What a relief that some kind of Intro to Health Care bill passed at last. It’s been a national embarrassment that an estimated 15% (say 47 million people—about the equal to the population of Spain or the Ukraine or Colombia) of this country’s people don’t have insurance. It’s hard to be proud of a country that just accepts that that’s the way it is and wants to ignore it. This is the best spending of political capital in a while.
We’ve spent the last year in hospitals with my and Kelly’s daughter, Ursula. Our health insurance, Health New England, has been fantastic and most things they don’t cover Mass Health will. She’s been in three different hospitals for 13 months. We’d be bankrupt if we have to pay, so I recommend Health New England to everyone in their area: Connecticut, Western Mass., and Vermont. All of which doesn’t stop my heart leaping into my throat (ouch) every time I check the mail and there’s an envelope from any of those hospitals, doctors, and god knows who all else. Is this the one going to say my insurance has run out? Is this the one saying my check somehow doesn’t seem to have arrived on time and my insurance has stopped? Will Mass Health pay this ambulance bill? What kind of bad news is this? And so far we have no idea—we’ve received different replies—if the insurance will cover her at-home nurse care. Good times.
I grew up in Scotland and much of my family still lives there. One of the biggest differences in quality of life between there and here is that over there no one worries about their health insurance—because it isn’t insurance, it’s a national health service that automatically covers everyone. Sure, it could be better, but everyone knows it’s there and available. In the USA I don’t know a single person, rich or poor, who doesn’t worry about their health insurance. I am raising a glass of Vermont’s own Long Trail Pale Ale in salute to everyone who put their name on the line and signed us up for a (ok, possibly) better future.