Development, Getting it off my chest

Why is so hard to understand why Universal fucking Health Care is a GOOD THING?

I had lunch with an expat this morning, and said I that sometimes I have a hard time talking about development in Benin, as even we haven’t gotten it right yet. She looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, “We??!? *I* come from a country that has universal health care and free education up through university.”

She’s Danish.

For everyone who’s not actively involved in the battle for a public option, let me explain something. I do not have health insurance, and I want to have children some day. I can:

  1. Give birth in Benin, where, if something goes wrong, there may or may not even be any blood in the national blood bank if there’s a problem and I hemorrhage. Certainly, if my baby is born prematurely or in poor health, the odds of its survival are small.
  2. Go home and pay upwards of $10,000 to give birth in the country of my birth, where if something goes wrong, I will be paying off medical bills larger than my student loans for the rest of my life ($50,000 for a premature birth, for example).

There are those of you who will respond that it is my choice to live in Benin. What if I were simply unemployed? Would that make you more sympathetic? If I were on welfare, would you be less sympathetic? Do I have less a right to health care because I live abroad than because I live in the States? Do those without jobs have less rights to health care? Pre-natal care? Maternal care?

These days, the political has become very, very personal.

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