A couple years ago, my mother became one of the uninsured.  My father got a new job and his employer’s health care plan does not cover spouses or children. 

On a quest to find health care coverage that we could afford while paying our other bills, she applied for an individual insurance plan…only to be rejected because she had once been seen by a doctor for liver pain.  Mind you, no serious or ongoing liver problems, just a one-time visit.  Now, if she applies for any other individual insurance, her application will have to state that she has been previously rejected by another insurance company (there is a question on insurance applications which requires this), pretty much guaranteeing that no other plan will accept her. 

So, since paying the full premium for the employer coverage is not affordable for her, Mom claims she is fine with not having any insurance.  The thing that scares me the most is that I know perfectly well she is the kind of person who will pretend that she is doing great, even if she happens to be sick or in pain.  She doesn’t want anyone else to worry about her and will sacrifice herself before she does anything that would endanger her family’s financial future.

I hear a lot of people talking about how government health care will take away our liberty.  My question is this:  exactly what kind of liberty will it take away from my Mom?  The liberty not to get medical treatment?  The liberty to lose our house and everything we have if she gets seriously ill?  The liberty to live with the stress and worry of that?  Are those the exciting freedoms I have heard so much about?  What choices would single payer take away?  If I get sick under the current private health care system, I will go to the doctor and get treated for it (if I can afford it).  If I get sick under single payer, I will go to the doctor and get treated for it.  The health care system will make absolutely no difference in the choices I make, except that I won’t have to panic about the money side of things.  Are there really exotic treatment options that I’m not aware of that will disappear if government health care comes in?   

The solution which always gets trotted out in this country in response to desperate situations is that of private charity.  My mother’s answer to any such conversations is to snap, “I shouldn’t have to beg for my health care.”  And she’s right—she shouldn’t.

Thankfully, there is a real solution, and it’s a lifesaver for us.  My parents are both in their 60s, so the time when they will be able to get on Medicare is quickly approaching.  I am literally praying for the moment when Mom can have her Medicare, and praying that she doesn’t develop any life-threatening conditions in the meantime…there’s still a few years to go.

And to think, when she turns 65 she will lose all that “freedom”…poor thing!

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