One of the things you worry about when you have neither money nor health insurance is what will happen to you in the event you become seriously ill. How are you going to pay for treatment? If you have an acute condition such as appendicitis, you can go to the ER and they have to take care of you. But what if it’s something like cancer or kidney disease? Something that requires prolonged, expensive treatment? All the hospital needs to do is stabilize you. Then you’re on your own.
Accessing medical care isn’t the only concern, though. How are you going to survive while you’re too sick to work? This is especially terrifying for the ever-increasing number of people keeping their heads above the water with freelance and contract work. If we can’t work, we don’t eat.
If you’re among the working poor who don’t qualify for Medicaid and you become seriously ill, you’re pretty much screwed. There is not much you can do. Which is why you tend to push these thoughts out of your head as fast as you can. Not much point in worrying about something you can’t change. Especially when just making enough money to scrape by consumes all your time and energy.
So, when I started experiencing some disturbing symptoms a couple of years ago, I did what most people without access to health care do: Hope it’s nothing serious. After all, it wasn’t like I was sick all the time. The symptoms came and went. And anyway, I had more immediate concerns. Like trying to keep a roof over our heads.
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