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I have discovered a passion. I have a passion to create a change in the health care system in the U.S. I have a passion to try to show all Americans that they are currently at the mercy of the for-profit insurance companies who donate huge sums to our politicians to maintain a corrupt and faulty system. A system that denies coverage and denies treatment. I want people to understand what that system can do to them. I have a passion.

I was self-employed and my income was not dependable. I had tried to get health insurance and had been told that the state’s high risk pool was my only option. I could not afford it. After being diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in 2007, I was able to have Medicaid through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) Cancer Screening Program for two years. Being on Medicaid was not my best option—but it was my only option. I was lucky. I had arranged to get a biopsy elsewhere. If I had gone through with that, I would have had nothing. On Medicaid, you have limited options: many doctors won’t accept it, you have limited visits, no matter how sick you are, and you are limited as to how many prescriptions you can get. Still, I muddled through and, happily, I am still here. After two years, I was told that I no longer qualified for that program. So now I have nothing. My oncologist and the University of Tennessee are making sure I can get my scans. For now. This is scary.

Until recently, I had never heard of Single Payer Health Coverage. I had heard of Universal Health Care but what I heard was primarily horror stories from the media. The same stories they trot out every time they try to scare us away from health care reform. I have developed friends from Canada online and I kept hearing from them how glad they were that they didn’t have to worry like I was about health care. I have been actively searching out information about Universal Health Care and Single Payer Health Care. I have been pondering the implications for the economy if people weren’t so afraid of losing their health care, of what it would be like if a catastrophic illness did not often mean poverty and bankruptcy, of health care not being at the mercy of insurance companies profit margin. I think that it would look very good indeed. I was asked recently if I would be so passionate about this if it did not affect me so directly. I cannot answer that. I don’t know. I do know that “the personal is political.” If we all wait until we have personal brush with a catastrophic illness before we are willing to make a change then we will maintain the status quo.

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