Depending on the route, I pass up to three hospitals on my way home from work. Not bad for a commute that clocks in just short of seven miles. Passing by those august steel and glass buildings used to make me feel safe. Now, it just makes me sad.
Just about everyone I know has had an issue of some kind of another with health care. The mother of a friend of mine got hit with a six-figure bill for end-of-life care of her husband — and they were insured. My own stepmother died in a San Diego hospital bed following supposedly uncomplicated neck surgery. A friend who works as a waitress at a four-star restaurant has to spend five hours at County whenever she gets the flu.
I felt pretty lucky. None of this had touched me directly, the faceless bureaucrats of HMO policy had remained faceless, and “denial of coverage” was a phrase only heard by someone else.