decided "to take my time" getting that degree as well. Read between the lines on that one - I wanted to party for three more years. Yo Yo YO!
I happened to get lucky on many accounts in this story. The one I am focusing on is the health insurance situation. I never had anything life threatening happen to me. I fell and fractured my elbow in 1999. The walk in clinic gave me the option to do x-rays which I turned down. The bill to see the doctor just for my fractured elbow was $200+ and it would have more than double that with x-rays. I am pretty sure the physician who saw me did not charge me for everything and I slowly paid off my bill month after month for about six months.
I had to have an old crumbling filling replaced in 1999. Same thing. I saved my pennies and nickels and had the tooth fixed.
I did my yearly exams at the county health department for free. The nurse practitioner there was amazing, sweet, and calm. I also got free birth control there.
Beyond that, I weathered through numerous illnesses and issues for almost five years. It was scary. I was always scared something bad would happen. I was alone at the time and young. I cannot for the life me imagine having kids (both the birthing of and maintenance to) and not being insured. I cannot for life of me imagine growing old with no insurance to get me to the doctor for routine checkups that could help me live a longer, happier, and healthier life as I mature. I simply cannot imagine having a life threatening illness with no insurance and watching the bills pile up, feeling horrible both because I am dying and leaving people I love dearly neck deep in debt.
The money I make right now partially funds my health insurance. It is in my name. I am in charge of it. I made the decisions about how much goes in there and what we use it for. I thank my lucky stars for the account every day. After seeing the universal healthcare in Canada I am thankful for the beautiful facilities that are maintained across this nation. This is not an easy thing, to insure or to not insure. To provide service for all that is mediocre in shoddy old-ish buildings or provide services for those that can find a way to pay for it in beautiful buildings and well trained physicians.
I heard a news report recently about the situation. That this argument like many others is not new. Since somewhere around the early part of the 1900s, the government has tried to reform healthcare in order to provide more coverage. But similar smear campaigns took place using everything from Hitler to Communism to scare the crap out of people and end the conversation. Here is one of my favorite quotes:
"This country now has the best opportunity since 1912 — when Theodore Roosevelt included universal healthcare in his progressive party platform — to pass real healthcare reform and fulfill a moral imperative. A bill with a strong public option would be a victory not only for progressives but for all those who seek a healthier, more humane country where healthcare is a right not a commodity."
Healthcare. What a cluster fuck. I mean seriously. Can we not get it together to take care of the sick, the old and the young and every stinkin' person in between?