Monday, November 02, 2009

Lucky or Good?

The congressman’s staffer said her goodbyes and left the service desk. The cashier, pleasant-looking and about fifty, had listened to the health care conversation from behind the counter. Now that it was just the two of them, she opened up to my wife.

It has been a bad three years. She had been healthy, she said, until she developed a blood disorder. After the diagnosis, her health insurance was cancelled.

There has been a string of cancers diagnosed in her family – six or seven – including her father. The stress on the family is severe. Her mother had a stroke.

But she is lucky – blessed she said – to have this new job. And in this economy, she’s right. The health benefits are especially good. The women’s clothing company is a big supporter of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure movement to fight breast cancer.

Lucky for her again. Since taking the job, she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, her employer is supportive.

Because what with her mother’s stroke, she didn’t want to stress her parents further. She avoided telling them about her breast cancer until she began radiation treatments recently.

They say it’s better to be lucky than good. That is employer-based health care in America. The lucky get treatment until they are too sick to work and their employer has to let them go. Business is business.

It is a good thing the cashier likes her new job. She had better not lose it – for any reason. She’ll lose her insurance too.

Wide-eyed, it had never occurred to her that she could call her congressman or senators and tell them her story, that they might actually listen. My wife urged her to visit or call, and soon.

Because very soon, all of America will find out if they’re listening and if we're lucky.

(Cross-posted from Campaign for America's Future.)

No comments: