Why Health Insurance Matters To Writers

Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Politics | 0 comments

Medical Clipart

Have you ever got to your doctor’s office and asked how much something would cost?

If you never have, indulge me. Try it some time. The next time your doctor tells you that you’ll need a test or a referral to a specialist or even an MRI, ask her how much it will be.

She won’t be able to answer you, but the look of befuddlement on her face will be entertaining.

If you’d never seen that look of befuddlement, chances are you have employer-provided health insurance. You’re lucky. I sincerely hope you can go to your doctor when you choose and get the medical procedures you need without worrying about your bank account, your retirement, or your child’s college fund. Just please remember–it doesn’t happen for all of us.

Normally this blog is about books and children’s literature and the writing process. But I’m taking a break to write about health insurance since it’s in the news lately and because–perhaps this will come as a surprise–writers get sick now and then.

I’m a writer, full-time. This is rare. Most writers have day jobs or working spouses. One of the reasons they have these things is so that they can have health insurance. So they don’t get sick and die because they can’t afford to see a doctor. So they won’t be bankrupted if a healthy life is abruptly turned upside down and inside out by a terrifying diagnosis or a dreadful accident.

I don’t have a day job or a working spouse. I buy my insurance through the Affordable Care Act. I pay thousands of dollars a year in premiums, and on top of that I pay for all my family’s medical care out of pocket because my deductible is so high.

This is hard. I can do it, but it’s hard. Perhaps it’s about to get harder.

And it matters. If you like books, it matters. If you love to read to your child, it matters.

If we, as a society, want a creative work force, if we want people to write and illustrate books (and direct movies and compose music and perform dance and do all the other things we love about the arts), then we have to make it possible for those people to see a doctor. To get the tests the doctor recommends. To write and illustrate and live long and healthy lives.

Honestly, it doesn’t seem that much to ask.

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