For Pat from Paducah, who left too soon.
A few years ago I met a man who lived down in Paducah — it took us a long time to get to know each other. He felt I was too high strung and wound up, and I felt he was just another pompous ass; but we stayed in touch nonetheless.
I visited him just this past Martin Luther King day. He was upbeat and funny, between jobs, but still keeping up with his various contacts. He limped a little and said that his leg was swollen… but if he slept with it propped up, the swelling went down.
We got along great this time, he felt I was more relaxed and I found out he had a wicked sense of humor.
Life being what it is, some weeks went by and we didn’t chat, so I reached out to him.
And reached out.
And reached out.
Finally, I called, and his number was not working (okay, maybe he lost his phone again). The only thing left that I could do at this point was message his daughter via Facebook.
Pat died in his home February 25.
I can’t help but think that if we were a single payer health insurance nation, he might have gone into a doctor or urgent care, and had that leg looked at, but being between jobs, he was without insurance.
I’ve been “between jobs” and without insurance — you walk on eggshells because if you become sick or injured, you could incur doctor or hospital bills that could take years to pay down.
It’s time to seriously look at single payer health insurance for the United States. Physicians for a National Health Program defines single payer as “a single public or quasi-public agency [that] organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands.”
Additionally, “all residents of the U.S. would be covered for all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs.”
What this means is that even if you’re between jobs, or working part-time, you can still go to the doctor, or the hospital, or get new glasses. You don’t have to risk your life because you don’t have health insurance.
If H.R. 676 is not passed by the time I get to Congress, I’m going to re-introduce it. We have been world leaders before, but we’ve fallen sadly behind. It’s time to be a kinder nation, starting at home.
There’s plenty for all of us.