November 27, 2008 was an important date for me. It was the day of my 22nd birthday, it was thanksgiving, and it was, ironically, the day my health insurance coverage expired. (Thank you, oh blessed day of thanks, for taking away my right to get treatment...)
Now, I have never been one to think too far ahead, and insurance, at least for me, was always a vague concept I never quite understood or thought mattered in the general scheme of life. I have always had health insurance and that is why I think I never understood what it would be like to live without any kind of safety net against impending health disasters. Granted, I am not generally a sick person. My trips to the hospital have including my forced committal during my birth and two brief sessions to receive pain meds and saline when I had mono.
But the fact is, not having health insurance makes me nervous. Those who do not have it, like me, I am sure understand what I am talking about. The "what if" questions that are usually easy to avoid begin to come into the forefront of ones everyday thoughts. What if I get in a car accident? What if I get run over? What if I get a killer flu from my coworker and begin to vomit out my intestines? (Ok..To much?)
The point is, those things are all horrible, but they are made so much worse when your coworker gives you the killer flu and then you can't go to the hospital because you cannot pay to have them treat you. Or even worse, you try to go but they do not even treat the uninsured. Now, that is pathetic...
I shouldn't be complaining. I will only be part of the 45 million Americans who do not have health insurance for exactly 35 days. But 35 days is enough to scare me. And so I wonder...how scared are those 45 million people whose uninsured designation lasts longer than 35 days?
Is universal health care the right solution? I don't know. But I do know that health care is a necessity for everyone, even those without insurance. And if something is a necessity of life, shouldn't we be fighting harder for those, like me, who cannot afford to get sick?
2 days ago