The other day my enchanting husband turned to me and asked, "So, what do you think about this whole healthcare reform thing?"
What do I think?
I'm not quite sure, especially since the proverbial ball is still rolling so to speak. As far as healthcare goes, I've been a player in just about all spectrums.
Growing up dirt poor didn't offer the option of health insurance. My father was a shrimper, or a trawler. During the late spring and into early fall, he'd dip his nets into the nearby lakes and bayous of Louisiana to catch shrimp, and while the "in-seasons" were usually giving and bountiful, any extra cash had to be saved for the winter season where shrimping took place off shore, and wasn't quite as bountiful. The larger boats were able to go off shore and fish for weeks at a time, however, my father's small, double-rigger, was only able to go out for a week at a time, and definitely not in the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico. My mother would work on the boat with my dad in order to keep from having to hire a deckhand, and my older sister would "keep" house while they were away. I don't remember much of that, but I do know that no matter how strained the finances were, my mom made sure we were kept healthy and up to date on our shots. No health insurance, though, none at all. And we grew up without health insurance. Having five children of my own, I have no clue as to how she did it, but did it, she did.
Flash forward to my first years of parenthood. I call these the first years of parenthood. Being a single mom isn't all it's cracked up to be. Especially if you squandered away your high school education, graduated by the skin of your teeth, and refused to go to college. I became a single parent, a welfare recipient, and medicaid card holder at the age of twenty-two. Trust me, welfare will not make you rich, not at $172.00 a month, however, the medicaid card was priceless. The card...the keep your babes healthy...the safety net I held precious and dear to me. It wasn't all peaches and cream, however. Government sponsored health programs meant not being able to get an appointment on the same day you call the doctor, if your child started running high temperatures, the emergency room was your closest option. It also meant waiting three or more hours to see the doctor, who was actually a med student, however, this was a plus, because no one is more thorough than a med student. Still, I considered myself fortunate that I had this safety net as I struggled to better my life in order to better theirs. And of course, I did, but that is another story.
I am now a married, working (although I took this year off), mom. I also provide health insurance for my entire family at a cool three hundred dollars a month. Real bonafide health insurance. What does this mean? Alot, for me. It meant that ten years ago when I became ill, not only did I receive treatment immediately, I was able to go to a specialized facility. My children are able to see the doctor on the day they become ill, and I don't have to wait until after hour emergency room visits for an ear infection. However, there is a down side as well. If you were able to read up on Ms. Savant's story, her healthcare provider denied her request for treatment at a specialized clinic. My cousin was denied her request for a stem-cell transplant because it was her second one. And I'm sure there are many a scare story out there from you all as well.
I'm not done yet. Bear with me.
Now my oldest daughter is nearing the end of her childhood. She will be 18, soon, and a senior in high school, and soon, very soon, uninsured. As a mother, I want her covered. COVERED! Will this healthcare reform benefit her? Will it hurt me? Will it do what it's suppose to do? What will it do?
I couldn't answer my husband's question. I'm not sure what I think of healthcare reform. Think about it, history shows that anytime the word "reform" (reformation) rears up, somebody out there looses his head.