What healthcare reform means to me
President Obama is now looking at the end of the year as a deadline for passing the healthcare reform bill. I’ll be biting my nails. Because my family’s insurance clock is ticking. As of February 1, 2010, the Cullens of New Jersey will be going commando on healthcare coverage.
When I volunteered for a buyout in December 2008, healthcare was my No. 1 concern. My 12 years at my employer earned me a little over half a year of buyout checks — and insurance. Instead of negotiating for more money, I asked instead for longer coverage. My employer acquiesced. If I’d known they were feeling so generous, I would have asked them to throw in the company masseusse.
But the extended coverage was big. Here’s what my 13 months of healthcare coverage represent to me: a new life. Nothing less. It’s a worry-free stint during which to hurl myself toward a new career in a high-risk, high-reward field. If I’ve failed to achieve after those 13 months are over, then it’s back to the coal mines.
That is, unless Obama comes through.
Sure, we have a few options. My husband, a freelance musician, has limited access to a bare-bones union plan. We could join an innovative group plan like the one offered by the Freelancers Union, but I’ve heard such mixed things (like here, here and here).
Unlike some young families, one option we completely disregard is going uninsured. We have two small children. I have a chronic illness that’s required hospitalization and pricey maintenance meds. We’ve lost parents to cancer. But all these factors also make us pretty fugly to insurers.
So you see, Mr. President, we’re in a bind. I’m doing my damnedest to break free of a dying industry and learn new skills, just like you ask. But we can’t do without pediatric check-ups and pills. We need that safety net. We need public health insurance as an option. Hop to it, will you?