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Health insurance. Those two words didn’t mean much to me in the past, but suddenly they have become two of the most important words in my vocabulary.
When I worked at Northeastern Junior College, I had the benefit of being covered by a comprehensive health care plan along with other State of Colorado employees. For the years I have been employed solely at the ranch, though, I haven’t been able to afford health insurance. Even though ranching and farming are some of the most dangerous occupations because of the nature of our work, many of us can’t afford health insurance and live day-to-day with the fear that one misstep might lead us into bankruptcy.
As many of you already know, my wife Sarah and I had our little boy Trevor on March 17th. While he was healthy, he surprised us by coming seven weeks early. As a pre-term baby, he had to stay in the NICU for four weeks before he was able to come home. The care he received at the Yampa Valley Medical Center was first-rate, and we are one of the rare rural communities that has access to such world-class facilities and staff. But we are not alone, rural residents or not, in that we have accumulated bills with our recent hospital stay that would put us in bankruptcy if it weren’t for the health insurance provided to us by Sarah’s employer.
Do today’s young families have a right to health insurance, whether they can afford it or not? Do we need to change the way we approach health care as a country, or are we happy with the status quo?
As I see our health care bills exceed $100,000, I’m truly thankful that we have the insurance we need to cover our expenses. Isn’t it only fair that all responsible, hard-working people should have that same right?
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