Sunday, August 16, 2009


Some years ago, my husband and I chose one health care plan from the several offered to him. We based our selection on the level of mental health care offered. We went with a plan that had a relatively low maxed-out dollar amount because of the high number of appointments with therapists that it covered. One of our children has had major mental health complications.

When I visit hospital and doctor's offices, I am given a clipboard and form. I note the blank where my stroke needs to be recorded, my hysterectomy, my two breast biopsies. (I worry that, if I am totally honest, there might be repercussions.) I feel a twinge of guilt about healthy practices that I do not keep, and unhealthy practices that I do. I also think about my current health care providers and my host of past providers, who have never shared records on me.

I can't imagine living in a state where discrimination based on 'pre-existing condition' is permissible. I would have needed to stay in the job that I had when I, at age 25, had a stroke (tho' I really could not; that shop closed down in the late 1990s), or I would have had to hope that my employer never switched coverage.

The uterine growths, which occurred 15 years later, would not have been discovered or treated. Same with the tumor in my right breast. To me, the health-care reform debate is personal. But for everyone else, bear in mind: There but for the grace of God go I.

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