23 January, 2009

Is Healthcare an Issue of Freedom?

Purely Personal Anecdote to Follow...

We are all afraid for our jobs. I am lucky to have had (and hope to continue to have) a job with very good benefits for the last 8 years. It's a tough job. Long hours, travel, high stress, constant reinvention and learning. Weirdly, though, I like it. I like new projects, new people, learning.

However, it's been made tougher by the fact that I am also battling an autoimmune liver disease (
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC)). Suffice to say, my liver is dying. I will need a new one. A transplant costs about half a million dollars, all totaled. When will this happen? No one knows. My doctors keep an eye on it. It could be required next year or 10 years from now. Bottom line - I need to stay insured through an employer-based group plan. I am completely un-insurable on the individual market.

So how does this relate to freedom? Well, leaving aside my very real fear of being "separated" from my job at any minute... What if the long hours and travel were finally getting to me - making my disease worse from all the stress?
  • Could I quit and do freelance writing? No.
  • Could I quit and move to another job that has a plan that doesn't cover my doctors - Maybe, but it would seriously disrupt my treatment to change doctors, hospitals, care plans, etc.
  • Could I start a new small business of my own (that bugaboo Repubs always dangle in front of us as the backbone of the economy) - No.
  • Could I die in my 40s without insurance - Yes.

So there you have it. Single-payer, universal healthcare would provide me the freedom to do all kinds of things that would be good for society: Start a small business, have time to volunteer, continue to contribute my share of taxes well into my 60s. Without it, I may end up being one of the hundreds of thousands of new Medicaid registrants that are signing up these days - straining the system, and using your tax dollars anyway. You might as well pay them up front to keep me well - it would probably be cheaper. :)

1 comment:

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

I hear you loud and clear.

I still can't help fearing some bureaucrat is gonna sit in an office in Washington and decide that it isn't "cost effective" to pull out the stops for folks with PSC, or Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (which my mom suffers from).