- Posted February 22, 2013 by
Stockholm, New Jersey
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Bitter pill: The cost of health care in the U.S.
Debt or Death
My father was a hard working, blue collar, self employed American.
He could not afford health coverage.
He could barely afford the cost of a doctors appointment, certainly a trip to the emergency room for the pains he had been having in his chest was out of the question.
Such a visit would have put our family into a paralysing debt.
I sat across from him at the dinner table on a Tuesday evening, looked him straight in the eye and begged him to swallow his pride and have the issue looked into.
A week later on a snowy November Tuesday morning I recieved a call from my thirteen year old sister at my desk. She told dad had just been taken away in an ambulance.
Apparently, he had been shoveling and clearing the car and driveway of snow. My sister's school had a delayed opening and he was about to drive her. He then entered the car and had a massive heart attack.
My sister and mother discovered this had happened after they heard my father laying on his car horn and revving the engine.
He was pronounced dead at 10:53 a.m. If I remember correctly, at one point the medical team was able to get his heart going again. By then he had been declared brain dead.
Had he been able to access affordable healthcare could his heart attack have been prevented? I'll never know.
This story is not unusual, many blue collar men end their lives this way.
What bothers me is that he had symptoms and knew this was coming. He had to choose between a life of debt and death.
Our country needs an affordable public option. I would be proud to pay into such a program.
For all of those that will acuse me of being a socialist, ask yourself this - do you drive on roads? Did you attend public schools?
I am a humanist - not a socialist. We have the potential to be an awesome country. Instead of competing against each other we need to help one another.