A Right to Good Health
Friday, September 29, 2017
Here's why my former libertarian self now believes that health care should be a right given by the government. This bill was for ONE infusion for my rheumatoid arthritis. I'm supposed to have 8 per year. That's almost $160,000 just for infusions so I can function. I'll pay about 1/100th of that. And by function I mean things like walk, go to work most days, dress myself, shower, and help my child with the necessities. Then there's the additional cost for routine care and then the two wrist surgeries I've had in the last 4 years because of the absolute destruction of the disease. I couldn't even squeeze a tube of toothpaste before I had my surgeries. Opening doors was an ordeal.
My marathon running days are over. Not sure I'll ever play the piano again. I'll never be able to do a pull-up. And I am very scared of what the arthritis is going to do to me over the next 10-20 years.
But I'm lucky. Because if I didn't have good insurance, I would be wasting away on disability, unable to work, and unable to take care of myself, let alone a child. I would be reviled by those who think people on disability are lazy leeches taking their money. I wouldn't be contributing to society through my work in higher education. I wouldn't be taking my daughter swimming. There are so many things I wouldn't be doing.
But instead, because I have good insurance, I get to live a full life. I get to raise a family, ride my bike, and have a fulfilling career. I get to laugh and play with my daughter and my nieces and be a part of this wide world.
And it's not because I'm better than anyone, or more deserving than those without the healthcare access I have. It is because I was lucky. I was born into a family that always provided me a safety net. They made sure all their daughters got a college degree and because of that degree, I've been able to get good, steady jobs with employers that offer decent insurance and are required to provide Family Medical Leave. FML means they can't fire me for being sick. Which means that I get to keep my employer-sponsored health insurance, keep getting treatment, and keep my life happy and whole.
Being able to function at a very basic level, live somewhat pain free, and contribute to society should not be a privilege reserved for those born into fortunate situations. It absolutely should be a right guaranteed to all of us.