Sadly, the town hall meetings that congresspeople are having are being reduced to shouting matches. I fear that what happened with health care reform in 1993 will happen now again. That means that my government will have burned me twice, getting my hopes up that I will be able to afford health insurance and then dashing my hopes and not knowing where to turn. It was an issue for me in 1993 and an even bigger issue now.
In 2008 my husband got laid off and I was the breadwinner of the family for 7 months. No biggie, I had been in this position before, but this time, we could not hope to afford his COBRA of $900 (just for him and my son) and my private health insurance of $450 per month so we had to let them all go. Because I got an ablation procedure in 2004 for a heart arrhythmia, my insurance broker told me that if I dropped my coverage, I wouldn't be eligible for any others that he knows of. So I was then facing the prospect of being uninsured (again!) but permanently uninsurable except for group plans. Well, it couldn't be helped. I felt bad as a mom like I couldn't even provide the basics of health insurance for my son. Thankfully, we have a program in Illinois that covers all children so I applied for it for our whole family. (Oh, did I tell you insurance companies won't insure children unless the parents are insured, too?) We actually qualified and when I got the paperwork accepting us into the program, I cried because prior to this, I had spent a few sleepless nights worrying about if something would happen, how would we pay? Would we be one of the many who had catastrophe hit and had to go bankrupt after a serious illness?
I had to get over feeling like a drain on the system, but still I feel that if I'm working and my husband is now working, I should be able to get or be able to afford health insurance. I don't mind paying for it if I can get it. Unfortunately, the company that hired my husband didn't really hire him. He is working as a contractor for them without benefits until they hire him. I think they will eventually hire him, but I don't like being at their mercy to obtain health insurance on their group plan.
We really need to do something as a society about this. If other countries can eliminate this worry of payment for their citizens, we can do it better. I'm not saying this bill should or shouldn't pass, but there needs to be an ongoing push to solve the problems that we face in health care. The status quo won't work anymore. It's beyond that now. Just felt like writing and wondering if anyone else has stories to share so I don't feel so alone. When I see people yelling at each other around this issue, it makes me very sad.