Mrs. SEB was not doing well yesterday with what appears to have been a touch of food poisoning. Neither one of us got much sleep night before last because she was up several times during the night to make trips to the bathroom and then around 5AM I awoke to the sounds of a very sick wife. So I called into work and let them know I’d be staying home in case we needed to make an emergency trip to the clinic. Fortunately, despite several hours of painful cramps and quite a few more adventures in the bathroom, Mrs. SEB made it through without us having to make a trip to the clinic. By the early evening she was feeling well enough to eat a bit dinner before going back in to lie down.
But the experience reminded me once more why I need to continue my job search despite being very happy with my current position: I need to get us back under some form of health insurance. In the year since I was laid off we’ve been pretty lucky health-wise that only a couple of things have happened that required us to visit the doctor’s office as it’s a $60 fee just for walking in the door. Every time one of us gets sick I can’t help but think about the painful lesson my cousin taught me about the need to find some way to get affordable health care to everyone in this country. When I first went back to work for my current contract house in February they forgot to remove me from the health insurance plans and my monthly take home pay was missing some $736 that the family coverage I used to have cost me back when I was full time. I’m earning $30,000 less per year than I used to and, while my pay is still well over the poverty line, family insurance coverage would kill any hope of being able to move back out on our own anytime soon. Even though I’m learning a ton of new skills and am quite happy with the work environment where I’m at I can’t afford to stay unless they can take me full time before too much longer. It’s just getting to be too risky. Of course with the job market in this state still being in the toilet the chances that I’m going to find someplace to go that’ll pay better and give insurance is probably pretty small so I may not have a choice, but to stick it out and hope for the best.
Given all of that I felt I should point out that next week is Cover the Uninsured Week:
Nearly 46 million Americans, including more than 8 million children, are living without health insurance— forced to gamble every day that they won’t get sick or injured. That’s a risk no one should have to take. Uninsured Americans live sicker and die younger than those with health insurance. Just one serious illness or injury can wipe out an uninsured family’s bank account, and the problem is getting worse.
That’s why the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and some of the most influential organizations in the country are again organizing Cover the Uninsured Week. This year’s effort will mobilize thousands of individuals and organizations from many sectors of society to plan activities to tell Congress that health care coverage must be their top priority.
Cover the Uninsured Week 2006 will create a groundswell of activities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including press conferences, health and enrollment fairs, seminars for small businesses, campus activities, business leader summits, interfaith outreach, and more. These activities are designed to mobilize a diverse mix of business owners, union members, educators, students, patients, hospital staff, physicians, nurses, faith leaders and their congregants, and many others at thousands of events across the country.
Millions of people will be alerted to the pressing needs of those living without health insurance. These 46 million uninsured Americans need our—and your—help.
It’s time to put politics aside and take meaningful steps toward solutions.