When you make candidate calls & find yourself in tears
Recently my evening campaign calls took an unexpected turn and I ended up in tears right along with someone on the other end of the line....
Twice in the last few weeks I have heard devastating news about northern Michigan neighbors I know being struck with terminal illness, having to quit their jobs because they were physically unable to continue them. One is selling off belongings and starting a GoFundMe campaign to try to keep a roof over their heads *while* battling that terminal illness. The other is being cared for by an also medically vulnerable family member who doesn't know what will happen when the money runs out.
And in both cases - both had been unable to access needed services and supports or been waitlisted to beyond their projected life expectancy.
It doesn't have to be like this. The fact that it IS like this, is immoral and unacceptable.
Note: My social worker training kicked in after both calls and I am grateful to have been able to connect both of these folks & their families with helping agencies & resources that may be able to alleviate a bit of the stress.
But make no mistake - charity and the current limited govt assistance available, while important, are not a replacement for a society where people simply are not ever allowed to fall thru the cracks in the first place.
That... THAT must be the goal.
We need to change our systems so that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US regardless of race, class, zip code, education level etc., can go to the doctor when we are ill, can get preventative care, can afford early interventions to head off worse illness.
Without being crushed by medical debt.
Without insurance premiums and co pays that we simply cannot afford.
And when the illness is tragically terminal, we all deserve a society where we can pass away with dignity.
It is entirely possible for us to build a society where, when we are facing death, our energy can be focused on saying goodbye to those we love and having the best possible quality of life in the days remaining to us.
Our remaining days and hours should NOT be consumed with worry as to whether we are bankrupting our loved ones with our unexpected medical diagnosis and mountain of medical bills.
Those of you who've read my bio, know this is deeply personal to me because of my own experience growing up in a home where we worked hard yet often could *not* afford medical care, let alone dental, vision or mental health services. And even more so, having survived my own major medical crisis in 2020 -- which racked up over $300k in medical bills. I felt "lucky" because that medical issue of 2 years ago, hit me when I actually had good health insurance and a lot of loving support.
Friends, I came out the other side of major surgery, grateful for the care I received and even more determined to work relentlessly for systems change where ALL of us have healthcare with dignity. Period.
It's not too much to ask.
Time to demand more. Lives literally depend on it.
Thanks for listening. Please send up a prayer or kind thought for the two folks I spoke with on my calls. <3