A cousin that can’t work because he is disabled and doesn’t have a reliable caregiver to help him out of bed every day. The grandmother we lost too soon from heart disease she couldn’t manage on her own. Or that sinking feeling that you know something is wrong but you put off going to the doctor because you just can’t afford it. Everyone has a story but you wouldn’t know it if you listen to the healthcare conversation. The debate ignores those that have to choose between prescriptions and groceries, those that go bankrupt because of an accident, and those that think they didn’t need expensive insurance until it was too late.
We hear plenty about markets and industry, about government and bureaucracies. We hear plenty about costs. But we don’t hear nearly enough from people—from patients, from caregivers, from Minnesotans. If we want to make it impossible to ignore the need for systemic change, our stories and our experiences have to be at the center of our debate.
The power to put the focus back on the lives of the people who are struggling with healthcare that is unaffordable, inadequate, and unjust. Minnesotans care about each other, and when we hear the stories of our neighbors, when we see how a system driven by greed and profit has failed us all, we can change the debate.
When we push the focus away from insurance companies and their bottom lines, and start focusing on our stories, and our health, we can meet the promise of healthcare for all of us and change our broken healthcare system forever.