Posted by: mutantpoodle | August 19, 2009

More Stories

Public OptionThis time, a story from twitter friend Misha which illustrates how the failures of health care in this country have immediate AND lasting effects:

….We lived in a cockroach infested trailer with no air conditioning in the summer, and no heat in the winter. If the car was broken down, we walked until money could be saved for repairs. Often, our dinners were eggs, ramen noodles, beans, or “whatever we could find.” My mother brought in extra money by baby sitting children.

You can look at the situation and say that government is not responsible, and I would agree. There are not many sympathetic characters here. But here is my experience and why healthcare is so vital to children.

Both doctor and dentist visits were only on an emergency situation. We went to the dentist when our teeth hurt so bad we couldn’t stand it anymore. Often we had to get teeth pulled because they were so far gone. We didn’t even know what cleanings or preventive care was. My sister lost most of her back teeth and as an adult had to chew somewhat like a rabbit. She has since had her teeth repaired to an extent, but has spent over $8,000 just to get a normal bite.

I spent thousands of dollars myself on root canals and doing everything possible not to lose any teeth once I was an adult. I was so lucky to have been spared most of that.

However, I am legally blind in one eye, and found out that had I just worn a patch over my good eye for part of my childhood, I would probably have normal vision. Now, God forbid, anything happen to my “normal” eye, I would likely not be able to see anything but a blur.

But the worst part of it is, as a child, the feeling that YOU are to blame for the financial hardships of the family. When you go to the county hospital, the bills are still due. And if you don’t pay them, they are sent to collection agencies. They go on your credit report. The county hospital is not “free”. I remember my parents discussing, “well, Robin’s sick, we’ll probably have to take her to the hospital. We just can’t get ahead.” I don’t think my parents meant to make us feel badly, but we did.

Once when we were kids, we broke a glass cake pan, and threw it away in the trash. It broke clean in half. My sisters and I continued to play, and my sister slipped in the area where the cake pan was cleaned up. The broken piece sliced her arm so badly we had to call the ambulance and it required a hospital stay. After she was cared for, the bills kept coming and coming. I remember watching my mother cry after taking phone calls from collection agencies. I remember her and my father fighting and him telling her what a failure he was. I remember my father crying. The pain that my parents felt was almost unbearable to me as a child.

We never did get back on our feet. I caught something from a friend at school. My younger sister fell out of a tree and broke her arm. It was always something. And it seemed like the “something” was always medical bills. Eventually, my parents filed for bankruptcy. “They” came and took the very few things we had left. My father passed away at 57 years old, and I never, not once, saw him proud of himself.

So – lose the health care lottery, go bankrupt and see your children have a lifetime of preventable medical issues.  And those are just the easily discernible effects.  The thing is, in the current system, that’s a feature, not a bug.



  1. I’m 72 years old and for the first time in my life I have never witnesses such hypocracy and deception in our government. Electing this man as President of the United States of America was a horrible mistake and if we as citizens don’t act now we will soon loose our right to life, liberty and the persuit of happenness given to us by our founding Fathers in the Constitution. People wake up. This is out Country.

    • I am unimpressed with the vague fear that we are all about to lose our rights. Give me a specific instance and we’ll talk. And, by the way, it’s my country too, and I think we’re starting to head in the right direction. I guess we’ll find out.

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