As one of the millions of uninsured Americans trying to stay healthy in this country, I had to make my annual trip to the Doc-in-a-Box (as my mother used to say about urgent care clinics) to get my prescriptions re-written. This doctor was a new one, though, whom I'd never seen before. I was told he'd see me for a charge of $60 and then only write one month's worth of my prescription, and having only 1 day's worth left on my prescription I agreed to the terms. What happened during the visit was mostly routine, until I started explaining my situation. His response absolutely floored me.
The doctor was friendly and put me at ease while the usual checks were being made such as looking in my ears and throat, checking breathing, etc. I explained why I needed the medication I was on: I cannot function without it due to severe pain. I'm not on any narcotics and this drug is not even classified as a pain reliever but somehow it works magic and lets me not have to feel chronic muscle pain and stiffness, or at least not to the degree I feel it when I'm not on the meds. It also greatly reduces the number of migraines I get, so that my $20 per pill migraine meds don't have to be purchased or used as often.
As any good doctor would, he asked me about my symptoms and what my suspicions were about them. I mentioned that thyroid disorders run in my family and I suspect something may be wrong with mine. He checked it and said it was slightly enlarged and then said he wanted to order a battery of tests. I told him I'd be happy to take any test he wanted me to take, except I am uninsured and can't afford the fees for the thyroid tests. I also mentioned I'd recently moved out of the area and would need to find another doctor but came to his facility since they already had my records.
That's when he started to say things I never thought I'd hear a doctor say, at least not one in the Deep South. He said that regardless of what my political beliefs might be, the biggest crisis we face in America is healthcare, and that I should vote for a candidate who supports universal healthcare.
I almost fell off the examining table!
He said that we already have socialized medicine, then held up his VA Hospital ID badge. He said he was only filling in at this clinic over the weekend but normally works for the VA. Then he told me that he's an independent contractor who has to purchase his own health insurance but also pays into Medicare and Medicaid. He said he considered it "paying double" but really, everyone who has health insurance is in that same boat, aren't they? I told him I'm also a contractor, but recently took a pay cut just to get the job I'm in now and the health insurance wasn't affordable for me after that cut. It would have cost me another $10/hr just to sign up for the contracting agency's health care plan.
He repeated his message, telling me no matter what my political beliefs are that I should vote for a candidate supporting universal healthcare, and he said that it's a crying shame that the richest nation in the world does not guarantee health benefits for its citizens and doesn't treat healthcare as a basic human right. I told him not to worry, that I'm very liberal and will definitely be voting in support of universal health care. I didn't name names.
Then he did something nice and wrote my prescriptions (the daily one and the migraine one) for six months instead of only one. The nurses were impressed and told me they don't know what I said to make him do that but I must be great at sweet talking! I think it was the confession that I know exactly what he's talking about and want to see a change just as much as he does.
This is only anecdotal evidence, but it made me hopeful that more people out there will be paying attention to this issue and voting in their own interests this time, choosing someone who will help this great nation finally take care of its own citizens.