…is what my modern ‘medicine woman’ asked me over Facebook.
I'd just returned from a trip to NY where I fell ill. My mom, concerned about my lingering cold, wanted to send me to a doctor straight away. There’s just one complication…
I've been ineligible to receive benefits from my mom’s employer provided health insurance coverage since February 18, 2008 – the day I turned 23.I explained that it was “mostly yellow and clear.” And she replied “Green means infection virus contagious, yellow is a cold, and clear is either allergies or jus and imbalance of some sort - mostly your system doing what it needs to cleanse. Get lots of sleep and clear hot fluids. Stay away from dairy it increases mucus!”
She sent over B-complex, and D vitamins, along with some Triphala - to help clean the colon. She says when you get sick, the bug gets stuck in your colon - and subsequently in your blood which contributes to what helps keeps us sick for longer.I spent the weekend close to home drinking tea, having soup, taking my vitamins and lots of water. By Monday I was still a little bit congested, but I've been feeling a whole lot better and eating more thoughtfully since -- doing a little bit more physical activity (basketball on Tuesday nights after my internship), and trying to consume LOTS of water.
As for not having health insurance because I'm 24 -- it’s an inconvenience for sure, especially for someone who, until recently, didn’t know what it meant to live without coverage. Still, I count my blessings. In this economy, I'm lucky to even have a job, much less one that could also offer me some kind of health insurance. But to be honest, for better or for worse, the loss of the safety net has forced me to think about my "health care" differently. I have had to learn to stop acting as I am in some way defenseless against my own body. And I am beginning to realize that my well being is predicated on more than having a defense alone.
"Health Care" Reform vs. "Health Insurance" Reform
While largely billed as a Health Care Reform program, what our President and our nation's pundits have been clamoring about is really health insurance reform. It is important that we recognize the difference. This isn't a bill that is going to magically revamp all health care services, but it will begin to put the reins on the people who play middle[wo]men between health care providers and us, the would-be patients.
This bill has been attached to big ticket issues like our economy and job stimulation because at the root of it all our health care system is a business - with real profits and real losses. And under the existing system, insurance companies have a great deal of control on how that business operates (or doesn't) to serve the needs of patients. For example, while this video explains the benefits of health insurance - pay-in and the pool levels costs, I have to agree with Nick Lee:
"When you have companies that are making $37.8 billion dollars in “total revenue” and there are still millions of people going without health insurance because they can’t afford it then there’s seriously something wrong."
In short, this is about money, not people, and would explain why much of what we hear in policy disputes seem externalized - focused on who gives care, how health care is financed, and how to enable more people to access financing. There's no doubt, the system is broken, but it has been so for a little while now.
Until recently, people who've never been without access have been none the wiser. Growing up I had the luxury of being able to get up and go see a doctor whenever my mother felt it was necessary. The inability to do so now was certainly an odd change of pace, but being sick, while at home, forced me to actually consider my lack of access, and what that means.