In November 1996, I caught the flu. At the time, I was 27 and working at a major coffee chain making $6/hour. Health care was available, but when you make only $6/hour and have to pay for various things like food and rent, health care becomes out of reach.
So, I spent a few days in bed until I felt good enough to go back to work. I felt okay for a few days, but then the illness came back with a vengeance. I couldn’t keep anything down. I started having trouble breathing. I should have gone to the clinic I frequented which offered care to the low income on a sliding fee scale. But I went to the county hospital in downtown Minneapolis.
A young doctor examined me and said it was penumonia. He gave me a five day supply of antibiotics (the usual course is ten days for something as routine as sinus infection). I didn’t get better. I got worse. I had a high fever and I was getting a case of thrush on my tongue turning it white. In the meantime my parents drove from Michigan to take care of me. I was able to see the nurse practitioner at the clinic and she took a blood test and an xray. She came back into the examination room and told me that I needed to be admitted into the hospital. My white blood cell count was 70,000, which meant my body was fighting off a massive infection. I wondered how in the hell was I going to pay for this.
The nurse practitioner told me not worry.
Read more: https://medium.com/@dennissanders/mugged-by-reality-a-conservative-for-universal-health-care-53ced244b1cd?platform=hootsuite