Note– this was written by Anna, who was unable to post today due to technical difficulties.
Today, the 22nd, I am attending a benefit for an ex boyfriend who passed away from cancer in December. He was 32 years old and made the decision to forego the medicines that had put him in remission because he did not like being unable to work. I am still angry at him for making this choice, even as I understand why he did it. So much of American politics has become a fight that can be seen through the lens of healthcare; how insurance equals freedom, how the free market intersects with Big Pharma, how the lobbying industry has as many jobs as doctors who specialize in treatment. It is confusing and hurtful to look at other countries who seem to have “solved” the issues that are just “too complex” for even members within parties to agree upon.
I do not want to go to this benefit. I don’t want to have to have it exist. I am tired and probably should have gone to a doctor several times myself in the past years and chose not to for financial reasons. My sister who is permanently disabled will be voting in her first election this year, and our parents’ conservative beliefs are currently shielding her to the fact she is only still on their insurance because of Obamacare. She has not been paying attention to the primary, to having opinions on the decision that will affect not just the rest of her life but how long it is. It bothers the shit out of me.
When I was little I was obsessed with Peter Pan– stay with me– whose copyright was given to a children’s hospital in England by J.M. Barrie. The Cathy Rigby Broadway performance featured a commercial/infomercial for the good work the children’s hospital does and how their connection to the Boy Who Never Grew Up allowed them to do so. I know the NHS has become an issue in England, how there is talk of privatization and numbers, how only certain human beings should be entitled to healthcare. I think about my ex, a boy who himself was not quite grown up and would be the first to tell you that, who lived with his grandma to help take care of her until she needed to take care of him instead, who was an American citizen with Mexican heritage, who needed to work to have the life he wanted and it killed him instead.
I don’t care about the dollars, I don’t care about how it affects the insurance industry, I just care that it’s killing us to not have guaranteed healthcare, not just access, that it should be affordable and equal no matter your race, gender, orientation, income range, education level, location, country of origin, or preexisting conditions.
Sorry this is a bummer.