So I have officially been without my antidepressant for a full week, all because the healthcare industry is paralyzed by insurance red tape and employee burnout. I’ve been out of therapy for two months for the same reason. I do not do well without these things.
I have been medicated for my intense anxiety, depression, and mood swings since 2014, and I’ve been in therapy for the same issues (plus lots of fun self-loathing and other issues that can’t be reduced with meds) since 2013. Sure, I’ve missed doses here and there and I’ve gone a few months without therapy when I’ve felt more equipped to cope, but I’ve never missed both at the same time, not by choice, but by force. I am so fucking tired of jumping through 18 million hoops, staying on hold for hours, and essentially begging providers to accept my (relatively comprehensive) insurance. And this isn’t an isolated experience. Every single Millennial I know has had this exact same experience with their own healthcare. This is why we need Medicare for All.
Oh, you’re afraid of losing your “choice”? Well, as I said, I have pretty good insurance, and I sure as hell don’t have much of a choice right now. Worried about delays in treatment? Most Americans are already experiencing deadly delays in getting treatment. Are you afraid of increased expenses? Honestly, I don’t know if healthcare can humanly possibly get any more expensive. Do you know what it costs me to talk to a therapist for one hour? $109. And that’s with insurance. Don’t want your hard-earned cash to go toward treatment for whiny snowflake Millennials like me, people who would probably be “fine” if they just did some hard work for once in their life? (Yes, people have actually said this to me.) Odds are, you won’t pay hardly anything. Most of Medicare for All is funded by taxing people who couldn’t spend all of their money in their lifetime if they fucking tried.
I am not an expert on this. Generally, I try to avoid politics. Not because I think it isn’t important, but because it makes me so angry and stressed and sad, it keeps me from getting my work done and paying my bills. Like most seemingly easy and essential tasks required to be a decent citizen, paying attention to politics requires a certain amount of financial stability that is systematically denied to many groups of people in America, including the mentally ill.
But I do have a basic understanding of tax brackets and marginal tax rates. And I know that the vast majority of Americans would save a shit ton of money and frustration with Medicare for All, not to mention saving literal lives.
Thankfully, I have done a lot of work on my mental health over the years, and I’m able to cope despite being without my meds or therapy. But many are not so lucky and this could easily turn into a fatal situation.
I’m just so tired of things being this way. No other country in the world works this way, and no other industry experiences such exponential increases in cost every fucking day. This is unsustainable, both in the big picture and for individuals. I cannot keep doing this. I can’t. I’m so fucking tired, and I’m extremely privileged. I’m white, relatively thin, have good insurance, and I still struggle with this bullshit constantly. My heart breaks for my fellow Americans who weren’t born into this body that people take more seriously just by sheer luck.
We need change. This is non-negotiable. If the insidious decay of the healthcare industry hasn’t touched your life yet, you are lucky for now, but it cannot last. Eventually, it will get to you. Maybe once the healthcare industry kills off everyone who relies on insulin with ungodly prices, it will start jacking up the prices of medications you rely on. Then will you want change? Then will you realize that you have no negotiating power against an entrenched, inhumane industry that holds your health in their greedy hands with no regard for your actual life? How much are you willing to pay to stay healthy? Are you comfortable knowing that amount could literally bankrupt you, and that the healthcare system we have now is completely okay with that?
I know this is aggressive. Part of me wants to go back and edit out all of the rage or the political parts, part of me wants to apologize and pretend I didn’t mean it. But fuck that. I do mean it. I am enraged. My health is inherently political, and I won’t pretend it isn’t. So maybe this article isn’t for you, but that doesn’t matter. This is my reality, and it is the reality of millions of Americans, and I’m not going sugarcoat it.
I am so angry and exhausted. And I’m not sorry.