Our healthcare neglects the most vulnerable

Photo by Casey Gomez

Nineteen hundred and twenty dollars and ten weeks into a post-concussion treatment, you begin to lose your mind.

The worst part about existing in a constant state of confusion and pain is not that my brain is swollen, but rather that the American healthcare system is so much worse than my hand-eye-brain coordination that I do not have access to a doctor. Even without health insurance, every part of my body unanimously agrees that it wants to heal, whereas our nation further divides itself amongst “alt-rights” and “alt-lefts.”

When I received my first concussion within the same month that my health insurance terminated, I was unconcerned. Concussions heal within three to seven days. But after five consecutive doctor visits and 14 days of bedrest in a dark room without any access to a phone or laptop, I was scared. At first, STAMPS referred me to a neurologist, which seems basic enough.

Simple instructions — go to a professional. Except I couldn’t. Medicaid, the government-funded health insurance provided for children from low-income families, terminates at the age of 19. My birthday had just happened two weeks ago. For the first time in my life, I held an overwhelming uncertainty about tomorrow. I couldn’t drive, work or read at the time. How was I going to pull enough money together to get coverage? My family was out of the country and I couldn’t call anyone. I was alone. How did I get this screwed over this fast? How was I thrust into a world of pure and utter independence when I had started college a year ago?

And suddenly, the dehumanized statistics and mildly detached debates by Democrats and Republicans became relevant. They were more than far-off disagreements that I pretended to understand and talk about with my liberal friends. For the first time in my life, politics directly affected me and my today. I was one of the 28.2 million. And it sucked. Everyone else had an opinion on what to do with my life and no one could agree what was best. I just wanted to be able to see a doctor. Trump wanted to “Repeal and Replace.” The Republicans wanted to just repeal. Democrats were struggling for control in Congress and throwing tantrums across the nation. No one was willing to compromise to create a solution, and 28.2 million lives were at risk.

Thanks to years and years of brewing conflicts and an evergrowing divide, I — and 28,199,999 others — do not have basic access to a doctor or dentist.

The United States healthcare system is more confusing than my relationship with my ex. It is more unstable than Francium and more convoluted than registering for Two-Factor Authentication.

We need to get our sh*t together on health insurance. I don’t care what political party or view you identify with. The only enemy I see is ourselves. We need stability. We, as a nation, need a healthcare system that isn’t in a constant state of dilapidation. According to Google, the United States healthcare system is a privatized one. Except, most people who need health insurance rely on government-provided care. So why are we the ones getting the most cuts? Why are we denied basic access to healthcare and then blamed for it? At this rate, using a balloon as a condom is more reliable than the United States healthcare system.