A conversation we should be having

I am a registered nurse with over 20 years of experience. After realizing I could no longer give the care I knew was needed because of the constant pressure to work longer hours with less staff, I left the profession. I currently work in another industry. I own a small business. Previous to the Affordable Care Act, I could not afford insurance for myself. My employees had coverage with spouses, and there was not enough money to buy my own policy. When the Affordable Care Act started, I finally had insurance with a subsidy. The stress of not having insurance for me, was thankfully over.

Last year I needed that insurance. I tore my right shoulder rotator cuff. After that surgery and therapy, I tore my left rotator cuff. My shoulders were worn out, maybe from years of working and lifting patients. I had the second surgery, physical therapy and was finally back to work full time last summer.

In July, the unthinkable happened. I tore the right shoulder a second time. This time the tear was worse than the first time. I could not pick up a piece of paper without severe pain. The doctor recommended putting a biological patch in my shoulder this time. When I asked my doctor why he didn’t do a patch the first time, his response was “your insurance wouldn’t allow it.” Third surgery was done with lots more trips to physical therapy and follow up afterwards.

Then, like a bad nightmare, I had a fourth tear. Four surgeries in 13 months. The first two, mandated by an insurance company. This should not be happening. After researching, I have learned that insurance companies are running our care and not our doctors. This isn’t right. 

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I still own my home, business and have not had to declare bankruptcy because of the cost of the four surgeries. I no longer have employees, which is a loss for the community. 

My story is not unique. We are all just one accident or illness away from needing serious expensive medical care. I do not understand how our government can working to take away insurance from millions of people. The financial impact of that alone to our communities, should be enough to demand a Medicare For All Healthcare system. Medicare is a system that most of us are happy to partake in, when we reach 65. It’s cheaper, and it works. It’s not socialized medicine but a socialized method of paying for health care that we all pay into through our paychecks. 

Our military, education, roads, libraries, police and fire departments are all socialized systems in our communities. There are examples of single payer health care systems in every civilized country around the world. I believe health care is a right for all. I believe a Medicare For All system is the solution and a conversation we should all be having now in the United States.

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