Sometimes you hit an age where, when something aches for too long, you immediately self-diagnose with Alzheimer’s or cancer or a heart attack, stroke or other potentially life threatening condition. When you are beset with these thoughts, you take stock in your life. You consider where you are and wonder what the hell you’ve been doing all these years. The fact that your entire family lives in a rented one bedroom apartment. That at the rate you are going you will never move out of said one bedroom apartment. Then someone asks you if the young idealistic you would be disappointed at the you who you are today. And you are really not too sure. And then you start thinking about building tree bridges so that golden lion tamarin monkeys can cross the highway without being run down. Or trying to find a place what wires money to see if you can send a solar lamp to people in Haiti. I seriously cannot make this stuff up.
And then, on October 1st, health insurance exchanges open across the United States. They open and begin providing a means for uninsured individuals to obtain health care coverage, whether they had been unable to purchase it because they had been ill in the past or they just couldn’t afford it. Maybe they purchased medical coverage but were not able to get prescription drug coverage because it was just not offered to individuals at any price. People who put off obtaining preventive screenings like mammograms or colonoscopies. People who had just given up on health care coverage and were chancing it. Hoping that they would not fall seriously ill or get in an accident. All these people. All these circumstances. All of this potentially goes away today on October first.
Yes, it was glitchy. There were technical issues. In Maryland 90,000 people visited and crashed their exchange site. But then there were anecdotes from individuals who said that they would have waited six days to get coverage so the six hour timeframe they did wait was nothing. In Kentucky 1,000 applications were submitted by 9:30 a.m. with 24,000 visits throughout the day. This is what the Republicans intent on denying coverage to millions of Americans are afraid of. Success. The more people who gain coverage; who see a doctor; who become healthy; remain healthy; stay healthy. This is what they fear the most.
So my golden lion tamarin moment is this, my teeny part in getting this behemoth off the ground, even if it is just barely hovering. I was an infinitesimally small cog. Like, in the immortal words of Frenchy, an amoeba, on a flea on a rat. But that doesn’t matter to me. The stories of people signing up, submitting applications across the U.S. makes me really happy. Like I helped to make a difference. So I am taking this day to just feel good about myself. If you want to feel good too, tell someone to check out their state exchange, they might qualify for help to pay their premiums. Then you can feel good about helping someone. Success. It is sweet.