Fear of Being Uninsured and Unpublished

Wed 31 Aug 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Here’s a short interview I did with the AWP Moveable Type blog:

How did Small Beer Press begin? What was the goal when starting the press?
I started a zine while I was temping in Boston. My then-girlfriend-now-wife, Kelly Link, started helping out with the second issue. Looking back, publishing chapbooks and the books seems so inevitable from that start. It didn’t feel that way then. The goal was to publish something that I wasn’t quite finding enough of in the world, writing that refracted back to the reader something of the true weirdness of the world, of us monkeys walking on our hind legs on our one little planet, worrying about health insurance and being alone in the universe.
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What’s with the title of this post? In the UK (at least in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, not so much in Scotland) the government has been slashing the National Health Service budget. The results: not great.

Here in the US almost everyone I know lives in fear of getting sick because none of us know what our health insurance will cover and how much of a hit the final bills will be. I really hope the UK does not follow the US and switch to this disaster* of a health care system.

* Massachusetts is an exception and long may it continue!



Founder of Palm has trouble getting health insurance

Sun 20 Feb 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

This shows precisely why the US needs a new health insurance system. As I’ve said before, “In the USA I don’t know a single person, rich or poor, who doesn’t worry about their health insurance.” And here is a fantastic editorial in the NYTimes from Donna Dubinsky, a co-founder of Palm Computer and Handspring who struggled to find health insurance. And you know if some rich computer exec can’t get covered, what chance do the rest of us (those outside the Great Commonwealth of Massachusetts) have?

THIS isn’t the story of a poor family with a mother who has a dreadful disease that bankrupts them, or with a child who has to go without vital medicines. Unlike many others, my family can afford medical care, with or without insurance.”

At the end she has a superb suggestion:

“If members of Congress feel so strongly about undoing this important legislation, perhaps we should stop providing them with health insurance. Let’s credit their pay for the amount that has been paid by the taxpayers, and let them try to buy health insurance in the individual market. My bet is that they all would be denied. Health insurance reform might suddenly not seem to them like such a bad idea.”

Oh absolutely yes.

Let those senators and congresspeople go out and see how just wonderfully transparent and easy to use the market is. Once they get a taste of that medicine, they’ll be on the reform train in no time.



Health care, etc.

Mon 22 Mar 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

March 20thWhat 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.