Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Frustrations galore!

Ok, so on Sunday, I'm at the American Indian Museum and joined a tour group, so that we could get the highlights of the place. As we moved to a dark room & our guide was explaining what it meant to be an Indian, I suddenly felt weird. I couldn't figure out whether it was just stress, the different environment, the fact that we were discussing the unfair treatment towards Native Americans, but I was not feeling well. Thinking I was probably de-hydrated, I reached for my water bottle in my purse, but unfortunately never got to it. The next thing I remember is my head hurting like hell while a security guard asks, "Ma'am, can you hear me?"

Yes, for the first time in my life, I passed out. It was a very scary experience because I can't remember falling, rolling over & hitting my head pretty hard on the wall - I have a colorful bruise on my forehead to prove it! I am fine, but 3 days later, my head has still been hurting. Some of my friends have been scaring me suggesting I may have internal bleeding. Why don't I just go to the doctor? Well, I have insurance issues. What do I mean, you ask?

I have a $250 deductible on my health policy, which expires next week. If I do go to the doctor, it is very likely, I will have to get a CT scan amongst others, which will cost me more than $250. And unfortunately, when I renew my insurance on the 20th, anything I paid in my previous policy won't matter, which means I'll be stuck with the $250 deductible again.

Yes, I know my life is more important than money, but the reality is, I just can't afford it. And, fortunately for me, I know I will be okay coz I have been functioning perfectly at work and even attended my step aerobics class today without incident.

What makes me sick is the fact that there are thousands of people in this country, especially children, with more serious health issues that face this problem. It's disgusting that we have to make a choice between money and the need to visit a doctor. I don't care what fiscal conservatives have to say but health care is a right. And as for those who say the only people who can't afford good health care are the unemployed or lazy people, because in case you haven't noticed, I'm neither. I work hard but I can't help it that I'm a recent college graduate, so my dad's insurance doesn't cover me anymore and that my fellowship offers me minimal coverage. What makes me even angrier is when Christian conservatives don't support a more universal form of health coverage because their current stance is so contrary to religious beliefs - I really liked what Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times once said in an editorial: after all, Jesus was about curing lepers, not slashing Medicaid.

Do I have a solution for our messed up health care system? No, but I am glad that I have a dear friend who works on health policy at
Families USA!

One of my big peeves is how Republicans have claimed religion when many of their policies regarding war, aid for the poor, education, etc., are contrary to religious beliefs. So, how do Democrats get back the moral platform? It looks like
Jim Wallis, a Christian leader for social change, and author of God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It, seems to have the answer. Check out his editorial in the NY Times entitled The Message Thing. He talks about how progressives have failed to frame their issues better - something the right has invested heavily in for the past three decades. My organization does a lot of work on this vis-a-vis international issues, working closely with the U.S. in the World - Talking Global Issues with Americans guide - check it out!

Bumpy Forehead