Healthy is for the Wealthy

“…What do the young know or care about health insurance?”

According to conservative columnist Michael Barone young people have “the fewest medical problems of the whole population.” Clearly this guy hasn’t talked to me. I’m one of the millions of young people carrying the permanent label “sick-for-life.”

I’ve been in and out of doctors offices and hospitals for as long as I can remember. As a kid I was lucky enough to have health care through my parents plan, but I still understood my treatment had a cost. My parents voices still echo in my head: “Without insurance we’ll go bankrupt. We’re not going to just let you die.”

As I got older, the expectation of losing insurance became a serious pre-occupation with getting insurance. I calculated the costs of the bare-minimum medication I need to get by… It’s over $3,000 a month.

No one should have to be rich to be healthy.

For the rest of my life I have to be sure to have a job with benefits, not just any benefits, good benefits. Some plans don’t cover prescriptions, others don’t cover certain types of doctors or testing. “PRE-EXISTING CONDITION” is a haunting phrase. If you got it when you get there, then its not covered. My condition is pre-existing…

“NOT MEDICALLY NECESSARY” is another scary slogan, especially for us genderqueers. If a company doesn’t think your condition is important enough, you don’t get covered. Almost every U.S. insurance company considers any gender-related transitional care not medically necessary. We are diagnosed mentally ill and then are incapable of getting “treatment.” Precious few are close enough to a non-profit informed-consent based clinic, the rest pay hundreds to thousands of dollars out of pocket. I drive to Chicago: five hours there, five hours back.

The power that the medical institution has over us is sickening. I am dependent on other people’s decisions in order to live a close-to-healthy life. Doctors decide if I get treatment, insurance companies decide if I deserve it. Last time I checked this was MY life and MY body. I think I deserve more control than run-around phone calls and piles of paper appeals. Who is sitting on these faceless boards that decide my fate? I doubt if it is anyone who is really on my side because my side costs money. If health care becomes “universal” will the government be on my side? From where I’m standing the record doesn’t look good, but at least it would not be a wealth based system so I would have a better chance.

With all the so-called great minds in the world I can’t believe that no one can think up an accessible health care system that is high-quality, cost effective, and promotes patient autonomy. Anyone who argues against universal health care must have never had face the fear of living in uncontrollable pain or realize the chance of losing their physical ability to function. Someone who is healthy or someone who is wealthy can not possibly fully conceive what it feels like, which makes it an easy concept to ignore. We need comprehensive, universal health care now. I’m sick of waiting for health care and I’m tired of being afraid to lose it.


Leave a Reply