Our health care reform group went to Kroger's a few months ago to interview people and give information about the health care reform bill. One of the shoppers came up to me and said “my daughter is bipolar and the only way she ever gets her medicine or sees her doctor is if she tries to kill herself.” It was such a shocking statement that I wrote it down. But, why am I just now talking about this? Because I hear shocking stories about health care everyday and I don't have time to write them all down. Every day, I hear stories such as one would expect out of a third world country.
Five times in the last five days, I have talked to a peri-menopausal woman who is experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding. So why doesn't she go to the gynecologist? They try. The patient yesterday tried, she called a local practice and they told her to have a minimum of $250.00 for her visit when she comes in. She hasn't worked in over a year and her unemployment has run out. She will go to the E.R., they will all eventually go to the E.R., she will get a temporary medicine and be told to see her gynecologist. Which she can't, and as soon as the bleeding starts back again, she is back in the E.R. The patient who called today got our number at the Free Clinc. The Free Clinic can help her with her diabetes and her hypertension, but not with her gynecological problems. She hasn't had a Pap smear since her 20 year old was born, she has never had health insurance she explains. She has been bleeding 'handfuls of clots' for two weeks and is starting to feel faint.
Last week I got this e-mail: "My daughter is 20 yrs old with two babies. She has no job and I can't afford the complete help she needs. She needs a birth control shot. She needs a Leep procedure and she needs help with post-partum depression. Her doctor dropped her flat when her medicaid ran out."
Our current health care system has dropped Georgia women flat. That much is obvious. What is not obvious is why we continue to tolerate it. Women rally and march for the right to vote, for the right to own property, for the right to not be someone else's property, but we won't march for the right to receive affordable competent health care. Are we going to wait to demand health care reform until the only way we will ever get our medicine or see our doctor is if we try to kill ourselves?