Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.

 

Dateline: Glasgow

As I was waiting to board my plane to Glasgow, an elderly woman from rural Maine talked about her fear of the impending implementation of Obamacare. She is self-employed and has never had health insurance. “I don’t know how we can afford the premium’” she said. “We are really scared about what will happen.” I thought, if you can't afford the premium, what will you do when you get sick? This is precisely the reason that the Affordable Care Act makes health insurance mandatory – an idea, we should remember, that came out of the conservative think tanks in the 1990s and, however much he tried to deny it during the last campaign, was the cornerstone of Mitt Romney’s policy in Massachusetts. I have come to Glasgow to visit a childhood friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer. He is a painter, with little money, living in a country where health care is free – and where taking care of the sick is considered a national responsibility, not an unwelcome burden. To people here, the American model of health insurance is simply unfathomable, as is the ferocity of the attack on Obamacare as an infringement on individual freedom. When we do get sick, as all of us will, we feel vulnerable, scared and alone. Knowing that good care is both available and affordable is not just a medical benefit for us as individuals, it is a reaffirmation of the importance of community in each of our lives.

The Climbing Boys

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