I am a SUNY Cortland student in the second year of my undergraduate degree in Bachelor of Science for Biomedical studies. I was born in Ghana and moved to the Bronx at a very young age. I chose to attend SUNY Cortland for many reasons, but finances were not a focus of mine. Cortland was appealing to me because it was far from home while also being close enough to be comfortable. When I came to my first open house before I confirmed my attendance at Cortland, I learned that the campus size and class and club opportunities were ideal for me, and I was set on where I wanted to go.
My mother is a nurse, and my insurance is through her job. The biggest stressors that have occurred for my family and I is medical debt and payments on medical debt. A big problem that my family has faced is feeling rushed to pay and having the idea that consequences will come from not paying them on time. I have a firm belief that equal health care is important to a successful society. Healthcare is one thing that our government can control and is a basic human need and right. I think that if the government wants to provide for the people and provide advocacy for the people, their first focus should be on making a form of state-wide healthcare. People struggle with so many things in everyday life and healthcare shouldn’t be one. People should be able to rely on their healthcare to be available and simple to use. Equality is a very important idea for me because I think that if New York state will be providing insurance it should have equal and basic plans for all. People get taxed for things such as fixing roads or community construction but not for healthcare and that’s not right.
I am a senior attending Hunter College and thanks to having health insurance, I am able to visit the doctor to get my yearly shots and go to the dentist to get my check ups without having to worry about the cost. I am one of the many people out there that are fortunate enough to have medical insurance to cover the expensive cost of healthcare. But, even with insurance, sometimes people still need to cover the rest of the fees for their surgery or medicine that are expensive. In fact, I once changed my primary doctor and visited a new doctor’s office to get a check up and a blood test. A few weeks later, I received a bill asking me to pay for visiting the doctor. I was confused because from what I know, my health insurance always covered my primary doctor visits. In addition, there are many people in the United States that do not have medical insurance. These people either have to pay for the expensive checkups and medicine out of their own pockets or cannot afford to pay for it at all. I have heard many horror public health stories where people are refusing to take the ambulance or refusing to get treated when they are sick or injured due to hospital bills ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. People would rather suffer alone and hold in their pain which can be fatal and even lead to death than have a tremendous debt due to the lack of proper health insurance.
Medicine, like insulin, is highly needed for people with diabetes, and hospital bills from treatments, checkups, and surgeries should not cost so much to the point that people are refusing to go to hospitals. I have a friend who once asked for my dentist because she said the dentist she goes to in Manhattan charged too much for simple checkups. My brother in law says he doesn’t like going to the dentist because the last time he went to take out a few of his teeth, it cost him hundreds of dollars due to the lack of health insurance. As his father has the same issue with insurance, his father hesitates to go to the dentist even when he has severe tooth pain. There are people who are hesitant to go to hospitals when they are sick due to their immigrant status as the lack of health insurance means paying a lot of money for treatment.
I wish that the higher ups who represent us Americans would care more about their people than money. There are other countries out there that have better healthcare than America, where they value their people more than money. I get it, money is important as it helps the world function. But it is hard enough for people to make a living, especially during this pandemic. There needs to be more affordable and accessible health insurance for all, despite where they come from, their immigrant status, age, gender, employment, and etc. People’s lives matter more and it should be a priority. After all, what is money if there are no people around?
I’m a junior at Hunter College majoring in Political Science with a minor in Women and Gender Studies and a minoring in Legal Studies. After graduating college, I plan to attend law school to get my J.D. and become a licensed legal attorney.
There have been a couple of times where my loved ones needed better health care but weren’t able to get it. During my senior year of high school, my father got very sick and was diagnosed with a disease that affected his kidneys, and his body broke down proteins. It was a sporadic disease that not much of the population dealt with, so it took a while to figure out what was happening to him and why. He grew weak, lost and gained extreme weight, and had to fight through unemployment for medical reasons. He mostly got his healthcare through his job. He needed to get more help medically, and it was scary that at this time, in the early phases of his illness, he couldn’t go to the doctor and get the help he needed earlier when his life was at risk. He also had trouble getting the medicine he needed to treat and maintain his illness after being diagnosed. The insurance he got at his new job didn’t completely cover the medicine or his treatments, so he’d have to cover the rest out of pocket. It has always been an issue for my father to get full healthcare coverage and find good health insurance that would help him.
I do have health insurance, and I’m covered mostly through my mom from Medicare. I have HealthFirst, as do my sisters. Aging out of my mom’s health insurance plan is scary, and I’m not looking forward to making that huge transition. I am not struggling with the high cost of medical bills or medical debt, but I know my father is dealing with medical debt from the previous situation. Not having a job or not working while incapable of doing so due to medical reasons was very difficult, and my father had to take out loans to pay for rent and cover medical bills. It was a tough time, but my father is significantly better now and has the medicine to treat his illness.