Almost eight weeks ago when Colorado experienced historic flooding, we were displaced from our living quarters when mud and debris soaked water flooded in through a window well. Many of our personal things sustained water damage; much has been thrown away. We moved our sleeping space to a hide-a-bed in the middle of our daughter's family room, and set up only what we had to use in terms of office supplies and basic items in the damaged 300 square-foot in-law quarters where we had been living before the floods. The residual moldy and mildewed smell is too much for me for overnight sleeping (allergies and asthma).Plans for flood remediation were not sufficient for our continued tenancy, so we knew we'd have to move.
So, our living conditions have not been ideal for a while now. The media attention that flowed to the area in the immediate period post-flooding has dried up, and not every person damaged has been made whole or ever will be. Especially for working class people, natural disasters leave behind months if not years of clean-up.
What does this have to do with health care or single-payer? Well, I am getting there.
Just a couple of weeks later, we learned that my carcinoid cancer markers are elevated again. I knew during the stressful days after the flood that I was feeling some symptoms again, but I had hoped that those were simply a result of worry and upset and the physical strain of dealing with water-laden stuff. But the testing showed otherwise. In the meantime, my COBRA/Aetna health insurance premiums were raised to $875/month retroactively to July 1. It seemed like whatever stars there may be were lining up to make things more challenging.
Colorado's Affordable Care Act/Obamacare exchange/marketplace website went on-line October 1, so I was anxious to find relief from the high premiums and also to find coverage that might actually fit my needs better as I enter a period for more diagnostics and potential treatments. Well, that was not to be. Colorado's IT interface with the Medicaid application process is awful, and I cannot get any answers now for another several weeks. A reporter did a story about our situation, and I have to say I am ready to stop being newsworthy any old time.
The clock is ticking. My cancer is brewing. I wish we had single-payer. And I need a place to rest and sleep that is more private and more permanent.
In the midst of all this confusion and upheaval came two messages from across the ocean. The incredible nurses, midwives, and staff members of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association and the Queensland Nurses Union reached out to me and Larry to see what they could do to help. I had been in Australia in August speaking about the dangers of privatization of health care systems, and these wonderful people knew about the floods in Colorado and wanted to lighten our load. And when we move on Sunday into our own apartment in Denver, we will once again have a warm and wonderful bed, more privacy and even some soft, pretty linens. We also won't be broken by the moving expenses that might otherwise have been too much to handle. The costs for moving, rental deposits, and replacing damaged things were all going to be on us as we did not have any flood insurance. Now we'll be less stressed.
Finally, the stress related to the health care situation is so unnecessary. It is even more clear to me that we must achieve single-payer, improved and expanded Medicare for all for life so that no one facing all of life's other inevitable challenges and strains must also add to that the struggle for needed health care. fighting cancer isn't like cleaning up after the floods. I don't get to replace the body parts that may now have lesions or tumors, and time is important. Stress is also terrible for those of us facing health issues like cancer, and stress adds costs to care. So, wouldn't it just be better for everyone if we were smarter and kinder and more fiscally responsible with a single-payer system? We can do better, and we must.
November 7, 2013 -- Today's count of the health care dead and broke for profit in the U.S.:
The 2013, to date, U.S. medical-financial-
industrial -complex system dead: 38,640
** These figures are calculated based on the Harvard University studies on excess deaths in the U.S. due to lack of insurance coverage or the ability to pay for needed health care, and the Harvard University study that calculated the high percentage of personal bankruptcies attributable to medical crisis and debt in the U.S. 123 people die daily due to lack of coverage or cash to pay for care; 1,978 go bankrupt every day due to medical crisis and debt though the majority had insurance at the time their illness or injury occurred. This statistic is also based on the 1.2 million bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and calculating those medically-related bankruptcies from that number.http://www.healthcareforallcolorado.org/endorse_right_to_health_care
Link to original article from Donna Smith's Sicko Blog