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Wednesday, 12 April 2017 16:12

Healthcare needs to be affordable

Written by 

To the Editor:

As I prepared to leave home to participate in Sylva’s rally and march for affordable health care access (held Saturday, April 1, at Bridge Park and downtown), I was eager to hear local doctors, patients, and leaders speak about current needs and costs of health care, particularly in Jackson and Macon counties.

Then it occurred to me that I might not be alive to attend this event if I had not had access to affordable care twenty-some years ago. My gynecologist had recommended a baseline mammogram during an annual physical. I was a graduate student who was not sure my insurance would cover a mammogram or whether I had enough cash in my checking account to afford it otherwise. I took the financial chance, had the mammogram, and found out that I had breast cancer. Two weeks later, I had a modified radical mastectomy.  

Since then, my concern that I will have cancer again and that it will not be caught in time to save me is relieved with annual mammograms. Since graduation I have been lucky to work for large employers who provide access to group insurance, with affordable (though increasing) monthly payroll and annual deductions. Lucky to remain in that employ not only to retain this benefit, but to remain in work I wanted to do. Lucky to remain under the regular care of physical and mental health care providers who diagnose, treat, and advise me for other life-challenging health needs. 

What if my early luck had not been so good? What might have happened if I had not taken the chance on affording my first mammogram? If I had not chosen a vocation was not hirable by large, for-profit employers with affordable health care access? If I had not been able to remain employed in it? 

What about people who do not have such good luck?  Individuals I will never know as well as folks who are my family, friends, colleagues, leaders, neighbors? Do I deserve the “benefit” of affordable health care access more than they do? Morally, could I not care about their care? Ethically, could I advocate for my own pocketbook at the expense of their lives?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Love one another.  

Marsha Lee Baker

Cullowhee

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