Privilege is such a loaded term in our current culture, one mention of the word and people start getting tense and shutting down, especially those with privilege that feel threatened. Today though let us try to put that aside. If you remember a few years ago I wrote a blog about my dirty little secret which was that my family was benefiting greatly from the Affordable Care Act. Well times have changed and while we still do enjoy benefits of health care reform, like preexisting condition clauses won't prevent us from getting care we need, our health insurance comes through my employer. Most of my adult life I have lived with little or no health insurance because the cost was way out of our reach. Particularly because Paul and I both have what insurance companies consider preexisting conditions.
This morning I was late to my office hours because I had a chiropractor appointment. After months of sciatic nerve pain in the mornings I decided enough was enough and called to make sure it was covered, it is, so off I went. It is going to take a few visits but I am on the road to feeling better. The cost: $22. What was out of reach before is now very accessible. The thing is this isn't the only thing that it has effected, when I had my accident back in January I had insurance. When I had an emergency a few weeks ago it was covered with a little copay. There have been some payments on my part but not thousands of dollars.
It continues though we have opted in to the dental insurance which we pay for, for the first time ever in our entire relationship we all have up to date dental cleanings. We have a discount plan for vision care and we are all up to date or about to be up to date on eye exams and eye wear.
I have been seeing a therapist regularly for a few months now. I have had fertility consultations and treatment. All of this at least partially or fully paid by my insurance. The point I am trying to make here is that these are all services that were fluff I couldn't afford before. Aside from the car accident I would not have sought help for any of these things had we been in previous situations. Now I know many would say that I have earned this privilege through my hard work in getting an education that led me to a professional path with this benefit. I won't down play my own hard work playing a roll in this privilege but it was other privilege that led me to be able to even do those things.
Life is more comfortable when you can address chronic pain, mental health, and emergencies. There is a higher quality of life that makes me more productive and effective as an "employee". I could manage with out these services but my life is better because of them. Fertility and dental and vision seem like added bonuses that certainly add to my life. Healthy teeth and the ability to see with an up to date prescription are wonderful. Having help in trying to grow our family is something that was always out of reach before.
So yes I will say it, I have the privilege of insurance. I can't help but think how everyone should have access to these sorts of services, in a way that is affordable, and doesn't cost my fellow professionals in the medical field money. There has got to be a way for every person to have affordable access to care and for doctors, nurses, therapists, and so on to be able to feed their families and live comfortably.
Today I am grateful for this grand privilege, even while pondering how to get this kind of care to all my fellow humans.