Destiny Herndon-DeLaRosa

Uninsured is not the same as unemployed.

In DMN on August 27, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Recently I attended a town hall meeting, because that’s what Republicans like to do. Congressman Pete Sessions was discussing the hot topic of health care, also something Republicans like to do. He took his point a step further though by asking everyone with health insurance to please stand up. Suddenly there was a wall of people all around me, standing.

I remained seated, not something many Republicans did.

Sessions made a comment along the lines of ‘wow, what a very blessed community we live in’ and I couldn’t agree more. The residents of my town are abundantly blessed, although I doubt many of them know it; a point proven by what happened next.

This united moment of health care comradery was soon shattered by the voice of an older man who shouted out ‘Why don’t you ask those of us who DON’T have health insurance to stand up?’ I had the same thought, but upon realizing I would personally suffer at the hands of this question, chose to keep my uninsured trap shut.

Before the man even had time to reclaim his seat, one of my fellow Republicans hollered back “Get a job!”

I was astonished. You really think not having insurance means you are some sort of lazy, unemployed bum?

Perhaps someone should have told my gainfully employed husband that. He worked for a small recruiting firm last year and because of their size they were unable to provide insurance benefits to the employees. Instead they gave him a $200 monthly allowance for health insurance. After discussing our options at length with a reputable broker we decided on a plan that would cover my husband (the employee) and our 3 children for $256 a month. Adding me would have upped the price exponentially. Co-pays were $40 a visit and we had a $1,000 deductible. Hardly a steal, but it was what we could afford based on the allowance, plus a bit more. Over the next 6 months our premium raised 3 times. No major injuries or illnesses, just a well baby visit and some vaccinations. But yet, here we were paying a hundred dollars out of pocket on top of my husband’s allowance for insurance that we barely benefited from, all the while our premium’s rising.

I was fed up, but couldn’t shake that voice in my head saying, “You may need it one day, and then you’ll be glad it’s there.”

Two months later our middle child fell and needed stitches. Of course it was on a Friday. Of course it was after 5pm. Of course it was at the end of a very healthy year where we had yet to touch our deductible. Finally we had a need, and was it there? Absolutely not. Our insurance covers cancer. It covers heart attacks. It covers life threatening illnesses and really nothing else. Sometimes I wonder if our money would be better off crammed into an empty coffee can.

At this point, my husband is with a new company and we are considering a health savings account. However this does not change the fact that my generation-young, middle class, WORKING families- are receiving so much less from their insurance coverage all the while paying so much more. And my fellow Conservatives, most of whom grew up during a different era of health coverage, have no clue. To them, being uninsured is the same as being unemployed, because that’s what Republicans like to think. Well, I’m here to tell you otherwise.

I know socialized medicine is not the answer, but ignoring this growing number of uninsured middle class families is not the solution either.

The fact that I am trying to telekinetically focus my bitter health insurance hating energy into the formation of cancerous cells within my body just so I can finally have the last laugh when they are forced to pay for my chemotherapy, is a sad sign of our times.

{Published in the Dallas Morning News & posted here on their website}

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