A pink rose

I’ve been following Jeneane’s tales about becoming unemployed and having to deal with health insurance and possible lack thereof. My own option was to do without health care or insurance coverage, an option Jeneane doesn’t have with a small child and existing medical conditions.

The President will be at Boeing in St. Louis tomorrow and I’m tempted to go down with a big, big sign saying, “I have SARS!”, including at the bottom in teeny tiny print “Sick About the Reality of being Sick with no health insurance”. Bet that would be one fast trip back to Air Force One. If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, you’ll know I gave into my evil self.

I cannot understand how we can talk tax cuts when a fifth of the country has inadequate health care coverage. Just think what will happen if SARS grabs a hold of this country. Nothing shows up an inadequate health care coverage system more than a deadly outbreak of an unknown virus that has flu-like symptoms to start.

The states and counties and cities, and private organizations and universities do their best to close the gap between the insured and uninsured, though the effort is, at most, a treatment rather than a cure. Still, they’re doing the best they can and more power to them.

One hospital associated with a university in our area sends out “wellness” newsletters containing health tips, phone numbers, notice of free health classes and so on. Among the items will be any free or low-cost health care alternative for those who don’t have insurance.

One organization listed in the newsletter provides free mammograms and breast exams for women; but it’s not just a quick, cattle-car event you would expect from a “free” service. No, this is an all day event. When the woman arrives in the morning she’s sat down, and the procedures are explained to her, in detail. She’s then given the mammogram, and provided lunch while waiting the result. Following lunch, she watches a short movie about how to do breast self-exams. Once that’s finished, she meets with the doctor and finishes the exam. Hopefully all will be well, but if not, that’s when the gap between being insured and not insured will become most apparent.

Just before leaving, the staff gives her a single pink rose. While it’s the exam that might help save her life, it’s the rose that helps save her dignity.



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