Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why This Matters

My name is Bethany Anderson. I'm your average American - making a little less than what says I'm worth per hour, but overall, making it on a wage my parents would have found princely when they were my age - even with the four kids. I'm a renter. My car, an 8-year-old near-POS, is paid for - but is one blown gasket, one thrown rod, one CV joint away from a repair that will cost more than it's worth. I don't have any credit cards anymore. And yet, I'm nearly $125,000 in debt. I owe the monetary equivalent of a small house to several doctors and a couple of hospitals, because I became very sick, and I was uninsured. In my case, it was because my former employer was not required by law (because of its size) to offer insurance, and decided, without telling me, to cancel mine when I needed it most. Doubled over in pain one night, after months of pain, my friends decided to take me to the ER, where I was told that my gallbladder needed to come out sooner than later - or I was looking at pancreatitis. Complications followed the surgery, and I ended up staying longer than the usual outpatient regimen - four days, to be exact. A week later, I began running a fever. Two weeks after that, I began throwing up, and couldn't keep anything down. I was admitted again, and put through a battery of tests as they tried to figure out what was wrong - and I was there for a week. It was only long after all of this that I discovered I actually had no insurance. My former employer is no longer in business, completely shuttered. And now, as I sit mulling over bankruptcy, I watch as candidates get into scrapes about the things their pastors say, things they "misspeak" regarding their pasts, and I find myself wishing more that they would speak about things such as this. My story isn't all that unusual, I know, and that's what's scary. And I'm not entirely certain which plan is most realistic - but I do know something must be done. It's something that, as the days creep closer to November, I will be examining more closely. With the economy as it is, and lay-offs occurring with alarming rapidity, being without health insurance not something out of the realm of possibility for anyone. No car payment. No house payment. No credit cards. Still $125,000 in debt.