When I unexpectedly lost my job, once I got over the shock, one of the first things I worried about was health insurance.
I was thankful to find out about a plan signed by the president in February. For nine months, or until I find other coverage through employment, the federal government, as part of the stimulus package, pays for 65 percent of my and other workers’ COBRA health care premium who involuntarily lost their employment.
Recently I found out how truly important this is. While on a job interview in Pennsylvania I had a gallstone attack, the worst pain I have ever experienced, and spent the night in an emergency room. Without the president’s initiative, I would have either had to rely on charity care or what few financial resources I still have would have been wiped out.
It is too bad more Americans can’t experience firsthand a “single payer” health system before so many quickly judge it is not for us. I have seen firsthand how it works in both the EU and Australia. Maybe it could be one of the reasons that an average Australian lives close to four years longer than does the average American?
This was published as a letter to the editor – Daily News-Record, Harrisonburg,VA (8/28/09)