Long story short: I was absent from the Internets for much of the last week due to a sudden, mysterious, and incredibly painful ailment that I thought was going to kill me. I ended up going to the hospital to get treatment after exhausting all other options, and am now on the hook for several thousand dollars’ worth of medical bills, because I had the bad luck to fall ill right in the void between insurance plans.
I want to use this story to illustrate why we need real, accept-no-substitutes health care reform, both as a cautionary tale and a call to arms. No matter how well-off you may be (or people think you may be), one accident, viral infection, bad piece of lettuce, or unexplained malady can put you in the poorhouse. Despite what demagogues and tools of the insurance industry would have you believe, health care in America is fundamentally broken, and not by the imagined hordes of immigrants or welfare recipients clogging up your local emergency room, but by a system that puts the needs and well-being of people far behind the motive for profit. And not just patients, but doctors, nurses, specialists, technicians, caseworkers, insurance brokers–EVERYONE who is part of our dysfunctional mess of a medical industry is burdened in some fashion.