Kate (she/her) is a mother of two adult sons living in Minneapolis. She’s been a leader advocating with TakeAction Minnesota since February 2021. Below is Kate’s healthcare story. She ends it with an invitation to share your story and push for change. Contact Chavah to join Kate and other TakeAction leaders across the state in advocating for the healthcare we deserve. In 2021, we’re fighting to ensure every Minnesotan has access to quality, affordable healthcare; paid sick days; and Paid Family & Medical Leave.
My family is solidly middle class. Over the years, my family has heavily relied on having health insurance to cover healthcare costs. My husband was fortunate enough to have insurance through his company throughout the years. The amount covered dropped as costs rose for us, both out of pocket and in premiums.
In 2020, like many people, my husband was out of work. We enrolled in UCare. We felt like we could not afford the level of insurance that we held previously. Even still, our insurance costs were high. Like most people out there, one terrible health problem would probably bankrupt us. We’ve been lucky so far.
I’m avoiding ankle surgery because I’m afraid of how much it will cost us. I also don’t see my neurologist anymore because it costs over a thousand dollars just for the seizure brain studies that are supposed to happen once a year. We’re rationing our health care and hoping nothing big comes up.
I’ve also got severe allergies, and I’m supposed to carry an EpiPen with me. Our previous insurance went from $30 copays to $1500 out-of-pocket per box. EpiPens cost less than $10 to manufacture and have been around for nearly 40 years. The technology hasn’t changed, but apparently, Big Pharma wasn’t profiting enough. There were “coupons” from the manufacturer, but they only lowered the costs to $800. Hardly a savings.
Throughout all of this, I’ve watched our country fail to protect us from predatory corporations. I’ve listened to my friends, who struggle to pay medical bills. I’ve heard how they’ve had to ask for donations from people to ensure their kids could survive terrible things like cancer or severe birth defects. I don’t have to have suffered their losses to feel like our system needs a change.
Their stories, like mine, are imperative for our government to hear. We need to know someone is listening to us, understanding us, and ensuring that no one suffers in vain for a faceless company’s profits. People are more important than corporations. Eventually, everyone needs healthcare. Every person has a pre-existing condition. That’s why healthcare for all is so important. It’s a human rights issue.
For those of you who struggle to have a voice: I know it isn’t easy. Speaking your truth about healthcare issues is very personal and vulnerable. Fortunately, there are many ways to have your voice heard. Petitions are a good start. There are many places with TakeAction to tell your story. There are people here that want to listen and help you be seen as more than a nameless face with healthcare and insurance issues. We can make a difference in everyone’s lives if we speak out. Your story is that important.