When I was a child, I never thought of health insurance, but suffered whooping cough, measles, chicken pox and having my tonsils out. I was luckier than my mom, who just went to the doctor’s office to have tonsils removed, and came home to recuperate on her own. She was working for minimum wages, and at that time there was nothing like all the social safety nets like today for poor people.
In the 1950’s my mom had breast cancer; her hospital was a teaching unit. The cancer ward stank, and I knew that we had no money to cover operations, radiation, or the final stay.
We were “on the county” or indigents when it came to insurance. She did have a very compassionate student nurse to ease her through the agony of spinal taps and then death.
My younger brother went through his trial of leukemia at Stanford. Again, it was at the taxpayer’s expense, as $60 per week pay from the Navy did not cover long term illness and medications.
Our family ate a lot of beans, and I came to hate being poor and having to eat ham shank and bean dishes so often.
Later on, when my adult daughter had her run in with breast cancer the final months of treatment and palliative care was provided by the California taxpayers, as she had declared indigence and qualified for SSI.
When asked by an insensitive family member why her Significant Other did not carry health insurance for her, the answer was ” How can we afford $600 per month for insurance?”
The most embarassing day for me was when we had to sit and answer questions about her life at the mortuary’s office.
“Was she married?’
“No” – she just lived with this man for 22 years who called himself her “fiance”.
“Did she have children?”
“No”- thank goodness.
“Were we making payments for the cremation? Did we have insurance?”
“No, and no -that will be cash thank you very much”.
Those who moan and groan about the cost of insurance can thank the drug companies and the American insurance companys’ greed for their situations.
Life happens to all, and death for certain. How we pay for all that “good life” and our health should not be up for discussion as if Universal Health care was some Commie plot.
When a family suffers as much ill health and death as mine has, the costs to the family unit can be counted not only in money but in the loss of family cohesion itself. Our family never recovered from my mom’s death, and her illness could have been treated more successfully if she had gone to a doctor earlier and on a regular basis.
So- the attitude is “No health care? Bad luck. So sorry”.