Being Canadian, I’m biased towards universal healthcare. I am lucky to be able to say that a single payer, publicly-funded health care system is all I have known. And to be honest, I don’t know too much about my country’s system, let alone anyone else’s. But I do know this: if I was American, I would be in big trouble.
Here’s the thing: my family is very, very middle class. And under the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA), my family and I all have pre-existing conditions. I have ADHD, and have and still occasionally do suffer from anxiety and depression; my mother has arthritis, and my dad is a cancer survivor. My maternal grandmother, who is in a nursing home and is financially dependent on her children, has diabetes and dementia and has had several strokes.
Time Magazine lists other possible pre-existing conditions such as Celiac disease, which runs in the family, and acne—something which, like most teenagers, I have.
These are just the things I can think of off the top of my head that affect my immediate family. I’m sure there are many more that I’m forgetting, but the simple point here is that none of us could afford to live in the States under the AHCA. And I’m lucky. I’m lucky because unlike my American friend with Tourette’s, I do not have to suffer under that bill. Unlike people with MS and Parkinsons and cerebral palsy, I will not have to wonder if I can afford treatment or care. Unlike trans kids, I will not have another burden stacked against me, and unlike those with AIDS/HIV, I will not feel like I’m being shamed once again. This is not even to mention rape survivors who have to decide whether to report their rapists or keep their coverage.
I am an able-bodied cis girl living in Canada. This will not affect me directly.
But the thing is, I am human and I can emphasize. I have felt in my life the worry that comes when insurance companies don’t want to cover pills, the struggle to find a nursing home that’s subsidized and has a good standard of care. And this is the small scale, in a place where healthcare is a right instead of a privilege. Imagine that every day, a thousand times worse. On that larger scale, I can’t even think about it.
We are all connected. My privilege doesn’t distance me from those without it. It helps me understand why we need to fight to make healthcare a right for everyone. I am lucky; I want others to be lucky, too.
This is not a right or left issue, or a Republican vs Democrat issue. It’s a human issue. And that’s all it should be.
- #IAmAPreexistingCondition on Twitter
- What’s in the Health-Care Bill the House Just Passed? (The Atlantic)