My friends run the gamut in terms of net worth. And if you were to ask any of them to describe themselves, I believe they would all categorize themselves as Good People.
You know, people who donate their time and money to charitable causes. People who generally don't break the law. People who work hard to earn a good living. People who don't intentionally hurt others or small animals.
And yet...pretty much 100% of them oppose health care reform. They frequently make statements on their blogs that there is No Problem and Nothing Needs to Get Fixed.
God, but I disagree.
I know so many people who don't go to the doctor because they simply can't afford it. I know that a large percentage of bankruptcies happen because of hospital bills (I'm too lazy to research/quote the exact figure, but it's something like 40%). I work with a cancer-survivor who doesn't go in for an annual check up because her deductible is $3,000. Yep, that's the best option for the company's group health plan.
I'm not going to pretend that I know the answer, but I do know that there is a problem.
Five years ago, I may have shared my friends' opinions. However, these last four years have reshaped my perception and judgmentalness (not a real word, I know!) I am much more accepting and less indignant. And I understand that I have a very blessed life.
People are fragile and despite our best intentions, things don't always work out. Many of us are able to provide for ourselves and enjoy access to health care coverage. And yet, millions are not.
I guess my sensitivity to this is born from the stark realization that any of us can be in that position at any given time. It doesn't take much.
It occurred to me recently that my options are dwindling. I left the working world for about 4 years and have really taken a hit financially and socially. It's been extremely humbling. I didn't get hired to do a job that I did for three years in California. I don't even have the words to describe how shocking and painful this was for me.
I have also been living in a state of panic this year. Husband was laid off in January and I have been frantically trying to encourage him to get a job. Living in a persistent state of fear is...exhausting...and that mindset along with my abject impotence in the working world left me Wordless.
I can write about anger or self-righteousness or happiness or even health issues. But financial fear and career fear leave me paralyzed. Hence, no updates.
When Husband told me that he got a job offer about a week ago, I started to sob. For the first time in a very long time, our income will cover our bills.
I'm hopeful and grateful. And I've changed. I don't take anything for granted. Not income, not vacations, not family, and not health care.
My world is less insulated now. I'm older and less presumptuous.
It feels right.